Northern Ireland secretary praises security forces who served with distinction and warns that inquiry is not working
The Northern Ireland secretary has said investigations into killings during the Troubles are disproportionately focusing on members of the police and army.
James Brokenshire said inquiries were not working and backed the vast majority of soldiers and the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) as having served with distinction.
The Police Service of Northern Irelands legacy investigation branch is investigating more than 3,200 killings in the province between 1969 and 2004.
Numerous former soldiers are facing prosecution for killings, including Dennis Hutchings, 75, from Cornwall, who has been charged with the attempted murder of a man with learning difficulties in 1974.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Brokenshire said: I am clear the current system is not working and we are in danger of seeing the past rewritten.
It is also clear the current focus is disproportionately on those who worked for the state former members of the armed forces and the RUC, the vast majority of whom served in Northern Ireland with great courage, professionalism and distinction.
I believe that with political will an agreement is within reach to deal with this important and sensitive issue.
The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into impact in 2009, is among 2 treaties that comprise the constitutional structures of the European Union. Within the Lisbon Treaty lies a 250-word, five-point structure, which describes voluntary departure from the European Union.
Article 50 states: “Any Member State might choose to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”
The short article defines that the leaving state should alert the European Council of its intent so official settlements for a withdrawal contract can start.
Once set off, the clock begins on a two-year due date, by which time all EU treaties and laws will be ended if an offer is not struck.
At any phase after Article 50 has actually been conjured up– however prior to the divorce has actually been settled– the United Kingdom might in theory hold a 2nd referendum on the regards to the offer and even whether to stay in the European Union.
Another choice might see the UK Parliament vote down the divorce arrangement if they consider it not worthy when it’s provided in 2019, however that would still leave Britain from the European Union without any contract in location.
After Britain leaves the European Union, the only method back would be by looking for to rejoin the bloc through Article 49 of the Lisbon Treaty.
In the present febrile political environment, any of these situations are reasonably unlikely. In the wake of President Donald Trump’s increase to power and Brexit itself– both of which viewpoint pollsters stopped working to forecast– who can state exactly what will take place?
Hong Kong has actually topped the list for the previous 7 years– considering that its very first look in the study.
Subdivided flats smaller sized than 100 square feet (9 square meters) can lease for $385 in the Asian city.
“Hong Kong is a little island with 7 million individuals … and you have 1.5 billion throughout the border (in mainland China) who want to invest,” Mark Elliott, associate director of International Residential Property Services at Jones Lang LaSalle, informs CNN.
“The federal government is launching a growing number of land, however … they will need to be more imaginative about making websites readily available, at inexpensive levels, to keep the marketplace where it is.”
How the study works
The Demographia report ratings real estate markets utilizing the “typical several” concept, which takes typical home cost divided by gross yearly mean home earnings to compute price. This technique has actually been advised by the World Bank and the United Nations.
An overall of 406 city markets were examined in 9 nations– Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the United States– utilizing information from the 3rd quarter of 2016.
Hong Kong clocked an 18.1 typical several rating, below a record-setting 19 points the year in the past– Sydney scored 12.2 (the like in 2015) and Vancouver 11.8.
Other markets in the leading 10 consisted of San Jose in the United States (9.6), Honolulu in Hawaii (9.4), and Bournemouth and Dorset in the United Kingdom (8.9).
In Los Angeles (9.3) home costs increased the equivalent of 14 months in family earnings in just 12 months, the report stated.
Australia’s increasing rates
When comparing countries, Hong Kong– a Special Administrative Region of China– topped the charts once again, with a rating (18.1) 3 times that of New Zealand, in 2nd location at 5.9.
australia is now the 3rd most pricey country where to purchase, with an average several rating of 5.5. Costs there have actually increased significantly considering that the 1980s, when– by Demographia’s estimations– all its significant markets, with the exception of Sydney, remained in the inexpensive real estate level.
This year, all however 7 of Australia’s 54 markets in the study are ranked as either “seriously unaffordable” or “seriously unaffordable”.
“Sydney’s real estate costs soared due to the fact that foreign financiers are purchasing prize possessions, in locations like Bondi,” states Elliot. “It’s not sustainable development since they’re not being rented and they’re entirely pricing individuals in the regional market from purchasing.”
