SALZBURG, Austria (Reuters) - European Union leaders will push for a Brexit deal next month but warned Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday that if she will not give ground on trade and the Irish border by November they are ready to cope with Britain crashing out. “Don’t worry, be happy,” joked EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker after telling reporters after a summit in Austria that the Europeans had full plans in place in the event there was no deal before Britain leaves next March. May promised new proposals to reassure Dublin that it would not get a “hard border” with the British province of Northern Ireland but warned she too could live with a no-deal outcome — though many round the summit table in picturesque Salzburg see that as more of a negotiating tactic than a credible threat. She said her “Chequers” proposals for trade with the EU, intended also to resolve arguments over the borders of Northern Ireland, were the only way forward. EU leaders repeated their view the p..
LONDON (Reuters) - British inflation jumped unexpectedly to a six-month high in August, pushed up by bigger-than-usual seasonal increases in sea and air fares and briefly sending sterling above $1.32 for the first time since July. Consumer price inflation rose to an annual rate of 2.7 percent in August from 2.5 percent in July, the Office for National Statistics said - above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists that had pointed to a fall to 2.4 percent. The ONS also said British house prices rose at the weakest annual rate in nearly five years, dragged down by the biggest drop in London house prices since 2009 - the latest sign of a slack housing market since the 2016 Brexit vote. Wednesday’s data jolted investors. British government bond prices fell and sterling rose sharply, but it dropped later on a report Prime Minister Theresa May will reject a new European Union plan to solve the Irish border problem around Brexit. The inflation figures are also likely to surprise Ba..
PARIS (Reuters) - A French court on Wednesday threw out an appeal by celebrity magazine Closer against a 2017 ruling that it invaded the privacy of Prince William’s wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, when it published topless photos of her in 2012. Laurence Pieau, an editor of Closer’s French edition, and Ernesto Mauri, the chief executive of Italian publisher Mondadori (MOED.MI), the magazine’s owner, were each handed maximum fines of 45,000 euros ($52,582) in September last year. Closer magazine, a weekly round-up of gossip about the rich and famous, was also ordered to pay 100,000 euros in damages to William, second-in-line to the British throne, and his wife. Lawyers for the two men argued the fines were excessive for a privacy case, French media reported. The Versailles appeals court found that the fines imposed by the initial ruling were “fair and proportionate”, court documents showed. Closer published a series of topless photos of Kate taken as she relaxed on the balcony..
(Reuters) - Britain’s government will invest 2 billion pounds to address an affordable housing shortage, Prime Minister Theresa May will say on Wednesday. House-building has been a stated priority as the government tries to answer voter concerns about a lack of affordable housing in many areas following decades when house prices have risen much faster than incomes. The government will provide the funding for housing associations, not-for-profit organisations which provide the bulk of affordable homes in the United Kingdom. The new funding will be allocated over a period of up to 10 years, far longer than the three or four years that has been common. Addressing the National Housing Federation Summit, May will say: “It will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.” May is keen to show that her government is working on..
LONDON (Reuters) - A small, newly-founded soccer team in the lower reaches of English football has attracted international fame after its new shirt, inspired by the fight against nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, went viral in Spain and sold out. East London-based Clapton CFC is only a few months old but was forced to stop taking orders after receiving more than 5,000 requests for its new away shirt, which is in the colours of the Republican forces that fought against General Francisco Franco’s Nationalists 80 years ago. “We never expected that sort of potential and media hype,” the team’s player-manager Geoff Ocran told Reuters after the first league game of the season. The club were only expecting to sell about 250 of the shirts, he said. The red, yellow and purple shirt is adorned with three pointed stars - the symbol of the International Brigades that came to Spain to fight - as well as the slogan “No Pasaran”, an anti-fascist slogan meaning “They shall not pass”. The eth..
LONDON (Reuters) - British households’ confidence about their financial situation held at its highest since 2015 this month, as their concern about inflation eased and they were relaxed about prospects for the year to come, a survey showed on Monday. In contrast to business surveys — which often show worries about how Britain’s government will handle European Union withdrawal next March — household expectations for the year to come were the second-strongest since August 2016. Overall, the IHS Markit Household Finance Index held unchanged at 45.9 in September, the strongest reading since a series high of 46.2 recorded in January 2015. “UK households’ assessment of their current and future finances, despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty and sustained inflationary pressures, were relatively buoyant in September,” IHS Markit economist Joe Hayes said. Separate figures from Visa, released slightly earlier on Monday, showed modest year-on-year growth in the volume of consumer spending for Au..
LONDON (Reuters) - British model and television host Alexa Chung used an airport theme for her London Fashion Week debut on Saturday, while Gareth Pugh honoured the British capital’s creativity and Alice Temperley picked muses of all ages to showcase her summer line. Chung, a fashion darling who has collaborated with British clothing retailer Marks & Spencer and had a Mulberry handbag named after her, swapped the coveted catwalk front row for backstage - sending out models in her eponymous brand, which she launched last year. Her airport lounge-themed show nodded to hot destinations with white on beige trouser suits, light beach dresses, and shorts, as well as aviation-style jumpsuits and dungarees. “This show has always been really clear in my mind,” fashion magazine British Vogue quoted Chung as saying on its website. “I wanted it to be a fantasy airport where all these different characters are popping up.” Double-breasted jackets were long and belted at the waist. Chung took in..
LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer spending grew over the three months to August at the fastest pace since January, chiming with other signs the economy has picked up some steam in mid-2018, a survey from payments firm Visa showed on Monday. Inflation-adjusted consumer spending between June and August was 0.3 percent higher than in the three months before, up from growth of 0.2 percent in the May-July period, Visa said, based on its credit and debit card usage data. Visa’s report follows official figures last week that showed Britain’s economy grew at its fastest in nearly a year in the three months to July thanks to strong consumer spending, lifted by the World Cup and unusually warm weather. “The prolonged good weather has seen sustained performance for hotels, restaurants and bars, and ‘food and drink’ again topping the sector categories,” Visa chief commercial officer Mark Antipof said. Compared with a year ago, Visa’s measure of consumer spending stood 0.4 percent higher in A..
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The two suspects in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal have nothing to do with Russian President Vladimir Putin or the government, a Kremlin spokesman was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying on Sunday. Britain has charged two Russian men, identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with attempting to murder Skripal and his daughter Yulia by spraying a chemical weapon on Skripal’s front door in the southern English city of Salisbury in March. “The fact is that neither Petrov nor Boshirov have nothing to do with Putin, and the Kremlin of course,” Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying. Slideshow (2 Images)Putin said on Wednesday that the two men were civilians and that there was “nothing special and criminal” about them. The duo appeared on Russia’s state-funded RT television station on Thursday, insisting they were innocent tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited the city of Salisbury to see its cathedral. Britain has said the tw..
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s property market would crash and mortgage rates spiral up in the event of a chaotic no-deal Brexit, with house prices falling 35 percent over three years, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told ministers, The Times newspaper reported. The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29 and yet little is clear. There is, so far, no full exit agreement between Brussels and London and some rebels in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one. Details of Carney’s briefing to the cabinet on Thursday were reported by British newspapers including the Financial Times, The Times and the Guardian. The Bank of England declined to comment and the exact context of Carney’s remarks is unclear. According to The Guardian, Carney warned the ministers, including May, that the impact of a chaotic no-deal Brexit could be as catastrophic as the 2008 financial crisis. Speaking at the Irish central b..