Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 6 Sep 2019

1. Former Zimbabwe chief Mugabe dies aged 95

Robert Mugabe has died at the age of 95 from an undisclosed illness. Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader had been in hospital in Singapore since April. Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke of his “utmost sadness”, describing Mugabe as “an icon of liberation”. Mugabe was forced to resign in 2017 after a military takeover, bringing to an end his decades-long controversial reign.

2. Johnson to launch fresh push for general election

MPs will be offered another chance to vote for an early general election on Monday, the Government has announced. However, Labour are expected to reject the call, as the party believes it would play into the hands of Boris Johnson. The Times says that just five days before announcing plans to hold a snap election, the prime minister told his cabinet that he had no intention of calling one.

Today’s newspapers: ‘Bullish Boris ready to walk away’

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3. Dismay as MH17 suspect is released by Ukrainian court

A potentially key witness to the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 has been released by a Ukrainian court. Dutch investigators have expressed concern that the release of Vladimir Tsemakh means they may be unable to interview him about the 2014 crash, in which all 298 people on board died. Al Jazeera says European politicians view Tsemakh as a “key suspect”.

Ukraine releases MH17 plane crash ‘key suspect’

4. Rees-Mogg apologises to doctor over anti-vaxxer row

Jacob Rees-Mogg has apologised to an NHS consultant after comparing him to an anti-vaxxer who was blamed for the scare over the MMR jab. The leader of the House of Commons backed down after being criticised by England’s chief medical officer for comparing Dr David Nicholl to Andrew Wakefield during a row over no-deal Brexit planning. Rees-Mogg said: “I apologise to Dr Nicholl for the comparison with Dr Wakefield.”

5. Ex-teacher makes final plea for assisted dying

A former teacher who will travel from Scotland to a Swiss clinic today to end his life has made a final plea for British lawmakers to legalise assisted dying. Richard Selley, 65, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease four years ago. In his video plea, he says: “I hope that sometime soon people in my position will have the choice to have a peaceful death at a time of their choosing.”

6. Washington tells Britain to repatriate Islamic State fighters

Britain and other European nations must repatriate Islamic State fighters and put them on trial in their country of origin, the US defence secretary has insisted. Mark Esper said that there were around 2,000 foreign fighters being held in northeast Syria and that it was too dangerous for Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to keep them in makeshift prisons.

7. Fresh allegations against opera star Placido Domingo

Opera singer Placido Domingo is facing fresh allegations of sexual harassment after 11 women came forward to accuse him of groping them. The new accusations follow a series of claims from nine women who said last month that the Spanish tenor had harassed them. The 78-year-old described the accusations then as “deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate”.

8. British Airways rejects olive branch ahead of next week's strike

British Airways has rejected an offer from a pilots’ union to negotiate and call off next week’s strike. The airline describes the offer as a “cynical” proposal that would cost BA an additional £50m. The majority of the company’s 4,300 pilots based at Heathrow and Gatwick are due to go on strike on Monday and Tuesday over pay and conditions.

9. Another blow for Kushner's Middle East peace plan

Donald Trump’s special envoy for the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, has announced his resignation just weeks before the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that he has been working on with presidential-son-in-law Jared Kushner is slated to be released. The long-delayed plan is due to be unveiled after Israelis go to the polls on 17 September. However, if Trump ally Benjamin Netanyahu loses the election, the initiative could be shelved indefinitely.

10. Briefing: what is a slow hurricane?

Hurricane Dorian has left a trail of death and destruction after stalling over the northern Bahamas for more than 24 hours earlier this week. The slow-moving storm, the strongest to hit the Bahamas since records began, battered the islands with wind, rain and surging seas.

So what is a slow hurricane and why is it so dangerous?

Slow hurricanes: the phenomenon baffling scientists

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