Mar 3, 2019

Brexit is less than 30 days away and there's still no sign of a deal

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Welcome to March! The United Kingdom is due to leave the EU this month. And yet if anything, there's less clarity than ever about whether and when the U.K. might actually leave, and under what terms it might do so.

The state of play: British politics is more fractured than ever: 11 MPs have left the Tories and Labour to form The Independent Group, which is not so much a party as a cry for sanity. The opposition Labour party now wants a referendum, perhaps, and the governing Conservative party now is OK with a short delay, perhaps, but neither option seems to command a majority in Parliament.

  • There's no agreement even as to what question a People's Vote might ask, and there's similarly no clarity on what could realistically change between now and the end of the short delay period.

The bottom line: It's easy to pass votes against a no-deal Brexit on March 29, but it's impossible to enforce them unless there's also a vote for some alternative. In the absence of a positive vote for something else, No Deal remains the default outcome. Market analyst Helen Thomas of Blonde Money still thinks No Deal is the most likely outcome, with a probability of about 40%.

Go deeper ... The Brexit dilemma: British politics is broken

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.