BREXIT UPDATE: MARCH IS COMING FOR MAY

As things stand now, the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union in March of 2019. But despite months of rancorous negotiations, Brussels and London are still far apart on the terms of what that divorce might look like. Just days ago, the basis for a potential deal fell apart, leaving open the possibility that when the time comes, the UK might crash out of the Union without a new set of economic and financial agreements in place. That would be a potential economic disaster for both sides.


As the deadline approaches, EU leaders are set to convene in Luxembourg today to try again to hammer out at least a basic agreement over the future of economic relations between the continent and the UK.

Here’s a quick guide to what the issues are and what could happen next:

The major sticking point between the UK and EU right now is what happens to the border between Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, which is a member of the EU. The situation is compounded by the fact that the border itself is part of deep-seated ethnic and religious fault lines. Thirty years ago, an agreement to bring an end to decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland was based on a delicate compromise: Northern Ireland would remain a part of the United Kingdom but with continued economic, cultural, and civil ties to the neighboring Republic of Ireland. In 1998, negotiators of that deal could never have anticipated the rapid expansion of the EU or the modern challenges of extricating the UK from it.

But the legacy of that moment now hovers over Brexit negotiations, where the UK faces a fundamental choice about this land border: either impose border controls in an effort to fully separate Northern Ireland from the EU or leave the border alone by effectively allowing it to remain under EU rules. The first option risks damaging Northern Ireland’s economy and angering those who still chafe under UK rule, while the second is seen as a red line for pro-Unionists there, including members of May’s governing coalition, and Tory hardliners who view it as prelude to continued close economic relations with the EU.

Until recently, it looked like May had achieved the careful choreography of appeasing both hardliners at home and negotiators in Brussels by proposing a technology-enabled “frictionless border” with a so-called “backstop” contingency plan to prevent a hard border in Ireland if no final Brexit deal is reached. But a cabinet rebellion from hardliners who fear this plan could become permanent – effectively maintaining integration with the EU and cutting off Northern Ireland from the UK – has scuttled the prospect for progress this week.

The bottom line: Over the next two days, May will meet with European leaders to try and find common ground on Northern Ireland that also addresses the concerns of those at home. But the clock is ticking—with only two real possibilities after this week's summit to strike a deal to finalize the UK’s withdrawal and begin discussions on future economic relations with the EU.

How much material do we use to send a package? Too much. Does recycling help? Yes – but not really. Packaging material often accumulates as waste, contributing to its own "polluting weight." To solve our packaging dilemma, Finland came up with RePack: a "circular" solution for the reuse of material.

Learn more about RePack in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

A steady increase of violence in the Sahel region of Africa over the past eight years has imposed fear and hardship on millions of the people who live there. It has also pushed the governments of Sahel countries to work together to fight terrorists.

The region's troubles have also captured the attention of European leaders, who worry that if instability there continues, it could generate a movement of migrants that might well dwarf the EU refugee crisis of 2015-2016.

But is Europe helping to make things better?

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Donald J. Trump and CorOnaVirus decide to hit the road together across the USA. Will DJT and COV discover they are more alike than different? Will their interests diverge? #PUPPETREGIME

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on US politics.

Where are US-China relations in this battle over TikTok and what is happening?

Well, this may seem like a minor deal. It's a video sharing app that the president has given 45 days to sell to a US entity or get banned in the United States. But along with WeChat, these are two of China's most successful technology companies that the US has now banned from entry into the United States and potentially banned from being used on operating systems that rely on US software inside China. So, this is a huge escalation in the geotech war between the United States and China. China for a long time has not allowed Google and Facebook and other American applications to be fully operative inside their borders. And now the US is stepping up against Chinese technology companies. The reason is that there's concerns among the US government about these tech, these apps data security practices. Members of the military, high ranking government officials aren't allowed to have these on their phones because there's concern about what China does with the data that they can harvest from those phones. This is a real warning sign to other Chinese technology companies that they may not be welcome inside the American market unless they can prove in some way, they are totally independent from the Chinese government and the Chinese military. Expect a lot of escalation in this area over the coming months and years.

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In a new interview with Ian Bremmer for GZERO World, former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says that the single most important step to reopening schools in the fall is to control infection in the community. But as of now, too many communities across the United States have lost control of the Covid-19 virus. Opening schools will only become a possibility once a majority of people start practicing the "Three 'W's" ("Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance") and local and federal governments enforce stricter protective policies. The full episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television on Friday, August 7, 2020. Check local listings.