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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 July 2023

1

Rwanda deportations face delay

Deportations to Rwanda will not begin until January “at the earliest”, said The Times. After an original target of getting the first aircraft to Kigali in the autumn was “scuppered by the courts”, the Home Office hopes to start the flights in the first two months of 2024. In October, the Supreme Court is expected to hear the government appeal against a ruling that the Rwanda policy is unlawful. Losing the appeal would leave ministers only able to deport migrants to their home countries if it had a return agreement with them.

2

Councils want vape ban

Councils are calling for a total ban of disposable vapes by 2024. The products cause litter problems, are a fire hazard and appeal too strongly to children, according to the Local Government Association. The EU is proposing a ban from 2026 and France is due to introduce one this year, leading to concerns that more vapes could flood into the UK. However, the UK Vaping Industry Association says vapes help smokers quit and can be recycled.

3

Poll finds Edwards support

A poll of Mirror readers saw them “come out in support of Huw Edwards”, said the paper. As the presenter “battles mental health problems over the sexual pictures scandal”, 53% said they want to see him back on the BBC News at Ten if he is cleared by bosses of serious wrongdoing, with 32% saying he should not be allowed to continue. Edwards will not face police action over claims that he paid £35,000 to a teenager for explicit images.

4

Sweden approves bible burning

Authorities in Sweden have approved a protest involving the burning of Torahs outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm. The European Jewish Congress “strongly” condemned the decision, declaring that “provocative, racist, antisemitic and sickening acts such as these have no place in any civilised society”. In June, a man burned a copy of Islam’s holy book outside a mosque in the Swedish capital. Local police said at the time the decision to permit that protest was on freedom of speech grounds.

5

Delia denounces veganism

Delia Smith has said veganism is “wrong” and does not help the planet. Speaking to the FT, the celebrity chef denounced the plant-based diet. “Everything within me tells me that it’s wrong,” she said. “If people just want to eat vegetables – and some people do – that’s fine,” added the 82-year-old. “But don’t say you’re helping the planet, because you’re not. Full stop.” Oxford University said a global switch to a vegan diet could save up to eight million lives by 2050 and the United Nations said switching to a plant-based diet can reduce an individual’s annual carbon footprint by up to 2.1 tons.

6

US braces for extreme heat

American west is “bracing” for “even more intense heat” this weekend with more than a third of Americans under extreme heat alerts, said The Guardian. The National Weather Service warned Californian residents they should prepare for the hottest weather of the year as desert area highs could exceed 120F (48.8C). Meanwhile, a ferocious heatwave inflamed by carbon pollution is “baking southern Europe”, with reports of tourists collapsing in Greece and Italy, and an outdoor worker dying near Milan.

7

Nigeria declares food emergency

Nigeria has declared a state of emergency to tackle rising food prices and shortages. Cash saved by the removal of a fuel subsidy will be used to provide fertiliser and grain to farmers and security measures will be increased for farmers, many of whom have “abandoned their land” after becoming the target of gangs that “kidnap for ransom”, said the BBC. Nigeria’s Senate “speedily approved” a request by President Bola Tinubu to borrow $800 million from the World Bank this week, said Reuters.

8

Just Stop Oil disrupts Proms

Two activists from Just Stop Oil have interrupted the First Night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, mounting the stage and unfurling an orange banner. They were “met with boos and jeers” from some members of the audience, said the BBC, before being led away by security staff. Just Stop Oil said it targeted the event because of the BBC’s “underwhelming coverage of the climate emergency”. Just Stop Oil protestors also interrupted a live recording of Channel 4’s The Last Leg.

9

Lead found in school water

Children are being put at risk of exposure to high levels of lead in school drinking water, said the inews site. More than 50 years after lead was banned from plumbing, tests results from tap water show the toxic metal is still being found at levels well above the UK standard of 10 micrograms per litre. A report by Unicef in 2020 said 213,000 children in the UK could be living with lead poisoning. Education Minister Nick Gibb said that action must be taken where any risk is discovered.

10

Will new virus reach the UK?

A “killer” virus “sweeping through Europe” will almost certainly reach the UK, said The Mirror. Infections are spreading across Europe and the virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, has already killed people in Iraq, Pakistan and Namibia. Professor James Wood said “it’s a kind of when rather than if” the virus reaches these shores. It is transmitted by ticks, which are typically carried by migratory birds from overseas, and causes unpleasant rashes, neck pain and other painful symptoms.

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