“The issue in australia is that the only individuals who can pay for to play the market in Sydney and Melbourne are Russians, Chinese and Middle Eastern financiers.”
World’s 10 most pricey real estate markets in 2017
(CNN)Irish republican leader Martin McGuinness, a previous IRA leader and, up until recently, the deputy initially minister of Northern Ireland, revealed Thursday he is retiring from politics.
McGuinness, of the Sinn Fein celebration, recently stepped down as minister in demonstration of the handling of an energy program by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). That choice triggered a breeze Northern Ireland Assembly election that is because of be hung on March 2.
In a declaration launched Thursday, McGuinness stated he had actually initially prepared to step down in May.
“Unfortunately, my health and the present crisis have actually surpassed this time frame and I am stepping down from my function to make method for a brand-new leader of Sinn Fein in the North,” McGuinness stated.
“After cautious and long factor to consider, I have actually chosen that it is time for a brand-new generation of republican politicians to lead us into this election and the settlements that will follow,” he included.
Hails from Bogside
McGuinness matured in Derry’s Bogside, among the center’s of “The Troubles,” Northern Ireland’s years’ long sectarian dispute.
He ended up being an IRA leader, later on ending up being Sinn Fin’s primary arbitrator in Northern Ireland’s peace procedure, which triggered the Good Friday Agreement.
In 2012, McGuinness and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II made history when they shook hands throughout the Queen’s see to Northern Ireland.
On Thursday night, McGuinness was signed up with by advocates in Derry’s Bogside commemorating his profession.
Northern Ireland is among 4 areas that comprise the United Kingdom. Sinn Fein, a celebration that is mainly supported by Catholic Irish nationalists, desires Northern Ireland to withdraw from the UK and enter into the Republic of Ireland. The Democratic Unionist Party, mainly supported by Protestants, desires the area to stay a part of the United Kingdom.
The landmark 1998 Good Friday Agreement assisted bring an end to years of violent sectarian dispute in the area. The contract set out prepare for a power-sharing federal government, as an outcome regardless of having bitterly opposing politics, Sinn Fein and the DUP share power.
“The organizations are now in a deep crisis as an outcome of current occasions and we are dealing with into an election when individuals will have their say,” McGuinness stated.
McGuinness led Northern Ireland’s federal government with First Minister Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
McGuinness revealed his choice to step down as deputy very first minister after Foster chose not to step down following a query into the managing a messed up green energy program. Foster was minister of the department accountable for the program at the time. Foster branded McGuinness’ choice to step down as deputy very first minister as “simply political.”
On Thursday, Foster wanted McGuinness a quick healing following the statement of the Irish republican political leader’s choice to retire.
“While the present political circumstance is not exactly what any of us would want and there is much work to be done to return steady federal government to Northern Ireland I however value the good ideas accomplished by the outbound Executive and the contribution made by Mr. McGuinness to it,” Foster stated in a declaration.
Among the very first to respond to the news was Sinn Fein associate Gerry Adams.
“I wish to reveal my genuine thanks to Martin McGuinness. He and I initially fulfilled over 45 years ago behind the barriers in Free Derry and we have actually been buddies and associates because that time.”
James Brokenshire, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, commemorated McGuinness “for his operate in protecting a variety of substantial political arrangements.”
McGuinness stated he’s identified to play a “passionate and complete” function as a Sinn Fein activist, and repeated his assistance for the marriage of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“It stays my own individual and political aspiration to break the relate to Britain and to unify all who share this island under the typical banner of Irish males and females.”
Theres a short recommendation to nuclear attack an abrupt shear of light then a series of low concussions however the sluggish procedure of environment modification isn’t really discussed in this scary 2006 unique about a male and his young boy having a hard time to endure after the fall of civilisation. Make no error, however, this is a book about ecological armageddon: exactly what would take place to people, and our mankind, if the natural world was not a self-replenishing, abundant support group for the greater apes who scratch at its surface area however simply another dead rock in area.
In the very first years after the disaster, the roadways were crowded with refugees, foraging staying food stocks. Survivors came down into bloodcults, savagery and cannibalism. 9 years on, if the male and young boy fulfill other people, they will probably be raped and consumed. The dad keeps a handgun by him, to eliminate his child and after that himself when the time comes; the mom dedicated suicide years prior to. This is a difficult book to check out however likewise, as Andrew OHagan put it, the very first excellent work of art of the worldwide warmed generation.
