Five things you need to know today: EU now braced for no deal-Brexit

Plus, the US officially labels China a “currency manipulator”, Obama rebukes Trump following mass shootings and North Korea fires two more missiles. 

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“The UK does not have another plan”

The EU is preparing for the UK to leave the bloc without a deal on 31 October after Boris Johnson signalled his refusal to accept the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May. Following meetings with the prime minister’s new chief Europe adviser, David Frost, a senior European diplomat reportedly said: “It was clear the UK does not have another plan. No intention to negotiate, which would require a plan. A no deal now appears to be the UK government’s central scenario.” Frost reaffirmed Johnson’s insistence on the removal of the Irish backstop, a demand which the EU has rejected as unacceptable. 

Though a majority of MPs are opposed to no deal, Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings has argued that there would be no requirement for Johnson to resign as prime minister if a no-confidence motion was passed against the government. 

US officially labels China a “currency manipulator”

The US has officially designated China a “currency manipulator”, further intensifying tensions between the two countries. The move, which followed the Chinese yuan weakening below seven per dollar, was the first time the US has applied this label to China since the Clinton administration in 1994. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused China of manipulating its currency “to gain unfair competitive advantage in international trade” and the US will now ask the International Monetary Fund to “eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions”.

Obama rebukes Trump following mass shootings

Barack Obama has urged Americans to reject language from their leaders that fuels hate and normalises racism. In a statement issued following two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, which left 31 people dead, the former president implicitly rebuked Donald Trump, stating that “we should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalises racist sentiments”. Trump has called on the US to “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy” but has sought to attribute the shootings to mental illness and called for stronger background checks on gun purchasers to be tied to new immigration legislation. 

North Korea fires two missiles following US-South Korea drills

North Korea has fired two unidentified missiles into the sea of Japan, its fourth such launch in less than two weeks, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff. The launches followed the commencement of US-South Korea military drills on Monday, which the north denounced as a “flagrant violation” of agreements reached with Donald Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in. Pyongyang warned that it would be “compelled to seek a new road” if the military exercises did not cease. 

Kashmir endures communication blackout after India removes special status

Kashmir remains subject to a communication blackout after India withdrew the disputed territory’s special status. Landlines, mobiles and internet connections have all been cut off as tens of thousands of troops patrol the streets. India’s revocation of Article 370, which guaranteed Kashmir’s autonomy, is the most dramatic change to relations since Kashmir joined the Indian union after independence in 1947.

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