Your morning briefing: What you should know for Wednesday, May 22

Jason Collie
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Your morning briefing: What you should know for Tuesday, June 18


Plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds to be banned in 2020

Plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds will be banned in England from next year.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed the ban on the supply of the items from April 2020 after consultation revealed huge public support for the move.

It is estimated that 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds are used each year in England.

Exemptions will include allowing those who need to use plastic straws for medical reasons or a disability to buy them from registered pharmacies or request them in restaurants, pubs and bars.


Farage wants place in EU's Brexit negotiating team

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will demand to have places on the EU negotiating team if it comes top in the European elections this week.

The fledgling party is currently leading the polls, with a seven-day rolling average yesterday predicting it will take home 34 per cent of the vote.

Speaking at a packed rally in west London last night, Mr Farage said representatives had to be allowed to join the EU negotiating team if his party wins the most votes.


May's new Brexit plan already facing trouble

Theresa May is expected to face hostile MPs as she sets out her latest Brexit deal in the Commons today.

Her new 10-point compromise plan has been dismissed by every group she was attempting to woo, including Labour, the DUP and Tory Brexiteers.

The last-ditch attempt to shore up support included offering a vote on whether to hold a second referendum, as well as a choice over the UK's future customs arrangements.

Mrs May’s move to appeal to Remainer MPs has already seen about 20 Conservatives who backed her deal last time announce they cannot vote for the latest version.


Alexa and Google Assistant voices 'reinforce negtative stereotypes about treating women'

A UN report has claimed the female voices used by AI virtual assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant reinforce gender stereotypes that portray women as subservient.

The UNESCO paper criticised voice-powered digital speakers and devices for making it appear that women are "obliging, docile and eager-to-please helpers”.

Researchers also claimed that the assistants’ responses to verbal abuse and sexual harassment reinforced bias that women were tolerant of poor treatment.

They are calling for gender-neutral vocies to be used.


Inquest to start into the death of Jeremy Kyle guest

An inquest is due to open later today into the death of a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

The ITV programme was axed following the death of Steve Dymond a week after he was filmed for the confrontational talk show.


Composting bodies approved in Washington state

Washington has become the first state in the US to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.

The process is being called natural organic reduction and turns a body into about two wheelbarrows' worth of soil in a span of several weeks when it is mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw.

Loved ones are then allowed to keep the soil to spread or even use it to plant vegetables or a tree.

Supporters say it is an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation.


On this day...

1455: In the War of the Roses, the Lancastrians defeated the Yorkists at the Battle of St Albans.

1611: James I created the title "baronet".

1859: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was born of Irish parents in Edinburgh.

1897: The Blackwall Tunnel under the Thames was officially opened.

1908: The Wright Brothers patented their flying machine.

1981: "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe was found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others. He was sentenced to 30 years minimum.