Former NYC mayor Bloomberg giving Johns Hopkins $1.8 billion for financial aid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg is giving $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University for student financial aid at his alma mater, Bloomberg said in an opinion piece published on Sunday in The New York Times.

Bloomberg, the founder and chief executive of global media company Bloomberg LP, said the money will used for aid for qualified low and middle-income students and will make the Baltimore, Maryland university’s admissions permanently “need-blind.”

“I want to be sure that the school that gave me a chance will be able to permanently open that same door of opportunity for others,” he wrote in the Times.

Bloomberg rejoined the Democratic Party last month ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections, amid speculation he might run for the White House in 2020.

PG&E reports another outage on  morning when California fire started

NEW YORK (Reuters) – California utility PG&E Corp (PCG.N), facing investor concerns over its possible role in the deadly Camp Fire in Northern California, has reported another power-line outage that it experienced on the morning of Nov. 8 when the blaze started.

The incident report, which was filed on Friday with the safety division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), said a line near the area of Concow in Butte County suffered an outage at 6:45 a.m. on Nov. 8.

The information in the report is preliminary, according to a spokesman for PG&E, who said the company was cooperating with any investigations.

The utility has said it could face liability that exceeds its insurance coverage if its equipment were found to have caused the Camp Fire.

The cause of the blaze, which was 60 percent contained on Sunday, is under investigation. In a previous regulatory report, PG&E, which operates in the northern part of California, said it experienced an outage on a transmission line on the morning of Nov. 8 near the town of Pulga, near where the fire is thought to have started.

Authorities were still searching for signs of the 1,276 people listed as missing after the Camp Fire tore through the mountain town of Paradise. The remains of 76 people have been recovered so far in what is considered the state’s deadliest-ever wildfire.

A CPUC spokesman confirmed that the agency received the second report on Friday, and said the incident would be incorporated into its investigation “to assess the compliance of electric facilities with applicable rules and regulations in fire impacted areas.”

Investors are watching for clues about whether California’s government will step in to save PG&E should it eventually be found responsible for the fire and should any potential liability exceed the utility’s resources.

CPUC President Michael Picker told Reuters on Friday that utilities must be able to borrow money cheaply in order to properly serve ratepayers. Similar comments from Picker a day earlier caused PG&E’s stock to surge in after-hours trading.

The company’s stock had slumped more than 60 percent since the wildfire broke out, on fears that without help from California’s government, the utility could go bankrupt should it eventually be found responsible.

Trump would not intervene if Whitaker moves to curtail Mueller probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said in an interview aired on Sunday he would not intervene if Matthew Whitaker, his acting U.S. attorney general, moved to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In an interview with the “Fox News Sunday” program taped on Friday, Trump also said he probably would not agree to a sit-down interview with Mueller, who also is investigating whether the Republican president’s campaign conspired with Moscow and whether Trump has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe.

Whitaker took over supervision of Mueller’s investigation on Nov. 7 after Trump appointed him as the chief U.S. law enforcement official to replace Jeff Sessions, who the president ousted. Whitaker, who Democrats have called a Trump “political lackey,” in the past criticized the scope of the Mueller probe and brought up the possibility of undermining it by slashing Mueller’s funding.

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Trump, in the interview, said he was unaware of Whitaker’s past statements about Mueller’s probe and that he would “not get involved” if Whitaker moved to curtail it.

“It’s going to be up to him,” Trump told “Fox News Sunday” interviewer Chris Wallace. “I think he’s very well aware politically. I think he’s astute politically. … He’s going to do what’s right.”

Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow and has called the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.” Russia also has denied collusion.

“There is no collusion, he happened to be right,” Trump said, referring to one of Whitaker’s previous statements.

Mueller has brought charges against a series of former Trump aides, including his former campaign chairman and his former national security adviser, as well as a number of Russian individuals and entities. Congressional critics have voiced concern that Whitaker could hamper or even fire Mueller.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators renewed a push last week for legislation to protect the special counsel, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, opposes it, saying it is unconstitutional and unnecessary.

‘THE RULE OF LAW’
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who will likely lead the Senate panel overseeing the Justice Department next year, met with Whitaker last week and expressed confidence the Russia probe would continue.

But Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday the Senate should vote on the Mueller protection bill, which he helped write and supported when it won committee approval.

