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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 17 May 2018

Maximum stake on betting machines to be £2

The Government is to reduce the maximum permitted stake on fixed odds betting terminals – machines which simulate roulette and other games and which have been dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ – to £2. Currently, users can bet £100 every 20 seconds. KPMG says a £2 limit will cut Treasury revenue by £1.1bn in three years.

Grenfell report will not recommend cladding ban

A review of building regulations prompted by the Grenfell Tower fire last year will be published today – and it does not recommend banning the flammable cladding which caused the disaster, in which 71 people died. Author Dame Judith Hackitt instead calls for tighter safety regulations throughout the lives of buildings in England.

Dementia exercise programmes ‘don’t work’

Researchers at Oxford University have concluded that NHS exercise programmes for people with mild to moderate dementia “don’t work”. Exercise is thought to be one of the best ways of stopping healthy adults contracting dementia – but the study suggests it does not improve thinking skills or behaviour once the disease has taken hold. 

Trump declares Stormy Daniels hush-money

US President Donald Trump has officially declared the money he paid his lawyer. He reimbursed Michael Cohen for giving adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016 not to make public her claim she had an affair with Trump. The US Office of Government Ethics said yesterday that Trump should have listed the payment sooner.

Mystery over potential new hole in ozone layer

US scientists have detected a sharp rise in CFC gases in the atmosphere, decades after they were banned because of their effect on the ozone layer, which protects Earth from ultraviolet rays. The researchers say it seems likely the gas is being produced somewhere illegally – and they suspect it is happening somewhere in east Asia.

Meghan Markle’s sister-in-law ‘will not be pundit’

With Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry taking place in Windsor on Saturday, her estranged sister-in-law Tracy Anne Dooley has arrived in the UK with her two adult sons, who run a cannabis farm. The three are not invited to the wedding and it is thought ITV had asked them to work as reporters – but now says it will not do so.

Man in Florida killed by exploding e-cigarette

A man in Florida died when an e-cigarette exploded, projecting fragments into his skull, a post-mortem has decided. Tallmadge D’Elia, a 38-year-old TV producer, also suffered 80% burns when his bedroom caught fire after the vape pen blew up. From 2009 to 2016 in the US there were 195 explosions or fires involving e-cigarettes.

Dolphins ‘went on hunger strike’, says Ukraine

The Ukrainian government’s representative in Crimea – its former territory annexed by Russia in 2014 – has claimed a group of trained military dolphins kept there went on hunger strike and died in Russian captivity, “patriotically”. Boris Babin told a Ukrainian newspaper the dolphins refused to follow orders from “Russian invaders”.

Law change to let drivers ‘park by phone’

From next month, drivers will be able to park their cars using their smartphones. At present, they are forbidden to use mobile electronic devices while in control of a vehicle – for obvious reasons. But the Department for Transport says it will “update” the law and Highway Code so that they can park using smartphone apps in the future.

Briefing: what is the capital of Israel?

It’s a simple question - what is the capital of Israel? - but the answer depends on who you ask. For the Israeli government, it’s straightforward: Jerusalem.

Since the annexation of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War gave Israel complete control of the Holy City, the Israeli government has been seeking formal international recognition of a united Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

However, Palestinian nationalists consider East Jerusalem the rightful capital of an independent Palestine and a crucial plank of any future peace negotiations.

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