Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 19 Jan 2020

1

‘Hard Megxit’ as Harry and Meghan drop HRH titles

Buckingham Palace has announced that Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer use their HRH titles and will not receive public funds for royal duties. The couple will no longer formally represent the Queen. They will also repay £2.4m of taxpayers' money spent on renovating their Windsor home - Frogmore Cottage. Several newspapers describe the new arrangement as a “Hard Megxit”.

2

Breach hands children's data to gambling companies

A major breach in government data has seen betting companies given access to an educational database containing names, ages and addresses of 28 million children and students. The Sunday Times says the companies have used it to help increase the proportion of young people who gamble online. Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “I am very shocked to learn that data has been handed over in this way.”

3

Boris Johnson puts cabinet ministers ‘on probation’

Boris Johnson has been accused of putting cabinet ministers “on probation” after telling them that they must focus on developing policies for post-Brexit Britain or face the sack in an impending cabinet reshuffle. The PM is expected to tell his most senior ministers that they must concentrate on “delivery” and hard work that will help “level up” the country, rather than “touring TV studios”.

4

Trump team says impeachment is ‘dangerous attack’

Donald Trump's legal team has described the impeachment charges against him as a “dangerous attack” on democracy. In the first formal response to the charges, the team's document said the impeachment articles were a “brazen” attempt to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections. The US president is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Opening statements in the trial begin next week.

5

New powers handed to police to tackle stalkers

Stalkers could be sentenced up to five years in prison if they break new court orders which ban them from contacting alleged victims. Police in England and Wales will be able to apply to courts for stalking protection orders which are designed to protect victims “at the earliest opportunity”. Campaigners have welcomed the move but warned the orders would only be effective if police acted swiftly.

6

Islamic State suspect is too heavy for police car

A 40-stone Islamic State suspect arrested in Iraq by a SWAT team had to be taken away in a truck because he was too heavy for a car. Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, is alleged to be an IS mufti who issued fatwas that led to the deaths of scholars and clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to the militant group.

7

More Brits turn to private healthcare as waiting lists soar

The number of British people choosing to pay for private hospital surgery has rocketed with the total amount spent on private healthcare doubling in six years to £1.1bn. Record waiting lists and rationing of treatments by the NHS have combined to deliver a 7.4% growth in self-paying patients between 2014 and 2018, according to a new report.

8

Storms and floods bring new menace to Australia

After months of bushfires Australia is now facing the threat of flooding and heavy wind. Severe thunderstorm warnings are in place in across parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory, as the Bureau of Meteorology warns of destructive wind and torrential rainfall. Although recent heavy rain has dampened many of the country's bushfires, it has also led to power cuts and road closures.

9

Cocaine-related hospital admissions soar among elderly

Hospital admissions for people aged over 50 needing treatment for cocaine poisoning have risen tenfold in a decade, according to new data from NHS Digital. The report shows that there were 268 admissions of over-50s using the class-a drug last year, compared with just 27 cases in 2009-2010. There were six cases of cocaine-poisoning admissions for patients aged 90 or more.

10

Conor McGregor wins comeback fight in just 40 seconds

Conor McGregor beat American fan favourite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in just 40 seconds in Las Vegas. In his comeback fight, the Irishman came out on top after what the BBC describes as “one of the most spectacular performances of his career”. Referee Herb Dean stepped in and called time on the contest inside a minute after a series of blows from McGregor.

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