McCarthy composes in a relentless, declamatory prose someplace in between the Bible and late Beckett, removed for the many part of the accessory of apostrophes and speech marks and the breathing room offered by commas. He grapples not just with human suffering and savagery on a baroque, nearly inconceivable scale; with faith, love and the blunt desire to make it through; however with the existential scary of the possible end of the mankind. The fragility of human endeavour and the scary repercussions of our options are the message to draw from this ravaging book. Justine Jordan
The Year of the Flood is the middle book in Atwoods dystopian MaddAddam trilogy, released in between 2003 and 2013. Just like The Handmaids Tale and the increase of the misogynist right in the United States, the death of time has actually made her work appear ever more strangely prophetic. Then, as Atwood has actually constantly stated, whatever she composes about is much and possible of it has actually currently taken place. The ecological devastations triggered by oil and the scary repercussions of it going out; business empire-building, scarcening resources and increasing inequality; hereditary experimentation and the badlands of the web: all are followed to their (un)natural conclusions.
The flood in this book is not a watery one, however an international pandemic set off as part of the very same hubristic rapaciousness that is triggering water level to increase. Comparing it with its predecessor Oryx and Crake, Ursula Le Guin discovered less of Hogarth and more of Goya in a post-apocalyptic circumstance that integrates scaries with twinkles of hope. Her treatment of her primary 2 characters, survivors Toby and Ren, and of Gods Gardeners, a sect devoted to protecting the besieged natural world, is Atwood at her finest: cool-headed, warm-hearted, amusing, undeceived and wise.
Backed up by broad research study, Atwoods speculative fictions are layered and complicated adequate to think about the worldwide nexus of science, industrialism and politics, in addition to private stories of cruelty and durability. The concerns she positions are necessary and immediate. Exactly what if we continue down the roadway were currently on? How slippery is the slope? Exactly what are our conserving beautifies? Whos got the will to stop us? JJ
In all of his books consisting of Ghostwritten, Cloud Atlas and Number9Dream David Mitchell has been preoccupied with the distinctions in between planetary and individual principles: why does every human beings self-interest dispute with the larger requirement for cumulative survival?
The Bone Clocks is informed in 6 parts, each focusing in on a various duration in the life of Holly Sykes. The tail end, embeded in 2043 when Holly remains in her 70s, sees her gathered away on the Irish coast, seeing out completion as the world falls under the Endarkenment: environment modification has actually so diminished resources that individuals should live off the land and federal government rationing. Ireland is reasonably steady thanks to a handle China up until the Chinese all of a sudden pull their resources, leaving Ireland in a state of confusion and violence.
Mitchells representation of the subsequent desperation and fast descent into anarchy is bleak, if undoubtedly credible. Sian Cain
In his recommendations, Bacigalupi worries that his book needs to not be interpreted as agent of contemporary Thailand or the Thai individuals. His vision of Thailands future is less beaches and great curry, and more oil-starved, corruption-riddled headache.
At its heart, The Wind Up Girl is a biopunk thriller following a undercover business representative and a genetically customized lady however its in-depth, bleak representation of the impacts of environment modification sets it apart. Set throughout the contraction when the world lacks nonrenewable fuel sources Bacigalupis Bangkok is among just a couple of south-east Asian cities left, now listed below water level and frantically holding back the increasing waters with a series of spring-powered pumps.
Thailands environment ministry works like a guerrilla force to make sure the nations survival, burning whole towns to the ground at the first blush of crop plagues. Ships transfer items, computer systems operate on treadle-power and all the while, everybody resolutely acts as if absolutely nothing is incorrect so there is a little realism in this sci-fi. SC
As environment disasters roll around the world, and Britain is laid waste by the Great Storm, the UK federal government chooses it is time to take the extreme action of enforcing a 60% carbon tax. The first day of her journal sees 16-year-old wannabe bass gamer Laura holed up with her household as the countdown to rationing starts: Weve got to select hairdryer, toaster, microwave, mobile phone, de-ioniser (Mum), kettle, lights, PTA, e-pod, freezer or refrigerator and on and on
At initially the brand-new limitations appear difficult: father loses his task as a travel and tourist speaker and mum needs to abandon her precious vehicle for a life of getting lost on buses. Her sis, Kim, on the other hand, tosses such a strop after being required to desert her gap-year prepare for a working vacation in the United States that she absconds to Spain, leaves the tv running and lands herself in Carbon Offenders counselling. Slowly the household begins to adjust to the brand-new truth.
