In September or October, the European Commission will announce new rules that will introduce a new capital minimum making it harder for banks to decide the size of their capital base using their own internal calculations. The rules – part of the international Basel III banking reforms – will come into force between 2023 and 2028.
However, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and Luxembourg are all attempting to persuade the Commission to change the minimum level imposed.
They argued the way the international standards were drawn up threatens to penalise EU banks.
Jörg Kukies, deputy finance minister of Germany, said the Franco-German proposal was “a pragmatic way of ensuring a truthful and compliant Basel implementation on the one hand and respecting the political mandate of [the EU’s economic and financial affairs council] and G20 for no significant increase in capital requirements as well”.
According to an impact assessment by the Copenhagen Economics consultancy, the Basel agreement would leave eurozone banks needing to raise $ 170billion to $ 230billion of capital.
Alternatively, the banks could cut their lending by $ 600billion to $ 700billion to rebuild their buffers above the minimum levels.
The report – published on Wednesday – said the rules would raise borrowing costs for EU companies by 0.25 percentage points and wipe 0.4 percent off gross domestic product.
A French official said Paris wanted to “strictly apply the Basel agreement”.
They said: “It is about finding a way of doing it in Europe that avoids gold-plating and over-transposition.
The Dutch government added: “In the interest of consistency, simplicity and the robustness of the framework, a single stack approach, which includes the EU-specific capital requirements, should be used.”
The European Banking Authority said the single-stack approach would increase capital requirements by 18.5 percent, leaving the eurozone banking sector with around $ 52.2billion capital shortfall.
An EU official admitted there had been “pushback on the issue of output floor, because of the number of banks worried that capital requirements might shoot up excessively”.
They added: “We think that these increases will be well short of some of the earlier forecasts.”
The Commission told the Financial Times: “We will be implementing Basel, including the output floor.
“We also have to ensure the implementation does not translate into significant increases of capital for the EU banking sector in general.
“The capacity of the banking sector to finance the economic recovery should be maintained.
“We think we can achieve that whilst remaining faithful to the key elements of the reform.”
The new rules will be finalised by the European Parliament and the Council of EU ministers.
The final stage of lifting COVID-19 restrictions would see all legal limits on social contact removed, nightclubs reopened and restrictions on performances, weddings and other events lifted. But concerns in the UK about the spread of the Delta variant, first detected in India, has led some scientists to call for a delay to the plans. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant made the decision on lifting lockdown “more challenging”.
He insisted June 21 was a “not before” date to end restrictions and Number 10 “would look at the data” before making the decision.
But some Britons have had enough, lambasting the Government for even toying with the possibility of delays after following strict rules set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he unveiled his “roadmap” out of lockdown in February.
He told MPs the plan aimed to be “cautious but irreversible” and at every stage, decisions would be led by “data not dates”.
He added that there was “no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain nor indeed a zero-Covid world”.
Boris Johnson could delay the easing of lockdown restrictions (Image: GETTY)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the decision is now ‘more challenging’ (Image: GETTY)
Mr Johnson later told a Downing Street news conference the coming spring and summer would be “seasons of hope, looking and feeling incomparably better for us all”.
He described the plan as a “one-way road to freedom”.
It requires four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants to be met at each stage.
That plan hit a key milestone when step two was completed on April 12.
Non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and outdoor attractions reopened, while bars and restaurants were allowed to serve customers outdoors, and groups limited to two households or by the “rule of six”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown (Image: GETTY)
The Prime Minister noted at the time: “I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint to my lips.
“We think these changes are fully justified by the data.
“We set out our roadmap and we’re sticking with it.
“And I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate from that roadmap.
“But it is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage and by following the rules – remembering hands, face, space, fresh air – that we hope together to make this roadmap to freedom irreversible.”
Mr Johnson warned that they “could not be complacent” and urged the British public to get the vaccine in order to reduce the risk of hospitalisations.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng backed the progress (Image: GETTY)
And in May it appeared those calls had been answered.
Mr Johnson said he did not see any signs that he would have to “deviate” from his plans to scrap all restrictions by June 21.
