Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 19 Jan 2016

1. BMA calls off junior doctors' strike

The British Medical Association has called off a 48-hour strike planned for next week as talks continue with the government over plans for a new contract for junior doctors. The BMA stressed that no agreement had been reached and said that unless there was progress in the talks an all-out strike on 10 February would go ahead as planned.

2. Jitters as China's growth slows to 25-year low

Global anxiety is rising after China revealed its economy grew by just 6.8% in October-December, down from the previous quarter's 6.9%. That dragged full-year growth to a 25-year low of 6.9%. China's economy, the second largest in the world, has experienced a painful slowdown in the last two years.

Chinese growth weakest for 25 years – should you be worried?

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3. Why the pollsters got the 2015 election wrong

The pollsters’ spectacular failure at the general election was due to "unrepresentative" sampling, according to an inquiry. The industry predicted a dead heat at the 2015 election but the Conservatives ultimately triumphed, winning 36.9 per cent of the votes to Labour's 30.4 per cent. A panel of experts concluded this was due to Tory voters being under-represented in phone and online polls.

Election polls 2015: what went wrong?

4. Stephen Hawking warns of a dangerous century

Most threats to humanity come from science and technology, warns Stephen Hawking. The human race faces one its most dangerous centuries yet, says the cosmologist. The chances of disaster on planet Earth will rise to a near certainty in the next one to ten thousand years, but it will take more than a century to set up colonies in space where human beings could live.

Stephen Hawking urges inquiry into Jeremy Hunt's NHS 'weekend effect' claims

5. Mark Carney rules out interest rate rise

A rise in UK interest rates has been ruled out by Bank of England governor Mark Carney. He said that the economic slowdown in China, the collapse of oil prices and sluggish wage growth in the UK meant that a rise was "not yet necassary". Last year Carney hinted at an increase in early 2016 but said "progress has been insufficient to warrant a tightening of monetary policy".

Pound plunges after Bank of England's dovish rates signal

6. High street stores 'charge women double'

High street stores charge women up to twice as much as men for almost identical products, according to an investigation by The Times. The cost of clothing, beauty products and toys for females is higher than equivalent items marketed at males. Tesco, Boots and Amazon are also among the British retailers accused of "sexist" pricing.

High street stores 'charge women twice as much as men'

7. Eagles guitarist Glen Frey dies aged 67

Eagles guitarist Glen Frey has died in New York at the age of 67. He was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. He was a founder member of the Eagles, one of the biggest bands of the 19070s and during his career, the guitarist released 24 top 40 singles and received six Grammy awards and five American Music Awards.

Glenn Frey: 'shock and disbelief' after Eagles guitarist dies aged 67

8. Spike Lee will boycott the 'lily-white' Oscars

Spike Lee says he will boycott next month's Oscars ceremony because of the mostly white nominees. Writing on Instagram, the film director said he "cannot support" the "lily-white" awards show. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith will also stay away from the gala. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has praised the "wonderful work" of the nominees but said she was "heartbroken" at the lack of diversity.

9. UN reveals 'staggering' levels of violence in Iraq

A United Nations report says Islamic State could be guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq and reveals the "staggering" levels of violence and suffering experienced by civilians across the country. It says 18,800 people were killed between 1 January 2014 and 31 October 2015 by troops and militias. As many as 3.2 million people have been displaced.

UN report unveils 'staggering' level of violence in Iraq

10. Mosquitos spark Brazil scare months before Olympics

Mosquitos have caused a health scare in Brazil just months before the Olympic Games. US officials have warned pregnant women against visiting the country after an outbreak of a mosquito-borne virus blamed for thousands of babies being born with abnormally small heads. The health alert comes six months before the start of the Olympic Games in Rio.

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