The Rundown – 8.01.18

Jan 8 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

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel will launch a new round of coalition talks on Sunday in a bid to end the country’s political stalemate. More than three months after its election, Germany is still without a new government. The five-day talks will include Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), her allies the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD). Experts say this may be her last chance to form a stable coalition.

  • Theresa May will reshuffle her cabinet on Monday, with junior ministerial jobs being reassigned on Tuesday. Several newspapers are reporting that Justine Greening will lose her role as education secretary, and a new first secretary of state will be appointed following Damian Green’s sacking. They say Boris Johnson, David Davis and Amber Rudd will stay in place.

  • Donald Trump has rejected doubts over his mental health raised in a bombshell new book, describing the book as “fiction” and the author as a “fraud”. His remarks followed an earlier rebuttal on Twitter, in which the president claimed he was a “very stable genius” who was “like, very smart”. Michael Wolff’s new book suggests that even the president’s closest advisors question his fitness for office.

  • The Conservative Party should “come clean” about how many members it has, its former chairman has said. Grant Shapps said “transparency” on membership numbers was vital even if the figure appeared to be “embarrassing”. The party last published figures in 2013, when it had 149,800 members but has refused to publish an update since then. Activists and academics have estimated it has fallen to 100,000, or less.

  • Prime Minister Theresa May has dropped plans to hold a vote on the fox-hunting ban during this parliament. The Conservatives promised a vote on repealing the Hunting Act – which bans the use of dogs to hunt foxes and wild mammals – during the 2017 general election campaign. But Mrs May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show there was a “clear message” against it from the public.

 

World

  • Thousands of people attended the first AfroPunk festival to be held on the continent. The celebration of alternative black culture was held in the South African city of Johannesburg recently.
  • Thirteen people have been killed in an attack in the restive southern Senegalese region of Casamance. Hospital workers who have seen the bodies said some of the victims had been shot, others decapitated. The dead are said to be teenagers. It is not clear yet who carried out the attack.

  • US astronaut John Young, who flew to the moon twice and commanded the first ever space shuttle mission, has died aged 87, Nasa said. “Today, Nasa and the world have lost a pioneer,” agency chief Robert Lightfoot said in a statement. Young was the only person to have flown missions on the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programmes.

  • Some of the UK’s largest retailers have agreed to voluntarily stop sales of acids to customers under 18 years old. The move comes amid continuing concern over the use of corrosive substances as a weapon. In the year to last April, police recorded more than 500 attacks in England and Wales, double the number five years ago, with the majority of incidents in London. A fifth of attackers who had been identified were under 18 years old.

  • At least eight migrants have drowned and 84 have been rescued after a rubber dinghy sank off the coast of Libya, the Italian coastguard said. Dozens of others might still be missing, the Spanish rescue charity Proactiva Open Arms said. It is believed to be the first sinking of a migrant boat in the Mediterranean in 2018.

 

Technology

  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to “fix” Facebook, in what he described as his personal challenge for 2018. In a post on his page on the social network, he said it was making too many errors enforcing policies and preventing misuse of its tools. Mr Zuckerberg has famously set himself challenges every year since 2009.

  • Apple has said that all iPhones, iPads and Mac computers are affected by two major flaws in computer chips. It emerged this week that tech companies have been racing to fix the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, that could allow hackers to steal data. Billions of PCs, smartphones and tablets around the world are affected – Apple has now confirmed its products are too.

  • A musician who made a 10-hour long video of continuous white noise – indistinct electronic hissing – has said five copyright infringement claims have been made against him. Sebastian Tomczak, who is based in Australia, said he made the video in 2015 and uploaded it to YouTube. The claimants accusing him of infringement include publishers of white noise intended for sleep therapy.

 

Music

  • According to new data from Spotify, Eminem’s 2002 hit Till I Collapse is the most popular song globally on the platform’s workout playlists, closely followed by Post Malone’s Rockstar and Eminem’s Lose Yourself at number three.
  • Justin Timberlake has returned with Filthy, the first single to be taken from forthcoming Man Of The Woods.

Sports

  • Barcelona will sign Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho in a £142m deal, one of the most expensive transfers of all time. The Reds are expected to receive £105m up front – a British record – for the 25-year-old Brazil international, with the rest in realistic add-ons. The playmaker will sign a five-and-half year deal at the Nou Camp and will have a buyout clause of 400m euros (£355m).

  • Mark Hughes has been sacked as manager of Stoke City, just hours after the club’s FA Cup third-round exit at the hands of League Two Coventry City. A run of five defeats in seven Premier League games also contributed to Hughes’ departure and he leaves with the club in the relegation zone.

  • Novak Djokovic will take part in two exhibition tournaments next week before deciding whether to play at the Australian Open. The 30-year-old former world number one has been out for the last six months with an elbow injury.

  • Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from this month’s Australian Open in Melbourne. The 36-year-old American last week played her first match since giving birth in September. Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam winner and the reigning Australian Open champion, said: “Although I am super close, I’m not where I want to be.”

 

Miscellaneous

  • Waitrose is to ban the sale of high-caffeine energy drinks to children aged under 16. The supermarket said customers buying drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre would be asked to prove their age from 5 March. It follows concerns over the impact of sugar and caffeine on children.

  • Actor and comedian Jerry Van Dyke, who won four Emmy nominations for his role in the US sitcom Coach, has died at 86. His wife Shirley Ann Jones told US media he had died at his Arkansas ranch on Friday.

  • More students are cheating in GCSE and A-level exams in England, with the number caught last summer up a quarter on the previous year, new figures show. Exam boards issued 2,715 penalties to students for malpractice in 2017 against 2,180 in 2016, Ofqual said.

  • The government is to set up 35 “English hubs” across the country in an attempt to improve child literacy. The hubs are among a raft of new measures announced by Education Secretary Justine Greening. A £5.7m investment will aim to boost literacy skills in 469 schools, whilst a £7.7m hopes to develop high quality teaching resources.

  • Ladbrokes, Easyjet and Virgin Money are among the major companies to reveal gender pay gaps of more than 15% in favour of men for mean hourly pay. Organisations with 250 or more workers must publish their figures by April and so far 527 firms have done so. Women’s hourly pay rates are 52% lower than men’s at Easyjet. On average, women earn 15% less per hour at Ladbrokes and 33% less at Virgin Money.