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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Wednesday morning UK news briefing: Brussels to offer olive branch

It comes as four more energy suppliers are in line to collapse amid soaring wholesale gas and electricity prices, leaving thousands more British households facing higher bills. A string of companies are on the brink of failure as crisis grips the energy market, with talks under way with industry regulator Ofgem. As Rachel Millard reports, company failures could be announced as soon as this morning.

Shatner to nervously go where no 90 year old has gone

It is one small step for man, one giant leap for an ageing TV sci-fi star. William Shatner, the 90-year-old actor who starred as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, is today due to blast off to the final frontier. He is hoping to become the first nonagenarian to achieve the feat as he sits atop a rocket launched by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space tourism company. Shatner, famed for his catchphrase “Beam me up, Scotty,” admitted: “I’m terrified.” Follow a video stream of the flight, which is due to launch at 3pm.

Daily dose of Matt

Today’s cartoon | View Matt‘s latest cartoon as he imagines the hot topics of conversation in Northern Ireland pubs. Got a question for Matt? Submit yours ahead of a live Q&A from 3pm.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Boycott ‘impedes peace’ | The Israeli foreign ministry has accused novelist Sally Rooney of impeding peace in the Middle East by refusing a request to have her book translated into Hebrew. The Irish author said she supported a cultural boycott and would not allow the translation rights for her latest novel to be sold to an Israeli-based publishing house. Jake Wallis Simons, deputy editor of the Jewish Chronicle, writes that it is nothing but a futile millennial gesture. And Allison Pearson argues that her juvenile view of the world is a worrying moment for our culture.

Around the world: Odd man out in North Korea

Kim Jong-un poses with fighter pilots at an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang. Military experts concluded the figure on the right, in the blue skin-tight suit with an odd-looking colourful hat, is a parachutist. For more striking pictures, view our world gallery.

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