News in brief

The Guardian Weekly - - Uk News -

Vince Ca­ble has pledged to of­fer an “exit from Brexit” as the new leader of the Lib­eral Democrats, sig­nalling he will con­tinue to push his party’s de­mand for a se­cond ref­er­en­dum on EU mem­ber­ship. The 74-year-old for­mer busi­ness sec­re­tary was named party leader as the only can­di­date on the bal­lot pa­per. Ca­ble had ini­tially been ret­i­cent to en­dorse calls for a se­cond ref­er­en­dum on the EU but said he was now con­vinced of the need to give the Bri­tish peo­ple a say on the fi­nal deal, which would in­clude the op­tion to re­main.

Brenda Hale has been ap­pointed as the first fe­male pres­i­dent of the UK’s supreme court. Lady Hale, a long­stand­ing cham­pion of di­ver­sity in the ju­di­ciary, has pre­vi­ously said the court should be ashamed if it did not im­prove its record on the is­sue. Leader com­ment, page 22 »

The num­ber of coun­cil and hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion tower blocks that have sim­i­lar cladding to that im­pli­cated in the Gren­fell Tower fire is about half what was orig­i­nally es­ti­mated, the gov­ern­ment has said. The com­mu­ni­ties sec­re­tary, Sa­jid Javid, said that while lo­cal author­i­ties and hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions ini­tially es­ti­mated that about 530 blocks over 18 me­tres high have such cladding, this was now put at no more than 240. All coun­cil blocks with alu­minium com­pos­ite ma­te­rial cladding and the ma­jor­ity of the so­cial hous­ing blocks with it have had sam­ples tested.

Drones will have to be reg­is­tered and users forced to take a safety aware­ness test un­der new reg­u­la­tions. Dozens of near-misses with air­craft around air­ports have stoked fears over the safety of drone use. Own­ers of drones weigh­ing more than 250g – heav­ier than many avail­able on the high street – will have to reg­is­ter their de­tails and demon­strate that they un­der­stand safety and pri­vacy laws that af­fect their use. The move fol­lows re­search that showed strikes by drones of more than 400g could crit­i­cally dam­age he­li­copter wind­screens, while a big­ger drone of about 2kg could crit­i­cally harm air­liner wind­screens at higher speeds.

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