Wednesday evening news briefing: Supreme Court 'humiliation' for Nicola Sturgeon

Evening Briefing logo
Evening Briefing logo

Good evening. She might have lost a crucial Supreme Court ruling on Scottish independence, but Nicola Sturgeon has another plan. At the World Cup, Germany took part in an incendiary on-pitch protest. But, first, the headlines...

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Indyref2 | Nicola Sturgeon has announced the SNP will use the next general election as a "de facto referendum" on Scottish independence after the Supreme Court ruled Holyrood does not have the power to hold a breakaway vote without the permission of the UK government. In his analysis, Tom Harris writes that this is "a crucial milestone" in Scotland's history – and "a humiliation" for the First Minister. But Alan Cochrane warns that Ms Sturgeon has another cunning plan up her sleeve.

The big story: Japan's surprise victory over Germany

It was the moment they gave their opponents a taste of their own medicine. Japan's Bundesliga players took matters into their own hands in their 2-1 comeback win over Germany in Group E of the World Cup today.

In the days before the match, the Japanese had waxed lyrical over the contribution of Germany and its coaches for helping to develop the game in the country in the decades after the Second World War.

But when they left the pitch at Doha's Khalifa stadium as sensational winners, they had clearly outsmarted their teachers. Read our match report.

Earlier, Germany's players made the most incendiary protest yet against their Qatari hosts – drawing hands across their mouths for the pre-match photograph to suggest that they had been gagged.

Germany, in common with six other European teams, had insisted on wearing "OneLove" rainbow armbands as a statement condemning the Gulf state's draconian laws against homosexuality, but backed down after threats from Fifa.

Chief sports writer Oliver Brown reports on how the tournament is becoming more politically charged by the hour.

As Football Association lawyers examine if England can challenge Fifa, Allison Pearson argues that wearing an armband is pointless virtue-signalling.

Meanwhile, England are optimistic that captain Harry Kane has not suffered any damage to his ankle after the striker underwent a scan and took part in training.

Manager Gareth Southgate must still decide whether or not to start Kane against the United States on Friday. But the news on his injury was treated as encouraging inside the England camp following a heavy challenge in the team's victory over Iran on Monday.

Grealish surprises young fan

When he saw Jack Grealish doing his "worm" celebration at the World Cup, he described it as "a dream come true".

So when the England midfielder surprised schoolboy Finlay Fisher with a video call from Qatar, it took his elation to another level. Grealish had dedicated his goal celebration on Monday to the 11-year-old, who has cerebral palsy.

The pair met during a Manchester City community event in November and Grealish promised him he would do their special dance move when he scored his next goal. Watch the touching moment they spoke in the video below.

England's 'Lego' haircuts

The World Cup only lasts a month, but barbers deal with the fallout for years. David Beckham's World Cup haircuts were anticipated as eagerly as his free-kicks.

This year's vibe is more macho: Not simply a "short back and sides" but an ultra-styled square trim. Less Legolas, more like Lego has been clipped on their head.

Sonia Haria explains how barbers have their clippers ready for fans eager to copy the smart, no-nonsense look.

Comment and analysis

World news: Entire Kyiv region without power

Fatal air strikes in Kyiv today left the entire region without power and cut the capital's water supply. Vitali Klitschko, the city's mayor, urged people to take shelter as critical infrastructure was hit and blasts were reported elsewhere, killing at least three people and injuring six others. Footage also showed rockets flying over Kharkiv in the east and Dnipro in central Ukraine. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has accused Germany of wanting Ukraine to quickly fold to Russia to avoid a protracted conflict – and claimed France was "in denial" until the moment of the invasion.

Wednesday interview: 'Want to get ahead in business? Be like a woman'

Would the world be better off if more of our leaders were women or acted like them? Heather Hanbury, head of the Girls Schools Association said so this week. From tech titan Sheryl Sandberg to former MP Amber Rudd, we asked leading women who made it to the top of a male-dominated world how they did it. Read the interviews.

Women in business
Women in business

Business briefing: More strikes before Christmas

Royal Mail strikes will go ahead in the run up to Christmas as the union representing postal workers is expected to reject a renewed pay offer. The FTSE 250 company confirmed today it had offered a 9pc pay rise spread over 18 months, rather than two years, as previously tabled. But the Communication Workers Union is understood to be preparing to announce it will reject the terms. After the RMT announced a new wave of 48-hour rail strikes, these are the dates and train companies affected.

Editor's choice

  1. Maverick coder | iPhone hacker Elon Musk has asked to fix Twitter in 12 weeks

  2. Dear Richard Madeley | 'How do I keep my wife away from the thermostat?'

  3. Blue chip collections | How dinosaurs became objects of desirable fine art

Sport briefing: Ratcliffe refuses to rule out Man Utd bid

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos is declining to comment on potential interest in buying Manchester United after the Glazers formally put the club on the market. One of Britain's richest men and a United fan, he had been the first billionaire to declare interest when rumours first surfaced of a potential sale over the summer. James Ducker reveals the Glazers have been actively exploring the potential sale of the club since the summer.

Tonight starts now

Fitness | Finding the energy to leave the house and work out on a winter's day requires changing who you are rather than engaging your willpower, according to Identity Based Motivation, a psychological theory that may just alter your relationship with fitness forever. It is tough. When it is raining, even opening the door to access the recycling bin can feel like an act of steely heroism, so what chance for our exercise ambitions? What you need is a new fitness identity, says Phil Hilton, as he explains how to become someone who exercises in the cold and dark.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Caught in the middle | A growing number of divorces involve bitter battles over the custody of an animal – and they can be almost as vexatious as disputes over money. Lauren Shirreff meets the pet lawyers solving couples' bones of contention.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here . For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.