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UK Economy Close To Turning Point On Eve Of Leaving EU

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After Years Of Political Drama, UK Finally Set To Leave EU

The United Kingdom is finally set to leave the European Union on Friday and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will deliver on his election promise to “Get Brexit Done”.

The Brexit process was an extremely divisive issue that split the country for more than three and a half years of voting to leave.

January 31 will be seen as a day of salvation for the leave campaign and February 1 will mark the beginning of a new phase of negotiations between London and Brussels to agree on the shape of their future relationship.

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They have until the end of 2020 — a transition period during which Britain will remain an EU member in all but name — to hammer out an agreement on trade and other issues including security, energy, transport links, fishing rights and data flow.

The terms of the UK’s departure from the EU was backed by members of the European Parliament, MEPs ratified the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by 621 votes to 49 following an emotional debate in Brussels.

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After the vote, MEPs marked the UK’s exit by singing Auld Lang Syne.

The Parliament’s president, David Sassoli while signing the letter confirming the EU’s consent said the two sides must heed the words of the late Labour MP Jo Cox when approaching their future relationship and recognize “there is more that unites us than divides us.”

“You are leaving the EU but you will always be part of Europe…It is very hard to say goodbye. That is why, like my colleagues, I will say arrivederci.”

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The Parliament’s Brexit spokesman, Guy Verhofstadt, said it was “sad to see a country leaving that has twice given its blood to liberate Europe”.

He added that British MEPs had brought “wit, charm, and intelligence” as well as “stubbornness”, and would be missed.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said ratification of the withdrawal deal was “only a first step” towards a new partnership between the EU and the UK.

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1 Trillion Euros: EU Leaders Get Into Big Fight Over Budget

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1 Trillion Euros: EU Leaders Get Into Big Fight Over Budget

Budget arguments in any parliament are usually laced with strong points of view, and they include compromise and reversals.  It is not any different in the European Union where leaders argued vehemently through Thursday night on how one trillion euros would be spent in the next seven years.  This budget discussion is the first to take place since Britain pulled out of the bloc last month.

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So far, the discussions have been harsh, long and have led nowhere. There were clear divisions between rich and poor members, while leaders from the bloc’s 27 countries met in Brussels on Thursday to argue over EU’s future and how they would pay for its ambitious programs.

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Each leader promoted his country’s interests during a round-table meeting where each nation laid out its grievances and demands.

This budget didn’t just surface.  It is the result of years of efforts by diplomats and numbers experts. But they seem not to have satisfied different interests.

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Some experts fear the leaders’ summit might last into Saturday and still end inconclusively.

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Man Arrested After London Mosque Stabbing

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Man Arrested After London Mosque Stabbing

A suspect has been arrest in a London mosque Thursday stabbing incident.  Police say the incident is not being treated as terrorism, but Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into the attempted murder of an elderly man that was stabbed several times during afternoon prayers at London’s regent’s park mosque.  Fellow worshipers were said to have wrestled the alleged attacker to the ground.  The man had stabbed in the neck the mosque’s cleric who calls others to prayer.

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The suspect has been described as a twenty-nine-year-old man who was described by an eyewitness as a regular at the mosque.

The stabbing victim, Raafat Maglad, is said to be about seventy years old and has been at the mosque for 25 years.  Paramedics treated him at the scene and then rushed him to the hospital for further treatment.

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Maglad was said to be seriously injured, but the mosque said his condition was not life-threatening.

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Coronavirus: Ukraine Protesters Attack Buses Carrying China Evacuees

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Coronavirus: Ukraine Protesters Attack Buses Carrying China Evacuees

Dozens of protesters in a Ukrainian town on Thursday hurled stones and attacked buses carrying more than 70 evacuees from coronavirus-hit China.

Protesters clashed with police over the evacuees who were brought to a hospital in Novi Sanzhary, in the central Poltava region, where they will be held in quarantine for 14 days. The masked evacuees were peeking through bus windows as they drove slowly under a heavy police escort.

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The residents put up road blocks and burned tyres to cut off road to a sanitarium intended to host the evacuees, fearing they could become infected.

Regional police said in a statement that nine police officers and one civilian were hospitalized.

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The country’s health minister pledged to share evacuees’ quarantine for two weeks in a bid to reassure protesters who fear they could be infected.

The country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky has called for local residents to show support for the evacuees and said his government would do “everything possible” to make sure the virus does not get to Ukraine.

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Ukraine has no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, which originated last year in China’s Hubei province.

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