Russia calls Britain’s Black Sea air force interceptions dangerous

Russia accused Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) of intercepting its military aircraft over the Black Sea in a dangerous fashion designed to provoke Moscow. (Photo courtesy of UK Ministry of Defense)
Updated 26 August 2018
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Russia calls Britain’s Black Sea air force interceptions dangerous

MOSCOW: Russia accused Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) of intercepting its military aircraft over the Black Sea in a dangerous fashion designed to provoke Moscow after the RAF made two such interceptions in a single week.
The accusation, levelled by Russia’s embassy in London, came after the RAF intercepted a Russian maritime patrol aircraft over the Black Sea on Friday and scrambled to intercept two suspected Russian fighter aircraft on Wednesday.
.”... What kind of threat to Britain or even its allies does a Russian patrol aircraft hypothetically pose while conducting flights near Russia’s own coastline, more than 2,000 km (1242.74 miles) from the British Isles,” the Russian embassy said in a statement released on Saturday.
“Instead of strengthening anyone’s security, the British authorities are using such a military presence (in the Black Sea area) for provocative actions. Not just by making verbal statements, regrettable as they are, but also in real military terms, which is simply dangerous.”
The British defense and foreign ministries declined to comment on Sunday.
Three countries bordering the Black Sea — Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey — are NATO allies of Britain.
Britain’s Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, spoke about “an ever more assertive Russia” in a speech in London in July. He said the RAF had been forced to intercept Russian military aircraft more than 80 times over the last decade.
Relations between London and Moscow are languishing at a post-Cold War low after the poisoning by nerve agent of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March in the English city of Salisbury.
London holds Moscow responsible for the attack, something Russia denies.
Britain’s RAF maintains a presence in the Baltic countries and in Romania to deter potential Russian military action after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. Moscow says its activity in the Black Sea region is routine and compliant with international law.


“No-deal” Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

Updated 24 September 2018
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“No-deal” Brexit would hit trucks, airlines and pet owners — govt papers

LONDON: Leaving the European Union without a proper divorce deal could ground airlines, stop hauliers from lugging goods to the world’s biggest trading bloc and even make headaches for pet owners who want to take their dogs on holiday, according to government documents.
With just six months to go until the United Kingdom is due to leave the EU on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May has warned that negotiations are at an impasse and that the EU must come up with new proposals on how to craft a divorce settlement.
Many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement, thrusting the world’s fifth largest economy into a “no-deal” Brexit that they say would spook financial markets and silt up the arteries of trade.
Britain, which has warned it could leave without a deal, published 25 technical notices on Monday covering everything from commercial road haulage and buying timber to airline regulations and taking pets abroad.
“If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission,” the government said.
Overall, the government has published more than 65 such notices giving a glimpse of what a no-deal Brexit — the nightmare scenario for chief executives of most multinationals operating in Britain — would look like.
Amid warnings that trucks could stack up on both sides of the English Channel in the confusion of a no deal, Britain said it would seek to strike bilateral agreements with European countries to ensure hauliers would retain access.
The notices covered a vast swathe of the British economy, warning, for example, that labels on packaged food would have to be changed.
“Use of the term ‘EU’ in origin labelling would no longer be correct for food or ingredients from the UK,” the government said.
Honey producers would have to change their labels while EU countries might not accept British mineral water, the government said.
In the worse case scenario for pet owners, dogs, cats and even ferrets might need health certificates and rabies jabs. Travel plans would have to be discussed with a vet at least four months in advance before traveling to the EU.
That would mean someone wanting to take their pet to the EU on March 30, 2019, the day after Britain leaves the bloc, would have to discuss the trip with a vet before the end of November.
Without a deal, the UK would move from seamless trade with the rest of the EU to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states with no preferential deals.
Brexiteers accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say the government is trying to scare voters about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Britain, many Brexiteers say, will thrive in the longer term if cut loose from what they see as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity and excessive debt-funded welfare spending.