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.
- Boris Johnson will warn Russia to stop cyber attacks which threaten Britain’s national security or face retaliation of a similar kind from the UK. He will say the UK has no malign intentions online but has the technical capability to fight cyber espionage.
- MPs have revealed some of the abusive, threatening and racist messages sent to them in the build-up to Christmas. They include a racist card targeting shadow home secretary Diane Abbott which said “stop Labour stealing our white Christmas”. Tory Zac Goldsmith tweeted a card he received which wished him a “cancerous New Year”. Last week a watchdog raised concern about the “vile and shocking abuse” of politicians.
- The government’s key EU Withdrawal Bill has cleared the latest stage of its Parliamentary journey after ministers avoided a defeat on the date of Brexit. The EU bill has now completed its committee stage.
- Public sector borrowing fell to £8.7bn in November, down £0.2bn from the year earlier, partly thanks to higher income tax receipts, official figures show. The figure leaves borrowing for the financial year to date at £48.1bn. That is the lowest recorded at this time of the year since 2007, before the financial crisis.
- A Conservative MP’s chief of staff has been cleared of raping a woman after they had sex in the MP’s Westminster office. Samuel Armstrong said he and the woman had consensual sex after drinking in the Houses of Parliament. He was found not guilty of two counts of rape and two of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court.
- Theresa May has sought to reassure Polish people living in the UK that they are still welcome after Brexit. Speaking on a trip to Warsaw to sign a new defence treaty with the country, the PM said the one million Polish residents were a “strong part of [UK] society”. She promised a “simple” and “easy” process to get “settled status” to remain after the UK leaves the EU.
- The UN General Assembly has decisively backed a resolution effectively calling on the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The text says that any decisions regarding the status of the city are “null and void” and must be canceled. The non-binding resolution was approved by 128 states, with 35 abstaining and nine others voting against. It came after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut financial aid to those who backed the resolution.
- British passports will change from burgundy to blue after Britain leaves the EU, the Home Office has said.Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said he was delighted to return to the “iconic” blue and gold design which came into use almost 100 years ago. The new passports will be made available to those renewing or applying for a passport from October 2019.
- Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said an attack involving a car in Melbourne was a “shocking crime” but an “isolated incident”. A 32-year old Australian of Afghan descent drove his car into pedestrians on Thursday, injuring 19 people. Police said the arrested man had a history of mental illness and drug abuse but no known extremist links.
- At least 19 people are reported to have been killed in air strikes on a rebel-held village in northwestern Syria. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a number of homes were hit overnight in Maarshurin, in the province of Idlib.
- Catalan separatist parties are on track to win most seats in the new regional parliament, setting the stage for more confrontation with Spain’s government. However, the Citizens party, which wants Catalonia to remain a semi-autonomous part of Spain, is the biggest party. As a result, it is unclear who will be given the right to form a government.
- A US move to impose financial sanctions on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov over alleged human rights abuses has been branded “illegal” by Russia. “We consider these sanctions to be illegal, unfriendly,” the Kremlin said. Washington has accused Mr Kadyrov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, of involvement in repression, torture and murder.
- Facebook has reached a licensing agreement with a major music label that will allow users to post and share music on the social media network. The global, multi-year deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) addresses copyright issues raised by unauthorised use of its artists’ material. The firms also said they were working together on new music products, a sign Facebook has set its sights on challenging YouTube. UMG said the deal was “unprecedented”.
- Facebook no longer displays red warning icons next to fake news stories shared on the platform, as it says the approach has not worked as hoped. In December 2016, the site started showing a “disputed” warning next to articles that third-party fact-checking websites said were fake news. However, it said research suggested the “red flag” approach actually “entrenched deeply held beliefs”. It will now display “related articles” next to disputed news stories.
- Apple has changed the rules around how games on its app store use loot boxes. These boxes are random rewards for gameplay and often give players benefits and power-ups that can be used in games. In a change to its developer guidelines, Apple said games must now let players know the odds of getting particular items in the boxes.
