Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 April 2023


Dozens die in Sudan clashes

At least 56 people have been killed and 595 injured during clashes between Sudan’s army and paramilitary forces. Residents “dodged gunfire” in the capital, Khartoum, as rival forces “battled over the presidential palace, state TV, and army headquarters”, said the BBC. The violence, which was also concentrated around the symbolic site of Khartoum International Airport, began amid tensions over a proposed transition to civilian rule.


Activists disrupt Grand National

Animal rights activists delayed the start of the Grand National by getting on to the course at Aintree. Police said they arrested 118 people in connection with the disruption. The campaigners are calling for jump racing to be banned after three horses died at Aintree, including one during the Grand National. However, the Mail on Sunday said the “virtue-signalling anarchists” were “sensationally foiled” after it infiltrated the group.


Nurses propose ‘mega-strike’

The Royal College of Nursing will ballot members on whether to join a “make or break” mega-strike that would lead to mass action by nurses in every hospital trust in the country, said The Observer. England’s biggest nursing union wants to “up the ante” by holding a single national vote that could lead to twice as many trusts being hit by industrial action. Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, told Sky News that coordinated strike action would be “completely unprecedented” and “uncharted territory”.


Sunak to scrap smart motorways

Smart motorways will be axed after Rishi Sunak admitted that the public has lost confidence in them. Following years of campaigning by the families of crash victims and accusations that ministers have “blood on their hands” for a “deadly” 18-year experiment, 14 planned smart motorways have been cancelled. The smart motorways that have already been completed will remain but be given safety refit to increase the number of emergency stopping places, said The Telegraph.


Tactical voting on the rise

Tactical voting could deliver heavy local election losses for the Conservatives and lead to a Labour majority at the next general election, according to experts. They believe the electorate has become increasingly “sophisticated” in switching between Labour or the Liberal Democrats, depending on which party has the best chance of defeating their Tory candidate. Tactical voting “happens when people dislike the government so much they will take whatever stick is available to beat it with,” Professor Sir John Curtice told The Independent.


Jailed surgeons’ operations probed

A panel of medical experts is investigating the deaths of 650 patients treated by a surgeon who carried out hundreds of unnecessary and life-changing operations. Ian Paterson, who worked for the NHS as well as building a practice at two private hospitals in Birmingham, is serving a 20-year jail term after being convicted of 17 counts of wounding with intent. The Sunday Times said 27 inquests have been opened in cases where coroners “believe there is evidence to have reason to suspect that some of those deaths may be unnatural”.


Former Indian MP shot live on air

A former Indian politician convicted of kidnapping has been shot dead live on TV along with his brother. Atiq Ahmed was under police escort when a gun was pulled close to his head in Prayagraj, also known as Allahabad. Three killers of the “gangster-turned-politician” and his brother have been detained and identified, said the Hindustan Times. In a video shared online, the killers can be heard shouting “Jai Shri Ram” after the killing.


Royal family ‘abolishing itself’

The Royal family as we know it is in danger of “abolishing itself by stealth”, according to a new report. King Charles and the monarchy are becoming “too distant” from the nation after a 40% drop in public engagements over the past decade, said the influential think tank, Civitas. The total of UK-based engagements has fallen from 3,338 in 2014 to just 2,079 last year.


Tory expelled for rape tweet

A Tory councillor who said an alleged rape victim was probably a prostitute has been expelled from the party. Shaun Slator, from Bromley council, made the remark on Twitter in response to a news report about a rape inquiry in Plumstead, south-east London. He claimed it was “more likely” that an alleged rape victim was a prostitute whose “punter … didn’t pay”. Slator, who later apologised, said he was “disappointed” to be expelled and “will be submitting an appeal in due course”.


Brexit ‘kills romance of Orient Express’

The Orient Express is to scrap its UK section after 41 years due to Brexit, reported The Observer. When the iconic train service began operating in the 19th century, passports were “optional” but “Brexit and 21st-century biometric checks” are “killing off the romance” for modern passengers “looking for the nostalgia of the luxury train journey that inspired Agatha Christie and Hollywood”, said the paper. The operator has decided to drop the London-to-Folkestone leg of the route.



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