Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 12 Jun 2019

1. UK commits to net-zero emissions by 2050

The UK is committing to the most ambitious target on greenhouse gas emissions of any major nation. Under new government proposals, Britain will pledge to reduce emissions to “net-zero” by 2050, overturning a previous target of an 80% reduction by that date. Net-zero means gas emissions must stop or be offset through measures to capture carbon such as planting trees.

2. Hong Kong protesters surround government buildings

Pro-democracy demonstrators are engaged in a stand-off with police in Hong Kong, with crowds surrounding key government buildings as part of protests against a plan to make it easier to extradite people to mainland China. Police in riot gear have been using pepper spray to disperse protesters and say they are prepared to use force.

3. Labour seeks to block no-deal Brexit

Labour is tabling a cross-party motion today to try to stop a future prime minister pushing through a no-deal Brexit against the wishes of MPs. The party plans to force a vote that would give MPs control of the Commons timetable on 25 June, providing the opportunity to introduce legislation to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a trade agreement. The move comes as some of the Conservative leadership hopefuls say they would be prepared to leave without a deal.

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4. Johnson to begin leadership campaign in public

Boris Johnson will today make his first public appearance since he announced he is standing for the leadership of the Tory party. The former foreign secretary will take media questions at his formal campaign event. He will say that “kicking the can” on Brexit would amount to “kicking the bucket” for the Conservative Party.

5. Climate change ‘pushes up energy use’, says BP

The world may be trapped in a vicious circle of increasing global demand for energy owing to extreme weather caused by climate change, according to analysis by oil giant BP. The company says that days with high or low temperatures last year correlated with spikes in energy use, possibly due to increased use of air conditioning or heating.

6. Biden is a ‘mentally weak loser’, says Trump

Donald Trump has dismissed former Democrat vice-president Joe Biden as “mentally weak” and a “loser”, after polls suggested the former Democrat vice-president could beat him in the 2020 presidential election. Internal polling for the Republican Party shows Biden ahead in key battleground states.

7. US celebrate biggest ever World Cup win

The US yesterday recorded the biggest ever victory in the Fifa Women’s World Cup as they crushed Thailand 13-0 in the American side’s first game of the 2019 tournament. Alex Morgan scored five times, while Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis scored twice each. The US, defending their 2015 title, have lost just one international game since July 2017 and have now won seven games in a row.

8. Trump accidentally reveals Mexico migrant plan

Donald Trump yesterday inadvertently revealed details of his immigration plans. Trump waved a folded sheet of paper and told White House reporters that it was his secret agreement with Mexico - but failed to realise the document was being photographed by media members. The pictures reveal a plan to designate Mexico a “safe third country”, meaning asylum applications for the US could be assessed there.

9. Radiohead foil blackmail attempt with new release

Radiohead have foiled a blackmail attempt after hackers stole singer Thom Yorke’s archive of 18 hours of recordings of the rock band working on their masterpiece OK Computer. The cyberattackers demanded £116,000 not to release the material online, but Radiohead instead released it themselves, with profits going to climate change group Extinction Rebellion.

10. Briefing: what is the Rockall dispute?

Scotland and Ireland are at loggerheads over a tiny uninhabitable island off the Scottish west coast, as Irish fishermen defy orders to quit the surrounding waters.

The standoff comes after the Scottish government last week threatened to take action against Irish vessels that the authorities claim are fishing illegally around Rockall. So how did the row begin?

Rockall dispute: why Scotland and Ireland are fighting over the tiny island

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