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PM heads to EU summit with Brexit deal in balance
With Boris Johnson set to leave for Brussels, where it seems most obstacles to a Brexit deal have been surmounted in time for a summit of EU leaders, the prime minister has work to do to convince MPs at home to back his plan. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – which has helped prop up the minority Tory government since 2017 – has so far refused to sign off on the PM’s draft agreement. And a number of Tory Brexiteers have previously said their support for a deal is contingent on the DUP backing it too.
As our Reality Check explains, the key sticking points in negotiations have been around proposed new arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. They include finding a way to ensure ongoing political consent for an unprecedented dual customs system, which would see the land border acting as the legal frontier but, in practice, the Irish Sea being the point where checks take place. Our political editor Laura Kuenssberg says issues between the UK, Ireland and the EU are “pretty much ironed out” but that genuine concerns remain for the DUP. Meanwhile back in Parliament, she reminds us, “there are swathes of MPs ready to stand and fight” any such agreement.
BA passengers: cabin fumes affected our health
Passengers on a British Airways flight which filled with smoke mid-air have told the BBC they are still experiencing breathing difficulties two months on. Among those flying to Valencia in August was Gayle Fitzpatrick, 40, from Glasgow, who says she now gets breathless walking uphill. “I don’t smoke, I’ve never had any health concerns. So I know [it] must be directly attributable to that flight and whatever I inhaled,” she says. BA says it “would never operate an aircraft” it believed “posed any health or safety risk” but cannot comment on the case until the Spanish air accident investigation is concluded.
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MP quits Labour over anti-Semitism claims
Jewish MP Louise Ellman has quit Labour after 55 years, saying in a letter she is “deeply troubled” by the recent “growth of anti-Semitism” in the party. She fired a parting shot at leader Jeremy Corbyn, suggesting he is “not fit” to lead the country and that she “can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM”. Labour insists it is taking “robust action” to root out anti-Semitism. In July, Mr Corbyn proposed changes to Labour’s complaints system to speed up the expulsion of members over anti-Semitism.
Can a new apple take over the world?
By David Silverberg, business reporter, BBC News
When you hear a new variety of apple is being launched with a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, you might wonder if you weren’t listening properly, and that the product is actually an Apple iPhone. But now starting to hit grocery shelves in the US, and then overseas early in 2020, is a new American-born apple that its backers are convinced will be become the new global bestseller – the Cosmic Crisp.
“The stars are aligning for this apple,” says Kathryn Grandy, marketing director of US fruit firm Proprietary Variety Management (PVM), the company handling the $10m (£7.9m) launch of the new variety… You might think that this all sounds like hyperbole, but hundreds of apple growers in the Crisp’s home state have bet $40m that it is going to be a hit.
Read the full article
What the papers say
Papers offer a variety of takes on Boris Johnson’s chances of securing a Brexit deal. The Daily Express says the prime minister is “tantalisingly near” while, for both the Times and Daily Mirror, his hopes balance “on a knife edge”. The Daily Mail quotes Mr Johnson comparing the Brexit process to climbing Everest, saying the summit is near. But the Metro plays on the word, saying: “Summit’s got to give”. The death of Emmerdale actor Leah Bracknell, who played Zoe Tate, also features on several front pages.
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If you see one thing today
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Can we dismiss Q Anon?
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09:30 Publication of latest quarterly statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and police records. Read our analysis about why fewer crimes are being solved.
13:00 Members of the National Education Union rally and march through London over pay and funding in the sixth form sector.
On this day
1989 A 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocks the San Francisco Bay area of the US, killing 63 people and leaving more than 12,000 homeless.
So: Bulgaria bad, England good? Actually this is not as black and white as it seems (Guardian)
Locked out of the UK: ‘My life was a nightmare’ (Big Issue North)
Millions of animals die in hurricanes. This couple rescues them (Atlantic)
Not the Nine O’Clock News at 40: No longer exactly topical but still surprisingly funny (Independent)