Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 3 Jan 2020

1

Iran’s top general killed in US air strike

Top Iranian commander General Qasem Soleimani has been killed in a US air strike on Iraq’s Baghdad International Airport. The Pentagon claims the 62-year-old, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force unit, “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members” in the region. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that “severe revenge awaits the criminals” behind the strike, which also killed local Iran-backed militias.

2

Australian navy begins mass evacuations as thousands flee fires

The Australian navy has rescued around 1,000 people who had taken refuge on beaches from the bushfires ravaging the Victoria coast. The mass evacuation comes amid fears that a searing weather front is set to whip up more blazes. With roads cut off and conditions too smoky for helicopters, landing vessels were used to move tourists and residents from the beach to two navy ships. 

3

Former head teacher charged with double murder

A former head teacher has been charged with the murder of his estranged wife and her new partner in the early hours of New Year’s Day. PE teacher Helen Amey, 39, and marketing director Martin Griffiths, 48, were found stabbed at her home near Derby. She had reportedly called police officers to the house over Christmas. Suspect Rhys Hancock, 39, will appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court today.

4

Lib Dem Moran announces she is pansexual

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran has announced that she is pansexual and in a committed relationship with a woman, having previously only had relationships with men. The Oxford West and Abingdon MP - a potential candidate to become the next Lib Dem leader - told Pink News that she is dating the party’s former press officer Rosy Cobb. 

5

Ford to make car part from McDonald’s coffee

Car manufacturer Ford is teaming up with with McDonald’s to start making headlamp housings out of coffee waste in a bid to reduce the energy required to build vehicles. Discarded coffee chaff - the husk of the bean that comes off during roasting - from the fast food giant will be engineered into a raw bioplastic in a scheme that will also cut food waste and result in lighter car parts.

6

Cummings calls for ‘weirdos and misfits’

Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings has called for “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to bypass the usual civil service application process and apply directly to work for him in Whitehall. Writing on his personal blog, Cummings also says the large Tory majority is a chance to radically rethink government.

7

Environmental fears ‘putting young people off having children’

Young people are citing climate change fears as a key reason for deciding not to have children, a new YouGov survey reveals. One in seven adults under 35 on so-called “birth strike” say they believe the world has too many people. Among those aged 18 to 24, 14% not planning to have children cited concern for the planet as their main reason. 

8

China: man fined for throwing coins at plane

A man who threw coins into a plane’s engine for luck before flying for the first time has been fined the equivalent of more than £13,000 by a Chinese court. The 28-year-old was ordered to pay the compensation to the budget operator - called Lucky Air - despite arguing that passengers should be warned not to throw coins at planes. The aircraft on which he was due to fly was grounded as a result of his antics.

9

Archie’s beanie photo causes charity buzz

A photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie wearing a beanie hat has led to a flood of commissions for the New Zealand social initiative that knitted it. The hat was given to the young royal in the autumn of 2018 when he visited the country with his parents, but has only now been spotted in a photo of the family in Canada at New Year. The Make Give Live group donates one hat to charity for every one sold.

10

Labour leadership election: how it works

Labour’s disastrous 2019 general election result was the beginning of the end for Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.

The Islington North MP - who also led Labour to defeat in 2017 - said he would be stepping down from the leadership, after Labour won its lowest number of seats since 1935.

With debate now raging about Labour’s future direction, Corbyn’s successor will face a tough challenge to unite the party.

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