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  • Britain and the European Union appeared to be inching toward agreement on Brexit on Monday, but British Prime Minister Theresa May faced intensifying pressure from her divided Conservative government that could yet scuttle a deal. Britain leaves the EU on March 29 — the first country ever to do so — but a deal must be sealed in the coming weeks to leave enough time for the U.K. and European Parliaments to sign off. May faces increasing domestic pressure over her proposals for an agreement following the resignation of another government minister last week. The British leader had been hoping to present a draft deal to her Cabinet this week. But no Brexit breakthrough was announced Monday after talks between European affairs ministers. The two sides are locked in technical negotiations to try to bridge the final gaps in a move laden with heavy political and economic consequences. May said talks were in their 'endgame' but that negotiating a divorce agreement after more than four decades of British EU membership was 'immensely difficult.' May told an audience at the Lord Mayor's Banquet in London that 'we are working extremely hard, through the night, to make progress on the remaining issues in the Withdrawal Agreement, which are significant. 'Both sides want to reach an agreement,' May said, though she added she wouldn't sign up to 'agreement at any cost.' The main obstacle to a deal is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between EU country Ireland and Northern Ireland in the U.K. Both sides have committed to avoid a hard border with costly and time-consuming checks that would hamper business. Any new customs posts on the border could also re-ignite lingering sectarian tensions. But Britain and the EU haven't agreed on how to achieve that goal. 'Clearly this is a very important week for Brexit negotiations,' Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters after the meeting in Brussels. 'The two negotiating teams have really intensified their engagement ... There is still clearly work to do.' And Martin Callanan, a minister in Britain's Brexit department, said all involved were 'straining every sinew to make sure that we get a deal but we have to get a deal that is right for the U.K., right for the EU and one that would be acceptable to the U.K. Parliament.' EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier didn't speak to reporters Monday and a planned news conference with him was canceled. Instead, EU headquarters issued a short statement saying that Barnier explained to the ministers that 'intense negotiating efforts continue, but an agreement has not been reached yet.' Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the two sides 'are getting closer to each other.' 'But in negotiations there is only a deal if there is full agreement,' Blok said. 'There is only a 100-percent deal. There is not a 90-percent deal or a 95-percent deal.' Earlier, France's EU affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, stepped up pressure on May. 'The ball is in the British court. It is a question of a British political decision,' she said. The EU is awaiting Barnier's signal as to whether sufficient progress has been made to call an EU summit to seal a deal. Rumors have swirled of a possible top-level meeting at the end of November. But Austrian EU affairs minister Gernot Bluemel, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, said 'so far progress is not sufficient to call in and set up another (summit).' In recent days there have been signs of progress behind the scenes, but all parties have remained tight-lipped about the developments, given the politically charged atmosphere. In Britain, pro-Brexit and pro-EU politicians alike warned May that the deal she seeks is likely to be shot down by Parliament. Boris Johnson, a staunch Brexit supporter, wrote in a column for Monday's Daily Telegraph that May's plan to adhere closely to EU regulations in return for a trade deal and an open Irish border amounts to 'total surrender' to the bloc. The proposed terms are scarcely more popular with advocates of continued EU membership. Former Education Secretary Justine Greening on Monday called May's proposals the 'worst of all worlds,' and said the public should be allowed to vote on Britain's departure again. 'We should be planning as to how we can put this final say on Brexit in the hands of the British people,' Greening told the BBC. Johnson's younger brother, Jo Johnson, resigned last week backing calls for a second referendum on whether the country should leave the EU. May has consistently rejected the idea of another nationwide vote on Brexit. ___ Jill Lawless reported from London.
