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UK And EU Agree Historic Brexit Trade Deal

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Finally, the United Kingdom and European Union have on Thursday agreed on a post-Brexit trade deal after months of torturous negotiations.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the deal tweeted, as he posted a photo of himself with both thumbs raised in celebration stating “A deal is done”.

The announcement came just one week before the UK exits the EU’s single market and customs union on December 31 hence, averting the prospect of a chaotic and acrimonious divorce at the end of this year.

Fisheries had been a key sticking point throughout Brexit talks.

Delivering a televised address, Johnson hailed striking what he called “the biggest trade deal yet”, adding that Britain had taken back control of its laws, borders, and fishing waters.

Johnson said “we have completed the biggest trade deal yet, worth 660 billion pounds a year, a comprehensive Canada-style free trade deal between the UK and the EU”.

The PM urged Britons to make the most of what he called the country’s soon-to-be status of a “newly and truly independent nation”.

The French politician and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that the EU “will be alongside European fishermen to support them,” and promised that the deal provides ” a basis for reciprocal access to water and resources, with a new distribution of quotas and fishing opportunities.”

Barnier told the press conference. A new set of rules named “the level playing field,” will “be the mark for the EU for all agreements regarding free trade.” There will be free trade without tariffs between the UK and the EU.

According to Barnier, he said there will be some real changes ahead from January 1 for a lot of citizens and a lot of businesses. That is the consequence of Brexit.”

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Dog Spent Days Outside Turkish Hospital Waiting For Sick Owner

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A devoted dog has spent days waiting outside a hospital in northern Turkey where her sick owner was receiving treatment.

The pet, Boncuk (Bon-DJUK), which means bead, followed the ambulance that transported her owner, Cemal Senturk, to hospital in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on Jan. 14. She then made daily visits to the facility, private news agency DHA reported on Wednesday.

Senturk’s daughter, Aynur Egeli, said she would take Boncuk home but the dog would repeatedly run off and return to the hospital.

Hospital security guard Muhammet Akdeniz told DHA: “She comes every day around 9 a.m. and waits until nightfall. She doesn’t go in.”

“When the door opens she pokes her head inside,” he said.

On Wednesday, Boncuk was finally reunited with Senturk when he was pushed outside in a wheelchair for a brief meeting with his dog.

“She’s very used to me. And I miss her, too, constantly,” he told DHA.

Senturk was discharged from the hospital later on Wednesday and returned home with Boncuk. (AP)

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Hungary approves Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

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Hungary has become the first country in the European Union to give preliminary approval to the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff confirmed both the Russian jab and the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine have been approved.

Foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has been scheduled to travel to Moscow for further talks, where he is expected to discuss a shipment and distribution plans.

Hungarian health officials are also in Beijing for discussions on the approval and immediate delivery of one million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, already being used in Serbia.

Sinopharm is a Chinese company that announced last month phase three trials of its jab showed 79% effectiveness.

At least 140,000 Hungarians have already been vaccinated with it.

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UK Stands Firm In Row Over EU Envoy’s Diplomatic Status

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The United Kingdom and the European Union are at logger-heads over the status of the bloc’s ambassador in London.

The UK is refusing to give Joao Vale De Almeida full diplomatic status granted to other ambassadors.

The foreign office is insisting he and his officials should not have the privileges and immunities afforded to diplomats under the Vienna convention.

This means the ambassador would not have the chance to present his credentials to the queen like other diplomatic heads of mission.

The issue is expected to be discussed by EU foreign ministers next Monday when they meet for the first time since the post-Brexit transition period ended last December.

The foreign, commonwealth and development office wants to treat the EU delegation only as representatives of an international organization.

This means EU diplomats would not have the full protection of the Vienna convention, giving them immunity from detention, criminal jurisdiction and taxation.

The EU argues it is not a typical international organization because it has its own currency, judicial system and the power to make law.

Former conservative minister for Europe, David Lidington, warned that “non-recognition could set a bad precedent for regimes that hate EU ambassadors speaking up for human rights defenders.”

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