Tag: talks

Liverpool City Region to go into lockdown after talks with government

(Reuters) – Liverpool City Region will go into the strictest “third tier” of new anti-coronavirus restrictions to be announced imminently by Britain, its leaders said late on Sunday after talks with the British government.

The government has decided that further measures and closures will apply to Liverpool City Region, its leaders, including Mayor Steve Rotheram, said in a joint statement.

“Pubs and bars; betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centres and gyms will close,” the statement added.

The leaders said the furlough scheme announced recently by Finance Minister Rishi Sunak was inadequate.

“Businesses in the region especially those in the hospitality sector and those serving it will be damaged and many will suffer long term damage or close for good”, they said.

The statement added that the leaders have agreed with the government to remain in dialogue to establish a “mutually agreeable” financial support package to mitigate the impact of new “Tier 3” restrictions.

“We also require clear definition of the exit strategy from Tier 3”, the statement said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out new measures to try to contain a growing coronavirus crisis on Monday, outlining three new alert levels to better coordinate the government’s under-fire response.

Northern England has been particularly hard hit by a new surge in coronavirus cases that has forced local lockdowns.

In their statement, Liverpool City Region leaders acknowledged the government’s offer on new local arrangements and funding support for a coronavirus test-and-trace system.

The Sunday Times newspaper had reported earlier that mayors in the UK will be given more control over the test-and-trace system as the national government attempts to secure their backing for tough new lockdown rules.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Michael Perry)

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Liverpool leaders say city to go into lockdown after talks with government

FILE PHOTO: People stand in a queue to get tested for COVID-19 at a walk-through centre amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Liverpool Britain, October 6, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) – The city of Liverpool will go into the strictest “third tier” of new anti-coronavirus restrictions to be announced imminently by Britain, its leaders said late on Sunday after talks with the British government.

The government has decided that further measures and closures will apply to Liverpool, the city’s leaders, including Mayor Steve Rotheram, said in a joint statement.

“Pubs and bars; betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centres and gyms will close,” the statement added bit.ly/3iRyMrG.

Liverpool’s leaders said the furlough scheme announced recently by Finance Minister Rishi Sunak was inadequate.

“Businesses in the region especially those in the hospitality sector and those serving it will be damaged and many will suffer long term damage or close for good”, they said.

The statement added that the city’s leaders have agreed with the government to remain in dialogue to establish a “mutually agreeable” financial support package to mitigate the impact of new “Tier 3” restrictions.

“We also require clear definition of the exit strategy from Tier 3”, the statement said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out new measures to try to contain a growing coronavirus crisis on Monday, outlining three new alert levels to better coordinate the government’s under-fire response.

Northern England has been particularly hard hit by a new surge in coronavirus cases that has forced local lockdowns.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Michael Perry

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Sweden’s PM Given Breathing Space to Salvage Labor Law Talks

(Bloomberg) — On Sunday night Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was granted a last minute reprieve to avoid a political crisis that threatens to engulf him.

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Lofven and his government face a vote of no confidence from the Left Party unless controversial changes to the country’s labor laws are scrapped. Opposition parties the Christian Democrats, the Sweden Democrats and the Moderates have also said they would back the vote.

But the Left Party’s Jonas Sjostedt, speaking on a party leaders’ debate on state broadcaster SVT, said that he’s prepared to give the Social Democrat-led government “a little bit more time.”

“It could be worth doing this for a couple of weeks,” Sjostedt said. “I’m prepared to talk, because this can be solved.”

That now gives Lofven some space to rescue last month’s failed set of labor talks. However, the prime minister’s task remains a daunting one with his budget allies — the Liberals and Centre Party — insisting the labor law changes be enacted under the terms of a 2018 deal that propelled the Social Democrats back into power.

“The current proposal isn’t balanced,” Lofven said during the leaders’ debate. “The inquiry is out for consultations. I want to wait and see what they say.”

Read More: Swedish PM Closer to No-Confidence Vote as Opposition Mounts

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Talks to update Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law show life

MARC LEVY, Associated Press
Published 9:56 a.m. MT Oct. 8, 2020

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Many states are planning on drastically different elections this year and mail-in ballots could be a big game changer.

USA TODAY

HARRISBURG — Closed-door talks on updating Pennsylvania’s fledgling mail-in voting law showed signs of life Wednesday amid warnings that doing nothing will risk a dragged-out vote count in the high-stakes presidential election in the battleground state.

House Republicans held an internal conference call to discuss the idea of giving counties four or five days to process mail-in ballots before Election Day and to set down security requirements for the drop boxes that some counties are using to help collect mail-in ballots.

More: Purple haze Pa.: Why the Keystone State is always a presidential battleground

Leaders of the House and Senate Republican majorities declined interviews. Through a spokesperson, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said the House Republican priority continues to be legislation that passed a month ago, nearly along party lines, and was met with a veto threat by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.

Wednesday’s House Republican discussion did not involve elements of that month-old legislation opposed by many Democratic lawmakers and Wolf, such as lifting the county residency restriction on party or campaign representatives who observe inside polling places.