“I think it’s constitutional, and I’d like to vote on it,” said Graham, who has been involved in negotiations with McConnell and retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who has pledged to hold up Trump’s judicial confirmations until the Senate votes on the Mueller bill.

“But, having said all that, I don’t see any indication at all that the Mueller probe is going to be interfered with by Mr. Whitaker or President Trump,” Graham added.

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, who is set to lead the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee after Democrats won control of the chamber in this month’s midterm elections, said Democrats will use their oversight powers to investigate any effort by Whitaker to curb Mueller’s probe.

“We will expose any involvement he has in it,” Schiff, referring to Whitaker, told ABC’s “This Week” program,” accusing Trump of appointing Whitaker in order to interfere with the investigation. “This is an attack on the rule of law.”

Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday he had “very easily” completed his written answers for Mueller’s investigation. In his “Fox News Sunday” comments, he signaled he had no plans to do a face-to-face interview with Mueller’s team.

Trump and his lawyers had been in negotiations with Mueller’s team for months over how the president would be questioned as part of the investigation. Wallace asked Trump whether it was his final position that he would not do a sit-down interview and would not give written responses to questions relating to obstruction of justice.

“I think we’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is probably, we’re finished,” Trump said, though he added “I can change my mind.”

“We gave very, very complete answers to a lot of questions that I shouldn’t have even been asked, and I think that should solve the problem,” Trump added.

Republican Scott secures Florida U.S. Senate seat after recount

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Reuters) – Rick Scott, Florida’s outgoing governor, was declared the winner on Sunday of his hard-fought U.S. Senate race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson following a hand recount of ballots, giving Republicans control of both of the state’s Senate seats for the first time since the 19th century.

In the recount of the Nov. 6 election, Scott won by 10,033 votes out of 8.19 million cast statewide, Florida elections officials said. Scott took 50.05 percent, compared to 49.93 percent for Nelson, they added.

A three-term senator first elected to the chamber in 2000, Nelson, 76, telephoned Scott, 65, to concede the race, then issued a statement voicing worry about “a gathering darkness” in American politics in recent years. Republicans including President Donald Trump made allegations, without offering evidence, that the recount process was marred by fraud.

Scott’s victory gave the Republicans 52 seats in the 100-member Senate. In Mississippi, Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democratic challenger Mike Espy will compete in a Nov. 27 runoff election after neither won a majority in their U.S. Senate race.

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Nelson became the latest incumbent Democratic senator toppled in the midterm congressional election in which the Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate but lost control of the House of Representatives.

Other defeated incumbent Democratic senators included Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Claire McCaskill in Missouri.

Republicans will hold both Senate seats from Florida, the third most-populous U.S. state and a regular battleground in presidential races, for the first time since 1875, during the post-Civil War period.

The recount process was just as contentious as the campaign itself, with the candidates filing lawsuits and leveling allegations at one another including Scott saying Nelson was trying to “steal” the election. Even before the recount process was completed and he had not yet been deemed the victor, Scott appeared last week in Washington at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell welcoming newly elected Republican senators.

‘GET TO WORK’
“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service,” Scott said in an emailed statement.

The statement ended, “Let’s get to work.”

In his own recorded statement, Nelson lamented the tone of American politics in recent years and hoped for “a safe and sane future.” He took what seemed to be a veiled swipe at Trump.

“We have to move beyond a politics that aims not just to defeat but to destroy; where truth is treated as disposable, where falsehoods abound, and the free press is assaulted as the ‘enemy of the people,’” Nelson said.

Trump said on Twitter, “From day one Rick Scott never wavered. He was a great Governor and will be even a greater Senator in representing the People of Florida.”

Scott, who was prevented by state law from running for a third term as governor, initially emerged from the election with an official lead of less than 0.5 percentage points, which prompted a recount.

The Florida Senate battle and the race to replace Scott as governor were closely watched contests Democrats had hoped to win. On Saturday, Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican rival Ron DeSantis, an ally of Trump, in the governor’s race, which also had gone to a recount.

Scott entered politics from the business world, having amassed a personal fortune as a healthcare executive. He dipped into his wealth to help finance his campaigns, winning the governorship in 2010 and 2014.

