Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 13 Mar 2019

1. No-deal vote after MPs reject May’s Brexit

The Commons will vote today on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal, after rejecting Theresa May’s Brexit plans for a second time yesterday. May’s proposals were defeated by a margin of 149 votes last night, pushing the country into political crisis. If a no-deal exit is rejected, MPs will vote on extending the Brexit deadline.

2. Tariffs to be cut in event of no-deal Brexit

The Government has published proposals for how it would handle a no-deal exit from the EU, ahead of this evening’s vote by MPs on that option. Under a temporary scheme, 87% of imports by value would be eligible for zero-tariff access, compared with 80% at the moment. There would also be no border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

3. Pope’s adviser Pell jailed for child abuse

Cardinal George Pell has been jailed for six years in Australia for the sexual abuse of children in the 1990s. The former Vatican treasurer and close adviser to Pope Francis showed “staggering arrogance” in perpetrating “brazen and forcible” sexual attacks, a judge said. The 77-year-old will appeal the sentence.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

4. Hammond: I’ll curb power of tech giants

Chancellor Philip Hammond will use his Spring Statement today to promise to take measures to stop big web firms such as Google and Facebook from curbing innovation and reducing consumer choice. Hammond will welcome the findings of a review commissioned by the Government, which says greater competition should be enforced in the digitial marketplace.

5. India and Hong Kong join Boeing 737 Max ban

India and Hong Kong have joined other nations including the UK, Ireland, Germany and France in suspending flights by Boeing’s 737 Max jets, following two crashes involving the aircraft within five months. The US remains defiant, saying the plane is safe, but at least 27 airlines worldwide have grounded their Max jets - more than half of the 350 in service.

6. Hawking nurse struck off for poor care

A nurse who looked after world-leading scientist Stephen Hawking for eight years has been struck off from the profession after an investigation found she had failed to give him the “care he deserved”. Patricia Dowdy, 61, faced misconduct charges including financial misconduct, dishonesty and not having the correct qualifications.

7. California governor halts death penalty

California Governor Gavin Newsom is to issue a moratorium on the death penalty, meaning none of the state’s 737 death row patients will be executed while he is in office. California has not executed anyone since 2006, in part because of a long-running legal battle over whether the lethal drugs used cause excessive pain.

8. Desperate Housewives actor charged over ‘exam cheating’

Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman is among 33 parents who have been charged with taking part in a huge exam fraud in the US. The alleged scam involved corrupt staff marking exams, or sitting them for students, so the youngsters could gain entry to elite universities. Bribes were also allegedly paid to sports coaches to accept students.

9. Death metal ‘does not inspire violence’

A new study has cast doubt on claims that fans of death metal music are desensitised to violence by the genre’s extreme content. Professor Bill Thompson of Macquarie University, in Sydney, said: “[Death metal] fans are nice people. They’re not going to go out and hurt someone.” The research is part of a decades-long investigation into the emotional effects of music.

10. Briefing: can the woolly mammoth be brought back to life?

Japanese and Russian scientists have recorded minor activity in cells taken from a woolly mammoth that roamed the Earth 28,000 years ago, marking a potential breakthrough in the quest to clone the prehistoric animal.

Researchers involved in the project claim to have taken “a significant step” towards bringing the long-extinct animals back to life, The Daily Telegraph reports, after extracting bone marrow and muscle tissue from the remains of a mammoth in Siberia.

Can the woolly mammoth be brought back from extinction?

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.