Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 4 May 2017

1. Local elections: Voters choose councillors and mayors

Voting has opened for today's local elections in England, Wales and Scotland. Six new "metro mayors" will also be elected, along with two local authority mayors. There are also 107 local council by-elections, meaning a total of 4,851 local councillors will be chosen. Polling booths close at 10pm.

Local elections 2017: Which are the areas to watch?

2. Prince Philip steps down from royal duties

Prince Philip is to step down from royal duties this autumn, Buckingham Palace has announced, saying the Duke of Edinburgh made the decision with the support of the Queen. The 95-year-old will see out his previously scheduled events on his own and with the Queen but will not accept new invitations after August, said the Palace.

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Prince Philip to step down from royal duties

3. Macron 'more convincing' than Le Pen in TV debate

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was found to be more "convincing" than Marine Le Pen in a poll following last night's TV debate between the two politicians. The En Marche! leader dubbed his far-right rival the "high priestess of fear" and said she had "openly lied". In return, she painted him as one of the political elite.

Macron and Le Pen trade blows in epic debate showdown

4. Facebook profits soar as two billion log on each month

Nearly two billion users log on to Facebook every month, while 1.3 billion use the social networking site every day. The growth has seen profits jump in the first quarter to more than $3bn (£2.4bn), a 76% rise year-on-year. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday the site is to hire 3,000 more staff to moderate content.

5. Give obese classes in weight loss, researchers say

Obese or overweight patients should be given a year of weight-loss classes on the NHS, researchers at the University of Cambridge say, after a study found dieters on long-term plans lost more weight and were better able to keep it off. The researchers added the move could prevent tens of thousands of cases of obesity-related diseases over the next two decades.

6. Orkney diver saved after ten hours at sea

A diver has been rescued after ten hours at sea in the Pentland Firth, between Orkney and the north coast of Scotland. He was pulled out of the water shortly after 3am today, following a search which began at 5.20pm yesterday. Coastguards said the man, who has not been identified, was "very fortunate".

7. Pensioner's body lay under car for nine days

A pensioner's body lay underneath her car for nine days after she was crushed to death trying to stop the vehicle from rolling down her driveway, an inquest heard yesterday. Jane Marion Lord, 76, died on 21 December last year at her home in Cwm-cou, West Wales. Her body was found by a friend's dogs.

8. Australian MP knocks himself out laughing at Veep

An Australian MP says he knocked himself out laughing at political satire Veep, causing Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays selfish politician Selina Meyer in the political satire, to ask incredulously: "What episode?". Graham Perrett was eating sushi when he started laughing at episode one of the new series, which caused him to fall over and and knock himself unconscious.

9. Saturday deadline to spend old £5 notes

Millions of old paper £5 notes will cease to be legal tender on Saturday. While shopkeepers can refuse to to take the fivers, which feature prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, it will still be possible to convert them in some banks. The Bank of England says there are 150 million of the notes still in circulation.

Rare £5 notes: which ones are the most valuable?

10. Briefing: Why vets want Scottish fold cats banned

A popular breed of 'designer' cat should be banned because it's prone to a number of genetic defects that make its life a misery, says a leading veterinary organisation.

The Scottish fold cat, whose celebrity following includes singer-songwriters Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, is notable for its overturned floppy ears. First bred in the 1960s, the breed has surged in popularity with pet owners in recent years.

But Gudrun Ravetz, president of the British Veterinary Association, says the breed's "cute" appearance is the result of serious genetic abnormalities.

Breeding of 'designer' Scottish fold cats is 'cruel'

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