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European Union’s Barnier says Brexit deal 90% done, but Ireland issue could derail it

Rhonda Palacios

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European Union's Barnier says Brexit deal 90% done, but Ireland issue could derail it

Michel Barnier, European Union negotiator said on Friday that a Brexit deal with the United Kingdom was 90 percent done, although there is still a chance that no accord would be reached due to the ongoing stumbling blocks over the Irish border.

The European Union negotiator told France Inter radio that ninety percent of the accord on the table has been agreed with Britain.

He added that he is convinced that a deal is necessary but not sure if they will get one.

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister as well as other EU leaders voiced renewed confidence on Thursday that they could secure a Brexit deal. However, still the two sides remain at odds over how to deal with their only land border, between the British province of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

May had also signaled that she would consider extending a so-called transition period for a matter of a few months after Britain leaves the EU in March.

Rhonda Palacios has travelled around the world has lived in as many as 7 countries. She loves travelling and knows everything that is going around the world. She contributes to World news on Report Door. You might see her driving her car without she knowing where is she destined to, as she just enjoys driving.

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Please queue here: UK parliament votes on ending special coronavirus measures

Michael Leahy

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Please queue here: UK parliament votes on ending special coronavirus measures

FILE PHOTO: General view during the weekly question time debate at the Parliament, during the hybrid parliament session amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in London, Britain, April 22, 2020. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers will form a long queue snaking through parliament on Tuesday to decide whether to ditch the system of remote voting and parliament-by-videoconference that has allowed scrutiny of the government’s coronavirus response.

In April, the House of Commons announced changes that allowed its 650 lawmakers to question ministers by video link, and in May the house held its first remote vote – casting aside centuries of tradition in a building known worldwide for adversarial debates and arcane procedures.

The system was temporary, and despite functioning as planned, ministers said it should be scrapped when parliament returned on June 2 from a scheduled break, because it did not allow enough scrutiny and was slow at processing legislation.

On Tuesday lawmakers will decide on the new system of voting – by holding a vote in which they will line up, two metres apart, in a queue expected to snake out of the debating chamber, down ornate hallways and into an 11th century hall where kings and queens have lain in state.

“It is not perfect, it will take time, and members will need to be patient. But it is the safest method I can think of,” Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said.

Political rivals have decried the end of the hybrid parliament, saying it will disenfranchise those who cannot attend for medical reasons and could spread the infection as lawmakers travel in and out of London.

Tuesday’s vote could spark a rebellion within Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party among those who want to keep some elements of the hybrid parliament. Lawmakers will vote on rebel plans which could allow remote voting or videoconferencing to continue.

The government, however, is pushing for an end to the special arrangements.

“Westminster has been the seat of our democracy for centuries. It will take more than the coronavirus to change that,” Jacob Rees-Mogg, the government’s leader in the House of Commons, said in The House magazine.

Reporting by William James in London; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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Pakistan prime minister defends lifting lockdown, urges nation to ‘live with the virus’

Michael Leahy

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Pakistan prime minister defends lifting lockdown, urges nation to 'live with the virus'

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday cited economic losses to justify his government’s decision to lift a coronavirus lockdown despite rising infections and deaths, urging people to “live with the virus.”

A man wearing a protective face mask, rides a motor bike amidst road traffic, as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Karachi, Pakistan June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Pakistan has rolled back almost all shutdown measures, primarily to avert an economic meltdown. The country would open to tourism but cinemas, theatres and schools remain closed.

The South Asian nation of 220 million has reported 72,160 novel coronavirus cases and 1,543 deaths, which jumped lately to as high as 80 a day.

Its economic losses included a decline in exports, a 30% shortfall in revenues and remittances were expected to fall in coming months, Khan said. With the fiscal deficit likely to rise as high as 9.4% and the revenue shortfall, Pakistan is facing a balance of payment crisis.

The country couldn’t afford to match the losses incurred during the lockdown as many other countries had done, Khan said in a televised address.

He cited 50 million people who live below the poverty line and 25 million daily wagers.

Khan said his government gave cash handouts to the poor, which wasn’t possible to continue on such a large scale, adding around 130 million to 150 million people were adversely affected by the shutdowns.

“Our conditions don’t allow that we keep feeding money to them, how long we can give them money,” Khan said.

He urged people to act responsibly but more infections and deaths were inevitable.

“This virus will spread more. I have to say it with regret that there will be more deaths,” Khan said. “If people do take care they can live with the virus.”

Reporting by Asif Shahzad; editing by Grant McCool

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Deaths from Storm Amanda rise to 20 in Central America

Michael Leahy

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Deaths from Storm Amanda rise to 20 in Central America

FILE PHOTO: Cars damaged by floods caused by Tropical Storm Amanda are seen in San Salvador, El Salvador May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – Torrential rains at the weekend caused by Tropical Storm Amanda have killed at least 20 people in Central America, authorities said on Monday, as remnants of the weather front moved north into Mexico and threatened to form a new cyclone.

The bulk of the victims were in El Salvador, where Amanda led to the deaths of 15 people and the disappearance of seven more, as well as destroying hundreds of homes and damaging roads, the National Commission for Civil Protection said.

Carolina Recinos, a senior aide to Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, told a news conference that Amanda had dumped the equivalent of “almost 10 percent” of the annual rainfall on the country in a relatively short space of time.

In Guatemala, officials reported the deaths of two people due to the storm, including a boy of nine. The rains killed at least three people in Honduras, including a brother and sister swept into a river in a car, local authorities said.

By Monday afternoon, remnants of Amanda were on the western flank of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and expected to drift west into the Bay of Campeche, a major oil producing area, according to projections by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The weather front is likely to form a tropical depression later on Monday or by Tuesday, the Miami-based NHC said.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Additional reporting by Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City and Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa; Editing by Alistair Bell

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