Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 17 Mar 2019

1. Police say New Zealand suspect acted alone

Police say the man charged with Friday's twin mosque attacks in the New Zealand city of Christchurch is believed to have acted alone. Three others arrested on the day are now not believed to have been involved, Police Commissioner Mike Bush said. Fifty people were killed and 50 injured in the atrocities. Minutes before the attack, the alleged Christchurch mosque shooter sent a “manifesto” to the office of New Zealand prime minister.

2. Brussels officials are war-gaming the fall of Theresa May

The EU is war-gaming for the fall of Theresa May, according to a leaked document seen by The Observer. Brussels fears there is little hope that she will succeed in passing her deal this week and is preparing itself for a new face in Downing Street. EU ambassadors and senior officials want to ensure that any new PM cannot immediately dismantle the withdrawal agreement.

3. More than £100bn of UK property ‘secretly owned’

More than £100bn of UK property is secretly owned, according to research by the transparency group Global Witness. More than 87,000 properties are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens, with 40% of the properties in question in London. Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, where the average property costs £3m, hosts at least 134 secretly owned properties.

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4. Flood warnings in place across the UK after torrential rain

Flood warnings are in place in 71 locations in the UK after persistent heavy rain around the country. There are more than 60 flood warnings for England, 10 for Wales and one for Scotland. Most of England’s warnings are in Yorkshire. Capel Curig in Wales saw a month's worth of rain - some 136.6mm - in the space of 24 hours.

5. Ethiopian Airlines offers scorched earth to bereaved families

Ethiopian Airlines has offered the relatives of victims of last weekend’s Boeing 737 Max plane crash bags of scorched earth to bury in place of their loved ones. The gesture came after families were told it could take up to six months to identify remains. Passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.

6. Sir Philip may cut jobs as Arcadia continues to struggle

Sir Philip Green may cut jobs and close stores as sales continue to fall at his retail empire. The controversial billionaire’s company, Arcadia Group – which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Evans and Wallis – has announced it is exploring ways to make the business more efficient in an “exceptionally challenging retail market”. In October, Green was accused of racist and sexist bullying of staff. He denies wrongdoing.

7. Protesters invade Serbian state TV as protests continue

A day of anti-government demonstrations across the Balkans saw protestors break into Serbia’s state television building and Albanian police deploy tear gas to disperse a mob trying to break into the parliament. There have been weekly demonstrations since December against the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, demanding media freedom as a condition for fair elections.

8. Theresa May begs MPs to make 'honourable compromise'

Theresa May has urged MPs to make an “honourable compromise”. As she urges them to back her Brexit deal at the third time of asking, she said failure to support the deal would mean “we will not leave the EU for many months, if ever”. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has written to MPs across the Commons inviting them for talks to find a cross-party compromise.

9. Comic Relief fans £8m donation slump after controversy

Comic Relief suffered an £8m fall in donations for its Red Nose Day appeal this year. The drop came after a difficult build up to the event, in which the Labour MP David Lammy criticised a celebrity supporter for promoting a “white saviour” complex. Meanwhile, Tory MPs have criticised the event for making “absurd” claims about the scale of poverty in Britain.

10. Love Island star Thalassitis found dead in Essex

Love Island star Mike Thalassitis has been found dead near his home in Essex, his management has announced. The cause of death is yet to be confirmed. The 26-year-old was also a contestant on Celebs Go Dating and a former semi-professional footballer for Stevenage. ITV said: “Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Mike's family and friends at this very sad time.”

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