Delays blamed for excess deaths
Fifty thousand more people died last year than normal as the NHS “buckled”, said The Times. Aside from the pandemic years, 2022 saw the highest excess deaths total since 1951, with NHS delays blamed for one of the most deadly 12 months on record. Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, pointed the finger at “13 years of Conservative mismanagement of our health service” but government ministers said that countries across Europe had high excess deaths last year, due to a big increase in the flu.
Uranium found at Heathrow
A small amount of uranium has been detected in a package that arrived at Heathrow Airport. The Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command unit was alerted by the Border Force after the contaminated material was discovered on 29 December. The Sun said the “deadly shipment” could have been used in a “dirty bomb”. The material was destined for Iranian nationals in the UK, originated from Pakistan and arrived on a flight from Oman. However, police say there was no threat to the public.
Banshees cleans up at Globes
The Banshees of Inisherin has won three major gongs at the Golden Globes, prompting speculation it is on track for a successful night at the Oscars. The movie took home best musical or comedy film and best screenplay, as well as best comedy actor Colin Farrell. “I never expect my films to find an audience, and when they do it’s shocking for me,” said the actor. The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical family drama, won him best director at the 80th annual ceremony. Noting past controversy over a lack of diversity among organisers, host Jerrod Carmichael quipped: “I’m here because I’m black.”
Unions may join forces
Unions are planning a coordinated “day of action” after reacting furiously to proposed legislation that they believe would allow the government to ban strikes. The day of action has been discussed by unions representing staff in the NHS, railways, education and civil service at the Trades Union Congress headquarters in London. Meanwhile, control room staff who answer 999 calls will walk out today alongside paramedics in a strike escalation the NHS said would “intensify risks to patients”.
UK arms killing civilians
Oxfam said that at least 87 civilians were killed by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen using weapons supplied by the UK and US in just over a year. A spokesman said that there had been 431 airstrikes between January 2021 and February 2022 and the sheer number of attacks, the 87 civilians killed and 136 wounded revealed “a pattern of violence against civilians”. It argued that the evidence amounts to legal grounds for Britain to end its lucrative arms trade with the Saudis.
Tate loses legal bid
Andrew Tate has lost a bid to end his detention in Romania. The controversial influencer was detained alongside his brother Tristan last month as part of a probe into allegations of human trafficking and rape. Authorities suspect the pair, along with two Romanian nationals, of running an “organised crime group”. Tate’s “lavish Bucharest home”, complete with “expensive cars, a swimming pool and security guards” may “have to pay for his legal woes”, said Sky News. Tate and his brother deny the charges.
Controversial cleric dies at 81
Cardinal George Pell, who was found guilty and then acquitted of child sexual abuse, has died in Vatican City aged 81. Australia’s most senior Catholic died on Tuesday evening after a cardiac arrest following hip surgery in Rome. His “failure to uncover some of the worst cases of child sexual abuse by priests blights his reputation”, said The Guardian, because he “chose his career over the safety of children”. However, said Independent Catholic News, Pell “always disputed” that he had failed to deal with abuse.
‘Murky’ Johnson may be investigated
There are calls for a Commons investigation into Boris Johnson after it was reported that he is living in a Tory donor’s £20m home on one of UK’s most expensive streets. The Mirror reported that the “shameless Johnson” could face a complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over whether he has fully declared the true value of the gift. Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “The disgraced former PM is up to his old tricks once again and has questions to answer over whether he has properly declared his murky financial affairs.”
Trump calls for Biden raid
Classified documents that were found at a university office Joe Biden used before launching his bid for the White House include intelligence briefings about the UK, according to reports. The Department of Justice has begun a review of how the documents came to be at the University of Pennsylvania. Donald Trump has weighed in on the controversy. Writing on his social media site, he asked: “When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?”
Harry book breaks sales records
Prince Harry’s memoir became the fastest-selling non-fiction book as 400,000 copies across all formats were bought on publication day. A spokesman for his publisher, Transworld Penguin Random House, said: “We always knew this book would fly but it is exceeding even our most bullish expectations.” Meanwhile, Harry has said the claim that he boasted in his new book about killing 25 Taliban fighters while on duty in Afghanistan is a “dangerous lie”. He insisted: “If I heard anyone boasting about that kind of thing, I would be angry.”