While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 15

British Cabinet backs PM Theresa May’s Brexit plan

British Prime Minister Theresa May won the backing of her senior ministers for a draft European Union divorce deal on Wednesday, freeing her to tackle the much more perilous struggle of getting parliament to approve the agreement.

More than two years after the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the EU, May told reporters outside her Downing Street residence that she had won over her divided Cabinet, which includes some senior Brexiteers.

Speaking over protesters shouting anti-Brexit slogans from the end of Downing Street, she said the deal, 585 pages long, was the best that could be negotiated.

It was not immediately clear whether any ministers would resign over the deal, which May hopes will satisfy both Brexit voters and EU supporters by ensuring close ties with the bloc after Britain leaves on March 29.

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Jim Mattis defends Mexico border deployment in first troop visit

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis defended the deployment of thousands of troops to the border with Mexico as he travelled there on Wednesday, saying the mission was “absolutely legal” and justified, and that it was improving military readiness.

President Donald Trump’s politically charged decision to send US troops to the Mexico border came ahead of US midterm congressional elections last week, as Trump sought to strengthen border security as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Critics have assailed the decision, calling it a political stunt to drive Republican voters to the polls. They have scoffed at Trump’s comparison of caravans of Central American migrants, including women and children, to an “invasion.”

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Fox News says it will back CNN in court battle with White House

Fox News said on Wednesday it would join rival CNN in its legal battle to restore the access of White House reporter Jim Acosta, maintaining that press credentials “should never be weaponised”.

Fox, which has often been praised by US President Donald Trump, said the revoking of the CNN reporter’s press pass raises concerns over freedom of the press.

The announcement came a day after CNN – part of the WarnerMedia division of AT&T – said it was suing to restore the press pass of Acosta, barred after a testy exchange with Trump at a White House news conference.

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‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting Sun’s nearest star

A “super-Earth” has been discovered orbiting the closest single star to the Sun, scientists said on Wednesday in a breakthrough that could shine a light on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbours.

Astronomers studied Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf just six light years away – practically in our back garden, galactically speaking – and noticed the presence of a “frozen, dimly lit world” at least 3.2 times heavier than Earth.

The planet, known for now as Barnard’s Star b, is the second nearest to Earth outside the solar system and orbits its host star once every 233 days.

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Tennis: Zverev says length of season is ‘ridiculous’

Alexander Zverev labelled the length of the tennis season “ridiculous” after appearing to run out of steam against Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old German was playing his 74th Tour match of the season and after staying with the world number one for nine games he collapsed to a 6-4 6-1 defeat.

Despite being widely-tipped as a future Grand Slam champion, Zverev has yet to go beyond the quarter-finals at any of the four majors.

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