He said: “We will be letting everybody know exactly what sort of arrangements to expect for June 21.
“But what I can tell you, and just to stress that I am still seeing nothing in the data that leads me to think that we’re going to have to deviate from the roadmap – obviously we must remain cautious but I’m seeing nothing that makes me think we have to deviate.”
And Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng backed that view days later.
He said: “Nothing I’ve seen would suggest that we should extend or delay the date of reopening.
Professor Chris Whitty is said to have dealt the plans a blow (Image: GETTY)
“So if scientific evidence, data, points to an increased hospitalisation rate, an increased degree of risk, then we have the flexibility to move that date.
“As of today, as of the data I’ve seen, I don’t think we will move the date. But I can’t guarantee that.”
But now, after 68 million Britons have received the jab and almost 28 million are fully vaccinated, the plan to end the lockdown restrictions could reportedly be delayed by two weeks.
Cabinet ministers are said to be increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of lifting the rules following a “downbeat” briefing from chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick had a briefing to ministers on Monday on the latest COVID-19 data, which was described as “fairly grim”.
The pair expressed concerns about the current rate of transmission of new coronavirus strains, including the Delta variant and warned that vaccinations do not provide 100 percent protection.
Sir Patrick Vallance and other scientists are wary of the new variant (Image: GETTY)
That same day, the UK recorded more than 5,600 cases, which is a significant increase from around 1,350 infections at the beginning of May.
But Mr Hancock told the Commons yesterday that out of the 12,383 Delta variant cases in the UK up to June 3, only 464 went to emergency care and just three had received both COVID-19 vaccines.
He noted that despite the “rise in cases” that scientists are warning of, “hospitalisations have been broadly flat” – one of the key tests for exiting restrictions.
And many have started to criticise the approach.
Professor Carl Heneghan stated: “At some point, pandemics have to come to an end. If we aren’t going to move on, you have to ask, what’s not working?”
Reform UK leader Richard Tice added: “Millions are already ignoring unnecessary Government restrictions and millions more will say enough is enough on June 21.
“Ministers in Westminster have no idea of the collateral damage.”
Punch Taverns founder Hugh Osmond asks: “Why should we have any restrictions at all when there is no longer a risk of hospitals being overwhelmed?”
And talkRADIO presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer fumed: I’ve worn my sodding mask, washed my hands and stayed two metres apart… we’ve done everything and it’s still not enough.
“That’s it now. I’m done.”
A final decision on whether to ease England’s lockdown further will be made on June 14
Thousands have rushed to the NHS website to book their Covid-19 vaccination after the Government opened up appointments for all 25-29 year-olds in England this morning. So many people have flooded the website, new users are being added to a virtual queue system – faced with a wait while some 11,000 people ahead of them book an appointment.
A number of people have reported seeing a message informing them “you are now in a queue, lots of people are trying to book an appointment”, but the queue system never updates to reveal their position or the remaining time they’ll have to wait. Some people have shared screenshots of the NHS booking site crashing during the wait, with an error message apologising for “technical difficulties” although thankfully, these issues don’t appear too widespread.
But while that’s probably to be expected with such a large age group becoming eligible for vaccination overnight – after all, Health Secretary Matt Hancock only confirmed that appointments would be available to over-25s for the first time at the despatch box in the House of Commons yesterday – there does seem to be a glitch somewhere in the NHS system.
According to some people who managed to get to the front of the queue, their appointment is being rejected. The NHS site informs them that they’re “not eligible” for the jab. A number of younger people have taken to social media to highlight the issues with the booking system this morning.
Some users, sharing their experience on Twitter, have claimed they were waiting for more than thirty minutes to get through to the booking form to find their local vaccination centre – only to be told they are not eligible.
With vaccinations now open to the 25-29 age bracket, some three million more people are eligible for a vaccine. Under-40s in the UK are being given Moderna or Pfizer vaccinations, due to concerns about blood clots with the Astra-Zeneca jab developed with teams at the University of Oxford.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Matt Hancock confirmed: “From this week we will start offering vaccinations to people under 30, bringing us ever closer to the goal of offering a vaccine to all adults in the UK by the end of next month. From tomorrow morning, we will open up vaccination to people aged 25 to 29.”
