Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 16 Mar 2019

1. New Zealand mosque attacks suspect appears in court

The main suspect in the mosque shootings that killed 49 people in New Zealand has appeared in court on a single murder charge. Brenton Tarrant, 28, stood in the dock in a white prison shirt and handcuffs. Further charges are expected to be made against him. In east London, hours after the New Zealand atrocity, a man was reportedly attacked with a hammer and a batten outside a mosque.

2. North Korea says it is close to giving up on US talks

North Korea is close to giving up on discussions with the US and may resume testing of its nuclear weapons, a senior Pyongyang official has announced. Choe Son-hui, the deputy foreign minister, said: “We have no intention to yield to the US demands in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind”. She said that the US had missed “a golden opportunity” to overcome differences.

3. Long Brexit delay would require election of British MEPs

There can be no long Brexit delay without an election of British MEPs, according to a leaked legal paper. Ambassadors have been told that any delay beyond March 29 requires Britain to have taken part in European parliamentary elections. The 27 heads of state and government are to discuss and decide on the UK’s expected extension request at an EU summit next Thursday.

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. Middle-class parents deploy FOI requests over Oxbridge rejections

Parents are using freedom of information requests to find out why Oxbridge colleges have rejected their children. With Oxford and Cambridge under pressure to accept more teenagers from poorer families, some better-off parents are concerned that fewer middle-class school-leavers are being offered places. A source said freedom of information has become “another weapon” for the parents.

5. Italian magistrates probe bunga bunga party woman's death

Magistrates in Italy have opened an investigation into the mysterious death of a Moroccan model who was a regular guest at Silvio Berlusconi’s “bunga bunga” parties. Imane Fadil, 33, died on 1 March, a month after being admitted to a Milan hospital with severe stomach pains. She had told friends and her lawyer that she had been poisoned.

6. Warmth from HS2 trains will be used to heat nearby homes

Trains on the high-speed HS2 line will produce warm air which will be used to supply nearby homes with cheap, low-carbon heating and hot water. The firm building the £56bn-line plans to recycle waste heat from the electric motors and brakes of trains approaching and departing from a £1bn “super hub” station in London, and use it to power homes on a housing estate that is due to be built nearby.

7. Michael Jackson fans to sue his accusers over abuse claims

Three Michael Jackson fan groups are suing his alleged victims in France for “sullying his memory” by taking part in the Leaving Neverland documentary. The Michael Jackson Community forum and the MJ Street and On The Line groups accuse Robson Wade and James Safechuck of “lynching” Jackson. The pop singer’s image had been affected by the allegations as well as “the whole community of his fans”, their lawyer said.

8. Trump issues veto on Congress measure on emergency

Donald Trump has vetoed a measure from Congress revoking his declaration of a national emergency at the US-Mexico border. Earlier, legislators, including 12 Republicans, had passed the rejection in rebuke of the US President’s pledge to build a border wall. However, following the veto, Congress will now need an unlikely two-thirds majority in both chambers to override him, which is unlikely to be possible.

9. Give climate change kids detention, says teachers' union chief

Headteachers should give lunchtime detentions to students who skip school for climate change protests, says Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. The union chief argues that pupils should be in school learning about climate change rather than demonstrating. His statement came as students around the world walked out of school to demand politicians take urgent action on climate change.

10. EU commissioner says UK's no-deal tariffs are illegal

The UK’s no-deal Brexit tariff plan would be “illegal” under World Trade Organisation rules, according to the EU commissioner in charge of agriculture. Phil Hogan dismissed the plan, which would see no duties levied on goods entering Northern Ireland across the border, as “a political stunt, pure and simple”. He believes it is an attempt by the UK to “weaken the unity of the EU26 in relation to the Irish backstop”.

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.