Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 7 Mar 2019

1. EU calls for new Brexit backstop proposals

EU officials have urged the UK to come up with “acceptable” proposals to end the impasse over the Irish border backstop. French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau, who is meeting Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay in London today, warned that the “clock is really ticking” and said the UK must “live up to the moment”.

2. Grenfell Tower: frustration over two-year wait

Campaigners have voiced frustration after police announced that no criminal proceedings will be brought over the Grenfell Tower fire until the end of the ongoing public inquiry, in two years’ time. Survivors’ group Grenfell United said families of the victims were disheartened by the lack of official progress. But the Metropolitan Police said it “would be wrong” not to take into account evidence given to the hearing into the June 2017 blaze, which resulted in the deaths of 72 people.

3. More than 4,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria killed by RAF

RAF air strikes in Syria and Iraq killed a total of 4,135 enemy fighters between September 2014 and January this year – and just one civilian, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The figures were released following a Freedom of Information request by research charity Action on Armed Violence (AAV), which believes civilian deaths are being under-reported. The US has acknowledged more than 1,000 civilian casualties.

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4. Black advisors ‘targeted by Met Police’

Three prominent black community advisors claim they have been wrongfully searched or arrested after being deliberately targeted by the Met Police. Mahamed Hashi, Gwenton Sloley and Ken Hinds all work with the London force on youth violence – yet say their treatment has harmed race relations with the police.

5. Northern’s longer trains delayed until 2021

The launch of longer trains running in and out of Leeds by struggling rail firm Northern will be delayed until late 2021, while platforms in the northern city are extended, the BBC reports. Northern intially planned to launch the new service at the end of this year. The train operator had a disastrous 2018, with cancellations and delays leading to the creation of the hashtag #northernfail.

6. Jewish Labour group ‘will not quit party’

Labour’s official Jewish affiliate held meetings in London and Manchester yesterday to discuss whether to quit the party over its handling of anti-Semitism. The Jewish Labour Movement, which teamed up with Labour in 1920, has yet to hold a formal vote on the issue, but shows of hands at the meetings indicate members do not want to sever its ties.

7. Father jailed for ordering acid attack on three-year-old

A 40-year-old man has been jailed for 16 years for ordering an acid attack on his three-year-old son in Worcester. The man, who cannot be named, wanted to manufacture evidence that his estranged wife was a bad mother, in the hopes of winning a custody battle. A total of six men were found guilty of planning the attack, in July last year.

8. A third of UK billionaires are tax exiles

A third of British billionaires are living overseas to avoid paying taxes, “after an exodus over the past decade”, The Times reports. The newspaper points out that many of the tycoons have bankrolled UK political parties from overseas. There are now 6,800 Britons running a total of 12,000 UK firms from tax havens, costing the Exchequer billions each year.

9. Democrats ban Fox News from debates

The US Democrats have said they will not invite Fox News to host any of their televised primary debates during the 2020 US presidential race, after a New Yorker magazine investigation exposed ties between Donald Trump and the right-wing TV network. The party said the “inappropriate relationship” meant Fox could not host a “fair and neutral” debate.

10. Briefing: how safe is chlorine-washed chicken?

Talks between Britain and the US over post-Brexit trade deals have sparked debate about the safety of chlorine-washed chicken.

The process of washing chicken in chlorine and other disinfectants was banned by the European Union in 1997 because of safety concerns, a move that has “stopped virtually all imports of US chicken meat which is generally treated by this process”, the BBC reports.

How safe is chlorine-washed chicken?

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