News Daily: Hurricane Michael hits, and Major’s universal credit ‘poll tax’ warning

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‘Hell’ as Hurricane Michael hits Florida

Hurricane Michael has hit north-west Florida, bringing winds of 125mph (200km/h) and flooding beach towns. The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the area, it’s left almost half a million people without electricity, while one person has been killed by a falling tree.

Michael is so powerful it has retained hurricane status – rather than being downgraded – as it moves inland. Florida Governor Rick Scott warned of “unimaginable devastation”. Michael has already killed 13 people as it moved through Central America.

“We are catching some hell,” said Timothy Thomas, who stayed at home with his wife in Panama City Beach as the storm passed. Video footage shows the devastation.

BBC Weather looks at how hurricanes form.

Major: Universal credit could repeat poll tax problems

Universal credit is the Conservative government’s key welfare reform, but former Tory prime minister Sir John Major has questioned the way it’s being handled. He told the BBC the thinking behind the change was “impeccable”, but those who faced losing out in the short term had to be protected, “or you run into the sort of problems the Conservative Party ran into with the poll tax in the late 1980s”. Theresa May has promised protection during the rollout of universal credit.

It’s a benefit for working-age people that consolidates six separate benefits into one monthly payment. Take a look at our explainer.

Firms may be forced to reveal ethnicity pay gap figures

Theresa May has unveiled plans for companies to reveal their ethnicity pay gaps. The prime minister said minorities often felt they were “hitting a brick wall” at work and promised to work towards greater equality. A consultation on the plans will run until January. This follows a decision to make firms reveal their gender pay gaps.

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Save the world? Go ‘flexitarian’

Scientists often warn that we have to change our lifestyles if we want to reduce climate change. The latest suggestion is to take on a “flexitarian” diet. It involves eating mainly plant-based foods, limiting water use and pollution. Dr Marco Springmann of Oxford University said the flexitarian regime was similar to the “Mediterranean” diet, and should include no more than one portion of red meat a week. Here are your questions on climate change answered.

How good/bad is the NHS where you live?

The NHS is under pressure to deal with more patients. National figures are important, but how are things going in your area? We’ve put together a postcode search tool, giving details of waiting times for A&E, cancer care, planned operations and care and psychological treatment such as counselling. Give it a try.

Meanwhile, the public is facing growing “care injustice” as people are finding it more difficult to get help in England, the health regulator is warning.

‘Why I can’t come out at home’

By Shivani Dave & Michael Baggs, Newsbeat

Twenty-four-year-old Frankie grew up in Australia, where gay marriage was legalised in 2017. But despite having a mum who campaigned for that bill to be passed, pansexual Frankie says she doubts she could ever come out in her home country.

“My older sister is bisexual and watching her come out to mum and not be accepted was really tough,” Frankie says. “I think it came from a place of wanting to protect me because she had the view that the life of a gay person was more difficult than the life of a straight person.”

Read the full article

What the papers say

The Daily Mail and the Times lead on the plan to make companies reveal ethnic minority salary gaps. The Daily Telegraph says Theresa May is to ask the cabinet on Thursday to agree a backstop plan to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU after Brexit until a permanent trade deal can be agreed. But the i leads with the threat by the DUP to vote against the Budget unless the PM compromises on her Brexit plans. Elsewhere, the faces of comedian Seann Walsh and his Strictly Come Dancing professional partner Katya Jones appear on several front pages, after their apology, having been shown kissing. “Seann the sheepish” is Metro’s take.

Daily digest

Fraud “Alarming” rise in number of young victims

London Bridge attack Skateboard hero to receive posthumous bravery award

Singapore to New York World’s longest non-stop flight relaunches

Upright posture Standing desks “boost work performance”

If you see one thing today

Fighting fires with goats

If you listen to one thing today

Social media and loneliness

If you read one thing today

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Jonathan Brady

Eugenie’s wedding: What’s the cost and who’s paying?

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Lookahead

17:45 The International Dance Championships take place at London’s Albert Hall.

19:45 Scotland’s men’s football team are away to Israel in the Nations League.

On this day

1982 The Mary Rose, flagship of King Henry VIII, is raised to the surface after 437 years at the bottom of the Solent.

From elsewhere

Revealed: The UK’s best and worst cities for disposable income (Daily Mail)

How Sputnik changed my life (National Geographic)

Sarah Jessica Parker: Shopgirl (New York Times)

Is walking the new holiday of choice for millennials? (Independent)

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