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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 11 March 2023

1

Match of the Day to air without hosts

Match of the Day will be broadcast without presenters, pundits or its usual commentators this evening, after the BBC suspended the host, Gary Lineker, for allegedly breaching impartiality guidelines. Lineker’s co-hosts, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, announced that they would not be turning up to present Saturday’s show, in solidarity with the main host. On Twitter earlier this week, the former England star had compared the language used by the government to unveil its new asylum plans as “not dissimilar to” 1930s Germany.

2

DeSantis ‘tells friends he will run’

Ron DeSantis has privately told friends he plans to run for the White House and an outside committee has been set up to raise money for any campaign, according to reports. The Washington Post said the Republican has been talking to those close to him about running, without making caveats that would suggest he is still deciding. The news emerged as he visited the state of Iowa, which will be the first state to vote in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

3

Teens addicted to porn

One-fifth of teenagers watch pornography frequently and one in 10 are addicted, a major new study has found. Teachers said they are being left to “pick up the pieces” from the damage pornography causes in schools, including sexually harmful behaviour among teenagers. The headteacher of one school said they have used special training to respond to a large rise in reports of sexual abuse. Dignify, a charity that researches sexual abuse, spoke to 4,000 children between the ages of 14 and 18 in Hertfordshire.

4

Largest bank failure since crash

Silicon Valley Bank has been shut down by regulators in the biggest failure of a US bank since 2008. The lender’s woes prompted a rush of customer withdrawals and sparked panic about the state of the banking sector. Fears that other banks could face similar problems have led to widespread selling of bank shares around the globe. The bank was a key lender to the tech failure and start-ups have been left “anxious” about their funds, said the Financial Times.

5

Government could hire life coaches

Life coaches could be hired to help millions of the long-term sick deal with mental health, debt and other problems, said The Times. Under plans being considered to get people back to work, Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, is considering a “universal support” service to encourage those struggling with deep-seated health and emotional problems to look for employment. However, the Office for Budget Responsibility will need to be convinced that the scheme would recoup its costs by reducing the benefits bill.

6

New premier elected in China

The man nominated as China’s next premier by President Xi Jinping has been formally elected by lawmakers. Li Qiang, 63, received almost every vote from more than 2,900 delegates at the National People’s Congress. A close ally of Xi, he is the former Communist Party leader of China’s biggest city, Shanghai. His position “holds diminishing authority” as Xi “consolidates power”, said South China Morning Post, but some observers said the he “might enjoy more policy leeway on economics thanks to his close relationship with Xi”.

7

More weather woe forecast

Ice, sleet, and rain could cause chaos in parts of the UK as the cold snap continues. Temperatures in rural areas of the UK were forecast to drop as low as -10C (14F) in the early hours of Saturday, and snow is expected on high ground during Saturday and Sunday. Conditions are “actually going to get worse rather than better”, said Andrew Page-Dove of the National Highways, as there is risk of potentially freezing rain and more snow today.

8

Iran and Saudis restore relations

Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore diplomatic relations, seven years  after demonstrators stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran. The surprise announcement came after four days of talks between officials from both sides in China. “Shia-majority Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia” support “rival sides in several conflict zones across the Middle East”, said Al Jazeera, including in Yemen, where the Houthi rebels are backed by Tehran and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government.

9

UK can ‘learn’ from Sweden

Britain has “a lot to learn” from Sweden’s decision not to impose a mandatory Covid lockdown, said Jeremy Hunt.  Asked by GB News whether Sweden’s approach had been vindicated in comparison to the zero-Covid strategy pursued by some countries, the chancellor said: “We used the law, Sweden used a voluntary approach, but we had broadly fairly similar levels of compliance with the lockdown.” He added that “in that respect, I think there’s a lot to learn from what Sweden did”.

10

Sunak would not nominate relatives

Rishi Sunak has signalled he might block Boris Johnson’s bid to give his father a knighthood, insisting he would never nominate a family member for an honour. The prime minister said his dad was “going to get a card on Fathers’ Day – and that is about that”. The PM’s remarks follow reports Johnson planned to name his father, former MEP Stanley, in his resignation honours. Almost 250,000 have signed a petition calling for the prime minister to block Johnson’s bid.

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