Across the UK, more than 40,460,576 adults have received their first jab, while 27,921,294 second vaccines have been administered. Two jabs are required for the highest level of protection against the virus, while trials are ongoing to determine whether a third “booster” shot could help quash future waves of Covid-19 in the autumn and winter
Chris Evert has claimed the key to beating Rafael Nadal is breaking his rhythm because it is impossible to beat the Spanish legend at his own baseline game. Cam Norrie faces the Mission Impossible of beating the ‘King of Clay’ in the third round of the French Open on Saturday.
Nadal has won the title 13 times – and has only ever lost two matches in Paris since his 2005 debut plus has beaten Norrie twice already in 2021 in Melbourne and Barcelona.
And seven-time French Open champion Evert, now a Eurosport analyst, has urged the British No 2 to mix up his game against his fellow left-hander in a bid to create a seismic sporting shock.
“I don’t think anybody can really stay back at the baseline and try to out-rally or out-hit Rafa,” said the American legend.
“Somebody has to come up with something new in their bag of tricks. Maybe coming into the net if they are a good volleyer, or maybe using the drop shot, or just mixing up the rhythm of Rafa.
“I think it helps if a player has a big serve because if you get free points off your serve then you have a better shot.
“But you have got to work so hard to try and break Rafa’s serve, and Rafa is also one of the best returners of serve in the game too.
“I think if he serves really well, and wins free points off his serve, mixes up the pace, then I think it’s just about the only shot for Cameron Norrie.
“He can’t be six-feet behind the baseline and trading ground strokes with Rafa – he’s just too good.”
Evert, now 66, won 18 Grand Slam singles titles between 1974 and 1986. But she also enjoyed a famous rivalry with left-hander Martina Navratilova – and Evert recalled she had to change her game to compete with the Czech-born American.
“Martina had beaten me 13 times in a row, so the 14th time was in Miami and I beat her,” she said. “That year, I won the French in ’85. My coach Dennis Ralston kept telling me during my 13 defeats, take the net away from her, come in on her backhand as that is her weaker shot.
Norrie has played and lost to Nadal twice already this year in Melbourne and Barcelona – and is ready to make it third time lucky.
“It can be absolute carnage going into the forehand,” said the British No 2.
“But I think especially with my backhand I can do a lot of damage and just use my legs to my advantage. I am looking forward to taking it to him again.”
Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Nadal said: “I know he has a style of game that is not easy to play against. I need to be ready to play my best.”
Lord Alan Sugar, 74, has today added his “two pennies’ worth” and encouraged younger people to have the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the Apprentice star met backlash after the tweet, as some accused him of being “out of touch” with his attitude toward the jab.
Lord Sugar typed: “Can I just add my two penny worth and heartily encourage all 18-35-year-olds to have the vaccination.
“It makes sense. @NHS @NHSEngland,”(sic) he added.
While most praised the business magnate for urging younger people to have the vaccine, others were not so pleased.
A third remarked: “My daughters are 18 and 22 – both healthy, both vaccinated. It’s not just about protecting yourself!”
While a fourth commented: “Also, yes COVID would likely be more of an inconvenience than a hospitalisation for them, but reports are showing that the vaccine reduces transmission, which keeps cases down, which reduces risk of new variants, which helps us get back to normal.”
Lord Sugar’s sister died from Covid, two weeks after The Apprentice host’s brother, after contracting the disease.
The 74-year-old businessman paid tribute to his eldest sister, Shirley Regal, on social media, saying she had died aged 88.
“She had been sick for a while but I guess Covid got her in the end to join our brother Derek, who passed two weeks ago. RIP SHIRL,” he wrote on Twitter.
He added on Instagram: “I guess another victim of Covid.”
On December 15, Lord Sugar announced his brother had died after contracting coronavirus, describing it as “a sad day for us all in the family”.
He tweeted: “Today I lost my long-suffering brother Derek, another victim of Covid which added to his underlying health issues.
