BBC News with Neil Nunes.
The head of the EU’s powerful executive，commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, is to give his annual State of the European Union address in Strasbourg in a few hours’ time. Mr. Juncker is expected to call for member states to decide the future direction they want the EU to take after Britain leaves.
The Venezuelan opposition has refused to take part in direct talks with President Nicolas Maduro’s government in the Dominican Republic later on Wednesday. In a statement the opposition coalition said it wouldn’t attend talks until the government agree to meet a number of demands, including addressing the country’s humanitarian crisis and releasing all political prisoners.
A UN study says 1/3 of the world’s land has been severely degraded, mainly by intensive agricultural practices. It said poorer soil threatened to put millions of people at risk of hunger, poverty and conflict. It said 24 billion tons of healthy soil and 15 billion trees are lost every year.
U.S. officials say 12 people are known to have died as a result of Hurricane Irma in Florida. There are fuel and power shortages as residents return to their homes. European countries and the U.S. have sent troops to deliver aid and provide security in Caribbean territories affected by the storm.
The U.S. gay rights activist, Edith Windsor, has died at the age of 88. Ms. Windsor was regarded as a trailblazer in campaigner’s efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. After her partner died, she argued that she had a constitutional right to stir the same deduction in estate tax as heterosexual couples. Judges ruled in her favor.
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will today lay the foundation stone for a high-speed train in India, the country’s first, mostly funded by a loan from Japan. The bullet train will run between the city of Ahmedabad and India’s financial capital, Mumbai.