May convenes her Brexit cabinet committee / Malaysia takes to the polls / Mugabe makes a public appearance

By Billy

Good morning, here’s your Wednesday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

UK’s Brexit cabinet committee meets

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will convene her Brexit cabinet committee today, the first time the group has come together since her European Union customs plan was derailed by a Eurosceptic Tory revolt last week.

May could push ahead with her preferred so-called customs partnership with the EU in the face of opposition from senior Tories but risks another rebellion if she does — one she may not be strong enough to survive.

Last night May’s government suffered an unexpected Brexit defeat in the Lords, rounding off a series of reverses in the upper chamber.

Peers backed retaining key aspects of the EU’s single market through continued participation in the European Economic Area by 245 votes to 218, a majority of 27.

The government has suffered 14 defeats over its flagship EU Withdrawal Bill, with the latest reversals coming on the sixth and final day of the bill’s report stage in the upper chamber.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak eyes general election win

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak looks set for another victory in general elections today.

That’s despite a multibillion-dollar scandal surrounding a state fund that has fuelled the opposition.

Najib’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition faces its toughest election yet, with a challenge led by former strongman Mahathir Mohamad, once the prime minister’s mentor but now his fiercest critic.

Polling data released on Tuesday night by a political think tank suggested that while Najib’s side had an edge to win a simple majority in the country’s 222-seat parliament, some 37 seats were too close to call.

Mugabe to answer questions before a parliamentary committee

Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe is due to make his first public appearance today since being ousted in November.

Mugabe will answer questions before a parliamentary committee about whether the state was deprived of $15 billion in diamond revenues.

The parliament mining committee has already interviewed former mining executives from the Marange gem fields, as well as police, army and intelligence services.

Mugabe said in 2016 that these state actors, along with private mining operators and Chinese companies, plundered Zimbabwe before he replaced them with a state-owned diamond company.

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