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Deaths feared as migrant boat capsizes in Mediterranean

Credit: ITV

A migrant boat has capsized in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast with an unknown number of people feared to have drowned.

An Italian coastguard spokesman said that an unknown number of people are thought to have died and 88 have been rescued by coastguard vessels following the capsize earlier today off the coast of Libya.

It was earlier reported that 80 people had died, but this is now not thought to be the case.

It is not known how many people were on board what is thought to be a wooden fishing vessel.

It is the second deadly incident in two days, after five were confirmed to have died when an overcrowded fishing boat flipped over on Wednesday.

The overcrowded boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters
  1. Meridian

Ferry services between Portsmouth and Le Havre cancelled

Brittany Ferries has cancelled services between Portsmouth and Le Havre Credit: ITV News

Strike action in France has led to the cancellation of Brittany ferry services between Portsmouth and Le Havre.

The services cancelled today are:

Le Havre to Portsmouth 2200

Portsmouth to Le Havre 2315

Tomorrow the Le Havre to Portsmouth 2200 has also been cancelled.

All other services to and from the ports of Caen, Cherbourg, St Malo and Roscoff are operating as normal.

Because of the on-going fuel strikes in France Brittany Ferries is urging customers to depart with enough fuel to reach their destination in France, or to leave with a full tank of petrol or diesel.

Steel trade unions welcome Tata pension law consultation

The steel trade unions have welcomed the Government's consultation on changes to pensions law as part of efforts to save Tata Steel and called on the company to uphold its "legal, social and moral responsibilities" to steel workers.

In a combined statement, Community, Unite and GMB endorsed the move to avoid the "unmitigated disaster" of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) going into the financial safety net of the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) with a sale of Tata's assets.

It is important that all stakeholders continue to explore all available options that avoid the need for the scheme to go into the PPF, which would be the worst deal for scheme members.

It is important to remember that Tata Steel remains the employer and sponsor of the BSPS. They have significant legal, social and moral responsibilities with regards to the British steel industry and those men and women who have worked and continue to work within it.

– Community, Unite and GMB
Steel unions said they would continue to be 'led by our members' in the industry. Credit: PA Wire

The Human Resources director for Tata Steel's European operations said the consultation would enable a "better outcome" for the vast majority of members of the BSPS.

We welcome the inclusion of an option to change the way that future payments in the scheme are increased. This option, which is fully supported by the pension scheme's trustees, provides a way for the scheme to continue to operate on a well-funded, low-risk basis indefinitely.

The British Steel Pension Scheme was set up on the basis that pension increases would be provided so long as they remained affordable. The proposed legislative changes would allow this unusual rule to operate as intended. That means it's unlikely that a regulatory change would affect other final salary pension schemes.

– Tor Farquhar, Human Resources director for Tata Steel's European operations

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Javid 'wary of precedent' amid Tata pensions consultation

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed the Government is set to launch an "open consultation" on changes to pensions law as part of efforts to save Tata Steel despite being "very wary of setting a precedent".

The consultation, which will run until June 23, sets out a number of different options for the British Steel Pension Scheme and its 130,000 members.

The scheme includes 14,000 people currently employed by Tata or another employer, 32,000 are deferred (no longer employed by Tata but below the scheme's normal pension age) and 84,000 pensioners.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed in the House of Commons details of the Tata consultation.

The Government has been warned against the impact of setting a precedent by seeking to change pension law.

"No decision (on Tata's future) has been made," Mr Javid told MPs. "We are very wary of setting a precedent ... this is very much about this scheme and this scheme only in these very unique circumstances."

Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle warned against cutting the fund's long-term liabilities by benchmarking it to the consumer price index (CPI) rather than the higher retail price index (RPI), saying: "This change is currently illegal."

Johnson defends his depiction of situation in Europe

Boris Johnson stood by his stance on the European Union. Credit: ITV News

Boris Johnson has responded to the European Commission President's questioning of whether his depiction of the EU is "in line with reality".

Jean-Claude Juncker said it was time for Mr Johnson to come back to Brussels "in order to check" what he is telling the British people.

It comes after Mr Johnson recently compared the EU's expansion plans with the European goals of Adolf Hitler.

The former London mayor, and 'Vote Leave' campaigner ,told ITV News: "I think what's happening now in Brussels is alarming."

"They are trying to build as I say, a federal structure bubble-gumming together these different countries with a United States of Europe build around a fiscal and political union designed to prop up the euro in which Britain will inevitably be involved."

Smoke bombs in fountains as workers storm French port

French dock workers have stormed the port city of Le Havre and thrown smoke bombs into fountains, the Associated Press has reported.

The trouble comes amid widespread strike action over the country's controversial reforms to labour laws.

The unions are involved in a stand-off with the government over reforms which will make it easier for firms to hire and fire employees.

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