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Posted by Matthew Weaver

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

Juncker also said he was no clearer about the kind of Brexit the UK wanted.

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker didn’t seem that impressed with May’s offer on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

Arriving for the second day of the summit he said it was a “first step, but not sufficient.”

.@JunckerEU #EUCO doorstep "PM May's offer on #citizens' rights is a first step, but not sufficient." pic.twitter.com/dXftTNCfRD

This doesn’t end uncertainty facing EU citizens who have made their home here. Shameful @theresa_may still using them as bargaining chips https://t.co/FU9XDidKkb

Too little. Too late. https://t.co/P7Xq5kaSqV

#bbcnews #TheresaMay offer on #rights of EU citizens already living in #Britain is not so generous: pic.twitter.com/SglWg3rl3t

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Posted by Graeme Wearden

All the day’s economic and financial news, including new GDP figures from France, and a healthcheck on eurozone companies

Here’s Julien Lafargue, european equities strategist at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank, on today’s eurozone PMI report:

The macroeconomic momentum appears to have eased somewhat in June, in particular in the Services sector. In light of the sharp improvement we have witnessed in the past 9 months, this pause is not really a surprise and, in our opinion, should not be interpreted as an indication that the economy is about to roll over.

Activity in the Eurozone remains at very healthy levels and consumer confidence is at its highest level in 16 years. In addition, despite the recent drop in commodity prices, inflation dynamics remain supported by a large backlog and supplier delivery delays worsening to the greatest extent for just over six years.

The eurozone’s private sector has recorded its strongest quarterly growth since the debt crisis began, although growth has slowed a little this month.

That’s the upshot from Markit’s monthly healthcheck on factories and service sector firms across the euro area.

Although the rate of growth waned to a five-month low, high order book inflows and elevated levels of business confidence meant job creation remained one of the strongest recorded over the past decade as firms continued to expand capacity to meet rising demand.

Price pressures eased, however, largely reflecting lower global commodity prices.

Flash #Eurozone PMI at 5-month low of 55.7 (56.8 in May) but Q2 ave best for 6 years => signals +0.7% GDP https://t.co/VNCaJFgY2e pic.twitter.com/0mIvpPuYm5

The upturn is also broad-based, with the surveys signalling an acceleration of GDP growth in both France and Germany in the second quarter, as well as across the rest of the region as a whole, albeit with some loss of momentum seen across the board in June.

“Job creation continued to run at one of the highest rates seen over the past decade as firms expanded capacity to meet demand. Factory jobs growth remained particularly buoyant, thanks in part to production requirements surging higher on the back of rising exports.

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Posted by Press Association

‘When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?’ star asks crowd at a drive-in cinema at the festival

Johnny Depp joked about assassinating Donald Trump during an appearance at Glastonbury.

The actor received a rock star welcome during the event at Cineramageddon – a drive-in cinema on the Somerset site.

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Posted by Simon Burnton

Today’s fluff can see the sky is blue

Sadly, only one British national newspaper has led this morning with a transfer-gossip story, and even that is more of a repackaging of existing rumour than actual freshly-picked organic gossip. Still, here at the Mill we take what we’re given, which is the Sun’s assertion that Chelsea are “closing in on a £100m double swoop for Juventus stars Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro”, with Antonio Conte “ready to pounce” on £45m-rated Bonucci as well as the Brazilian left-back. Although we read elsewhere that Real Madrid, as they so often do, might come blundering into this happy picture and mess everything up.

Liverpool are still secretly working on a deal to sign Virgil van Dijk, but Sky Italy now insist that Chelsea have submitted a formal offer to Southampton and are very much in the driving seat, though it seems unlikely that even someone as deep-pocketed as Roman Abramovich wants to spend £105m of his soft-earned fortune on two new centre-halves when he already has three perfectly good, title-winning ones (indeed, the Guardian believes Chelsea’s interest is in landing either Bonucci or Van Dijk, but not both). One of Chelsea’s other targets is Monaco’s Tiemoué Bakayoko, for whom they have now agreed a fee of £35.2m, according to the Mail, while they’re going to sell Bertrand Traoré to Lyon for £16m.

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Posted by Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

The list also demands the nation cut back ties to Iran and sever all links to extremist and terror groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, Isis and Al-Qaida

The closure of the Qatar-funded broadcaster al-Jazeera is among one of 13 separate wide-ranging demands tabled by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States as the price for lifting its fortnight-old trade and diplomatic embargo of Qatar.

The list, obtained by Associated Press, is the first time Saudi Arabia has been prepared to put in writing the often ill-defined demands it is making of Qatar.

