UK PM says open to longer post-Brexit transition

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at the European Council in Brussels on Oct. 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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UK PM says open to longer post-Brexit transition

  • EU negotiator Michel Barnier raised the idea as a way of breaking the deadlock on how to keep Britain’s border with Ireland open after Brexit
  • “A further idea that has emerged — and it is an idea at this stage — is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months,” says May

BRUSSELS: Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Thursday that Britain would consider extending the transition period after Brexit for a few months if needed to agree on a new trade deal with the EU.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier raised the idea as a way of breaking the deadlock on how to keep Britain’s border with Ireland open after Brexit, the key issue holding up the divorce talks.
But May emphasized she did not expect the extension beyond the current date of December 2020 to be needed, amid anger among eurosceptics at home that Britain could be tied to the EU indefinitely.
Arriving for the second day of summit talks in Brussels, May noted that both sides remained at odds over a “backstop” plan to avoid frontier checks in Ireland if and until a new trade deal could be signed.
“A further idea that has emerged — and it is an idea at this stage — is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months,” she said.
“But the point is that this is not expected to be used, because we are working to ensure that we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020.
“I’m clear that it is possible to do that (deal) and that is what we are working for.
“And in those circumstances there would be no need for any proposal of this sort and I’m clear that I expect the implementation period to end at the end of December 2020.”
The possibility of an extension made front-page news in Britain on Thursday and some euroskeptic MPs warned they could not accept such a plan.
The top-selling The Sun tabloid warned it was “an outrageous non-starter.”
“Unless she can give a date when we will leave the EU and ALL its major institutions she cannot claim to have fulfilled the referendum vote” in 2016 for Brexit, it said in an editorial.


Two gored to death at India bull-wrestling festival

Updated 11 min 42 sec ago
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Two gored to death at India bull-wrestling festival

  • The bulls broke through barricades separating fans from the action in the arena on Sunday
  • Jallikattu remains wildly popular despite the danger and controversy around the treatment of the bulls

NEW DELHI: At least two spectators were gored to death at a bull-wrestling festival in India that animal activists say is cruel and want banned, police said on Monday.
The bulls broke through barricades separating fans from the action in the arena on Sunday in Pudukottai, a town in Tamil Nadu where thousands had swarmed to watch the Jallikattu festival.
“Two spectators were hit by the bulls near the arena. One of them died on the spot and another died at the hospital,” P. Sangaraj, a police officer in Pudukottai, said.
Authorities said dozens of participants were also injured Sunday while trying to grab the charging bulls by their horns and rumps in the hope of winning prizes.
More than 100 people have been hurt since the festival, an annual fixture in southern Tamil Nadu state, kicked off Wednesday.
Organizers said more than 1,300 bulls were released on Sunday from pens into the arena — more than doubling the previous daily record.
Jallikattu remains wildly popular despite the danger and controversy around the treatment of the bulls.
Animal activists say the bulls are fed alcohol and chili powder is thrown in their faces to make them aggressive before the contest.
India’s Supreme Court outlawed Jallikattu in 2016 after animal rights groups argued the bulls were grossly abused during the festival.
But organizers and Tamil Nadu’s state government deny the animals are mistreated, describing Jallikattu as a crucial part of its culture and identity.
The ruling triggered widespread protests in the state capital Chennai and other major cities.
Under pressure, the state government issued an executive order over-riding the court’s judgment and Jallikattu went ahead a year later.