Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 20 June 2023


MPs back Partygate report

MPs overwhelmingly backed a report that found Boris Johnson deliberately misled Parliament over lockdown parties at Downing Street. The House of Commons voted by 354 to seven in favour of the report, which found Johnson committed repeated offences when he said Covid rules had been followed at No. 10 at all times. However, “Conservative infighting” reached “bitter new heights” last night, said The Guardian. Johnson will be stripped of his parliamentary pass following the vote.

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Rescuers search for Titanic pod

Search teams from the US and Canada are scrambling to find a tourist submarine that went missing during a dive to the Titanic’s wreck on Sunday. Five people were onboard when contact with the small sub was lost less than two hours into the dive. A British explorer and a French military veteran and submarine expert are thought to be among those onboard the Titan. The vessel has the capacity to be submerged for 96 hours, but it is not known whether it is still underwater or has surfaced and is unable to communicate.


UK economy in ‘doom loop’

More than half a trillion pounds’ worth of underinvestment in recent decades has left Britain’s economy trapped in a growth “doom loop”, said the Institute for Public Policy Research. The think tank warned that the UK risked falling further behind similar nations without a dramatic change in policy. Business investment is lower in the UK than in any other nation in the G7, and 27th out of 30 OECD countries, ahead of only Luxembourg, Poland, and Greece, The Guardian reported.

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US and China to stabilise relations

The US and China have agreed to “stabilise” tensions following US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s two-day visit to Beijing. Blinken met China’s President Xi Jinping, resuming high-level communications between the two superpowers. However, one of the key issues that “did not get resolved” was that of “restoring military-to-military communications” between the US and China, said CNN, despite “concerns” that the “fraught relationship” could “veer into conflict”.

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India hit by deadly heatwave

A heatwave in India has killed at least 166 people in just a few days, according to state officials. Most of the heat-related deaths have been in Uttar Pradesh, where 119 have perished, with the rest in neighbouring Bihar state, where 47 have died. Although northern India is known for “sweltering heat” in the summer months, temperatures over the past week have been consistently above average, said Sky News. The heatwave has opened a debate in India and “systemic issues” around health care will “need to be tackled”, said Hindustan Times.

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Cameron heckled at Covid inquiry

David Cameron was heckled after he gave evidence at the Covid-19 inquiry. Critics have claimed that the former prime minister’s years of austerity cuts left the UK underprepared for a pandemic. Cameron said his austerity agenda was “essential” to get the economy “back to health” after the financial crisis, but he admitted there was “clearly a gap” in planning for a pandemic of a highly transmissible virus that was not flu. He faced cries of “shame on you”.

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Chickens suffer at UK farm

Chickens have been “crushed to death” and “run over” by machinery on a farm that supplies leading British supermarkets, The Mirror reported. Footage supplied by a worker on the farm shows some of the birds were “left with severe injuries”, while others can be seen “crawling on the floor with broken legs” and “gasping with an open wound exposing their internal organs”. The farm supplies Asda, Co-op, Aldi and Tesco, the paper noted.


Truss attacks ‘puerile’ lettuce joke

Liz Truss said the newspaper gag in which her tenure as prime minister was measured against the shelf life of a lettuce was “puerile”. Speaking at a broadcasting conference in Ireland, the former PM was asked if she could see the funny side of the Daily Star’s decision to livestream the decline of a lettuce in a blond wig. “I don’t think it’s funny, I just think it’s puerile,” she said. Truss complained that “there’s too much focus on the people and seeing it as a sort of entertaining story to follow” rather than “discussions of the ideas”.


Marine heatwave in UK waters

Scientists have warned that an “unheard of” marine heatwave off the coasts of the UK and Ireland poses a serious threat to species. Sea temperatures are several degrees above normal, breaking records for late spring and early summer, with temperatures up to 4C above normal for the time of year in some places. Ocean waters around the UK and Ireland are “in the grip of one of the most severe marine heatwaves on Earth at the moment”, said New Scientist.


Meghan ‘faked’ podcast interviews

Meghan Markle has been accused of faking interviews for her axed “Archetypes” podcast, Podnews reported. Industry sources said the duchess got staff members on the show to conduct the interviews with her guests, before audio of her voice was edited into the finished episodes. The claim comes after a Spotify boss described the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as “f***ing grifters” after their lucrative podcast deal was dropped after one series.



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