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Posted by Jonathan Wilson

Jürgen Klopp’s new £36.9m signing struggled to get a game at Chelsea but there were mitigating circumstances – he has thrived wherever he has played regularly

All across Europe are scattered forwards who did not quite make it at Chelsea, some more bafflingly than others. There is Marko Marin, signed by Olympiakos last season after four years on Chelsea’s books with only two league starts. There is Patrick Bamford, signed by Middlesbrough in January after five years at Chelsea in which he did not start a single league game. There is Juan Cuadrado, freshly signed by Juventus after three years at Chelsea where he started just three games. It would not be a complete surprise if Chelsea turned out a box room at Stamford Bridge and turned up a Florent Malouda or a John Spencer, players they had bought a while ago and forgotten about.

Related: Liverpool complete record £36.9m signing of Mohamed Salah from Roma

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Posted by Jack Bernhardt

One year on from the EU referendum, step into an alternate reality where remainers triumphed and Boris Johnson lost an election to a rubbish bin

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Can you believe it was just one year ago today that we all unanimously took the monumentally brave decision to put our hand inside a toaster and set that bad boy to hard Brexit? The world certainly has changed in the last 365 days – we’ve got a new prime minister, a new US president and a new sense of horrific, unending despair. Also, a new Harry Potter play. Neat!

It’s almost hard to think about how different the world would have been if the result had gone the other way. Just imagine: how much chaos could have been averted, if a small proportion of the country had switched their vote to remain? Dear reader, there is no need to imagine. Using extremely accurate predictability models, the kind that the polls used to predict the EU referendum, the US election and the 2017 general election completely successfully, I have created that alternate reality. Welcome to the World That Brexit Forgot.

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Posted by Press Association

• ‘Blowers’ to end 45 years on TMS after West Indies Test
• ‘All good things come to an end,’ says the 77-year-old

Henry Blofeld will retire from his role as commentator on the BBC Radio 4’s Test Match Special programme in September. The 77-year-old, affectionately known as ’Blowers’, has worked on TMS since 1972, and his final match will be the Test between England and the West Indies at Lord’s which starts on 7 September.

“All good things come to an end,” he said in a statement. “After nearly 50 years in the Test Match Special commentary box, I have decided the time has come for the last of the old farts to hang up his microphone.

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Posted by John Harris

You’ve packed the wellies and the wet wipes – but which titles should accompany them in your rucksack?

Let’s not tempt fate, but at the time of writing, this year’s Glastonbury looks set to be a relatively sun-soaked experience, very different from the mixture of Brexit misery and mud that characterised last year’s festival. With any luck, these words will be read by people spending long, languid hours sitting on the grass, staring into blue skies – and, from time to time, reaching for a book.

But what to read? Start, maybe, with one of the best music-based texts of the last two years: Playing The Bass With Three Left Hands by Will Carruthers (Faber). A beautifully written memoir of the time when the author was a member of the neo-psychedelic bands Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, it portrays musty-smelling bohemia in the thrillingly unlikely environs of Rugby, the privations of being a musician while constantly skint, and summer weekends playing fifth on the bill at British festivals. The title comes from Carruthers’s recollection of taking LSD before a performance in Leeds, where he hallucinated that he had grown two extra limbs. “This made perfect sense to me at the time,” he writes, “Three hands are better than none, right?” Then comes the kicker: “I got paid 15 quid for that show.”

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Posted by Press Association

Which? investigation reveals hackers could access home networks and devices using a Super Hub 2 router

Virgin Media is advising more than 800,000 customers with a specific router to change their password immediately after an investigation found hackers could gain access to it.

Virgin Media said the risk to customers with a Super Hub 2 router was small, but advised them to change both their network and router passwords if they were still set as the default shown on the attached sticker.

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Test Match Special commentator Henry Blofeld announces he will retire in September after 45 years with the programme.
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Celtic will begin their Scottish Premiership title defence against Hearts while Rangers face Motherwell and Hibernian welcome Partick Thistle.
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As we prepare for International Handstand Day on Saturday, Great Britain gymnast Nile Wilson shows you five steps to the perfect handstand.
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Posted by Graeme Wearden

All the day’s economic and financial news, including new GDP figures from France, and a healthcheck on eurozone companies

Germany ‘flash PMI’ is just out, and it shows that private sector growth in the eurozone’s largest economy is slowing a little.

The German composite PMI has dropped to a four-month low of 56.1 this month.

“The latest data signalled a growing performance gap between manufacturing and services, however.

The goods-producing sector continued to outperform, with the headline PMI little-changed from May’s 73-month record. Although growth of manufacturing output, exports and jobs all eased slightly since May, expansions in backlogs and total new orders gathered pace and supply bottlenecks intensified.

Another boost for France! French companies are creating jobs at the fastest rate since the financial crisis.

That’s according to data firm Markit, whose ‘flash’ purchasing managers report for June, just released, shows that private sector employment has jumped at the fastest rate in almost 10 years.

