Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 13 Jan 2020

1

Labour leadership hopefuls pitch for votes

Nominations for candidates to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader close at 2.30pm today, with several of the contenders racing to secure the minimum 22 nominations from MPs and MEPs required to qualify for the next round. Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy all hit the threshold last week.

2

Airline Flybe battling to prevent collapse

Flybe bosses were holding survival talks with the government last night as the regional airline teeters on the brink of collapse less than a year after being bailed out by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium. The carrier has been trying to secure additional financing amid mounting losses, with 2,000 jobs under threat. If the talks fail to produce a bail-out plan, Flybe will be the second major airline to go bust in four months, following the collapse of Thomas Cook Group.

3

Queen and Harry hold talks on his future

Senior royals including the Queen and Prince Harry are meeting today at Sandringham to discuss the Sussexes’ future. The talks at the Norfolk estate are believed to mark the first time that the Queen and her grandson have met since he issued a statement saying he and wife Meghan Markle will be stepping back from their royal duties, without first consulting other members of the family.

4

Philippines: Taal volcano eruption ‘imminent’

Officials in the Philippines are warning that a hazardous volcanic eruption is expected “within hours or days”. Lava has begun flowing out of the Taal volcano, just 45 miles south of Manila, after a huge plume of ash yesterday triggered the evacuation of 8,000 people from the area. Experts are also warning of the threat of a volcanic tsunami.

5

Schools on Scottish islands close as gales approach

Forecasters are warning that large parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will experience severe gales today, with a Met Office yellow warning in place from 10am until midnight. All bus services in the remote Western Isles have been cancelled and the local council has closed all schools for the day. 

6

Protests escalate in Iran as anger mounts

Police in Tehran used tear gas last night to disperse hundreds of demonstrators protesting against the government, after the authorities admitted “unintentionally” shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet carrying 176 people last week. Yesterday was the second day of the protests, which have spread to other Iranian cities and are growing more militant.

7

Retired pope intervenes over celibacy

Pope Benedict has made an unusual intervention into the affairs of his successor in order to issue a defence of priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church. In a new book co-authored with Cardinal Robert Sarah, Benedict - who retired in 2013 - urges Pope Francis not to bow to pressure to ease a ban on married men serving as priests, arguing that celibacy allows them to focus on their duties.

8

Britons turning to cannabis for pain

Around 1.4 million Britons are illegally using cannabis to treat pain and other symptoms of chronic illness, a new survey by YouGov suggests. More than half of those who use the drug do so every day, at an average cost of £163 a month. The poll of 10,000 people found that users range across all age groups, social classes and genders.

9

Billionaire seeks ‘life partner’ for Moon trip

Japanese fashion billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has posted an online appeal for a new girlfriend – and says he will take the winner on a trip around the Moon. The 44-year-old is training to be the first civilian passenger to travel around the Earth’s satellite, flying with Elon Musk’s Space X firm, and wants a “life partner” to come along too.

10

In depth: can a US president decide to take America to war?

In a televised address from the White House last week, the US president claimed that Iran appeared to be “standing down” after launching missile strikes on two US military bases in Iraq hours earlier.

But Iranian military leaders have warned that a “harsher revenge” against the US may follow if tensions continue to escalate. Although Trump appears to have ruled out a military response to the air strikes, the US leader is imposing further economic sanctions on Iran.

As the stand-off continues, debate is growing over the extend of Trump’s war powers in his role as commander in chief of the US forces - and whether they could be curbed.

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