Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 18 Dec 2017

1. May to face ‘Brexit cabinet’ as rebels urge pact

Theresa May will today tell a meeting of some of her most senior ministers – her ‘Brexit cabinet’ – that she wants the UK to sign trade deals with the EU during a mooted Brexit implementation period. Meanwhile, Tory rebels are urging May to reach over Jeremy Corbyn’s head to ally with Labour Remainers in order to prevent a hard Brexit.

2. British embassy worker ‘strangled’ in Lebanon

A British diplomat has been found dead by the side of a motorway in Beirut, apparently strangled, Lebanese police say. Rebecca Dykes had worked at the embassy since January and was the local programme manager for the Department for International Development. The 30-year-old was last seen at a leaving party for a colleague.

3. Power cut strands thousands at US airport

A power cut at an Atlanta airport affected 30,000 passengers yesterday. Thousands were left stranded in darkness at the airport for much of Sunday, with more than 1,000 flights cancelled. Other passengers were trapped on planes that stay grounded for as long as six hours. Several major airlines completely suspended their operations as a result.

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4. Memorial unveiled to 1943 civilian deaths

A memorial was unveiled in London yesterday to the 173 people who died in one of the worst civilian disasters of the Second World War. On 3 March 1943, a test of a new British weapon in an East End park prompted panic. As people rushed into Bethnal Green Underground for shelter, a stampede led to a mass crushing inside the station.

5. Tens of thousands risking early death by abusing steroids

Tens of thousand of people in the UK are at risk of dying early from heart attack or stroke because they are misusing anabolic steroids as part of a body-building regime, doctors say. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly men in their teens or 20s, are taking the drugs – legal to take but usually supplied illegally – to build muscle.

6. Trump denies he plans to fire Russia investigator

Donald Trump yesterday told reporters he was not planning to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel charged with investigating links between the US president’s campaign team and Russia. Trump earlier said it was “not looking good” for Mueller after Republicans claimed his investigation unlawfully obtained thousands of emails.

7. First victim of Birmingham crash named

The first of six people killed in a horrific car crash in Birmingham in the small hours of Sunday morning has been named publicly as Imtiaz Mohammed, a taxi driver. Police said the scene at the crash on the Belgrave Middleway near Edgbaston was “very difficult and upsetting”, with several victims thrown clear of their vehicles.

8. Mo Farah wins Sports Personality of the Year

Four-times Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah yesterday pulled off a surprise win, taking the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Boxer Anthony Joshua had been the odds-on favourite, and even Farah himself said he “didn’t see that coming”. He finished third in the Sports Personality race in 2011 and now focuses on marathon running.

9. Cheese runs out at ‘unlimited cheese’ event

Customers vented on social media yesterday after an event in southeast London billed as providing unlimited cheese reportedly ran out of cheese. The Giant Cheese Board, which charged more than £30 for entry, promised artisan cheese and a fireplace to snuggle by – but social media users said the cheese was bland, while the fire was just an image projected onto a screen.

10. Briefing: the true story of The Post

The gripping story behind the 1971 leak of the infamous Pentagon Papers, which revealed a massive US government cover-up spanning four presidents and three decades, is revealed in a new film by Steven Spielberg.

Starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, thriller The Post premiered yesterday in Washington DC, about a mile from the headquarters of the newspaper where much of the action is set.

The true story of The Post: how the Pentagon Papers exposed America’s role in Vietnam

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