Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 17 Sep 2019

1. Johnson: I’ll wait and see what Supreme Court says on prorogation

Boris Johnson last night said he will “wait and see what the judges say” before deciding whether to recall Parliament. The Supreme Court is sitting in London today to consider whether the prime minister acted unlawfully in proroguing Parliament for five weeks in an apparent attempt to prevent bids to block a no-deal Brexit. A Scottish court ruled that the shutdown was unlawful but London’s High Court said it was not a court matter.

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

2. Truss apologises for breaking Saudi arms embargo

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss apologised to the Court of Appeal last night for two breaches of a government pledge to block new military exports to Saudi Arabia. She said that both violations, involving the sale of radio parts and cooling systems, were “inadvertent”. Ministers promised in June not to licence exports to the kingdom that could be used in the Yemen conflict, following a challenge by campaigners at the Court of Appeal.

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Why does the UK sell arms to Saudi Arabia?

3. Maori tribe bans replica Captain Cook ship

A town in New Zealand has banned a replica of Captain Cook’s ship Endeavour from docking during events marking 250 years since the British explorer reached the country, following an outcry from local Maori tribes who say he was a “barbarian”. Welcoming the decision to scrap the stop at Mangonui, at the top of the North Island, Anahera Herbert-Graves of the Ngati Kahu tribe said: “Wherever [Cook] went… there were murders, there were rapes...”

4. Pollution hotspots site ‘could drive down house prices’

A new website that gives a detailed breakdown of nitrogen dioxide pollution levels across London could trigger big property price drops in streets with particularly unclean air, according to the non-profit campaign group behind the project. The Central Office of Public Interest (Copi) says its addresspollution.org site could lead homebuyers to seek discounts of as much as £250,000 on property prices in areas including Chelsea, where air pollution is reportedly well above the legal limit.

5. Musk denies accusing diver of paedophilia

Billionaire Elon Musk claims he did not mean to accuse a UK cave diver of paedophilia when he called him “pedo guy” on Twitter. The Tesla CEO, who is being sued by Vern Unsworth, says he only meant “creepy old man”. Musk made the slur after Unsworth claimed Musk’s offer to help rescue 12 Thai boys trapped in a cave in 2018 was just a “PR stunt”.

6. US woman swims Channel four times non-stop

A 37-year-old ultra-swimmer from the US has become the first person to swim the English Channel four times non-stop, beating the previous record of three consecutive crossings. Sarah Thomas, 37, began her feat early on Sunday and finished 54 hours later at about 6.30am this morning, after struggling against strong tides on the last leg.

7. Israelis head to polls for second election in five months

Israelis are voting in a general election for the second time this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to call today’s snap election because he has not been able to form a coalition with a viable majority to rule since winning the April ballot. Opinion polls put his right-wing Likud party neck and neck with its main challenger, the centrist Blue and White party.

Netanyahu vows to annex settlements as Israel heads to polls

8. World’s largest amphibian ‘discovered’ in museum

Scientists say analysis of the preserved remains of a salamander once kept in London Zoo has revealed it is a new species that they believe may be the world’s largest amphibian. The animal, preserved at the Natural History Museum, was thought to be a Chinese giant salamander, but tests have revealed it to be a completely new species that was bigger than its cousin. The “newcomer”, which has been called the South China giant salamander, is presumed to still live in the wild.

9. US woman swallows engagement ring in sleep

A California woman has undergone surgery to recover her engagement ring from her intestines after removing and swallowing the piece of jewellery in her sleep. Jenna Evans, 29, told medics that she had a nightmare in which her fiance advised her to swallow the diamond ring to keep it safe from “bad guys”.

10. Briefing: inside David Cameron’s memoirs

David Cameron is set to publish tell-all memoirs this week that give a candid account of his time in politics.

The former prime minister doesn’t pull any punches in his biography, titled For the Record, describing former colleagues Boris Johnson and Michael Gove as “ambassadors for the expert-trashing, truth-twisting age of populism”, reports the BBC. Here are five more things it reveals.

David Cameron’s memoirs: five things we learned

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