Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 5 Nov 2019

1. Recalled ambassador ‘felt threatened by Trump’

A recalled US ambassador to Ukraine has told the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry that she felt “shocked” and “very concerned” by comments made by the US president during a phone conversation with Ukraine’s leader. Trump told President Volodymyr Zelensky that Marie Yovanovitch was “bad news” and “was going to go through some things”. Yovanovitch claims she was later recalled as a result of her refusal to go along with attempts to get the Ukrainians to deliver dirt on Trump’s Democrat rival Joe Biden.

2. Lindsay Hoyle is new Commons speaker

A 62-year-old Labour MP has been elected to replace John Bercow as the speaker of the House of Commons. Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley, beat six other candidates in a secret ballot of MPs and was the only one who refused to say how he voted in the 2016 EU referendum. In line with tradition, Hoyle was dragged to his new seat yesterday.

Who is new Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle?

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3. None of pledged starter homes built, says government watchdog

A plan announced by David Cameron in 2014 to build 200,000 starter homes for first-time buyers has failed to result in a single property being built, the National Audit Office has found. More than £2bn was set aside for the first tranche of 60,000 dwellings but legislation to move the project forward was never passed.

4. Channel 4 defends Smuggled reality show

Channel 4 has defended its decision to broadcast a new reality TV series in which British citizens are challenged to smuggle themselves across the border into the UK. The Home Office said the decision to show Smuggled was “insensitive and irresponsible”, but the broadcaster insisted it was “a matter of urgent public interest”.

5. Tributes paid to Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne

Tributes have been paid to Gay Byrne, one of the most influential figures in Irish broadcasting history, who died with prostate cancer yesterday at the age of 85. Irish President Michael D. Higgins said Byrne was a “man of great charisma” with a strong “sense of what was just”. Byrne’s chat show broached many taboo subjects.

6. Tourist lost at sea ‘survived on sweets’

A New Zealand tourist who spent two days adrift in a rubber dinghy in the Aegean before being rescued by the Greek coastguard has told how she wrapped herself in plastic bags for warmth and rationed a handful of boiled sweets. Kushila Stein, 45, feared she might not survive her ordeal and wrote her mother’s name and contact details on the dinghy.

7. Any amount of running ‘reduces early death risk’

Just a gentle jog each week is enough to cut the risk of dying early, according to new research led by an Australian university that contradicts previous studies. Researchers from Melbourne-based Victoria University collated data from 14 studies covering a total of 230,000 people who were tracked for up to 35 years, and found a 27% lower risk of early death from any cause among those who ran compared with those who never did.

Picture of the day: Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft returns to Earth

8. Hong Kong protest cake removed from UK show

The makers of a cake decorated with the theme of the Hong Kong democracy protests say they are the victims of political censorship after their creation was removed from an international cake-decorating show in Birmingham. The organisers of the Cake International show said that there had been complaints about the controversial entry but that the cake was removed because it was too big.

9. Colman: I became obsessed with the Queen

Actor Olivia Colman says she became “obsessed” with the Queen while playing her in new series of Netflix drama The Crown. The Oscar winner told the BBC: “She’s a rock for the nation. Her training is she has to be stoic and strong. You never see what she’s thinking, which is eternally fascinating.” Colman took over the role from Claire Foy, who starred in the first two seasons of the show.

10. Briefing: what went wrong for Mothercare?

Mothercare is calling in administrators after revealing that its UK division is on the verge of collapse, putting up to 2,500 jobs at risk.

The maternity goods retailer announced on Monday that its UK stores were “not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability and returns that are sustainable for the group”. Here is a look at its downfall.

Mothercare: where did it all go wrong?

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