- Apple has confirmed the suspicions of many iPhone owners by revealing it does deliberately slow down some models of the iPhone as they age. Many customers have long suspected that Apple slows down older iPhones to encourage people to upgrade. The company has now said it does slow down some models as they age, but only because the phones’ battery performance diminishes over time.
- Chinese firm Qihoo 360 Technology has shut down a website that was streaming live video from its cameras in schools, gyms, and restaurants. Qihoo shut down the site, called Water Drop, following criticism on social media that the streams invaded privacy. Many of those owning Qihoo cameras said they did not know the images were being publicly shared.
One of the US’s leading crypto-currency exchanges is carrying out an insider trading investigation. Coinbase fears its own workers may have exploited its move into Bitcoin Cash – a spin-off of the original Bitcoin. The San Francisco-based firm announced the move after Bitcoin Cash’s price jumped.
- Reggie Osse — better known as hip-hop podcaster Combat Jack — died Wednesday after a battle with colon cancer. He was 48.
- Rihanna hit the stage for her performance at TDE’s Christmas Show & Toy Drive. The 29-year-old entertainer was joined by Kendrick Lamar to perform their collaboration Loyalty live for the first time.
- Stormzy performed at the funeral of a fan’s father after spotting a message on Twitter. Nasir Bockarie’s father died in the Royal Berkshire Hospital on 8 December, the day Nasir graduated. He sent Stormzy a message saying he and his father had both loved the song Blinded By Your Grace, and invited him to sing at the funeral.
- Kendrick Lamar’s hard-hitting rap treatise, Damn, is music critics’ favourite record of 2017.The album has topped a “poll of polls” compiled by BBC News. Second place went to SZA’s sensual and intimate R&B album, CTRL.
A convicted football hooligan has been jailed for a racist and “unprovoked” attack on Manchester City and England winger Raheem Sterling. Karl Anderson, 29, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common assault after Sterling was attacked outside City’s training ground on Saturday. The court heard Anderson already has 25 convictions for 37 offenses, including football-related violence.
Manchester United and Manchester City will face no action over an incident that took place in the tunnel after the derby on 10 December, the Football Association has said. United boss Jose Mourinho had water and milk thrown at him and City coach Mikel Arteta suffered a cut head during a post-match row. The FA said it considered evidence from “clubs and independent eyewitnesses”. Mourinho will also not face action from the FA over his pre-match comments.
Manchester City remain keen on Alexis Sanchez but may wait until the summer before making another attempt to sign the Arsenal forward. City had a bid accepted for the 29-year-old Chilean on deadline day in August but the move collapsed.
West Brom captain Jonny Evans is set to leave next month after the club failed to persuade the Northern Ireland defender to sign a new contract. Evans has 18 months on his present deal and it’s understood he has no intention of extending his stay at the Hawthorns.
Andy Murray has delayed his departure to Australia but still hopes to begin his season in Brisbane in January. The three-time Grand Slam champion has not played a competitive match since Wimbledon because of a hip condition.
Tennis player Venus Williams will not be charged over her involvement in a car crash that led to the death of a 78-year-old, a police report says.
- Khloe Kardashian had been keeping fans guessing for months about whether or not she’s expecting her first child with NBA player Tristan Thompson. She recently posted a black and white photo of her bump on Instagram, adding: “We are having a baby!”
The city of London benefitted from £107m of extra income as a direct result of hosting the World and Para-athletics Championships. More than a million people bought tickets to visit London Stadium as the capital became the first city to host both events in the same year. Mayor Sadiq Khan said London 2017 had “provided a lifetime of memories”.
A video of two pranksters spending the night inside the National Theatre has raised concerns about its security. In the video, YouTuber Ally Law and another male are seen walking on lighting rigs and climbing up inside the Olivier Theatre’s fly tower.
British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been held in Iran for 18 months, has been told she is eligible for early release, her husband has said. Richard Ratcliffe told BBC Radio 5 Live that an Iranian judiciary database had listed her as “eligible for release”.
- Women have complained after being banned from Facebook because they posted “men are scum” or “men are the worst” in the wake of the #MeToo campaign. Comedian Marcia Belsky was banned from the social media platform after sarcastically commenting “men are scum” under a friend’s post.