Your morning briefing: What you should know for Thursday, September 19

Sean Morrison

Major to tell court prorogation in 'political interest'

John Major is to tell the UK’s highest court that Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament was motivated by the Prime Minister’s “political interest”.

The Supreme Court will today hear from a host of supporters of a legal challenge over the controversial shutdown, including the former PM.

Sir John will not address the court himself, but his lawyers will argue against Mr Johnson’s shutdown ahead of the UK's planned exit from the European Union on October 31.

Today is the third and final day of the historic hearing.

Canada PM apology over 'brownface' photo

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised after a photo emerged showing him wearing “brownface” at a gala event in 2001.

Addressing the image, obtained by Time Magazine, Mr Trudeau said he was “deeply sorry" and “should have known better.”

The picture shows the PM with skin-darkening make-up on his face at a private school in Vancouver where he had been a teacher.

It emerged less than five weeks before a national vote in which he faces a tough fight for re-election.

Trump steps up oil attack retaliation threats

Donald Trump has warned that the US could “do some dastardly things” in retaliation over the recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

The president was asked about claims his “measured” response to Iran, which the Saudis claim is behind the attacks at the weekend, so far this year was a “sign of weakness.”

Mr Trump responded to the claim by saying: “Actually, I think it’s a sign of strength.

"We have the strongest military in the world now… There’s plenty of time to do some dastardly things.”

Card spending takes over cash for first time

Credit card spending has overtaken cash payments for the first time as the latter accounted for only just over 20 per cent of purchases in 2018.

The British Retail Consortium said the popularity of plastic last year pushed cash into third place, with debit cards remaining the most popular payment method.

Debit cards accounted for 56.8 per cent of sales by value, while credit and charge cards accounted for 21.5 per cent and cash made up 20.4 per cent of the total.

This means that plastic accounted for nearly 80 per cent of retail sales by value last year.

Alec and Hilaria expecting baby - five months after miscarriage

Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria are expecting a baby, five months after suffering a miscarriage.

Hilaria, 35, revealed she was pregnant with the couple's fifth child in a post on social media last night.

Sharing a video of the baby's heartbeat on a monitor, she told her hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers: “there is a little person inside of me.”

"The sound of this strong heart makes me so happy - especially because of the loss we experienced in the spring.”

On this day...

1356: The English, led by Edward, the Black Prince, defeated the French at the Battle of Poitiers in the Hundred Years' War.

1876: The first carpet-sweeper was patented by Melville Bissell of Grand Rapids in Michigan.

1888: The world's first beauty contest took place in Spa, Belgium.

1928: The first cartoon talking picture, Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie, featuring Mickey Mouse, was shown in New York.

1945: Wartime traitor William Joyce - Lord Haw-Haw - was sentenced to be hanged after his trial at the Old Bailey.

1960: Chubby Checker's The Twist - a cover of an original Hank Ballard song - entered the US charts and launched a dance craze.

1975: The first episode of Fawlty Towers was broadcast by the BBC.

1985: More than 20,000 people died when an earthquake devastated large areas Of Mexico City.