Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 19 Jan 2019

1. Mueller denies Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress

US special counsel Robert Mueller has disputed a report that claimed President Donald Trump told his long-time lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. Mueller's office insisted the report by Buzzfeed News, which claimed that Cohen had told investigators that Trump had ordered him to lie about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, was “not accurate”.

2. Minister breaks rank on no-deal Brexit risk

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood has become the first member of Theresa May’s government to publicly urge her to delay Brexit if no deal can be reached. Speaking to The Times, he said leaving with no agreement would “be an act of self harm with profound economic, security and reputational, consequences for the UK at the very time threats are increasing and diversifying”.

3. Blast at leaking Mexico pipeline kills 21 people

At least 21 people have died and more than 70 were hurt after a leaking pipeline caused a huge fire in central Mexico. Omar Fayad, governor of Hidalgo state, says hundreds of locals were rushing to steal the oil when at least 20 were burned to death. The pipeline exploded after thieves drilled an illegal tap, state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said.

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4. 'Shock' as variation in GP availability is revealed

Doctor’s leaders have described the variation in the availability of GPs in different parts of England as shocking. An investigation by the BBC found close to a threefold difference between the areas with the most and fewest doctors. For instance, in Swale in Kent there is only one GP for every 3,300 patients, while in Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire it is just under one for every 1,200.

5. Motorists face £1k annual charge to drive to work

Motorists will have to pay up to £1,000 a year to drive to work as part of proposals to cut congestion in Britain’s most gridlocked cities, reports The Times. At least 10 councils in England and Scotland are considering a workplace parking levy to reduce traffic and pollution and to raise money for public transport.

6. 'Missing link' between apes and humans 'confirmed'

A new ‘missing link’ between our ape-like ancestors and early humans has been identified. After 10 years examining the first fossils of Australopithecus sediba, discovered in Malapa, South Africa, experts have confirmed they belong to a unique species which “slots into the human family tree”. The Daily Telegraph says the discovery shows that “we were still swinging from the trees less than two million years ago”.

7. Prince Philip sends sympathy to car crash victims

The Duke of Edinburgh has sent his sympathy to the two women injured when their car was in a collision with his Land Rover. The driver and passenger were hurt in the accident on Thursday. A nine-month-old boy in the back of their car escaped uninjured. A lawyer said “on the face of it” Prince Philip was “driving without due care and attention”.

8. Patients stockpiling drugs amid no-deal Brexit risk

Patients are stockpiling medication in preparation for a no-deal Brexit, reports The Guardian. In response to the news the Royal College of Physicians urged ministers to be more “transparent about national stockpiles, particularly for things that are already in short supply or need refrigeration, such as insulin”. The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee warns that medical shortages have increased in recent months.

9. Trump and Kim Jong-un to meet again within weeks

The White House has announced that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un will hold a second summit near the end of next month. The decision came after the US president held an Oval Office meeting with a North Korean emissary. Hanoi, Bangkok and Hawaii are among the venues suggested for the meeting. The pair met in Singapore last June.

10. Diane Abbott 'appalled' by her treatment on Question Time

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has accused BBC Question Time of legitimising racist abuse after it was alleged she was singled out before and during Thursday night’s episode of the show. A spokesperson for Abbott said she was “appalled” by reports she was unfairly mocked in the warm-up and then interrupted more often than other panellists by Fiona Bruce. The BBC “firmly rejects” the claims.

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