Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 7 Nov 2019

1

Labour deputy Tom Watson to quit politics

Tom Watson has resigned as deputy leader of the Labour Party and says he will not stand again as an MP. The 52-year-old said the decision was “personal not political” but commentators point out that he has become an isolated figure, with his views on Brexit at odds with those of Jeremy Corbyn. Watson has also faced criticism for his role in promoting the discredited child abuse accusations of fantasist Carl Beech.

2

Conservatives and Labour to outline plans for economy

The country’s two main political parties will today lay out their economic plans, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell speaking in Liverpool this evening while his Tory counterpart Sajid Javid addresses an audience in Manchester. McDonnell will pledge £150bn for schools, hospitals and housing on top of existing spending plans, but Javid will accuse Labour of “fantasy economics”.

3

Driver arrested after 15 people found in lorry

A lorry driver has been arrested after police who stopped his vehicle in Wiltshire found 15 people in the trailer. A police spokesperson said officers were called after passers-by reported “suspicious activity involving a lorry on the A350 near Chippenham”. One person has been taken to hospital for further checks while the others found in the back of the lorry have been taken into custody. The driver, in his 50s, is in custody in Swindon.

4

London theatre evacuated as ceiling collapses

An audience fled a West End theatre during a performance of Death of a Salesman last night after a large section of the ceiling collapsed. Five people were treated in hospital for minor injuries. The star of the show, Wendell Pierce, comforted and apologised to fans outside the Piccadilly theatre following the evacuation.

5

Martin Luther King’s name removed from Kansas street

Kansas City residents have voted overwhelmingly to remove the name of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr from a local street. The city council decided in January to rename The Paseo, a ten-mile boulevard in the city’s mostly black east side, in King’s honour. However, angry locals said that they had not been properly consulted and that they felt their neighbourhood was losing its identity.

6

France’s #MeToo moment: actor accuses director

French cinema is in the grip of a #MeToo moment, after actor Adele Haenel accused a director of sexually harassing her from the age of 12 to 15 while she was making and promoting her debut 2002 film, The Devils. Prosecutors are investigating Christophe Ruggia, who admits errors in his conduct but denies molestation. He has been dismissed from the Society of French Film Directors.

7

Left-handed women ‘have mystery sense of smell’

Researchers in Israel have uncovered a surprising phenomenon: analysis of brain scans shows that a number of left-handed women have no olfactory bulbs, the part of the brain used to detect odours, but still have a good sense of smell. One explanation could be that the bulbs are only used to locate smells.

8

Penis and scrotum transplant man ‘feels normal’

A former US soldier who lost his genitals and his legs in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan says he feels normal again 20 months after undergoing the world’s first total penis and scrotum transplant. The man, known only as Ray, is able to have erections and to orgasm, but surgeons did not transplant testicles because of ethical concerns.

9

Collins picks ‘climate strike’ as word of the year

The phrase “climate strike” has been picked by Collins Dictionary as its word of the year, beating other buzz-terms including “non-binary”, “influencer”, “double down”, “deepfake” and “hopepunk”. Climate strike was used on average 100 times more this year than in 2018, the lexicographers say. Their 2018 choice was “single-use”.

10

Briefing: who are the Tory ‘Spartans’?

The ongoing saga of Britain’s exit from the EU has spawned many new words and phrases, not least “Brexit”.

But one of the newer labels thrown up by the long-running drama is that adopted by a group of Eurosceptic Tory hardliners: the Spartans.

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