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News Daily: Johnson attacks backstop and power cut inquiry launched

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Brexit: Johnson urges EU to scrap 'undemocratic' backstop

The prime minister says he can get a Brexit deal through Parliament if the EU drops the backstop - its plan to avoid a hard border between the UK and Republic of Ireland. Boris Johnson, writing to European Council President Donald Tusk, called the backstop "anti-democratic" and "unviable". He added that it risked undermining the Northern Ireland peace process.

But the EU insists the backstop - part of the withdrawal agreement negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May - is not up for discussion. It has not yet responded to Mr Johnson's comments.

If implemented, the backstop would see Northern Ireland remaining aligned to some of the rules of the EU's single market. Here's an explanation of it.

Meanwhile, research seen by the BBC suggests a no-deal Brexit could cost the farming industry £850m a year in lost profits.

Power cuts: Ofgem says lightning partly to blame

Energy regulator Ofgem is launching an investigation into the huge power cut that hit much of England and Wales earlier this month. Almost one million people were affected by problems, including blackouts and trains coming to a standstill.

Ofgem, which says a lightning strike was "partly to blame", could impose a fine on the National Grid.

The power cut happened after problems at the gas-fired station at Little Barford, Bedfordshire and Hornsea offshore wind farm, in the North Sea. Here's a reminder of the misery many travellers faced.

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Epstein 'signed will two days before death'

The body of former financier Jeffrey Epstein - awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges - was found in his cell at a New York prison on 10 August. It's now being reported that he signed a will two days previously, valuing his estate at more than $577m (£475m). But it named no beneficiaries and did not include his fine art and antique collections.

Some of Epstein's alleged victims have said they will pursue his estate for damages. Here is a profile of the former teacher who became one of Wall Street's best-known figures.

PC Andrew Harper case: Man charged with officer's murder

A 20-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Thames Valley Police officer Andrew Harper, who was killed last Thursday while investigating a burglary. Jed Foster, of Reading, will appear before magistrates later.

PC Harper, 28, had recently married. His wife Lissie described him as "perfect" and "so full of life".

Why is the UK seeing a rise in measles cases?

By Michelle Roberts

Experts say part of the explanation may be complacency - when measles cases became less common people began to perceive the threat of the disease to be less. The publication of a controversial and since discredited piece of research in the late 1990s by a doctor called Andrew Wakefield wrongly linking MMR with autism is another factor.

It led to a drop in parents taking their children for the jab, and rates of vaccination took many years to recover. It continues to have an impact today. There is much misleading information on social media and it can be quickly spread.

Read the full article

What the papers say

The Times leads on Boris Johnson's letter to the EU setting out his Brexit demands, saying it will "increase concerns" over a possible no-deal exit. The Daily Telegraph focuses on the PM's description of the Irish backstop as "inconsistent with the sovereignty of the UK". But the Guardian reports that the EU is "unconvinced" by the PM's suggestion of "commitments" to prevent a hard border instead. Meanwhile, Metro devotes its front page to singer Sir Elton John's defence of the use of private jets by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And the Daily Star describes "terrified" members of the public calling police to report on the dangers of "psycho" seagulls.

Daily digest

Student loans Overpayments of £28m going unclaimed

Evelyn Hernández Mother cleared over baby's death

Marchioness disaster Thames historic vessels "still not modernised" 30 years later

Great British Bake Off Vet, waiter and geography teacher among this year's contestants

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Lookahead

Today Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, carries out its annual "weigh-in", recording statistical information on the animals in its care.

08:00 The 24th Gamescom - the world's biggest event for computer and video games - gets under way in Cologne, Germany.

On this day

1970 England football captain Bobby Moore is cleared of stealing an emerald bracelet in Colombia.

From elsewhere

The seaweed invasion (Washington Post)

Earth's inner core is doing something weird (National Geographic)

Sending my DNA to Norway for testing revolutionised my diet (Sydney Morning Herald)

Why the littlest things at work can be so maddening (Slate)

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