Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 27 Nov 2019

1

Trump told to attend impeachment hearing or ‘stop complaining’

The US House Judiciary Committee has invited Donald Trump or his counsel to participate in the panel’s first hearing next week on whether the president should be impeached for allegedly trying to blackmail Ukraine into investigating rival Joe Biden. The committee’s Democratic chair, Jerrold Nadler, said Trump could either attend the hearing, on 4 December, or “stop complaining” about the process. If the president attends, he will be allowed to question witnesses.

2

Albania earthquake kills 21 and injures hundreds

At least 21 people have been killed and a further 600 injured by a powerful earthquake in Albania early this morning. The 6.4-magnitude quake caused widespread damage in capital Tirana and along the country’s Adriatic coastline. The authorities say 28 people have been rescued alive from the rubble of collapsed buildings. EU nations and the US have offered help.

3

Lorry deaths: first 16 bodies returned to Vietnam

The first 16 bodies of a total 39 Vietnamese nationals found dead in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Essex last month have been repatriated to Vietnam, according to reports. Reuters says the families of the victims, all aged between 15 and 44, may have to repay the Vietnamese government £2,208 each to cover the repatriation costs. Lorry driver Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty on Monday to plotting to assist illegal immigration. 

4

Corbyn denies chief rabbi’s anti-Semitism claim

Jeremy Corbyn denied on television last night that anti-Semitism has increased in Labour under his leadership - and dismissed the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis assertion that the party’s claims to be tackling the problem are a “mendacious fiction”. Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Neil: “He’s not right... he would have to produce the evidence...”

5

Gove accused of ‘blackface’ over Stormzy quote

Michael Gove has been accused of “Twitter blackface” for quoting lyrics by grime star and Labour supporter Stormzy. The row erupted after the failed Conservative leadership candidate told talkRadio on Tuesday that Brit award-winner Stormzy was a “far better rapper than he is a political analyst”.  Labour MP Angela Rayner then tweeted that “Gove is crap at both” - to which the cabinet minister responded: “I set trends dem man copy.” 

6

Lib Dems ‘changing tune on Brexit’

The Lib Dems have stopped plugging their promise to cancel Brexit without another referendum on the campaign trail after it proved “unpopular” on doorsteps, according to The Times. The newspaper says it has been told by party insiders that activists are instead being told to urge voters to deny Boris Johnson a majority. 

7

Humans hunted great auk to extinction, study shows

DNA analysis of bone and tissue samples from the extinct great auk suggest the seabird was hunted to oblivion by humans. The study by Welsh scientist Dr Jessica Thomas looked for evidence that the population was in decline for other factors - but found the reverse. The great auk, which stood about 80cm (2ft 7in) tall, used to be found all across the north Atlantic but has been extinct since about 1850.

8

Bad dreams ‘help control fear when we wake’

Researchers in Switzerland and the US have found that bad dreams improve the effectiveness of the brain in reacting to frightening experiences when awake. However, really terrifying nightmares were found to have a negative impact. The neuroscientists have suggested that dreams could be used as a form of therapy for anxiety disorders.

9

Japan: kabuki theatre to stage Star Wars adaptation

The Star Wars stories have been told in films, animations, comic books and video games since their inception in 1977 - and now members of Japan’s highly stylised kabuki theatre are to stage an adaptation of some of the latest instalments. Ichikawa Ebizo XI, one of the country’s most respected stage actors, will play Kylo Ren. 

10

Briefing: What is Lassa fever?

Three British citizens have been brought back to the UK from Sierra Leone for medical tests after coming into close contact with two Dutch doctors diagnosed with a potentially fatal virus described as a cousin of Ebola. 

It is a hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus and is carried by wild rats, which spread the virus through their urine and droppings.

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