Nelson has been a fixture in Florida politics since he won a seat in the state legislature in 1972. He then served in the U.S. House of Representatives and has held state Cabinet posts.

Scenes of thousands of people across the state reviewing ballots during the recount process had brought back memories of Florida’s 2000 presidential recount, which ended only after the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, effectively handing the presidency to Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore.

Bombardier CEO meets investors as stock dives 20 percent

MONTREAL, TORONTO (Reuters) – Bombardier Inc’s (BBDb.TO) top executives met with investors in Montreal on Friday after a disappointing free cash flow forecast and regulatory action, which sent the plane and train maker’s shares down 20 percent, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Montreal meeting with Bombardier Chief Executive Alain Bellemare and Chief Financial Officer John Di Bert was previously scheduled but “the (high) participation and level of interest was driven by recent events,” said one of the two sources.

Bellemare had already met with investors following the free cash flow forecast on Nov. 8, which sent its shares down more than 23 percent on that day.

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The Canadian company said it would only be able to meet its 2018 free cash flow estimate by using $635 million in proceeds from the sale of a Toronto plant earlier this year. Analysts had expected Montreal-based Bombardier to achieve its target of roughly breaking even on cash without relying on those proceeds.

Bellemare, credited with improving Bombardier’s finances after a crippling 2015 cash crunch, sought to reassure investors that the company would still achieve the company’s five-year turnaround plan designed to boost revenues and margins by 2020, said the source who could not provide further details on the meeting.

The sources declined to be identified as the information is not public. A Bombardier spokesman declined to comment when asked about the meeting.

On Thursday, the province of Quebec’s securities watchdog asked Bombardier to halt stock trades under a plan set up to facilitate share sales by certain senior company executives.

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) said it was “reviewing” transactions and “various announcements” related to Bombardier’s creation of an Automatic Securities Disposition Plan on Aug. 15.

Bombardier stock closed down 20 percent at C$1.67, adding to last week’s 31 percent slide.

The sell-off in the stock also spread to bonds. Bombardier has about C$12.3 billion ($9.35 billion) of bonds outstanding, much of which has been issued in U.S. dollars, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

The yield on Bombardier’s 7.5 percent U.S. dollar bond maturing in March 2025 has jumped by nearly 300 basis points over the last two weeks to 9.87 percent, its highest since July 2016.

Jamie Koutaoukis, Moody’s lead Bombardier analyst, said by email that she downgraded the company’s senior unsecured debt in 2017 “highlighting at that time that we expected continued negative free cash flow in 2018, in contrast to guidance.”

With new CEO, Telecom Italia ‘opera’ edges towards finale

MILAN (Reuters) – Barely a year into the job as the boss of Italy’s biggest telecoms company, Amos Genish had just finished celebrating a joint venture with electronics group Samsung at a dinner in South Korea when a WhatsApp message arrived sealing his fate.

The Telecom Italia CEO had been in conflict with some of his fellow board members over strategy at the former state phone monopoly but the company had said there would be no board meeting while he was away.

“Amos, the board has been called for tomorrow morning at 7 to resolve on the revocation of your delegation of power. I’m sorry it happened when you’re out,” read the message, a copy of which has been viewed by Reuters.

Twelve hours later, the telecoms industry veteran was fired in a board meeting he dialled into from Seoul. He was the third CEO to leave the group in as many years and his successor was chosen on Sunday.

The new CEO, Luigi Gubitosi, is backed by U.S. activist investor Elliott Management, which had pushed for the spin off of the company’s fixed line network (NetCo) and the sale of other assets, shifting the focus from the operational turnaround pursued by Genish.

The sacking, which Genish called a Soviet-style putsch, was the latest twist in a corporate drama that one board member described in an email as an “opera”.

In theory, it paves the way for Elliott’s plan. But conversations with sources both inside and close to the company show that in practice there may be many more twists to come.

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The underlying plot pits Elliott against TIM’s main shareholder, French media group Vivendi, over how to revive an underperforming business whose shares have dropped 27 percent this year alone.

The outcome will decide both the future of TIM and whether Italy can overcome the digital divide that separates it from more advanced economies in Europe.

Genish, who was appointed by the French investor last year, wants TIM to keep control of the network, deeming it strategic both to the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) mobile services and to the survival of the company’s service operations.

