Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 11 Dec 2019

1

Tory lead shrinks as final day of election campaign begins

Today is the last day of the general election campaign, with the polls opening at 7am and closing at 10pm on Thursday. As Boris Johnson heads into Labour heartlands for a final push, a YouGov poll suggests the Conservative lead has narrowed to a level where a hung parliament is possible. Jeremy Corbyn will start the day in Scotland.

2

NZ volcano: fears of new eruptions delay recovery

Attempts to recover the bodies of eight people presumed to have been killed in Monday’s volcanic eruption on New Zealand’s White Island have been put on hold amid increasing seismic activity at the site today. Six people have been confirmed dead so far and another 25 are being treated in hospital for severe burns.

3

London Bridge victim’s father slams Johnson

The father of one of two young people stabbed to death by convicted terrorist Usman Khan near London Bridge last month has directly accused Boris Johnson of using his death as a political opportunity. Dave Merritt told Sky News that Johnson’s reaction, promising tougher sentencing, had been “ill-considered”. Jack Merritt, 25, died alongside fellow Cambridge University graduate Saskia Jones, 23, in the attack on 29 November.

4

Raab tops list of big names who may go

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is on the cusp of losing his seat in Thursday’s election, according to The Times. The newspaper says analysis by YouGov suggests Raab is the biggest name on a list of MPs facing the political chop, with only a two-point lead over the Lib Dems in his Esher and Walton constituency. Also on the at-threat list is Iain Duncan Smith.

5

Number of pubs rises for first time in years

The number of pubs in the UK has risen for the first time in a decade, climbing by 320 in a year to reach 39,135 as of the end of March, newly published figures from the Office for National Statistics show. However, experts warn that independent pubs and smaller pub chains are still in decline.

6

‘Beaver on electric steroids’ flies in Canada

The world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft has taken its inaugural test flight, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and flying for 15 minutes. The 62-year-old DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver seaplane was retrofitted with an electric motor and was described by its pilot as “a Beaver on electric steroids”. The companies behind the project, Harbour Air and engineering firm magniX, plan to create an all-electric commercial fleet.

7

At least six killed in New Jersey gun battle

A police officer and at least five civilians died in a gun battle in New Jersey’s Jersey City yesterday. The shooting spree began in a cemetery and continued in a Jewish supermarket, where the gunmen shot dead staff. The officer killed has been identified as Joseph Seals, who worked with a police unit dedicated to getting illegal guns off the streets in the US city.

8

‘Hours to walk off pizza’ labels praised

UK researchers are proposing a new system of food labelling that would tell buyers how long it would take to walk or run off the calories in the product. For instance, the average supermarket pizza would take around four hours of walking to burn off. The research team, from Loughborough University, say the system would encourage people to make healthier eating choices and combat obesity.

9

Most viewed properties include Scottish castle

Property website Rightmove has released a list of its five most viewed properties from 2019 – and they include Glenborrodale Castle in Scotland, once home to Boots chemists chain founder Jesse Boot. Another favourite is an Essex mansion with mirrors on bedroom ceilings and a miniature Angel of the North in the garden. 

10

Briefing: how the ESA’s space hoover works

The European Space Agency is to launch a four-armed robot into orbit in what it claims is the first mission to remove debris from space.

The 2025 mission, to be carried out by Swiss start-up ClearSpace, will cost €120m (£100m) and will grab a single piece of rubbish, “Vespa”, a leftover piece of ESA’s Vega rocket that was launched in 2013.

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