Brexit is a ‘sea change’ for Europe – Merkel spokesman

As Britain finally departs the European Union, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the UK’s exit as a ‘sea change’ for the bloc, in a statement that hit the same notes as a breakup letter.

“We regret [Brexit], and we think the majority of the German population feel the same, but we respect the decision,” Steffen Seibert said at a press conference on Thursday. Siebert added that Berlin hopes Britain will remain a “close partner and friend” of Germany.

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Brexit Party MEPs leave the European Parliament in Brussels © Getty Images / Thierry Monasse
‘Like storming the beaches all over again’: Brexit Party evokes WWII rhetoric as MEPs leave Brussels to sound of bagpipes (VIDEOS)

Britain leaves the European Union at 11pm on Friday, three and a half years after voting to do so. A spokesman for Boris Johnson said that the Prime Minister will “celebrate Brexit” with a small party for staff, while Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has organized a celebration rally at London’s Parliament Square.

While Johnson and Farage may be celebrating their EU breakup, not everyone is in a celebratory mood. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will lead a protest march in Edinburgh, and there will be a candlelit vigil outside Scottish Parliament at 11pm.

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Comic hypocrisy? Macron lampooned for posing with anti-police brutality t-shirt (PHOTO)

French President Emmanuel Macron has been accused of blatant hypocrisy, after he was photographed with a t-shirt satirizing his own government’s violent crackdown on anti-austerity protests.

Macron paid a visit to the International Comic Book Festival in Angouleme, southwestern France on Thursday – but his appearance likely had the opposite of its intended effect on France’s increasingly discontented electorate.

A photograph taken during the festival shows the French leader holding up a t-shirt showing a cartoon cat with a bleeding, patched-up eye. Under the feline reads: LBD 2020, an allusion to the infamous “defense ball launcher” (LBD) used by French riot police, as well as the name of the comic book festival (BD 2020).

Apparently oblivious to the double entendre, Macron is seen cracking a grin as he poses with the shirt – and the very amused cartoonist credited with making it.

The photo-op gaffe sparked outrage from Macron’s critics. Left Party leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said the incident showed that the French president “trivializes police violence.”

French police have been accused of using excessive force to quell anti-austerity and Yellow Vest protests across the country. More than 20 protesters have lost eyes in demonstrations against Macron’s deeply unpopular reforms.

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The photograph also enraged law enforcement. Yves Lefebvre, a senior police union official, described the incident as “scandalous,” local media reported.

Responding to the outrage, Macron suggested that the photograph shows how in France’s “free society,” the president can hold up a t-shirt with which he does not agree.

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Quick learner! Teenager celebrates passing driving test by signing for Premier League team day after

Teeneager Luke Matheson has a habit of juggling everyday life with football. After scoring against Man United, he went straight to school, and now, a day after passing his driving test, he’s signed for Premier League team Wolves.

Schoolboy footballer Matheson, who plays for boyhood club Rochdale, seems to make a habit of juggling every young boy’s dream with every young boy’s life.

Back in September, Matheson created headlines when he crashed in a volley against at Manchester United a week shy of his 17th birthday to equalize in Rochdale’s EFL Cup tie at Old Trafford.

After a 1-1 draw after extra time, Rochdale were eliminated on penalties despite a gallant effort and the day after that game, Matheson was straight back to school to continue studying for exams.

Fast forward a few months, and the now-17-year-old full back celebrated passing his driver’s test on Thursday, a proud achievement and notable milestone for any teenager.

Come Friday, Matheson had the first chance to use his license, having to make the journey up to Wolves for a medical ahead of a £1 million move to the Premier League club on transfer deadline day.

It is reported the young defender will be loaned straight back to the League One club following the deal going through.

You can keep up to date with all of RT Sport’s coverage on the final day of the transfer window by following our live updates.

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Transfer deadline day: Follow all the latest moves as they happen across Europe

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‘Like storming the beaches all over again’: Brexit Party evokes WWII rhetoric as MEPs leave Brussels to sound of bagpipes (VIDEOS)

Brexit Party MEPs have left the European Parliament in Brussels for the final time, accompanied by a cacophony of noise from a marching bagpiper and holding a huge Union Jack as they celebrated the UK’s imminent exit from the EU.