Elliott, which took control of the board in May, has an ally in Italy’s anti-establishment government elected in June, which has prioritized the creation of a single broadband network to help Italy catch up digitally with European peers.

A new draft amendment to a government fiscal decree, seen by Reuters on Friday, aims to advance the project via incentives to twin TIM’s network with small, state-backed rival, Open Fiber.

“All the stars are aligned, this is a massive project and it needs to be pursued, you can’t say you won’t do it because there are risks associated with it,” a source familiar with the matter said of Genish.

Exclusive: U.S. shale firms offer $100 million to aid Texas, New Mexico

HOUSTON (Reuters) – More than a dozen top U.S. energy companies have pledged $100 million toward easing stresses on health care, education and civic infrastructure from the shale oil and gas boom in West Texas and New Mexico, the group said on Sunday.

Chevron, EOG Resources, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell are among 17 companies backing the Permian Strategic Partnership, as the consortium is called, Don Evans, a former U.S. government official and energy executive helping launch the group, told Reuters on Saturday.

The group seeks to address labor and housing shortages, overtaxed health care and traffic congestion caused in part by companies descending on the Permian Basin, the nation’s largest oilfield, where they hope to pump billions of dollars’ worth of oil and gas in coming decades, experts said.

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“It’s a significant amount of money, but these are huge challenges,” said Evans, a former U.S. Secretary of Commerce who lives in Midland, Texas, the epicenter of the shale oil revolution. “We don’t have enough teachers. We don’t have enough doctors.”

The group aims to work with regional and federal officials, companies, nonprofit groups and educators in New Mexico and Texas, said Evans, who started in the Permian and became CEO of producer Tom Brown Inc before joining the administration of former President George W. Bush.

The group is assembling plans to hold meetings in communities across the region, so “everyone have a voice” in the undertaking. There is no timetable or plan for how the initial contribution will be spent. The group is recruiting staff and searching for office space, he said.

In the last decade, the region’s many pockets of oil and low production costs have led to gold rush-like conditions in the Permian. Companies are pouring staff and equipment into the oilfield, which is expected to pump 3.7 million barrels of oil per day by December, four times its rate in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That boom has local employers, including restaurants and school systems, under pressure from staff leaving for oilfield jobs. Midland’s unemployment rate was 2.1 percent in October, compared to the nation’s 3.7 percent rate.

The last decade’s shale boom also has led to school overcrowding, soaring traffic fatalities, drug abuse and strains on the power grid because of the activity.

“Our roads are not designed to handle the amount of truck traffic we have,” said Jeff Walker, transportation training coordinator at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs.

U.S.-China rift divides Asian summit
Drug charges in Midland more than doubled between 2012 and 2016, to 942 from 491, according to police data. Traffic accidents also jumped 18 percent between 2016 and 2017 in Midland County, and 29 percent in nearby Ector County, according to Texas Department of Transportation data.

“They all agree that scaling up infrastructure is going to be a huge challenge,” said Bob Peterson, a partner at consultancy Arthur D. Little who advises producers. “There’s a common agreement that there’s a whole bundle of problems.”

Kremlin says Putin told Pence Russia did not meddle in U.S. election: Ifax

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin told U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Russia had nothing to do with meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Interfax reported on Monday, during discussions about an upcoming meeting between Putin and President Donald Trump.

Putin and Pence spoke in Singapore last week about key issues that could be discussed at the meeting between the two leaders, expected to take place at the G20 summit in Argentina in late November, a Kremlin spokesman said.

Pence raised the issue of external meddling in the U.S. election but Putin told him that “the Russian state had nothing to do … and can not have anything to do with meddling” in any electoral processes, Interfax quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Two years after Philippines’ pivot, Duterte still waiting on China dividend

MANILA (Reuters) – Two years after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced a divorce with old ally the United States in return for bumper business ties with China, he doesn’t have much to show for it.

Duterte left Beijing in 2016 with $24 billion of Chinese loans and investment pledges for his ambitious infrastructure overhaul, a few weeks after saying the Philippines was being treated like a dog by Washington and would be better off with China.

But only a fraction of China’s pledged support has materialized, exposing Duturte to criticisms he has been complicit in allowing China to pose threats to Philippines’ sovereignty, and been left high and dry by Beijing.

