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Frank Langfitt

The owner of Dr. Martens, the famed British footwear brand, is planning an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, according to a filing on Monday.

Private equity owner Permira is expected to sell at least 25% of the business. The brand, which evolved into a symbol of rebellious youth culture, has continued to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Martens sells more than 11 million pairs a year in more than 60 countries.

The details of the long-awaited Brexit deal between Great Britain and the European Union are coming into focus.

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

It had all the makings of a terrible divorce that was settled amicably at the last minute.

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Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

With the clock ticking down, the United Kingdom and the European Union finally agreed to a free trade deal a week before the Brexit transition period ends and 4 1/2 years since Britons voted in a landmark referendum to leave the EU.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the agreement as a way for the country's businesses to continue to have tariff-free and quota-free access to the massive EU market while delivering on the promise of the 2016 Brexit campaign.

Four and a half years after the landmark Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom is still arguing with the European Union about their future relationship.

Britain officially left the EU in January and has spent the last 11 months in a transitional phase while the two sides try to negotiate a new free trade agreement to avert major disruptions at borders and more economic damage.

The transition ends at midnight Brussels time on Dec. 31.

Here are some of the top issues still to be settled:

What is the latest?

At the Scottish National Party's recent annual conference, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's first minister, said she had "never been so certain" that Scotland would become an independent nation.

"Who do we want to be in the driving seat of shaping Scotland's future?" she asked. "The Scottish government has not got everything right, far from it. But I doubt there are many people in Scotland who would have wanted Westminster to be more in charge of our pandemic response."

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen a national security team that backs traditional U.S. alliances, which has been met with relief in much of Europe after nearly four years of hostility from President Trump.

Take Antony Blinken, Biden's nominee for secretary of state. He spent part of his childhood in Paris, speaks impeccable French and is an avowed supporter of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Politicians in the United Kingdom are already studying the results of the U.S. presidential race for clues that could help them in the next parliamentary elections, due to take place in 2024.

Britain's main opposition Labour Party, the nearest equivalent to the Democrats, is encouraged to see a centrist such as Joe Biden beat a populist such as Donald Trump. That's because Labour is led by Keir Starmer, a center-left politician.

With Joe Biden ahead in the polls, many in Europe are wondering what U.S. foreign policy might look like if the former vice president wins the White House.

If President Trump is defeated in Tuesday's election, one loser in the region could be British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump's closest ally in Europe. While Trump has often denigrated other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, he's chummy with Johnson, who, like Trump, is seen as a populist showman.

England will enter a second coronavirus lockdown beginning on Thursday that is scheduled to run until early December, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday.

All pubs and restaurants will close along with nonessential retail shops, and different households will be banned from mixing indoors. In addition, outbound international travel will be prohibited, except for work, while schools and universities will remain open.

Wales is heading into a 17-day lockdown on Friday evening, as many parts of Europe reimpose safety measures because of rising coronavirus case counts.

The "firebreak lockdown" went into effect at 6 p.m. local time and requires that people remain home with few exceptions.

After a quiet summer where life largely returned to normal, England now faces new restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in the House of Commons on Tuesday morning that pubs, bars and restaurants in England must close at 10 p.m. He also encouraged people who are able to work from home to do so, reversing a previous government position.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV told embassy staff in 2018 that his friend, President Trump, asked him to help get the British Open golf tournament held at one of the Trump family's golf resorts in Scotland.

U.S. Embassy staff have separately complained that Johnson made racist and sexist comments on the job.

The British government will spend nearly $2 billion to help rescue the nation's theater, museum and arts sectors. Sunday's announcement came as more than 1,000 theaters remain shuttered across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The widespread protests that began in the United States are now reverberating through Europe, leading to the removal of two statues in the United Kingdom and one in Belgium with racist, colonial legacies.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

About 1 in 5 adults in England believe the coronavirus is to some extent a hoax, according to research on conspiracy theories by the University of Oxford.

In addition, researchers found nearly 3 out of 5 adults in England believe the government is misleading them to some extent about the cause of the virus, and nearly 1 in 10 strongly agree that China developed the coronavirus to destroy the West — which is utterly false.

Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET

It was supposed to be a day of parades, a vast party that would transcend borders and bring generations together, not unlike the spontaneous euphoria that swept through victorious European allies when Nazi Germany finally surrendered.

But instead of a mega-event, leaders in London, Paris, Moscow and other capitals, observed the 75th anniversary of V-E Day at a diminished level Friday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With pubs shuttered across the United Kingdom, a brewery in the northeast of England is giving away free beer on Fridays. In return, it's asking recipients to donate to the country's health care workers.

When the British government announced a lockdown in late March, the country's tens of thousands of pubs were forced to shut down, leaving Northumberland's Alnwick Brewery Company with 80 casks of ale, stout and IPA it had brewed for the Easter holiday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson left the hospital on Sunday, one week after he was admitted with COVID-19, and in a video message, thanked the U.K.'s National Health Service for saving his life.

Johnson, who spent multiple nights in an intensive care unit, credited health staff for keeping him alive when, he said, "It could have gone either way."

Updated at 3:39 p.m. ET

Queen Elizabeth II addressed the United Kingdom on Sunday in a rare speech, urging self-discipline and resolve in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The queen, 93, acknowledged the grief and financial pain that Britons are enduring while also thanking health workers for their service and ordinary people for staying home.

"Together we are tackling this disease and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it," she said.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Authorities around the world have issued their own guidelines and rules designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. And as they've sought to enforce these rules, some efforts have sparked backlash and concerns about privacy.

The British government is under fire for only testing a tiny percentage of National Health Service staff as deaths from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom rapidly rise to nearly 3,000.

"Shambles!" reads the headline in the Daily Mirror.

"550,000 NHS staff, only 2,000 tested," roars the Daily Mail.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has COVID-19, pledged the government was going all out to support front-line health care workers.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus. Here he is.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news now - Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, tested positive for coronavirus; the prince's royal office says so. NPR's Frank Langfitt is on the line from London. Hi there, Frank.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

Panic shopping as the coronavirus spreads in the United Kingdom has driven supermarkets to limit sales of certain items and add security to keep customers in line.

Updated at 6:54 p.m. ET

More than 3 1/2 years after the landmark Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom finally left the European Union at 11 p.m. GMT on Friday.

That means Britain exited the bloc of 27 remaining countries and will begin to forge its own way in the world, but there's a transition period before the U.K. cuts itself off entirely.

The U.K. has been a member of the EU since 1973. Leaving is one of the biggest, riskiest and most divisive steps the country has taken in decades.

Voters in the United Kingdom head to the polls Thursday for a crucial election that could determine the country's future, and how and when it will break off from the European Union.

This will be the fifth major vote in the country in less than five years — including two previous general elections, European Parliament elections and the Brexit referendum — a sign of how chaotic British politics have become.

The stakes are high, voters are weary and the two main candidates for prime minister are especially polarizing.

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a new Brexit agreement on Thursday, and while it appeared to mark a big breakthrough in the years-long process, the saga doesn't end here.

The withdrawal deal still needs approval in both the U.K. and European parliaments. Although EU leaders unanimously endorsed it in Brussels on Thursday, it faces stiff opposition in Britain's Parliament, which has voted down three previous Brexit deals.

The U.K. is scheduled to leave the EU on Oct. 31.

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