Its a pity that the book is dated by its title (a followup, The Carbon Diaries 2017, runs out print), due to the fact that Saci Lloyds representation of an angsty teen squaring her infatuation with the kid next door and aspirations to be a brand-new punk angel with a state clampdown on whatever that powers her way of life is clever, amusing and all too credible. As a teen customer on the Guardian kids website composed: It offered me an insight [into] how we might need to live our lives in a couple of years, and made me question how I would handle the scenario, were I in Lauras shoes. Claire Armitstead
The book, published in February by Manchester University Press, is a study of radical republicans who accuse Sinn Fin and the Provisional IRA of accepting partition and selling out the movement. It is based on interviews with about 90 republicans, including inmates at Maghaberry.
Darragh Mackin, a Belfast-based solicitor who represents republican inmates, said such a ban was unusual but not unprecedented. We have asked a number of questions seeking clarity but havent yet had a response. We dont see a good reason for it being prohibited, he said.
Prime minister will put only withdrawal agreement to a vote on Friday but it remains unlikely to pass
Theresa May will put only half of her Brexit deal to a vote on Friday, in a final desperate attempt to secure MPs support as senior cabinet ministers made clear she must leave No 10 very soon, whatever happens.
No 10 is hoping that some Labour MPs could back the withdrawal agreement severing the UKs membership of the EU, without the political declaration governing Britains future relationship with Brussels.
However, it remains extremely unlikely to pass as Labour said it would never vote for a blindfold Brexit, while around 30 Eurosceptic Tories and the 10 Democratic Unionist MPs are also holding out against it.
MPs will be warned that failure to back the withdrawal agreement this time will lead to a long extension that requires participation in European parliament elections or crashing out without a deal on 12 April.
MPs who support a soft Brexit are meanwhile working on a new round of votes on the alternatives on Monday, including a compromise that could combine the support of those MPs who voted for a customs union, for Labours Brexit plan and for the Norway-style option dubbed common market 2.0.
With European leaders sceptical that such efforts will be successful, the EUs chief negotiator Michel Barnier told diplomats on Thursday that a no deal was now the most plausible outcome and ordered work to begin on wargaming the blocs response.
No 10 insists that it can still make progress, arguing that passing the withdrawal agreement alone will allow the UK to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit on 12 April and secure another five weeks to renegotiate the political declaration in order win support for the deal in its entirety.
This is because the EU has said the UK will have to leave on 12 April if no deal is passed, but would grant an extension to 22 May if the withdrawal agreement goes through.
But Labour has repeatedly said it is opposed to this plan. After Jeremy Corbyn held a 20-minute call with the prime minister, a spokesperson said: Jeremy made clear Labour will not agree a blindfold Brexit to force through Theresa Mays damaging deal, which would leave the next Tory party leader free to rip up essential rights and protections and undermine jobs and living standards.
With the deal looking all but dead without the support of the DUP, there are fears among some ministers and MPs that May could try to cling on and put her deal to the country in a general election if it does not win support. They worry that a futile version of the withdrawal deal is being put to MPs in order for the Conservatives to say at an election that Labour refused to pass even the most basic part of the agreement to leave the EU.
MPs believe some of Mays advisers are pushing the option of an election, but cabinet sources have told the Guardian this option would not be acceptable and that the prime ministers position was the same whether or not she gets her deal through.
One cabinet minister told the Guardian: Now the prime minister has said she is going, there is no point in hanging around indefinitely having said that. The minister also poured cold water on claims that there will be a general election, pointing to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.
That is pre-2010 speak. It is not in the PMs gift to decide that there is a general election. It is in parliaments gift. I doubt there is a majority in parliament for holding a general election.
Another cabinet source said: Now she has said she is going, she will have to go whether she gets the deal through next week or not, and will have to set a timetable. No one can say this publicly because she still commands some sympathy. But there is no point waiting when power is draining away.
