Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 13 Jan 2018

1. UN and the Vatican join Trump condemnation

Donald Trump is under fire for his description of African and other nations as "shitholes". The UN said it was impossible to describe his remarks as anything other than racist, while the Vatican said the US president’s words were "particularly harsh and offensive". Meanwhile, his lawyer has denied claims that the president had an affair with a porn star 12 years ago.

2. Stocks of flu vaccine running low as UK panics

Chemists are running low on supplies of the flu vaccine, reports the Daily Telegraph. As fears grow of an epidemic if the virus continues to spread at its current rate, the paper contacted pharmacies across the Midlands, East of England, the South and South West. It discovered that all 10 branches had no jabs left. Meanwhile, a hospital in Calais is offering to treat British patients denied NHS operations as a result of the winter crisis.

3. Bombing of Syrian province 'worse than Aleppo'

Bombing in the Syrian province of Idlib has become "worse than Aleppo", says a humanitarian worker. The shelling is so intense that families have drawn diagrams for neighbours of where rescuers can find them if their homes are destroyed. Some 100,000 civilians have fled the rebel stronghold in a matter of weeks. The Syrian Network for Human Rights has documented the death of 120 civilians.

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4. Liam Neeson describes 'Me Too' as a 'witch hunt'

Liam Neeson has described sexual misconduct allegations in the entertainment industry as "a bit of a witch-hunt". Speaking on The Late Late Show on RTE, he also appeared to dismiss breast groping as "childhood stuff". The actor added: "There’s some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee, or something, and suddenly they’re being dropped from their program, or something."

5. EU is 'paranoid' about other nations following Britain

European Union leaders are "paranoid" that other nations will leave after Brexit, says Philip Hammond. Speaking to Die Welt newspaper, the chancellor claims that EU leaders are focused on punishing Britain, rather than looking ahead to building post-Brexit trade. He said a "successful, thriving club" would not worry about other members following one out of the door.

6. Teenagers swallow detergent pod in new online challenge

Teenagers are chewing and swallowing laundry detergent pods in a potentially fatal internet gimmick. Youngsters are filming themselves chewing and gagging on colourful detergent pods in the 'Tide Pod Challenge'. However, experts says that the pods contain ethanol, polymers and hydrogen peroxide and are extremely toxic. At least 10 deaths have been linked to accidentally ingesting the pods in the past.

7. Companies plan dodges as surcharge ban begins

A ban on "rip-off" surcharges comes into force today to stop consumers from being penalised if they're paying with a debit or credit card. Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glenn said consumers are "fed up" with the "sneaky charges". However, some companies, including Just Eat, have responded by introducing a new blanket service charge of 50p on all its orders. The consumer group Which expects other businesses to follow suit.

8. Welfare groups demand new standards for chickens

Animal welfare groups are demanding higher standards for farmed chickens. Amid growing concern over cruelty in factory farms, retailers and restaurants are being encouraged to sign up to new cross-European guidelines. The Guardian says a new blueprint bans inhumane live bird shackling during slaughter, and requires more natural light, space to perch and "enrichment" items such as straw and vegetables for pecking.

9. Alzheimer's diagnosed in 30-year-old Briton

A 30-year-old father of twins is believed to be one of the youngest people in Britain to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Daniel Bradbury, who was diagnosed with the "extremely rare" early onset Alzheimer's last year, inherited the condition from his father, who died of the disease at the age of 36. He suffers from short-term memory loss, confusion and problems with his balance.

10. Sugar addiction blamed as childhood tooth extraction soars

Addiction to sugar means nearly 43,000 children underwent hospital surgery to remove multiple teeth last year - 170 a day. "This concerning trend shows there is an urgent need to introduce measures to curb our sugar addiction which is causing children's teeth to rot," said the Local Government Association. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said a tooth extraction is "very serious" and "preventable" through a healthy diet.

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