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Brexit: No-deal impact assessment published

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Brexit

The British government has published its assessment of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on business and trade.

The report said “some food prices are likely to increase” and customs checks could cost business £13bn a year in a no-deal scenario.

It also said there was “little evidence that businesses are preparing in earnest”.

But the government said it had undertaken “significant action” to prepare for no deal on 29 March.

It comes as the PM has promised MPs votes on delaying Brexit or ruling out no deal if her deal is rejected again.

Theresa May’s Brexit deal was comprehensively rejected by MPs on 15 January and she has said they will get a second chance to vote on it – possibly with some changes – by 12 March.

The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 29 March – with or without a deal.

The government’s report, which was drawn up for the cabinet, said: “One of the most visible ways in which the UK would be affected by delays in goods crossing the Channel is our food supply, 30% of which comes from the EU.”

Possible disruption to cross-Channel trade “would lead to reduced availability and choice of products”, the document said.

“This would not lead to an overall shortage of food in the UK, and less than one in 10 food items would be directly affected by any delays across the short Channel crossings.

“However, at the time of year we will be leaving the EU, the UK is particularly reliant on the short Channel crossings for fresh fruit and vegetables.

“In the absence of other action from government, some food prices are likely to increase, and there is a risk that consumer behaviour could exacerbate, or create, shortages in this scenario.

“As of February 2019, many businesses in the food supply industry are unprepared for a no-deal scenario.”

It repeated analysis suggesting a no-deal scenario could leave the UK economy 6.3% to 9% smaller after 15 years, compared to what it would have been.

It said the worst-hit areas economically in a no-deal scenario would be Wales (-8.1%), Scotland (-8.0%), Northern Ireland (-9.1%) and the northeast (-10.5%).

The document said slightly more than two-thirds of the government’s most critical preparation projects – and fewer than 85% overall – were “on track” for completion in time for 29 March.

It also warned that a no-deal Brexit would “affect the viability of many businesses across Northern Ireland”, and said some businesses could relocate to the Republic of Ireland.

The publication of the document follows a proposed amendment last month from former Conservative MP Anna Soubry and backed by ex-Labour MP Chuka Umunna – who are both now members of the newly-formed Independent Group.

In the Commons, Ms Soubry told MPs that the document was only a summary and she asked for access to the papers “which actually go into the detail”, which she was shown in privy council terms (confidential terms).

“It’s the detail that actually fully explains the impact of a no-deal Brexit, leaving the Brexit Secretary to comment that it would be ‘ruinous’ for this country,” she said.

Deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle said he was “sorry” that Ms Soubry felt she had been “slightly short-changed on what would be available”.

“I would expect ministers to take on board your request and hopefully… you will pursue it other than on this point of order,” he said.

And Mr Umunna said the report painted “a disastrous picture of the catastrophe which would befall our country if there is a no-deal Brexit”.

“In light of what she knows, it is utterly irresponsible for the Prime Minister to keep a no-deal Brexit on the table given the extreme damage it will do,” he said.

“These papers set out how food prices will rise, we may see panic buying, there will be severe disruption at the border, and jobs and livelihoods would immediately be put at risk.

“Today she told the House of Commons she is listening, but MPs have passed a motion rejecting a no-deal Brexit and yet she refuses to request an extension of the Article 50 process in order to stop no-deal happening.”

Ms Soubry’s amendment instructed the government to publish within seven days “the most recent official briefing document relating to business and trade on the implications of a no-deal Brexit presented to cabinet”.

It drew the backing of some mostly Remain-supporting Labour and Conservative backbenchers.

But Ms Soubry withdrew the amendment after Brexit Minister Chris Heaton-Harris indicated that Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington would meet her and would be publishing the relevant information.
BBC

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CRIME

Uncle Roland Muchegwa Fined 68 Million Rands For Tax Evasion

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Uncle Roland Muchegwa

Uncle Roland Muchegwa ’s ostentatiousness lifestyle is alleged to have triggered the authority to conduct a lifestyle audit on him after he went viral on social media for splurging money on beautiful Mzansi women keen to make a ‘quick buck’.

Roland Muchegwa is alleged to be part of a fuel smuggling syndicate which has been diverting cheap fuel from areas like Kwazulu Natal province after misrepresentation of export and allegedly selling it at a profit in Limpopo province.

The well-knit syndicate also allegedly imports fuel from South Africa and lies that it’s in transit to DRC but offloads it in Zimbabwe where there are fuel shortages and feeds the black market for ridiculous profits.

