Commonwealth ‘makes secret plans’ for next head

The BBC says the Commonwealth has set up a secret “high-level group” to ask who should succeed the Queen as head of the multi-national organisation after her death. The role is not hereditary and will not pass automatically to her son. The bloc, formed around the British empire, now has 53 member states. The Queen is head of state of 15.

ANC to formally request Zuma steps down

South Africa’s ruling ANC will make a formal demand that President Jacob Zuma steps down, after he refused repeated requests to do so. If Zuma ignores the recall demand, the next step for the party he no longer leads will be a no-confidence vote. The 75-year-old, in power since 2009, has been dogged for years by allegations of corruption.

Kim hails Korean reconciliation as sister returns

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has called for further reconciliation between the two Koreas after his sister returned home from South Korea, where she had led the official delegation to the Winter Olympics. Kim Yo-jong’s visit was the most talked-about aspect of the games, with some complaining of her links to human rights abuses.

Judge to rule on Julian Assange arrest warrant

A British judge will rule today on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s latest bid to avoid arrest over sexual assault charges in Sweden. The charges have now been dropped but Assange is still in the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, where has lived for six years. The case could force the Government to disclose any US extradition requests.

Charity Commission to investigate Oxfam scandal

The Charity Commission is to investigate Oxfam’s handling of a 2011 scandal, when senior staff in Haiti used prostitutes, possibly underage. The watchdog says it believes Oxfam may not have “fully and frankly disclosed material details”. The charity’s deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, has already stood down over the scandal.

US policeman fired for not shooting wins damages

A police officer in Virginia who was sacked for refusing to shoot a black man has been awarded $ 175,000 (£126,000) for wrongful dismissal. Stephen Mader arrived at a domestic incident to find RJ Williams apparently armed and distraught. Mader attempted to calm Williams, only for another officer to arrive and shoot Williams dead.

Trump Jr wife in hospital over white powder

Vanessa Trump, wife of US President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Jr, was taken to hospital yesterday as a precaution after she opened an envelope sent to her husband which contained a white powder. New York police say the powder has been tested and was not hazardous. Trump Jr said the incident was “disgusting” but his family was safe.

Snapchat redesign prompts 600,0000-signature petition

More than 600,000 people have signed a petition demanding that social network SnapChat reverses a new redesign which has proved unpopular. The petition says many of the app’s typically young users find the update has made it harder to use. According to Buzzfeed News: “Teens are losing it over Snapchat’s unpopular app redesign.”

South Korea holds first robot skiing tournament

The world’s first skiing tournament for robots took place yesterday on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Eight robotics teams entered a humanoid competitor for a $ 10,000 (£7,000) prize on a beginner’s slope one hour west of Pyeongchang. The robots were required to spot flags themselves, turning on skis to avoid them.

Briefing: James Bulger murder, 25 years on

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the abduction of James Bulger. His murder at the hands of two ten-year-olds shocked Britain and sparked a nationwide debate as to the criminal responsibility of children.

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