Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 5 Jul 2017

1. North Korea missile test 'a threat to the world'

North Korea's latest missile test is a "threat to... the world", US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last night, as the US military stepped up exercises in South Korea. Kim Jong-un called the 4 July launch, which appeared to show the rogue state is now capable of hitting Alaska, a "gift" for the "American b******s".

2. Stalking victims failed by police and CPS, report says

Stalking victims are being let down by police and prosecutors in England and Wales, claim watchdogs. A report from the Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) warns too many investigations fail to give legal protection to those at risk. Police and CPS chiefs have pledged to improve performance.

3. Student debt rises to £50,000 average, says IFS

Graduates will leave university with an average debt of £50,800 after interest rates on student loans were raised by 6.1%, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says. It adds that students from poorer backgrounds will owe the most when they finish their courses, while three-quarters of all graduates will never clear the debt.

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4. Saudi Arabia 'largest funder of UK extremists'

Saudi Arabia is the chief overseas promoter of Islamist extremism in the UK, claims the Henry Jackson Society think-tank. It warns there is a "clear and growing link" between overseas money, which mainly comes from Saudi Arabia, and groups promoting violence and has called for a public inquiry. Saudi Arabia's UK embassy has denied the claims.

5. Qatar crisis: Gulf states meet in Cairo today

Gulf leaders meet in Cairo today to discuss the Qatar crisis, a month after accusing the country of funding terrorism and cutting diplomatic links. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have demanded Doha end its tieds to Iran and close the Al Jazeera TV network. Qatar says the demands are an affront to its sovereignty.

6. Afghan schoolgirls denied entry to US

A team of six Afghan schoolgirls have been refused visas to the US to take part in an international robotics competition, despite their design - a ball-sorting robot - being allowed to enter the country without them. A team of teenagers from Gambia have also been refused permission to attend the Washington contest.

7. Murdered refugee 'let down police', says watchdog

Police let down a disabled refugee who was murdered in Bristol in 2013, the police watchdog has ruled. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said officers had discriminated against Bijan Ebrahimi and refused to believe his reports of abuse for seven years. PC Kevin Duffy and PCSO Andrew Passmore were jailed for misconduct last year.

8. Call for ban on child sex robots

The author of a report on "sex robots" – sophisticated dolls with an animatronic element – has called for a ban on importing versions designed to look like children. Prof Noel Sharkey says robots designed this way already exist, but it is not known how many have been imported to the UK.

9. Public asked to reassemble whale skeleton

Members of the public have been asked to help clean and reassemble the bones of a 26ft northern bottlenosed whale at London's Grant Museum this weekend. Caught by two Somerset fishermen 157 years ago, the skeleton has been in storage since 1948 and the museum wants to check whether all the bones are there. It will be disassembled after the weekend.

10. Al Jazeera: Free speech or a voice for extremists?

Gulf leaders have come under fire for calling for Al Jazeera and its sister stations to be closed. A coalition of nations led by Saudi Arabia accuse Doha of harbouring groups they consider terrorist organisations and giving them a platform on its state-funded broadcaster.

In a list of 13 demands handed to Qatar as an ultimatum for lifting sanctions imposed earlier this month, the closure of Al Jazeera was among the most discussed in the media.

"Gulf countries and Egypt have long accused the broadcaster of providing a platform for Islamist movements and encouraging dissent", says the BBC, while The Guardian says the threats are an affront to a free press.

Al Jazeera: Free speech or a voice for extremists?

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