Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 28 Dec 2019

1

Elton John and cricketers on New Year honours list

James Bond director Sam Mendes, cricketer Ben Stokes and Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain are among the figures to feature on the New Year honours list. Sir Elton John joins the elite companions of honour, an order restricted to a maximum 65 members, for services to music and charity. The former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith received a knighthood.

2

Putin boasts that new missiles put Russia in own class

Russia has boasted that it is in a class of its own after deploying its first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles. Unveiling the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which can fly at 27 times the speed of sound, Vladimir Putin said Russia’s new generation of nuclear weapons can hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.

3

Watson admits he voted for Smith in leadership election

Labour’s former deputy leader Tom Watson says he quit politics because he experienced “brutality and hostility” within Labour. Watson also admitted that when Owen Smith challenged for the Labour leadership in 2016 following a vote of no confidence in Corbyn by Labour MPs, he voted for Smith. “I did vote for Owen, but I’ve never said it publicly before,” he said.

4

Ghislaine Maxwell ‘is being probed by FBI’

Ghislaine Maxwell is being investigated by the FBI in the fallout of the Jeffrey Epstein case, according to reports in the US media. The British socialite faces investigation over possible crimes linked to the sex trafficking charges laid against the US financier before he killed himself in August. However, Maxwell has not been accused of wrongdoing.

5

Mother blames pool for Costa del Sol deaths

A mother who lost her husband and two children in an accident at a Spanish resort says “something was wrong with the pool” in which they drowned. Olubunmi Diya insists that her husband Gabriel Diya, son Praise-Emmanuel and daughter Comfort all knew how to swim. The three died on Christmas Eve at Club La Costa World in Fuengirola, on the Costa del Sol.

6

US seal praised by Trump described as ‘evil’ and ‘toxic’

A US Navy Seal who has been championed by Donald Trump was described by members of his unit as “evil”, “toxic”, and “perfectly OK with killing anybody”, according to the New York Times. Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was demoted by the Navy after a trial earlier this year but the US president reversed the decision, contradicting the Navy's most senior leaders.

7

Netherlands preparing to drop its Holland moniker

The Netherlands is preparing to drop the name “Holland” as part of a major rebrand. Although Holland is a region of the Netherlands, the two names are often used interchangeably to describe the northern European country. As the country prepares to host the Eurovision Song Contest, “Holland” will be dropped from all literature and marketing materials.

8

George Michael's sister dies three years after pop icon

George Michael's sister, Melanie Panayiotou, has died aged 55. The family confirmed in a statement that Melanie “passed away suddenly” over Christmas, exactly three years after the pop star died. Andrew Ridgeley, George's former Wham! bandmate, described Melanie's death as “utterly tragic”. Melanie's family said: “We would simply ask that the family's privacy be respected at this very sad time.”

9

Remains of six people found after Hawaii helicopter crash

The remains of six people have been found after a helicopter crashed at the top of a mountain on Hawaii. The authorities say there is no indication of any survivors. The wreckage of the Eurocopter AS350 was found in a mountainous area of a Hawaiian island after going missing during poor weather conditions.

10

Is Meghan planning to launch a magazine and clothing line?

Meghan Markle has trademarked a series of products and services, it has emerged. The royal could launch her own magazine and clothing line after trademarks were submitted for more than 100 items, including clothing with sportswear, dresses, headbands and jackets. Meghan and Prince Harry are currently having a six-week break in Vancouver with their baby son Archie.

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