No renegotiation on Brexit, EU tells May

European Union leaders have said the Brexit withdrawal agreement is « not open for renegotiation », despite appeals from Theresa May. She wanted legal assurances on the Irish backstop to help her deal get through Parliament, after she delayed a Commons vote in anticipation of defeat. The PM said the deal was « at risk » if MPs’ concerns could not be addressed. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said there could be clarifications but no renegotiation. He urged the UK to set out more clearly what it wants, adding that…

Christmas market attacker ‘neutralised’

French police have « neutralised » gunman who attacked a Strasbourg Christmas market – reports quoting police sources This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. Source: BBC

Maria Butina: Russian activist pleads guilty in US

A Russian woman accused in the US of acting as an agent for the Kremlin to infiltrate political groups has pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors. Gun rights activist Maria Butina, 30, admitted a single count of conspiracy at a court in Washington DC. She allegedly tried to infiltrate the National Rifle Association (NRA) in an effort to influence US policies in favour of Moscow. Butina initially pleaded not guilty. She has been in custody since July. She has also agreed to co-operate with investigators. Prosecutors expect the deal…

Strasbourg shootings: Armed police mount operation in Neudorf district

Police in the French city of Strasbourg are carrying out a security operation in the district of Neudorf as they continue their hunt for the gunman who killed three people on Tuesday. Cherif Chekatt, 29, has been on the run since the attack at the city’s Christmas market. He was dropped off in Neudorf by a taxi which he commandeered to leave the city centre. Hundreds of police are hunting for him in France and Germany. Strasbourg shooting: What we know so far Face to face with the gunman It…

Strasbourg: Police make public appeal in Chérif Chekatt manhunt

French police have appealed for help in finding a man suspected of a Christmas market gun attack in Strasbourg that killed three people, and left a fourth brain dead and 12 others wounded. Hundreds of security personnel are searching for Chérif Chekatt, 29, on both sides of the Franco-German border. The suspect had a string of criminal convictions and had become a radical Islamist while in prison. Police say he is highly dangerous and should not be approached. French officials announced on Thursday that a third person had died in…

Hungary ‘slave labour’ law sparks protest on parliament steps

Protests have broken out in Hungary after the country’s parliament passed new labour laws, which have been labelled « slave labour » by opponents. New rules mean companies can demand up to 400 hours of overtime a year and delay payment for it for three years. Police used tear gas against crowds on the steps of the parliament building on Wednesday night as crowds gathered. Opposition politicians had created chaos inside, blocking stairways and blowing whistles to disrupt the votes. They were also angry over a second vote to create…

Turkey train crash: At least four dead in Ankara

Media playback is unsupported on your device A crash involving a high-speed train at a station in the Turkish capital Ankara has killed at least four people and injured more than 40, the local governor said on Thursday morning. Images from the scene showed emergency services working to rescue people from badly damaged carriages. Reports citing local officials said the high-speed train had collided with another train, then into an overpass. The accident occurred at about 06:30 local time (03:30 GMT). The train was travelling from Ankara to the city…

UK PM to join EU summit after surviving vote

Theresa May is heading to Brussels for an EU summit, less than 24 hours after surviving a vote of confidence. The prime minister is seeking legally binding pledges from EU leaders on the Irish backstop – a key obstacle for MPs who oppose her Brexit deal. The EU will not renegotiate the deal but may be willing to give greater assurances on the temporary nature of the backstop, the BBC understands. The PM won the ballot on her leadership by 200 votes to 117 on Wednesday night. The secret ballot…

Theresa May to face vote of no confidence from Tory MPs

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will face a vote of no confidence in her leadership later on Wednesday. Conservative MPs will vote between 18:00 GMT and 20:00 GMT. The challenge to Mrs May’s position comes after the required 48 letters calling for a contest were delivered. Mrs May, who has been prime minister since shortly after the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, has faced criticism in her party for the Brexit plan she has negotiated. The prime minister is expected to make a statement in Downing…

Strasbourg shooting: France hunts gunman as alert level raised

Media playback is unsupported on your device France has issued a maximum level of alert as police hunt a gunman who opened fire at a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg. Three people were killed and 13 wounded, eight of them seriously. The gunman, 29, known to authorities as a suspected extremist, escaped after reportedly being injured. Some 350 officers are involved in the search for the gunman. France’s counter terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the country had issued an « urgence…

