Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 16 Nov 2019

1. Firefighters tackle blaze at Bolton student block

Fire crews have been fighting a huge blaze at a university student accommodation block in Bolton. Students were evacuated from The Cube building when the fire broke out yesterday evening. One eye-witness said flames were “crawling up the cladding like it was nothing”. Emergency services have not confirmed any casualties from the blaze.

2. Duke of York: ‘I let the side down’ on Epstein

Prince Andrew said he “let the side down” by staying at the home of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, admitting it was the “wrong thing to do”. One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts said she was forced to have sex with the prince three times. But speaking to the BBC, the Duke of York said: “I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

3. Environment Agency ‘ignored flood warnings for 12 years’

The Environment Agency ignored “repeated warnings for more than a decade” that a lack of maintenance along the River Don in South Yorkshire would worsen flooding, reports The Times. The Association of Drainage Authorities said that warnings had been issued each year since 2007. Nearly 100 flood warnings and 140 flood alerts were in place across the country last night.

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4. US court halts execution over fresh evidence in murder case

A Texas court has halted the execution of man convicted of murder after fresh evidence emerged casting doubt on his guilt. Rodney Reed has spent 21 years on death row for a 1996 murder. More than 2.9m people have signed an online petition urging clemency. Celebrities Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Gigi Hadid have spoken out in his support.

5. Litvinenko's wife challenges government to publish report

The widow of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian dissident murdered in London, will challenge the government’s decision not to publish a report on alleged Russian meddling in Britain. Marina Litvinenko said there is a “a profound public interest” to ensure voters are “fully informed of the extent of Russian interference in British politics before they go to the polls”.

6. Boris Johnson accused of string of misleading statements

Boris Johnson is under fire for a series of “inaccurate statements made in a flurry of live broadcast interviews,” says The Guardian. The prime minister allegedly made misleading claims about knife crime, the garden bridge project, Brexit and Northern Ireland. The Labour Party issued statements debunking his claims, tweeting: “Boris Johnson can’t help himself.”

7. Compensated head says governors were homophobic

A head teacher who was sacked after having sex with two 17-year-olds he met on the Grindr dating app has won nearly £700,000 in compensation. Matthew Aplin, 42, accused the governors at Tywyn primary school in West Glamorgan, of homophobia. Police and council officials had ruled that no criminal offence had occurred during his liasion with the teenagers.

8. ‘Catastrophic conditions’ expected as fires rage in Australia

Firefighters are struggling to contain a blaze Sydney as “catastrophic conditions” are forecast for Western Australia. Referring to the fire in Sydney, NSW Rural Fire Service inspector Ben Shepherd said it “has now burnt out more than 100,000 hectares and it has destroyed six homes”. Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms are forecast in Queensland, which could start more fires.

9. Roger Stone becomes latest Trump ally to be convicted

Roger Stone has been found guilty of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Guardian points out that Stone, a longtime adviser to Donald Trump, joins “a growing list of people once in the president’s inner circle who have been convicted on federal charges”.

10. Teenager who killed students shoots himself in the head

A 16-year-old boy who killed two teenagers after opening fire on students at a high school in California has died. Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow began his attack at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita after being dropped off by his mother. The gunman shot himself in the head at the scene of his 16-second rampage.

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