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25 October 2019

Five things you need to know: Postmortems begin on lorry death victims

Plus, stop and search up by third, payday lender on brink of collapse, one million volunteers needed to tackle invasive species, and rats reduce stress driving tiny cars.

By New Statesman

Postmortems to begin on dead found in lorry

Postmortems to ascertain what caused the deaths of 39 people, thought to be Chinese migrants, found in a lorry this week are set to begin on Friday. Police, who have raided properties in Northern Ireland and are trying to work out if there is an organised crime link to the deaths, have also been given extra time to question the 25 year old driver of the vehicle.

Stop and search rises by almost a third

Incidents of police carrying out stop and search have risen by 32 per cent in the year to March, reversing almost a decade of downwards trends. The tactic, which is disproportionately likely to be experienced by black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, was used 370,454 times in England and Wales in the 12 months to March 2019, compared to 279,728 in the preceding 12 months.

Payday lender on brink of collapse

The UK’s largest payday lender, QuickQuid is on the brink of collapse after the US owner of the company that operates the brand, CashEuroNet UK, failed to come to an agreement to reduce the number of customers it must compensate over historic loans. The company’s troubles come just a year after the collapse of payday lender Wonga, which was also weighed down by a huge number of complaints over its lending practices.

One million volunteers needed to tackle invasive species

MPs have said that  more than one million volunteers are needed to tackle the rise of invasive species from outside the UK, such as Asian hornets and giant hogweed, which are costing the UK economy £1.7bn. The Environmental Audit Committee said that between 36 and 48 new invasive species would become established over the next decade and slowing their progress was vital to protecting the UK’s natural environment.

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Rats driving tiny cars have reduced stress

Scientists have reduced stress levels in rats by teaching them to drive tiny cars, in a study which researchers say could help identify non-pharmaceutical ways of treating stress. The team at the University of Richmond in the US trained the rats to steer the miniature vehicles by rewarding them with food, and found that the process led to reduced levels of stress hormones.