Brexit is a mess – what would Yes Minister’s Sir Humphrey do? | Jonathan Lynn

I emailed my old friend and asked what he would do if he were still head of the civil service. Here is his reply

“What is the function of the civil service? To help the government implement its policies. But with Brexit – the most important constitutional issue for decades – every cabinet minister has his or her own policy. Without a written constitution and with only norms, traditions and precedents to guide us, this unprecedented situation has made everyone in government into a headless chicken.

“I was merely a humble vessel into which ministers, the people’s representatives, poured their thoughts and hopes. My job was to help turn this jumble into workable policies – no mean task. We were loyal to each government and each prime minister in turn, supporting their manifestos, their hopes and their dreams where practicable, whatever our private opinions.

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Brexit is a mess – what would Yes Minister’s Sir Humphrey do? | Jonathan Lynn

I emailed my old friend and asked what he would do if he were still head of the civil service. Here is his reply

“What is the function of the civil service? To help the government implement its policies. But with Brexit – the most important constitutional issue for decades – every cabinet minister has his or her own policy. Without a written constitution and with only norms, traditions and precedents to guide us, this unprecedented situation has made everyone in government into a headless chicken.

“I was merely a humble vessel into which ministers, the people’s representatives, poured their thoughts and hopes. My job was to help turn this jumble into workable policies – no mean task. We were loyal to each government and each prime minister in turn, supporting their manifestos, their hopes and their dreams where practicable, whatever our private opinions.

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It was never about Europe. Brexit is Britain’s reckoning with itself | Fintan O’Toole

Brexit is just the vehicle by which a fractured state has come to realise that its politics are no longer fit for purpose

At least the Sun thrives on chaos. The savage parliamentary mauling of Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union allowed Rupert Murdoch’s pet tabloid to unveil on Wednesday morning a front page of grandly gleeful malevolence. Under the headline Brextinct, it conjured a creepy chimera of Theresa May’s head pasted on to the body of a dodo. But the thing about such surreal pictures is that it is not easy to control their interpretation. From the outside, this one seemed to suggest much more than the immediately intended message that both May and her deal are politically dead. When, it prompted one to ask, did Brextinction really happen? Was this strange creature ever really alive or was it not always a grotesquely photoshopped image of something else, a crisis of belonging that has attached itself to the wrong union? Do the events of this week point us, not towards the EU, but to the travails of a radically disunited kingdom?

Related: Theresa May’s survival is just a Tory confidence trick | Gary Younge

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It was never about Europe. Brexit is Britain’s reckoning with itself | Fintan O’Toole

Brexit is just the vehicle by which a fractured state has come to realise that its politics are no longer fit for purpose

At least the Sun thrives on chaos. The savage parliamentary mauling of Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union allowed Rupert Murdoch’s pet tabloid to unveil on Wednesday morning a front page of grandly gleeful malevolence. Under the headline Brextinct, it conjured a creepy chimera of Theresa May’s head pasted on to the body of a dodo. But the thing about such surreal pictures is that it is not easy to control their interpretation. From the outside, this one seemed to suggest much more than the immediately intended message that both May and her deal are politically dead. When, it prompted one to ask, did Brextinction really happen? Was this strange creature ever really alive or was it not always a grotesquely photoshopped image of something else, a crisis of belonging that has attached itself to the wrong union? Do the events of this week point us, not towards the EU, but to the travails of a radically disunited kingdom?

Related: Theresa May’s survival is just a Tory confidence trick | Gary Younge

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Australia to introduce rules about sedating or restraining nursing home residents

Aged care minister says he was disturbed by footage of elderly men being chemically and physically restrained

On the eve of the royal commission into the aged care sector’s first hearing, the Morrison government has flagged new regulations on the use of chemical and physical restraints in nursing homes.

There are no rules in Australia governing the use of restraints in aged care facilities, unlike the US, Britain and Europe.

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Patient groups assessing NHS drugs receive undeclared industry funds

Study calls for rules to be tightened over disclosure of money received from drug makers

Most patient groups involved in the appraisal of drugs or medical devices for use in the NHS have received money from the manufacturers that they have not declared, research has found.

Patient groups are asked to give their views when the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is deciding whether to approve a drug for use in the NHS in England. However, the researchers said Nice did not have stringent enough rules on the disclosure of any and all funds that patient organisations receive from companies.

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Brexit deadlock as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn set red lines – live

Labour leader says he won’t meet with prime minister until she takes no-deal Brexit off the table, after May narrowly win no-confidence vote in parliament

Good morning and welcome to the politics live blog as well follow the twists and turns of UK politics.

Well, she may have survived the no-confidence vote yesterday, but Theresa May is by no means out of the woods. The PM has to present a new (“Plan B”) Brexit deal by Monday.

