The Rundown – 18.12.17

Dec 18 2017 BY Rachel Ayeh-Datey

It’s been a busy week. So much so that you probably haven’t had the time to catch up with everything going on in the world. Fortunately, (for you), we’ve got your back. Here’s what happened this week in the worlds of Politics, Technology, Sports, Music and World alongside a few other miscellaneous bits that caught our eye.

 

Politics

  • Public services and businesses would be in a “terrible position” if there was a big reduction in migration post-Brexit, Labour’s Diane Abbott has told the BBC. The shadow home secretary said the CBI, health and social care say “they need these European migrants – and we have to listen to them”.

  • The government has been narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill after a rebellion by 11 Tory MPs. In a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, MPs voted to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels. The government had argued this would jeopardise its chances of delivering a smooth departure from the EU. Despite a last-minute attempt to offer concessions to rebels, an amendment to the bill was backed by 309 to 305.

  • The UK will continue to take part in the Erasmus student exchange programme until at least the end of 2020, the prime minister has said. Theresa May praised Erasmus+ and confirmed the UK would still be involved after Brexit in March 2019.

  • David Cameron is to take on a new role leading a UK government-backed investment initiative between Britain and China. The former prime minister will take charge of a £750m ($1bn) fund to improve ports, roads and rail networks between China and its trading partners. The government said working with China’s Belt and Road Initiative would create jobs and boost trade links.

  • Star Sports Bookmakers has been accused of racism after it posted a picture of a man in blackface, mocking Diane Abbott on Twitter.
  • Every worker aged 18 or over will begin saving into a workplace pension unless they opt out, under government plans to extend its automatic enrolment scheme. At present, the scheme means employers must enrol staff aged 22 and over and earning above £10,000 into a pension. Ministers hope to reduce the minimum age to 18 in the mid 2020s, and say it will affect about 900,000 young people.

 

World

  • Walt Disney has agreed to buy the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s business for $52.4bn (£39bn), in a deal both companies said position them to compete in the rapidly changing media industry. The purchase includes Fox’s film and television studios, as well as its 39% stake in satellite broadcaster Sky. Fox will form a news-focused company with its remaining assets.

  • A suicide bomb and gun attack on a Methodist church in Pakistan has killed at least eight people, officials say. Militants stormed the church, which was packed with worshippers at the time, in the city of Quetta, some 65km (40 miles) from the Afghan border. The Islamic State group has said it carried out the attack.

  • The family of a Canadian billionaire and his wife have hit back at reports surrounding their recent deaths. Police are treating the deaths of Barry Sherman, 75, and his wife Honey, whose bodies were found in their Toronto home on Friday, as “suspicious” but say no suspects are being sought.
  • A French sailor has set a new world record for the fastest solo round-the-world navigation, beating the previous time by more than six days. François Gabart finished his circuit of the globe early on Sunday, in a time of 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

  • Police are investigating the deaths of four newborn babies who died within 90 minutes of each other in an intensive care ward in South Korea. The babies all went into cardiac arrest while lying in incubators at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University Medical Centre.

  • Six people have been killed in a horrific crash in Birmingham.Three vehicles were involved in the accident on Belgrave Middleway, near Edgbaston on Sunday.

 

Technology

  • A New York woman has been accused of laundering bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and wiring the money to help the so-called Islamic State. Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, was charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering and is being held without bail.

  • Restrictions on US broadband providers’ ability to prioritise one service’s data over another are to be reduced after a vote by a regulator. The Federal Communications Commission voted three to two to change the way “net neutrality” is governed. Internet service providers (ISPs) will now be allowed to speed up or slow down different companies’ data, and charge consumers according to the services they access. But they must disclose such practices.

  • The UK’s digital divide has narrowed but more than one million homes and offices still struggle to get good broadband, says an Ofcom report.
  • Sky and BT have have signed a deal to sell their channels on each other’s platforms. Under the deal, BT will now supply its sports channels – which show UEFA Champions League and Premier League football – to Sky. In addition, BT will be able to sell Sky’s Now TV service – which includes Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and the Sky Atlantic channel – to its customers.

  • Online retailers should ban the sale of miniature mobile phones designed to be smuggled into prisons, the justice secretary has said. David Lidington said the devices were advertised as being able to go undetected by the body orifice security scanners used in England and Wales.

 

Music

  • Nicki Minaj started a conversation about the domination of white artists on the iTunes rap charts. The rapper took to her Instagram to point out that seven of the ten songs were performed by white artists including Eminem, Post Malone, Macklemore, G-Eazy, and Machine Gun Kelly.
  • Rapper Nelly has announced plans to sue the woman who accused him of rape.
  • New York City police are investigating rape and sexual assault allegations against music producer Russell Simmons. The former rap mogul took to Instagram to declare his innocence and dismiss allegations as an “insane pile on”.

 

Sports

  • Tennis star Roger Federer has won the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year for a record fourth time after a public vote.
  • Mercedes’ technical director James Allison has labelled Lewis Hamilton’s talent as “astonishing” after his first season working alongside the world champion.
  • Manchester City extended their record for successive Premier League victories to 16, as Crystal Palace and West Ham’s revivals continued on Saturday.
  • Former world number one and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has been given an Australian Open wildcard. The 28-year-old pulled out of the US Open and Belarus’ Fed Cup final earlier this year because of a custody dispute over her young son.

 

Miscellaneous 

  • Renowned scientist and TV presenter Heinz Wolff has died, aged 89. The German-born inventor and professor, famed for hosting BBC Two’s long-running science show The Great Egg Race, died of heart failure on 15 December, his family said.

  • Former Holby City actor Joe McFadden and his partner Katya Jones have lifted the glitterball trophy and been crowned Strictly Come Dancing champions. The pair beat finalists Alexandra Burke, Gemma Atkinson and Debbie McGee and their partners after each couple had danced three times.

  • Sexual harassment or violence at school should never be dismissed as “banter”, new Department for Education guidance to schools and colleges has stressed.
  • Ryanair has said it is prepared to recognise pilot unions as it seeks to avoid strike disruption over the Christmas period.