Monday briefing: EU due to decide on Brexit delay | World news


Top story: Lib Dems and SNP offer backing for election

Hello, Warren Murray here helping you to start your week in the know about what’s what.

The EU is poised today to sign off on a Brexit extension to 31 January 2020 with an option for the UK to leave earlier if a deal is ratified, according to leaked papers seen by the Guardian. The European council president, Donald Tusk, held intensive discussions over the weekend and ambassadors for the EU27 meet this morning.

The government will for the third time bring on a vote today seeking an early election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, coupled with more time to scrutinise the withdrawal bill. MPs are expected to reject this. But over the weekend, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National party offered to back a general election on 9 December – leaving many EU officials convinced the UK will soon go to the polls. No 10 has let it be known it will look at the proposal if Labour does not support the government’s own timetable for the Brexit bill and an election. Labour is insisting on a no-deal Brexit being ruled out before it backs going to the polls. The draft EU paper suggests a no-deal Brexit on 31 October is off the table. Make sure to follow all the developments at our Politics Live blog.


End of Baghdadi – We have some gripping reporting this morning from Martin Chulov and Michael Safi telling not only of the day US forces caught up with the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but the increasingly desperate cat-and-mouse game he had played to avoid his pursuers – and the intelligence breakthrough that led them to corner him in a remote hamlet of north-western Syria. Backed into a dead-end tunnel, Baghdadi apparently detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three children who were with him. Donald Trump adopted bloodthirsty-sounding language in describing how Baghdadi met his end on Saturday night.





Kayla Mueller, who died at the hands of Isis.



Kayla Mueller, who died at the hands of Isis. Photograph: Matt Hinshaw/EPA

The raid by US special forces was named after Kayla Mueller, the humanitarian worker from Arizona who was imprisoned, tortured, sexually abused and killed by Isis.


Argentina election – Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, one of Argentina’s most popular ever presidents, has been voted back into office as vice-president after the opposition candidate Alberto Fernández won the country’s presidential election. The incumbent, Mauricio Macri, conceded defeat on Sunday night, telling supporters at his headquarters that he had called Fernández to congratulate him and invited him for a breakfast chat on Monday at the Pink Presidential Palace. A large crowd of supporters burst into a roar outside the Frente de Todos (Everybody’s Front) party bunker in the Chacarita neighbourhood of the capital city of Buenos Aires at 9pm when preliminary official results gave the victory to Fernández. With almost 70% of the vote counted, Fernández, who is no relation of Fernández de Kirchner, recorded a 47% victory against Macri’s 41%.


Gender pay gap widens with age – The gender pay gap is at its most extreme for women in their 50s, new research has revealed. Women’s average salaries at that age are 28% – or £12,509 – lower than men’s. The number of women working in their 50s and 60s has risen by 75% from 2.7 million in 1999 to 4.8 million today. ONS data shows the gender pay gap between age 18 and 21 is 18%, falling to 13% for those in their 20s, rising again to 16% for those in their 30s, and reaching 25% for women and men in their 40s. “More and more women are working in their 50s and 60s – and workplace culture needs to catch up to this shift,” said Claire Turner from the Centre for Ageing Better. “Making all jobs flexible by default would help many of those with caring responsibilities stay in work, and stop them losing out on pay and progression.”


Democrat quits after ‘revenge porn’ – The rising Democratic star Katie Hill has resigned from Congress after a sexualised smear campaign blamed on the husband she is divorcing. It included naked photographs that were leaked and published by rightwing outlets such as the Daily Mail. Hill was accused of an affair with a staff member, which was denied by both parties. She admitted to a separate relationship with a different staff member on her congressional campaign. In her resignation statement, Hill called the publication of the photographs illegal and said she was “currently pursuing all legal options”. Supporters say she is a victim of “revenge porn”, which is a crime in most of the US. Hill said: “Having private photos of personal moments weaponised against me has been an appalling invasion of my privacy. I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt.”


