Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 11 May 2017

1. Labour's draft election manifesto leaked to media

Labour's election manifesto has been leaked to the media the night before it was due to be signed off by the party. The draft reveals plans to renationalise the railways, the Royal Mail and energy firms, together with proposals to strengthen trade union rights, spend an extra £8bn on social care over five years, ban zero hours contracts and increase tax for high earners.

General election 2017: Labour faces split as manifesto leaks

2. Tories and Labour vow to continue Nato spending

Both the Tories and Labour have pledged to continue to hit Nato's 2% of GDP spending target - although newly released figures show the government only achieved 1.9% in 2015-2016. Theresa May also promised to increase defence spending by at least 0.5% above inflation every year.

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General election 2017: Security tight as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn cast their votes

3. Liberal Democrats vow to take more Syrian refugees

Tim Farron announced the Liberal Democrats would allow 10,000 Syrian asylum seekers to enter the UK a year if it is elected. He also pledged to reopen the Dubs programme for lone children refugees. "I don’t want us to be the kind of country who turns our back on those in desperate need," he said.

4. Comey tells FBI staff to remain 'a rock of independence'

Former FBI director James Comey told his old colleagues he would "miss the mission deeply" in a farewell letter sent following his sacking by US President Donald Trump. He also called on the bureau to remain "a rock of competence, honesty and independence". Comey had been leading an investigation into possible links between the Trump administration and Russia.

James Comey firing: Are there really echoes of Watergate?

5. HIV life expectancy now 'nearly normal'

People with HIV can hope to enjoy a near-normal life expectancy thanks to the improvement in drug treatments, a new study has found. A report in The Lancet medical journal suggest 20-year-olds who started taking antiretroviral drugs in 2010 will on average live ten years longer than those who did so in 1996. Early treatment is also crucial.

New HIV drugs raise life expectancy to 'near normal'

6. Record £400,000 fine for cold-calling marketing firm

A cold-calling telephone marketing firm has received a record fine for making almost 100 million nuisance calls over an 18-month period. The Information Commissioner's Office has ordered Keurboom Communications to pay £400,000 for unsolicited calls about road accident and PPI compensation. The company has since gone into liquidation.

7. Housing market slowing as demand stalls

"Stagnant" buyer demand means the housing market is still slowing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, says the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. A poll of members suggests that uncertainty about the general election and the impact of Brexit are adding to problems caused by a lack of supply. The number of properties for sale is near a record low.

London house prices: study predicts a 2.5% rise for 2020, but a 1% fall in 2021

8. Prices rising faster than wages warns Bank of England

The Bank of England has warned British households to expect a squeeze on their finances as inflation rises and real wages fall this year. Governor Mark Carney said this year would be a "challenging time for British households". Projections are for inflation to average 2.7 per cent this year and peak at a little below three per cent, up from a prediction of 2.4 per cent in February.

Cost of living squeeze may be 'overblown'

9. Gluten-free foods 'increase obesity risk'

Foods designed for those with coeliac disease could increase the risk of obesity and offer no benefits to those who do not suffer from the condition, warn researchers. A team of European scientists found gluten-free foods often contain higher levels of fat than the foods they are designed to replace. Only 1% of Europeans have the disease.

NHS spends hundreds of thousands on obesity ambulances

10. Briefing: The 'Brexit brain drain'

Britain's technology sector is being threatened by a "Brexit brain drain", according to research published today

The report by career website Hired found the number of overseas candidates accepting initial offers from UK-based companies has fallen by half since the EU referendum result last summer, as foreign talent looks elsewhere for employment.

The shortage of some skills has already led companies to offer non-UK nationals an average of 28 per cent more than local applicants in order to fill job vacancies, it adds.

Brexit: Lords force Theresa May to give MPs single market vote

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