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EU wants to restrict single market access to UK

The European Union wants to be able to restrict the UK’s access to the single market if there is a dispute after Brexit, a leaked document suggests. The power to suspend “certain benefits” would apply during the post-Brexit transition phase before the final arrangements come into force. It is revealed in a draft section of the UK and EU’s withdrawal agreement, which has yet to be finalised. The UK said the document simply reflected the EU’s “stated directives”. Theresa May is to chair the first of two key Brexit meetings…

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News: British Airways offers lounge access at Innsbruck, Ibiza, and Seville

British Airways’ customers travelling from Innsbruck, Ibiza, and Seville will now benefit from access to new lounges. The use of the partner lounges, exclusively for the airline’s customers travelling in Club Europe and eligible cardholders, is part of the airlines multi-million-pound investment to offer access to more lounges across the globe. After customers have checked in at these airports they will be invited to go through security and head straight to the lounge, where they can relax or catch up on last minute emails prior to their flight. Customers will…

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Thousands struggle to access childcare on glitchy website

Thousands of parents in England are struggling to get subsidised childcare as they grapple with a glitchy website eight months after it was set up. In some cases, money meant for fees has become stuck in tax-free childcare accounts, leaving some parents unable to pay their nursery bills. Others struggled to apply for or reconfirm their free childcare. The government says that fewer than 2% of the 320,000 parents who have opened accounts had encountered problems. It added that earlier teething problems had been put right with extra resources and…

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Londoners given GP access over weekends and evenings

Londoners can now book GP appointments for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. An extra 75,000 routine appointments a month will be available in the capital as part of a scheme by NHS England. The £26m initiative aims to reduce pressures on stretched A&E departments. The British Medical Association (BMA) was “encouraged” that the plans cover extra staffing expenses, but was worried by doctors’ rising workloads. London is the first area to offer the extended service. If surgeries are fully booked or closed when registered patients call up, they will be…

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Google Amazon row leads to restricted YouTube access

Google plans to stop Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices being able to use YouTube from the start of 2018. The search giant has also blocked a workaround that Amazon introduced to restore YouTube access to a screen-based version of its smart speaker. Experts say the steps mark an escalation of a business row in which consumers have been caught up in the fallout. Amazon had previously stopped selling several of Google’s hardware products. It removed the latest Nest-branded smart home kit – including a home security system and a new…

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FBI failed to access 7,000 encrypted mobile devices

Agents at the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been unable to extract data from nearly 7,000 mobile devices they have tried to access, the agency’s director has said. Christopher Wray said encryption on devices was “a huge, huge problem” for FBI investigations. The agency had failed to access more than half of the devices it targeted in an 11-month period, he said. One cyber-security expert said such encryption was now a “fact of life”. Many smartphones encrypt their contents when locked, as standard – a security feature that…

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Trump rolls back access to free birth control

Media playback is unsupported on your device Donald Trump’s government has issued a ruling that allows employers to opt out of providing free birth control to millions of Americans. The rule allows employers and insurers to decline to provide birth control if doing so violates their “religious beliefs” or “moral convictions”. Fifty-five million women benefited from the Obama-era rule, which made companies provide free birth control. As a candidate, Mr Trump had pledged to eliminate that requirement. The mandate had been a key feature of so-called Obamacare – President Obama’s…

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