London, Oct 6 (AP/UNB) — The chances of Britain and European Union striking a Brexit deal are rising, one of the bloc's leaders has said, amid reports the two sides are moving closer on the fraught issue of the Irish border.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told three Austrian newspapers in comments published Saturday that "the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days."
Negotiations faltered after the EU said last month that British Prime Minister Theresa May's proposal for post-Brexit economic relations was unacceptable.
The two sides spent days trading bad-tempered barbs, with EU leaders demanding an apology after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt compared the bloc to the Soviet Union.
But officials have been meeting behind the scenes before a key summit in Brussels on Oct. 17 and 18. EU leaders say there needs to be major progress at the meeting for there to be a deal before Britain leaves the bloc on March 29.
The main obstacle is ensuring there are no customs posts or border checks along the frontier between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. Both sides say the border must be kept open, but haven't agreed on how that can be accomplished.
The border impasse has heightened fears that the U.K. could find itself crashing out of the bloc without a deal. The U.K. government has acknowledged that could leave planes grounded and trucks backed up at British ports.
Juncker said a "no-deal" Brexit would be bad for both Britain and the EU.
"Our will is unbroken to reach agreement with the British government," he said.
Boise, Oct 4 (AP/UNB) — Leon Lederman, an experimental physicist who won a Nobel Prize in physics for his work on subatomic particles and coined the phrase "God particle," died Wednesday at 96.
Lederman directed the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago from 1978 to 1989.
He's described as a giant in his field who also had a passion for sharing science, resulting in his book, "The God Particle."
The title refers to a subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, long theorized until a powerful European particle collider confirmed its existence.
Lederman died at a nursing home in the Idaho town of Rexburg, said Ellen Carr Lederman, his wife of 37 years.
"What he really loved was people, trying to educate them and help them understand what they were doing in science," she said.
Lederman won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1988 with two other scientists for discovering a subatomic particle called the muon neutrino. He used the prize money to buy a log cabin near the tiny town of Driggs in eastern Idaho as a vacation retreat.
The couple moved there full-time in 2011 when Leon Lederman started experiencing memory loss problems that became more severe, his wife said. His Nobel Prize sold for $765,000 in an auction in 2015 to help pay for medical bills and care.
"He made extraordinary contributions to our understanding of the basic forces and particles of nature," Michael Turner, a professor at the University of Chicago, said in a statement. "But he was also a leader far ahead of his time in science education, in serving as an ambassador for science around the world, and transferring benefits of basic research to the national good."
The university manages Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
Lederman was born July 15, 1922, in New York City, where his father operated a hand laundry. Lederman earned a degree in chemistry from City College of New York in 1943, served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II, and then went to Columbia University where he received a Ph.D. in particle physics in 1951.
He began making discoveries involving subatomic particles, eventually becoming director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
"Leon Lederman provided the scientific vision that allowed Fermilab to remain on the cutting edge of technology for more than 40 years," Nigel Lockyer, the laboratory's current director, said in a statement.
Ellen Lederman said her husband often worked while vacationing in Idaho but also enjoyed skiing and horseback riding.
"I had to learn to ski; he had to learn to ride," she said. "And he had to ride a lot more than I had to ski. It was a good deal. He was a good rider."
Berlin, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Germany on Wednesday celebrated the 28th anniversary of the reunification of east and west, a process that Chancellor Angela Merkel said still isn't complete. The country's leaders voiced concern about divisions in society and the rise of populism.
Germany was reunited on Oct. 3, 1990, following more than four decades of Cold War division, and less than a year after communist East Germany opened its heavily fortified border.
While much progress has been made since then, economic and other differences between the west and the less prosperous east still persist. German leaders' remarks at a ceremony marking Wednesday's anniversary reflected concern about new divisions and polarization in German society — by no means all along east-west lines.
Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, said that "German unity is not complete" and still poses challenges today.
"Twenty-eight years later, we know that what we call German unity is a process, a long road, that calls on us again and again to listen to each other," she said.
Over the past three years, the arrival of large numbers of refugees and other migrants has fed increasing political polarization in Germany. The nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which has support across the country but is particularly strong in the east, entered the national parliament last year.
Violent right-wing protests a month ago following the killing of a German man, allegedly by migrants, in the eastern city of Chemnitz, have added to concerns.
"We won't let ourselves be divided, and that is not a question of east and west — it is not that simple," Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller told the main reunification ceremony at the capital's Staatsoper opera house.
"We in Germany also are seeing the populist presumption of positioning the 'people' against political opponents, against supposed and actual minorities, against those elected by the people," said parliament speaker Wolfgang Schaeuble, who helped negotiate German reunification. "But no one has the right to say that he alone represents the people."
He advocated a "contemporary patriotism" marked by "self-confidence, calm and optimism."
Paris, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has assumed responsibility for France's domestic security after the interior minister resigned in an apparent act of defiance toward President Emmanuel Macron.
In a cold handover ceremony Wednesday, Philippe said his main focus would be to ensure "the highest security level" in the country.
Philippe is in charge until Gerard Collomb's successor is appointed.
Macron accepted Collomb's resignation late Tuesday, after initially refusing it the previous day. Collomb insisted he wanted to leave to be able to run for mayor of the city of Lyon in 2020.
Collomb, 71, was one of Macron's closest political allies. His decision comes amid a string of bad news events for the French president, who has reached record low popularity in polls since his election in May 2017.
Birmingham, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — Prime Minister Theresa May will urge her fractured Conservative Party to unite behind "decent, moderate and patriotic" policies, a day after her rival Boris Johnson challenged her authority with a crowd-pleasing speech of his own.
May is ending the party's annual conference Wednesday with a call for the party to show that it "delivers on the issues (voters) care about and is comfortable with modern Britain in all its diversity."
The four-day conference has been dominated by divisions over Brexit, with pro- and anti-EU camps both criticizing the prime minister's negotiations with the EU.
Johnson drew cheers from 1,500 delegates on Tuesday when he called May's plan an "outrage."
May acknowledged that Johnson's speech had made her "cross" but said she was sticking to her Brexit blueprint.