Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 6 Feb 2018

1. Anna Soubry: May must stand up to Brexiteers

Former business minister Anna Soubry MP says she is willing to leave the Tories and set up a new pro-EU alliance unless Theresa May “stands up” to the “35 hard ideological Brexiteers” on the front bench who should be “slung out” and seen off. Soubry said the “likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson” are “not proper Conservatives”.

2. Asian markets follow Wall Street’s record slide

Asian stock markets plummeted this morning, following the lead set by the US yesterday, when the Dow Jones index recorded its biggest single-day loss ever. The Dow fell 1,175 points on Monday, closing 4.6% lower than it opened, amid fears among investors that a prediction of higher wages meant interest rates would be raised.

3. Commuters warned of freezing conditions

The Met Office has warned commuters to expect freezing conditions today, with rain, sleet and snow affecting the morning rush hour in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England, the Southwest and East Anglia. The weather may also cause disruption on railways. Forecasts say conditions will be cold for the rest of the month.

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4. SpaceX to ‘send car to Mars’ on huge rocket

Private space firm SpaceX is to launch the world’s most powerful rocket today – and the test payload is boss Elon Musk’s old cherry-red Tesla sports car, with a spaceman mannequin behind the wheel and David Bowie’s Space Oddity looping on the stereo. It will head towards Mars, provided the Falcon Heavy rocket doesn’t blow up on the launchpad.

5. Tackle ‘astonishing’ cost of traffic jams, study urges

A study by traffic data firm Inrix has found that British drivers wasted an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic last year, at a personal cost of £1,168. The estimate includes indirect costs such as more expensive household goods caused by increased freight fees. The firm wants smarter traffic management using artificial intelligence.

6. May to highlight abuse on suffrage centenary

Today marks the centenary of the introduction of a law allowing women aged over 30 who owned property the right to vote. Prime Minister Theresa May will hail the 100-year anniversary in a speech in Manchester today – but will also warn that online abuse and intimidation are threatening democracy. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the struggle for equality continues.

7. Frasier actor John Mahoney dead at 77

British-born actor John Mahoney, who had a distinguished career on stage but is best known as the retired cop father in TV sitcom Frasier, has died in a hospice at the age of 77. Mahoney was born in Blackpool but left for the US as a young man. He only began acting in his 40s, joining Chicago’s celebrated Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

8. Stagecoach loses East Coast rail franchise

The East Coast rail link between Edinburgh and London may be returned to state control, after Transport Secretary Chris Grayling warned he would remove the franchise from Stagecoach – which operates it in partnership with Virgin – because it had “got its numbers wrong”. Grayling said day-to-day operation would be unaffected.

9. Archers actor calls for credits on air

The only surviving original cast member of BBC radio soap opera The Archers has called for actors in the show to be credited at the end of episodes, along with the current credits for the writer and editor. June Spencer, 98, has played Peggy Woolley since 1951. Speaking to the Radio Times, Spencer said she hoped to carry on until she is 100, at least.

10. Briefing: why the US condemns Venezuela but is silent on Honduras

The US has been called out for its double standards on Central and South American human rights issues following the inauguration of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez this week.

When Venezuela’s populist anti-American government rigged state gubernatorial elections in October, “the US led a campaign of condemnation and stepped up sanctions”, The Washington Post says.

Why the US condemns Venezuela but is silent on Honduras

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