Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 16 Jun 2017

1. Grenfell Tower fire: Criminal inquiry starts

Police have opened a criminal investigation into the fire which gutted Grenfell Tower in London this week, as it emerged that cladding similar to that believed to have been used on the building is banned in the US. Dozens of people are still missing amid fears the death toll wil exceed 100. Some bodies may never be identified.

'Twenty suicide attempts' since Grenfell Tower fire

2. North Korean hackers 'behind NHS attack'

UK security officials say North Korean hackers were behind the cyber attack on the NHS last month that crippled the health service and led to operations being cancelled. It's thought the WannaCry ransomware was developed by the Lazarus Group, which hacked Sony Pictures in 2014.

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3. Jo Cox MP remembered in weekend celebration

Events to celebrate the life of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox begin today, a year after she was shot and stabbed in her Batley and Spen constituency in Yorkshire by a far-right extremist. Organisers of the Great Get-Together have called on communities to organise apolitical picnics, street parties and concerts around the country to boost local spirit.

Jo Cox: The Labour MP remembered one year on

4. Two soldiers killed in training exercise

Two soldiers have died following an incident during a training exercise in Pembrokeshire on Wednesday, the Ministry of Defence said yesterday. Another four members of the Royal Tank Regiment were injured, two of whom are still in a serious condition. It is believed the soldiers were caught up in an explosion or intense fire inside their tank.

5. Mike Pence hires personal lawyer for Russia inquiry

Mike Pence has hired a personal lawyer to handle his response to inquiries into alleged contact between Donald Trump's campaign team and Russia. A spokesman for the US Vice President confirmed the news yesterday and said Pence was looking forward to "a swift conclusion of this matter".

Mike Pence hires outside lawyer for Russia inquiry

6. Javid and Hunt 'not consulted on dementia tax'

Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt, the two cabinet ministers responsible for social care, were not shown the Tory manifesto pledge on the so-called "dementia tax" until 24 hours before it was published, the BBC claims. Theresa May changed the policy four days later after an outcry said to have lost the party votes.

7. US signs Qatar arms deal despite sanctions

The US has signed a $12bn arms deal with Qatar to supply dozens of F-15 fighter jets, despite Donald Trump's claim that the country is a "high-level funder" of terrorism. The emirate is facing the second week of severe economic and diplomatic sanctions, led by Saudi Arabia and its allies, over accusations it funds terrorist groups, a charge Qatar denies.

Donald Trump signs Qatar arms deal

8. Serbia appoints its first gay prime minister

Ana Brnabic has become the first gay prime minister of Serbia following her appointment by President Aleksandar Vucic. The move is seen an attempt to signal that the conservative Balkan state is ready to join the EU. However, a leader of one of the smaller parties in the ruling coalition said Brnabic was "not my prime minister".

Is trouble brewing in the Balkans once more?

9. Russia 'may have killed IS leader' al-Baghdadi

Russia's defence ministry is checking reports that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have been killed in an air strike near Raqqa, Syria, last month. Officials said the strike had been launched after Russian forces in Syria were informed about a planned meeting of IS leaders. Baghdadi has been reported killed on many occasions.

Has Russia killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

10. Briefing: Is the Bank of England set to raise rates soon?

Your mortgage repayments - and the interest you earn on your savings - could be set to rise from rock-bottom rates sooner than you think.

The Bank of England's eight-member monetary policy committee (MPC) today declared a "shock" 5-3 split on raising rates, says Sky News, with external members Kristin Forbes, Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders calling for them to increase 0.25-0.5 per cent

While the committee wasn't expected to increase rates given the precarious position of the economy, the vote was expected to be unchanged at 7-1, with only Forbes the lone hawk.

Pound plunges after Bank of England's dovish rates signal

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