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.
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.
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.”
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.
Disney Lays Off A Quarter Of U.S. Theme Park Workers
Disney’s California-based Theme Parks says the company will lay off twenty-eight thousand staff members as a result of prolonged closures of the parks.
In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, the company’s head of parks, Josh D’Amaro said the company’s shares fell less than 2% after the closing bell on Tuesday.
The statement further revealed around 67% of the 28,000 laid off workers are part-time employees.
While Disney’s Theme Parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have reopened with limited capacity, both California adventure and Disneyland have remained shuttered.
The company has promised to provide severance packages for the employees and also offer other services to help workers with job placement.
Coronavirus: Belgium Death Toll Passes 10,000
Belgium remains one of the hardest hit countries with covid-19. With a population of more than eleven million, the country has now recorded ten thousand fatalities.
Belgium had more than 250 deaths daily during the peak of the pandemic in April.
The Belgian government says testing capacity has been stepped up, which has led to a sharp rise in the number of positive cases recorded, particularly now that people have returned to work and school after the summer holidays.
Meanwhile, Romania, too, has witnessed a spike in coronavirus infections by a record twenty-one hundred in the twenty-four hours between Tuesday and Wednesday.
This brings to more than one hundred twenty-seven thousand, the total number of infections in the country. Forty-eight hundred twenty-five infected persons have died so far. The government has extended a state of alert until mid-October.
Since the government eased lockdown restrictions in May, protective masks have become mandatory in public transport and indoor public spaces.
A Chaotic First Debate: Taunts Overpower Trump, Biden Visions
Few weeks to the United States presidential election, the first presidential debate between president Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden on Tuesday deteriorated into a bitter showdown as both candidates engaged in a heated and at times ugly exchange of words.
President Trump who is the Republican candidate seeking a second term relentlessly interrupted and attacked his Democratic rival during clashes over healthcare, economy, coronavirus pandemic, the future of the supreme court and climate change.
With just five weeks left until election day, Tuesday’s debate, moderated by Chris Wallace was perhaps Trump’s best opportunity yet to shift the dynamics of the race, which has been remarkable steady throughout an exceptional turbulent summer which sees him trailing in national and battleground state polls. It’s unclear whether the debate will do much to change those dynamics.
Trump accused Biden of being a leftist and promoting socialism. Biden openly called Trump a racist and told him to “shut up” as Trump repeatedly tried to goad Biden with interruptions.
According to a count by CBS News, both candidates talked over each other in the 90-minute debate in Cleveland, Ohio but Trump cut in some 73 times.
Biden accused Trump of being the “worst president America has ever had”, the president shot back that he had done “more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years”, an indictment of the former vice-president’s long career in Washington.
But even as Trump attempted to pin Biden, he trampled his own message with a stunning refusal to condemn white nationalism and commit to a peaceful transition of power.
Wallace, who pleaded with both men to stop talking over each other as he struggled at times to keep the debate on track. Biden tried to push back against Trump, sometimes looking right at the camera to directly address viewers rather than the president and snapping, “It’s hard to get a word in with this clown.”
The moderator repeatedly reminded Trump that his campaign had agreed to terms of the debate that gave each candidate time to state their views without interruption.
Describing the debate as ‘awful’, Paul Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University said “it was awful. It was hardly a debate. What we saw was Trump being Trump which was out of control most of the time.”
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