Lawmakers in Harrisburg say it’s too early to discuss the budget. (Photo: KALIM BHATTI / The Philadelphia Inquirer)

More: Monmouth poll: Biden lead over Trump balloons in Pennsylvania over last month

Another sticking point of that legislation is a provision outlawing the drop boxes and satellite election offices that are being used by many of the most heavily populated counties to help collect mail-in ballots, Democrats said.

Meanwhile, the top priority of counties is to get the ability to process mail-in ballots before Election Day — called pre-canvassing — as they face the prospect of digging into 3 million envelopes or more when polls open on Nov. 3.

Processing ballots before Election Day would speed up the vote count and give it more public credibility, county officials say, warning that a presidential election result otherwise could hang in limbo for days on a drawn-out vote count in Pennsylvania. 

“We are in the position where the best thing we could do right now is to allow for four or five days of pre-canvassing, and some security stuff that can be put in there,” said Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming. “But we just need to get it done.”

The talks are happening in the shadow of President Donald Trump’s claims at a recent rally near Harrisburg that the only way he can lose Pennsylvania to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is if Democrats cheat, a claim he also made in 2016’s election.

In last week’s debate with Biden, Trump suggested that widespread election fraud is afoot in Philadelphia as he urged his supporters to serve as poll watchers and said he would not go along with an election result if he sees “tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated.”

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Pound falls on reports UK could quit Brexit talks next week

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson as fears grow Brexit talks could collapse. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson as fears grow Brexit talks could collapse. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

The pound slid on Wednesday, after a report that the UK government could pull out of Brexit talks as soon as next week if not enough progress has been made towards a deal.

Sterling had lost 0.8% against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) by mid-afternoon in the UK, trading just below $1.29. It shed 0.7% against the euro (GBPEUR=X), with the pound selling for $1.09.

The flight from sterling reflects investors fears’ Britain could face severe economic upheaval if no deal is reached. It would likely spark disruption and sudden new barriers to long-standing trade and other ties with most of Europe when the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year.

Talks between negotiators are ongoing in London this week. The pound’s decline came after a source told Bloomberg the UK government was serious about threatening to walk out of talks over a trade deal next week.

READ MORE: Stocks mixed as US stimulus hopes endure despite Trump ditching talks

Last month UK prime minister Boris Johnson set a deadline of 15 October for reaching an agreement, in order for it to be signed off and put into place by the start of next year.

Meanwhile Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost told MPs on Wednesday that barriers had not yet been overcome on one of the key stumbling blocks of state aid policy, according to Reuters.

WATCH: Boris Johnson says he can live with a no-deal Brexit

“I feel we’re some way from a deal at the moment, if I’m honest, but we are at least having a decent discussion of this, you know, what is possible and what isn’t possible,” he said.

Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney also said on Wednesday that a “landing zone was hard to envisage” at present on another thorny issue, fishing rights.

“This is a big obstacle and I don’t think the British government should underestimate the strength of feeling on fishing of many of the Atlantic member states,” he said.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said fishermen’s demands on either side of the Channel “risk skewering a Brexit deal,” hitting sterling on Wednesday.

“Throughout the Brexit process, flotillas of British boats have made regular protest appearances, demanding priority catches for the fish in UK waters. But the EU’s determination not to throw the Common Fisheries Policy completely overboard, and instead netting continued access for its boats, is casting serious doubts that a trade deal will be reached,” she said.

“The EU stance appears to be hardening, leading to speculation that negotiations will now be forced to extend into November.”

Any concessions by either side are likely to “cause a stink for domestic politics,” but negotiators will be “highly conscious” of the economic damage from failure to secure a deal, she added.

READ MORE: UK and EU agree to ‘intensify talks’

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Swedish government faces battle to stay in power as labour talks fail

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s minority government faces a potential rebellion by three small parties that keep it in power over plans to ease rules in the country’s rigid labour market.

Talks between trade unions and employer organisations broke down early on Thursday, handing the job of finding a solution to the Social Democrat-Green government. The government needs the backing of the Left Party as well as two small centre-right parties to pass its budgets.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had promised the two centre-right parties that if the unions and employers fail to agree new practices, the government would adopt proposals made by a commission to ease first-in-last-out rules, which critics say hamper companies’ ability to adapt to changing conditions.

Left Party leader Jonas Sjostedt said he would try to bring down the coalition if that plan goes ahead.

“Stefan Lofven cannot remain as prime minister if he plans to put forward the proposals… which would tear up employment security for all wage-earners in Sweden,” Left Party leader Jonas Sjostedt wrote on Twitter.

The Left Party would need the backing of the opposition Moderates, Sweden Democrats and Christian Democrats to pass a vote of no-confidence in the government – support it would be likely, though not certain, to get.

However, a vote of no-confidence could usher in a right of centre administration, something the Left Party does not want.

The government urged the unions and employers to resume talks, but Employment Minister Eva Nordmark said it would stick to its “January Agreement” with the centre-right parties and press ahead with the proposed changes if they did not.

Nordmark gave no timeframe for introducing the new rules.

Sweden’s complex political situation stems from an election in 2018, when neither the centre-left nor centre-right blocs gained enough seats in parliament to form a majority government.

To secure a second term as prime minister, Social Democrat Lofven had to cut a deal with the Centre Party and the Liberals that included a raft of business-friendly reforms, including looser labour market rules.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Philippa Fletcher and Gareth Jones)

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