Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 27 Jan 2020

1

Coronavirus: WHO chief to meet officials in Beijing

The head of World Health Organization (WHO) is meeting officials in Beijing today to discuss how to contain the coronavirus that has killed at least 80 people and infected more than 2,700 in China. Cases have also been confirmed in several other Asian countries, Europe and North America, as experts warn that a total of around 100,000 people may be infected worldwide. 

2

Auschwitz survivors mark 75 years since liberation

More than 200 Holocaust survivors are gathering at Auschwitz today to mark 75 years since the former Nazi death camp was liberated by Allied troops. The Guardian notes that this may be the “final time” many of the elderly survivors are reunited, but says the event has been “overshadowed” by rows about the international guest list. Royals, presidents and prime ministers from nearly 60 countries are attending the ceremony, but no top world leaders.

3

Labour leadership: Starmer wants ‘federal UK’

Labour leadership candidate Keir Starmer is calling for a fully federal UK, with power devolved to the nations and regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following Brexit. Starmer - the current front runner in the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn - says a “large-scale devolution of power and resources” is the only way to repair “shattered trust in politics”.

4

Basketball star Bryant dies in crash

Tributes have been pouring in to Kobe Bryant after the US basketball star died yesterday in a helicopter crash that also claimed that lives of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people. The 41-year-old retired Los Angeles Lakers player and the other victims were travelling in a private helicopter when it came down and burst into flames in a field near the California city of Calabasas. 

5

Billie Eilish wins big at Grammy awards

Teenage singer-songwriter Billie Eilish was the big winner at last night’s Grammy Awards. The 18-year-old went home with five statuettes, including best new artist, best album and best song for Bad Guy. The ceremony, in Los Angeles, also featured an emotional performance by Demi Lovato, who was returning to the stage after almost two years away following a near-fatal drug overdose.

6

Call to ban ‘virginity repair’ surgery in UK

Campaigners are lobbying the Government to ban so-called “virginity repair” surgery – a procedure to restore a layer of membrane at the entrance to the vagina. Activists say women from Middle Eastern and other backgrounds are turning to the surgery in a desperate bid to prevent their spouses or families discovering they have had sex before marriage.

7

Sunday People ‘targeted Milly Dowler family’

The Sunday People newspaper may have targeted the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, just as rival the News of the World is known to have done, court papers suggest. The Sunday People is also alleged to have hired detectives to spy on Dowler’s family after the 13-year-old disappeared in 2002. The allegations have surfaced in a civil case at the High Court brought by 71 claimants, including Prince Harry, against Mirror Group Newspapers over alleged phone hacking.

8

Australian woman dies in cake-eating contest

A 60-year-old woman died yesterday while taking part in a contest to eat as much chocolate cake as possible. Witnesses say the contestant appearing to suffer a seizure after speed-eating lamington - a traditional sponge cake covered in chocolate and desiccated coconut - during the event at a hotel in Hervey Bay, Queensland. She was given CPR but later died in hospital.

9

Historic lighthouse facing demolition

One of Britain’s oldest lighthouses is facing demolition after weathering storms and hurricanes on the Suffolk coast for 228 years. The base of the famous red-and white Orford Ness lighthouse, built in 1792, is on the point of collapse as sea erosion takes its toll. “The lighthouse is doomed,” says owner Nicholas Gold, who is seeking permission to demolish the grade II listed building but hopes to salvage some of the materials. 

10

Briefing: Mexico murder rate hits all-time high

Mexico’s murder rate soared to a record high of 34,582 last year - an average of 95 killings a day, according to newly released official data.

The country has been “plagued with violence since 2006, when the government deployed the military to wage the so-called war on drugs”, says Al Jazeera. So what has gone wrong - and can anything be done to cut the death toll?

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