A source in one of the leadership campaigns to replace May also said: She has got to go regardless. She has fired the starting gun and there is no going back. She cannot carry on and have an election. All her credibility is gone.
The deadlock in parliament has led many to believe that a general election is increasingly likely but there would be pressure from many MPs to make sure a new leader is in place before any contest is called.
MPs have been called in on Friday, which was meant to be a non-sitting day, in order to vote on the Withdrawal Act. But even No 10 does not appear confident of it passing, given that talks with the DUP appeared to have been shelved on Thursday.
It also acknowledges that the UK cannot legally leave the EU without getting approval from MPs for both the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration.
Making the case for the vote, Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, said: When the house listens to the rationale behind it, when it hears the full context of it, Im sure the house will accept it is not only perfectly lawful, perfectly sensible and is designed to give this house an opportunity of availing itself of a right the European Union has given to us to avail ourselves of an extension until 22 May.
The view of the government is simply we could not let the time limit expire at 11pm tomorrow, of allowing this house the opportunity of availing itself of that right. It is perfectly reasonable and it is perfectly lawful.
Mays de facto deputy, David Lidington, also urged MPs to back the withdrawal agreement irrespective of their opinions about the latter.
If you believe in delivering the referendum result by leaving the EU with a deal then it is necessary to back the withdrawal agreement, he told the British Chambers of Commerce conference in London.
Whether a particular MP wants the final destination to look like Norway or look like Canada or look like the proposals in the Chequers white paper, the starting point is the withdrawal agreement itself.
But Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, warned his partys own MPs not to fall for the governments pleas to back the withdrawal agreement only, saying the likely Tory leadership contest meant it could be a Boris Johnson Brexit, a Jacob Rees-Mogg Brexit, or a Michael Gove Brexit.
He added: If the prime minister tries to separate the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration altogether, that only makes matters worse. We would be leaving the EU, but with absolutely no idea where we are heading. That cannot be acceptable and Labour will not vote for it.
Cadburys Easter promotion has been criticised for encouraging children to eat hundreds of chocolates and then theres the row over their attempt to get kids active
Name: The Creme Egg hunt.
Age: The season starts in January and runs until Easter.
Appearance: Exciting, festive, sweet.
What does this hunt entail? You go to the shops, you buy a load of Cadbury Creme Eggs and you open and eat them all.
It seems to be missing an element you normally associate with hunting the thrill of the chase, maybe. Technically, youre searching for an elusive white chocolate Creme Egg.
Why? Because they are redeemable for prizes of up to 10,000.
In that case: tally ho! Before we set off, you should be aware of the danger.
What possible danger could come from eating a few hundred Creme Eggs between now and Easter? Childhood obesity.
Let the children worry about childhood obesity. The National Obesity Forum disagrees and has attacked Cadbury for its promotion. We should be trying to wean children off sugar, said the NOF chairman, Tam Fry, not enticing them to wolf down huge quantities of chocolate.
Nonsense. Would you blame Willy Wonka for the state of Augustus Gloop? If either of them were real, I think you probably would, yes.
What does Cadbury say? Its US parent company, Mondelz International, insists the promotion is targeted at adults.
Thats somehow even more depressing. Indeed. Mondelz/Cadbury has been found to have twice breached rules protecting children from junk food marketing in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, kids have been posting videos on YouTube of themselves opening piles of Creme Eggs.
How much sugar could possibly be in one Creme Egg, though? Just over six teaspoons; the maximum recommended daily intake for children is between seven and 10.
OK, but how many Creme Eggs could a kid possibly buy with, say, a weekly 6 allowance? Thirty.
Really? Tesco has just ended an offer selling two boxes for 2, or 20p an egg.
I feel a bit sick. When is Easter, anyway? This year it falls on 21 April.
You mean weve got another month of this? Why cant Cadburyencourage children to be more active? It already tried that.
When? When it launched a real treasure hunt, telling children to grab your metal detector and go hunting for Roman riches on a number of suggested sites in the UK and Ireland.
Whats wrong with that? There are strict regulations in place to protect archaeological finds, so it could be against the law.
