Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 31 Dec 2017

1. Brexit secretary Davis 'says Britain may not leave EU'

Brexit secretary David Davis has privately told members of leading think-tanks that Britain may not leave the European Union, claims the Mail on Sunday. According to sources, while discussing Theresa May’s success in getting an agreement with Brussels to move to the next phase of Brexit talks, Davis said: "My view is that it means there is less chance of no deal – and less chance of no Brexit."

2. Iran authorities warn protestors they will face 'iron fist'

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have told anti-government protesters they will face the nation's "iron fist" if demonstrations and unrest continue. After three days of protests over falling living standards, a Revolutionary Guards commander claims public property has been burnt. Unconfirmed reports state that two protesters have been shot dead by security forces in the western Iranian town of Dorud.

3. Trump-Russia investigation 'sparked in London wine bar'

The investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump's White House campaign and Moscow was prompted by a conversation that took place over a drink in a London bar, says the New York Times. George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, is said to have revealed to a senior Australian diplomat in a Kensington bar that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, raising suspicions.

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4. Shops 'plan new charges' as credit card fees banned

Retailers and other companies will impose higher prices and new 'service charges' to circumvent the government’s ban on credit card fees, says the Sunday Telegraph. From Jan 13, fees of up to 3% charged by firms when people pay by credit card will be ­prohibited. Among the responses planned are to reject credit card payments, increase shelf prices and introduce new “service charges”.

5. Cannabis trade to 'emerge into light' in California tomorrow

California will legalise cannabis tomorrow. The Observer says the move from the US’s most populous state will see "a shadow industry" worth billions of dollars annually "emerge into the light" alongside agriculture, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and other sectors that are regulated and taxed. "There’s going to be a lot of people making money," said Philip Wolf, a cannabis entrepreneur.

6. Rail strike to cause disruption on New Year's Eve

A 24-hour strike will cause disruption on some of the UK's main railway lines on New Year's Eve. The walkout by Rail, Maritime and Transport members will see delays and cancellations on South Western Railway and CrossCountry networks. The union says it is striking over rosters, Sunday working and guards on trains. Meanwhile, sales of season tickets have fallen as passengers rebel against cost of rail travel.

7. Theresa May says Britons 'will feel pride in 2018'

The British public will feel "renewed confidence and pride" in 2018, Theresa May has said in her new year message. The PM added that Brexit is "not the limit" of the government's ambitions. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn said in his own message that the prospect of a "new Britain" was "closer than ever" and he was leading a "government in waiting".

8. Fire breaks out in Manchester block of flats

One person was taken to hospital after a fire broke out in a block of flats in Manchester city centre. The blaze started yesterday afternoon on the ninth floor of a 12-storey block near the Arndale Centre. It spread to other floors. Emergency services said four properties were affected and a 23-year-old man was treated for smoke inhalation. The fire service said no external cladding was involved.

9. Pakistani cleared nine years after blasphemy conviction

A man has been cleared after serving nine years of a life sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan. Citing lack of evidence, the Supreme Court ruled that Mohammad Mansha was wrongly accused. The 58-year-old was arrested after the imam of a mosque in the Bahawalnagar district in Punjab province told authorities he had desecrated a copy of the Koran. The prosecutor now admits the police investigation was "faulty".

10. Russia denies breaching UN sanctions against North Korea

Moscow denies claims that it breached UN sanctions against North Korea when Russian tankers transferred fuel to the regime’s tankers at sea. Two separate, western European security sources have revealed that ship-to-ship transfers took place in October and November and represented a breach of sanctions. Meanwhile, North Korea has declared itself an "invincible" and "responsible" nuclear power.

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