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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 19 February 2023

1

Fears as food bank demand soars

Food banks fear they may have to turn people away as more people are depending on them than ever before in Britain. NHS staff and teachers are among those seeking the help of food banks, as new research by the Independent Food Aid Network found that almost 90% reported increased demand in December 2022 and January 2023 compared with a year earlier. The Trussell Trust, which operates more than 1,300 food banks, warned last year that food banks were at “breaking point”.

2

Johnson ‘a nuisance’ to Sunak

Boris Johnson has told Rishi Sunak not to abandon legislation he introduced on how Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade will work in the long-term. As Sunak meets EU leaders to agree a new deal, a source close to Johnson said the former PM thought it would be a “great mistake” to change his plan. Senior Tories have accused Johnson of being a “nuisance” and “mischievous” by encouraging the Democratic Unionist Party to resist a compromise. Since 2021, certain trade checks cover some goods crossing the Irish Sea.

3

Two declare on Sturgeon succession

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and former minister Ash Regan have become the first two politicians to declare that they will stand to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister. Regan told the Sunday Mail the SNP “need to bring back unity, draw a line under certain things and move past them”. Announcing his leadership bid in the Daily Record, Yousaf said: “This is the top job in the country, and it needs somebody who has experience.”

4

Syria blames Israel for missile strike

Syria said five people died after Israeli missiles hit the capital Damascus and surrounding areas on Sunday. Military officials said a building was hit in the densely populated Kafr Sousa neighbourhood, killing four civilians and one soldier as the nation is reeling from two earthquakes. Israel has conducted raids against military targets in Syria in the past, said the Jerusalem Post, but Israel’s military declined to comment on the latest strike when approached by Reuters.

5

NHS ‘prioritises adults over children’

Hundreds of thousands of children are waiting for surgery as NHS leaders and doctors warned that adult care is being prioritised over children’s. Data which “lays bare the parlous state of paediatric medicine”, showed the backlog has “spiralled” by almost 50% in two years, said The Independent. In December 2022, 364,000 children were waiting for treatment, from neurosurgery to ear, nose and throat operations, and 200,000 more needed services such as speech and language therapy.

6

Macron doesn’t want to ‘crush’ Putin

The French president said he does not want to see Russia crushed by a defeat in Ukraine. “I want Russia to be defeated in Ukraine, and I want Ukraine to be able to defend its position,” said Emmanuel Macron, but the West should not “aim for total defeat of Russia, attacking Russia on its own soil”. Speaking to Le Journal du Dimanche, he said the desire of some to “crush” Russia “will never be our position”.

7

‘Vigilante’ cyclists target cabbies

Cab drivers have been warned to beware of cyclists with helmet cameras after several motorists were caught using mobile phones at the wheel. The general secretary of Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Steve McNamara, said there have been a series of cases where “vigilante cyclists” filmed cab drivers looking at their phones while in traffic. Any drivers caught this way could face losing their licences. “Vigilante cyclists” are increasingly patrolling the streets with mounted helmet cameras looking into cars to catch out law breakers, said the Sunday Telegraph.

8

Carter set for home care

The former US president Jimmy Carter is set to receive home hospice care after a series of hospital stays. The Carter Centre charity said the 98-year-old “decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention”. Carter has suffered from several “health woes”, said CNN, including a melanoma that spread to his liver and brain.

9

Andrew fears King plot

Prince Andrew believes the King is trying to force him out of his £30m Windsor home, reported the Mail on Sunday. The paper said the “furious” prince is telling friends that his older brother wants to slash his annual grant, which is worth hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. Without it, he would be unable to maintain Royal Lodge and would have to move out by September. The Duke of York stopped receiving public money when he stepped down from Royal duties following accusations of sexual assault, which he denies.

10

Telescopes could view Big Bang

Astronomers believe that telescopes placed on the dark side of the Moon could pick up the first signs of intelligent alien life. The scientists consider the Moon a perfect spot to search for faint techno-signatures from advanced civilisations. It is also hoped that the telescopes could help search for origins of universe by peering back in time and picking out the clouds of hydrogen that twirled soon after the Big Bang.

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