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29 October 2019

Five things you need to know: “Serious shortcomings“ in Grenfell fire brigade response

Plus, organised crime review, BBC equal pay claims, Brits hurt in shark attack and woman killed by gender reveal.

By New Statesman

Report criticises “serious shortcomings” in response to Grenfell fire

There were “serious shortcomings” in the London Fire Brigade response to the Grenfell Tower fire and fewer people would have been killed if the service was better prepared, according to a report to be released on Tuesday by an inquiry into the 2017 blaze. Report author Sir Martin Moore-Bick praised the bravery of firefighters at the scene, but said the service’s preparedness for the fire, which killed 72 people, was “gravely inadequate”.

Review into organised crime planned

A major review into organised crime in the UK is to be carried out by spring next year as part of efforts to tackle crimes such as people trafficking, county lines gangs and fraud. The report will look at funding and the powers available to police, as well as the National Crime Agency, in their efforts to stop organised crime, which is thought to cost the UK economy £37 billion a year. 

Dozens to pursue equal pay claim against the BBC

At least a dozen more women are preparing to launch equal pay claims against the BBC following Samira Ahmed’s claim for compensation over being paid up to a sixth of her male colleagues, reports the Times. Ahmed’s claim alleges that she was paid £440-£465 for hosting 15-minute long episodes of Newswatch on the BBC News Channel, while presenter Jeremy Vine received £3,000 for episodes of Points of View broadcast on BBC One and lasting the same time.

US woman killed in gender reveal party accident

A 56-year-old woman was killed in Iowa when a gender reveal party when a cylinder designed to produce a burst of colour exploded . Members of the family had planned to use gunpowder to power the reveal, but tape over the top of the cylinder caused it to go off like a pipe bomb, creating deadly debris that killed the woman instantly and flew 140 metres.

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Man loses foot as two Brits severely injured in shark attack in Australia

A British man has had his foot bitten off and another has suffered severe lacerations to his leg in a shark attack off the coast of Queensland in Australia. The attack comes amid debates about the use of shark control methods in the region, where until a recent court decision authorities were using nets and drumlins to catch and kill sharks.