Brexit is over, long live Brexit!

Brexit is over, long live Brexit!

At eleven o'clock this evening in London, the United Kingdom will officially escort itself out of the EU. After nearly half a century of an oft-contentious cross-channel relationship, Britain is now free to see other people. But what happens now? Is this really the end of the uncertainty and anguish that have gripped the UK since the 2016 referendum?

Not quite.

The UK is formally out of the EU, sure. But the clock is now ticking on a host of other issues.


Across the channel – The two sides still need to define their new relationship on a host of thorny issues, including trade, military and law enforcement ties, regulation, financial markets integration, and even fishing rights.

They have an 11-month grace period to work all that out. That's not a lot of time given the contentious issues involved. If nothing is agreed by December 31, then we'd be in the dreaded "no-deal" Brexit scenario, which would be economically damaging on both sides of the channel. Boris Johnson says he won't ask for an extension – which he'd have to do by July – setting up more high-wire politics as we lurch towards the summer.

Across the pond – After leaving the world's largest economic bloc, Johnson is eager to strike a fresh deal with the world's number one economy. But although the US is the UK's closest ally – a bond supported by their current leaders' mutual affection for populist messaging and awful hair – London and Washington have beefs. London recently bucked US demands to ban Huawei from building 5G networks in Britain, and Johnson says he's moving ahead with a digital services tax on US tech giants, despite Trump's threats to retaliate. Iran could also prove contentious: London, along with its erstwhile EU partners in Paris and Berlin, has said it wants the beleaguered Iran nuclear deal to survive, but Johnson has also called for a new "Trump Deal" to replace it. What side is he on?

Across the Irish Sea – Johnson also needs to manage fallout closer to home. His Brexit plan artfully avoids creating a potentially dangerous "hard border" with Ireland. But the fact remains that Brexit was not popular in Scotland or in Northern Ireland. Nationalists in both places want fresh referendums on whether to stay in the UK. Johnson has already refused to allow Scotland to call another independence referendum, and would likely do the same for any request for a Northern Irish "border poll" on unification with Ireland. The UK isn't about to fall apart, but over time these pressures will grow, particularly if the UK-EU negotiations become deadlocked later this year.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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28: The UK and the EU have again failed to agree on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. In a 28-page document, the British government had suggested further changes to trade rules that were already negotiated as part of the Brexit settlement, but Brussels was not having any of it.

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