Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 5 Jan 2019

1. Donald Trump says shutdown could last for year

Donald Trump has said he could declare a national emergency to build a US-Mexico border wall without the approval of Congress. Senior Democrats have refused the US President’s requests for funding, leading to Trump withholding support for a bill to fully fund the government. He says the partial US government shutdown could last months or even years.

2. Manhunt underway after father is murdered on train

A murder investigation is underway in Surrey after a train passenger was killed in front of his teenage son. The 51-year-old victim died after suffering multiple knife wounds during a “vicious fight” on board a Guildford to London train yesterday afternoon. The suspect is a black man, in his 20s or 30s, around 6ft tall, of slim build with a beard.

3. Local councils set to go to war over fracking

Ministers are set for another head-to-head with councils over plans to expand fracking, after one of the largest local authorities in the country announced plans to ban the practice. The 10 local councils that make up Greater Manchester will effectively prevent companies from extracting underground shale gas in the region. Critics says fracking is dangerous and unproven.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

4. Heathrow hopes to pass the 500,000 annual flight mark

Heathrow is to announce plans for an extra 25,000 flights a year to increase capacity before the opening of a third runway. In a move that could seen annual flight numbers exceed 500,000 for the first time, the airport wants to accommodate the equivalent of 68 more take-offs and landings a day within the next few years.

5. Tourists 'safe' as tropical storm lashes southern Thailand

Tropical Storm Pabuk has caused floods and blackouts and left nearly 30,000 people in evacuation shelters across southern Thailand. Thousands of people have left Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan islands but The Guardian says tourists stranded on holiday islands were spared the worst. Nevertheless, the UK Foreign Office is advising Britons to avoid all but essential travel to provinces near the Thai-Malaysia border.

6. Warnings as Britons' credit card debt escalates

Britons owe £72.5bn on credit cards with £400m added to the total in November alone, according to new data from the Bank of England. Households in the UK now each have an average of £2,688 unpaid on credit cards. The figure is 24% higher than on the eve of the financial crash. Credit cards are one of the most expensive means of borrowing.

7. Universities paying for police to protect students

More than two dozen universities are paying for police officers to protect students from criminals, reveals The Times. A total of 27 universities are spending millions of pounds to fund officers, including dedicated patrols amid concerns that campuses have become a “magnet” for thieves and drug dealers. Officers said it was a “sad reflection” on the state of policing that the institutions felt they needed to pay to keep their students safe.

8. Festive divorce applications included 13 on Christmas Day

More than 400 people filed for divorce over the festive period, including 13 on Christmas Day. Official data shows HM Courts & Tribunals Service received 455 online divorce applications from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day, with 13 submitted on December 25. It was the first festive season since measures to streamline divorces via the internet were introduced.

9. Britney Spears announces indefinite break from work

Britney Spears has announced that she is taking an “indefinite” break from work. The pop singer wants to focus on her father's Jamie's health, as he recovers from a recent life-threatening illness. “I am dedicating my focus and energy to care for my family,” she said, as she put her Park Theater Las Vegas residency, which was due to start next month, on hold.

10. Landline use has halved in six years in Britain

The amount of time Brits spent making landline phone calls halved over the last six years. Ofcom says the number of minutes sank from 103bn in 2012 to 54bn in 2017. “Some of us can remember a time when we stored phone numbers in our head, rather than our mobile,” said Liz Greenberg, head of numbering at the regulator. “But the way we use and feel about telephone numbers is changing.”

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.