In a hurry? Here’s what you need to know this morning

Robert Piggott CofE infant school

Hello. Here’s your morning briefing:

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Is Mugabe arrest a coup or not?

Zimbabwe’s army has President Robert Mugabe under house arrest and it’s in control of the national broadcaster, but it continues to insist it has not staged a coup. The head of the African Union, Alpha Conde, differs, saying soldiers have “obviously attempted to take power”. So, what’s happening and what will the army do next?

The military’s actions come after its chief, Gen Constantino Chiengwa, said it was prepared to act to end purges within Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. That followed Mr Mugabe sacking Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, with Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace thought to be his likely replacement. She has reportedly fled to Namibia since the trouble started.

The BBC’s Anne Soy, in Zimbabwe, points out that the African Union expelled Egypt in 2013 after a coup there and the Zimbabwean military might be keen to avoid the same fate. How, then, can we work out when a coup is a coup?

Amid the confusion and semantics, here’s what we know so far about what’s going on in Zimbabwe.

‘Leonardo’ painting smashes sales record

The audience in the sales room at Christie’s in New York cheered and applauded as an unidentified buyer splashed out a record $450m (£341m) on a portrait of Christ, believed to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci. This followed bidding lasting almost 20 minutes. The painting, known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World), is one of fewer than 20 by Leonardo in existence. But some critics doubt it’s actually by him, one calling the work “inert, varnished, lurid, scrubbed over”. Anyway, the buyer smashed the previous highest price paid in a painting sale – $160m (£121m) for Picasso’s Women of Algiers.

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NHS England to offer breast cancer ‘breakthrough’ drugs

They’ve been described as “breakthrough” drugs in the battle to treat breast cancer, and now the NHS in England will give 8,000 patients access to palbociclib and ribociclib. The medications, approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), slow down advanced cancer for at least 10 months and can delay the need for chemotherapy. NICE had previously turned them down on grounds of cost.

Meeting the world’s most-travelled people

By Owen Amos, in Washington DC

Next year 79-year-old Bill Ashley’s going to the North Pole. Before then he’s heading to Colombia. Territory 260 is likely to be San Andres and Providencia, a Colombian archipelago in the Caribbean. “My friend and I are going to fly up there so I can check it off,” he says. So does he keep travelling to see new places? Or to tick things off a list? “It’s a little bit of both,” he admits.

Read the full article

What the papers say

Whether it’s a coup or not, the Zimbabwean army’s arrest of Robert Mugabe is all over the front pages. The Financial Times says its actions have broken the president’s “four-decade grip” on the country, but the Daily Telegraph asks whether this “is really change”. The Times reports that Mr Mugabe is expected to resign within the week. Elsewhere, the Daily Mail says Conservative MPs ready to defy the government over setting an exact time and date for Brexit face a “backlash” among the party’s grassroots.

Daily digest

Sexual assault claim Senate candidate Roy Moore’s lawyer raises doubts about woman’s evidence

Brexit Netherlands braces itself for “no deal”

Price of football Young fans “still put off” by high ticket prices

Social housing Ministers move debt to boost building

Is your home safe? Nasa forecasts which cities will flood as ice melts

If you watch one thing today

Sixties Soho’s dancing nudes

If you listen to one thing today

Remembering Solidarity

If you read one thing today

Going back to where we saw our parents shot

Today’s lookahead

07:00 The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Foundation Board meets to decide whether Russia’s anti-doping agency should be reinstated.

09:30 The Office for National Statistics releases UK retail figures for October.

18:30 Brexit Secretary David Davis speaks on the European economy at a conference in Berlin.

On this day

1979 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher names Sir Anthony Blunt, a former security service officer and personal adviser on art to the Queen, as the “fourth man” in the Cambridge spy ring.

From elsewhere

If we can beat Ebola, why not sleeping sickness too? (Independent)

Renaming Balkan airports to annoy the neighbours (Economist)

Watching the world’s plane-spotters (New York Times)

People share photos of the painfully obvious (Daily Mail)

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