The group of jubilant Brexiteers – led by former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe – marched across the Place du Luxembourg in the Belgian capital on Friday morning, accompanied by a bagpiper playing the military tune ‘Cock o’ the North’ to add to the triumphalist atmosphere.

They momentarily stopped to pose for the TV cameras and photographers, putting up their Brexit Party umbrellas, before Widdecombe waved goodbye in a taxi, Union Jack in hand.

One of Widdecombe’s colleagues in Brussels, Nathan Gill, was heard telling the bagpiper Ben Buckland, a former UKIP candidate: “It was like storming the beaches all over again.” Gill’s comment evoked rhetoric from wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who famously declared in 1940 “We shall fight on the beaches.”

Widdecombe had earlier told reporters that “Today we celebrate the beginning of our independence,” saying that her Brexit Party believe “Britain can now go forward into the future rejoicing.”

On Wednesday Brexit Party leader and MEP Nigel Farage gave his final speech in the European Parliament, denouncing the EU as an anti-democratic experiment. He finished his speech by waving the Union Jack to cheers from his UK colleagues, who joined in as he said goodbye.

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Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage holds a Union Jack flag at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium January 29, 2020.
‘Goodbye!’ Farage trolls EU Parliament with Brexit one last time, waving Union Jack flag before mic is cut off for ‘hate’

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Influenza? Instagram influencers post Coronavirus PHOTOS in desperate bid to go VIRAL

Influencers are known for making the most out of any and all new trends and challenges sweeping the globe. Now, however, these Instagram stars are posing in face masks to mine the coronavirus for all the clicks it’s worth.

With the virus spreading further every day, public interest around the world has continually ratcheted up. The coronavirus hashtag has become a trend on Instagram and over 200,000 posts using the tag have been uploaded to the social media platform.

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Some conscientious posters have sought to inform their followers about the disease however many have seized on it as another opportunity to cash in on some clicks.

Youtuber Logan Paul posted a photo featuring a bevy of gas-mask wearing models and pornstars with the provocative caption: “F**k the corona virus.”

German influencer ‘Fitness Oskar’ wanted his followers to know that the disease, which has already claimed over 200 lives, wasn’t going to stop him having fun with his girlfriend on a trip to Phuket, Thailand.

“We are not afraid of the virus… We still enjoy our vacation and hope that this misery will be stopped soon!,” he wrote alongside a photo of him and his girlfriend passionately kissing while wearing facemasks.

While some so-called ‘influencers’ are sharing facts about the virus, social media stars are proving to be not the most reliable source of information on the deadly outbreak which has quickly spread across the planet. 

Take instagrammer Jada Hai Phong Nguyen for example. The Vietnamese woman posted a  photo of her donning a black surgical mask while sharing some tips for protecting yourself from the disease.

Some of her 88,000 followers, though praising her “cute outfit,” couldn’t help but criticize her for insinuating that surgical masks were an effective method of staving off infection. 

“Am sorry if you have misunderstood me, I love how you are so caring towards others. I really don’t think these face masks will stop the virus from spreading, though you look cute, it won’t protect you,” wrote one of Nguyen’s fans.

Nguyen is not alone in cashing on #Coronavirus, as the social media platform is riddled with influencers clamoring for those lucrative clicks while millions remain in quarantine.

Malaysian Chinese influencer Jeii Pong showed her mask off paired with a plaid skirt and crop top while standing in Kuala Lumpur airport. Rather than sharing the information up front with her 422,000 followers, she instead directed them to her Instagram Stories where she regularly promotes sponsored products and services.

“Y u at a airport tryna travel n infect others,” joked one of her fans. “When u gonna die but photos shoots are life,” quipped another. 

The Philippines’ Adena Wilson instead advocated a more preventative approach to tackling the coronavirus crisis, coupled with prayer, of course #blessed. She also informed her 27,700 followers that surgical masks are now out of stock in stores across The Philippines.

Avoiding contact with the infected and thoroughly washing your hands and face are still some of the best methods of preventing infection, as authorities around the world work to develop a vaccine and a cure

At least 213 people have died and 9,700 have been infected so far during the coronavirus outbreak. Sales of face masks have spiked around the world, with China introducing penalties for those caught price gouging.

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People wear face masks in the Sanlitun shopping district in Beijing as China is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, January 25, 2020. © REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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