Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 15 Nov 2019

Labour: we will provide free broadband for all

Labour says it will partly nationalise BT in order to help offer every home and business in the UK free internet access if the party wins the 12 December general election. Tech giants would be taxed to raise extra money to meet the total £20bn cost of providing free full-fibre broadband nationwide by 2030. The Tories say the pledge is a “fantasy plan”, while the Lib Dems insist it would be “unaffordable”.

Lib Dems: we’d spend £100bn tackling climate

The Lib Dems will today make an election pledge to spend £100bn on tackling climate fund. Former coalition environment minister Ed Davey will say that the five-year investment, to be funded through borrowing and tax changes, would “jump-start” efforts to combat the “climate emergency”. Meanwhile, the Conservatives will promise to reduce business rates for smaller firms.

Farage ‘faces rebellion’ as candidates pull out

Nigel Farage is facing a “rebellion” within his Brexit Party, with election candidates pulling out of several seats in order to avoid splitting the pro-Brexit vote, The Times says. The party will reportedly not field candidates in at least three key marginal constituencies. Electoral expert Professor John Curtice told the newspaper that Farage’s party was unlikely to win any seats. 

Sluice gate delay ‘made flooding worse’

A “bizarre” delay in opening a sluice gate exacerbated flooding in a Nottinghamshire town where people were rescued from chest-high water, a council leader has said. Local business owners and councillors in Worksop say they repeatedly asked the Canals and Rivers Trust to open the gate, but were told that the sluice gate was in a building “deemed unsafe” to enter. The gate was eventually opened by a firefighter several hours later.

UK facing legal action over EU candidate omission

The EU last night launched a legal action against Boris Johnson’s government over the UK’s failure to abide by the law and nominate a candidate for the new European Commission. Downing Street refused to put forward a British candidate to join the bloc’s 28-strong team despite knowing for weeks that the UK would stay in the EU beyond 31 October.

Nancy Pelosi: Trump’s actions make Nixon’s Watergate crimes look ‘small’

The US Democrat speaker of the House says President Donald Trump’s attempt to discredit his political rival Joe Biden by putting pressure on the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on the Democrat’s family amounts to “bribery”. Nancy Pelosi added: “The cover-up makes what Nixon did look almost small. Almost small.” The impeachment hearing against Trump resumes today.

Taylor Swift ‘banned’ from singing own hits

US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift says she will not be able to sing any of her old hits at the upcoming American Music Awards (AMAs), because the rights are now owned by her former manager Scooter Braun. Swift has previously accused Braun of “incessant, manipulative bullying” and says he will no longer grant her permission to perform her songs.

Police thwart attempt to steal Rembrandts in London

Two paintings by the 17th century Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn have been recovered in south London following an attempted theft at the country’s oldest public gallery, the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Flying squad detectives said the attempted theft was “audacious”. A thief escaped after spraying a policeman with a “noxious substance”. 

Qantas tests London to Sydney 19-hour flight

A plane has made a direct flight from London to Sydney for only the second time ever. The Qantas-operated Boeing 787 Dreamliner made the journey in 19 hours and 19 minutes with just 40 people on board. If the test flight had carried the usual 300 passengers, it would have been forced to stop to refuel. The airline is aiming to launch a regular commercial direct service in 2023.

Briefing: how the West is poisoning Indonesia’s food chain

Indonesia’s finely balanced food chain is being poisoned by the burning of plastic waste shipped from Western countries.

According to Indonesia’s statistics agency, imports of potentially deadly plastic waste rose by 141% to 283,000 tonnes in 2018. Here’s how the dramatic increase began.

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