Buoyed by strong client demand, private sector firms in France raised their staffing numbers for an eighth successive month in June. Furthermore, the rate of job creation was the most marked in just under ten years.

The increase was broad-based across both the manufacturing and service sectors.

“A particularly upbeat talking point highlighted in the latest data was the sharpest rise in employment for almost ten years.

This is welcome news for the newly elected government which has made reducing unemployment one of the main aims of its administration. The slowdown in the rate of accumulation in unfinished work poses a slight concern however, and may slow employment growth in the short-term.

French composite #PMI down, but employment up, manufacturing as well. Positive all in all pic.twitter.com/d6uJMYvis5

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Posted by Angela Monaghan

Watchdog says £4.5bn industry sometimes treats customers unfairly and it is taking action against a number of operators

The online gambling industry is facing a clampdown after the UK competition watchdog accused companies of unfairly treating customers and potentially breaking consumer law.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said people were not getting the deal they expected from sign-up promotions and operators were unfairly holding on to customers’ money.

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Posted by Press Association

• ‘Blowers’ to finish after England v West Indies in September
• ‘All good things come to an end,’ says the 77-year-old

Henry Blofeld will retire from his role as commentator on the BBC Radio 4’s Test Match Special programme in September. The 77-year-old, affectionately known as ’Blowers’, has worked on TMS since 1972, and his final match will be the Test between England and the West Indies at Lord’s which starts on 7 September.

“All good things come to an end,” he said in a statement. “After nearly 50 years in the Test Match Special commentary box, I have decided the time has come for the last of the old farts to hang up his microphone.

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Posted by Jamie Grierson

West Midlands chief constable says he does not want blank cheque but, after cuts and terrorism, force is showing ‘red lights’

Police would face “real challenges” tackling a repeat of the 2011 riots following years of budget cuts, one of Britain’s most senior officers has warned.

A series of major incidents to hit the country in recent weeks had laid bare the strains faced by forces under financial pressure, Dave Thompson, chief constable of West Midlands police said.

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Posted by Sarah Miller

The Disasters Emergency Committee coordinates donations and volunteers for relief efforts abroad – why do we have nothing similar in the UK?

The last few months have brought some truly tragic events – the terror attacks in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park, and the fire at Grenfell Tower. All have been followed, however, by an immense and uplifting outpouring of generosity in response, from all corners of the community.

Local faith groups and community centres have been overwhelmed in Kensington, for example, by the scale of donations of food, clothing and essentials, alongside offers of volunteers and beds for the night.

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Posted by John Bolch

Jane Robey
New headaches for justice Ministers follow flopped 2014 family legislation

Three years after it became compulsory for separating couples to consider mediating agreements before taking their cases to court, it has emerged that only four out of ten are complying with the landmark legislation.

Introduced in April 2014, the law made it compulsory for separating couples to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can apply for a court order to settle disputes over parenting, finance and property.

But figures obtained by National Family Mediation (NFM) show that in 2016 over 60 per cent of couples ignored the law. Of nearly 90,000 applications for private law proceedings to a family court, only 35,627 had followed the MIAM process.

NFM Chief Executive, Jane Robey, says: “By making the consideration of mediated settlements compulsory, the government’s aim was help tens of thousands of couples who separate each year save money, time and stress in making post-divorce arrangements.

“Only four out of ten couples are even attending the initial mediation awareness meeting, let alone following that route through to its conclusion.

“Ministers need to get to grips with what’s going on and explain these figures. Until they do so, the 2014 legislation, though well-intentioned, will be seen as a failure.

Box-ticking exercise

“Are solicitors finding their way around the law, encouraging their clients to exempt themselves from mediation, so that they can carry on with the case and carry on charging their clients? We are certainly seeing an increasing number of clients who have been told by their solicitor “go and see a mediator, get your form signed, and then we can go to court”. Those solicitors are treating the new law like a box-ticking exercise.

“The role of family courts is pivotal, and we need to know how rigorously they are monitoring applications and checking compliance. There is absolutely no evidence that courts are using their powers to direct people to attend a meeting with a mediator and instead the courts allow the system to remain clogged up when there are effective alternatives available.

“The government surely needs to be more instrumental in ensuring that the law is properly enforced so that much more mediation is delivered and many more families avoid high cost damaging litigation, achieving better outcomes for the whole family.

“At the very least Ministers need to provide more support to inform, educate and publicise the fact that MIAMs are compulsory so they ensure that the law is properly enforced and that much more mediation is delivered.”

The ‘traditional’ route for divorce sees a solicitor’s office and the court room as the first stop for separating couples looking to make arrangements over property, finance and children. Mediation enables and empowers families to take control over their own destiny, rather than handing it over to a family court judge. National Family Mediation’s expert professionals help separating couples agree settlements on property, finance and parenting issues without the need for a courtroom drama. They achieve full agreement in over 80 per cent of cases.

June 2017

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