Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 31 Jul 2019

1. Ten hottest years in last 135 all since 2002, says Met Office

The ten hottest years in the UK since records began in 1884 have all been since 2002, according to Met Office figures that demonstrate the speed at which climate change is accelerating. The publication of the data comes two days after the national weather service confirmed that a record for Britain’s highest temperature was set last Thursday, when the mercury hit 38.7C in Cambridge.

2. Johnson: EU must scrap Irish backstop to avoid no-deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday shifted responsibility for agreeing a withdrawal deal before Britain quits the EU to the bloc itself. Johnson said it was “up to the EU” to “compromise” and scrap the Irish backstop agreement in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit - a move that the EU has ruled out several times.

3. Farage says Dominic Cummings ‘not a true believer’

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said yesterday that Boris Johnson’s newly appointed Brexit supremo is not a “true believer” in Brexit. Farage claims that Dominic Cummings never really wanted the UK to quit the EU even though he headed the Vote Leave campaign in 2016. The former UKIP chief added: “He thinks we’re all cretins and members of the lower order. He’s never liked me.”

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Boris Johnson adviser said Tories don't care about the poor or NHS

4. At least 28 killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

Afghan officials are blaming the Taliban for the deaths of at least 28 civilians, mostly women and children, who were killed when a bus ran over a roadside bomb on the Kandahar-Herat highway on Wednesday. A further ten people were wounded and officials say the death toll is likely to rise. The Taliban has not yet confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack.

5. Man dressed as mascot among 11 deaths during Japan heatwave

A heatwave in Japan has killed 11 people over the past week, including a man working as a mascot in an amusement park. The 28-year-old died on Sunday after dancing for 20 minutes in a 16kg costume at Hirakata Park in Osaka, which has now cancelled all mascot events this summer. More than 5,000 people have sought hospital treatment for conditions related to the heat.

6. Leading left-wingers challenged in US Democrat debate

The first night of the second round of TV debates among would-be US Democratic contenders for the presidency saw two leading left-wing candidates challenged by moderates. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were told their party was heading too “far left” to stand a chance of beating Republican incumbent Donald Trump in 2020.

7. Roads collapse in North Yorkshire flash flooding

Flash floods have washed away roads and even a bridge in parts of North Yorkshire, after almost a month’s worth of rain fell in just four hours yesterday. Roads remain shut today and police warn that travel conditions remain “shocking”. The region is braced for further flooding, with the Met Office issuing a yellow warning for rain across much of the north of England.

8. Scientists create contact lens that zoom in at blink of an eye

A team at the University of California have created a prototype contact lens that wearers can command to focus on near or distant objects simply by blinking twice. The design exploits a natural electric field which exists in the human eye, with the lens made from polymers that expand when an electric current is applied.

9. Surgical plate found in gut of 15ft crocodile

The discovery of an orthopaedic plate in the stomach of a 15ft crocodile killed during a fight with a rival might bring closure to the family of a missing person, according to staff at the crocodile farm where the creature lived, in Queensland, Australia. The Swiss-made plate, said to be “quite an old model”, could have come from a pet or human. The 10cm-long metal object would have had a serial number but the identification mark has been eroded by the crocodile’s stomach acid.

10. Briefing: why Indian farmers are having their wombs removed

A growing number of women in India are paying for expensive and medically unnecessary hysterectomies in order to avoid missing work as a result of their periods, according to health officials.

The disturbing trend is especially widespread in the western state of Maharashtra, where more than 4,600 women in the Beed District have undergone surgery to remove their womb over the past three years alone, state health minister Eknath Shinde revealed recently. The majority of these women work as sugar-cane cutters, and are employed by and in debt to contractors, reports multimedia web portal Big Think.

Why Indian farmers are having their wombs removed

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