No place to stay – Britannia Hotels has been rated the worst hotel chain in the UK for the seventh year in a row, with guests repeatedly describing its rooms as “filthy” and complaining about mouldy bathrooms and peeling paintwork. EasyHotel and Ibis Budget also performed badly in the survey by Which?. Wetherspoon Hotels was rated best for the first time, sharing the top spot with Premier Inn, Britain’s biggest hotel chain, which has come first for the last four years. Britannia could not be reached for comment. EasyHotel was rated second-worst and Ibis Budget came third from the bottom with 60%.

Today in Focus podcast: Legacy of the bus boycott

Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol, discusses the 1963 Bristol bus boycott – a protest few may have heard of, but which proved to be a watershed moment in the civil rights movement. And: Waad al-Kateab, the director of the documentary For Sama, on life in Aleppo.

Today in Focus

Legacy of the bus boycott

Lunchtime read: ‘An outsider never forgets’

After almost 40 years in parliament, Harriet Harman is vying to replace John Bercow as Speaker and says she wants to restore public faith in politics. She tells Gaby Hinsliff about anger, antisemitism and being heckled as a “stupid cow” by Tory MPs in her first years in Westminster.





Harriet Harman at home in London



Harriet Harman at home in London. Photograph: Jillian Edelstein/The Guardian

Sport

Rassie Erasmus has warned England that South Africa will not be taken by surprise in the final after the Springboks held their nerve to defeat Wales and end Warren Gatland’s World Cup dream in a tight, tense semi-final. Lewis Hamilton secured a true champion’s victory at the Mexican Grand Prix but the championship champagne remains on ice for one more week at least. Jürgen Klopp said he loved Liverpool’s rousing comeback against Tottenham but no one inside Anfield would get carried away with a title challenge he described as merely a case of “so far, so good”. Unai Emery refused to rule out stripping Granit Xhaka of the Arsenal captaincy after the midfielder reacted angrily to fans during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. Manchester United beat Norwich 3-1 with Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial on target, despite seeing two penalties saved. Vivianne Miedema scored the only goal as Arsenal recorded a 1-0 home WSL victory over Manchester City. Cooper Kupp made 220 yards and scored a touchdown as the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-10 at Wembley. And Tiger Woods equalled Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour titles when he won the Zozo Championship in Japan by three shots from local favourite Hideki Matsuyama.

Business

The Nikkei share average has reached a one-year high during Asian trading with investors shifting funds to stocks sensitive to global economic cycles, such as silicon chip-related firms and shipping companies, and away from domestic demand oriented shares such as food, real estate companies and railways. US and Chinese officials suggested they were close to finalising some parts of a trade agreement. But Hong Kong has been tipped into recession by protests and a fall in tourism, the territory’s financial secretary has said. In Argentina the central bank has announced it will further restrict dollar buying by individuals after the opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez won the country’s presidential election. The bank said it would lower the restriction to $200 per month until December, a dramatic adjustment from the $10,000 restriction imposed at the beginning of September to help stem a slide in the peso. Sterling is trading around $1.281 and €1.156 at time of writing.

The papers

The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a US raid leads the news on some front pages, including the Times, which quotes Donald Trump: “Isis leader ‘died like a dog’ in American raid”, the Sun, which calls the killing: “Paybakr” and the Express: “Isis chief died like a coward”.





Guardian front page, Monday 28 October 2019



Guardian front page, Monday 28 October 2019.

The Guardian has the al-Baghdadi story on its front plus an exclusive: “EU ready to give UK three-month Brexit extension, leak reveals”. The i also has an election story as its lead: “December election looms as Johnson hints at deal”, as does the Telegraph: “Lib Dems offer PM route to an election”.

In other news, the FT reports: “Barclay twins’ cash injections into struggling empire set to hit $500m”, the Mail has: “NHS chief’s blast at ‘dangerous’ homeopathy”, and the Mirror has a poll that found a majority of people thought Johnson would be willing to include the NHS in a US trade deal: “Don’t trust Johnson on NHS”.

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