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1 October 2019

Five things you need to know today: Johnson takes Brexit plan to EU

Also: China celebrates; congressman resigns over insider trading; huge iceberg calves; Afghan election dispute. 

By New Statesman

Johnson to unveil Brexit masterplan

Boris Johnson plans to reveal his final, detailed plan for Brexit to EU leaders today, according to the Prime Minister’s former employer, the Daily Telegraph. It is likely to be Johnson’s last opportunity to convince EU leaders to arrive at a withdrawal agreement prior to the deadline set by the Benn Act. The Telegraph suggests that perhaps the most difficult point of the negotiation, the Irish border, will be addressed by a plan for an “economic zone” that would mean products would not have to go through customs checks to cross the border. However, the Irish broadcaster RTE reported last night that the British government had already submitted a different plan for the Irish border to the EU.

China marks national day

The People’s Republic of China has begun celebrations for its 70th anniversary. Celebrations began with a parade of 15,000 troops, hypersonic drones and ballistic missiles. Later, 70,000 doves will be released as a symbol of peace. The government has also given away more than 620,000 televisions to ensure people across China are able to watch the celebrations in Beijing.   

Trump’s original backer quits over insider trading 

The first sitting US congressman to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Chris Collins, has resigned his seat before pleading guilty to federal securities fraud. Collins is accused of having passed information regarding the performance of a drug company in which he was an investor to others, including his son, in order that they could trade shares before the information became public. In 2004, a study found that investments in stocks and shares by members of the US Senate outperformed the market by more than 12 per cent.

Iceberg the size of Greater London breaks from Antartica

An iceberg with a surface area of more than 1,000 square miles has calved from the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The vast block could comprise more than 200 cubic miles of water, weighing around 320 billion tonnes. Scientists said the Amery shelf is roughly in balance with its surroundings, meaning the calving is unlikely to have been accelerated by climate change.

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Afghan election: everyone’s a winner

Both of the frontrunners in Afghanistan’s presidential election have declared victory. The incumbent president, Ashraf Ghani, and the country’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, have each announced that they have won a majority of votes. Both men also announced they had won the 2014 presidential election, which led to a months-long dispute and the creation of the chief executive post for Abdullah. The country’s Independent Election Commission expects to declare a winner next month.

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