When Xi Jinping visits the Philippines this week, Duterte will need the Chinese president to put his money where his mouth is and help Duterte justify his geopolitical concessions to a historic rival, according to Richard Heydarian, a Manila-based defense and security analyst.

“Otherwise, we can definitely conclude that there’s really nothing much in the rhetoric and the Philippines has been taken for a ride,” Heydarian said.

“Duterte’s naivety with China has been a slam dunk strategic coup for China, no doubt about it.”

Philippine’s Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said it would be unreasonable to expect all the Chinese pledges to come through after only two years, but officials were hopeful intervention by Xi after his visit could help.

“We’re very optimistic this will, their head of state, will pressure their bureaucracy to speed up the process,” he said last week.

Duterte’s signature “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, the centerpiece of his economic strategy, involves 75 flagship projects of which about half are earmarked for Chinese loans, grants or investments.

But according to publicly available Philippine government documents reviewed by Reuters, only three of those – two bridges and an irrigation facility worth a combined $167 million – have so far broken ground.

The rest, including three rail projects, three highways and nine bridges, are at various levels of planning and budgeting, or are awaiting Chinese government approval for financing, or the nomination of Chinese contractors.

‘POSITIVE RESULTS’
China’s foreign ministry said major projects agreed by both sides “are proceeding smoothly and continue to achieve positive results”. China wanted to boost trade and investment and “promote the early commencement of building of even more agreed upon projects,” the ministry said in a statement to Reuters.

Chinese committed investments in the Philippines in the first half of this year were just $33 million, about 40 percent of that of the United States and about a seventh of Japan’s, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, tracking a similar trend the previous year.

Trade between China and the Philippines has picked up significantly, but data suggests mostly in China’s favor.

Chinese exports to the Philippines grew 26 percent in the first nine months of 2017 from the same period a year earlier, outpacing its imports from Manila, which grew 9.8 percent.

Net foreign direct investment from China has, however, surged to $181 million for the first eight months of this year, from $28.8 million for all of 2017, according to the Philippine central bank.

PRESSURE NEEDED
Duterte has made a point of praising China effusively and confessing his “love” for Xi. He even jokingly offered his country to Beijing as “a province of China”.

Many ordinary Filipinos as well as international lawyers and diplomats are incensed by Duterte’s refusal to even raise with China the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) 2016 award that ruled in the Philippines’ favor, and invalidated Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea.

Instead, Duterte is seeking an agreement with China to jointly explore offshore gas at the disputed Reed Bank in the resource-rich and strategic waterway. Some lawmakers fear that could be tantamount to recognizing Beijing’s claim to a site that the PCA ruling said China has no sovereign rights to under international law.

Duterte has also been against Southeast Asian countries taking a united stand against China militarization and at a regional summit last week, he warned against causing friction, because the South China Sea was “now in their (China’s) hands”.

Heydarian said if Duterte was unable to show an economic dividend from his China gambit, it could weaken his hand ahead of 2019 mid-term elections that might determine the success or failure of his presidency.

To stand a chance of delivering on his policy agenda, Duterte needs his allies to command a majority in Congress and the Senate to ensure key legislation is passed to enable reforms aimed at generating revenue, attracting investment and creating higher-quality jobs.

“If after Xi Jinping’s visit, there’s still no big move by China to invest in the Philippines, if China’s militarization and reclamation will just continue unabated, you’re going to have a situation where Duterte will come under extreme pressure,” he said.

“The opposition is going to use that to pin down Duterte and his allies as Chinese lackeys.”

Getting rid of me risks delaying Brexit – May

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday toppling her would risk delaying Brexit and she would not let talk of a leadership challenge distract her from a critical week of negotiations with Brussels.

In the days since she unveiled a draft EU divorce deal, May’s premiership has been thrust into crisis. Several ministers, including her Brexit minister, have resigned and some of her lawmakers are seeking to oust her.

More than two years after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, on what terms or even if it will leave as planned on March 29, 2019.

May has vowed to fight on, but with both pro-EU and pro-Brexit lawmakers unhappy with the draft agreement, it is not clear she will be able to win the backing of parliament for it, raising the risk Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

“These next seven days are going to be critical, they are about the future of this country,” May told Sky News. “I am not going to be distracted from the important job.”

