Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 2 Apr 2019

1. Cabinet meeting after MPs’ Brexit vote fails

The Commons yesterday failed to vote in favour of any option for Brexit, in a second series of indicative votes to give MPs the chance to find their preferred way forward. The Cabinet is meeting today to discuss the next move, with some analysts saying the failure is a boost to Prime Minister Theresa May, and others predicting a general election.

2. Barnier: no-deal Brexit now more likely

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said this morning that the failure of British MPs to agree a Brexit strategy yesterday means a no-deal EU exit is now “more likely” - but added that this not the “desire” of the other 27 member states and can still be avoided. Barnier said the alternatives were Theresa May’s deal or a long extension of the leaving deadline.

3. Second woman accuses Biden of touching

Two women have accused potential US presidential candidate Joe Biden of inappropriate touching. Former Democrat candidate Lucy Flores says the former vice president kissed the back of her head, while Amy Lappos, once aide to a senator, says he touched her face and rubbed noses with her. Biden said he was not aware of inappropriate touching but would listen and continue to advocate for women’s rights.

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4. Cross-party committee calls for break-up of Big Four accountants

The UK’s Big Four accountancy firms should be broken up, with their audit and consultancy arms separated, according to a newly released review by the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of MPs (Beis). Chair Rachel Rees says their “stranglehold” of KPMG, Deloitte, PwC and EY results in “audits which investors and the public cannot rely on”.

5. Nasa anger at India’s space missile test

The head of Nasa has said that India’s use of a missile to blow up one of its own low-orbiting satellites was a “terrible, terrible” act that created 400 new pieces of debris, endangering astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Jim Bridenstine warned that as a result of the test last Wednesday, the risk of a collision with the ISS has increased by 44% over ten days.

6. London: man in 20s stabbed to death

Police have launched a murder investigation after a man in his 20s was stabbed to death on Monday night in Kentish Town, northwest London. The killing came hours after Theresa May hosted a summit on knife crime at Downing Street, and just days after a series of apparently random stabbings in Edmonton and a fatal stabbing in Liverpool.

7. Semi-naked protesters disrupt Commons votes

MPs voting in the Commons on Brexit yesterday were briefly distracted by a semi-naked protest in the public gallery. Twelve men and women from direct action group Extinction Rebellion stripped down to their underwear, revealing slogans about climate change painted on their bodies. Police were called and arrested all 12.

8. James Corden: chubby actors ‘shut out’

Former Gavin & Stacey star and co-creator James Corden has criticised the portrayal of overweight people on TV and in films, saying “chubby” characters “never really fall in love… never have sex”. Corden said that overweight actors are at best cast as the “good” and funny friend of an attractive character, adding that being excluded from roles spurred him on the write the hit sitcom.

9. Vending machines dispense short stories

Workers in London’s Canary Wharf are being offered a new way to pass the time as they commute: vending machines that dispense short stories printed on slips of paper for free at the touch of a button. French firm Short Edition has commissioned Alex Rider author Anthony Horowitz to write one, and there will be others from out-of-copyright authors.

10. Who is Naruhito, Japan’s next emperor?

The Japanese government has unveiled the name of Japan’s next imperial era, ahead of Emperor Akihito’s historic abdication from the position.

Who is Naruhito, Japan’s new emperor?

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