Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 4 Jan 2020

1

Trump says Iran general strike was to prevent a war

Donald Trump has claimed that the US assasinated Iran's top military commander Qasem Soleimani “to stop a war, not to start one”. The US president said Soleimani's “reign of terror is over” following the strike at Iraq's Baghdad airport yesterday. However, as Tehran vows to take revenge for the attack, the Pentagon has ordered 3,000 reinforcements to the region.

2

Australian PM announces 3,000 reserve troops will battle fire

The Australian Prime Minister has announced that 3,000 reserve troops will be deployed to help tackle the wild bushfires across the country. With temperatures surpassing 40C (104F) in parts of south-east Australia, the authorities have warned that Saturday is set to be a “dangerous day”. The fires, which began in September, have killed 23 people.

3

Cummings warned he might destabilise the civil service

Dominic Cummings has been told that he risks “destabilising” the civil service with his plans to overhaul Whitehall. After the prime minister’s chief adviser appealed for “weirdos and misfits” to work with him on radical ideas, a minister told The Times Cummings was engaging in “creative destruction”.

4

Tribunal rules ethical veganism must be protected by law

Ethical veganism is a philosophical belief that will be protected by law against discrimination, a tribunal ruled yesterday. The development came in a case brought by Jordi Casamitjana, who says he was unfairly sacked by an animal welfare charity after he raised concerns that its pension fund invested in companies involved in animal experimentation.

5

Nandy and Phillips throw hats into Labour leadership ring

Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips have announced that they are joining the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Nandy said he said she wants to “bring Labour home” to voters that have abandoned the party in its traditional strongholds. Phillips said she would “truly speak truth to power” and would be able to “take on” Boris Johnson.

6

Data suggests that the Saturday job is on its way out

The era of the Saturday job may be coming to an end as it is revealed that the number of working teenagers has almost halved in the last 20 years. A study from the Resolution Foundation found that a quarter of 16 and 17-year-olds were in work between 2017 and 2019 - falling from 48% in 1997-99.

7

Ministers feared alienating UFO believers in the 1970s

Ministers were afraid to condemn UFO “crackpots” during the 1970s in case they alienated voters, newly declassified files have revealed. Although a civil service memo encouraged the authorities to make an unequivocal public attack on “flying saucer claptrap,” a minister said the government should not pour “quite so much scorn on ‘believers’”.

8

Thunberg changes Twitter name in honour of ‘Sharon moment’

Greta Thunberg has changed her name to Sharon on Twitter, in response to the BBC Celebrity Mastermind contestant who appeared to have no idea who she was. On the game show, actor Amanda Henderson was asked to name the teenage climate activist and guessed: “Sharon.” A video clip of the exchange has gone viral.

9

Britain could face snow in some parts next week

Parts of the UK are set for snowfall next week as the mild winter temperatures take a dip. The Met Office forecasts snow over higher ground in northern areas for the rest of January from next Tuesday. It has also warned of the “potential for some colder spells” towards the end of the month.

10

Prince William's mental health film to be shown at FA Cup ties

Prince William has narrated a one-minute film encouraging football fans to think about their mental health. Kick-off times at today’s FA Cup third round ties will be delayed by 60 seconds to show the film, which will also be broadcast on TV and online. The film features England stars including Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire and Jordan Pickford.

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