  • An accord reunifying ethnically split Cyprus could unlock a deal to convey gas discovered in fields off Israel, Egypt and Cyprus to markets through neighboring Turkey's existing pipeline network, the leader of the island's breakaway Turkish Cypriots said Monday. Mustafa Akinci said Turkey is the cheaper, faster 'logical' route to markets for east Mediterranean gas, but that a Cyprus peace deal must precede any such plans. 'Everybody could win from this,' he told a televised news conference. Akinci made the remark in response to an ambitious pipeline project linking east Mediterranean gas deposits and conveying them directly to Europe. The European Union has funded a feasibility study on the proposed East Med pipeline that has the backing of Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy. ExxonMobil is scheduled to begin exploratory drilling off Cyprus later this month. Turkey vehemently opposes a gas search by the Cypriot government in the internationally recognized south, saying it infringes on it rights and those of Turkish Cypriots to the island's natural resources. The Cypriot government says drilling is its sovereign right and any potential mineral wealth will be shared equitably with all Cypriot citizens after reunification. Akinci said he's open to discussing a proposal by the island nation's Greek Cypriot president for a more decentralized federal government in a peace agreement that would grant more authority to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot zones. President Nicos Anastasiades said last week his proposal could make a peace deal more workable by reducing the number of federal responsibilities where disagreement could lead to deadlock. But Akinci said Turkish Cypriots would never accept domination by the majority Greek Cypriots and are demanding 'effective participation' in federal decision-making which he insisted wasn't veto power. U.N. envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected to return Cyprus for more contacts to determine whether stalled peace talks can resume. Earlier Monday, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots walked through a newly opened crossing point in the southeastern village of Dherynia in what peace activists are hailing as further breaking down barriers. Dherynia, and another crossing point in the country's northwest, bring the total of crossing points to open since travel restrictions across the United Nations-controlled buffer zone were relaxed 2003 to nine. Last month, Anastasiades and Akinci designated Nov. 12 as the crossings' official opening in a bid to help build momentum toward restarting peace talks. But a number of demonstrators at the crossing point voiced their opposition to the openings which they said help to entrench ethnic division.
  • With the holiday season upon us, now’s the perfect time to begin shopping for a cheap TV. Right after Thanksgiving and into Christmas, some mighty big football games will be on the tube — none bigger than the Super Bowl, which will be played in Atlanta on February 3, 2018. And let’s be honest: No Super Bowl party will be complete without a nice BIG smart TV to watch the game on. You may be looking forward to Black Friday to catch the deals, but the truth is that you can find savings on an affordable TV typically from November to about February. Clark’s take on how to buy a TV in 2018 Money expert Clark Howard knows a thing or two about finding a good deal on a TV. You may be a fan of LG, Vizio, Toshiba or Samsung, which repeatedly rate as some of the best TV brands out there. But Clark’s approach to buying a TV this year is a little different: “I don’t care about brand,” he says. Samsung, LG, Vizio, Toshiba, etc.: What TV brand is the best? Clark says that for the most part, parity has come to TV manufacturing and that means consumers are taking very little risk when opting for cheap TVs. “The failure rate regardless of brand is really so low on TVs that I’m really unconvinced that it’s worth spending extra because it says ‘Samsung,'” the money expert notes. Another potential way TV shoppers could wasting big money this holiday season is by looking for premium picture quality. One of the top TV trends today is 4K. Yet Clark says prospective buyers need to be really careful when it comes to looking for the latest and greatest features. Is a 4K TV worth it? “If you’re buying a TV that’s 37 inches or smaller, it doesn’t even need to be 4K because the screen size being what it is, your eyes can’t even register the difference. If you buy larger than that, then you should look into getting a 4K with HDR.” HDR stands for high-dynamic range and recent technological advances in contrast and color will make images viewed on-screen pop like never before. If you’ve bought a mid-to high-end priced TV in 2017 or later, there’s a good chance it’s HDR. But if you’re ready to buy today, you may be wondering about the best TV prices out there right now… Best TV deals: What’s a good price for a smart TV? With Black Friday deals already being advertised, savings are aplenty right now. Here are some of the best deals Clark says he has seen of late: This 55-inch smart TV from Target for $199. Clarkdeals is also highlighting this 75-inch 4K TV for $850. Walmart is featuring a 65-inch 4K Roku smart TV for $398. Clark’s takeaway on buying a TV One of the main things Clark wants you to remember is that it’s possible to score a cheap TV with all the bells and whistles. A few years ago, he went from having a 42-inch TV in his bedroom to a 65-inch, which he enjoys much more. But a huge TV in a small room isn’t the way to go. He says you can come away with the right TV for you if you focus less on features and more on screen size. The reason is because capabilities are improving across all brands. “TVs and computers are cheaper than phones now, think about that,” he says. Now that you’ve gotten some insight into how to select a cheap TV, check out ClarkDeals.com for more great TV deals. Here are the best live streaming services for cord-cutters Keep up to date with the latest money-making tips and more at Clark.com. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and  Facebook! Here are some more food-related articles from Clark.com: 6 things to do before you buy that new TV 9 cheaper alternatives to cable or satellite TV Your Vizio TV might soon disclose whether it’s been spying on you
