News Daily: Salmond sexual assault claims and Brexiteers angry at Hammond

By Victoria King
BBC News


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Salmond denies allegations

Scotland's former First Minister Alex Salmond has reportedly been accused of sexually assaulting two staff members at his official residence while he was in office. According to the Daily Record, police are investigating. Mr Salmond - MP for Banff and Buchan until 2017 - denies any wrongdoing and says some of the claims are "patently ridiculous".

He is now taking the Scottish government to court over what he calls the "grossly unfair" complaints procedure initiated against him. It's "unjust" and "unlawful", he says, that he has not been allowed to see and therefore properly challenge the evidence against him. The Scottish government said it would "defend its position vigorously".

Alex Salmond brought the SNP as close as it's ever been to the dream of independence when he secured a referendum in 2014, but he quit after the Scottish public rejected that opportunity.

'More Project Fear'

Just hours after Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab sought to play down the risk of a no-deal Brexit, the chancellor has done the exact opposite. Far from causing "potential short-term disruption", as his colleague put it, Philip Hammond has reiterated a warning that it would wipe nearly 8% off the value of the UK economy and leave public borrowing £80bn a year higher.

As you'd expect, Conservative Brexiteers are angry with Mr Hammond. One MP, Marcus Fysh, accused him of embarking on "another instalment of dodgy project fear". Jacob Rees-Mogg put it unpleasantly if poetically: "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly."

BBC correspondents have picked out the key details from the first tranche of no-deal Brexit advice published on Thursday. It includes warnings of a likely rise in credit card charges. More government guidance will follow soon.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Trade Organisation - whose trade and tariff rules the UK would fall back on in the event of no-deal - has told the BBC such a scenario "would not be the end of the world... but it's not going to be a walk in the park". What would the WTO option look like? Let us explain.

Hotel evacuated

Three hundred Thomas Cook holidaymakers are being removed from a hotel in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada after a British couple died. What happened to John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley, isn't yet clear, but the company said it was evacuating as a precaution after "further reports of a raised level of illness among guests". Anyone due to stay at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel with Thomas Cook in the next four weeks is being offered alternative accommodation.

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How Netflix used shapeshifting to explore teenage life

By Steven McIntosh, BBC Entertainment reporter

Who would you shapeshift into given the choice? For Percelle Ascott, the star of Netflix's new series The Innocents, which deals with the issue of morphing into the body of somebody else, the answer is obvious. "Will Smith," he says instantly. "I just like him as a person, as an individual." But, he adds diplomatically: "I'd like to shapeshift into any person, to understand a new perspective, and hope that that changes my perspective." It's a device co-creator and writer Hania Elkington says was the perfect way to explore the difficulties of being a teenager.

What the papers say

The smiling face of British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, reunited with her daughter after being temporarily freed from an Iranian prison, appears on most front pages. The Daily Telegraph says the 40-year-old "was still in her nightclothes when the news she didn't dare believe came through". Elsewhere, the "cabinet rift" over Philip Hammond's latest no-deal Brexit warning features widely. The i notes that it came "minutes after Brexit secretary tells public: Don't panic, you'll barely notice us leaving Europe". "What does Hammond think he's playing at?" asks the Daily Express, accusing him of reigniting "the Tory feud over Europe". The Times agrees the intervention "touched off a new round of hostilities" with Brexiteers. Finally, the Sun praises "brave Stephen Cullen" who tackled a teen trying to steal his car despite being "stark naked".

Daily digest

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'Inexcusable' Jewish MP criticises Corbyn Zionism comments

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If you see one thing today

If you listen to one thing today

If you read one thing today

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Today International Trade Secretary Liam Fox continues his visit to China hoping to broker more deals

10:00 Formula 1 returns after its summer break, with practice ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix

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