Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 20 Jul 2018

1. Putin to make ‘special’ visit to White House

US President Donald Trump has invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin to visit the White House this autumn, prompting US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to react with incredulity. Told the news at a live event, Coats said: “OK… that’s going to be special!” Trump prompted bipartisan hostility with Monday’s summit with Putin.

2. May to tell EU ‘no’ to Irish border backstop

Prime Minister Theresa May is in Ireland for two days and will tell an audience in Belfast today that she will never agree to the EU’s proposed ‘backstop’ position for the Irish border after Brexit: a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Meanwhile, advice is being prepared for businesses to cope with no deal.

3. Tories admit Chief Whip broke pairing accord

The Conservatives have admitted that Chief Whip Julian Smith asked MPs to break the long-standing convention of ‘pairing’ in the Commons. Some refused but Brandon Lewis voted, even though he was paired with a Lib Dem MP on maternity leave, Jo Swinson. Pairing allows MPs to miss votes without affecting their result.

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4. Police and intelligence agencies use child spies

British police and intelligence agencies are using children to spy on terrorists, gangs and drug dealers, it has emerged. The practice was uncovered by a House of Lords committee, which noted that some of the spies are aged under 16. The lords said they were concerned that spying might pose risks to children’s “mental and physical welfare”.

5. Eleven dead as tourist boat sinks in Missouri

At least 11 people died in Missouri yesterday, when a tourist boat sank in Table Rock Lake, in stormy weather. The amphibious ‘duck’ boat was carrying about 30 people when it sank and divers are still searching for five who are missing. Seven people were taken to hospital, including one who is seriously injured, US officials have said.

6. Youngest Battle of Britain pilot dies at 96

The youngest Spitfire pilot to fight in the Battle of Britain, Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum, has died at the age of 96. Wellum was just 18 when he joined the RAF in 1939. He remained with the service until 1960. The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust said Wellum had been “enthusiastic” about attending a memorial service in September.

7. Cadbury to launch lower-sugar Dairy Milk

Chocolate manufacturer Cadbury is to make a new bar with 30% less sugar than its current Dairy Milk – and extra fibre. The bar will be sold alongside the full-sugar version. The company says the bar does not rely on artificial sweeteners. Glen Caton, of parent firm Mondelez International, said he could barely taste the difference himself.

8. Macron aide filmed hitting protester in Paris

A senior aide to French President Emmanuel Macron has been suspended for two weeks after he was identified in a video from 1 May protests in Paris. Alexandre Benalla attended the protest wearing a riot police helmet and can be seen stamping on a protester’s stomach. France’s interior minister said Benalla had no right to intervene.

9. Giant black sarcophagus opened in Egypt

A massive black granite sarcophagus found during construction work in Alexandria, alongside an alabaster bust so heavily weathered as to be unrecognisable, has been opened. Military engineers helped lift the massive lid, to reveal three skeletons and red-brown sewage water. The smell was unbearable and there were no mummies inside.

10. Briefing: why are murders and knife crime soaring?

The number of violent offences and murders reported in England and Wales has increased over the past year, according to official figures published by the police.

The statistics show that knife crime offences have risen by 16%, while the number of murders has risen by 12%.

Is knife crime rising?

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