David Cameron, the Prime Minister, outlined four changes he sought in Britain’s membership of the EU. He wanted to protect the single market for Britain and others outside the eurozone; to increase commercial competitiveness; to exempt Britain from an ‘ever closer union’; and to restrict EU migrants’ access to in-work benefits. Mr Cameron put the demands in a letter to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. David Lidington, the Europe minister, said that others in the EU could put forward ‘alternative proposals that deliver the same result’. In a speech to the Confederation of British Industry, Mr Cameron had said: ‘The argument isn’t whether Britain could survive outside the EU; of course it could. The argument is, “How are we going to be best off?”’ Mr Cameron flew to Malta for a summit on the migrant crisis.
George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that the Treasury, and the transport, local government and environment departments had agreed to 30 per cent cuts in spending. Reading jail was among Victorian prisons to be sold for housing and replaced by nine new prisons, to save £80 million a year. Unemployment fell by 103,000 but average earnings rose. Asked on television about Britain’s nuclear deterrent, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said: ‘If a prime minister said they would never press the nuclear button, the deterrent is then completely undermined.’ Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, accused Sir Nicholas of having ‘intervened directly in issues of political dispute’. Pat Eddery, the 11-times flat racing champion jockey, died aged 63.
A 66-year-old former member of the Parachute Regiment was arrested in Co Antrim by the ‘Legacy Investigation Branch’ of the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigating the events of Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972. The government dropped a Commons vote on a Bill to grant councils and mayors in England and Wales powers to set Sunday trading laws in their areas after opposition from 20 Tory MPs and from Scottish nationalist MPs. Asda said it would not take part in pre-Christmas sales on so-called Black Friday.
Russia should be banned from athletics, including the 2016 Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency commission said after it published a report finding that Russia ran a ‘state-supported’ doping programme. The report also alleged that Lamine Diack, the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, took payments for deferring sanctions against Russian drugs cheats. Interpol said it would co-ordinate a French-led global investigation into the doping allegations. Budi Waseso, the head of Indonesia’s anti-drugs agency, said he would seek out the fiercest crocodiles to guard a prison island for drug convicts on death-row; ‘You can’t bribe crocodiles,’ he said. A Chinese collector bought a Modigliani reclining nude for £113 million.
Syrian government forces were reported to have broken a two-year siege of Kuwairis airbase, east of Aleppo, by the Islamic State. Syrian refugees registered in neighbouring countries rose to 2,181,293 in Turkey, 1,078,338 in Lebanon and 630,776 in Jordan. Slovenia constructed border barriers except at crossing-points as 30,000 migrants approached. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, reversed a decision taken behind her back by Thomas de Maizière, the interior minister, which had reduced the status of migrants coming from Syria to that of temporary asylum. Helmut Schmidt, who, as the Chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982, was an architect of the European Monetary System, died aged 96. The European Court of Auditors in a report om the 2014 budget said that the EU needed a ‘wholly new approach’ to investment and spending. A European Commission report on Turkish prospects for EU membership found ‘an overall negative trend in the respect for the rule of law’, not to mention ‘a severe deterioration of its security situation’, a reference to the hundreds killed in fighting between Turkish security forces and the Kurdish PKK in the east of the country.
In Burma, the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won a majority in the elections, even though a quarter of seats are set aside for the army. Chad declared a state of emergency in the Lake Chad region after attacks by Boko Haram militants from Nigeria. Severe drought meant that more than 15 million people in Ethiopia would be in need of food aid by the beginning of 2016, the UN warned. A man riding a supermarket trolley at 50mph down a hill in Sydney died in a collision with a car. CSH.
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