PARIS — A French minister says the new Brexit date of Jan. 31 “is not negotiable” and “the risk of a no-deal Brexit remains.”
Minister for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin tells Europe 1 radio on Sunday that she’s advising French companies to continue preparing for a scenario in which Britain leaves the bloc on Jan. 31 without a divorce deal, despite getting a three-month Brexit extension from the European Union.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised to take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31 with or without a deal but the British Parliament blocked his plans. Now Britain is holding a Dec. 12 election and Johnson hopes to get a more Brexit-friendly Parliament.
Montchalin defended France’s earlier fight not to extend the Brexit deadline, saying French businesses and families needed “clarity” on the issue.
The Associated Press
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How ‘do us a favour’ led to Trump impeachment inquiry
WASHINGTON (AP) — The words from one president to another, somewhat casual in tone, were not casual at all in meaning: “I would like you to do us a favour, though.”
Those words have now prompted deployment of the ultimate political weapon, an impeachment process enshrined in the Constitution as a means other than the ballot to remove a president from office.
When history writes the story, the seemingly innocent request from President Donald Trump to his Ukrainian counterpart will show their infamous July 25 phone call had a lot behind it, at least implicitly.
It had the weight of U.S. military power behind it. The dangling jewel of a White House meeting if things turned out right. And the prospect that Ukraine’s very future could be in the balance, as a country aspiring to join the West while feeling threatened by an aggressive Russia to the east.
Dancing to the edge of legality and maybe over it, Trump asked the Ukrainians to investigate his own political rivals at home and interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Mueller documents: Manafort pushed Ukraine hack theory
WASHINGTON (AP) — During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pushed the idea that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee servers, Manafort’s deputy told investigators during the special counsel’s Russia probe. The unsubstantiated theory, advanced by President Donald Trump even after he took office, would later help trigger the impeachment inquiry now consuming the White House.
Notes from an FBI interview were released Saturday after lawsuits by BuzzFeed News and CNN led to public access to hundreds of pages of documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The documents included summaries of interviews with other figures from the Mueller probe, including Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Information related to Ukraine took on renewed interest after calls for impeachment based on efforts by the president and his administration to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden. Trump, when speaking with Ukraine’s new president in July, asked about the DNC servers in the same phone call in which he pushed for an investigation into Biden.
Manafort speculated about Ukraine’s responsibility as the campaign sought to capitalize on DNC email disclosures and as Trump associates discussed how they could get hold of the material themselves, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates told investigators, according to a summary of one of his interviews.
Gates said Manafort’s assertion that Ukraine might have done it echoed the position of Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort business associate who had also speculated that the hack could have been carried out by Russian operatives in Ukraine. U.S. authorities have assessed that Kilimnik, who was also charged in Mueller’s investigation, has ties to Russian intelligence. American intelligence agencies have determined that Russia was behind the hack, and Mueller’s team indicted 12 Russian agents in connection with the intrusion.
Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant wanted to avoid talking about President Donald Trump as she courted voters this week on Ridgefield Green Way just outside Virginia’s capital city. The middle-aged man at one door didn’t want to talk about anything else.
“I’ve only got one question. Do you support Trump?” he asked.
“Yes,” Dunnavant replied.
“Then you’ve got my vote,” he said.
On the sidewalk a few minutes later, Dunnavant actively distanced herself from the Republican president, acknowledging he is deeply unpopular in her district — despite the doorway encounter. The 55-year-old OB-GYN said she’d prefer that Trump stay out of Virginia ahead of Tuesday’s high-stakes elections.
US judge blocks Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon granted a temporary restraining order that prevents the rule from going into effect Sunday. It’s not clear when he will rule on the merits of the case.
Seven U.S. citizens and a non-profit organization filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday contending the rule would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants.
The lawsuit also said the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the United States with family sponsored visas.
“We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately,” says Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who argued at Saturday’s hearing on behalf of the plaintiffs. “The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”
Iran student leader says he regrets 1979 US Embassy attack
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — His revolutionary fervour diminished by the years that have also turned his dark brown hair white, one of the Iranian student leaders of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover says he now regrets the seizure of the diplomatic compound and the 444-day hostage crisis that followed.
