News Daily: Zimbabwe violence and Australian gay marriage

Benedict Allen, pictured in 2016

Hello. Here’s your morning briefing:

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Zimbabwe military action ‘not a coup against Mugabe’

The military in Zimbabwe has insisted it is not staging a coup against President Robert Mugabe, after it took control of the national broadcaster. Heavy gunfire and artillery have been heard in the capital Harare, while armoured vehicles have been placed on roads outside the city. Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo read out a statement on TV, saying the army was “targeting criminals around” 93-year-old Mr Mugabe, who were “causing social and economic suffering in the country”.

The latest events came hours after Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF, accused the country’s army chief of “treasonable conduct”, after he warned of possible military intervention following the sacking of the vice-president.

The UK government is warning its citizens in Harare to stay at home until the “situation becomes clearer”. We’ll have all the latest updates on our live page. Plus, here’s the BBC’s profile of Zimbabwe.

Australians vote to allow same-sex marriage

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he wants to pass a law allowing gay marriage by Christmas, after the country’s voters backed the idea in a poll. The non-binding postal vote saw 61.6% supporting the idea, with 79.5% of those eligible taking part. It followed years of bitter debate on the issue, with supporters and opponents accusing each other of bullying and misleading.

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Ministers see off early Brexit bill challenges

MPs are to begin a second day of detailed scrutinising of the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill. On day one, ministers saw off challenges. Amendments tabled by Labour – on workers’ rights and the environment – will be discussed later. Meanwhile, several Conservative MPs have criticised the government for setting 23:00 GMT on 29 March 2019 as the specific time and date for Brexit, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that up to 15 of them could vote against it. One of the MPs, Anna Soubry, accused the newspaper of “bullying”.

California gunman kills four in rampage

A gunman has gone on the rampage in California, killing four people and injuring 10. Officials say the shooting, in Rancho Tehama, about 120 miles (195km) from Sacramento, began as a “domestic violence incident”. Police shot dead the gunman, who tried to get into a school.

Why I donated my eggs

By Elaine Chong

At university, a professor told us that egg banks wanted young, healthy women who were well-educated, but that there was a real shortage of women of colour. I thought about people like me – from a Chinese background – who might have fertility problems and want to have children really badly. I thought about my gay male friends who spoke at length about wanting to be good parents and how my gift could help them, too. The professor talked about how each egg could be worth up to $3,000 (£2,280) which made the lecture hall go: “Ooooooh!”

Read the full article

What the papers say

Brexit dominates once more, with the Daily Telegraph showing photographs of the 15 Conservative MPs it accuses of being “mutineers” – by opposing setting in law a date for leaving the EU – on its front page. The Daily Express says Labour is secretly plotting to “derail” Brexit, while the Guardian reports that more than 400 fake Twitter accounts were run from Russia in an effort to influence the outcome of last year’s referendum. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail calls the UK a “nation of pill-poppers”, saying half of the country’s pensioners are taking at least five drugs a day.

Daily digest

Booze verdict Supreme Court to decide whether Scotland’s minimum alcohol price is legal

Public sector pay Scrap the cap for everyone, think tank tells ministers

Misleading students? Six universities told to take down marketing claims

Sweetie time Indulgent grandparents “bad for children’s health”

Commuter misery What exactly is signal failure and how can it be stopped?

Rocket science Why is the United Arab Emirates planning to grow lettuce on Mars?

If you watch one thing today

How Iceland dramatically cut teenage drinking

If you listen to one thing today

The first skyscrapers

If you read one thing today

The singer sent death threats from the deaf community

Today’s lookahead

09:30 The Office for National Statistics announces the UK unemployment figure for the three months to September.

12:00 Theresa May faces Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and other MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions.

13:00 The host country for the men’s 2023 Rugby World Cup is announced, with France, Ireland and South Africa in the running.

On this day

1985 The UK and the Republic of Ireland’s prime ministers sign the Anglo-Irish agreement, giving Dublin a role in Northern Ireland for the first time in more than 60 years.

From elsewhere

Canadians welcome Arctic Ocean highway (Guardian)

How do bike-share schemes make money? (Sydney Morning Herald)

How to get rich playing video games online (New Yorker)

What’s inside Tamara Ecclestone’s £5m wardrobe? (Marie Claire)

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