New ideas for the Brexit border backstop

If such an agreement could not be reached, then to avoid those checks with customs posts or other infrastructure, the backstop would come into force. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionConfused by Brexit jargon? Reality Check unpacks the basics It would keep the UK in a “single customs territory” with the EU, and leave Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods. Many MPs fear the UK could be “trapped” in that arrangement for years, leaving it unable to strike its own trade deals on goods with the rest of the world. The prime minister’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) allies also do not want to see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK. …

Governors: States are where the action is

(CNN)About half of Americans say they are starting off the new year with firm resolutions for improving their lives. Many of our states are off to a fresh beginning, too, with much the same goal in sight. By the end of the month, 21 new governors will have been inaugurated across the country, joining Alaska’s Mike Dunleavy, who was sworn in at the start of December. That’s because the states are the engines of change in our democracy. While it may be the worst of times in Washington, with unprecedented political infighting and gridlock, it’s truly the best of times in the states. Citizens are involved, communities are resurgent, and progress is accelerating. Congratulations to each of our fellow outgoing …

A humiliating Brexit defeat, but May will likely stagger on

London (CNN)Just 24 hours after incurring a historic parliamentary defeat, British Prime Minister Theresa May faces another challenge to her premiership: A vote of no confidence in her government. Brexiteer Conservative MPs and the DUP, the Northern Irish party on which May relies for a majority in the Commons, have made clear they will support the government in the vote at around 1900 GMT on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know about Brexit Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, urged May to postpone Brexit to give more time for a consensus, tweeting: “Spoke to PM earlier — not obvious that she has any real idea what to do next. Also not at all clear she is open to …

‘Love Island generation’ skin cancer fear

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionKarl Dinis, from Cardiff, has been injecting himself with Melanotan 2 for 10 years and says he loves the tan it gives him. The “Love Island generation” are risking their health by going to extreme lengths to achieve a perfect tan, an expert has said. Blacking out and vomiting after injecting illegal drugs and having them sent from China disguised as dog flea treatment, are some examples. Each year, 15,400 people in the UK are diagnosed with Melanoma – the most aggressive type of skin cancer. While more survive, a “tsunami of new cases” is feared by Dr Rachel Abbott. The British Skin Foundation spokeswoman said people were resorting to “risky behaviour” …

Venezuela’s Maduro says Trump making mistakes that will ‘stain his hands with blood’

Bogota, Colombia (CNN)Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has warned US President Donald Trump that he risks staining “his hands with blood” should he pursue military action in the crisis-hit South American nation. Maduro has faced intense pressure since Guaido’s declaration last month, with the US upping sanctions on Venezuela and a number of Washington’s allies recognizing the previously largely unknown opposition leader as the country’s President. Despite the pressure, however, Maduro showed no signs of slipping, and the opposition has appeared at times to be on the back foot. On Sunday, Guaido called on the Venezuelan military — which has so far been loyal to the government — to permit aid into the country from neighboring Colombia and Brazil, both of …

Why the Constitution makes a third-party presidency extremely difficult

(CNN)Democrats are right to be concerned that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is thinking about an independent run for the White House because the most likely outcome of any strong third-party challenge in 2020 is the re-election of President Donald Trump. With the elections of 2016 and 2000 still fresh in the minds of a lot of voters, most Americans have a basic awareness of the Constitution’s rules for how presidents are elected: whoever wins the majority of electoral votes becomes president. Today, there are 538 votes in the Electoral College based on the make-up of Congress (which has 435 House members and 100 senators) plus three more votes for the District of Columbia. The candidate who wins 270 or …

Koch officials avoid confrontation at muted donor gathering

Indian Wells, California (CNN)Officials in the influential conservative network affiliated with Charles Koch kicked off their winter summit emphasizing bipartisanship and working to steer clear of fresh confrontation with President Donald Trump. “We’re here to unite people to improve their lives,” he said as attendees sipped wine in a vast hotel ballroom during the retreat’s opening reception. Koch officials did not put a dollar amount on their financial commitment to their 2020 priorities, but the network has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in previous election cycles. The gathering marks the first time the donors have come together since a memo to donors leaked in early January indicating that the network would not back Trump’s re-election in 2020. Instead, top …