“He was a lifetime, passionate Spurs supporter. I never forget my sister-in-law joking with me, thanking me for buying him the club.”
Lala, a university student, received the complaint from a customer during a recent shift. Her uniform is made up of a polo shirt and black jeans, leaving Lala baffled by what the woman and her partner were bothered by.
Explaining what happened in a TikTok video, she said: “I had a lady complain today because my work uniform was a ‘distraction’ to her husband.”
Showing off her uniform, she added: “I guess I’ll leave my a** at home next time.”
In response to what the woman said, Lala turned around and put her two middle fingers up at the camera.
In the comments of her video, Lala explained what happened further, adding: “Apparently she was trying to tell him something and he wasn’t paying attention so she got upset.”
Lala’s experience quickly went viral, garnering over 12.6 million views in just four days and receiving thousands of comments from shocked viewers.
Some were stunned by the boldness of the customer’s complaint.
One said: “When I say my jaw dropped.”
Another added: “Tell her to be mad at her husband’s wandering eyes.”
The revelation raises concern over terminator-style AI weapons which could kill people in conflict without any human control. The drone was deployed in March last year during the conflict between the Libyan government forces and a breakaway military faction led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army.
The report on the incident from the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya was obtained by the New Scientist magazine.
The drone was a Kargu-2 quadcopter created by Turkish military tech company STM.
The weapon has an explosive charge and can be aimed at a target and detonates on impact.
The report, published earlier this year, said how Haftar’s forces were “hunted down and remotely engaged” by the drones which were operating in a “highly effective” autonomous mode which required no human controller.
And Jayne Adye has told Prime Minister Boris Johnson he must join forces with Bern to thwart the bloc’s expansionist agenda – and expose its “fragility”. Years of talks aimed at binding Switzerland more closely to the European Union‘s single market collapsed on Wednesday, when the Swiss government ditched a draft 2018 treaty that would have cemented ties with its biggest trading partner.
Faced with fierce opposition to the pact domestically, the Swiss Cabinet said it would break off talks and seek an alternative way forward.
Ms Adye told Express.co.uk: “The recent discussions between the EU and Switzerland have a very familiar feeling to all those who have been involved in Brexit negotiations.
“Just as they did with the UK, the EU is trying to force their agenda onto Switzerland, with no regard for national sovereignty.”
She added: “This is nothing new for the Swiss, and their resilience in the face of EU threats shows we have a great deal to learn from them in how to deal with Brussels for the decades to come.
“The EU bureaucrats see themselves as the dominant force in Europe, to whom all should bow down before.”
Ms Adye said: “This is a narrative the UK should work with Switzerland to destroy.
“This brings the negotiations on the draft of the InstA (treaty) to a close.”
EU-Swiss economic ties are currently governed by more than 100 bilateral agreements stretching back to 1972, which remain in effect.
However, walking away from a deal could over time disrupt and ultimately jeopardise Switzerland’s de facto membership in the EU common market which – unlike Britain which made an unruly exit from the bloc – Bern is keen to maintain.
The failure to strike a deal means Switzerland is excluded from any new access to the single market, such as an electricity union or health cooperation.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Swiss President Guy Parmelin said: “We are opening a new chapter in our relations, hopefully a fruitful one.”
Brussels has been pushing for a decade for a treaty which would see the Swiss adopt changes to single market rules.
It would also have provided a more effective way to resolve disputes.
A statement issued by the European Commission, led by President Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Without this agreement, this modernisation of our relationship will not be possible and our bilateral agreements will inevitably age.”
Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis admitted there would be disadvantages for Switzerland, but insisted erosion of the existing bilateral accords would happen slowly.
He added: “That gives us time to react with mitigation measures.”
President Biden’s wife is reported to have aimed the remarks at then-senator Kamala Harris after the Democratic Party primary debate in June 2019. During the debate, Ms Harris attacked Joe Biden‘s record on racial segregation which appeared to trigger a furious rant from the presidential candidate’s wife. Dr Biden is reported to have made the expletive-ridden remarks during a conference call with Democrat party activists, according to a new book about the 2020 presidential election.
