Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 23 Jan 2020

1

Johnson: UK at ‘Brexit finishing line’

Boris Johnson said yesterday that the UK has “crossed the Brexit finishing line”, after the Commons rejected amendments imposed by the Lords earlier this week on the prime minister’s EU withdrawal bill. The flagship legislation, which paves the way for Britain to leave the bloc on 31 January, is now awaiting royal assent. 

2

Trump trial ‘threatens future of US democracy’

The Democrat leading the trial of US President Donald Trump warned Republicans yesterday that their insistence on hearing no new evidence and bringing the proceedings to a close as quickly as possible suggested the future of US democracy was “not assured”. Adam Schiff begged senators not to turn the trial into a whitewash.

3

Coronavirus: panic as Wuhan put into lockdown

The Chinese city at the centre of of a new coronavirus outbreak has been put on lockdown, as health authorities worldwide scramble to prevent a global pandemic. Wuhan’s city government has shut down all urban transport networks and suspended outgoing plane and train services, sparking panic buying by the 11 million-strong population that has left supermarket shelves empty. The virus has killed at least 17 people so far, with a total of more than 570 confirmed cases.

4

Cut meat and dairy consumption ‘by fifth’, say climate experts

Consumers need to reduce their intake of beef, lamb and dairy produce by 20% in order to tackle global warming, a new report by the Government’s advisory panel on climate says. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is urging public organisations such as the NHS to lead the way by offering plant-based options for all meals, but suggests that taxes on meat and dairy may be required if people are unwilling to cut their consumption.

5

BBC to axe award-winning Victoria Derbyshire Show

The BBC is reportedly set to take the Victoria Derbyshire Show off the air as part of a cost-cutting drive. Sources at the national broadcaster says bosses have decided that viewing figures for the award-winning current affairs programme are not high enough to justify the cost. Labour MP Jess Phillips has tweeted that it is “sad” to see the end of a programme that has “reached a largely working class audience”. 

6

Johnson to ‘set UK against US on three fronts’

Boris Johnson is setting the UK against the US on three key issues, “risking a post-Brexit rift with President Trump”, The Times claims. The newspaper says that the PM plans to bring in a tax on tech firms, despite being asked to “hold fire” by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); to use Chinese firm Huawei to build the UK’s 5G network; and to continue supporting the Iran nuclear deal.

7

US firefighters killed in Australia plane crash

Three US firefighters are dead after their tanker plane crashed in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales as they helped to battle the bushfires ravaging southeast Australia. The cause of the crash is not yet known, but the C-130 Hercules plane is said to have come down in a “large fireball” two hours south of capital Canberra.

8

Vesuvius eruption ‘turned man’s brain to glass’

The immense heat from the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 turned one victim’s brain to glass, according to a newly published study by Italian researchers. The young man is believed to have been a caretaker who was asleep when the volcano erupted, burying the Roman towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii in ash. New analysis shows that shiny, solid black material found inside his skull was brain matter that was transformed by the 520C heat.

9

Gaultier ‘upcycles’ jeans for his final catwalk show

French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier has held his last ever fashion show – and made fashion waste the theme, upcycling his own worn jeans into outfits. The 67-year-old shocked the fashion world last week when he announced his impending retirement, following a 50-year career. Former French first lady Carla Bruni was among the guests at yesterday’s Paris Fashion Week event.

10

Briefing: what is wokeness?

Actor Laurence Fox has drawn plaudits and criticism for his attack on “woke” culture.

Commentators have piled into the debate, with Tim Dawson congratulating Fox on “terrorising the Wokerati”, and The Sun’s Leo McKinstry branding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “the oppressive King and Queen of Woke”. But what exactly does the term mean?

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