Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 3 Mar 2019

1. Tory Brexiteers set out peace terms with May

Conservative Brexiteers have outlined the price Theresa May must pay to guarantee their support for her Brexit deal in the Commons showdown next week. The European Research Group is demanding that language in the withdrawal agreement “must go beyond simply re-emphasising/re-interpreting the temporary nature of the backstop” and also wants a “clear and unconditional route out of the backstop if trade talks fail”.

2. Begum's husband wants her to join him in Netherlands

The husband of Shamima Begum, who joined the Islamic State group in Syria in 2015 aged 15, has said he wants her to return to his native Netherlands with him. Riedijk, who is being held in a Kurdish detention centre in north-eastern Syria, told the BBC he now wants to return home with his wife and their newborn son. He faces a six-year jail term for joining a terror organisation if he returns to the Netherlands.

3. Trump launches major attack on Robert Mueller

Donald Trump has poured scorn on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, telling supporters: “We're waiting for a report by people who weren't elected.” Speaking at a summit, the US President said: “Unfortunately, you put the wrong people in a couple of positions and they leave people for a long time that shouldn't be there and all of a sudden they are trying to take you out with bulls**t, okay?”

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4. Ministers to restrict student loans form 'Mickey Mouse' students

The government is preparing to refuse student loans to individuals who are unable to attain even the lowest A-Level grades. According to sources in Whitehall, there is a “broad consensus” on the need for a minimum threshold to slash the number of students taking “Mickey Mouse degrees” which cost more than £9,000 per year and do little to boost the salaries of graduates.

5. Davies: ban transgenders from women's swimming

Transgender athletes should be banned from female competitions in order to “protect women's sport”, says former British swimmer Sharron Davies. The 56-year-old told the BBC she had spoken to many other female athletes who “feel the same way”. Her remarks come after tennis legend Martina Navratilova said it was “cheating” to allow transgender women to compete in women's sport.

6. Government to ban companies from using gagging orders

Employers are to be banned from using gagging orders to prevent workers reporting illegal harassment and discrimination to the police. The government will announce the proposed change in the law after the Daily Telegraph revealed how Sir Philip Green used non-disclosure agreements to silence and pay off at least five members of staff who accused him of sexual harassment and racism.

7. How Putin is charming the British aristocracy

Vladimir Putin’s spies are wooing members of the British establishment, including a leading courtier to the Queen and a cousin of Prince Charles. The aristocrats dined in the heart of London’s clubland to celebrate the UK launch of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. Those in attendance included the Marquess of Bristol and Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia, who is a cousin of Prince Charles.

8. Facebook targets Osborne and others to avoid privacy crackdown

Facebook has targeted former UK chancellor, George Osborne, and politicians around the world, promising investments and incentives while seeking to pressure them into lobbying on Facebook’s behalf against data privacy legislation. In news described as “explosive” by The Observer, a lobbying operation secretly targetted legislators and regulators in nations includes the US, Canada, India, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil and Malaysia.

9. SpaceX capsule is launched from Kennedy Center

SpaceX has launched a capsule designed to carry people from the Kennedy Space Center. The company’s founder, Elon Musk, said this could be a step towards opening space travel to commercial customers. The unmanned crew capsule on a a Falcon 9 rocket was fired from Florida, bound for the International Space Station. It is aiming to prove to NASA that astronauts will be safe on future flights.

10. Washington and South Korea to end their military exercises

The US and South Korea have agreed to end the large-scale joint military exercises which are opposed by North Korea. The two nations said the decision was made in order to support “diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula”. Several exercises were suspended last year after US President Donald Trump met North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

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