Not to be outdone, Terry Neill also kept himself busy at club and international level. Between 1971 and 1973 Terry Neill was player-manager for both Hull City and Northern Ireland, writes Phil Kayes. He even famously scored the winner for Northern Ireland v England at Wembley during his spells in charge of both club and country.
Whats the record for most individual goals in the first half of a domestic league game? asks Dhiren. Im trying to find out after James Forrest scored four in the first half of Celtic v St Johnstone.
Phil Lacy was quick off the mark to mention Robert Bunny Bell. He bashed home five in the first half on that magical Boxing Day in 1935, when Tranmere put 13 past Oldham, cheers Phil. Bell went on to score nine that day. The Guardians very own Simon Burnton wrote about it. This is one better than many other pretenders to the title, including Panagiotis Pontikos who only scored four of his 16-goal haul in the first half on 8 May 2008 against SEK Ayios Athanasios FC.
In fact, its a lot easier to score piles of goals in the second half. The legendary Laszlo Kubala scored five of his record seven for Bara against Gijon on 10 February 1952 after the break. Even Joe Payne could only manage three of his 10 in the first half for Luton v Bristol Rovers on 13 April 1936. Wouter van Dael points us in the direction of Johan Voskamp, who equalled Bells feat when he walloped five past Almere City in the first 42 minutes of a 12-1 win in the Dutch second tier in 2010. He took his tally to eight in the second half, a Dutch domestic-league record.
And Russell Connor ticks a regular box: While it doesnt fit the domestic league portion of the question, Archie Thompson scored eight in the first half and five more in the second when Australia beat American Samoa 31-0 in 2001.
We may have found a domestic-league winner, though. Bellingham United striker, Tyler Bjork, scored six goals in the first half of an 8-2 win over Yakima United in 2014. The match took place in the Evergreen Premier League, the fifth tier in the United States football pyramid. His sixth goal was quite the strike, a flying bicycle-kick to lash home a 30-yard cross. Wow! Tyler Bjork had a match that I dont think I have ever witnessed at a level beyond recreational kids soccer, whooped Bellingham boss Lance Calloway.
Vegetables hurled at footballers and managers (another hot take)
Last week we were bemused as to why chillis were thrown on the pitch in FC Twentes match against Willem II last March. Steffen van Bakel and Ben Dudley have been in touch with the answer. With the club only a few weeks away from relegation, supporters in Vak P threw them at their players, and held up a flag which said:
Stick these peppers up your ass and save us from relegation
They did get relegated.
On the first day of the 2007-08 season, both current England and Scotland goalkeepers opposed each other for Sunderland and Spurs, noted Adam Burrage in August 2007. When was the last time this took place in a competitive club match?
The answer is April 8 2001, Adam. It was the FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford and again Tottenham found themselves on the wrong end of the result, with Neil Sullivan conceding two goals to the one that sneaked past David Seaman. In terms of the last league meeting, the pair featured in a north London derby at Highbury just nine days earlier, which Spurs once again contrived to lose, this time 2-0.
Can you help?
In 1993-94, I remember my dad and brother going to the Dell to watch Southampton v Oldham, begins Ricardo Sentulio. I looked it up and can see it took place on 30March 1994, and that Oldham won 3-1. What I remember the game for is that my dad told me that when Oldham scored, their fans stood in complete silence for a few minutes, then started celebrating later once the match restarted. I also remember seeing this on the highlights afterwards. Can anyone explain why Oldham fans did this? And are there any other examples of fans refusing to celebrate when their own team scores? Pierre van Hooijdonk for Nottingham Forest springs to mind.
This weeks Knowledge made reference to Willem II, a team from Tilburg named after a dead king. This reminded me of my local team, Enfield Town, who play at the Queen Elizabeth stadium, and it got me wondering whether other teams have royal connections in their names or their stadium names. I should say excepting all the Spanish teams whose names start with Real, obviously Tom Paternoster-Howe.
Englands behind-closed-doors game against Croatia last Friday was their 988th senior match. Have any countries played more? asks Tom Hiskey.
German chancellors comment comes as European council president Donald Tusk says no deal is more likely than ever before
Angela Merkel has spoken of growing difficulties in striking a Brexit deal as the European council president, Donald Tusk, warned that a no-deal scenario was more likely than ever before, following the latest derailment of talks over the Irish border.
