Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 14 Aug 2018

1. Ofcom fines Royal Mail after rival complains

Royal Mail has been fined a record £50m by Ofcom for breaching competition law, following a complaint from a delivery firm. The regulator found that Royal Mail had abused its dominant market position and discriminated against Whistl, which was trying to become its first competitor in wholesale mail delivery. Royal Mail is to challenge the fine.

2. Vaping can damage immune system, study finds

Vaping, usually considered a healthier alternative to smoking, can damage vital cells which make our immune systems work, research led by the University of Birmingham has found. The small experimental study found vaping caused inflamation and made it harder for the body to expell potentially damaging dust and bacteria.

3. Vienna named world’s ‘most liveable’ city

Austrian capital Vienna has been named the world’s ‘most liveable’ city by The Economist, the first time a European city has topped the rankings in the 20 years since they were first compiled. The magazine orders cities based on factors including political stability, crime, healthcare and education. Melbourne is ranked second this year.

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4. British holidaymakers cash in on Turkey crash

Antalya airport is Thomas Cook’s most popular destination this summer – and the Post Office reports that sales of lira are going “through the roof” – as British holidaymakers flock to Turkey to take advantage of the country’s financial woes. The Times reports the tourists are enjoying their vastly expanded spending power.

5. Corbyn hits back at Netanyahu over wreath

Jeremy Corbyn yesterday responded to an extraordinary intervention from Benjamin Netanyahu in domestic UK politics, accusing the Israeli PM of presiding over the deaths of scores of people in Gaza. Netanyahu had condemned Corbyn for attending a wreath-laying event in Tunis, part of which commemorated PLO terrorists.

6. Liquid battery to charge electric cars in seconds

Electric cars could be charged up and ready to go “in seconds” by a newly-conceived liquid battery, which could also be used to deliver hydrogen instead of electric power. The “flow battery” concept has been developed by a team at the University of Glasgow and uses a nano-molecule to store electric power or hydrogen gas in a liquid.

7. Baby born at scene of M25 coach crash

Forty-one people, among them seven children, were injured when a coach overturned on the M25 in Kent yesterday afternoon – and a baby boy was born at the scene. It is not known if the mother was travelling on the coach or was in another vehicle. Three people have been left with serious injuries and there were 90-minute delays in the area.

8. Anger as Whitehall to play gay Disney character

There has been anger online at the news that British comic Jack Whitehall is to play Disney’s first openly gay character, in the upcoming film Jungle Cruise. Whitehall is straight and many online commenters feel the role should have gone to a gay man, particularly as the part is said to be “hugely effete, very camp and very funny”.

9. Parrot swears at fireman during rescue attempt

A parrot whose owner feared it was injured and stuck on a roof repeatedly told a fire crew manager to “f**k off” when he tried to rescue it in Edmonton, north London. Jessie the macaw escaped and spent three days on a neighbouring roof before the RSPCA asked firemen for help. She refused to be rescued and flew off but came home later.

10. Briefing: why do astronauts have spiritual experiences in space?

British astronaut Tim Peake has said that his experiences on the International Space Station had prompted him to consider that the universe was the result of intelligent design.

The Times reports that the celebrated spaceman, 46, said that the “views of Earth had inspired wonder rather than faith, but that his mind was still open” at a talk at Peterborough Cathedral.

Tim Peake and intelligent design: why do astronauts have spiritual experiences in space?

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