Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 28 Jul 2018

1. Ministers put together secret Brexit 'parachute plan'

A Brexit "parachute" plan has been drawn up by Cabinet ministers, reports the Daily Telegraph. The "fallback" option, which comes amid fears that Theresa May's Chequers plan will be rejected by Brussels, is based on existing "best-in-class" trade deals between the European Union and other nations such as Canada, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. The proposal is particularly similar to the EU's trade treaty with Canada.

2. Heatwaves are the 'face of climate change' says expert

The recent extreme heatwaves and wildfires across around the globe are "the face of climate change", says one of the world’s leading climate scientists. Professor Michael Mann says the impacts of global warming are now "playing out in real-time". New analysis has found that the UK’s hot spell was made more than twice as likely by climate change.

3. MPs to warn social media causing 'democratic crisis'

MPs are to warn that the UK faces a "democratic crisis" due to the spread of "pernicious views" and the manipulation of personal data on social media. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee reached the conclusion after investigating disinformation and fake news following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Among its demands will be that measures are taken to combat election interference.

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4. Julian Assange faces 'imminent' expulsion from embassy

Julian Assange faces imminent expulsion after six years from the Ecuadorean embassy in central London, claims The Times this morning. After President Moreno of Ecuador said the Wikileaks founder must leave, a member of Assange’s team said they had contingency plans for him to do so in "hours, days or weeks". Assange took refuge in 2012 after losing an appeal against extradition to Sweden amid allegations of sexual assault.

5. Trump denies he knew about son's meeting with Kremlin

Donald Trump has denied that he gave approval for his eldest son to meet a Kremlin-linked lawyer who had promised to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Taking to Twitter, the US President wrote: "I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr." However, sources close to a former fixer for Trump says he witnessed the future president being informed of the meeting beforehand.

6. Clouds ruin the blood moon show for UK fans

Sky-gazers around the world have witnessed the longest "blood moon" eclipse of the 21st Century. The "totality" period, where light from the Moon was totally obscured, lasted for one hour, 43 minutes. However, UK viewers were left disappointed because, despite weeks of uninterrupted sunshine, thunderstorms and clouds obscured the skies. The next total lunar eclipse will be visible in the UK on 21 January 2019.

7. Prince Charles supported disgraced bishop says inquiry

The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has heard that Prince Charles told disgraced bishop Peter Ball that "monstrous wrongs" had been done to him. The former bishop of Gloucester accepted a police caution for gross indecency and resigned his position in the church in 1995. A letter from Prince Charles, dated 16 February 1995, offered support to Ball, saying: "I wish I could do more."

8. 'Tremor' on Wall Street as Twitter plunges

Twitter’s shares followed Facebook into a sharp plunge yesterday. The Financial Times says the fall came amid fears that social media giants are "facing a reckoning" that will limit their profits, sending a "tremor" through Wall Street. Twitter shares were down 19% on Friday afternoon, just 24 hours after Facebook’s shares shed the same percentage in the biggest one-day loss of value in US stock market history.

9. Thunderstorms and hail replace UK heatwave

Powerful thunderstorms swept across Britain on Friday, bringing lightning, hail, heavy rain and strong winds. The Met Office said that Saturday will be a "pleasant but breezy day in many places", but "we are in for a change on Sunday with a wet and windy day in stark contrast to what has been typical recently". A yellow warning for thunderstorms is in place in parts of Scotland until 2pm on Saturday.

10. Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamil set for next Star Wars

The late Carrie Fisher will appear in the next Star Wars movie, using previously unseen footage she recorded before her death, Disney has announced. Fisher died in December 2016, aged 60, after suffering a heart attack. Disney also revealed that Mark Hamill, whose Luke Skywalker character appeared to die in last year’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, will also appear in the next instalment.

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