We were actually pretty hopeful that we would manage to seal an exit agreement but at the moment, it looks a bit more difficult again, the German chancellor told the German Foreign Trade Federation after the latest talks, which have largely been held in secret.
A breakthrough was still possible, Merkel added, but it would need quite a bit of finesse and if we arent successful this week, well just have to keep negotiating.
Tusk, in his invitation letter to a leaders summit, starting on Wednesday evening with a dinner to which Theresa May will present her thoughts on the Brexit talks, said the recent negotiations had proven to be more complicated than some may have expected.
He said: We should nevertheless remain hopeful and determined, as there is good will to continue these talks on both sides. But at the same time, responsible as we are, we must prepare the EU for a no-deal scenario, which is more likely than ever before. Like the UK, the commission has started such preparations, and will give us an update during the meeting.
But let me be absolutely clear. The fact that we are preparing for a no-deal scenario must not, under any circumstances, lead us away from making every effort to reach the best agreement possible, for all sides.
This is what our state of mind should be at this stage. As someone rightly said: It always seems impossible until its done. Let us not give up.
On Sunday, the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, made an unscheduled visit to Brussels to inform the EUs chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, that the UK government was not willing to sign up to a backstop solution for avoiding a hard border on the island.
The prime minister told the House of Commons in a statement on Monday that the EU was insisting that its backstop, in which Northern Ireland could in effect stay in the single market and the customs union as the rest of the UK withdrew, remain in the withdrawal agreement. Theresa May said that this would be neither legal under British law, nor feasible for any prime minister to accept.
Despite the tough comments, EU officials insisted that the negotiations had been merely been put on pause rather than having suffered a breakdown.
There remains a large degree of agreement between negotiators on both sides, and texts are being worked upon, with diplomats in Brussels believing there will be a moment where the prime minister will be able to risk cabinet resignations and the wrath of Northern Irelands Democratic Unionist party to strike a deal.
The cautiously optimistic tone of officials was further echoed by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who had demanded maximum progress by this weeks leaders summit to allow an extraordinary Brexit summit to be called in mid-November.
I believe in our collective intelligence, so I think we can make progress, Macron said.
A senior EU diplomat said the leaders would decide on Wednesday evening whether a November summit was feasible given the lack of obvious progress. May in the House of Commons didnt sound too pessimistic and I think were close but we still need some time, the diplomat said. We are close probably on the withdrawal agreement, but on the future relationship there are still some things open, so we probably need more time to do that.
Whether a summit happens in November depends on the dynamics of Wednesday evening and there are some heads of state that are rather reluctant while others are more forthcoming so we need to see that.
May will not be joining the 27 EU leaders for their dinner after she has made her comments. I am sure she will be given something [to eat], a diplomat said. We are mean but not that mean.
Officials did not, however, offer May any hope that it would dispense with its belief that the withdrawal agreement would need to maintain a version of the backstop that keeps Northern Ireland in the customs union and single market, should other plans, including an EU-UK customs union, fail to materialise.
I dont see anything acceptable that leaves us with a cliff-edge at a certain point in time, a diplomat said. We are working on the assumption that we want to avoid it and we have the political will. We are still positive we can achieve it, so theres no reason to despair.
Irelands foreign minister, Simon Coveney, said the failure to reach a deal on Sunday was frustrating and disappointing from an Irish perspective, adding that an agreement was clearly going to take a bit more time than many people hoped.
At a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, he called on the British government to follow through on commitments made in December and March. The British government promised in December to maintain full alignment with the EU single market and customs union to protect the Good Friday agreement, in the absence of a trade deal. Then, in March, the prime minister reiterated that she supported an operational legal text for the backstop.
Brexit talks hinge on how those promises are interpreted. The British government is seeking to avoid an open-ended Irish backstop, but the EU says a time limit makes the guarantee worthless. Nobody was suggesting in March that the backstop would be time limited, Coveney said.
Arriving at the meeting in Luxembourg, the British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, put a brave face on the setback.
It was always going to be a moment like this, he said adding that a huge amount of progress had been made. There are one or two very difficult outstanding issues, but I think we can get there. Whether we do it this week who knows, but I know everyone is trying incredibly hard.