“A change of leadership at this point isn’t going to make the negotiations any easier … what it will do is mean that there is a risk that actually we delay the negotiations and that is a risk that Brexit gets delayed or frustrated.”

To trigger a confidence vote, 48 of her Conservative lawmakers must submit a letter to the chairman of the party’s so-called 1922 committee, Graham Brady.

More than 20 lawmakers have said publicly that they have done so, but others are thought to have submitted letters confidentially. Brady told BBC Radio on Sunday the 48 threshold had not yet been reached.

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Brady said he thought it was likely May would win any confidence vote, making her immune to another challenge for 12 months under the party’s rules.

Mark Francois, one lawmaker who has submitted a letter, said he expected some colleagues were taking soundings from local party members over the weekend before making a decision.

FUTURE RELATIONSHIP
At the centre of concerns over the deal is the Northern Irish backstop, an insurance policy to avoid a return to border checks between the British province and EU-member Ireland.

Critics say it would leave Britain bound to the EU in perpetuity and risks dividing the United Kingdom by aligning Northern Ireland more closely with the EU’s customs rules and production standards than mainland Britain.

The DUP, a small Northern Irish party which props up May’s minority government, has threatened to pull its support if the backstop means the province is treated differently from the rest of the United Kingdom.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said on Sunday it was “time to work for a better deal which does not undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

May said negotiations were continuing and she intended to go to Brussels and meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. She said she would also be speaking to other EU leaders ahead of an EU summit to discuss the deal on Nov. 25.

“We won’t agree the leaving part, the withdrawal agreement, until we have got what we want in the future relationship because these two go together. The focus this week will be on the future relationship,” she told Sky. “It is the future relationship that delivers on the Brexit vote.”

Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, who resigned in July over May’s Brexit plans, said it was “either a tragic illusion or an attempt at deception” to think issues with the exit deal could be remedied in the next stage of talks.

“I have heard it said that this is like a football match, in which we are one-nil down at half-time, but … we can still pull it back and get the Brexit we want,” Johnson wrote in his weekly column for Monday’s Daily Telegraph.

“We are about to give the EU the right to veto our departure from the customs union. Why should they let us go?”

British newspapers reported that five senior pro-Brexit ministers were working to pressure May to change the deal, but May said she saw no alternative plan on the table.

Former Brexit minister Dominic Raab, who resigned on Thursday in protest at the deal, said he supported May as leader but her deal was “fatally flawed” and she must change course.

“I still think a deal could be done,” Raab told the BBC. “The biggest risk of no deal is taking a bad deal to the House of Commons … it is very important to take the action now.”

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would vote against May’s deal and the government should go back to Brussels for further negotiations. He said that was a priority ahead of pushing for a second referendum on the final agreement.

“It’s an option for the future, but it’s not an option for today, because if we had a referendum tomorrow, what’s it going to be on? What’s the question going to be?” Corbyn told Sky News.

Mexican drug lord, Beltran Leyva, dead at 56 of cardiac arrest

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Hector Beltran Leyva, a Mexican drug lord whose cartel earned a reputation as one of the country’s most vengeful and ruthless, died late on Sunday in hospital of cardiac arrest after being transferred from jail with chest pain, Mexican authorities said.

Beltran Leyva had been incarcerated since March 2, 2016 in Federal Prison Number 1, a maximum security facility in central Altiplano, Mexico, where he was facing federal prosecution for various crimes, the Mexico Interior Ministry said in a statement announcing the death.

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Nicknamed “the H,” according to the statement, Beltran Leyva’s capture in 2014 near a town where he had posed as an art and real estate dealer was seen as a major victory for Mexican authorities in their decade-long war against drug gangs.

The snaring of the Beltran Leyva cartel’s boss dealt a serious blow to a drug gang named after a group of brothers who became infamous for the bloody turf war waged with their former ally, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Guzman is currently facing trial for drug trafficking in federal court in Brooklyn.

Authorities said Beltran Leyva, 56, was transferred on Sunday from prison to hospital minutes after security officers noticed he had severe pain in his chest that did not respond to first aid from prison doctors.

The statement “noted that, at all times, Beltran Leyva … received the medical attention he required and that the staff of the hospital as well as the federal center, exhausted all the clinical resources at its disposal.”