Theresa May’s Brexit negotiators want to secure a written promise of a transition deal from the European Union at a key summit this week, to help reassure businesses that they will get the grace period they desperately want.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, and David Davis, his British counterpart, are preparing to hold talks and a press conference in Brussels on Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.
It’s a sign the two sides are on track to reach an agreement on a status-quo transition phase that will last until the end of 2020.
Businesses are likely to welcome the prospect of a deal in which the U.
would continue to operate as if it were an EU member for 21 months after leaving -- accepting migrants and staying in the single market and customs union, but not having a right to vote on the rules.
European leaders are due to meet for a summit in Brussels starting on Thursday, when they’re seeking to approve the transition accord and then agree on the bloc’s negotiating position for the next phase of Brexit talks -- which focuses on the future trading relationship with the U.
Explicit Statement British negotiators are pushing for the EU to include an explicit statement in its negotiating guidelines at the summit.
They want the document to state that an agreement in principle has been reached on the terms of transition, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Businesses are pressing May’s team to give them as much reassurance as possible that they will be able to operate across Europe after Brexit without needing to change their processes to cope with new barriers such as tariffs or border checks -- at least for 21 months.
Unless such a clear statement is forthcoming from the EU, financial services and other businesses are expected to accelerate their contingency plans in case there’s no deal when the U.
leaves the bloc in a year’s time.
Despite the positive signals heading into the summit, concerns have grownin recent days that European officials could try to delay the transition accord until May moves further to reassure the Irish government that there’ll be no hard border with Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Barnier and his team have underlined that there will be no transitional phase if the U.
and EU fail to sign a final exit agreement that includes a solution for the Irish border.
Thorniest Question Whatever happens this week, the thorniest question of the Brexit negotiations is unlikely to be solved: how to police the Irish border when the U.
leaves the European Union.
and the EU have announced a separate strand of negotiations during the next month seeking progress toward a solution.
Irish representatives will be invited to attend the sessions.
May has already rejected the EU’s draft exit treaty, which sets out a fall-back option that would ensure there’s no hard border between between the U.
and the Irish Republic, by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs union while the rest of the U.
The prime minister says she will never accept such a solution because it would effectively keep Northern Ireland inside the EU’s commercial and legal jurisdiction.
But EU officials say May has so far failed to offer an alternative plausible solution.
Bitcoin prices rallied back by more than $700 in less than three hours during late Sunday trading, capping off a wild weekend that saw the digital currency plunge through $8,000 and even near the $7,000 level.
Prices are still off by 15 percent in the last 7 days, according to Coinbase.
Source: Coinbase The cryptocurrency hit a low of $7,335.
57 earlier Sunday before recovering back above $8,000, according to CoinDesk.
Traders were unsure of what was behind the late comeback, but blamed another possible bitcoin advertising ban for the weakness over the weekend.
Twitter is reportedly preparing to ban advertising for initial coin offerings, token sales, and cryptocurrency wallets globally, according to Sky News.
The new policy could roll out in two weeks, the report said.
The move would echo other tech giants restrictions on advertising, and efforts to crack down on cryptocurrency frauds.
Google announced an update to its financial services policy last week that will restrict advertising for "cryptocurrencies and related content" as of June.
Facebook, the world`s second-largest online ad provider, said in January it would ban all ads that promote cryptocurrencies to prevent the spread of what it called "financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.
" "Facebook was previous, but now Twitter is also rumored," said Joe DiPasquale, CEO of BitBull Capital.
"Much of crypto demand is retail, so this may negatively impact demand.
" Twitter declined to comment.
DiPasquale also pointed to the high price of mining affecting bitcoin`s drop.
Bitcoin miners use software to solve math problems and are given bitcoins in exchange.
That now costs around $8,000 per bitcoin, he said.
"Now that it`s dropped below that, there`s less incentive for miners to continue to keep machines on unless they are in a lower-cost energy area or have a way of producing at less than cost," DiPasquale said.
Regulatory concern has also dampened bitcoin prices in the past weeks.
Bitcoin began its fall from $11,000 in two weeks ago following a statement by the SEC that expanded its scrutiny to cryptocurrency exchanges, and news of compromised accounts on a major Hong Kong-based exchange Binance.
Bitcoin`s one-week performance Source: CoinDesk The G20 is set to meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina beginning Monday.
Cryptocurrency and bitcoin discussions will happen in a closed door session on Tuesday, a spokesperson from the G20 told CNBC, and may be discussed at a subsequent press conference.
Bitcoin recovered to $8,155.
66 as of 7:02 p.
ET Sunday, according to CoinDesk.
Other cryptocurrencies struggled Sunday.
