ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
36°
Broken Clouds
H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    36°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 51° L 44°
  • rain-day
    48°
    Afternoon
    Showers. H 51° L 44°
  • cloudy-day
    46°
    Evening
    Cloudy. H 51° L 44°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Business
EU offers UK helping hand, but no reopening of Brexit deal
Close

EU offers UK helping hand, but no reopening of Brexit deal

EU offers UK helping hand, but no reopening of Brexit deal
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker waits for the start of the weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

EU offers UK helping hand, but no reopening of Brexit deal

European Union officials are working with Britain on ways to help Prime Minister Theresa May avoid a no-deal British departure from the bloc, although an EU leader insisted Friday that his helping hand won't include any renegotiation of the Brexit divorce deal.

As speculation grew that Britain might have to delay its exit from the bloc beyond the March 29 deadline, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said "we are checking with Downing Street what the clarifications could amount to" that might help May get her Brexit deal approved by Britain's Parliament next week.

But, Juncker added: "They should not be confused with a renegotiation."

An EU official said the bloc and the British government "are in contact at all levels ... to make sure that the deal goes through." The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the diplomatic talks.

The two sides are discussing possible reassurances to help persuade reluctant British lawmakers to back the deal in a vote Tuesday in Parliament.

Britain and the EU reached a hard-won Brexit deal in November, but the agreement has run aground in the British Parliament. May postponed a vote on the deal in December to avoid a resounding defeat, and there are few signs the deal has picked up support since then.

May promised to seek further guarantees from Brussels on the most contentious issue, the status of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border.

The EU is adamant that the legally binding 585-page withdrawal agreement can't be reopened, but EU officials are looking for diplomatic wording that could sway reluctant U.K. lawmakers.

The Brexit agreement aims to guarantee Britain's smooth departure from the bloc, with a long transition period to adapt to the new situation and negotiate a permanent trade agreement.

Without a deal, Britain faces an abrupt break from the EU on March 29, and there are fears it could involve chaotic scenes at borders, ports and airports. Businesses and people in Britain would face uncertain weeks and months as they try to find out what the uncharted future would bring.

"I don't like the prospect of a 'no deal.' It would be a catastrophe," Juncker said on a visit to Romania, as the nation took over the EU's rotating presidency.

Most British lawmakers also oppose the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal. But many also dislike May's agreement, which has displeased both sides of Britain's Brexit divide.

Many lawmakers who back leaving the EU say it leaves the U.K. tethered to the bloc's rules and unable to forge an independent trade policy, while pro-Europeans argue it's inferior to the frictionless economic relationship Britain that currently enjoys as an EU member.

A defeat in Tuesday's vote will leave Britain staring at an exit without a deal 10 weeks later, unless the country's feuding politicians can quickly agree on another plan. This week, British lawmakers passed an amendment forcing May's government to come back to Parliament with a new proposal within three working days of the deal being rejected.

But with no majority in Parliament for any single alternate course, there is a growing chance that Britain may seek to postpone its departure date while politicians work on a new plan.

Extending the deadline would require the EU's approval.

The EU official who spoke on condition of anonymity said such an extension was permitted by the EU's governing treaty, and that a defeat in the Parliament would put the Brexit ball back in Britain's court.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Friday that the country would face "Brexit paralysis" if lawmakers rejected the deal next week.

"And Brexit paralysis ultimately could lead to no Brexit," he told the BBC.

___

Jill Lawless reported from London.

