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Headline: “We’re going as fast as possible”

Hello. I’m Virginia Harrison and these are the best stories today.

Britain’s hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States fizzled after Boris Johnson had face-to-face talks with President Joe Biden in the White House, prompting the UK to seek other means of strengthening its economic ties with America. Johnson has previously viewed a bilateral free trade deal with the United States as a key Brexit victory. But government insiders concede they see little prospect of a deal, with the Biden administration focusing on other priorities. When asked if he still hopes to get a free trade deal by the next general election, Johnson said “we’re going as fast as we can.” This means that the “special relationship” is still facing new challenges despite signs of healing.

As the prospect of an impending deal with Washington faded, Downing Street appeared to push for other alternatives. The UK is reportedly considering joining an existing trade pact, namely the US-Canada-Mexico Agreement. Biden also told Johnson that trade tensions involving the Irish border should not threaten the peace in Northern Ireland.

Energy crisis – Ministers are looking for ways to reduce the energy bills of poorer households amid skyrocketing gas prices, with measures that could include increasing existing discounts or payments. Analysis seen by the Guardian suggests that a typical low-income UK family will be in a worse position by £ 1,750 by next April as electricity bills and other factors combine to create a cost crisis of life. Pressure is increasing on the government to remedy the compression of household incomes due in part to soaring gas prices. The government will provide “limited financial support” to help fertilizer factories resume CO2 production and maintain supplies to the food industry.

China’s Coal Promise – China will stop funding overseas coal projects, reducing the flow of official aid for dirty energy contributing to the climate crisis. It’s an important decision – China is the main funder of coal projects in developing countries – but concerns remain about the country’s domestic emissions. President Xi Jinping made the announcement at the UN General Assembly, where Joe Biden promised to double Washington’s contribution to countries hardest hit by climate change. In the UK, ministers are trying to ban environmental protesters from targeting highways after five days of blockades and headlines damaging the government.

“We heard that rumble” – Southeast Australia was hit by a major earthquake that damaged buildings in Melbourne and shook Sydney, hundreds of miles north of the epicenter. Geoscience Australia said the 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Mansfield, two hours northeast of Melbourne, at around 9:15 a.m. “We heard that rumble, like a big truck driving through the building,” said Rebecca Douglas, owner of Mansfield Cafe.

“Over-prescribed” pills – One in 10 drugs dispensed by GPs and pharmacists in England is unnecessary and potentially dangerous, a study found, prompting ministers to crack down on overprescribing. Doctors will be asked to increase the use of social prescribing, such as gardening, walking or volunteering, and to call millions of patients for check-ups to see if there are pills they can stop. to take. More than one in six people take five or more medications a day, which increases the risk of side effects, according to the review. One in 14 (7%) takes eight or more drugs.

Wednesday briefing: Hopes for a US trade deal fade |
British Rail’s green double arrow logo makeover. Photograph: Rail delivery group

“Leave him alone” – The designer of British Rail’s famous “double arrow” logo has warned against government plans to give it a green makeover as a “load of old bullshit”. Gerry Barney, now 82, created the logo when he was a 24-year-old letter artist. But the updated version for a “green railroad” met with its contempt. “I don’t know if it can be updated, it’s that simple,” he said. “They should just leave it alone – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Podcast Today in brief

German voters will elect a new chancellor on Sunday for the first time in 16 years, at the end of the Angela Merkel era. Our correspondent in Berlin, Kate Connolly, talks to Nosheen Iqbal about the end of an era.

Today in focus

End of an era for Germany

Reading at lunchtime: Generation X, alcohol and the quest to forget

Wednesday briefing: Hopes for a US trade deal fade |
Composite: Guardian design; Westend61 / Jose A Bernat Bacete / Getty Images

Gen Xers are heavy drinkers at risk thanks in part to the example of parents, the liberalization of alcohol consumption laws and what Zoe Williams calls “the quest for oblivion” as people grew. of drinking age amid the nihilism of the ’80s and’ 90s. But per capita alcohol consumption peaked in the UK as young people drink less. So will the X-ers ever stop?


Eddie Jones has ushered in the ‘final chapter’ of his tenure in England, after revealing his intention to leave the post after the 2023 World Cup by eliminating four senior players and urging Owen Farrell to ‘stoke the fires’ if he has to. resume the post of captain. this autumn. European Ryder Cup players have expressed their gratitude to Pádraig Harrington after the captain was keen to highlight their place in history. Meeting in Wisconsin on Monday evening, the European team saw a video, later made public, which portrays their role as a member of an elite sports group. Manchester City’s tilt in a fifth straight League Cup triumph took off with a win that impressed due to the way Pep Guardiola’s highly modified side responded by conceding first. Seny Dieng believed he gave QPR the advantage, as did the majority inside a stadium that pulsed to the raucous pace of a thrilling Carabao Cup match, including a pitch invader who was has made it to the central circle, although it looks a bit unstable. on his feet. Despite nerves the day before the match surrounding a potential security threat, the third one-day international in Leicester between England and New Zealand went off without a single problem. Unless, that is, the home team’s batter counts: for the second time in as many matches England’s first order looked drawn, as they stumbled at 78 for 7 after 23 overs.


Struggling Chinese real estate group Evergrande has allayed fears of an impending collapse by saying it could pay off $ 35 million in local debt tomorrow. Although the markets have followed the news, Evergrande has not said whether he will also be able to pay interest of $ 83 million on a US dollar debt also due tomorrow. The FTSE100 is expected to rise 0.2% on the news, while the pound is at $ 1.365 and € 1.165. Ladbrokes is the latest UK company targeted to be taken over by US rival Draft Kings offering the company £ 13 billion.

The papers

Wednesday briefing: Hopes for a US trade deal fade |
Photograph: The Guardian

The Guardian leads with “Disagree: Prime Minister’s Hopes of Closing Trade Deal with Biden in Disarray,” and Boris Johnson’s trip to the United States is also topped in several other papers. The I says “No deal with US on trade, PM admits,” but the Times takes a more optimistic line with “Britain aligns to join US Free Trade Pact”, as does the Express: “Britain pushes for mega trade deal with US”. The Telegraph has history in the spotlight but splashes with “Macron can offer UN seat to push EU army”. The Mirror reports on “A Perfect Storm” to come on the cost of living, energy and food shortages, and the FT a “Energy watchdog presses Russia to increase European gas supply”. The Mail leads with “Priti: I will lock the ecological crowd”. In Scotland, the Record splashes on “Gang war at the funeral of a killer”.

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