The Rundown – 29.01.18

Jan 29 2018 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

  • UK firms will continue to trade under “unchanged” EU rules during the post-Brexit transition period, three cabinet ministers have said in a letter. Chancellor Philip Hammond, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Business Secretary Greg Clark said access to EU markets would continue on current terms from March 2019 for “around two years”.

  • The UK economy expanded by a better-than-expected 0.5% in the last three months of 2017, official figures say. Economists had expected a 0.4% expansion in the three months to December. However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the broader picture was “slower and more uneven” growth.

  • All 17 UKIP councillors in Thurrock – including an MEP – have resigned from the party and formed a new group. Thurrock Independents has been created by the councillors who said they “have had enough of the aggressive and bitter reality of party politics”. The group, which includes MEP Tim Aker, is now the official opposition to the Conservative majority at Thurrock.

  • Theresa May has said she was “appalled” by reports women were groped at a men-only gala and was “not happy” that an event like that took place. The Prime Minister said she would continue to work to ensure women were “accepted and respected as equals”. Mrs May will also consider whether any changes were needed to non-disclosure agreements, Downing Street said.

  • President Donald Trump has predicted a “tremendous increase” in UK-US trade, after talks with Theresa May. He also said the US and UK were “joined at the hip” on military matters, while Mrs May said they stood “shoulder to shoulder” in facing shared threats.

 

World

  • US President Donald Trump has said he is prepared to apologise for retweeting posts from a British far-right group. In an interview with ITV’s Piers Morgan, Mr Trump said he knew “nothing” about Britain First before sharing three of its videos in November.

  • Riverside homes and businesses in Paris are on high alert as the swollen River Seine threatens to overflow its banks. Weeks of rainfall have produced a relentless rise in the water level, which is expected to peak just below 6m (20ft) above normal.

  • All current rape and serious sexual assault cases in England and Wales are to be reviewed “as a matter of urgency” to ensure evidence has been disclosed. Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders warned the review could see “a number of cases” dropped. It comes after the collapse of several rape trials because evidence had not been shared with defence lawyers.

  • A suicide bombing has killed at least 95 people and injured 158 others in the centre of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, officials say. Attackers drove an ambulance laden with explosives past a police checkpoint in a secure zone, home to government offices and foreign embassies. The target is believed to have been an interior ministry building, but many people were hit while walking by. The Taliban have said they carried out the attack, the deadliest for months. A week ago, Taliban militants killed 22 people in a luxury Kabul hotel.

  • One of the oldest gorillas in the world has died at the age of 60. San Diego Zoo Safari Park announced on Friday that Vila, who was born in the Congo in 1957, died surrounded by members of her family troop. She was the “matriarch”, they said, of five generations.

  • Gunmen have stormed a nightclub in north-east Brazil, killing at least 14 people. Three cars of attackers swooped in on the venue, located in the outskirts of Fortaleza, during the early hours of Saturday morning.

 

Technology

  • Toy-maker Bandai is hoping its miniature Tamagotchi virtual pet will be a hit in the UK. Once a must-have gadget in the 90s, the miniaturised Tamagotchi was sold in Japan and the US in 2017, to celebrate 20 years of the virtual pets. It was on show at the Toy Fair 2018 exhibition in London.

  • A software update will let iPhone owners switch off the “battery saver” feature that slows down some models, Apple has confirmed. The option to switch off the feature will appear on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, SE, 6S, 6S Plus, 7 and 7 Plus models. Last month, Apple apologised after it was found to be deliberately slowing down some of its devices.

  • Ride-sharing company Lyft, seen as Uber’s biggest rival, is investigating an anonymous claim that employees were abusing customer’s private data. The allegations, posted online, suggested that employees looked at trip data of former romantic partners, or tracked famous users such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Lyft said it was investigating but said it had not received any specific complaints.

  • China’s smartphone market has fallen for the first time, with annual shipments down by 4% in 2017, according to data from research firm Canalys. The decline ends eight years’ growth in the world’s largest mobile phone market. Smartphone brands Huawei, Oppo and Vivo continue to dominate the Chinese handset market.

  • Google will now let people “mute” advertisements that encourage them to buy products from websites they have previously visited. So-called reminder ads track which products people have looked at online and then promote them across the web. Google said reminder ads were “useful” but said it wanted to give people “more control” over what they see online.

  • One of Japan’s largest digital currency exchanges says it has lost some $534m (£380m) worth of virtual money in a hacking attack on its network. Coincheck suspended deposits and withdrawals for all crypto-currencies except Bitcoin as it assessed its losses in NEM, a lesser-known coin. If the theft is confirmed, it will be the largest involving digital currency.

 

Music

  • Pop star Kesha is to address the #MeToo movement with a powerful performance at this weekend’s Grammys. According to the New York Times, the performance will also feature Cyndi Lauper and Camila Cabello.

  •  Drake, who claims the Number 1 spot on this week’s Official Singles Chart with his new single God’s Plan. The rapper and singer beat Eminem and Ramz to the finish line this week, both of who also had the top spot in their sights earlier this week.
  • Russell Simmons’ ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, is speaking out in support of the rap mogul following multiple sexual misconduct accusations, insisting he deserves “a fair trial”. The Def Jam Recordings co-founder is currently facing sexual misconduct and/or rape accusations from over 10 women, with at least seven claims under investigation by officials from the New York Police Department.

 

Sports

  • Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki beat Romanian Simona Halep to win her first Grand Slam title and regain the number one ranking at the Australian Open.
  • Defending long jump champion Greg Rutherford has pulled out of the England team for the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April. The 31-year-old, who has withdrawn despite having recently recovered from an ankle injury, said it was “not a decision that’s been easy to make”.

  • Kenya’s Mary Keitany will use male pacemakers in an attempt to break Paula Radcliffe’s ‘mixed-gender’ race world record at April’s 2018 London Marathon. The record of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds has stood for 15 years. Athletics’ world governing body recognises two world records – mixed-gender and women-only – and last year Keitany broke Radcliffe’s ‘women-only’ world best in a time of 2:17:01.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot as Real Madrid saw off Valencia to ease the pressure on boss Zinedine Zidane. It saw fourth-placed Real close the gap on the hosts to two points, with a game in hand, although they remain 16 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona.

 

Miscellaneous 

  • Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain have been close friends since working on The Help – and now, Chastain has helped Spencer negotiate five times her initial salary for a new comedy. They were discussing the film, produced by Chastain, when Spencer revealed she is paid less as a woman of colour. “Octavia – we’re going to get you paid on this film,” Chastain told her.

  • Rough sleeping in England has reached record levels – with figures published on Thursday showing an annual rise of 15%, representing a 169% increase since 2010. It’s no longer confined to London and the big cities – three quarters are outside the capital – and rough sleepers have been appearing in tents and shop doorways in towns where it seems unexpected and out of place.
  • The suspension of non-urgent operations to ease winter NHS pressures in England is to be lifted from February. Hospitals had been advised to defer non-urgent operations until mid-January, which was then extended in a bid to free up hospital staff and beds. Announcing the end of the suspension, an NHS emergency panel said pressures on the service had eased in January.

  • More Americans are seeking medical care for flu than at any time since the “swine” pandemic of nearly a decade ago, say US health officials. Thirty-seven children have died and nearly 12,000 patients have been admitted to hospital nationwide.