  • Many small and independent retailers who are holding Small Business Saturday shopping events Thanksgiving weekend are banding together with others, believing that there's strength in numbers. Small Business Saturday, started in 2010 to encourage consumers to shop in their small local stores rather than national chains and what are called big box stores, has become an event in neighborhoods, towns, even cities as retailers recognize they can draw more customers as a cohesive group than by offering discounts and promotions on their own. Mama Java Coffee, an online coffee retailer, is joining with seven other online businesses that cater to mothers to offer a joint discount. A shopper spending $40 at any of the companies on Small Business Saturday will get $10 off purchases at the other seven. Kim Roman, owner of Mama Java Coffee, says the group, which will market the event on Instagram and other social media, came up with the idea just a few weeks ago. 'We were chatting about ways to be unique and help promote each other,' she says. Many communal Small Business Saturday events have grown to the point where they're organized by local chambers of commerce and community business organizations that have big marketing budgets. About 200 indie retailers throughout Portland, Oregon, are banding together in a marketing effort called Shop Little Boxes that will run from Friday through Sunday. The stores are offering discounts, many of them 10 percent, and shoppers get raffle ticket numbers for each visit and purchase they make. Shop Little Boxes has a smartphone app that shoppers can use to find participating stores and to register their raffle ticket numbers. Retailers say they do see sales blip up during Small Business Saturday, but their aim is also to remind shoppers that they are there year-round. The event in Henderson, Nevada, like many others, is aimed at fostering goodwill; Shop Small Henderson will be a five-hour block party with activities for children. Parents may not be able to do much shopping during such events, but owners say they do return to shop after the party is over. Landlords also sponsor Small Business Saturday events at their developments. Pier Village, a residential complex in Long Branch, New Jersey, has about 30 retail tenants, and many will be taking part in a communal Small Business Saturday event. Some of the events aim at giving craft makers and artisans a place to sell their creations; about a dozen craft makers will take part in a pop-up event at Broadway Market, a retail complex in Seattle. And some companies with surplus space are inviting small vendors to set up shop on their premises — in Elmhurst, Illinois, Brewpoint Coffee is hosting small retailers in its roastery. _____ For more small business news, insights and inspiration, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here: http://discover.ap.org/ssb _____ Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com/search/joyce%20rosenberg
  • Costco Wholesale — one of money expert Clark Howard’s favorite stores — is on a tear right now with sales climbing in October thanks to strong performance across a variety of departments. But have you ever wondered what’s really selling at Costco? We’ve uncovered some interesting tidbits after listening to an investor call that accompanied the release of the warehouse club’s October sales results. RELATED: Costco Wholesale is adding 3 new payment options Here are the best-selling product categories at Costco right now The latest info culled from Costco’s most recent sales results shows the following categories are hot at the warehouse club both in the United States and Canada: Tobacco Candy Sundries Tires Automotive Major appliances Apparel Small appliances Kiosk services Meat Produce Deli Bakery Meat Bakery Gas Hearing aids Optical department Notably missing from this list is pharmacy. Costco has long held a reputation for offering some of the best prices on medications, though it was recently undersold substantially by a relatively unknown competitor in a price-comparison test done by Consumer Reports. That said, one thing that’s nice about the Costco pharmacy is you don’t need to be a member to fill your prescription there. Some locations even have a separate entrance for non-members that leads directly into the pharmacy. Meanwhile, another best-seller — the hearing aid services that Costco offers — is also available to non-members who want an exam or screening. But if you need to buy a hearing aid — or glasses or contacts, for that matter — you must have a membership, or a friend who does so they can accompany you and buy what you need on your behalf. That said, frugal shoppers know that a Costco membership will pay for itself, so it pays to consider joining! More Costco stories on Clark.com: Costco members: Here are the best deals & coupons this month! 7 things to know before you buy gas at Costco Wholesale 6 reasons I shop at Aldi instead of Costco

News

  • The wedding band has been in his family for more than a hundred years. So, when he noticed it was no longer on his finger at Saturday's Georgia football game, Stuart Howell said his heart dropped.
  • Congratulations to Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña, Jr. on winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award! Acuña finished 2018 with 26 home runs, a .293 batting average and 64 runs batted in. Ronnie ROY. Your 2018 NL Rookie of the Year: @ronaldacunajr24. pic.twitter.com/7b6UX7EIR9 — MLB (@MLB) November 12, 2018 The 20-year-old beat out Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler. Acuña is the first Braves player to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award award since Craig Kimbrel in 2011. Before that, Rafael Furcal won in 2000. 