Strasbourg shooting: Gunman at large after two killed and 11 injured

Two people have been killed and 11 others wounded in a shooting in the eastern French city of Strasbourg. The gunman, known to security services, is on the run and is being hunted by police. He had been injured in an exchange of gunfire with a soldier, police said. The shooting happened close to a Christmas market in one of the central squares, Place Kléber. France’s counter terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation. Confirming the death toll had risen to two, the French interior minister, Christophe Castaner, who is on…

May meets EU leaders for Brexit talks

Theresa May is continuing to hold talks with European leaders and EU officials aimed at rescuing her Brexit deal. No 10 said Mrs May’s meeting with Angela Merkel had been positive and the PM was determined to get MPs to back her deal. Many of her MPs are demanding legally-binding guarantees over the backstop plan for the Irish border. The German leader said the deal could not be re-negotiated but she was still optimistic a solution could be found. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn labelled Mrs May the « runaway…

Spain warns Catalonia over region’s Mossos police

The Spanish government has warned the Catalan authorities that national police could be sent to their region if they tolerate separatist blockades. The warning – in three letters from ministers – followed a protest on Saturday by separatists who blocked the AP-7 motorway connecting France to Catalonia’s coast. Madrid accused the Catalan police force – the Mossos – of just standing by. Spain’s ruling Socialists oppose the Catalan independence movement. Catalan nationalists regained power in Barcelona in May, after a seven-month period of direct rule by Madrid. Hunger strike Tensions…

UK PM to meet EU leaders for Brexit talks

Media playback is unsupported on your device Theresa May will meet European leaders and EU officials later for talks aimed at rescuing her Brexit deal. She will hold talks with Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Germany’s Angela Merkel after postponing MPs’ final vote on the deal. The UK PM has said she needs « further assurances » about the Northern Ireland border plan to get Commons backing. European Council President Donald Tusk insisted the EU would « not renegotiate » but said leaders would discuss how to help « facilitate…

Two cabinet sources say Brexit vote will be delayed

Tuesday’s vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal is set to be delayed, two cabinet sources have told the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg. There is not yet any official confirmation of the move, with Prime Minister Theresa May currently on a conference call with cabinet ministers. Downing Street had been insisting the vote would go ahead, despite Mrs May being widely expected to lose it. The prime minister is expected to make a statement to MPs later. The pound fell 0.4% against the US dollar to £1.26, following reports…

Anti-Semitism pervades European life, says EU report

Anti-Semitism is getting worse and Jews are increasingly worried about the risk of harassment, according to a major survey of 12 EU countries. Hundreds of Jews questioned by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency said they had experienced a physical, anti-Semitic attack in the past year, while 28% said they had been harassed. France is identified has having the biggest problem with anti-Semitism. Germany, the UK, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands also saw incidents. What are the main findings? The Vienna-based FRA paints a picture of synagogues and Jewish schools requiring…

Brexit ruling: UK can cancel decision, EU court says

The European Court of Justice has ruled the UK can cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 EU members. The ECJ judges ruled this could be done without altering the terms of Britain’s membership. A group of anti-Brexit politicians argued the UK should be able to unilaterally halt Brexit, but they were opposed by the government and EU. The decision comes a day before MPs are due to vote on Theresa May’s deal for leaving the EU. MPs are already widely expected to reject the proposals during a…

Yellow vest protests: Macron to hold crisis meeting

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to meet trade unions and employers’ organisations, in a bid to defuse weeks of unrest in Paris and other cities. Monday’s meeting comes ahead of a TV address in which he is expected to announce measures in response. France has seen four weekends of violent protests against fuel tax rises, living costs and other issues. About 136,000 « yellow-vest » protesters took to the streets on Saturday. More than 1,200 were taken into custody. The capital Paris was particularly badly hit, with windows smashed,…

Yellow vest protests ‘economic catastrophe’ for France

The « yellow vest » protests have been « a catastrophe » for the French economy, the finance minister says. France has seen four consecutive weekends of demonstrations against fuel tax rises, high living costs, and other issues. About 125,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday, with more than 1,700 people arrested. Several tourist sites, including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum, are closed this weekend. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the situation « a crisis » for both society and democracy. « It’s a catastrophe for commerce,…

Yellow vest protests: France’s Édouard Philippe seeks ‘unity’ after unrest

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has vowed to « restore national unity » after violence broke out during a fourth consecutive weekend of protests. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets on Saturday – the latest day of « yellow vest » demonstrations against fuel tax rises and high living costs. Almost 1,000 people were taken into custody but the violence was not on the same level as a week earlier. Discussions with peaceful protesters « must continue », Mr Philippe said. He added: « No tax should jeopardise our…

