Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 19 Dec 2017

1. Freezing fog to bring travel disruption to England

Commuters and air passengers have been warned to expect disruption today, with freezing fog forecast for southern and central England and eastern Wales. The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for several regions, while British Airways has cancelled some flights. Visibility may be less than 330ft in some places.

2. Leak found in Navy’s new £3bn aircraft carrier

The new £3bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has been leaking for some time, because of “an issue with a shaft seal”, the Navy has said. The 920ft vessel, the largest and most powerful ever built in the UK, is in Portsmouth and will be repaired. The ship is estimated to have a 50-year working life and weighs 65,000 tons.

3. US vetoes UN resolution on status of Jerusalem

The US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on the status of Jerusalem, designed as a rebuke to Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognise the city as the capital of Israel. The resolution was backed by every other nation in the 15-strong council, including the UK. The US ambassador to the UN called it an “insult”.

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4. ‘No special Brexit deal for City’, says Barnier

Michel Barnier, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, is warning that the UK cannot have a special deal for financial services, according to The Guardian. Barnier says City firms will lose the passporting system that allows banks to do business across the EU without being separately authorised to act in each member state.

5. Gender pay gap narrows in Whitehall departments

The pay gap between men and women has narrowed across government departments, new figures show - but men still earn more. The Department of Transport has the widest disparity, with women earning 16.9% less, on average. Overall, the pay gap has shrunk from 13.6% to 12.7% - compared with 23.7% in the private sector.

6. At least three dead in US rush-hour train crash

At least three people have been confirmed dead, with others seriously injured, after a rush-hour train derailed in Washington State and crashed onto a motorway. The Amtrak train was making its first high speed journey on a new route, and many of those on board were railway enthusiasts, according to local media reports. Only the rear carriage stayed on the rails.

7. Police consider murder in missing RAF man case

Police are considering suggestions that Corrie McKeague, the RAF man who went missing after a drunken night out in Bury St Edmunds last year, was murdered. McKeague’s mother, Nicola Urquhart, says she no longer believes her son fell asleep in a rubbish bin and was taken to a landfill site near Cambridge. His body has not been found.

8. Sarah Palin’s son charged with assault of father

The son of former US vice-presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been arrested and charged with assault and burglary following a confrontation with his father. Track Palin, a veteran of the Iraq war, allegedly broke into his parents’ house through an open window on Saturday while on pain medication and drunk.

9. NI ‘winter wonderland’ cancelled after complaints

A Christmas attraction in Northern Ireland has been cancelled after customers complained that it was shambolic and shoddily put together. The Winter Wonderland NI event was due to run at the Clandeboye Estate in Bangor until 23 December, but organisers admitted it had “fallen way short of our expectations” and promised full refunds.

10. Briefing: plans for ‘water cremation’ put on hold

Controversial plans to introduce “water cremation” for the first time in the UK have been shelved amid concerns that human remains might find their way into the water system.

A council in the West Midlands had been granted planning permission to offer what it describes as a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cremation. The process involves placing the corpse in a torpedo-shaped metal chamber where it is liquefied and then flushed down the drain.

Plans for ‘water cremation’ are put on hold

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