Hello. Here’s your morning briefing:
Mass shooting at Florida school
Students were getting ready to leave Stoneman Douglas High at the end of the day when the Code Red alarm sounded. A gunman had entered the building and by the time he was apprehended at least 17 people had been fatally wounded. The suspect has been named as former student Nikolas Cruz, who is now in custody. This is what we know about him so far, including, it seems, that his social media content raised eyebrows. One ex-classmate, Matthew Walker, said: “Everything he posts is about weapons. It’s sick.” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel summed up the shooting in a tweet, writing: “It’s catastrophic. There really are no words.”
Deadly mass shootings in the US are getting worse and claiming more lives – as our video explains – and this one, like every one before it, will inevitably spark debate about gun control. President Barack Obama has said an inability to pass “common sense gun safety laws” is his biggest regret – this is what his successor has said on the matter.
Here are five reasons why tighter gun laws won’t happen – among them, as the BBC’s David Willis, puts it, the “clout” of the National Rifle Association. Unfamiliar with the NRA? This is what it is and why it’s so powerful.
Ultra-processed food ‘linked to cancer’
Cakes, pizza, fizzy drinks, instant noodles. They are just some of the foods labelled “ultra processed” and which could, according to French researchers, be linked to cancer. A study of 105,000 people hinted that the more of such foods people ate, the greater their risk.
It is far from the definitive take on the issue and there could be many other factors at play. But nevertheless, Prof Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said it was a “warning signal to us to have a healthy diet” – while adding that people should not worry about eating a bit of processed food “here and there”.
Embattled Zuma steps down
South Africa’s embattled President Jacob Zuma has been facing intense pressure to quit or face a vote of no confidence, and now he has done so after nine years in power. The BBC’s Milton Nkosi says it marks the end of an era – an era of one corruption allegation after another, of divisions, infighting and public squabbles. Much of the controversy around Mr Zuma surrounds his relationship with the ultra-rich Gupta family – more about that here.
The focus now turns to what’s next for South Africa.
Austria, the ashtray of Europe?
By Bethany Bell, BBC News, Vienna
Many Western countries have banned smoking in bars and restaurants, but Austria is bucking that trend. Under a law passed in 2015, Austria was due to bring in a total ban, but now its new government of the conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party has scrapped the plans. The move was spearheaded by the leader of the Freedom Party, Austria’s Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, himself a smoker, who told parliament last month that it was about freedom of choice. He said restaurants should be free to decide if they want to have smoking sections, where a diner can “decide perhaps to enjoy a cigarette or a pipe or a cigar with their coffee”.
What the papers say
Several papers, including the Daily Mail, lead with that research linking processed food and cancer. The paper says the research “reveals the threat in half the food British families buy”. The Times notes that while the research “cannot prove that processing increases cancer risk”, it “underlines the importance of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables rather than pizza and crisps”. Elsewhere, the Telegraph leads with the ongoing Stormont crisis, believing that it “undermines Theresa May’s authority” and throws a Brexit border deal into doubt. Finally, the i’s headline picks up on picks up on the grim familiarity of the news from the US of “another” American school shooting.
Cyber attacks Russian military behind malicious attack on Ukraine, ministers say
Life expectancy Gap between rich and poor has widened since 2001, study suggests
Steel pensions Retirees were targeted by “vulture” financial advisers, MPs say
Brexit latest EU removes “punishment clause”
Snapchat One million call for rollback of latest redesign
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09:30 Annual update on air pollution in the UK. Running since 1970, the survey breaks down the sources of pollution by sector – road transport, energy industries, manufacturing etc.
Today: Jury in the Barry Bennell trial continues its deliberations. The ex-football coach was convicted of multiple sexual offences on Tuesday – verdicts are outstanding on a further seven.
On this day
1971 Pounds, shillings and pence begin to go the way of the dodo as the British government launches a new decimal currency.