  • A woman who owns land near where a deadly wildfire started in Northern California said Monday that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. sought access to her property just before the blaze started because the utility's power lines were causing sparks. It's still not clear what caused the massive fire that started Thursday, killing at least 29 people and destroying the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Paradise. PG&E has said it experienced a problem on an electrical transmission line near the site of the massive fire, minutes before the blaze broke out. The fire started on 64 acres of land in Pulga, California, owned by Betsy Ann Cowley. Cowley told The Associated Press she received an email from the utility on Wednesday telling her that crews needed to come to her property to work on the high-power lines because 'they were having problems with sparks.' PG&E declined to discuss the email when contacted by AP. Two days before the fire started, PG&E told customers in nine counties, including Butte County, that it might shut off their power Nov. 8 because of extreme fire danger. The fire started about 6:30 a.m. that morning. Later that day, PG&E said it had decided against a power cut because weather conditions did not warrant one.
  • The deadly wildfires whipping through California have killed more than 30 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Officials are calling the fires the worst in state history. >> Read more trending news  Celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus, Martin Sheen, Gerard Butler and others, are not immune to the flames and have lost homes and property alongside average citizens.  One couple in particular, well-known car enthusiasts and collectors Gary and Diane Cerveny, reportedly lost an irreplaceable collection of classic and rare vehicles worth millions, according to Autoweek. Hotrod.com described the couple as “the best kind of car collectors” and called their collection “eclectic.”  There was a Ferrari Dino, a ’65 Pontiac GTO gasser, a ’66 Dodge Dart, a Marty Robbins NASCAR, a ’66 Dodge Charger, a ’71 Plymouth Barracuda, a ’97 Dodge Viper, a Studebaker kart hauler and perhaps the rarest car in the collection, the one-of-a-kind 1948 Norman Timbs Special. >> Related: Photos: California wildfires kill dozens, destroy entire town The dramatic streamliner was created in the 1940s by mechanical engineer Norman Timbs, according to Conceptcarz.com. The elegant, swooping custom car took over three years to build, then eventually disappeared. It was rediscovered in the desert in 2002 and restored. >> Related: Actor Martin Sheen flees Malibu wildfire; says little chance home survived The Cervenys kept their collection at a shop in Malibu, which has been ravaged by the wildfires.  
  • Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden told county election officials Monday to count absentee ballots even if they lack a voter’s date of birth, as long as the voter’s identity can be verified. Crittenden issued the instructions for county election officials as they face a Tuesday deadline to certify the results of the Nov. 6 election. [READ: Abrams sues for more time; Kemp's campaign says math is clear] Republican Brian Kemp holds the lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams in the race to become Georgia’s governor. Abrams would need to gain more than 20,000 votes to force the race into a runoff. Crittenden’s instructions could affect vote counting in Gwinnett County, where election officials rejected 1,587 mailed absentee ballots. Gwinnett has the largest number of potential uncounted absentee ballots for Abrams in the state. Many of Gwinnett’s rejections were because absentee ballots contained incorrect birthdate information or insufficient information on the return envelope. [READ: Bourdeaux files motion to delay election certification in 7th District race] Crittenden sent the letter after the State Election Board voted unanimously Sunday night to issue guidance for how local election officials should proceed with their counts. Her letter is meant to reinforce state laws and provide clarification to county election officials, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Rules about vote counting haven’t changed. “What is required is the signature of the voter and any additional information needed for the county election official to verify the identity of the voter,” Crittenden wrote. “Therefore, an election official does not violate [state law] when they accept an absentee ballot despite the omission of a day and month of birth ... if the election official can verify the identity of the voter.” [RUNOFF: Everything you need to know about Secretary of State race] Gwinnett County accounted for 31 percent of all Georgia’s rejected absentee ballots, often because of discrepancies with birth dates, addresses, signatures and insufficient information. Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said she wasn’t surprised at the scrutiny Gwinnett has received because of “the role that both parties saw it playing in their success.” She defended the way the elections office has conducted its business. [READ: Kemp campaign calls Abrams' refusal to concede 'a disgrace to democracy'] “They always focus a lot on figuring out how to deal with the issues that arise,” Nash said last week, “and I have every expectation that they will do that this time around too.”  Gwinnett Elections Board Chairman Stephen Day, a Democrat, has also defended county staff. “There are definitely different political points of view [on the elections board], but we do agree that our staff has acted in the way that the law stated they should act,” Day said following Friday’s closed-door elections board meeting. “We do understand that there are different interpretations of that.”