Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 27 Sep 2018

1. Russian ‘tourist’ unmasked as decorated colonel

One of the two Russians suspected of the Salisbury nerve agent attack has been unmasked as a highly decorated military officer. Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga gave his name as Ruslan Boshirov in an interview for Russian state TV and was said by the Kremlin to be a civilian. But investigative news site Bellingcat says he is actually a special forces soldier who may have met Vladimir Putin.

2. Corbyn visits Brussels to meet Brexit negotiator

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer are in Brussels today for meetings with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier. Corbyn has said he will tell Barnier that a no-deal Brexit is not acceptable. Meanwhile, Theresa May is facing opposition from her cabinet to her insistence that no deal is better than a bad deal.

3. Kavanaugh ‘assault’ changed my life, accuser says

A woman who claims Donald Trump’s ultra-conservative pick for the US Supreme Court attempted to sexually assault her when they were in high school has said that the alleged attack “drastically altered” her life. Professor Christine Blasey Ford is one of three women who have claimed Brett Kavanaugh is guilty of historical sexual misconduct.

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4. NHS urged to provide meal-replacement shakes

The NHS should prescribe meal-replacement milkshakes designed to help slimmers lose weight rapidly, according to researchers at the University of Oxford. A study found that people on a programme of low-calorie shakes, soups and counselling lost three times as much weight as those given standard dietary advice by their GPs.

5. HSBC tells Welshman not to use ‘foreign language’

HSBC has caused outrage in Wales by refusing to deal with a letter informing the bank of a customer’s change of address because the letter was written in Welsh. Bank staff told singer Geraint Lovgreen that they could not respond to his note because it had been “in a foreign language” and that he must try again in English. HSBC has now apologised and promised to re-train its employees.

6. Universities want essay-writing firms banned

More than 40 universities have written to the education secretary calling for a ban on so-called essay mills - firms that write assignments to order for students. Because the essays are original, the plagiarism is hard to detect. Students caught using these services face being thrown off their courses but the firms themselves are legal.

7. Trump accuses China of interfering in US elections

Donald Trump yesterday claimed that China had been caught trying to influence the result of the upcoming US congressional elections. The US president made the claim during a UN Security Council meeting. Asked for proof, Trump pointed to a Chinese-funded newspaper advert in Iowa that lobbied against his trade policies.

8. Heinz cancels plan to re-name salad cream

Food manufacturer Heinz has backed out of a controversial plan to rename its Salad Cream. The sauce was to be rebranded as Sandwich Cream but the manufacturer has dropped the idea, saying in a press release that it “can’t ignore the will of the people”. A survey by the firm found that 87% of respondents preferred the old name.

9. Seal slaps kayaker in face with octopus

A man kayaking around New Zealand’s South Island was startled to be hit in the face with an octopus thrown at him by a large seal. The bizarre encounter was captured on video by another canoeist. Kyle Mulinder can be heard in the video asking his companion, “mate, what just happened?” after being hit.

10. Why head teachers are protesting in Westminster

More than 1,000 school leaders will march on Downing Street tomorrow to demand more funding, as heads warn that school budgets are “cut to the bone”.

Why 2,000 head teachers are protesting in Westminster

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