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Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein dismissed

Los Angeles judge rules actor can proceed with defamation claim against movie mogul

A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein but said she could proceed with a defamation claim against him.

Judd had accused Weinstein of defaming her in 1998 after she refused what she said were his sexual advances a year earlier.

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Major police operation under way in Sydney after man stabbed following car crash

Man stabbed in stomach after four-car crash in Rockdale with emergency crews then called to related incident in Arncliffe

A large-scale police operation is under way in Sydney’s south with at least one person stabbed in the stomach.

Emergency crews were called to West Botany Street in Rockdale after 3pm on Friday following reports of a four-car crash.

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Scotland considers continental wildcats to save native species from extinction

Releasing ‘pure’ animals could counter interbreeding with domestic cats, experts say

Conservationists could release wildcats captured from other European countries in the Scottish Highlands in a final effort to protect Scotland’s population from extinction.

Recent genetic testing by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland of 276 Scottish wildcat samples found those in the wild are so heavily interbred with domestic cats that they are close to becoming functionally extinct.

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The Killing Season; The Army and the Indonesian Genocide reviews – timely and forceful orthodoxy demolished

Two books crush the official version of 1960s anti-leftist massacres in Indonesia, implicate the US and UK and revise how we define genocideTwo books, by Geoffrey Robinson and Jess Melvin, reveal why one of the worst blood-lettings of the 20th century took place and who was responsible

Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary The Act of Killing follows a cabal of ageing hoodlums around the city of Medan, in north-west Indonesia. Between 1965 and 66, they had enthusiastically joined militias across the country that garrotted, stabbed and mutilated to death at least half a million suspected leftists. Almost half a century More Here…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/15/killing-season-geoffrey-robinson-army-indonesian-genocide-jess-melvinreviews

  


Broker payments an incentive to sell risky mortgages, CBA admits

Commonwealth Bank says brokers are selling mortgages that are riskier and more likely to burden customers with excessive debt

The Commonwealth Bank has admitted the commissions it pays to mortgage brokers can incentivise them to sell risky mortgages to CBA customers, but it does not want to stop the practice until other banks stop it too.

The head of the banking royal commission, Kenneth Hayne, has also suggested CBA has been “economical with the truth” with its customers by neglecting to tell them the value of the commissions it pays mortgage brokers who sell them CBA products.

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/15/broker-payments-an-incentive-to-sell-risky-mortgages-cba-admits

  


Turkish foreign minister's U.S. visit postponed - spokesman

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s planned visit to Washington on March 19 has been postponed, his spokesman said on Thursday, following the U.S. decision to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

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Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/UKWorldNews/~3/1QdApiefgec/turkish-foreign-ministers-u-s-visit-postponed-spokesman-idUKKCN1GR0Q9

  


'I fear Myanmar, I don't want to go home': Rohingya in Bangladesh – in pictures

Refugees from Myanmar continue to arrive daily at the 20 rapidly expanding camps around Cox’s Bazar. With makeshift shelters perched precariously on slopes, aid agencies fear land slides could cause a catastrophic loss of life when the cyclone season begins. Refugees in Balukhali camp speak of their dreams for the future and the horror that drove them to leave

Photographs by Tom Pilston/Action Against Hunger

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/gallery/2018/mar/15/rohingya-refugees-myanmar-bangladesh-myanmar-in-pictures

  


What to do with those divested billions? The only way is ethics

Investment in companies that do ‘good’ is soaring, but are firms changing the way they do business as a result?

Divestment has become a trillion-dollar topic in recent years – boycotting companies considered harmful has never been more popular: Israeli exporters, arms makers, and fossil fuel producers, among others.

Across the world more than 800 institutions, with total investments valued at $6tn, have committed to divest from fossil fuels.

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/15/what-to-do-with-those-divested-billions-the-only-way-is-ethics

  


Hong Kong's judges voice fears over China influence in judiciary

HONG KONG (Reuters) – As Hong Kong’s judges and senior lawyers paraded in ceremonial wigs and gowns on Jan 8 to mark the start of the legal year, anxieties over China’s growing reach into the city’s vaunted legal system swirled with the wintry winds.

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Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/UKWorldNews/~3/jDbDg1-jhb4/hong-kongs-judges-voice-fears-over-china-influence-in-judiciary-idUKKCN1GR0LN

  


Cricket - Ashwin seeks sharp turn in perception for white-ball success

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Ravichandran Ashwin believes finger-spinners are battling a perception of ineffectiveness in limited-overs cricket but remains confident that he and his ilk can flourish with the white ball.

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Source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/UKSportsNews/~3/9eMFuKSd8s0/cricket-ashwin-seeks-sharp-turn-in-perception-for-white-ball-success-idUKKCN1GR0NO