Ethereum fell nearly 17 percent from Sunday`s open, hitting a low of $460.
09, according to data from CoinDesk.
Bitcoin cash and litecoin both dropped roughly 10 percent from the open, according to Coindesk.
Ripple meanwhile fell 14 percent to 55 cents Sunday.
Russia has been stockpiling the nerve agent used in the attack on an ex-spy and his daughter for a decade, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said.
He also dismissed a suggestion by Russia`s EU ambassador that the agent might have come from a UK laboratory.
Vladimir Chizhov had said the Porton Down lab in Wiltshire may have been the source of the substance.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain critically ill in hospital after being exposed to the substance in Salisbury.
They were found slumped on a bench in the Wiltshire city on 4 March.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia is "culpable" for the attack.
Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive in the UK on Monday to test samples of the chemical.
The results are expected to take a "minimum of two weeks", the Foreign Office said.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs that Porton Down - Britain`s military research base - identified the substance used as being part of a group of military-grade nerve agents known as Novichok developed by the Soviet Union.
Mr Johnson told the BBC`s Andrew Marr Show: "We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling Novichok.
" He said Russia`s reaction to the incident "was not the response of a country that really believes itself to be innocent".
Mr Chizhov, also speaking to the Marr Show, said Russia had "nothing to do" with the poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
He said Russia did not stockpile the poison and that the Porton Down lab was only eight miles (12km) from the city.
When asked how the nerve agent came to be used in Salisbury, he said: "When you have a nerve agent or whatever, you check it against certain samples that you retain in your laboratories.
"And Porton Down, as we now all know, is the largest military facility in the United Kingdom that has been dealing with chemical weapons research.
But pressed on whether he was suggesting Porton Down was "responsible" for the nerve agent in the attack, Mr Chizhov said: "I don`t know.
I don`t have any evidence of anything having been used.
" He said a number of scientists who claim to be responsible for creating some nerve agents "have been whisked out of Russia and are currently residing in the United Kingdom" but no stockpiles of chemical weapons had left the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
He added that there were "no stockpiles whatsoever" of nerve agents left in Russia.
Mr Chizhov`s comments come after a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said the UK was one of the most likely sources of the nerve agent, along with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden or possibly the United States.
Maria Zakharova said a large number of ex-Soviet scientists had gone to live in the West, "taking with them the technologies that they were working on".
Czech foreign minister Martin Stropnicky said the claims were "unsubstantiated" and "a classic way of manipulating information in the public space", while Sweden also "forcefully" rejected the suggestion.
Chemist Vil Mirzayanov, who revealed the existence of Novichok in the 1990s and later defected to the United States, said he was convinced Russia created the substance used in the attack.
He told the BBC: "Russia is the country that invented it, has the experience, turned it into a weapon.
This is the country that has fully mastered the cycle.
" On Saturday, the Russian foreign ministry said UK staff would be expelled from Moscow within a week, in response to Britain`s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats.
It also said it would close the British Council in Russia, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the British Consulate in St Petersburg.
`Unpredictable and aggressive` The UK foreign secretary will meet his EU counterparts and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for talks in Brussels on Monday.
Mr Stoltenberg said he expected the response to Russia to be reassessed at July`s Nato summit, telling German media the Salisbury attack followed a pattern of Russia "becoming more unpredictable and more aggressive".
Theresa May said the UK government would consider its next steps "in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners".
Labour shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti reiterated Labour`s position that the incident was either a "loss of control" by the Russian state or a "malevolent directed attack".
And John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said Labour had given a "constructive critique" in response to the incident which others "had misread".
He told ITV`s Peston on Sunday: "We support exactly what the prime minister said and we condemn Russia for this, condemn them.
A research buoy used for monitoring ocean climate conditions in the sea close to a Greenland glacier has been found washed up on a Highlands beach.
The buoy, moored 1,000m (3,281ft) down, last transmitted in 2015 and was thought to be lost after unsuccessful efforts to retrieve it.
On 9 February, the yellow buoy was found washed up next to Clachtoll Beach Campsite in Sutherland.
Scientists said it had travelled 1,098 miles (1,768km).
It was found with a Greenland sea anemone still attached to it.
More details about the buoy have recently been discovered after the owners of the campsite contacted the manufacturers of the device.
It had been deployed in the sea off Greenland by the University of New York.
The device is among a number that are regularly deployed and then retrieved by scientists gathering data on ocean climate conditions near the Helheim Glacier.
The glacier is the fastest flowing glacier along the eastern edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and one of the island`s largest ocean-terminating rivers of ice, according to Nasa, another organisation that monitors the glacier.
Helheim Glacier is named after the Vikings` world of the dead.
