Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 19 Dec 2019

1

Trump impeached over Ukraine abuse of power

Donald Trump last night became only the third president in US history to be impeached. The 45th commander-in-chief was charged with abuse of power for leaning on Ukraine to smear his political rival Joe Biden, and with obstructing the subsequent congressional inquiry. The vote by the House of Representatives to impeach Trump means he will face trial, but he is almost certain to be acquitted.

2

Queen to perform ‘dressed down’ State Opening of Parliament

The Queen is to wear a hat and dress rather than her usual ceremonial robes as she delivers a speech in the Houses of Parliament today outlining her new government’s plans. The stripped-down State Opening of Parliament will see the monarch outlining 20 proposed laws, including a modified EU withdrawal bill that is expected to be put to a Commons vote on Friday.

3

Australia breaks temperature record – again

Australia has recorded the country’s hottest ever temperature just a day after the previous record was smashed. The national average maximum temperature on Wednesday was 41.9C, a full degree hotter than Tuesday’s national average maximum of 40.9C, as Australia swelters in an extreme heatwave that began on Saturday. 

4

NZ volcano victims named as British mother and daughter

Two Britons who suffered severe burns when New Zealand’s White Island volcano erupted on 9 December are a mother and daughter, is has emerged. Liz McGill, 67, and her daughter Heather, 34, are being treated in separate hospitals and have had multiple operations. The eruption is known to have killed 18 people.

5

Emily Thornberry to stand for Labour leadership

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has announced that she is standing for the Labour leadership. Thornberry - who was forced to resign from Ed Miliband’s front bench in 2014 after tweeting an image that appeared to mock so-called “white van men” – said she had urged Jeremy Corbyn not to agree to this month’s election.

6

Stormzy and Piers Morgan in Twitter spat

Grime star Stormzy locked horns with Piers Morgan on Twitter yesterday, after the journalist criticised him for telling children that Boris Johnson is a “very, very bad man” who was like the “big bad wolf”. Good Morning Britain host Morgan said that the way the rapper had talked to kids at his old primary school “isn’t cool”, to which Stormzy responded that “it’s the truth”. The platinum-selling musician added: “This ain’t a shocking incident pal sorry lol.” 

7

Pelosi silences jubilant Democrats

In a moment that swiftly went viral online, US House speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday silenced the first flicker of Democrat cheering as President Donald Trump was impeached. Pelosi has repeatedly emphasised that members of her party should not be seen to gloat. Speaking at the vote, she said it was “tragic” that Trump had left the House “no choice”.

8

New study shows Homo erectus survived longer than thought

The first known human ancestor to walk fully upright survived alongside other human species for far longer than previously thought, new evidence shows. Analysis of fossils found in the 1930s in Indonesia reveals that Homo erectus was still around 100,000 years ago, living at the same time as modern humans.

9

Film version of Cats opens to universally poor reviews

The first reviews are out for the new film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats - and the critics are not impressed. Despite a starry cast and a new song by Taylor Swift, Cats is a “huge failure”, says the New York Post, while The Guardian gives the movie one star and describes it as “a purr-fectly dreadful hairball of woe”.

10

Why Peru’s McDonald’s have closed their doors

McDonald’s has closed all of its branches in Peru for two days following the death of two of its employees.

The two workers, identified as Alexandra Porras Inga, 19, and Gabriel Campos Zapata, 18, died early on Sunday morning while cleaning a McDonald’s kitchen in the Peruvian capital, Lima.

A report in The New York Times suggested they were both electrocuted by a faulty drinks machine, with the BBC adding that the deaths have prompted protests in Lima against poor working conditions.

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