Japan has announced that the name of its new imperial era, set to begin on 1 May, will be "Reiwa" - signifying order and harmony. The country's current era, Heisei, will end in a month with Emperor Akihito's historic abdication. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the highly anticipated name by holding up a board with the characters handwritten on it.

Each Japanese emperor's reign, or "gengo", is given a name that is then used alongside the Western calendar to mark the years. The term for the new era is made up of the two characters Rei and Wa. Rei can mean "commands" or "order", as well as "auspicious" or "good". Wa often means "harmony", and is also used in the Japanese word for "peace" - "hei-wa".

The party of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lost control of the capital, Ankara, in local elections, in a blow to his 16-year rule. The main opposition is also slightly ahead in the contest for mayor of Istanbul, figures published by the state-run Anadolu news agency suggest. But the president's AKP party is challenging the result in both cities.

Municipal elections were held across the nation on March 31 and an AKP-led alliance won more than 51% of the vote. The elections, considered a verdict on Mr Erdogan's rule, have been taking place during an economic downturn. The currency, the lira, has been losing value recently and the economy went into recession in the last three months of 2018.

British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to get MPs to back the withdrawal agreement element of her Brexit deal, but lost by 58 votes - having already failed twice to get support for her overall deal in Parliament. She now has until 12 April to either seek a longer extension to the deadline or decide to leave the EU without a deal. The cabinet is now split over whether to move to a softer deal that could mean including a customs union in her plan.

Labour MPs are being urged to back a plan to keep the UK in a Norway-style relationship with the EU, as MPs debate Brexit's next steps. Under the Common Market 2.0 proposal, the UK would leave the EU, but retain freedom of movement and make contributions to the EU Budget.

Ukraine's president was holding off a long-time rival in a bid to claim the second spot in a runoff set for later this month, with a comic actor with no political experience leading strongly in a presidential election held on March 31. With nearly 92% of the polling stations counted, Volodymyr Zelenskiy had 30% support in Sunday's vote, while President Petro Poroshenko was a distant second with just under 16% of the vote.

Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko trailed behind in third with 13% support. The strong showing for the 41-year-old Zelenskiy reflects the public longing for a fresh leader who has no links to Ukraine's corruption-ridden political elite and can offer a new approach to settling the grinding five-year conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has left 13,000 dead since 2014.

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