After the buoy`s last transmission in 2015, scientists chartered a boat to go out and retrieve it.
But the mission was aborted after the boat sank.
Other attempts were made to collect the buoy, but it was thought lost.
This week, the University of New York - delighted the lost buoy had been found and impressed by the distance it had travelled - sent out special cases to Clachtoll Beach Campsite, near Lochinver, for the buoy and its instruments to be returned to them.
The discovery at Clachtoll comes a year after a "message in a bottle" scientific experiment reached a Scottish island 12 months after it was dropped into the sea in Iceland.
That device, which was fitted with a GPS tracker, was released from a helicopter off the south coast of Iceland.
It floated west and passed the coast of Greenland, then headed towards Canada before crossing east across the North Atlantic.
The device was found on Tiree in the Inner Hebrides in January last year.
Its journeys could be tracked on a website set up by an Icelandic TV science programme which was available to the public.
The experiment was designed to highlight to the show`s young viewers how rubbish dropped in the sea does not disappear but becomes a problem for people living on coastlines in other parts of the world.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg could face a tough choice: sacrifice her embattled justice minister or put her whole cabinet to a vote.
The minority government hangs in the balance after Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug incensed the opposition by saying on Facebook that the Labor Party -- whose youth camp was targeted by Anders Behring Breivik in the 2011 terrorist attack -- cares more about the rights of terrorists than national security.
Read more on Norway’s recent election While she has since reluctantly apologized and erased the March 9 post after almost a week, the minister now faces a no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday.
The Christian Democrats have scheduled a meeting on Monday to decide on whether they will join the center-left opposition and provide a majority for her ouster.
“This is a very demanding and serious matter, which we will have to discuss thoroughly before we decide,” Knut Arild Hareide, the head of the Christian Democrats, said on Friday.
The government would resign if the Christian Democrats back the no-confidence vote, VG reported on Sunday, citing a “central source.
” Flower Support Listhaug has a power-base within the anti-immigration wing of her Progress Party, which is led by Finance Minister Siv Jensen.
The 40-year-old Listhaug has in the past called political correctness on immigration a “tyranny of good” and has posted a picture on Facebook of an immigrant being expelled from Norway encouraging followers to “like and share!” Her backers showed their support on Friday, flooding the Justice Ministry with flowers.
A poll released on Friday for newspaper VG showed growing support for the Progress Party, its backing rising 2.
8 percentage point to 15.
Jensen also said over the weekend that she had full confidence in Listhaug.
She has also crossed swords personally with Hareide, who now could hold her fate in his hands.
In a debate about religious extremism last year, she said he and other politicians are guilty of “licking Imams up the back.
” Solberg has already apologized for Listhaug’s March 9 comment on behalf of the government.
But it could be until Tuesday until it’s revealed how the premier will deal with a no-confidence vote.
“The question on how the government will handle a no-confidence vote will only be answered in parliament,” Solberg told news agency NTB.
Beyond Limits Listhaug lashed out on Facebook after a majority in parliament, including Labor, defeated a government proposal to strip potential terrorists of their citizenship without a court order.
The no-confidence motion was brought by one of parliament’s smallest parties, the Red party, and was then backed by Labor and the others.
“The parliamentary majority can’t accept a Justice Minister who claims that we put terrorists’ rights above the nation’s security,” Red Party leader Bjornar Moxnes said on Twitter.
“It quite simply goes beyond the limits of what a government minister can do.
” Labor Party leader, Jonas Gahr Store said on Saturday to broadcaster NRK that it would be acceptable if Listhaug was given another ministry to run.
The plan was rejected by the Progress Party, which is also holding a meeting on Monday.
YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — Vladimir Putin`s victory in Russia`s presidential election Sunday isn`t in doubt.
The only real question is whether voters will turn out in big enough numbers to hand him a convincing mandate for his fourth term — and many Russians are facing intense pressure to do so.
Casting his ballot in Moscow, Putin seemed confident of victory, saying he would consider any percentage of votes a success.
"The program that I propose for the country is the right one," he said.
Election monitors were reporting irregularities at voting stations across Russia, even though election authorities were under orders to ensure that the voting was free and fair after violations marred Putin`s last election in 2012.
Back then, Putin faced a serious opposition movement, but since then he has boosted his popularity thanks to Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria.
Now, he faces seven challengers but no serious threat to his rule.
Voters were casting ballots across the world`s largest country, from the Pacific coast to Siberia and Moscow.
Voting will conclude at 8 p.
EDT) in Kaliningrad, the Baltic exclave that is Russia`s westernmost region, and initial results are expected soon afterward.
Putin is so certain of winning that authorities are investing instead in massive get-out-the-vote efforts to produce a turnout that would embolden the Russian leader both domestically and internationally.
