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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 July 2023

1

Tories ‘face historic defeat’

The Tories are set for “the biggest by-election defeat in British history” in Mid Bedfordshire, said The Telegraph. A survey by Opinium, which found that Labour would overturn Nadine Dorries’ 24,664 majority in a seat that has been held by the Tories since 1931, will “cause panic among Tory MPs”, predicted the paper. “The community here is fleeing the Tories,” said Peter Kyle, the shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, who won Hove from the Conservatives in 2015 and is running Labour’s campaign in Mid Bedfordshire.

2

Fears of nuclear escalation

Russia could be preparing to trigger a localised explosion at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, claimed Ukraine. “There is a serious threat because Russia is technically ready to provoke a local explosion at the station, which could lead to a [radiation] release,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Russian forces have begun to gradually leave the plant and some employees have also been instructed to leave the site by 5 July, reported Yahoo News.

3

Asbestos still killing Britons

Former pupils and teachers are dying because of exposure to asbestos decades ago, reported The Sunday Times. An estimated 10,000 pupils and staff have been killed by exposure to the substance since the 1980s. Experts are now predicting a surge in cancer cases in 30-40 years time if action is not taken. Mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. The period between being exposed to them and developing symptoms ranges from 10 to 50 years.

4

Violence ‘declines’ in France

There have been clashes in the French city of Marseille as police dealt with a fifth night of unrest after the death of a teenager shot by officers at point-blank range. Footage shows police using tear gas, as officials say at least 56 arrests have been made in the southern city. A total of 486 people had been arrested across France by 3am this morning, but “the level of violence appeared to have declined”, said Le Monde. Crowds turned out for the funeral of Nahel M, 17, who was killed as he drove away from a traffic stop.

5

Shell ‘takes blood money’

Shell has been accused of accepting “blood money” after it was revealed that it is still trading Russian gas more than a year after pledging to withdraw from the Russian energy market. According to analysis from campaign group Global Witness, the energy giant was involved in nearly an eighth of Russia’s shipborne gas exports in 2022. Oleg Ustenko, an adviser to Volodomyr Zelensky, accused Shell of accepting “blood money” but the company said the trades were part of “long-term contractual commitments” and do not violate laws or sanctions.

6

Sunak ‘stung by racism’

Rishi Sunak said he experienced racism while growing up. Speaking to the BBC’s Test Match Special during the Ashes Test at Lord’s, the prime minister said he felt the “sting” of racism as a child. “Of course I have experienced racism, growing up, in particular, and of course I know it exists,” he said. “It stings you in a way that very few other things do.” He said his children were less likely to be exposed to racist abuse because of the progress the country had made in tackling it.

7

Climate activists disrupt Pride

Just Stop Oil protestors have disrupted London’s Pride parade, saying that the LGBTQ community would be the “first to suffer” from climate change. Police confirmed that seven people were arrested after a number of the campaigners blocked the Coca–Cola float, spraying black and pink paint over the road. Writing on Twitter, the activist group said: “Who do you think will be the first to suffer the consequences of societal collapse? It will be marginalised communities, such as the LGBTQ+ community.”

8

New era of psychedelic medicine

Australia has become the first nation to allow psychiatrists to prescribe psychedelics to patients with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’, can be given to people who have hard-to-treat depression. Doses of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, can be prescribed for PTSD. CNN said that the move “ushers in a new era of psychedelic medicine”.

9

Royals ‘shun diversity classes’

Some members of the Royal Family have refused to take part in diversity and inclusivity training programmes, a source has told the Mail on Sunday. The voluntary schemes, consisting of both online and in-person lessons, were offered to both household staff and members of the Royal Family. One course was called “unconscious bias training”. However, an insider said: “I don’t know of any members of the Royal Family who have taken part in the training.”

10

Chinese share ‘white people meals’

A new food trend has swept China’s social media platforms in recent weeks – ‘white people meals’. Users have been sharing images of bland foods, such as raw carrots wrapped in cheese, two-ingredient sandwiches and dressing-free salads – all under a single hashtag: #bairenfan, which translates as white people meals. “You’re unlikely to find depictions of roast turkey dinners or cheeseburgers when exploring the images attached to this hashtag,” said CNN. Instead you will find “unappetisng pics of no-frills, cold, assembled dishes”.

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