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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 15 Jan 2020

Ministers agree Flybe rescue deal

The Government has struck a deal with Flybe shareholders following crisis talks to prevent the collapse of the regional airline and save 2,000 jobs. The firm’s owners have agreed to put more money into the carrier, while ministers are backing plans to delay a £106m air passenger duty bill. The Government has also pledged to review taxes on domestic flights before the March budget.

HS2 ‘will damage wildlife at hundreds of sites’

The proposed HS2 rail link will irreparably damage wildlife and habitats at hundreds of sites – and even drive species to extinction, according to a study by 14 ecological organisations including the National Trust and Woodland Trust. A newly published report says the project will destroy or irreparably damage five wildlife refuges of international importance, 33 legally protected sites of special scientific interest, 693 local wildlife sites and 108 ancient woodlands. 

Newspaper defends publishing Meghan letter

The Mail on Sunday has submitted a vigorous defence of its decision to publish of a letter written by the Duchess of Sussex to her father. Meghan Markle is suing the newspaper and its parent group for breach of copyright, invasion of privacy and misuse of personal data. But in documents filed at the High Court, The Mail on Sunday denies the charges and argues that the Royals “rely on publicity about themselves” to maintain their “privileged positions” and that the Duchess could not “have a reasonable expectation of privacy that the contents of the letter were private and would remain so”. 

More sex ‘makes early menopause less likely’

Women who have sex more often are less likely to go through the menopause early, researchers have suggested. A University College London team analysed data collected from nearly 3,000 women who were followed for ten years, and found that those who reported engaging in sexual activity weekly were 28% less likely to have experienced menopause at any given age than women who engaged in sexual activity less than once a month.

US Democrats: Sanders and Warren clash on TV

The seventh debate between US Democrats vying to be their party’s next presidential candidate saw two of the most left-wing contenders repeatedly locking horns last night. Elizabeth Warren accused Bernie Sanders of having told her in 2018 that no woman could win the presidency – a claim that he has denied - and appeared to reject his offer of a handshake at the end of the televised debate, in Des Moines, Iowa

US jet dumps fuel over schoolchildren

A plane making an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport ditched its aviation fuel over the city yesterday, causing skin irritation and breathing problems for at least 60 people on the ground. Many of those affected were children who were doused while out in school playgrounds. Planes are permitted to ditch fuel over unpopulated areas.

Stephen King facing backlash over diversity tweet

Author Stephen King has sparked anger online by saying that diversity should not be a factor considered by awards bodies. The 72-year-old horror writer, who is eligible to vote for the Oscar winners, wrote: “I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” 

Machu Picchu: tourists deported after defecation

Five tourists from Chile, Brazil, France and Argentina are to be deported from Peru after allegedly damaging stonework and defecating among the ruins at Unesco World Heritage site Machu Picchu. A sixth tourist, from Argentina, is to remain in Peru to face criminal charges after he admitted leading the vandalism.

Teenager Billie Eilish to sing new Bond theme

The theme song for the 25th James Bond film will be sung by teenage star Billie Eilish. The 18-year-old American said it was “a huge honour” to be chosen for the task and added: “It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way.” Her song, which like the movie is titled No Time To Die, was co-written by her brother Finneas O’Connell.

Briefing: the problem with the UK’s immigration rules

The UK’s immigration rules are “overly complex and unworkable”, according to the Law Commission.

The independent law reform agency, which advises government ministers, says the regulations have been “criticised for being poorly drafted” and have quadrupled in length since 2010.

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