David Davis returns to London this afternoon after a flying visit to Brussels to get Brexit talks underway in earnest. He’ll return Thursday, the business end of the week.The Brexit secretary stayed just long enough for an official photograph with the EU’s negotiating team. All smiles of course, but beneath it all the British delegation may be feeling the strain.It’s hard enough negotiating with the EU at the best of times. But Davis and his team now find themselves representing a government afflicted by in-fighting among its top ranks. This insight is from POLITICO‘s Brexit Files newsletter, a daily afternoon digest of the best coverage and analysis of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. Read today’s edition or subscribe here. Also On POLITICO Michel Barnier: Brexit talks will get to ‘heart of the matter’ By Saim Saeed Housing shortage puts strain on Ireland’s revival By Naomi O’Leary The weekend’s newspapers in the U.K. were dominated by briefings against the soft Brexit-supporting chancellor, Philip Hammond. No fewer than five separate sources were willing to bend the ear of the Sunday Times on the chancellor’s comments to cabinet last week — a private meeting, the contents of which tend to become public only when those present have an ax to grind, and when a weak prime minister isn’t thought up to the task of maintaining discipline.Hammond believes his stance on Brexit has put a target on his back. A fresh cabinet-level attack on him in the Daily Telegraph today suggests he is right — and that he is viewed as the figurehead of a wider push by business and the civil service to soften Brexit with a long transition in which nothing much changes for several years.“The establishment, the Treasury, is trying to f— it up. They want to frustrate Brexit,” a senior cabinet minister told the paper.Whether Hammond has the support in cabinet and the wider Conservative Party to successfully lead this push remains to be seen, and Theresa May will seek to reassert her authority at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting with a pointed reminder that the meetings are private.In Brussels, the mood among the small, smiley group of officials actually negotiating Brexit is that the foundations of the U.K.’s negotiating stance hasn’t changed since the election, so they’d better just get on with the job and ignore the politics.But it is impossible to escape the precarious reality of the British position. Until it’s clear who rules in Westminster, those foundations rest on ever-shifting sands.
World Bank: Ebola regional impact could soon reach $33 billionThe economic impact of Ebola on West Africa could range from $3.8 billion to $32.6 billion by the end of next year, depending on how quickly it can be contained and how far it spreads in the region, the World Bank reported today in a press release.In a World Bank report, experts assessed two possible scenarios: an optimistic “low Ebola,” event in which the disease is contained by early 2015, cases stay around 20,000, and economic activity gradually increases; and “high Ebola,” in which cases reach 200,000 and the outbreak worsens significantly into mid-2015. Both scenarios assume at least some spread beyond the three main affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.In the “low Ebola” scenario, lost gross domestic product (GDP) for West Africa is estimated at $2.2 billion in 2014 and $1.6 billion in 2015. In the “high Ebola” possibility, estimates suggest $7.4 billion in lost GDP for 2014 and $25.2 billion in 2015, the report says.According to the World Bank’s analysis, the economic impact of Ebola is already very serious in the three affected countries—particularly Liberia and Sierra Leone—and could become catastrophic under a slow-containment, “high Ebola” scenario.World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, said in the release, “With Ebola’s potential to inflict massive economic costs on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and the rest of their neighbors in West Africa, the international community must find ways to get past logistical roadblocks and bring in more doctors and trained medical staff, more hospital beds, and more health and development support to help stop Ebola in its tracks.”Oct 8 World Bank press release Oct 7 World Bank full report FAO launches initiative to address Ebola-caused food issuesIn response to indirect impacts of Ebola, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today launched a program to urgently assist 90,000 vulnerable households in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone whose food supplies and livelihoods are threatened by the Ebola epidemic.The FAO’s “Regional Response Programme for West Africa” will ramp up the work the agency is already doing with governments, UN partners, and local networks of agriculture, veterinary, and forestry workers to slow disease spread, meet immediate and long-term food and nutrition security needs, and build resilience, according to an FAO news story.Program activities are organized around four key objectives, the agency said:Save lives by stopping the spread of the disease through social mobilization, training, and awareness-raising activitiesBoost incomes and agricultural production to safeguard livelihoods through rapid impact assessments and support to crop and livestock production and tradeBuild resilience of communities to disease threats by improving early-warning systems and emergency responseStrengthen coordination to improve response by addressing food security issuesThe FAO is asking for $30 million to support the program over the next 12 months and says addressing agriculture- and food-related issues cannot wait.Oct 8 FAO news story Full program report