The European Council President Donald Tusk has confirmed that the EU will grant Britain a Brexit extension until the end of January. EU Ambassadors in Brussels have agreed to a flexible postponement. An accompanying declaration is thought to say that the latest Brexit deal can not be renegotiated. It could take a day or two to complete the arrangements. Later, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to ask MPs for a general election in December. Here's our political correspondent Rob Watson.
The options are sort of narrowed to two really, that is the Britain has a general election before Christmas and without ratifying Boris Johnson's deal with the European Union. It seems to me that the only other option is that the opposition Labor Party somehow helps Mr. Johnson with a deal. Britain leaves the European Union and then you have a general election sometime in the spring. I suspect the smart batting would be on the general election before Christmas without a deal.
Soldiers in Myanmar have freed fourteen hostages in an operation against the militant Arakan Army in the state of Rakhine, but a number of those being held were killed during the raid. Our Asia Pacific editor Michael Bristow reports.
The hostages were part of a group of more than fifty taken in a raid on a ferry by the rebels on Saturday. Most of those held were soldiers and police officers. The army, furious at the militants' ability to launch such an operation, try to free the captives by attacking with helicopter gunships. In the fighting, some hostages were freed and some died, as did a number of rebels. The Arakan Army is fighting for more autonomy. Its campaign against the Burmese authorities is separate to the plight of the Muslim Rohingya from the same state.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have released reports on what they called the dire state of the media in Tanzania. They say new laws passed since President John Magufuli came to power in 2015 have clamped down on opposition parties, the media and aid groups. They've led to the arrest of journalists and the closure, suspension or penalties against more than ten newspapers and radio stations. The Tanzania's Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe has dismissed the criticism. He said the regulations were necessary.
Let me remind you that there's a new law, particularly for online bloggers and those who spread fake news. If we take action against you, don't start complaining that the government is muscling the press. Now I'm warning you we will start taking action.
Anti-government protesters in Lebanon have been blocking streets on what's now the twelve consecutive day of demonstrations. Cars, tents and other barricades have been used to cut off major roads, including the main north-south highway. On the street in central Beirut, activists set out carpets and sofas and played football.