Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 2 Dec 2019
UN climate talks kick off with warning
The UN’s global summit on climate change opens in Madrid today, with Secretary General Antonio Guterres warning that the planet is at tipping point. “The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,” he told reporters in the Spanish capital. “It is in sight and hurtling towards us.” Around 29,000 delegates will attend the talks, which were to have been held in Chile but were moved owing to political unrest.
Swinson condemns Johnson over London Bridge
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has accused Boris Johnson of ignoring the pleas of the families of the two people killed in Friday’s London Bridge terror attack not to politicise their deaths. Swinson told the BBC that the prime minister had tried to turn the killings by convicted terrorist Usman Khan into an “election issue”, in what she described as “pretty distasteful” behaviour.
South Western Railway: 27-day strike begins
Drivers and other workers on South Western Railways begin a 27-day strike today. The industrial action is a continuation of a long-running dispute between staff and management over the future of guards on trains. Only about half of normal weekday services will run on SWR, the UK’s second biggest train operator with about 600,000 passenger trips a day between London and Surrey, Hampshire and beyond.
Police search cemetery for missing sailor
Police are to search a cemetery in Gibraltar for the remains of a Royal Navy sailor who went missing in the British enclave in 1986 at the age of 18. Simon Parkes is thought to have been murdered and detectives say they now have “credible” information from a former crewmate relating to Trafalgar Cemetery.
Labour pledges to cut train fares by a third
Labour says it will cut regulated rail fares by 33% from next month onwards if the party wins the upcoming general election. The reduction would be paid for with money diverted from road-building schemes. Children aged 16 and under would travel for free and part-time workers would be able to get fares equivalent to season ticket prices.
Vigil for London Bridge victims
A vigil is being held in central London at 11am today in memory of the two people stabbed to death by convicted terrorist Usman Khan last week. Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were attacked while attending a conference celebrating the five-year anniversary of Learning Together, a Cambridge University-run scheme that brings together offenders and those in higher education “to study alongside each other”. Khan was shot dead by police minutes after the killings.
Amazon pulls Auschwitz Christmas ornaments
Amazon has withdrawn a range of Christmas ornaments that depict Nazi death camp Auschwitz, following complaints. The online retailer was also selling a bottle opener and a mouse mat featuring images of the camp. The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland said the merchandise was “disturbing and disrespectful”.
Trump declines invite to attend impeachment hearing
US leader Donald Trump has decided not to attend a public hearing on Wednesday over his possible impeachment for allegedly trying to manipulate Ukraine into smearing his political rival Joe Biden, according to a leaked letter from the White House to the House Judiciary Committee. Trump was invited to attend last week by Democrat chair Jerry Nadler, who told the president to come or “stop complaining”.
Sperm whale found dead with 220lb of plastic in stomach
A sperm whale that died after stranding on Scotland’s Isle of Harris last week had 220lb (100kg) of plastic waste in its stomach. Experts say that they are unsure whether the debris - which included bags, cups and fishing nets - contributed to the whale’s death but that it must have caused the animal digestive problems. The whale was buried on Seilebost beach on Saturday.
Briefing: how US donors are funding UK right-wing groups
Wealthy American donors are backing right-wing groups in the UK with millions of dollars of funding, an investigation has found.
Research by The Guardian shows that a total of 11 US benefactors have donated more than $3.7m (£2.9m) over the past five years.