Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 20 Nov 2019


Johnson-Corbyn TV debate ‘changes nothing’

Political commentators and voters are delivering their verdicts on the first televised debate of the general election, between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson on ITV last night. The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, says the face-off “did not transform the landscape of the election”, while The Daily Telegraph blames chair Julie Etchingham for a lacklustre event. A snap poll by YouGov gave Johnson a 51% to 49% win.


Tories criticised over factcheckUK social media scam

The Conservative Party has been accused of misleading the public after one of its official Twitter accounts was rebranded as a fact-checking service during the ITV leaders’ debate. The party tweeted anti-Labour posts on its main media account under the name “factcheckUK”. The account was also given a new logo to hide its political origins. Twitter has warned the Tories that they face “decisive corrective action” if they repeat the name-change stunt.


Hong Kong: ex-consulate staffer alleges torture by China

A former worker at the British consulate in Hong Kong says he was tortured in China and accused of inciting political unrest in the former British colony. Simon Cheng told the BBC that he was “shackled, blindfolded and hooded” before being beaten and forced to sign confessions after being detained during a business trip in August. He was held for 15 days.  


Universities cut ties with Prince Andrew

Two Australian universities have followed the lead set by bank Standard Chartered and accountants KPMG and cut ties with Prince Andrew’s business mentoring charity Pitch@Palace. Bond University in Queensland and Melbourne’s RMIT University ended links with the scheme over the Royal’s association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.


Oxford Union president resigns over blind student

The president of the Oxford Union has resigned over his part in the violent eviction of a blind student from a society debate. Brendan McGrath apologised for his “shortcomings” and “mistakes” and said that managing the response to the expulsion of Ebenezer Azamati by security staff was “the most difficult” task he had faced.


Mourinho appointed new Tottenham manager

Former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been named the new boss at Tottenham following the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday. Mourinho said: “The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.” The club’s last trophy win was the League Cup in 2008.


Students no-platform feminist over ‘transphobia’

Oxford Brookes University has rescinded an invitation to feminist artist Rachel Ara to address students after the institute’s LGBTQ+ society accused her of being “openly transphobic” in a letter to university authorities. Ara, who is openly gay, has responded that her art is “too challenging for today’s youth” and added that “the world has gone slightly mad”. 


Emilia Clarke: nude scenes were ‘terrifying’

Actor Emilia Clarke has said that her nude scenes in Game of Thrones were “terrifying” and she was too young to set boundaries properly. The star - who started on the hit show fresh from drama school at 23 – said she is now “a lot more savvy” but was grateful for the support of then co-star Jason Momoa. 


National Trust to release beavers in England

The National Trust is to carry out another test reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver to the UK. Two families of the animals will be released into enclosed parts of Exmoor in the spring, and another will be introduced to the Black Down estate on the border of West Sussex and Surrey. It is hoped that the dam-building animals will reduce flooding.


Briefing: countries hit by major protests in 2019

From the students occupying university buildings in Hong Kong to activists overthrowing a 30-year dictatorship in Sudan, 2019 has seen a resurgence in the use of protesting as a tool for political and social change.

Dozens of countries have been affected by mass unrest this calendar year, most prompted by similar economic woes and anti-corruption drives but yielding mixed results ranging from total revolution to violent and bloody crackdowns.

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