Armenia leader Nikol Pashinyan holds test snap election

Armenians will vote in an early parliamentary election on Sunday, a key test for the man behind the peaceful « Velvet Revolution » that swept the country in April. Nikol Pashinyan was elected prime minister by lawmakers in May, after weeks of anti-corruption protests. He pledged an end to election-rigging. Eleven parties and political blocs are on the ballot, and Mr Pashinyan’s My Step Alliance is expected to win a parliamentary majority. Mr Pashinyan, 43, a newspaper editor turned opposition politician, stepped down in October so parliament could be dissolved…

Yellow vest movement: France braces for ‘ultraviolent’ protests

France is braced for renewed anti-government protests, with nearly 90,000 security personnel on the streets. Some 8,000 officers and 12 armoured vehicles will be deployed in Paris alone, where shops have been boarded up and sites like the Eiffel Tower closed. The « yellow vest » movement began three weeks ago in opposition to a rise in fuel tax but ministers say it has been hijacked by « ultraviolent » protesters. Last week saw hundreds arrested and scores injured in violence in Paris. They were some of the worst street…

Merkel’s choice elected ruling party leader

Germany’s ruling Christian Democrat Union has chosen Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as the new party leader, but Angela Merkel will stay on as chancellor for now. The former chief minister of Saarland won 517 of the 999 votes cast by Christian Democrat Union members. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest…

Germany’s Merkel bids emotional farewell to CDU party

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given an emotional farewell speech to her ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), as she steps down as party leader. « Our liberal values must be defended, internally and externally, » she said. She hinted that she was backing Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to succeed her, praising her electoral performance as chief minister of Saarland. Despite quitting as CDU leader Ms Merkel plans to remain German chancellor until her term ends in 2021. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s chief rival in Friday’s CDU vote is millionaire corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz. The third…

Yellow vests: France protests ‘created a monster’, says minister

Anti-government protests in France have « created a monster », France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said. And he is warning that « radical elements » could infiltrate planned « yellow vest » protests at the weekend. Tourist sites in Paris are to close on Saturday amid fears of further street violence. The protests began three weeks ago, initially against a rise in fuel taxes but have spread to take in other issues, including education reforms. Mr Castaner said « large-scale security measures » would be put in place this…

France protests: Eiffel Tower to close on Saturday amid Paris riot fears

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is to close on Saturday amid fears of further street violence from « yellow vest » anti-government protests. Across France, 89,000 police officers will be on duty and armoured vehicles will be deployed in the capital, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced. Police have urged shops and restaurants on Paris’s Champs-Elysees to shut and some museums will also be closed. Paris saw some of the worst rioting in decades last Saturday. The government has said it is scrapping unpopular fuel tax increases in its budget –…

Dutch girl’s ‘hijacked’ party invite prompts riot fears

It began as a Snapchat message from a 15-year-old girl to all her friends to come to her birthday party on Friday in the small Dutch town of Katwijk. But her plans turned into a nightmare when one of them posted the invite on Facebook and prompted interest from thousands of people nationwide. The mayor said the party was hijacked. The girl has reportedly gone into hiding – and her party is cancelled. Police feared a repeat of a Dutch party that went viral and ended in rioting. Crowds of…

France protests: Government fears ‘major violence’ in coming days

The French government says it fears « major violence » in Paris on Saturday as the national « yellow vests » protest movement shows little sign of easing. The government said it was scrapping fuel tax increases in the budget – the original spark for the protests. But the movement has since grown into a wider expression of anger about rising living costs, and Saturday’s planned rally looks set to go ahead. Recent protests have turned violent, causing millions of euros in damage. The government appealed for calm after making…

France protests: Fuel tax rises in 2019 budget dropped

Fuel tax rises which sparked weeks of violent protests in France have now been dropped from next year’s budget, the government has announced. The move was announced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who a day earlier had only promised to postpone them for six months. The « gilets jaunes » (yellow vest) protests have hit major cities over the past three weekends. Further demonstrations are planned for this weekend. They have grown to reflect more widespread anger at the government. Who are the ‘gilets jaunes’? Jobseeker: Macron should help me…

UK MPs to debate economic impact of Brexit

Brexit’s economic effects will be the focus of a Commons debate later, as government whips work behind the scenes to gain support for Theresa May’s deal. Ministers will say it creates a unique partnership with the EU, while Labour argues it will make people poorer. Late on Wednesday, chief whip Julian Smith tried to win over pro-Brexit Tories, while civil servants will brief senior MPs on a no-deal scenario later. However, one Brexiteer complained this was a bid to « spook grandees ». Before the third of five days’ debate,…