Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 14 Jun 2019

1. Christchurch mosque shootings: suspect pleads ‘not guilty’

The 29-year-old man accused of killing 92 people in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March shocked a New Zealand court yesterday by pleading not guilty. Australian national and alleged white supremacist Brenton Tarrant denies all 92 charges – 51 of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one relating to terrorism.

2. Matt Hancock ‘may pull out of Tory leadership race’

Conservative leadership contender Matt Hancock is expected to pull out of the race after placing sixth among ten candidates in the first ballot of MPs yesterday. A further three contenders - Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - were knocked out of the contest, while Health Secretary Hancock is due to make a decision later today. There is speculation that some other candidates may also pull out in an attempt to prevent a victory by Boris Johnson.

3. Chuka Umunna joins Lib Dems

Former Labour shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has joined his third political party this year, the Liberal Democrats. The Remain-supporting MP for Streatham quit Labour for the newly formed Independent Group, now known as Change UK, in February this year. After now jumping ship to join the Lib Dems, he told the BBC that he had been “wrong” to think “millions of politically homeless people... wanted a new party”.

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4. Iran denies US accusation of oil tanker attacks

Tehran says it “categorically rejects” claims by the US that Iran is behind attacks on two oil tankers, one Japanese and the other Norwegian, in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday. The US said it had made its assessment based on the weapons used. Dozens of crew were rescued from the ships following the blasts, while oil prices jumped by as much as 4%.

5. Jo Brand investigated by police over battery acid gag

Comedian Jo Brand is facing a police investigation over a joke she made on BBC Radio 4 show Heresy in which she said it would be better to throw battery acid at prominent Brexiteers, rather than milkshakes. Speaking at the Henley Literary Festival in Oxfordshire yesterday, Brand said freedom of speech was “extremely important”.

6. Sarah Sanders resigns as White House press secretary

Sarah Sanders quit her job as White House press secretary yesterday after a frought two years, but insisted: “I love the president.” Donald Trump responded that Sanders, who has not held a briefing for 94 days, was a “magnificent person”. She is being tipped to follow her predecessor Sean Spicer into TV punditry, possibly on Trump’s favourite network, Fox News.

7. Frozen head of prehistoric wolf found in Siberia

A decapitated head of a wolf that was found frozen in Siberia is 40,000 years old, scientists in Russia have announced. Although the creature’s eyes are missing, the fur, teeth, brain and facial tissue are largely intact. The head is to be plastinated, with water and fat replaced by plastics to prevent decay at room temperature.

8. Britain’s oldest person dies aged 112

The UK’s oldest person, 112-year-old Grace Jones, has died at her home in Worcestershire. Her daughter, Deidre McCarthy, 80, said her mother remained fit and active until her death, justifying her nickname of Amazing Grace. McCarthy told reporters: “I used to say to my friends, ‘She is a piece of history gift-wrapped.’”

9. Bank holiday change hits calendar makers

A calendar maker has warned that moving the early May bank holiday next year back by four days to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day will cost its business alone £200,000. Allan & Bertram says the decision, announced last week, means it will have to replace the May page on around 400,000 of its 2020 calendars that have already been printed. The firm said: “We’re totally in agreement with changing the date. Just not changing it with 11 months notice, when you’ve had 74 years to prepare for this event.”

10. Briefing: who were the Central Park Five?

A new television drama about the so-called Central Park Five has been the most-watched series on Netflix in the US every day since it premiered on 31 May, the streaming service has announced.

Four-part mini-series When They See Us, created by Ava DuVernay, revisits the infamous Central Park jogger case of 1989, when five young men of colour were falsely accused of the rape and assault of a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. So what happened to the Central Park Five?

Who were the Central Park Five?

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