Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 5 Jan 2016

1. 'New Jihadi John' thought to be Briton Siddhartha Dhar

The narrator of the latest Islamic State propaganda video is thought to be a father from Walthamstow, Siddhartha Dhar. Of Hindu heritage, Dhar converted to Islam and is known as Abu Rumaysah. He fled the UK while on bail over terror charges. The child in the video has also been identified as the grandson of a south London taxi driver, whose daughter took her family to Syria.

Siddhartha Dhar: man identified in IS video 'skipped UK bail'

2. US sues Volkswagen over emissions test cheating

The US authorities are bringing a civil suit against German car manufacturer Volkswagen for allegedly violating environment protection laws by rigging emissions tests on its cars. The firm could face fines of £61bn. The department of justice says the civil suit does not preclude it seeking criminal convictions at a later date.

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3. December was wettest UK month for a century

With parts of Scotland braced for yet more flooding, Met Office figures for December show that the month was the wettest the UK has experienced for more than a century. It was also the warmest December since records began in 1910. Overall 2015 was the sixth wettest year on record. There are more than 30 alerts in place in Scotland as the rain continues into 2016.

UK weather: Storm to batter Britain this weekend

4. Obama to use executive powers to widen gun control

Barack Obama is to use his executive powers to toughen gun control in the US, bypassing Congress. New measures will widen the requirement to perform background checks on buyers and monitor those disqualified from owning guns. The Republicans have promised to reverse the measures "on day one" when in power.

Tearful Obama announces tightening of gun control

5. Danczuk denies 'malicious' rape allegation

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk says an allegation that he committed rape in 2006, now being investigated by police, is "malicious, untrue and upsetting". Suspended from the Labour party for apparently 'sexting' with a 17-year-old girl, Danczuk has campaigned to have alleged historic sexual abuse by public figures examined in the courts.

Simon Danczuk: rape allegation 'malicious and untrue'

6. Cricketer fined over sexist TV interview

West indies cricketer Chris Gayle has been fined nearly £5,000 for "innapropriate conduct" after asking a TV reporter for a date in a live interview during a match in Australia. Gayle told interviewer Mel McLaughlin he would like to have a drink with her and added: "Don't blush baby". She declined the offer and his comments were widely condemned as sexist.

Chris Gayle: more sexism claims after Mel McLaughlin row

7. Cameron will allow ministers to choose sides on EU

David Cameron will allow members of the Cabinet to choose which side thety campaign for in the referendum on EU membership once he has finished his renegotiations. The Prime Minister is in the process of renegotiating the UK's membership of the EU, but is expected to come out in favour of remaining in Europe if he manages to gain the concessions he wants.

Brexit: Theresa May says ‘trust me’ to deliver

8. Bodies found in hunt for missing EastEnders actress

A murder investigation is underway after three bodies were found at the home of missing EastEnders actress Sian Blake. The 43-year-old and her two young sons, aged four and eight, have not been seen since 13 December. Her partner Arthur Simpson-Kent, 48, went missing three days later. The bodies were found in the garden of the house in Erith.

9. Dugher loses job in shadow cabinet reshuffle

Shadow culture secretary Michael Dugher, a vocal critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has been sacked in the shadow cabinet reshuffle. Dugher, who ran Andy Burnham's failed leadership bid, is the first victim of the reshuffle. The futures of shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn and shadow defence secretary Angela Eagle have been the subject of intense speculation.

Jeremy Corbyn is a 'disaster', says Stephen Hawking

10. Briefing: business opposition to Brexit wanes

Big businesses are less enthusiastic than they once were in their support for Britain's membership of the European Union, according to a survey by Deloitte. It found that the proportion of chief financial officers voicing strong support for EU membership has slipped over the past year, from 74 to 62 per cent. But many in the financial sector remain convinced that leaving the EU is a big risk to growth.

Remain-voting City lobby group calls for 'dramatic Brexit U-turn'

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