Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 31 Jan 2019

1. May woos Labour rebels with cash promise

Theresa May is hoping to persuade Labour MPs to back her Brexit deal by promising cash injections for deprived constituencies that voted Leave, according to reports. The prime minister needs about 20 Labour MPs to support her – only seven voted for the deal last time. May is also pledging to safeguard workers’ rights.

2. Knife crime: Javid brings in social media bans

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is to introduce Asbo-style control orders that could limit use of social media in a bid to tackle knife crime by preventing gang rivalries from escalating online. Police can issue the orders to anyone aged 12 or over who is believed to routinely carry a blade or who has prior convictions for knife-related offences. Other measures will include curfews.

3. Coldest morning: -12.9C recorded in Scotland

This morning was the coldest of the winter so far in some parts of the country, with -12.9C recorded in Braemar, Scotland, and -10.5C in Reedsdale Camp, in the north of England. Freezing fog and snow are expected today and the Met Office has issued a yellow alert for the whole of the UK. Forecasters expect “very significant” snow in some areas.

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4. Sarah Sanders: God wanted Trump presidency

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has told an interviewer that God “wanted Donald Trump to be president” of the US. In an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network, she also accused the Democrats of immorality. Trump has courted the evangelical Christians, and has won over more than previous Republican party leaders.

5. GP faces ban for relationship with patient

A London GP may be struck off over her relationship with a patient whom she intends to marry. Natalia Bogatcheva of Crouch End is accused of having an “improper emotional relationship” and of illicitly accessing the man’s medical records after becoming becoming suspicious about his ex. Bogatcheva says the relationship began after she had stopped treating her boyfriend, with whom she has a son.

6. Rape chat students’ bans reduced on appeal

Two students who were part of an online chat group that made rape threats will be allowed to return to Warwick University after their ten-year ban from entering the campus was reduced to one year on appeal. Several of those in the group had sent messages encouraging others to rape specific students. There is no suggestion that any assaults took place.

7. Robot teaches itself to be Jenga master

Scientists have created a robot that has taught itself the complex physics of Jenga, a game in which players must remove wooden blocks arranged in a tower without causing the structure to topple. The development marks significant progress for robotic manipulation of real-world objects. The scientists, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), say manual dexterity has been undervalued by robotics developers.

8. Atlanta: first male cheerleaders at Super Bowl

Male cheerleaders will perform at an American football Super Bowl for the first time ever on Saturday. Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron will perform with female colleagues for the Los Angeles Rams when the side take on the New England Patriots. The two men said they believed their inclusion in the squad reflected the diversity of LA.

9. Ariana Grande tattoo spelling error mocked

Social media users have been mocking singer Ariana Grande after she revealed a new tattoo that she believed said “seven rings” in Japanese, a reference to one of her songs. Japanese speakers pointed out that some symbols had been omitted and that the tattoo actually reads “small charcoal grill”. Grande says the palm tattoo will fade anyway.

10. Briefing: will there be a Peterborough by-election?

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya was yesterday sentenced to three months in prison for lying to avoid a speeding ticket.

The Labour party expelled her last month and has already started campaigning in the key marginal seat. But will there actually be a by-election?

Peterborough by-election: who is in the running?

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