Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 11 Jan 2020
Iran admits shooting down Ukrainian airliner
Iran has admitted it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner on Wednesday. Tehran had previously insisted that US claims it caused the plane crash were a “big lie.” Mistaken for a “hostile target”, the jet was hit by a missile, the new Iranian statement said. President Hassan Rouhani said the “horrific crash” of the aircraft was an “unforgivable mistake”. All 176 people on board were killed.
Palace aides deny Harry and Meghan are being driven out
Aides at Buckingham Palace have denied that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are being “driven out” of the royal family after a friend of the couple said they felt isolated. The broadcaster Tom Bradby, who has known Prince Harry for more than 20 years, said there were “toxic” relations and the couple had been told “there was going to be a slimmed-down monarchy and they weren’t really a part of it”.
Parties return to Stormont assembly after striking deal
Sinn Fein has agreed to support a deal to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland, ending a three-year deadlock. The nationalist party’s endorsement – which came after talks with the Democratic Unionist Party this week - means the two biggest parties will re-enter a mandatory coalition in Belfast, and the Assembly could sit as early as today.
Arab world's longest-serving ruler dies at age of 79
Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman has died aged 79. Announcing the death of the Arab world's longest-serving ruler, a court statement said: “With great sorrow and deep sadness... the royal court mourns His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who passed away on Friday.” Sultan Qaboos was unmarried and had no heir or designated successor.
Chinese tycoon buys London mansion for more than £200m
A Chinese property tycoon has agreed to buy a 45-room mansion for more than £200m, making it by far the most expensive house to be sold in the UK. Cheung Chung-kiu is said to be “in the process” of buying 2-8a Rutland Gate for between £205m and £210m. It overlooks Hyde Park in London. He already owns the £1.15bn Cheesegrater skyscraper in the City.
Labour hopeful calls for referendum on monarchy's future
Labour leadership candidate Clive Lewis says there should be a referendum on the future of the Royal Family. Speaking at his campaign launch, he said: “A lot of people would like to see the monarchy scaled down.” Meanwhile, rival contender Rebecca Long Bailey has written to Momentum, urging the campaign group to throw its weight behind Angela Rayner as the party’s deputy leader.
Donald Trump says Ethiopia won prize which was his
Donald Trump has signalled he feels he was overlooked for last year's Nobel Peace Prize. In a speech, the US president said: “I made a deal, I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. I said, ‘What, did I have something do with it?’” It’s believed he is referring to Ethiopia and its Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.
Police admit error after listing Extinction Rebellion as extreme
Police in south-east England have admitted an “error of judgement” after counter-terrorism officers listed Extinction Rebellion as an “extreme ideology”. The anti-radicalism police guide suggested referring those at risk of extremism to the government's Prevent programme. Det Ch Supt Kath Barnes, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East, said: “I would like to make it quite clear that we do not classify Extinction Rebellion as an extremist organisation.”
Home Office requests extradition of Dunn suspect
The home secretary has requested the extradition of a US woman to be charged with causing the death by dangerous driving of motorcyclist Harry Dunn. After the 19-year-old died in a crash in Northamptonshire in August, the suspect, Anne Sacoolas, left for the US under diplomatic immunity. The US State Department said an extradition request would be “highly inappropriate”.
Ahmed may open floodgates with the BBC pay victory
Samira Ahmed has won her equal pay claim against the BBC in a landmark case. Ahmed, the presenter of Newswatch, claimed she was owed almost £700,000 in back pay because of the difference between her £440-an-episode fee and the £3,000 an episode Jeremy Vine received for hosting Points of View – a similar programme. Lawyers say similar claims could now be made by other female staff.