Day: October 15, 2019

The Latest: Merkel likens Brexit talks to ‘squaring circle’

LUXEMBOURG — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is likening the effort to break the Brexit deadlock to “squaring the circle,” but is vowing to work until the last moment to secure an orderly British withdrawal from the European Union.

Merkel pointed to the difficulties of reconciling the U.K.’s desire to leave the EU customs union with the need to maintain an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In a speech to German machinery makers, she said that “what they are trying to negotiate is something like squaring the circle, and it is very, very complicated.”

She added that “we will work until the last minute for an orderly British withdrawal” but insisted that the EU is also prepared if no deal is reached.

Merkel said “one thing is clear already now.” Britain, she said, will develop into “another competitor on Europe’s doorstep and that will require the European Union even more strongly to be competitive and to take geopolitical responsibility.”

___

8:45 a.m.

The European Union’s Brexit negotiator says a divorce deal with the United Kingdom is still possible this week but that the British government needs to come forward with a legal text.

Michel Barnier said ahead of a meeting with EU foreign ministers that the main challenge now is to turn British proposals on the complex issue of the border on the island of Ireland into something binding.

Barnier said it is “high time to turn good intentions into a legal text.”

EU leaders are meeting for a two-day summit in Brussels from Thursday. Brexit will top the agenda as the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline looms.

“Even if an agreement will be difficult — more and more difficult, we think — it is still possible this week,” Barnier said.

___

Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://ift.tt/2QQDXv6

The Associated Press


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Politics and ‘pillow talk’: On the campaign trail with Canada’s political spouses

Leaders' spouses

It’s no picnic being married to a federal party leader in the middle of a closely fought election campaign. It’s weeks of whistle stop travel, jet lag and anxiety, sometimes with kids in tow.

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Beverly Sackler, an owner of Purdue Pharma, dies

One of the owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has died.

Beverly Sackler died Monday, according to a filing made by her lawyers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

She was the widow of Raymond Sackler, one of the brothers who bought the drug company Purdue Frederick in 1952. The company later became Purdue Pharma. Beverly Sackler, who lived in Connecticut, was on its board for decades.

No details were in the court filing. Phone calls seeking comment were made to a lawyer and a family spokesman.

Nearly 2,700 lawsuits blame the company for helping spark the opioid crisis. Hundreds also blame family members, including Beverly Sackler. Purdue has proposed to settle them in a deal that would require the family to give up company ownership and pay at least $3 billion.

The Associated Press

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Margaret Atwood Named Joint Winner Of 2019 Booker Prize Alongside Bernardine Evaristo

A composite showing Canadian author Margaret Atwood and British author Bernardine Evaristo, the co-winners of the 2019 Booker Prize.

LONDON — Canadian literary star Margaret Atwood is sharing the Booker Prize with British author Bernardine Evaristo, after the prize jury tossed the rulebook out the window by naming two winners.

Atwood is the fourth author to have won the prize twice and Evaristo is the first Black woman to claim the prize since it began in 1969.

In accepting the award, Atwood said she was surprised because she would have considered herself “too elderly” to win, adding that she doesn’t need the attention.

“It would have been quite embarrassing for me as a good Canadian, because we don’t do famous. We think it’s in bad taste,” Atwood said.

She said she prefers to share it with Evaristo, who in turn called Atwood, “a legend.”

Atwood won the award for “The Testaments,” her blockbuster follow-up to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” while Evaristo won for “Girl, Woman, Other.”

The Booker is considered one of the most prestigious literary awards in the English-speaking world.

The joint win means Atwood and Evaristo will share both the honour and the 50,000-pound (C$83,500) prize money.

In a press release, the Booker Prize admitted the judges were breaking the rules by naming two winners.

It has been jointly awarded twice before, to Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton in 1974 and to Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth in 1992. But the rules were changed in 1993 so that only one author could win the prize.

Joint winners Margaret Atwood, left, and c, right, pose with their 2019 Booker Prize Winner on Oct. 14, 2019, in London, England. 

“Breaking the Booker Prize rules, the judges have split the prize between two authors,” it says.

Industry insiders predict “The Testaments” will be one of the year’s bestsellers. The long-awaited sequel is equal parts political thriller and allegory, set in a world in which women are subjugated as properties of the state.

Girl, Woman, Other,” is Evaristo’s eighth book of fiction and the prize committee says she drew on aspects of the African diaspora, be it past, present, real or imagined, to inform it.

Atwood previously won in 2000 for “The Blind Assassin.”

A Booker judge praised “The Testaments” as “savage and beautiful” and said it delivers its message “with conviction and power.”

 

But the Toronto-based writer’s moment in the spotlight has been marked by tragedy. About a week after last month’s launch of “The Testaments,” Atwood’s spouse, author and conservationist Graeme Gibson, died at age 85 after battling dementia.

Still, Atwood is trudging ahead with her high-wattage book tour, posing for magazine covers, chatting up talk-show hosts and regaling crowds at events in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

The fanfare speaks to Atwood’s rare status as a writer with as much critical acclaim as she has pop-culture cache.

This is thanks in no small part to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has seen a resurgence in recent years as politics and entertainment have converged to make the 1985 novel seem more relevant than ever.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” has been adapted into an Emmy Award-winning TV series, and “The Testaments” is also being developed for the screen.

Meanwhile, the dystopian tale has been hailed as prophecy by some who see modern parallels to the novel’s totalitarian state that treats women as property.

