Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 5 Apr 2019

1. Tusk to offer ‘flexible’ extension to Brexit

European Council President Donald Tusk is pushing the other 27 member states to offer the UK a flexible 12-month extension to Article 50, according to reports. Unnamed EU officials are quoting as saying that deal would allow Britain to delay leaving the bloc but that the country could quit before the new exit date if a way out were agreed.

2. London stabbing spree: man charged

A 29-year-old man has been charged with five counts of attempted murder over the series of apparently random stabbings that began in Edmonton, north London, on Saturday. Local resident Jason Kakaire will appear in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court today. All five victims were stabbed from behind and at least one has life-changing injuries.

3. Labour wins Newport West by-election

Labour has held on to its safe seat in Newport West after a by-election necessitated by the death of veteran MP Paul Flynn in February. Union official Ruth Jones won by 1,951 votes. However, her majority was significantly less than the 5,658 claimed in 2017 by Flynn, who was first elected to the seat in 1987.

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4. Danny Rose’s frustration at football racism

Tottenham Hotspur and England defender Danny Rose has spoken of his disillusionment with the world of football after players from the national side were subjected to racist chanting while playing Montenegro last month. Criticising fines for abuse are too low, Rose told the BBC: “I think I’ve got five or six more years left in football, and I just can’t wait to see the back of it.”

5. Amazon’s power couple agree $35bn divorce

The world’s richest couple have finalised their divorce. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his now ex-wife MacKenzie have agreed a record-breaking settlement worth $35bn (£27bn). MacKenzie will retain a 4% stake in Amazon but has given up her interest in newspaper The Washington Post. They were married for 25 years.

6. Bishops angry about nuclear weapons ‘celebration’

Two bishops and more than 20 priests have called on Westminster Abbey to cancel an event honouring the crews of Trident submarines, saying the invitation-only service, planned for 3 May, to mark 50 years of the deterrent will seem to “celebrate” nuclear weapons. Some 25 Church of England clergy have written a letter of protest.

7. Japanese spacecraft ‘bombs’ speeding asteroid

A Japanese space probe has “bombed” a speeding asteroid 187 miles from Earth, in a bid to retrieve material that could offer scientists new clues about the origins of life on the planet. Hayabusa 2 released a cone-shaped explosive impactor today as it hovered some 500 metres above the surface of asteroid Ryugu, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa).

8. Outrage in Zimbabwe at £118,000 wig spend

Zimbabwean lawyers and social media users have criticised the nation’s government for ordering horsehair wigs for judges that will cost a total of £118,400 from an upmarket London outfitters. As well as the expenditure, critics say the wigs evoke an outdated colonial spirit.

9. GCHQ reveals location of old central London hq

British intelligence agency GCHQ has confirmed that an unremarkable office block in central London served as its secret base in the capital for 66 years – thought it has now left the building. The purpose of the unlabelled building, opposite St James’s Park tube station, was reportedly an open secret among neighbouring businesses.

10. What does the speaker of the House do?

John Bercow has become the first speaker to use the power to cast a deciding vote in almost 30 years.

What powers does the House of Commons speaker have?

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