Your morning briefing: What you should know for Thursday, July 18

Sean Morrison

Trump launches fresh attack on 'squad' Congresswomen

Donald Trump has launched a fresh attack on four Congresswomen known as the “squad”.

The president used a campaign rally in North Carolina last night to brand the four lawmakers “hate-filled extremists”.

The so-called “squad” – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar – have been targets of the US leader in recent days.

It began when Mr Trump sparked a race row on Sunday by tweeting that they should “go back” to other countries.

He was forced to deny he is a racist amid the widespread outrage over the remarks.

Several feared dead in 'arson attack' on animation studio

Several people are feared dead and dozens more are hurt after a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan.

The fire broke out at 10:30am local time after a man burst into Kyoto Animation and spread an unidentified liquid, police said.

Japanese authorities said at least 38 people have been injured, some critically.

More than 70 people were in the three-storey building at the time, according to local fire department officials.

Public broadcaster NHK reported earlier that at least 30 people were left injured and that 10 were unconscious.

Kevin Spacey groping case thrown out by prosecutors

Prosecutors have dropped a case accusing Kevin Spacey of groping an 18-year-old man at a Massachusetts bar in 2016.

The actor was accused of getting an 18-year-old man drunk and groping him at a bar where the teenager worked as a busboy.

Spacey denied the allegations.

The case struggled as his accuser refused to testify about text messages the defence said were deleted.

Boris waves smoked kipper as he rages against EU food rules

Boris Johnson waved a smoked kipper above his head as he used the final Tory leadership hustings to hit out at EU food rules.

The favourite to take over as prime minister brandished the fish as he addressed thousands of party members at the event in London.

Mr Johnson, who has pledged to deliver Brexit by October, said kipper smokers are "furious" with the bloc's food regulations.

He also said the entirety of outgoing PM Theresa May's Brexit deal was "effectively defunct".

His rival Jeremy Hunt said the Withdrawal Agreement was “dead” and added he would seek to alter the Northern Ireland backstop.

Young motorists could be banned from driving at night

Young drivers could be banned from the road at night under plans to improve safety, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said.

Ministers are considering the introduction of a graduated licence system for novice drivers in England.

It comes after figures showed a fifth of motorists are involved in an accident during their first year behind the wheel.

This scheme could feature restrictions such as a minimum learning period, not driving at night and not driving with passengers under a certain age.

Paul McCartney to write musical in career first

Sir Paul McCartney has teamed up with playwright Lee Hall to write his first musical — a version of It’s A Wonderful Life.

The former Beatle is writing the music and working on the lyrics with Hall who wrote the hit film and stage versions of Billy Elliot.

It will be produced by fellow scouser and theatre impresario Bill Kenwright who first approached Sir Paul with the idea three years ago.