Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 24 Dec 2019

1

Thousands of children in care miles from family

The number of children in care forced to live more than 100 miles from their original homes has soared to more than 2,000, The Children’s Commissioner for England is warning. The total number of youngsters placed “out of area” has risen by 14% in four years to more than 30,000, of whom 11,000 are 20 miles from home, according to a new report.

2

Queen to acknowledge ‘bumpy’ path in Christmas message

The Queen is to use her speech on Christmas Day to speak of the “bumpy” path faced by both the nation and her family over the past year. Preview photos showing the recording of the annual address reveal that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are not included in the family photos surrounding the Queen. The Times suggests this omission could be down to Prince Charles’ wish to streamline the monarchy’s public appearances.

3

New Zealand police call off search for missing volcano victims

Police in New Zealand have called off the search for the two last missing victims of the volcanic eruption on 9 December that killed 19 and seriously injured 20 others. The bodies of tour guide Hayden Bryan Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian tourist Winona Jane Langford, 17, are believed to be in the water off White Island.

4

Bristol girl dies during school trip to US

A 17-year-old girl had died while on a school trip to New York City, the Foreign Office has confirmed. The sixth former from Bristol Grammar School, who has not been named, was found “unresponsive and unconscious” at a Holiday Inn hotel on 19 December, according to local police. Officials say that there are no suspicious circumstances, with the teenager believed to have fallen ill during the trip.

5

Salmon farmer using forensics to stop fraud

A leading Scottish seafood producer is investing in technology that makes its salmon forensically traceable, in a bid to combat food fraud. Loch Duart, which is about to expand into the US, says cheaper fish is sometimes intentionally mislabelled as coming from its farms. The company is using forensic analysis of salmon samples to launch sting operations on outlets suspected of selling inferior products bearing the Loch Duart name.

6

US stops sending sniffer dogs to Jordan and Egypt

The US State Department has announced that explosive-detecting sniffer dogs are no longer being sent to Jordan or Egypt following the deaths of a number of the animals as a result of negligence. A report by US authorities in September highlighted abuses of more than 100 dogs sent to a total of ten countries as part of anti-terrorism programmes over the past few years.

7

Corbyn and Johnson praise NHS staff at Christmas

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have both used their Christmas messages to praise NHS staff working over Christmas. Johnson also expresses solidarity with Christians facing persecution around the world, while Corbyn praises people working in food banks and homeless shelters at Christmas.

8

Disney cuts Star Wars same-sex kiss in Singapore

Disney has cut a brief same-sex kiss from the Singapore release of new Star Wars film The Rise of Skywalker. Same-sex marriages are not recognised in Singapore and gay sex is illegal, though the law is not enforced. A spokesperson for the Singaporean regulator said the kiss – the first of its kind featured in the Star Wars franchise – had been cut to avoid the film being given a higher age rating than the current PG13.

9

Trump makes rambling speech about ‘windmills’

US President Donald Trump has raised eyebrows with a nonsensical tirade against wind turbines during a speech to a right-wing student organisation. Addressing an audience of young conservatives in West Palm Beach in Florida, he said: “I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? Go under a windmill some day. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen in your life.”

10

Fact check: is there a pigs in blankets shortage?

Britain’s biggest pub chain has been forced to dish out pigs in blankets minus the blankets this festive season owing to a meat supply shortage.

The menu problems at JD Wetherspoon follow a warning in October from the British Meat Processors Association (BMA) that pigs in blankets and other Christmas foods could be in short supply this year owing to a lack of seasonal workers.

“Ever since Brexit happened, it’s become hard to hold on to European labour,” BMA chief executive Nick Allen said.

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