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11 October 2019

Five things you need to know today: Sanctions proposed as Turkey moves into Syria

Plus, talks suggest "pathway" to Brexit deal and MPs call to keep free TV licences for over 75s.

By New Statesman

Republicans seek sanctions as civilians flee Turkish offensive on Kurds

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have proposed sanctions against Turkey as the country continues its move into areas of Syria controlled by Kurdish groups. Civilians living in the region have begun fleeing from Turkish forces, who were effectively given the greenlight for the move by President Donald Trump. 

Johnson and Varadkar see pathway to deal but barriers remain

Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar delivered a surprisingly positive assessment of the chances of producing a Brexit deal before the end of October following talks on Thursday. In a joint statement the UK and Irish leaders said they “could see a pathway to a possible deal”. The upbeat statement sent the pound soaring on currency markets, though there remains skepticism that a deal can be found to satisfy either the UK parliament of EU leaders. 

Keep free-TV licenses for over 75s, say MPs

MPs on the commons culture media and sport select committee have called on the government and the BBC to keep free TV-licenses for the over 75s. The BBC is planning to stop funding free licences – unless a member of the household receives pension credit welfare payments –  after the government forced it to shoulder the £700m cost in 2015.

“Beatles” jihadists transferred to US custody

Two of the notorious UK Islamic state jihadists known as “the Beatles” have been transferred to the US from Kurdish prisons. The two are expected to be tried in Virginia after being moved due to concerns they could escape as a result of the Turkish offensive in the region. 

Daughter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe returns to UK

The daughter of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran on spying allegations has returned to the UK. Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in jail since 2016 after undertaking a journey she has said was to introduce her daughter to relatives. Boris Johnson has been accused of prolonging her detention by publicly suggesting she was there to train journalists. 

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