Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 25 Jul 2018

1. Greece mourns as wildfires rage on

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has declared three days of national mourning as firefighters continue to battle massive wildfires that have killed at least 74 people and injured another 187. Authorities fear that the death toll will rise further, with searches for the missing continuing. The fires, near Athens, have been fanned by high winds, forcing local people and tourists into the sea.

2. May takes back control of Brexit from Raab

Theresa May has formalised her control over Brexit by downgrading the Brexit department and moving about 50 staff to report directly to her in the Cabinet Office. However, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will be the prime minister’s formal deputy in the negotiations – potentially giving him a greater role in the talks than his predecessor, David Davis.

3. Heatwave: forecasters up predicted peak temperatures to 36C

The Met Office has changed its forecast for this week and is now saying it could be as hot as 36C in parts of England, before torrential rains on Friday. As much as an inch of rain is expected to fall in one hour in some places, with a thunderstorm warning in force for northern and eastern England. Monday was the hottest day of the year so far.

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4. Swedish student prevents Afghan’s deportation in plane protest

A student activist in Sweden prevented the deportation of a failed asylum seeker to Afghanistan on Monday by buying a ticket for the flight on which he was being removed and then refusing to sit down until he was taken off. Elin Ersson live-streamed her protest, on a plane due to travel from Gothenburg to Istanbul. The video has had more than 500,000 views.

5. Novichok ‘found in bottle disguised as perfume’

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley claims the nerve agent that killed his partner, Dawn Sturgess, was in a perfume bottle in a cellophane-wrapped box. Rowley said that after finding the boxed bottle, he gave it to Sturgess, who recognised the brand on the packaging and sprayed some on her wrists. Rowley, from Amesbury in Wiltshire, made the claims in his first interview, with ITV News, since being discharged from hospital.

6. Ex-cricketer Khan favourite as Pakistan votes

Former cricketer Imran Khan is the pollsters’ favourite to be Pakistan’s next prime minister as the country goes to the polls today. Tens of millions are expected to turn out to vote. If successful, the election will be only the second time a civilian government has handed power over to another since the country gained independence from the British Empire in 1947.

7. Demi Lovato in hospital following suspected overdose

US pop star Demi Lovato is in hospital in Los Angeles following a suspected drug overdose. The Sorry Not Sorry singer is in a stable condition and is conscious. She is thought to have been found at her home in the Hollywood Hills, where she was treated with an anti-overdose medication. Lovato, 25, has struggled with addiction and is bipolar.

8. European court to rule on Kit Kat shape dispute

The European Court of Justice will today rule on a trademark dispute over the Kit Kat chocolate bar that has been rumbling on for 16 years. Maker Nestle is trying to copyright the shape of the bar, to the dismay of fellow multinational Mondelez, which manufactures a similarly shaped bar in Norway, Kvikk Lunsj (“quick lunch”).

9. Apply suntan lotion more thickly, researchers say

Britons get half the expected protection from suntan lotion because they don’t apply it thickly enough, researchers from King’s College London are warning. In theory, a sunblock with an SPF of just 15 should be enough to prevent sunburn, but in real-world conditions it is usually necessary to apply at least factor 30 or 50, they say.

10. Briefing: what is hyperloop technology and how fast will it go?

The high-speed train concept hyperloop is back in the spotlight after German engineering students set a new speed record for the transport system this weekend.

The so-called Warr Hyperloop team, from the Technical University of Munich, won the SpaceX hyperloop pod competition by designing and building a pod that achieved a top speed of 284mph (457kph). The students were competing against hundreds of other engineers at the annual contest, now in its third year, at the space company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

What is hyperloop technology and how fast will it go?

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