Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 23 Nov 2019

1. Corbyn would remain neutral in second Brexit referendum

Jeremy Corbyn says he would remain neutral in a future Brexit referendum if Labour wins power. Speaking during a BBC Question Time leaders' special, the party leader said he would not campaign for Leave or Remain so it would allow him, as prime minister, to “credibly” carry out what the voters then decide. Each of the four party leaders faced tough scrutiny during the broadcast.

2. Controversy as family doctors vote to scrap home visits

GPs in England have voted to stop doing home visits. Doctors are currently obliged to take call-outs when patients say they are too ill to make it to the surgery or hospital, but regional health bosses have voted 54 per cent in favour of scrapping the rule written in GP contracts. The doctor who proposed the change said home visits are “virtually unheard of” anywhere else in the world.

3. Three dead after bomb attack on Colombia police station

Three police were killed in a bombing of a police station in Colombia yesterday. The explosion came after thousands gathered for renewed protests and sporadic looting erupted in the capital of Bogotá. According to reports, another 10 officers were injured in the explosion in the town of Santander de Quilichao, in the south-western province of Cauca, regarded as a key area for drug trafficking and violence.

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4. Priti Patel ‘leaves UK citizens at risk of death penalty in the US’

UK citizens are at risk of the death penalty in the US as part of a fast-track data-sharing deal struck by Priti Patel. The agreement will give police and intelligence agencies access to electronic communications sent by terrorists, serious crime gangs and white-collar criminals. The home secretary is under fire for keeping the details of the agreement reached with Washington secret.

5. Andrew steps down from scheme as pressure continues

Prince Andrew has stepped down from his flagship business scheme as pressure continues over the Duke's connections with convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein. When Andrew announced earlier this week that he was stepping back from royal duties, he said he hoped to hang on to the entrepreneur-focused enterprise. A friend of Andrew said: “It is unlikely he will ever perform royal duties again. He is disgraced.”

6. Light pollution blamed for decline of insect populations

Light pollution is a significant driver of the rapid decline of insect populations, according to a new study. Researchers said artificial light lures moths to their deaths, spotlights insect prey for rats and toads, and obscures the mating signals of fireflies. “We strongly believe artificial light at night – in combination with habitat loss, chemical pollution, invasive species, and climate change – is driving insect declines,” the scientists concluded.

7. Sacha Baron Cohen slams Facebook for conspiracies

Sacha Baron Cohen has accused social media companies such as Facebook of being “the greatest propaganda machine in history”. The comedian and actor said: “Conspiracy theories once confined to the fringe are going mainstream. It's as if the age of reason - the era of evidential argument - is ending, and now knowledge is de-legitimised and scientific consensus is dismissed.”

8. Cancer immunotherapy drug could prolong lives

Researchers says that an immunotherapy drug could save some cancer patients from the ordeal of extreme chemotherapy and help them live longer. Pembrolizumab has kept head and neck cancers at bay for an average of two years - five times longer than under chemotherapy. A medic says 85% of people with advanced or relapsed head and neck cancer would be eligible for pembrolizumab - around 1,300 patients a year.

9. Greta Thunberg chosen to guest edit Radio 4 show

Greta Thunberg has been chosen as one of this year’s guest editors for Radio 4’s Today programme. The environmental activist will be one of five high-profile people who will take over the programme during the festive period. She was nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, after leading a global movement demanding world leaders take action over climate change.

10. Tories brief election candidates on difficult questions

The Tories have told candidates to expect attacks on issues such as the NHS, Brexit and immigration. In a 68-page briefing, candidates are provided with answers to questions, including whether stop and search will damage trust in the police, why the Conservatives are not doing more on business rates and why has the party has refused to accept that climate change is an emergency.

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