News in 5 Minutes: Japan’s emperor could abdicate, May’s grammar school opposition and it’s Strictly after all for Ed Balls

Maxine Blane

CommonSpace brings you the news so you don’t have to go looking for it

TODAY’S INSTALMENT (8 August) of the CommonSpace daily news roundup includes: Emperor Akihito talks around abdication, May could face grammar school opposition, and it’s Strictly after all for Ed Balls.

News: Emperor Akihito talks around the issue of abdication in televised speech

Japan’s Emperor Akihito has made his second ever televised speech to the nation

In his second ever televised speech to the Japanese people, Emperor Akihito has talked around the issue of abdication and state duty, the BBC reports. While the Emperor did not mention abdication directly, which may have been seen as political, he spoke of how his ill health and old age might impinge on him carrying out his duties. On the possibility of continuing As Emperor in a reduced capacity, he said : “I think it is not possible to continue reducing perpetually the emperor's acts in matters of state”.

Bomb at hospital in Quetta in Pakistan kills 42 people

A bomb at a hospital in Quetta, a city in the south-west of Pakistan, has killed 42 people. Gunfire was reported after the explosion, and it remains unclear who carried out the attack. Dozens were injured including lawyers and journalists who were escorting the body of prominent lawyer Bilal Anwar Kasi, who was shot on Monday. Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, spoke against the attack, saying: “No-one will be allowed to disturb the peace of the province”.

Mexican storm death toll reaches 38

Flooding and landslides caused by Tropical Storm Earl in eastern Mexico have raised the death toll of the storm to 38 people. Originally categorised as a hurricane when it made landfall in Belize, Earl was downgraded to a tropical storm but still caused massive destruction when it reached Mexico. The state of Puebla has seen 28 casualities and is the worst hit by the storm, after an entire hill collapsed in the remote town of Huauchinango and engulfed a nearby village.

Politics: May could face opposition over grammar school plans

Theresa May has indicated that the party could could consider grammar schools plans at Conservatives autumn conference

Theresa May could face opposition from modernising Conservatives over plans to extended selection in schools. Downing Street issued a statement at the weekend stating that “every child should be allowed to rise as far as their talents will take them and birth should never be a barrier”. However, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has spoken against extending selection, saying: “Selection belongs in the dustbin of history and has no place in modern society. There must be no going back.”

Queen Street tunnel reopens on time and on-budget

The Queen Street rail tunnel in Glasgow has reopened after 20 weeks of works that involved renewing almost 2,000 metres of concrete and installing 4,000m of new rails. The tunnel reopened a day ahead of schedule and on-budget. Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said it had been an unpredecendented undertaking not only because of the extensive engineering works but also because of the efforts involved in redirecting people during the closure.

Sport: Andy Murray wins opening singles match, but loses in doubles outing

Andy Murray and brother Jamie are out of the Olympic doubles tennis competition

Defenging gold medal holder Andy Murray has won his opening Olympic singles tennis match against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-2. He and brother Jamie lost their doubles match against Brazillian pair Thomaz Bellucci and Andre Sa, meaning they will not progress in the Olympic doubles competition.

Russian athletes banned from Rio 2016 Paralympic games after doping scandal

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed that Russian athletes will be banned from competing in the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio, the BBC reports. The IPC opened the suspension process after the release of the McLaren report which revealed a state sponsored doping scandal in Russian sport.

Culture: Scots indy film wins four awards at Illinois film festival

Where Do We Go From Here won in four categories at US film festival

Where Do We Go From Here, the debut feature from Scots indy filmmakers Worrying Drake Productions, has won in four categories at a film festival in Illinois in the US. The romantic comedy, which has also won awards at the Sydney Film Festival, won awards for Best Score, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (for Richard Addison) and Best Actor (for Tyler Collins) at the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival.

Weather: Clouds forecast, but sun is shining

Overcast weather set to hang around after weekend

After high winds at the weekend, overcast conditions are set to continue at the beginning of the week. Scattered showers are also forecast. The sun doesn’t get a mention, but that doesn't seem to have stopped it appearing in the sky above the CommonSpace office.

And another thing: It’s Strictly after all for Ed Balls

Ed Balls will compete in the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing

After repeated speculation, it has been confirmed that ex-MP Ed Balls will compete in the upcoming series of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The former shadow chancellor was the first contestant to be announced for the new series. The Strictly twittter account celebrated his joining the competition with a familiar proclamation:


Pictures courtesy of Richard Hopkins, thierry ehrmannForeign and Commonwealclogsilk, Twitter/Blue Whiskey Independent Film FestivalJames

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