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9 September 2019

Five things you need to know today: France threatens to veto Brexit extension

Plus, MPs set to vote against early general election, Taliban warns more US lives will be lost after Trump cancels peace talks. 

By New Statesman

France could veto Brexit extension over “worrying” lack of progress

The French government has threatened to veto a further Brexit extension due to a “worrying” lack of progress in negotiations. “In the current circumstances, it’s ‘no’. We are not going to go through this every three months,” French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said of a possible extension from 31 October to 31 December. He added that France had seen no evidence of “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop, which Boris Johnson has refused to accept. French president Emmanuel Macron has long positioned himself as the most hardline EU leader on Brexit, in contrast to Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, who is prepared to grant the UK more time. 

MPs set to vote against early general election for second time

MPs are set to reject Boris Johnson’s second attempt to trigger a snap general election. The backbench bill blocking a no-deal Brexit is due to receive royal assent today but opposition parties are insistent that it must be implemented before they agree to a new contest. Under the legislation, Johnson would be forced to request an extension to the Brexit deadline of 31 October if a deal is not reached by 19 October. There is increasing speculation that Johnson, who has said he would rather “die in a ditch” than delay Brexit, will resign as Prime Minister and fight a new election as opposition leader. 

Taliban warns more US lives will be lost after Trump cancels peace talks

The Taliban has warned that more American lives will be lost in the Afghanistan war after Donald Trump cancelled secret peace talks. In a series of tweets, the US president wrote that he “called off” planned negotiations at Camp David after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a US soldier, on Thursday. “This will lead to more losses to the US,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”

Taxing wealth in same way as income would raise £90bn, says IPPR report

The government could gain £90bn in extra revenue over 10 years if it taxed income from wealth in the same way as income from work, a new think-tank report has said. The Institute for Public Policy Research said the reduced tax rate on gains from owning property, shares, fine art and wine was “unfair and outdated”. The highest capital gains tax rate was 40 per cent between 1988 and 2008 but it is just 20 per cent today on most assets, and 28 per cent on property in contrast to a top income tax rate of 45 per cent. 

Hezbollah shoots down Israeli drone in Lebanon 

Hezbollah has announced that it has downed an Israeli unmanned aircraft outside a southern Lebanese town after it crossed the border. The drone is now in the hands of Hezbollah’s fighters, the Iran-backed group added in a statement. Hezbollah and the Israeli army exchanged cross-border fire a week ago in the fiercest shelling exchange between the two adversaries since the 2006 Lebanon war.

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