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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 July 2023

1

The Sun faces questions

Huw Edwards is in hospital with “serious mental health issues”, said his wife. Vicky Flind said she named her husband as the BBC presenter at the centre of allegations “primarily out of concern for his mental well-being and to protect our children”. Her statement came shortly after two police forces said there was no evidence Edwards committed a criminal offence, following allegations he paid a young person for sexually explicit images. The Sun, which originally broke the story, is “facing serious questions over its reporting and ethical standards”, said The Guardian.

Huw Edwards named as presenter at centre of BBC crisis

2

Johnson hasn’t handed over texts

The Covid inquiry is yet to receive WhatsApp messages that were sent and received by Boris Johnson before May 2021 after a key deadline was missed, reported Sky News. The government had until 4pm on Monday to comply with a court ruling to hand them over but, according to reports, the old phone that contains the messages is still in his possession. Johnson’s office said his team was working with government security officials on how best to switch on the old phone.

Covid inquiry: what’s in Boris Johnson’s WhatsApps?

3

Optimism as US inflation falls

US inflation has fallen to its lowest level in more than two years, raising hopes that the Bank of England may be able to duplicate the Federal Reserve’s efforts. Consumer prices in the US rose 3% in the year to June, down from a peak of more than 9% a year ago and below forecasts of 3.1%. The news is “piling fresh pressure on Andrew Bailey to prevent rampant price rises becoming embedded in Britain’s economy”, said The Telegraph. However, economists warned that falling oil prices may have influenced US data, meaning it would be harder to sustain.

Five options to get the UK back to 2% inflation

4

Bird flu risk to humans rises

The UN and World Health Organization have warned of an increasing risk to humans from “alarming rise” in outbreaks of bird flu in animals. Although the highly infectious H5N1 virus cannot currently pass between people, with only been eight cases in humans worldwide since December 2021, the increasing frequency of cases in mammals means the virus could adapt to move more easily between people, warned the bodies. They added that the epidemiology of the avian influenza virus is evolving “rapidly”.

H5N1: bird flu in mammals stoking fears of human ‘spill-over’

5

Millions flee Sudan war

More than 3.1m people have been forced to flee their homes amid an “increasingly desperate humanitarian situation in war torn Sudan”, said CNN. As the rival factions – the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces – continue to fight, human rights activists are warning of widespread ethnic violence, attacks on civilians and rampant sexual violence against women and girls. The UK has imposed sanctions on businesses linked to the leaders on both sides in the conflict in Sudan, reported Africa News.

How the latest conflict in Sudan began

6

Doctors start fresh strike

Junior doctors in England start their longest walkout yet today. Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the doctors’ 35% pay demand was “unreasonable” and the strike puts patient safety at risk but the medics said the government’s refusal to talk ahead of the five-day strike is “baffling” and “frustrating”. Young doctors at the British Medical Association will walk out for five days following “months of wrangling” between unions, the NHS and government over pay awards, noted Sky News.

The NHS at 75: can it make it to 100?

7

Musk launches AI startup

Elon Musk has announced an artificial intelligence startup. The Twitter and Tesla boss said the new company, called xAI, was created to “understand reality”. However, Musk has “warned for months” about AI’s potential for “civilisational destruction”, recalled Sky News. The entrepreneur has also argued that a race among companies such as Google and Microsoft to develop the technology should be stopped to allow time for regulations on the tech to be drawn up.

Experts call for AI pause over risk to humanity

8

Heatwave could reach 48C

A “deadly” heatwave is “sweeping across parts of southern Europe and north-west Africa”, said the BBC, amid forecasts of record-breaking temperatures in the coming days. Temperatures are expected to pass 40C (104F) in parts of Spain, France, Greece, Croatia and Turkey. On the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, an area of high pressure will cause temperatures to reach as high as 47-48C. “Human-caused climate change” is “making every heatwave in the world more intense and more likely to happen”, said The Guardian.

The highest UK temperature ever recorded

9

Murder suspect’s Google searches revealed

A US dentist accused of killing his wife searched online for answers to questions such as “is arsenic detectable in an autopsy?” and “how to make murder look like a heart attack”, said police. Days later, his wife used Google to try and understand why she was experiencing symptoms like vertigo, shaking and cold lips, said a prosecutor. James Craig’s lawyers argued there was no direct evidence that he put poison in his wife’s protein shakes and accused the lead detective of being “biased”, reported AP.

10

Navalny forced to listen to Putin speech

The imprisoned Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, claimed he has been forced by prison staff to listen to the same speech by Vladimir Putin for 100 days in a row. Speaking through his lawyers, the Russian said that Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech had been played on loudspeaker outside his cell every night for months. He said the prison service told him that the speech was being replayed to him to encourage “respectful attitude to society, work, and the norms and rules of human behaviour”.

Is Alexei Navalny being slowly killed in captivity?

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