Speaking to The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s 40th anniversary of the attack, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh acknowledged that the repercussions of the crisis still reverberate as tensions remain high between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal with world powers.
Asgharzadeh cautioned others against following in his footsteps, despite the takeover becoming enshrined in hard-line mythology. He also disputed a revisionist history now being offered by supporters of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that they directed the attack, insisting all the blame rested with the Islamist students who let the crisis spin out of control.
“Like Jesus Christ, I bear all the sins on my shoulders,” Asgharzadeh said.
At the time, what led to the 1979 takeover remained obscure to Americans who for months could only watch in horror as TV newscasts showed Iranian protests at the embassy. Popular anger against the U.S. was rooted in the 1953 CIA-engineered coup that toppled Iran’s elected prime minister and cemented the power of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Coal plant on tribal land to close after powering US West
ALONG THE BLACK MESA AND LAKE POWELL RAILROAD, Ariz. (AP) — Ron Little nestles into a familiar seat aboard a train locomotive and slides the window open, leaning out to get a better view of dozens of rail cars that stretch for a mile behind and the landscape he knows so well.
The heavy steel wheels roll along a dizzying pattern of concrete railroad ties that snake through sandstone formations, boulder-laden arroyos and grasslands. Little points to a rock formation named for the reddish dirt that Navajos use to dye wool for rugs and another with a cutout like the handle of a milk jug.
“It’s beautiful scenery you just go live with every day,” he said.
Every day until recently, when the last of the trains he’s operated for more than half his life pulled up to a power plant with thousands of tons of coal.
Before the year ends, the Navajo Generating Station near the Arizona-Utah border will close and others in the region are on track to shut down or reduce their output in the next few years. Its owners are turning to cheaper power produced by natural gas as they and other coal-fired plants in the U.S. face growing pressure over contributing to climate change.
Biden defends his ‘vision’ against Warren’s indirect attacks
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Bristling at Elizabeth Warren’s suggestions that he’s a milquetoast moderate with small ideas, presidential candidate Joe Biden countered Saturday that he offers a “bold” vision for the country and warned that Democratic primary voters should not get distracted by the party’s increasingly tense battle over ideological labels.
It was a departure from Biden’s usual campaign speech and signalled perhaps a new phase of Democrats’ search for a nominee to take on President Donald Trump, with Warren, the leading progressive candidate, and Biden, the top choice for most moderates and establishment liberals, ratcheting up the intensity three months ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
“The vision I have for this country, there’s nothing small about it. It is like going to the moon,” Biden told supporters in Des Moines, as he hit the high points of a policy slate that would increase the federal government’s spending and scope on everything from health care to the climate crisis.
Without naming Warren, the former vice-president said his ideas — such as a “public option” to compete alongside private health insurance, as opposed to Warren’s “Medicare-for-All” plan run altogether by the government — actually set the progressive standard in 2020 for a simple reason: They’re more achievable.
“I’m not promising anything crazy,” Biden said. “But it’s a vision — a vision of how we can get things done.”
Airbnb bans ‘party houses’ after California shooting kills 5
ORINDA, Calif. (AP) — Airbnb’s CEO said the company was taking actions against unauthorized parties in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Halloween party held at an Airbnb rental home in California.
In a series of tweets, Brian Chesky said Saturday the San Francisco-based company is expanding manual screening of “high risk” reservations and will remove guests who fail to comply with policies banning parties at Airbnb rental homes.
He also said the company is forming a “rapid response team” when complaints of unauthorized parties come in.
“We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable,” he tweeted.
Five people died after a Thursday night shooting that sent some 100 terrified partygoers running for their lives in the San Francisco suburb of Orinda.
Migrants endure rape and torture on route through Yemen
RAS AL-ARA, Yemen (AP) — Zahra struggled in the blue waters of the Gulf of Aden, grasping for the hands of fellow migrants. Hundreds of men, women and teenagers clambered out of a boat and through the surf, emerging, exhausted, on the shores of Yemen.
The 20-year-old Ethiopian saw men armed with automatic rifles waiting for them on the beach and she clenched in terror. She had heard migrants’ stories of brutal traffickers, lurking like monsters in a nightmare. They are known by the Arabic nickname Abdul-Qawi — which means Worshipper of the Strong.