Read More

News

  • Maine's giant spinning ice disk that quickly gained international fame seems to have met its end. The formation in the Presumpscot River in Greater Portland stopped rotating Wednesday, two days after a video of its mesmerizing movement was widely shared on social media. The roughly 100-yard (91-meter) wide disk is lodged against the river's edge, preventing it from moving. Meteorologist Ryan Breton tells the Portland Press Herald if the disk freezes into place, 'that might be the end of it.' The ice formation is believed to have formed naturally where there's a circular current that creates a whirlpool effect. Social media users compared it to an alien spacecraft and the moon, and ducks used it as a big raft.
  • A star athlete at a high school in Douglas County, Georgia, is being held in jail without bond after police arrested him on murder charges. >> Watch the news report here Police arrested Jalen Morgan, 17, on the Alexander High School campus last week because they said he was part of a conspiracy to commit murder in May of last year. Investigators said seven people were involved, and Morgan, along with his cousin LeAndrea Morgan, acted as the lookouts for the crime. “Two of these individuals had pre-existing issues with each other, and they showed up in an attempt to commit this act,” said Sgt. Jesse Hambrick, with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. WSB-TV’s Tyisha Fernandes learned that the intended target for the crime was not the person shot and killed. The documents say that during the robbery, one of the suspects fired a shot at the intended target – Kenneth McClary – but McClary shot back and killed the suspect. Now, all seven suspects are being held in jail without bond. >> Read more news stories  Police arrested the suspects just a few weeks after the slaying, and last week they arrested the Morgan cousins. They've wrapped the case. “These last two were the last two that they expect, and they’re ready to move forward from there,” Hambrick said. Each suspect is facing several charges, and one is accused of being a gang member. Investigators said he's part of the Bloods. They're saying he committed the crime with the intent to maintain and increase his status as a known gang member.
  • Crews are on site this morning to repair damage caused by a MARTA train derailment.  The derailed cars are still stuck on the tracks more than a day after the accident.  MARTA officials say two cars on an out-of-service train derailed around 9 p.m. Tuesday at the airport station, causing train service to stop on the red and gold lines. No passengers were on board and the rail operator was not hurt.  We're at the scene as crews prepare to bring in a giant crane to the scene and we'll have the impact for travelers, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning Passengers trying to get to the airport must get off at the College Park station, where a shuttle train and buses are taking people back and forth. The agency is investigating what caused the issue. TRENDING STORIES: Forsyth County man charged with plot to attack White House, FBI says High school football star arrested at school on murder charges Boy suspended for unintentionally using counterfeit money in lunch line
  • A Tennessee schoolteacher is accused of sex crimes involving a teen. >> Watch the news report here Jasmine Edmond, 24, was arrested Monday. She is charged with sexual battery by an authority figure. Edmond, who is a teacher at Power Center Academy High School in Memphis, began working at the school in August 2018, according to a letter sent to parents. She taught several different math classes. The alleged incident happened in November 2017, prior to Edmond’s employment with PCA High. She was employed by Shelby County Schools at the time, according to the letter, which was written by PCA High Principal Antonio Ryan. >> On Fox13Memphis.com: Man accused of attacking woman he forcibly held into prostitution, police say Ryan said the school completed a background check on Edmond, but it didn’t show anything about the alleged crime. Edmond is accused of engaging in sexual contact with someone between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the unlawful sexual contact, she 'had supervisory power over (the victim) by virtue of her occupational status and used the power to accomplish sexual contact,' according to the indictment. Edmond was released from jail on bond. WHBQ reached out to both Gestalt Community Schools – which operates PCA High – and Shelby County Schools for comment.  SCS confirmed Edmond was placed on administrative leave on March 27, 2018, to conduct an investigation into the allegations. She did not return to the district.  >> Read more news stories  Below is the statement given by SCS officials regarding her arrest: 'Following the reported allegations, the employee was placed on administrative leave on March 27 so that the District and law enforcement could conduct a thorough investigation. This is standard District procedure. The employee did not return to the school for the remainder of the year and is no longer employed by the District.' Gestalt Community Schools also responded with the following statement: 'We were shocked and disappointed when Jasmine Edmond was arrested. She was a new teacher at Power Center Academy, and we performed a thorough background check last summer, which showed no indication of such behavior. She is currently on administrative leave from Gestalt Community Schools pending further investigation. Although we have no knowledge at this time that her behavior impacted any of our scholars, we are doing our own internal due diligence. We will fully assist the Memphis Police Department with their investigation.' Read more here.
  • Phoenix police are looking for answers after a dead newborn baby was discovered at an Amazon fulfillment center Wednesday. According to KTVK, the body was found about 8:30 p.m. in a women's bathroom at the facility on West Lower Buckeye Road, authorities said. Officials said the baby was inside a garbage can, KNXV reported. >> Read more news stories  Amazon called the incident 'terribly sad and tragic' in a statement. 'We are working with local authorities to support their investigation,' the statement read, according to KTVK. 'The safety and wellness of our team is our top priority.' Read more here or here.
  • With the federal minimum wage of $7.25 cents an hour unchanged for ten years, Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a plan in Congress to more than double that pay rate over a six year period, arguing it’s past time for lawmakers to make it easier for working Americans to earn enough money to support their families. “President Trump isn’t going to stick up for American workers – we Democrats will,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said to cheers at a U.S. Capitol news conference. “No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who will lead the charge for a higher minimum wage in the House as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. “The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 'No American working full time should be living in poverty,' House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott said when introducing legislation to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15. The last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage was in 2007. pic.twitter.com/nypZl0CX7L — POLITICO (@politico) January 16, 2019 “Increasing the federal minimum wage is the right thing to do,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). “I believe this legislation would provide a boost to businesses and the broader economy.” While the Congress has not touched the minimum wage since Democrats pushed through an increase in 2007, individual states have taken a different approach, as now 29 states have a higher minimum wage than the feds. Just last year, voters in Missouri approved raising the minimum wage to $12/hour by 2023; Arkansas voters approved a minimum wage going up to $11 by 2021. “The last time we were in charge, one of the first things we did was raise the minimum wage,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), referring to a 2007 law approved by a Democratic Congress and signed by President George W. Bush. “It was not enough then,” Hoyer said of the $7.25 per hour federal wage. “It is clearly not enough now.” The $15 per hour wage – known by some groups as the “Fight for 15” – certainly has a good chance at getting through the House, now that Democrats in charge; but it faces an uphill fight in the U.S. Senate. Our #FightFor15 Sisters and Brothers welcoming members of Congress to this afternoon's announcement of the #RaiseTheWage Act of 2019. pic.twitter.com/rza7EjsAfP — Fight For 15 (@fightfor15) January 16, 2019 “A living wage for all workers helps business, families, and the economy,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). “The steady increase is good for workers, good for business, and good for the economy,” said Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT). “No American working full time should live in poverty.” A section-by-section review of the bill can be found here. The actual legislative text is here.