‘Less theatre, more facts…’

Curtain up.

The increasingly surreal political pantomime on both sides of the Atlantic sees two showpiece events set for Wednesday. At noon London time, new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faces off against Prime Minister David Cameron for their first encounter at PMQs.

Corbyn – who has famously called for “less theatre, more facts” in the weekly exchanges and said he won’t take part in every session but will “share them out” among his new front-bench team – had asked Labour supporters for their suggestions on what he should ask today – apparently getting more than 30,000 submissions of varying seriousness – so really, anything could happen.

For Corbyn, it’s a chance to fight back at a swathe of negative headlines this morning after the press jumped all over the avowed republican for not singing the national anthem during yesterday’s Battle of Britain memorial service.

Even if that Sun “jester” splash on Tuesday was later pretty much completely discredited, the image – and the suggested impression – helped compound a tricky first week for Corbyn. Today’s PMQs gives him an opportunity to turn the tide. It’s not going to recede anytime soon, though.

But he can at least take some comfort from a new opinion poll showing a rise for Labour since he took over.

Across the Atlantic, meanwhile, the second Republican debate is set to take place tonight at the Ronald Reagan library in California and on CNN, with Donald Trump (haven’t typed those words in a while) still leading in the polls but other “non-politicians” Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina showing strongly as the rest of the field continues to wrestle with how to counter the Trumponaut.

The “kids table” show is at 6ET (11pm London) and the main event starts two hours later.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is upset at the Hillary Clinton campaign after he was attacked for – guess what – congratulating Jeremy Corbyn on his leadership victory. The Guardian reports:

In a war of words that heralds a new phase in the hitherto relatively polite Democratic primary campaign, Sanders was reportedly criticised over his backing of Corbyn – the leftwing socialist who came from nowhere to win a landslide victory in the Labour leadership contest on Saturday – by Correct the Record, a so-called Super Pac that raises unlimited sums from wealthy donors to support Clinton.

According to journalists who received an email from the group, it attacked Sanders for congratulating Corbyn on winning the Labour leadership election and drew attention to the British politician’s “most extreme comments” on foreign policy.

***

WORLD

Meanwhile, in real life and death matters, Oklahoma is scheduled to execute Richard Glossip on Wednesday, despite increasing doubts over his guilt.

Sky News reporter Ian Woods, who has been covering the case for months and reporting on the high-profile campaign for a stay of execution, will be one of the witnesses.

The border between Hungary and Serbia remains closed amid a state of emergency, with thousands of refugees massing on the Serbian side and faced with a newly-erected barbed-wire fence. EU ministers have so far been unable to agree an immediate plan to alleviate the situation as more people seek to move across the continent.

Meanwhile, train traffic between the Austrian city of Salzburg and stations in Germany has been temporarily halted due to a bottleneck of refugees.

A new report from the World Wildlife Foundation finds a dramatic decline in marine life in an alarmingly short period, prompting warnings of an “ecological catastrophe.”

***

BUSINESS

Britain’s latest employment data shows a 10,000 increase in the number of jobseekers, with the overall unemployment rate staying at 5.5 per cent. Wages showed a 2.9 increase, the biggest growth since 2009.

In the US, Wednesday sees the first day of the Fed meeting, with markets’ eyes on interest rates.

***

SPORTS

Manchester United’s England defender Luke Shaw suffered a double leg fracture as his team lost 2-1 at PSV Eindhoven in their opening Champions League group game on Tuesday night. Former PSV star Memphis Depay had given United a first-half lead before the Dutch champions scored twice, including a goal by Hector Moreno, whose tackle earlier had led to Shaw’s injury.

shaw

Manchester City also lost as last season’s beaten finalists Juventus came from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium. Wednesday night’s games involving English clubs see Chelsea host Maccabi Tel Aviv while Arsenal travel to Dinamo Zagreb.

 

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