The Daily Mail reports that the First Lady and her husband’s pick for Vice President have since “moved on” from the row.
When challenged by a reporter during a visit to a hospital in Washinton DC on Thursday, Dr Biden replied: “That was two years ago.”
“We’ve moved on from that,” added FLOTUS.
Dr Biden’s heated outburst reportedly came after Ms Harris accuses her husband of opposing moves in the 1970s to end racial segregation in schools.
The claim was made in an excerpt of journalist Edward-Isaac Dovere’s new ‘Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Trump’.
Dr Biden is reported to have said: “With what he cares about, what he fights for, what he’s committed to, you get up there and call him a racist without basis?’
“Go f*** yourself.”
In response to the allegations in Mr Dovere books, a FLOTUS spokesperson told Politico: “Many books will be written on the 2020 campaign, with countless retellings of events — some accurate, some inaccurate.”
“But I also believe, and it’s personal and I was actually very, it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.
“And it was not only that but you also worked with them racist senators to oppose bussing.”
The future Vice-President added: “And there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school and she was bussed to school every day and that little girl was me.”
Mr Biden hit back at the time saying: “It’s a mischaracterization of my position across the board: I did not praise racists. That is not true.”
That afternoon, Coviello published an open letter to RSA’s customers on the company’s website. “Recently, our security systems identified an extremely sophisticated cyberattack in progress,” the letter read. “While at this time we are confident that the information extracted does not enable a successful direct attack on any of our RSA SecurID customers, this information could potentially be used to reduce the effectiveness of a current two-factor authentication implementation as part of a broader attack,” the letter continued—somewhat downplaying the crisis.
In Bedford, Castignola was given a conference room and the authority to ask for as many volunteers from the company as he needed. A rotating group of nearly 90 staffers began the weeks-long, day-and-night process of arranging one-on-one phone calls with every customer. They worked from a script, walking customers through protective measures like adding or lengthening a PIN number as part of their SecurID logins, to make them harder for hackers to replicate. Castignola remembers walking down the halls of the building at 10 pm and hearing calls on speaker phones behind every closed door. In many cases customers were shouting. Castignola, Curry, and Coviello each did hundreds of those calls; Curry began to joke that his title was “chief apology officer.”
At the same time, paranoia was beginning to take hold in the company. The first night after the announcement, Castignola remembers walking by a wiring closet and seeing an absurd number of people walking out of it, far more than he imagined could have ever fit. “Who are those people?” he asked another nearby executive. “That’s the government,” the executive responded vaguely.
In fact, by the time Castignola had landed in Massachusetts, both the NSA and the FBI had been called to help the company’s investigation, as had defense contractor Northrop Grumman and incident response firm Mandiant. (By chance, employees of Mandiant had already been on-site prior to the breach, installing security sensor equipment on RSA’s network.)
RSA staff began to take drastic measures. Worried that their phone system might be compromised, the company switched carriers, moving from AT&T to Verizon phones. Executives, not trusting even the new phones, held meetings in person and shared paper copies of documents. The FBI, fearing an accomplice in RSA’s ranks because of the apparent level of knowledge the intruders seemed to have of company systems, started doing background checks. “I made sure that all members of the team—I don’t care who they were, what reputation they had—were investigated, because you have to be sure,” Duane says.
The windows of some executives’ offices and conference rooms were covered in layers of butcher paper, to prevent laser microphone surveillance—a long-distance eavesdropping technique that picks up conversations from vibrations in window panes—by imagined spies in the surrounding woods. The building was swept for bugs. Multiple executives insisted that they did find hidden listening devices—though some were so old that their batteries were dead. It was never clear if those bugs had any relation to the breach.
Meanwhile, RSA’s security team and the investigators brought in to help were “tearing the house down to the studs,” as Curry put it. In every part of the network that the hackers touched, he says, they scrubbed the contents of potentially compromised machines—and even ones adjacent to them. “We physically went around and, if there was a box they were on, it got wiped,” Curry says. “If you lost data, too bad.”