US Government Shuts Down After Budget Disagreement
The US federal government went into partial shutdown for the first time in nearly two decades at midnight on Tuesday after the House of Representatives and the Senate failed to reach an agreement on a new budget. Essential services such as social security and medical services will carry, as will the US armed forces and the US Postal Service, but other hundreds of thousands of non-essential federal employees, such as park rangers and most of NASA, were placed on unpaid leave. Analysts predict that each day off will cost the US economy US$300m, with a two-week shutdown slashing 0.3 percent off the GDP, a figure rising to 1.4 percent of growth if the shutdown lasts for a month. This is the country’s first shutdown since 1995-1996, when there was a similar disagreement on a budget between president Bill Clinton and Congress.
PM Pushes For More Flexible GP Hours in England
British Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants patients in England to be able to visit their GPs during more flexible hours, with £50m in funding ready for a test run in nine areas of the country. He said he would also give patients more access to their family doctors, including allowing for e-mail, Skype and telephone consultations for those not willing or not capable of visiting their local surgeries. “Many hard working people find it difficult to take time off to get that GP appointment, so having these pilot schemes is, I think, a very positive step forward”, said the prime minister. The Royal College of General Practitioners said its members were willing to do more, but were already struggling to cope with working hours as they stood. “We now need the government to go much further and give general practice its fair share of the NHS budget so that GPs can deliver more care and better access to services for their patients in the community”, it said in a statement.
Far-Right Golden Dawn MPs Brought to Court in Greece
Four members of parliament from Greece’s extreme-right Golden Dawn party were brought to court in Athens to face charges of belonging to a criminal organisation after supporters of the party assassinated Pavlos Fissas, a rapper and human rights activist. Ilias Panagiotaros, Yiannis Lagos (described as a “crime godfather, pimp and extortionist” by the country’s secret service), Nikos Mihos and Ilias Kassidiaris, also the party’s spokesman, are among the first members to face charges after the country’s police forces arrested 22 members of the party, including its leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, who is set to be brought to court tomorrow. Supporters of the party chanted “Jews, journalists, traitors” at the assembled media outside the court building in Athens, while the wife of party leader Michaloliakos, Eleni Zaroulia, spat at a journalist trying to ask her questions.
Miliband Accuses Daily Mail of Smearing His Father
Labour leader Ed Miliband accused right-wing tabloid Daily Mail of smearing his father, the deceased communist academic Ralph Miliband, after an article in the newspaper accused Miliband senior of “hating Britain”. “It’s part of our job description as politicians to be criticised and attacked by newspapers, including the Daily Mail. It comes with the territory. The British people have great wisdom to sort the fair from the unfair. And I have other ways of answering back. But my Dad is a different matter. He died in 1994. I loved him and he loved Britain. And there is no credible argument in the article or evidence from his life which can remotely justify the lurid headline and its accompanying claim that it would “disturb everyone who loves this country”, wrote Miliband in a lengthy rebuttal in the Daily Mail. Prime Minister David Cameron defended his political opponent, saying “all I know is that if anyone had a go at my father, I would want to respond very vigorously. There’s not a day goes by that you don’t think about your dad and all that he meant to you, so I completely understand why Ed would want to get his own point of view across”.