Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 7 Nov 2017

1. Lewis Hamilton ‘avoided VAT on private jet’

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton received a £3.3m VAT refund after he bought a £16.5m private jet, because he registered it in the Isle of Man, according to leaked documents reported by the BBC. The Paradise Papers leak also shows that some of the stars of TV sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys using an offshore trust to avoid tax on their fees.

2. Audit Office warns against Brexit uncertainty

The National Audit Office (NAO) has warned the Chancellor that continuing Brexit uncertainty could jeopardise public finances. High levels of borrowing by governments since the 2007 financial crisis mean that any further “unexpected developments”, including the consequences of leaving the EU, pose a risk to UK finance, the watchdog says.

3. Johnson gaffe could increase Briton’s jail time

Boris Johnson is being urged to withdraw comments that the family of a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran say could weaken her case for release. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family and employer insist she was on holiday in Iran when she was arrested in April 2016, but Foreign Secretary Johnson said last week that she was teaching journalism. She is accused of sedition.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

4. Sales of non-food items show worst growth ever

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says sales of non-food items rose by just 0.1% in the three months to October - the weakest growth since records began in 2011. Clothing sales were particularly poor. The BRC says the figures are “cause for concern” as Christmas approaches. Sales rose by 0.2% last month, compared with 2.4% a year earlier.

5. Cyclist who gave Trump finger sacked

A woman cyclist pictured raising her middle finger as US President Donald Trump’s motorcade overtook her, in a photograph that went viral, has been fired from her job. Juli Briskman worked for a Virginia-based marketing company and says she was sacked for posting the picture of herself making the “obscene” gesture on social media.

6. Police are failing ‘honour’ crime victims

Only 5% of reported “honour” crimes are resulting in prosecutions, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Of the 256 cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, 122 resulted in convictions. The rights group that obtained the statistics said women are being victimised for reasons “as small as simply wearing make-up”.

7. Texas gunman did not have convictions ‘flagged’

The US air force has admitted it did not flag up the court martial conviction for assaulting his family handed to Devin Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people at a church in Texas on Sunday. Had his conviction known, Kelley would not have been legally entitled to buy guns. He is known to have bought firearms on two separate occasions in San Antonio.

8. Teeth of oldest human ancestors found in Dorset

A student has found fossilised teeth from a small animal that is the oldest known ancestor of humans – and all mammals – in rock from cliffs in Dorset. The fossils are 145 million years old and came from rat-like animals that lived at the same time as dinosaurs. University of Portsmouth student Grant Smith found them near Swanage on the so-called Jurassic Coast.

9. Singer Sia sabotages paparazzi with nude picture

Australian pop singer Sia has taken unusual action to frustrate the paparazzi, publishing an unglamorous long lens photograph of herself in the nude on her Twitter feed before it could be sold. The star, who is promoting a new album, learned a photo agency was apparently trying to sell naked pictures to her fans and decided to beat them to the punch.

10. Briefing: the problem with Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi was once feted by a host of world leaders including former US president Barack Obama. David Cameron called her “inspirational”, while US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell compared her to Gandhi.

But the de facto ruler of Myanmar is now the subject of worldwide criticism for her inaction during a campaign of murder and torture against Rohingya Muslims in her country.

Psychology of a dictator: the problem with Aung San Suu Kyi

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.