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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 July 2023

1

Zelenskyy fails in Nato bid

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has failed to secure an invitation for Ukraine to join Nato after leaders of the 31 countries agreed a declaration that did not give a firm timetable or clear conditions for eventual membership. As “large crowds turned out to watch him deliver an emotional speech”, according to The Times, Zelenskyy accused Joe Biden and other leaders at a summit in Lithuania of showing disrespect and complained that there was “no readiness” to invite his country to join. Rishi Sunak said Ukraine’s “rightful place” was in Nato but refused to set out a timeframe. 

Is Ukraine joining Nato? 

2

BBC star ‘angry’ at coverage

A separate young person has claimed they felt threatened by the BBC presenter at the centre of a row over payment for sexually explicit photos. During a conversation on a dating app, the young person reportedly hinted they might name the presenter, and were then sent abusive, expletive-filled messages. BBC radio host Jeremy Vine has urged the man at the heart of the scandal to name himself because new allegations will lead to “more vitriol being thrown at perfectly innocent colleagues”. The accused BBC star is “extremely angry” over the reporting of the allegations, said former BBC presenter Jon Sopel.

BBC pauses probe into presenter ‘sex scandal’ as police take over

3

Ambulance apology anger

Grieving families have rejected an ambulance service’s apology following a review into failures and coverups. A review of allegations of failures at North East Ambulance Service found problems with how the trust responded to incidents, and highlighted “significant culture and behavioural issues”. A spokeswoman said she was sorry “for any distress caused to the families” by past mistakes. However, speaking to Sky News, grieving parents described the report as a “whitewash” and “disappointing”. They are demanding a public inquiry.

4

Hunt rules out pay rise funds

Jeremy Hunt has told the cabinet there will be no extra money to give millions of public sector workers an average 6% pay rise. The development potentially leaves government departments “facing a difficult choice between raising salaries or cutting frontline services”, said The Guardian while ITV News reported that it exposes a “fractious argument at the heart of Rishi Sunak’s cabinet”. Pay review bodies are understood to have recommended pay increases of around 6% to 6.5%.

Public sector pay and inflation: what’s the link?

5

Canada probes Nike over Uyghurs

The ethics watchdog in Canada has launched investigations into allegations that Nike Canada and a gold mining company benefitted from Uyghur forced labour. The inquiries follow complaints filed human rights groups. Nike says they no longer have ties to the companies accused of using Uyghur forced labour, while Dynasty Gold insists the allegations arose after they left the region. A UN report found China had committed “serious human rights violations” against Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority population living in the region of Xinjian.

What next for China after UN’s damning Uighur report?

6

North Korea ICBM missile

North Korea has fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile, according to officials in Japan and South Korea. The long-range missile “flew for more than an hour before landing short of Japanese waters”, said the BBC, and comes after Pyongyang “threatened retaliation against what it said were recent US spy plane incursions over its territory”. Kim Yo Jong, a senior North Korean official and sister of leader Kim Jong Un, accused a US spy plane of entering the North’s exclusive economic zone “at least eight times on Monday”, said CNN.

North Korea and Japan’s difficult history

7

‘Welcome’ signs removed at centre

Welcome signs in various languages have been taken down at the children’s asylum centre that also removed a Mickey Mouse mural, reported the i news site. News that Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick ordered staff at Kent Intake Unit to paint over cartoon murals to make it a less welcoming environment has drawn condemnation. But Jenrick yesterday told MPs that the murals were painted over as they were not “age appropriate” for teenagers being housed there. 

8

China House of Commons spy claim

China sent a spy to a House of Commons briefing led by Hong Kong dissidents, said the Daily Mail. The man claimed to be a tourist and tried to enter the invitation-only talk in a committee room, said the paper. The meeting was addressed by Finn Lau and Christopher Mung, who have had £100,000 arrest bounties put on their heads by Hong Kong police. When confronted, the man claimed he had been directed to the secluded committee room as part of an official tour. He left after a “brief stand-off”, said the paper.

9

Aretha Franklin sofa will ruling

A US jury has ruled that a handwritten document signed with a smiley face in 2014 by Aretha Franklin and found years later beneath a sofa cushion is a valid will. The decision “represents a victory”, said The Times, for two of her sons, Kecalf Franklin and Edward Franklin, who argued the note should override a 2010 will that was discovered in a locked cabinet at the singer’s home in suburban Detroit. Kurt A Olson, a lawyer for one of the other Franklin sons, had written in a court filing of the 2014 paper: “If this document were intended to be a will there would have been more care than putting it in a spiral notebook under a couch cushion.”

10

Manson disciple free after 50 years

A follower of the serial killer Charles Manson has been released from prison after serving more than five decades for her participation in two infamous murders. Leslie Van Houten, now 73, received a life sentence for helping Manson’s followers carry out the 1969 killings of Leno LaBianca, a grocer in Los Angeles, and his wife, Rosemary. She is expected to spend about a year at a halfway house, said The Telegraph, “learning the basic skills of modern life after more than half a century behind bars”.

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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 28 March 2023