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9 July 2019updated 07 Jun 2021 1:55pm

Five things you need to know today: Trump declares war and Hong Kong bill declared dead

By New Statesman

A not-so-special relationship

Donald Trump has said the US “will no longer deal with” the British ambassador after leaked memos revealed the diplomat had described the White House administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”. In an extraordinary outburst, Trump said of Kim Darroch: “I do not know the ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the US. We will no longer deal with him.” The US president added that Theresa May and her representatives had made “a mess” of Brexit having failed to listen to his advice. “I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way,” he said, adding that “the good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new prime minister”. A Downing Street spokesman said that May had “full faith” in the British ambassador and that it was Darroch’s job to provide an “honest and unvarnished” assessment of the US administration. 

Hong Kong bill: dead on arrival

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has said a contentious bill that would have allowed extradition to the Chinese mainland is “dead”. But in a press conference following weeks of mass protests, the city’s head stopped short of saying that the legislation would be withdrawn completely. Lang said that she felt “heartbroken” by the divisions over the process, which she described as a “complete failure”. If not withdrawn immediately, the bill will become defunct at the end of the current legislative session. 

Conservative leadership: it’s debatable 

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will face each other tonight in the only televised head-to-head debate of the Conservative leadership contest. The former foreign secretary and his successor will appear for an hour on ITV from 8pm in front of a live studio audience in Salford. Polls suggest Johnson is on course for a landslide victory in the contest, the result of which will be announced on 23 July. 

Labour’s Brexit fudge: new edition 

Labour has agreed to support a referendum on any Brexit deal agreed by a Conservative prime minister and to campaign for Remain following a meeting between Jeremy Corbyn and the leaders of the party’s five largest affiliated trade unions. Should Labour enter power, any deal would also be put to a public vote but the party’s stance would “depend on the deal negotiated”. The options on the ballot paper would be to accept the negotiated withdrawal agreement or to remain in the European Union. 

Dancing with wings

A new study of a dancing cockatoo has found that the bird is capable of performing 14 unique dances to music. Aniruddh Patel, the senior author of the findings published in Current Biology, said: “It’s either imitation, which is sophisticated enough or it’s actual creativity, which is incredibly interesting.” Snowball, the sulphur-crested bird in question, danced to songs including “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”.

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