Election monitoring group Golos and online groups set up to record violations reported scores of problems Sunday.
They included discrepancies in ballot numbers, ballot boxes placed out of sight of observation cameras and last-minute voter registration changes likely designed to boost turnout.
The central election commission released midway turnout figures for far eastern and Siberian regions ranging from 28 to 100 percent.
But the figures meant little because the population is heavily concentrated farther West in European Russia.
Some 145,000 observers were monitoring the voting in the world`s largest country, including 1,500 foreigners and representatives from opposition leader Alexei Navalny`s political movement.
Navalny himself is barred from running.
Many voters said they were under pressure from their employers to vote.
Yevgeny, a 43-year-old mechanic voting in central Moscow, said he briefly wondered whether it was worth voting.
"But the answer was easy .
If I want to keep working, I vote," he said.
He said his bosses haven`t asked for proof of voting but he fears they will.
He spoke on condition that his last name not be used out of concern that his employer — the Moscow city government — would find out.
Yevgeny Roizman, the mayor of Russia`s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg, told The Associated Press that local officials and state employees have all received orders "from higher up" to make sure the presidential vote turnout is over 60 percent.
"They are using everything: schools, kindergartens, hospitals — the battle for the turnout is unprecedented," said Roizman, one of the rare opposition politicians to hold a significant elected office.
A doctor at one of the city`s hospitals told the AP how one kind of voting pressure works.
The doctor, who gave her name only as Yekaterina because of fears about repercussions, said she and her co-workers were told to fill out forms detailing not only where they would cast their ballots, but giving the names and details of two "allies" whom they promised to persuade to go vote.
"People were indignant at first, said: `They`re violating our rights` .
but what can you do?" she said at a cafe Saturday.
Yekaterina said she wasn`t sure what she would do with her ballot, musing that "maybe I`ll just write `Putin is a moron.
`" But she understood that not showing up at the polling place Sunday would not only endanger her job but would reflect badly on her boss, whom she likes.
She said she wouldn`t go to vote if she wasn`t forced to.
"What`s the point? We already know the outcome.
This is just a circus show," she said.
Authorities were also appealing to patriotic feelings by holding the vote on the anniversary of Russia`s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Polls show that most Russians continue to see the takeover of that Black Sea peninsula as a major achievement despite subsequent Western sanctions.
The eight presidential candidates were barred from campaigning Sunday, but much-loved entertainers appealed to voters in a televised message aired throughout the day to fulfill their civic duty and go to the polls.
Voters also faced billboards celebrating Russian greatness — a big theme of Putin`s leadership.
authorities investigate alleged Russian interference in President Donald Trump`s 2016 election, Moscow has warned of possible meddling in the Russian vote.
Turnout-boosting efforts have been the most visible feature of the campaign — and all come from taxpayers` pockets.
In Moscow alone, authorities spent 50 million rubles ($870,000) on balloons and festive decorations at polling stations.
In Moscow, first-time voters were being given free tickets for pop concerts, and health authorities were offering free cancer screenings at selected polling stations.
In the southern city of Tambov, the state-sponsored Youth Parliament backed an Instagram competition.
Voters who take selfies at polling stations and post them under the designated hashtag will be able to enter a raffle for high-end electronics, including an iPhone X.
Ella Pamfilova, the chairwoman of the Central Election Commission who was appointed to clean up Russia`s electoral system, vowed to respond to complaints about being coerced to vote.
Putin has traveled across Russia pledging to raise wages, pour more funds into the country`s crumbling health care and education and modernize dilapidated infrastructure.
Among Putin`s challengers is Ksenia Sobchak, a 36-year-old TV host who has campaigned on a liberal platform and criticized Putin`s policies.
Some see Sobchak, the daughter of Putin`s one-time patron, as a Kremlin project intended to add a democratic veneer to the vote and help split the ranks of Kremlin critics.
Read or Share this story: https://usat.
The Brazilian senator and former football star Romario de Souza is to run for election as governor of Rio de Janeiro in October.
The state has been racked by violence and is on the verge of bankruptcy.
The 1994 World Cup winner - known simply as Romario - says his campaign will focus on tackling those problems.
He will stand as a candidate for the centrist Podemos party.
He has been praised as a senator for his battle against corruption in football.
"In these chaotic times, change is necessary, change is urgent.
Rio always had safety problems, but never like now," the 52-year-old said on Saturday while announcing his candidacy.
"I don`t have experience of being in charge.
It will be, God willing, the first time that I`ve had the opportunity to demonstrate all I have learned in my life.
" The former Barcelona footballer is currently under investigation for allegedly concealing assets to avoid paying debts, Brazilian media report.
He has denied the accusations.