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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 19 May 2023

1

New Russian sanctions

Russian diamond imports to the UK will be banned in the latest sanctions in response to the invasion of Ukraine. As he announced the measure, Rishi Sunak said the UK must show “violence and coercion do not reap rewards”. The US has also unveiled new sanctions – which include banning 70 entities from receiving US exports as well as another 300 new sanctions on other individuals or entities. A US government spokesperson said they expect all G7 members to unveil fresh measures over the weekend.

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2

Agency rejects Prince Harry plea

A picture agency that took photos of Harry and Meghan during what the couple said was a “near catastrophic” car chase has refused to hand over the images to them. Backgrid told BBC News it had rejected a legal demand to share the material, saying Americans had long ago rejected the “royal prerogative”. The couple’s account of the episode has been “subject to increasing scrutiny”, said the Daily Mail, “with conflicting reports of what actually happened on the evening in question”.

Prince Harry and Meghan: ‘near catastrophic car chase’ in the spotlight

3

Food main inflation driver

Food prices are expected to contribute “more to overall inflation than energy” in the months ahead, said the Resolution Foundation. Grocery bills that soared by almost 20% during the past year will continue to increase, replacing energy prices, that were expected to begin falling over the next few months, said the thinktank.  Official figures due next week are predicted to show that the annual rate of inflation fell in April by about two percentage points from the 10.1% figure for March.

How to save on your weekly shop

4

Unmarried couples rise

Families with an unmarried co-habiting couple are the fastest-growing groups, found the Office for National Statistics. Nearly one in five families, or 19%, are made up of those living together but not married, with or without children. There were 3.6m such families in 2022, up by 700,000 from 2.9m in 2012. The ONS said this “accounted for almost three-quarters of the total growth in the number of families in the UK over the ten-year period”. However, married-couple families still account for 65%.

Pros and cons of marriage

5

BT begins AI jobs cull

BT has announced plans to reduce its workforce by as much as 55,000 by 2030, more than 40% of its global employee base, including about 10,000 jobs replaced by artificial intelligence. The telecoms company said it will become a “leaner business” as it makes the changes but the Daily Mail asked: “Is this the start of the great AI jobs bloodbath?” The paper added that the job losses at the telecommunications giant have sparked a debate about “the march of the robots”.

Will AI steal all our jobs?

6

Johnson told he can’t stand in Henley

The Conservative party has told Boris Johnson that he cannot make a “chicken run” to Henley at the next election, according to the town’s MP. John Howell insisted the former PM would only take up the seat, which has a strong Tory majority, “over my dead body”. Johnson represented the Oxfordshire constituency from 2001 until 2008 and has been linked with a return because his current seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip is “now highly vulnerable to Labour”, said The Telegraph.

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7

Springsteen criticised over Italy gig

Bruce Springsteen has been criticised for going ahead with a concert near where catastrophic flooding hit northern Italy. The US rock star’s concert in front of 50,000 fans in Ferrara, about 30 miles from the epicentre of the flooding, was described by a local councillor as an insult to the “pain, desperation and difficulty” of thousands of flood evacuees. An Italian TV presenter, Tiziana Ferrario, also took exception, tweeting that “given the victims and the towns submerged by mud, the Ferrara concert seems out of tune”.

8

Sunak says he will reign for years

Rishi Sunak has declared that he will win the next election and reign for years to come – despite recent opinion polls showing the Conservatives trailing Labour by 17 points. Asked by Sky News whether he would still be PM after the next election, Sunak replied: “Yes. I’m working really hard to deliver for the British people.” The Tories lost more than 1,000 seats at recent local polls but Sunak remains confident, saying: “I know that things are tough right now, but I think we have made good progress in the six months that I’ve been in the job.”

Party like it’s 1997: can Tories stop a Labour landslide?

9

Outcry after 95-year-old tasered

A 95-year-old woman with dementia is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being tasered by police at a care home in Australia. Officers were called to Yallambee Lodge in Cooma after reports that Clare Nowland was carrying a steak knife. However, said the Sydney Morning Herald, Nowland was approaching police “slowly” and using a walking frame when she was tasered. The New South Wales police chief said an investigation is under way.

10

Warning that New York will ‘sink’

New York must stop building skyscrapers or it will sink, a new study has warned. There are thought to be one million buildings in New York City, weighing an estimated 771 million tonnes, and the study, headed by Tom Parsons of the United States Geological Survey, found that the city is “plopping closer” to the water at a rate of 1 to 2mm a year, “with some areas subsiding much faster”, said the New York Post. Lower Manhattan is particularly at risk, and there is heightened concern for both Brooklyn and Queens.

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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 September 2023