Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 7 Jan 2020
Iran: huge crowds attend Soleimani burial
Huge crowds have turned out for the burial of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown of Kerman following the military leader’s assassination in a US air strike on Iraq last week. Millions of mourners have gathered in capital Tehran and several cities over the past few days to attend his funeral procession. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has denied the US is planning to pull its troops out of Iraq following the leak of a draft letter from a US general that suggests otherwise.
British teen given suspended sentence in Cyprus rape case
A British teenager convicted of lying about a gang-rape in Cyprus has been given a four-month suspended sentence. The 19-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is to continue her appeal against the court’s decision, saying she confessed under duress from police. She was also fined €140 (£119) but is free to return home.
UK steps up Iraq evacuation contingency plans
The UK Ministry of Defence has sent 20 senior planners and liaison officers to Iraq in order to step up plans to evacuate military personnel and civilians following the US assassination of neighbouring Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani, The Times reports. The newspaper says that defence sources expect the risk of retaliatory actions to rise from today, following three days of national mourning.
Javid’s budget ‘for the North’ set for 11 March
Chancellor Sajid Javid has announced that his delayed budget statement will take place on 11 March- and has hinted at rewards for former Labour voters in the north of England who handed the Tories a landslide victory last month. Speaking in Manchester, Javid said he would “spread opportunity to those left behind” and “unleash” potential.
Long Bailey enters Labour leadership race
Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey has formally entered the party’s leadership race. Seen as one of the favourites, Long Bailey announced her candidacy in an article for Tribune magazine in which she also defended Jeremy Corbyn’s political programme but criticised Labour’s 2019 election strategy.
Reformed prisoner reveals role in tackling London Bridge attacker
A convict serving a 17-year sentence for murder has spoken about the part he played in subduing an attacker who stabbed two people to death at a prison rehabilitation conference near London Bridge in November. In his first interview since what he called “that tragic day” , Steven Gallant, 42, told the Press Assocation that he “did not hesitate” to join in fighting off Usman Khan, using a chair and a narwhal tusk to keep the knifeman at bay.
Fire at Koko Camden
A landmark music venue in London currently undergoing renovation was engulfed by fire last night. Emergency services were called to Koko Camden, previously the Camden Palace and the Camden Hippodrome, shortly before 9pm yesterday. A total of 60 firefighters battled the blaze, which was brought under control after around five hours. No injuries were reported.
Roman graves found in Somerset
More than 50 Roman graves of both adults and children have been unearthed during building work for a new school near Glastonbury in Somerset. Archaeologists say the graves are thought to date back as far as 43AD - the date of the Roman invasion of Britain - and shed new light on the transition between Iron Age and Roman society.
BBC tells presenters not to sound know-it-all
BBC Radio 3 bosses have ordered presenters at the station to avoid “presumptuous phrases” as part of a bid to attract a younger audience. The guidance, seen by The Times, says that both hosts and guests should avoid terms such as “as we all know” and “we all presume that” in order to avoid alienating listeners. Ideally, presenters should not be experts, according to the brief for the station, which currently attracts an audience made up principally of people aged over 65.
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 about Labour’s future direction, Corbyn’s successor will face a tough challenge to unite the party.