“What will they do to us?” Zahra thought.
This story is part of an occasional series, “Outsourcing Migrants,” produced with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
Nationals fans rejoice in red as hometown heroes are honoured
WASHINGTON (AP) — The song “Baby Shark” blared over loudspeakers and a wave of red washed across this politically blue capital Saturday as Nationals fans rejoiced at a parade marking Washington’s first World Series victory since 1924.
“They say good things come to those who wait. Ninety-five years is a pretty long wait,” Nationals owner Ted Lerner, who is 94, told the cheering crowd. “But I’ll tell you, this is worth the wait.”
As buses carrying the players and team officials wended their way along the parade route, pitcher Max Scherzer at one point hoisted the World Series trophy to the cheers of the crowd.
At a rally just blocks from the Capitol, Scherzer said his teammates grinded their hearts out to “stay in the fight.” And then, after backup outfielder Gerardo Parra joined the team, he said, they started dancing and having fun. And they started hitting. “Never in this town have you seen a team compete with so much heart and so much fight,” he said.
And then, after he spoke, the Nats danced.
The Associated Press
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TORONTO — A pharmacist who went door-to-door handing out naloxone kits in a neighbourhood ravaged by opioid use choked back tears on Friday as he admitted to professional misconduct.
At a disciplinary hearing, Jason Newman said he felt he had no choice given the urgent need for the potentially life-saving drug.
“I am guilty of misconduct,” Newman said haltingly. “Despite that, I have certainly saved lives with what I did.”
The disciplinary panel accepted a joint recommendation on punishment: a month-long licence suspension and an oral reprimand for tarnishing the profession. Newman also has one year to pass an ethics course, failing which would get his licence suspended for a second month.
Newman admitted to failing to live up to professional standards by improperly supervising people who helped him give out the anti-opioid drug. He also agreed he had failed to live up to an undertaking he gave the Ontario College of Pharmacists in February last year to abide by the standards.
The owner of Delaware Pharmacy near London, Ont., said he was spurred to action when he visited a homeless shelter but staff refused to allow him to offer training in naloxone use. They turned him down again a week later, he said, even after someone died of an overdose.
“I decided it was necessary to train people around the area as quickly as possible,” Newman told the panel.
Can reverse overdoses
Naloxone is a potentially life-saving medication used to reverse opioid overdoses. It can be given free to members of the public, although pharmacists can claim a dispensing fee.
However, pharmacists are supposed to provide education on its use, on identifying overdoses, the importance of calling 911, and resuscitation among other things.
Newman said he went door-to-door to up to 40 businesses in the immediate shelter area, but delegated some of the distribution task because he couldn’t do it all himself. He said he allowed non-pharmacist employees to provide kit recipients with background information and training, but only after extensive practice.
“We’d already been through it several hundred times,” he said.
As part of his admissions, Newman agreed to a new undertaking to abide by the rules, saying he now has 10 other pharmacists he can count on for distribution and training.
Motives were ‘appropriate’
The college, which withdrew other related allegations in exchange for the admissions, made it clear it was not alleging any dishonesty or disgraceful conduct, its lawyer Matthew Gourlay said.
Gourlay, who said Newman’s motives were “appropriate and laudable,” told the hearing the pharmacist believed that having naloxone kits in as many hands as possible was crucial to stemming the tide of opioid deaths.
Nearly 1,500 people died of opioid-related causes in Ontario last year, up from 1,261 deaths reported in 2017.
The stigma around drug use is a barrier to obtaining services, prompting the pharmacist to do his outreach, the panel heard.
The hearing was given an agreed statement of facts in which Newman admitted his misconduct.
“These allegations have to do with Mr. Newman’s work in dispensing naloxone in the community,” Gourlay said. “Mr. Newman has done important work in that area but has breached certain guidelines of the college.”
The breaches, Gourlay said, related to dispensing naloxone without regard to individual need or clinical appropriateness, allowing non-pharmacist employees or agents to give out the drug, and failing to supervise them properly.
Newman said he was always nearby when the kits were given out, so the real issue was the degree of supervision.
He must also pay the college $7,500 to cover its costs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2019.
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