The tanker then proceeds to DRC filled with water, because the weighbridge cannot dictate the type of liquid but quantity of contents, so this exercise legitimises the rot.

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CRIME

Wilfred Marodza raped woman four times in the park

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Wilfred Marodza

Wilfred Marodza, a trainee solicitor at a top law firm who repeatedly raped a young woman after stalking her and dragging her to a park is facing years in prison.

Marodza, 28, pounced on the victim, in her twenties, in the early hours of July 20 as she walked along Great Dover Street in Borough, grabbing on to her neck and threatening her as he forced her into a secluded part of Dickens Fields.

He then stripped her and raped her four times before she managed to break free, Inner London crown court heard.

She fled naked through the street with Wilfred Marodza in pursuit, as he claimed to bystanders they were having a “domestic” before she managed to escape in a passing minicab.

Marodza, a trainee solicitor with firm Cripps Pemberton Greenish, had been drinking in the area before carrying out the attack at 2.15am and struck again less than two hours later.

He grabbed another woman, also in her twenties, from behind in Borough High Street and put his hand over her mouth, attempting to drag her into a side street. However, the woman screamed and Wilfred Marodza fled.

Police were able to catch him because he left his rucksack, with his work identification inside, at the scene.

CPS prosecutor Nahid Mannan said: “This was a horrendous attack on two young, lone females. The prosecution case included compelling evidence showing Marodza dragging the two victims to secluded areas and also chasing the naked victim he had just raped.

“Marodza also left his rucksack containing his work identification at the scene of the rape, allowing police to easily identify him.

“The CPS takes crimes against women extremely seriously and I hope this conviction goes some way to provide the victims with a degree of closure.”

At court yesterday, Wilfred Marodza, a Zimbabwean national from Eastbourne in East Sussex, pleaded guilty to four counts of rape, kidnapping and a charge of committing an offence with the intent to commit a sexual offence.

He was remanded in custody by Judge Nigel Seed QC until a sentencing hearing next month.

Gavin Tyler, the managing partner at Cripps Pemberton Greenish, said: “We are completely appalled to learn of Wilfred Marodza’s conviction for such shocking offences. We were informed by the police in July of the arrest and that he was remanded in custody but did not know anything about the details of the offences until today. Our thoughts, of course, are with the victims and their families.

“Although there were never any concerns raised internally regarding Mr Marodza, we are offering support for staff members who worked closely with him or who feel affected by the news for any other reason.” The Standard

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DIASPORA

Five people killed,189 arrested so far in Johannesburg violence

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Johannesburg Xenophobic Violence

Five people have been killed and 189 arrested in a spate of Johannesburg xenophobic violence that has rocked parts of the city since Sunday, police confirmed on Tuesday.

The five deaths have led to police deploying more police officers in areas identified as hot spots.

The latest killings were of two South Africans who were shot in Coronationville on Tuesday afternoon.

“Police have increased deployments to cover all the areas identified as hot spots of violence that have seen several shops being looted, burned and the property being looted,” said police spokesperson Col Lungelo Dlamini.

He said the situation had been stabilised in parts of the Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg Central, Jeppestown and Cleveland policing areas.

This was, however, not the case in Coronationville, as violent clashes continued and claimed the lives of two South Africans on Tuesday.

The clashes forced Gauteng premier David Makhura to leave a meeting between police minister Bheki Cele and those affected by the recent violence and rush to the area to call for calm.

Apart from these two murders, two killings were reported in Hillbrow and one near the Jeppe hostel.

Police had, however, made arrests in connection with the outbreaks of violence.

“A total of 189 arrests have been effected since Sunday,” said Dlamini.

Those arrests are facing a raft of charges, ranging from charges which include public violence, malicious damage to property, theft, and business break-ins.

Police said they were forced to fire rubber bullets to disperse a group of people who planned to loot businesses in Thokoza and Kempton Park in the early hours of Tuesday.

Dlamini said the spate of violent incidents led to criminals gangs taking advantage of the chaotic situation and breaking into businesses, not only those belonging to foreign nationals but also other businesses.

A process to identify leaders of the protests was underway.

“In the meantime, police are identifying the leaders of these violent groups and will be arrested them once full evidence against them has been gathered,” said Dlamini.

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela thanked members of the public who provided information to assist the police in dealing with violent situations.

Mawela has also assured the public that no unlawful activities will be tolerated.

“All our members are on the ground to deal with criminality,” he said.TimesLive

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