It’s been a big week for aerial exercises over London – we’ve had the RAF flypast, those pints being launched after five minutes of football, and today we’ll have baby Trump soaring over Parliament Square.
Even without the assistance of his airborne alter ego, the visit of the 45thPresident already dominates headlines today. He’s already thrown a major spanner in the Brexit works with an explosive Sun interview, and alongside expected coverage of his formal engagements (and, err, him playing a lot of golf), there will also be continuing scenes of protest as people up and down the country make their feelings about his trip to the UK known.
In many ways his visit may prove to be a similar experience for the PM as the 3rd/4th World Cup playoff will be for Gareth Southgate’s Plucky Young Lions. Both are unwanted engagements at the end of a long and emotionally draining season. And both also have almost no chance of being considered a success by the general public, regardless of the effort put in.
Despite all of this, this week at least gave us one good news story to fight off the pervasive sense of doom and gloom. The Thai cave rescue was a remarkable story of people coming together to beat seemingly insurmountable odds. Much like the rescue of the Chilean miners in 2010 it really was a triumph of hope over the nagging fear that something was about to go horribly wrong.
With a bit of luck cynicism will be kept to a minimum as details continue to emerge, but don’t be surprised if talk of the Hollywood adaptation becomes the sadly inevitable next chapter in this particular story.
Happy Friday one and all!
Theresa May’s Brexit will kill off the chances of a UK/US trade deal, according to Donald Trump. The US President has made a series of provocative observations since he touched down in the UK yesterday that appear to undermine Mrs May, including his suggestion that Boris Johnson would make a ‘great’ Prime Minister. (£)
Under-pressure Wiltshire police are calling for more direct Government assistance in the wake of multiple Novichok poisonings in the area. The comments came just before officers cordoned off a road in Salisbury after a man was reported to have fallen ill. Chief Constable Angus MacPherson later said the case had been a false alarm but that it highlighted the pressure his force is under.
NHS surgery waiting lists have reached a ten-year high in England and Wales, with 4.3 million people waiting for an operation. Increased numbers of patients are now having to wait longer that the stated maximum 18 weeks for non-urgent surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement. Labour and health trade unions warned incoming Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock that waiting times will define his time in the post.
Business & Economy
The value of the UK housing market has fallen by £26.9 billion, as property prices stagnate in many areas, with experts blaming the uncertainty caused by Brexit. The South West of England and Yorkshire and the Humber saw the biggest falls, with modest gains seen in the North East and Wales, according to new research from property portal Zoopla.
Heathrow Airport has rejected claims that it will struggle to find the money for its new runway – expected to cost £14 billion. Heathrow’s Chairman, Paul Deighton, has written to the Civil Aviation Authority to “set the record straight”, referencing the “continuing debate regarding the financials” of the proposed expansion of the West London hub. (£)
The battle between Comcast and Disney to acquire Sky has taken a new twist, with Comcast upping its offer to £26bn. Currently shares are changing hands for around £15.50 at on the open market, indicating an expectation that there will be more to come from the competing bidders.
The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.67%, offering a lukewarm reaction to the disclosure of the PM's Brexit White Paper, but ultimately representing a solid bounce-back from the more dramatic falls seen earlier this week.
Concerns about US plans for tariffs on $200bn of imports from China continued to wane, leading to climbs amongst most Asian stocks.
Comments from President Trump suggesting the UK’s current Brexit plans could damage its chances of a bilateral trade deal caused the pound to dip briefly, while oil prices edged lower after a partial recovery during the previous session.
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Columns of Note
Even though it didn’t come home, the Guardian’s Gaby Hinsliff claims the World Cup has united England. Whilst conceding this may be a fleeting period of unity, she holds up Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli’s achievements as shining examples of the ‘British dream’.
Paul Waugh writes about the realities of trying to make a deal with Donald Trump for the Huffington Post, ahead of Theresa May’s Chequers meeting with the US President. Somewhat inevitably, he draws on Groundhog Day comparisons early on in the piece, while suggesting the Prime Minister will face a tough task to win the President round during his UK visit.
Writing for the Times (£) Ed Conway tries to take a more positive view of the UK economy. Rising numbers of homes being built, his assertion that inequality is falling and that the deficit is falling are some of the key points he highlights to support his view that it’s not all doom and gloom.
Did you know?
In 1914 Brazil played its first football international, watched by a crowd of 10,000 at Rio's Laranjeiras stadium. The hosts ran out 2-0 winners on that historic occasion. The opposition? Exeter City.
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