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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 April 2023

1

Biden in NI to ‘keep the peace’

Joe Biden was greeted by Rishi Sunak after landing in Belfast on Air Force One. A vast police presence is in place as the US president begins a four-day visit to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement peace deal. Asked about his priority for the trip, Biden replied: “Make sure the Irish accords and the Windsor agreement stay in place — keep the peace, that’s the main thing.” He is “not expected to use visit to twist arms over Stormont re-opening”, said the Irish Times.

Good Friday Agreement at 25: how did it happen and is it at risk?

2

New banking crisis threat

World leaders are to discuss the threat of a new banking crisis after the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday that financial instability risks triggering a global recession. The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, “will discuss how to avoid a banking crisis in meetings with counterparts from around the world in Washington this week”, said the Telegraph. Fears about the economic outlook have increased “following the failures in March of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, two regional US lenders, and the loss of confidence in the much-larger Credit Suisse, which was sold to rival UBS in a government-backed rescue deal”, said CNN.

Banking crisis: has the city weathered the financial storm?

3

Police open CBI probe

Police have opened an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at the Confederation of British Industry. The City of London Police said its inquiries were “at a very early stage”. Britain’s leading business group is “battling to secure its future” after more than a dozen female employees told The Guardian they had been victims of various forms of sexual violence and harassment, including an allegation of rape. The former CBI director-general Tony Danker said he was he was “shocked” to have been sacked following an independent investigation into separate complaints of workplace misconduct against him.

CBI boss Tony Danker sacked amid misconduct probe

4

Row over China loopholes

Visa loopholes are “allowing Chinese spies to slip into Britain”, said The Times. Concern over the situation has led the Home Office to draw up new visa restrictions on a series of countries being exploited by the Chinese, senior government sources have said, but the Foreign Office has been accused of blocking the move, leading to some in government to nickname James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, as “Mr Softy”, according to The Times. The paper adds that the Foreign Office wants to allow visa-free travel for tourists from the countries to improve relations.

5

Coronation plans ‘in chaos’

The King’s coronation has been “plunged into chaos” after rehearsals overran significantly, reported The Daily Mirror. With little more than three weeks to go, organisers face a “race against time” to overcome a “catalogue of major issues”, said the paper. Among them, the fact that seating plans are still not arranged because Prince Harry and Meghan “have not confirmed their attendance”, there are disagreements about the route and concerns that the King “could stumble over his elaborate robes” in front of a TV audience of 100 million.

King Charles coronation: what happens?

6

London phone theft ‘epidemic’

London is suffering from a “phone theft epidemic” that has seen 91,000 reports of stolen phones made last year – equivalent to 248 a day, or one every 360 seconds, said Metro. Only 2% of the cases ended with the recovery of the device, added the paper. Data released by the Metropolitan Police to Green Smartphones showed that Westminster is the area in London where a person is most likely to have their phone stolen. The places with the least reported phones stolen in the capital were Sutton and Bexley.

7

Care costs force parents out of work

One in four UK parents have been forced to quit their job or drop out of education due to the rising cost of childcare, a study has found. When researchers from global children’s charity Theirworld quizzed more than 7,000 parents and carers from the UK, India, Netherlands, Nigeria, Turkey and the US, parents in the UK were the most likely to find it hard to meet soaring childcare costs – with 74% saying they found it challenging. This compared 68% in the US and 52% in India.

How to get help with childcare costs

8

Labour celebrate ads ‘triumph’

Labour insiders said the party’s recent attack ads were a “triumph” after they attracted millions of views on Twitter, without the party having to spend a single penny on the campaign. The original attack ad, which implied that Rishi Sunak thinks paedophiles should be spared jail, “clocked 22 million views”, said The Times, the most views of any Twitter post in Labour’s history. “We’ve spent a week not talking about boats, not talking about trans or the other issues the Conservatives want to talk about,” said a party insider.

Labour’s Sunak attack ads: fighting fire with fire or race to the bottom?

9

Woman dies of bird flu

A woman has died from H3N8 bird flu in China, said the World Health Organization. It is the first recorded human fatality from the avian influenza strain. H3N8, which infects horses, dogs and seals, has been circulating since at least 2002 after first emerging in North American waterfowl. Speaking about the victim, the UN health agency said “the patient had multiple underlying conditions” and “had a history of exposure to live poultry before the onset of the disease, and a history of wild bird presence around her home”.

10

Young Spaniards staying at home

A study has found that nearly half of all young Spaniards of working age live with their parents. Thanks to a precarious labour market and expensive housing, that figure is set to rise over the next few years, according to the report by an NGO. In Spain, the generation is known as “nini” – short for “ni estudian, ni trabajan” – neither study nor work. The government of Pedro Sánchez has prioritised tackling unemployment and the cost of housing.

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