Fourth bombing in Austin by 'tripwire'; new Brexit transition deal

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  • Police say fourth bombing in Austin indicates work of “serial bomber”  – A device exploded in Austin, Texas for the fourth time in a month on Sunday, injuring two men. “We are clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point,” said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. Unlike the other three devices which were left on residents’ doorsteps, this one was left on the side of a residential road. Police say it may have been triggered by “tripwire”, according to CNN. Austin’s law enforcement is trying to determine whether the explosion is linked to the earlier bombings.
  • EU and UK agree Brexit transition deal terms – The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom reached an agreement on the terms of a transition period after Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc, which they hope can be signed off at the EU summit later this week. The transition period is planned to begin on March 29, 2019, when the UK formally exits the EU, and will end on December 31, 2020. The most notable terms agreed included an emergency “backstop” option for Northern Ireland so that if no other deal is reached it will effectively remain in parts of the single market and the customs union, EU citizens arriving in the UK during the transition period being guaranteed the same rights as those who arrive before Brexit, and the UK being able to sign new trade deals during the transition period, to come into effect afterwards. These agreements were made despite Prime Minister Theresa May previously ruling out a “backstop option”, insisting that rights offered to EU citizens after Brexit should be “different” (The Guardian) and her DUP coalition partners scuppering the next phase of Brexit talks in December 2017, when its leader said Northern Ireland couldn’t be part of EU laws which made it separate to the rest of the UK (The Guardian). The transition period is meant to be used to iron out a path for a future permanent relationship between the UK and the EU.
  • This “backstop” option has been ruled out by Theresa May and any deal creating a difference between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is opposed by her DUP allies.
  • despite May has repeatedly insisted that the rights offered had to be “different” for those “coming to a UK they know will be outside the EU”.

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