Britain’s May urges EU leaders to move on with Brexit talks

Above, a cab driver shouts at anti-Brexit protesters demonstrating outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain on Thursday, December 13. (Reuters)
Updated 14 December 2017
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Britain’s May urges EU leaders to move on with Brexit talks

LONDON/BRUSSELS: British Prime Minister Theresa May will urge EU leaders to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase on Thursday, describing it as a fair deal that offers a good base for a discussion of future ties.
At the beginning of a dinner in Brussels, 24 hours after an embarrassing parliamentary defeat at home, May will repeat her case for unlocking talks to unravel more than 40 years of union to allow for the discussion of future trade, which she sees as crucial to offering certainty for businesses.
The 27 other EU leaders are all but certain to approve the deal to move to ‘phase two’ on Friday, after May has left Brussels, launching a new stage of talks that could be hampered by divisions at home and differences with the EU.
“The prime minister will say that reaching the agreement on phase one has required give and take on both sides but a fair outcome has been achieved,” a senior government official told reporters.
After days of often fraught diplomacy, May rescued the initial deal last Friday, easing the concerns of her Northern Irish allies over the wording to protect a free border with EU member Ireland without separating the province from the UK.
Then, EU negotiators said the talks had made “sufficient progress,” a recommendation that will, barring accidents, be blessed by the leaders of the other member states.
Her success has won her some respite at home from political infighting between enthusiasts and skeptics of Brexit in her ruling party, and has reduced the prospect of a disorderly departure from the bloc.
But there are hurdles still to come. May and her cabinet are due next Tuesday to hold a discussion of the senior ministers’ competing views on Britain’s future outside the EU — to remain close to the bloc or forge a new path.
The EU is willing to start talks next month on a roughly two-year transition period to ease Britain out after March 2019 but wants more detail from London on what it wants before it will open trade negotiations from March.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers are concerned by a fall-back promise in the initial deal to have “full regulatory alignment” with the EU if there is no overall agreement on future ties, and fear that their desire for an independent Britain is being undermined.
In a blow to May, already weakened after losing her Conservative Party’s majority in a June election, parliament voted on Wednesday in favor of an amendment that requires a meaningful future parliamentary vote on any final Brexit deal.
Up until the last minute of an often bitter debate, May’s team tried to convince lawmakers in her party to block the measure, which the government fears will weaken its hand in Brexit negotiations. But enough conservatives rebelled to carry it narrowly by 309 votes to 305 in the 650-seat lower house.
“This defeat is a humiliating loss of authority for the government on the eve of the European Council meeting,” opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement.
“Theresa May has resisted democratic accountability. Her refusal to listen means she will now have to accept Parliament taking back control,” he said, co-opting a Brexit slogan.
Divisions have split not only the governing Conservatives but Labour and the wider country — which voted narrowly for Brexit 18 months ago.
Before dinner on Thursday, May and her EU peers will discuss the bloc’s plan for closer defense cooperation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Long blocked by London, the plan now has backing from Britain, which as one of Europe’s main military powers, wants to keep ties with the EU on defense.
Over dinner, leaders will discuss their response to the migration crisis from Africa and the Middle East, and lingering deep divisions over how to share the load.
They will confirm a rollover of sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis and are likely to reaffirm their opposition to US President Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

Updated 18 September 2018
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Drifter charged in stabbing death of champ golfer in Iowa

  • Celia Barquin Arozamena was found in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 50 kilometers north of Des Moines
  • A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where a suspect was apprehended

AMES, Iowa: A homeless man attacked and killed a top amateur golfer from Spain who was playing a round near her university campus in central Iowa, leaving her body in a pond on the course, police said Tuesday.
Collin Daniel Richards, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Celia Barquin Arozamena, a student at Iowa State University.
Barquin was found Monday morning in a pond at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Des Moines. Police were called to the golf course around 10:20 a.m. to investigate a possible missing female after golfers found a golf bag with no one around it.
Officers found Barquin’s body some distance from the bag, with several stab wounds to her upper torso, head and neck, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday against Richards.
A police dog tracked Barquin’s scent to a temporary camp along a creek near the golf course, where Richards had been living in a tent, the complaint said. Officers found Richards with several fresh scratches on his face consistent with fighting, and a deep laceration in his left hand that he tried to conceal, it said.
An acquaintance of Richards told investigators that the suspect had said in recent days that he had “an urge to rape and kill a woman” while they were walking on a trail near the course, the complaint said. A second acquaintance told police that Richards arrived at his home on Monday appearing “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.” He bathed and left with his clothes in a backpack.
Investigators later recovered two pairs of shorts with blood stains and a knife that Richards allegedly gave to two other people after the slaying, the complaint said. Those two individuals were driving Richards out of town after the slaying, but he asked them to drop him off near the camp so he could get his tent and that’s when officers arrested him, it said.
Barquin was the 2018 Big 12 champion and Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year. The university said the native of Puente San Miguel, Spain, was finishing her civil engineering degree this semester after exhausting her eligibility at Iowa State in 2017-2018.
She was one of the most accomplished players in Cyclone golf history, the university said. In April, she became the second women’s golfer at Iowa State to earn medalist honors at a conference tournament when claiming the 2018 Big 12 Championship. She did it with a three-shot victory.
Barquin, who was ranked No. 69 nationally by Golfweek, ended her career as a Cyclone with a fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honors for the third time — the second player in Iowa State’s history to do so.
She became the third Cyclone women’s golfer to compete in the US Women’s Open Championship, the university said. The team announced Tuesday it was pulling out of the East & West Match Play in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with friends and family and to grieve their loss.
Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement on Twitter that she was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death” of Barquin, describing her as a “dedicated civil engineering student” and an “acclaimed golfer with a bright future.”
Head women’s golf coach Christie Martens said in a release that Barquin was “loved by all her teammates and friends” and was an “outstanding representative of our school.”
“We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life,” Martens said.