Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 19 Jan 2018

1. US ‘shackled children’ couple plead not guilty

The California couple accused of keeping their 13 children chained to their beds and starved pleaded not guilty to charges of abuse, torture and imprisonment yesterday. David and Louise Turpin could face 94 years each in jail if found guilty. Their children, aged between two and 29, have suffered developmental problems, say US officials.

2. Blood test finds 70% of cancers in US trial

Trials of a new blood test that can detect eight of the most common cancers have yeilded promising results, US researchers have announced. The Cancer Seek test looks for formutations in 16 genes that regularly arise in cancer, and eight proteins that are often released. Overall, the test detected tumours in 70% of 1,005 patients with early-stage cancer in the trial, carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.

3. Adolescence ‘now lasts from age ten to 24’

Researchers led by a Melbourne team say that adolescence now starts at ten – because better nutrition means humans are maturing sexually at an earlier age – and should be seen as ending until the age of 24, when many people are still in education and have not had their wisdom teeth come through. Some academics have warned that extending the definition of adolescence risks infantilising young people.

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4. New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden pregnant

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has announced she is expecting her first child in June. The 37-year-old, who took office in October, said that her husband would become a “stay at home dad” and that she would take just six weeks of maternity leave, with her deputy covering. The pregnancy surprised the couple, who had been told they would need help conceiving.

5. Malaysian Airlines flight forced to land

A Malaysian Airlines flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur was forced to make an emergency landing in Alice Springs yesterday after reporting engine trouble mid-air. Passengers said the experience was “hell”, with loud bangs and violent shaking. Meanwhile, the search for the airline’s flight MH370, missing since 2014, will resume shortly.

6. Boris Johnson suggests UK-France bridge

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson yesterday suggested the construction of a road bridge across the English Channel, telling French President Emmanuel Macron at a meeting in Sandhurst yesterday that it was “crazy” that France and Britain are only connected by a railway line. The UK Chamber of Shipping poured scorn on the idea, however.

7. Colin Firth: ‘I won’t work with Woody Allen’

British actor Colin Firth has said he will not work with Woody Allen again - the latest in a series of actors to disavow the veteran director over allegations of abuse made by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow. Allen denies the claims and has been supported by actor Alec Baldwin, who said the 82-year-old should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

8. Year in Provence author Peter Mayle dies

British author Peter Mayle, whose A Year in Provence was a bestseller around the world in 1989, has died at the age of 78, his publisher says. The book chronicled Mayle’s first year as an expat living in a village in the south of France. Mayle was awarded France’s highest honour, the Legion d’honneur, in 2002 for his services to culture.

9. Prince William’s buzz cut ‘cost £180’

The Duke of Cambridge spent £180 on the ‘No. 1 all over’ buzz cut he debuted yesterday, after taking advice from his wife’s hairdresser and deciding to tackle his baldness head-on, according to The Sun. The newspaper dubs the 35-year-old “hairless to the throne”, while the Daily Mirror marks the royal haircut with the headline “God shave the king!”

10. Briefing: should there be an age cap on political leaders?

The more shadowy figures in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow government are privately briefing that the Labour leader may be too old to lead the party into the next election.

If the 68-year-old Labour leader wins an election in 2022, they point out, Corbyn would be the oldest UK prime minister ever to assume office for the first time, with a promise to voters that he’d still be in Downing Street five years later.

Should there be an age cap on political leaders?

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