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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 April 2023

1

Nurse strike to target A&E

Nurses in the Royal College of Nursing union will go on strike over the first May bank holiday after rejecting the government’s pay offer. The 48-hour walkout from 30 April to 2 May will involve NHS nurses in emergency departments, intensive care, cancer and other wards. The union said the government “needs to increase what has already been offered” and said it would be “highly critical of any move to reduce it”. There are now “fears stoppages could go on until Christmas”, said The Guardian.

2

‘Undecideds’ lean to Sunak

Millions of undecided voters prefer Rishi Sunak, according to a poll in The Times. Almost a third of all voters either don’t know how they will cast their ballot or say they won’t vote at all. If an election were to be held tomorrow — and the option were available — “don’t know” would be the UK’s third largest party with 16% of the vote. However, this group seems to be leaning towards Sunak: asked who would make the best PM, YouGov analysis showed 21% said Sunak while 8% backed Starmer.

3

‘Bomb’ thrown at Japan PM

Japan’s Prime Minister was evacuated unharmed from a public event after what appeared to be a smoke bomb was thrown at him. Fumio Kishida has been due to give a speech at the scene in Wakayama. A witness said they saw a person throwing something, followed by smoke, while another said they heard a big bang. No injuries were reported. Police later arrested the suspect at the scene, said The Japan Times.

4

Dutch allow child euthanasia

Parents in the Netherlands will be able to opt to euthanise terminally-ill children if they have run out of treatment options. The government has amended its Euthanasia Act to cover children between the ages of one and 12 years old. The option will “only be available for children who are suffering unbearably with no hope of improvement and for whom palliative care cannot bring relief”, said The Telegraph. More than 91,000 people have died by euthanasia in the Netherlands since it became the first nation to legalise the procedure in 2002.

5

Poor housing harming young

One in six young adults in the UK are living in poor-quality housing, according to Resolution Foundation. The thinktank said that up to 2.6m people aged 18-34 were living in poor-quality housing, adding that damp, draughty and cramped living conditions are damaging the health of millions. A spokesperson said that “high costs and poor housing quality can make life miserable for people, and can damage their personal finances and their wider health”. A government spokesperson said it was investing £11.5bn to deliver “tens of thousands” of homes for sale and rent.

6

Covid origin ‘might never be known’

The official in charge of China’s response to the Covid pandemic said the true origins of virus may never be revealed as the issue is too inflammatory. Speaking to The Telegraph, Dr George Fu Gao, who is thought to know more about the origins of the disease than any other scientist, said he is “not optimistic” the origin of the virus will ever be known, because the issue is “too sensitive; too politicised”. He has a “political tightrope to walk at home”, said the paper.

7

Migrants ‘taking riskier routes’

Migrants are taking longer, more dangerous routes across the Channel to try and  avoid heavy French policing, reported the inews site. Volunteers in Calais told the outlet that an intensification of policing around the French coast in recent years had pushed those wanting to cross the Channel further along the coast, lengthening the journey to the UK and increasing the risk of a new tragedy. In December, four people died when their boat collapsed in the Channel. Earlier this week, a teenager was charged with manslaughter over the deaths.

8

King ‘still proud of Harry’

The King has spoken of his “immense pride” in both his sons after it was confirmed that Harry will attend his Coronation. “Forgiving Charles” is “relieved the estranged Prince will see him crowned”, said the Daily Express but the monarch “faces a fight to reunite his family after their rift”. The paper said that His Majesty “sounded a conciliatory note at the first Sandhurst passing-out parade he has attended since acceding to the throne”. Royal biographer Robert Lacey called the monarch’s words a “promising start.”

9

Beijing makes arms pledge

China will vow not to sell weapons to either side in the war in Ukraine, the country’s foreign minister said. Qin Gang, the highest-level Beijing official to make such an explicit statement, was responding to concerns that China was considering providing military assistance to Russia, which it has backed politically and rhetorically in the conflict while formally insisting it remained neutral. He repeated China’s willingness to help facilitate negotiations to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

10

Activists threaten Grand National

Animal rights campaigners said they will attempt to stop the Grand National from going ahead this afternoon. Animal Rising activists are planning to scale fences and storm the track, with up to 500 protesters expected to attend. Spokesperson Nathan McGovern told Sky News that a horse dies every two to three days in UK racing “and we want to see an end to that”.  Merseyside police told The Times that they had a “robust policing plan in place” and were working with The Jockey Club, owner of the racecourse, in preparation for any incidents.

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