Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 17 Feb 2020
Storm Dennis flooding ‘could last for days’
The Environment Agency is warning today that “significant” flooding could continue for days in parts of the UK hit by Storm Dennis over the weekend. More than a month’s worth of rain fell in 48 hours and hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes. Further floods are expected in south Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire.
France: UK and EU will ‘rip each other apart’
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian predicted yesterday that the EU and UK “are going to rip each other apart” in negotiations on trade issues and the mechanism for future relations between the two. The UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, is travelling to Brussels on Monday to open talks, with fishing high on the agenda.
Love Island to return with Flack tribute
The ITV2 reality show Love Island will be back on air tonight after a two-day hiatus prompted by the death of former host Caroline Flack, found dead on Saturday after taking her own life. The show will feature a tribute to the 40-year-old who presented for five series before stepping down over a tabloid scandal about an alleged assault on her partner.
Storm Dennis: defences ‘built in wrong place’
The Times reports that councillors in south Wales have been fiercely critical of the government response to Storm Dennis, saying that flood defences were built in Yorkshire where the rainfall was not as serious as it was further south. One councillor said it had been left to residents and the local council to “get people to safety”.
French ski resort brings in snow by helicopter
A ski resort in the French Pyrenees, where the snow cover is poor this year, has used helicopters to move 50 tonnes of snow from upper to lower slopes. Accused of doubling the problems of climate change, the local authority director Hervé Pounau said the decision would protect the 80 jobs at the Luchon-Superbagnères resort.
Met Office awaits billion-pound supercomputer
Forecasts from the Met Office will be more accurate from 2022 when a new supercomputer goes into service, costing £1.2bn for its first ten years. The project will improve the detail of predictions and could help guide the Environment Agency to deploy flood defences or the National Grid to decide where more power is needed.
Bicester Village struggles with coronavirus
The retail outlet Bicester Village, a major tourist attraction near London, is suffering a downturn in business caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak in China. Thousands of Chinese and Asian tourists visit every year, buying discounted designer fashion but staff told the BBC there has been an 85% drop in visitor numbers in the past two weeks.
Elton John ends show early in tears
Singer and pianist Sir Elton John cut a gig short in New Zealand on Sunday night in tears, unable to carry on because of walking pneumonia. The 72-year-old, making a farewell world tour, had to be escorted off the stage sobbing, while fans gave him a standing ovation. He said he was “disappointed, deeply upset and sorry”.
Armed robbers steal toilet rolls in Hong Kong
Armed robbers in Hong Kong made off with hundreds of toilet rolls worth £98 early this morning, police say. The theft was prompted by a shortage of toilet paper caused by panic buying in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. Other products which have been panic-bought by the public include pasta and cleaning items.
Briefing: The Matzneff scandal that shamed the French establishment
French police have raided the offices of one of the country’s biggest publishers in a search for material written by an author at the heart of a paedophile scandal.
Investigators scoured the Paris premises of the Gallimard company on Wednesday in a bid to find unpublished writings by Gabriel Matzneff, who has been charged with rape.