Around the world, activists have donned the red-cloaked uniforms of handmaids ” who are forced to bear children for the regime’s rulers — to protest the encroachment of women’s civil and reproductive rights.

There is also a TV adaptation of Atwood’s novel “Alias Grace,” and the series “Wandering Wenda” is based on her alliteration-filled children’s books.

Born in 1939 in Ottawa, Atwood grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec and Toronto.

She has published more than 40 books including poetry and non-fiction, which also include “Cat’s Eye,” “The Edible Woman,” “The Robber Bride” and “MaddAddam.”

Over her distinguished career, Atwood has won many awards, including the 1996 Giller Prize for “Alias Grace” and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the U.S.

She has been named a chevalier in France’s Ordre des arts et des lettres and has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada, and one from Oxford University in England.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2019.

With files from Adina Bresge

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By The Wall of Law October 15, 2019 Off

Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo named joint winners of Booker Prize

LONDON — Canadian literary star Margaret Atwood is sharing the Booker Prize with British author Bernardine Evaristo, after the prize jury tossed the rulebook out the window by naming two winners.

Atwood is the fourth author to have won the prize twice and Evaristo is the first black woman to claim the prize since it began in 1969.

At a ceremony in London Monday night, Atwood said she was surprised because she would have considered herself “too elderly” to win, adding that she doesn’t need the attention.

“It would have been quite embarrassing for me, a good Canadian, because we don’t do famous. We think it’s in bad taste,” Atwood said.

She said she prefers to share it with Evaristo, who in turn called Atwood, “a legend.”

Atwood won the award for “The Testaments,” her blockbuster follow-up to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” while Evaristo won for “Girl, Woman, Other.”

The joint win means the women will share both the 50,000-pound (C$83,500) prize money and the honour of the Booker, which is considered one of the most prestigious literary awards in the English-speaking world.

The Booker Prize admitted in a press release that the judges were breaking the rules by naming two winners.

It has been jointly awarded twice before, to Nadine Gordimer and Stanley Middleton in 1974 and to Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth in 1992. But the rules were changed in 1993 so that only one author could win the prize.

“Breaking the Booker Prize rules, the judges have split the prize between two authors,” the release says.

This was the sixth Booker nomination for Atwood, who won the prize in 2000 for “The Blind Assassin.”

Industry insiders predict “The Testaments” will be one of the year’s bestsellers. The long-awaited sequel is equal parts political thriller and allegory, set in a world in which women are subjugated as properties of the state.

“Girl, Woman, Other,” is Evaristo’s eighth book of fiction and the prize committee says she drew on aspects of the African diaspora, be it past, present, real or imagined, to inform it.

Peter Florence, chairman of the judges, told the audience at the ceremony that they tried voting Monday and “it didn’t work.”

“We found that there were two novels not that we couldn’t let go of, but that we desperately wanted to win this year’s prize,” Florence said.

The jury loved Evaristo’s novel for the way it gives voice to people, “who are not always articulated,” and makes the invisible visible,” he said.

Of Atwood’s “The Testaments,” he said: “We love this examination of complicity and resilience and resistance, we love the language, we love the storytelling power. We love the ambition.”

But the Toronto-based writer’s moment in the spotlight has been marked by tragedy. About a week after last month’s launch of “The Testaments,” Atwood’s spouse, author and conservationist Graeme Gibson, died at age 85 after battling dementia.

Still, Atwood is trudging ahead with her high-wattage book tour, posing for magazine covers, chatting up talk-show hosts and regaling crowds at events in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

The fanfare speaks to Atwood’s rare status as a writer with as much critical acclaim as she has pop-culture cache.

This is thanks in no small part to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has seen a resurgence in recent years as politics and entertainment have converged to make the 1985 novel seem more relevant than ever.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” has been adapted into an Emmy Award-winning TV series, and “The Testaments” is also being developed for the screen.

Meanwhile, the dystopian tale has been hailed as prophecy by some who see modern parallels to the novel’s totalitarian state that treats women as property.

Around the world, activists have donned the red-cloaked uniforms of handmaids — who are forced to bear children for the regime’s rulers — to protest the encroachment of women’s civil and reproductive rights.

There is also a TV adaptation of Atwood’s novel “Alias Grace,” and the series “Wandering Wenda” is based on her alliteration-filled children’s books.

Born in 1939 in Ottawa, Atwood grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec and Toronto.

She has published more than 40 books including poetry and non-fiction, which also include “Cat’s Eye,” “The Edible Woman,” “The Robber Bride” and “MaddAddam.”

Over her distinguished career, Atwood has won many awards, including the 1996 Giller Prize for “Alias Grace” and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Literature in the U.S.

She has been named a chevalier in France’s Ordre des arts et des lettres and has received honorary degrees from universities across Canada, and one from Oxford University in England.

Jared Bland, publisher of McClelland & Stewart, said the global success of “The Testaments” is a reminder of how beloved Atwood is around the world.

“This extraordinary honour feels like an entirely fitting way to recognize such a remarkable and urgent work and a writer at the top of her game,” he said in a statement.

Kristin Cochrane, CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, said “The Testaments” deserves all the praise and recognition possible.

“For a writer who has so long shaped our collective imagination, this honour could not be more deserved,” she said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2019.

By Amy Smart in Vancouver, with files from Adina Bresge

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