Threatened shark served to UK diners

University of Exeter researchers say, despite the small number of samples studied, they have demonstrated the sale of threatened sharks, highlighting the global nature of the damaging trade in endangered species. “The discovery of scalloped hammerheads in shark fins that were destined to be sold in the UK highlights how widespread the sale of these endangered species really is,” Dr Andrew Griffiths told BBC News. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The spiny dogfish is at threat due to overfishing Of the 39 fresh and frozen samples obtained from fishmongers, about half were assigned to Mustelus asterias (starry smooth hound), a type of hound-shark. This shark is judged of least concern in terms of extinction risk. The Sphyrna lewini (scalloped …

Voters Narrowly Support Raising Taxes To Fund A Green New Deal, Poll Shows

American voters are narrowly supportive of a proposal to end fossil fuel use and create clean energy jobs by raising taxes, according to a poll sponsored by supporters of the proposal. Registered voters were, by 5 percentage points, more likely to support than oppose a The findings ― commissioned by the left-leaning think tank Data for Progress and shared with HuffPost ― show the Green New Deal’s popularity with Democrats and the extent to which its main advocates have electrified long-static debates on both climate and tax policy in the United States. Nancy Pelosi’s office to demand a poll In January, Ocasio-Cortez suggested raising top marginal tax rates to 70 percent to help fund the program. The remark, made in …

Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg jumps into 2020 race

(CNN)Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who served in the Navy during the war in Afghanistan, announced on Wednesday that he is launching an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid. “What will America look like in 2054, when I reach the age of the current president,” he asked in his email to supporters. “How will we look back on 2020?” Buttigieg, who most recently ran for chair of the Democratic National Committee after the 2016 election, has been exploring a presidential bid for over a year, moving closer with a trip to Iowa in December where he was well received by an audience of progressives in Des Moines. The mayor, who has little national …

Hillary Clinton tells friends she’s leaving 2020 door open

Washington (CNN)Here are the stories our panel of top political reporters will be watching for in the days ahead in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast. Still, Zeleny said, “it does not mean that there’s a campaign-in-waiting, or a plan in the works.” And one close Clinton friend told Zeleny “it would surprise me greatly if she actually did it.” “Most losing presidential candidates never totally close the doors to running for president” again, Zeleny said. “But I think we have to at least leave our mind open to the possibility that she is still talking about it. She wants to take on Trump. Could she win a Democratic primary to do it? I don’t know the answer to that.” 2. …

Keep these recalled foods off your Super Bowl spread

(CNN)The Super Bowl is a national holiday even for those who don’t watch football. One big reason for that? The food. Federal officials are urging consumers to check the back of the freezer and dump any “Tyson White Meat Panko Chicken Nuggets,” produced on November 26, 2018 and have a case code “3308SDL03” on the label. There haven’t been any confirmed reports of illness or adverse reactions from eating the chicken nuggets. But federal health officials warn that the products may be in consumers’ freezers, and they should not eat them. Even more chicken nuggets Perdue Foods recalled 68,244 pounds of gluten-free chicken nuggets sold nationwide over fears of wood contamination, federal health officials say. The ready-to-eat chicken nuggets were …

What preparations are being made for a no-deal?

The effect is likely to be a severe slowdown on the critical Dover-Calais ferry and Channel Tunnel routes, as well as unpredictable delays at airports. Critical incident declared An army of civil servants has been working on the problem since the EU referendum. At the time of writing, around 4,000 had been moved into positions where they are preparing for the no deal scenario. As we get closer, another 5,000 will be transferred across to help. On the night of Brexit, the government is expected to declare a “critical incident” and to start operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a “command and control” mode. The Cobra emergency committee will meet at the Cabinet Office as ministers …

Rudd ‘committed’ to avoiding no-deal Brexit

Stop playing to Brexit ‘bad boys’ says union chief Fresh referendum ‘doesn’t have enough MP support’ UK will find trade difficult, says Irish PM She says it is not within the government’s power to rule it out – but various backbench MPs will try to move amendments to postpone Brexit if no agreement can be reached, when the Commons votes on a way forward next Tuesday. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWATCH: John McDonnell: PM trying to ‘blackmail’ MPs on Brexit Ms Rudd returned to the cabinet in November, less than seven months after quitting as home secretary in April 2018 over the Windrush scandal. She told the BBC’s Newsnight that she wanted MPs to get a …