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EU agrees to further delay Brexit until January 31

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The European Union has agreed to grant Britain a new Brexit delay until Jan. 31 next year, EU Council chief Donald Tusk said in a Twitter post on Monday, just three days before the UK was due to exit the bloc.

“The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK‘s request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020,” Tusk said of the idea of a “flexible extension”, which means Britain could go earlier if its fractious parliament ratifies the divorce bill.

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The bloc now awaits an approval from London. Once that is in, a 24-hour countdown will start when member states can still object or else the decision will have been taken.

“This will allow for the decision to be formally adopted tomorrow,” an EU diplomat said.

An EU official warned, however, it might take as long as Wednesday, just a day before Britain would otherwise be due to leave the bloc on its current Oct. 31 deadline.

The decision came following a 30-minute meeting of the 27 EU ambassadors in Brussels after France dropped its objections that blocked the decision last week. Any delay to Brexit can only be granted unanimously by the 27 EU countries staying on together.

“The prospect of elections has strengthened significantly over the weekend,” a source close to French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier on Monday.

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The third postponement of Brexit would come with conditions. They include a refusal to renegotiate their divorce agreement and giving a green light to the 27 capitals to meet without Britain to discuss the bloc’s future.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Sunday stepped up pressure on UK lawmakers to back an early election to break the impasse on Brexit three years after Britons voted to leave the EU.

A Downing Street source said the government would consider options including those proposed by opposition parties, after the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Liberal Democrats (LD) said they wanted a new poll on Dec. 9.

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The delay envisages that Britain could also be out on Dec. 1 or Jan. 1, should parliament ratify the withdrawal agreement in November or December, respectively.

The bloc might ask London to name a candidate for the EU’s new executive European Commission, which is comprised of one representative from every member state and currently due to takeover on Dec. 1.

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More than three years after Britain voted to quit the EU, the country and its parliament remain divided over how, when and even whether to leave.

The matter has triggered a spiralling political crisis in the country where Johnson is now sparring with the House of Commons over calling an early election.

For the EU, the unprecedented loss of a member is a historic setback. But the 27 are also fed up with the intractable divorce, which is sapping time, energy and political capital that should be spent on jump-starting their economies and tackling security and other challenges.

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Roger Stone’s dream of booting judge for sentencing comments brutally crushed by ex-US Attorney: ‘He’s met his match’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance crushed any hopes former Donald Trump associate Roger Stone might have that his prison sentence will be voided due to comments made by the presiding judge in his federal trial.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Vance left no doubt Stone's latest legal gambit will collapse just like his previous attempts to squirm out of his trial did.

"Stone's legal team says that Judge Amy Berman Jackson's assertion that the jurors served with integrity shows bias," host Witt stated. "Do you buy that argument and legally would that be enough to get the judge dismissed from the case?"

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You’re a frog in a pot and Donald Trump is turning up the heat

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

"Trump has instructed his White House to identify and force out officials across his administration who are not seen as sufficiently loyal," reported The Washington Post this week. It's one element in "a post-impeachment escalation that administration officials say reflects a new phase of a campaign of retribution and restructuring ahead of the November election." It's unclear what criteria they are using to define loyalty to this president*, but it's important to understand a few things about this story.

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Justice Dept officials worry Bill Barr will fall quietly in line behind Trump after Stone interference: report

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According to a report from CNN, longtime Justice Department officials are concerned that Attorney General Bill Barr will do all he can to stay out of Donald Trump's sight and not interfere now that he was caught up in a squabble with the president over the sentencing of Trump associate Roger Stone.

CNN notes that Barr had previously watched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be swept up in the president's Ukraine scandal -- damaging the State Department official's reputation -- and hoped to keep a low profile in the president's public disputes.

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