Pope Francis says choosing pets over children is ‘selfish’
Pope Francis has criticised “selfish” pet owners who prefer to have cats and dogs over children.
The Pope’s comments came during a general audience at the Vatican in Rome, where he said couples raising pets rather than children were denying themselves the “richness” of parenthood and contributing to decreasing birth rates
“Today… we see a form of selfishness,” he told the audience. “We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh, but it is a reality. Renouncing parenthood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity.”
ITN boss Deborah Turness named new BBC chief of news and current affairs
Deborah Turness, chief executive of ITN, has agreed to become the BBC’s first chief executive of News and Current Affairs, following a charm offensive by Director-General Tim Davie.
Highly-regarded within the industry, Ms Turness, previously the first President of NBC News International, rejected an initial approach by Mr Davie to take on the politically-sensitive BBC role, which will pay £400,000. However after further discussions, Ms Turness agreed to replace Fran Unsworth, who steps down this month after four turbulent years in charge of BBC news.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers push for retrial as second juror reveals child sex abuse
A juror in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial who revealed he was sexually abused as a child has hired a criminal lawyer, after the convicted British socialite’s legal team said they will seek a retrial.
It comes after a second anonymous juror told media they had also been sexually abused as a child, saying it had been discussed during deliberation before guilty verdicts were returned against Maxwell last week on sex trafficking charges.
The revelations have prompted Maxwell’s lawyers to argue for having a mistrial declared, saying there were “incontrovertible grounds” for a new trial to serve the interest of justice.
Australia and Japan join forces with ‘historic’ security pact in signal to China
The leaders of Australia and Japan have signed a defence agreement that will allow their armed forces to operate side by side in one another’s territory, in the latest effort to resist the growing assertiveness of China.
The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) was described by both sides as a historic step and positions Japan as Australia’s second most important security partner after the US. A senior analyst from an Australian think-tank said the new defense pact sends a strong message to China that the two countries will work closely to ensure a stable Indo-Pacific region.
Boris Johnson sparks anger from his ethics adviser as sleaze row rumbles on
The Prime Minister has been criticised by his ethics adviser for acting “unwisely” during an investigation into the funding of his £112,000 Downing Street flat refurbishment.
Whatsapp messages published on Thursday show the PM asking Lord Brownlow to clear spending on the renovations as the flat was “a bit of a tip”. In the same message he also told Lord Brownlow he would take action on his “great exhibition plan.” The Tory peer then had a meeting with a Government minister about this plan.
It fell to Conservative donor Lord Brownlow – not the PM or his officials – to reveal these messages to the Electoral Commission.
While ethics chief Lord Geidt said that the PM did not set out to deliberately mislead him when he failed to declare his secret messages with a Tory donor, he went on to suggest that the PM wouldn’t have been cleared of breaching sleaze rules if he had provided the WhatsApp exchanges at the first time of asking.
First person in UK to test positive for new strain ‘upset’ after ducks are culled
The first Briton to test positive for a new strain of bird flu has revealed the last two weeks have been “like a nightmare” after his ducks were culled.
Alan Gosling, 79, has been identified as the first human to contract avian flu, reportedly from a flock of ducks he was caring for at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon.
Health authorities traced all of Mr Gosling’s contacts and said they don’t believe the infection has spread to anyone else. The World Health Organisation has been notified.
Russian spacecraft plunges to Earth after major failure
A chunk of Russian spacecraft that flew of control and plunged back down to Earth has re-entered the atmosphere in the Pacific Ocean.
Since the failed test flight of the Angara A5 rocket on 27 December the upper stage, known as Persei, has been in an uncontrolled fall back down to Earth. The speed and size of the object made it difficult to predict when and where it would finally plunge back down to Earth.
However on Wednesday evening the 18th Space Control Squadron confirmed the re-entry occurred at 4:08pm EST over the South Pacific. No other details were provided.
Downing Street rules out delaying April tax rise despite concerns
Downing Street has ruled out delaying a tax rise this April despite increasing concern among Tory MPs and cabinet ministers over the toll on cost of living.
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said there were no plans to delay the 1.25 percentage point rise in national insurance, which is expected to raise £12bn. However Jacob Rees-Mogg, the House of Commons leader, is understood to have asked chancellor Rishi Sunak during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting to reconsider the increase.