Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 4 Feb 2017

1. Trump slams 'outrageous' block on travel ban

The White House has described a nationwide ruling against President Donald Trump's travel ban as "outrageous". A judge in Seattle has delivered a temporary Trump's ban on travellers from seven mainly Muslim nations after ruling against government lawyers' claims that US states did not have the standing to challenge the executive order. The White House says the travel ban is "lawful and appropriate".

2. Merkel condemns May's race to the bottom on tax

Angela Merkel has struck back after Theresa May threatened to slash taxes to undercut the EU if it blocks a Brexit deal. The German Chancellor said taxes are the price paid for a just society and insisted her country had no intention of joining a race to the bottom by "entering a race for who has the lowest corporation tax".

3. Shadow minister is 'funded by Chinese state'

A Labour shadow minister is being bankrolled by a law firm with links to the Chinese state, reveals The Times. Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner has received more than £180,000 in staff costs from the firm that acts as chief legal adviser to the Chinese embassy. Gardiner has also been employing the son of the firm’s founder in his Westminster office.

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4. More private firms are responding to 999 ambulance calls

The ambulance service is increasingly calling in private firms to respond to 999 calls in the latest sign that NHS care providers are struggling to cope. The amount the London ambulance service alone spent on private ambulance providers soared from £700,000 in 2011 to £10.1m last year, a thirteen-fold increase. NHS paramedics claim that private ambulance personnel are not always as well trained as them.

5. Police raids in Paris after Louvre 'terror' attack

Police have raided several properties in Paris after a "terrorist" tried to enter the Louvre museum carrying machetes. The suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Abdullah Reda Refaei al-Hamamy, who lives in the United Arab Emirates but is originally from Egypt. He was shot five times after lunging at four French soldiers outside the French capital’s landmark.

6. China says Trump is putting Asia-Pacific peace at risk

China has accused Washington of putting the stability of the Asia-Pacific at risk after Donald Trump’s defence secretary said the US would come to Japan’s defence in the event of a war with Beijing over the disputed Senkaku islands. James Mattis said the islands, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China, are under the umbrella of the Japan-US security treaty.

7. Did 'gay church service' bring Christianity into disrepute?

Trainee priests at a top theological college have been accused of bringing Christianity into disrepute by holding a service in which Jesus was called "Josie", God was "Gloria" and references to the Lord became the "Duchess". The Cambridge University students inserted the gay slang for a special service to mark lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender month.

8. Demos study finds Twitter is political echo chamber

Twitter accounts are political echo chambers, a new study has concluded. The report from Demos says that, as in ancient human cultures, users of the social media site interact most with those who share their political views. The study of 2,000 Twitter users who publicly identified as either Labour, Tory, Ukip or SNP supporters found they are far more likely to interact with others from the same party.

9. David Beckham embarrassed by leaked emails

Leaked emails suggest that David Beckham used his charity work as part of a campaign to win a knighthood. In the messages, the football superstar branded the honours committee "unappreciative c****" and dismissed lower awards, writing: "Unless it’s a knighthood f*** off." Beckham’s representatives have dismissed the claims, stating that the emails had been "hacked and doctored" from a private account.

10. Warning of new crash as Trump eyes Wall St de-regulation

Donald Trump has launched his bid to take the post-crisis shackles off Wall Street by ordering the review of a landmark 2010 financial reform law. Critics say the US President’s plan will cause a new economic crash. Trump’s proposals, which herald the biggest regulatory shake-up in six years, sent bank shares sharply higher and helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average back above 20,000 yesterday.

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