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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 April 2023

1

Raab clings on

Dominic Raab is “fighting for his political life” as Rishi Sunak studies a “stinging” report into bullying allegations, said The Guardian. Raab is thought to want to be allowed to stay on as deputy prime minister and justice secretary despite what are said to be “searing” findings from the five-month inquiry into claims of bullying by civil servants. Raab’s allies told The Telegraph “he’ll fight to the death”, claiming that Sunak’s delay in making a decision on his future suggested there were “grey areas” and the report was not “cut and dried”.

Dominic Raab: the deputy PM at centre of new bullying row

2

Russia bombs own city

A Russian fighter jet accidentally bombed the city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine, Moscow has announced. The explosion, which injured two women, left a huge crater about 20 metres (60 ft) wide in the city centre. A Su-34 fighter-bomber jet accidentally discharged aircraft ordnance, the ministry said. Russian state media had “boasted” about the Su-34 warplanes last December, when it said a “new batch” of “frontline bombers” had been delivered to Russian forces, noted CNN.

3

Inheritance boosts King’s fortune

King Charles has inherited assets that have boosted his wealth to almost £2bn, claimed The Guardian. The paper has conducted the “first comprehensive audit” of the king’s assets, from country piles and diamond-encrusted jewels, to paintings by Monet and Dalí, Rolls-Royces, racehorses and rare stamps. It said its findings “throw into sharp relief” the Windsor family’s “most valuable financial asset: total immunity from inheritance tax”. In a statement the king’s spokesperson said the figures are a “highly creative mix of speculation, assumption and inaccuracy”.

Royal finances: the King’s inheritance

4

Covid cases down despite new strain

Covid cases are falling in the UK despite the arrival of a subvariant that is thought to be the most contagious strain so far. There were fears that the Arcturus subvariant could cause a fresh wave in the UK after it led to a huge surge of infections in India. However, experts believe that immunity built up from previous infections, as well as improving weather, has prevented the subvariant from spreading. Overall daily symptomatic Covid cases have fallen by 14%, according to the ZOE Health Study app. 

Arcturus: the new Covid variant surging in India

5

Biden ‘to announce 2024 run next week’

Joe Biden will formally announce his bid for a second term as soon as next week, said CNN, with a “campaign-style video” set to “definitively answer the question of whether he will run again”. According to four sources, the US president’s small circle of close-knit advisers and allies are preparing for a video announcement on Tuesday that would coincide with the anniversary of Biden’s campaign launch for his first term in 2019. Biden is “both sentimental and fond of an anniversary”, said the outlet.

Will Joe Biden run again for president in 2024?

6

Labour ‘to bring back family doctor’

Labour will promise to “bring back the family doctor” as five million patients a month spend more than a fortnight waiting to see a GP. The shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, will say that a Labour government will offer face-to-face appointments for all who want them and choice of doctor to improve continuity of care. “We will bring back the family doctor and ensure patients can see the GP of their choice,” he said, ahead of his announcement today.

What does Labour have planned for the NHS?

7

Baldwin criminal charges dropped

Criminal charges have been dropped against Alec Baldwin over a fatal on-set shooting in 2021. The Hollywood actor had been facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter over the incident during the filming of Rust in New Mexico, when the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a live bullet fired from a prop gun that was being used by Baldwin. However, less than two weeks before a trial was set to begin, special prosecutors said that “over the last few days… new facts were revealed”, according to the BBC.

8

Farmer jailed for flood action

A farmer who cleared a stretch of Herefordshire river to try and save nearby homes from flooding has been jailed for 12 months. John Price spent more than 200 hours removing gravel and silt from a stretch of the River Lugg in 2020. The 68-year-old faced seven charges, brought by the Environment Agency and Natural England, including the destruction of 71 trees. Speaking to The Telegraph, villagers said they supported Price’s actions, arguing that he had “acted in the best interests of the local community”.

9

UK ‘not set for 40C blast’

The Met Office has cooled speculation that Britain is set for a 40C heatwave within weeks. Following reports that the country is due a “tropical blast” with temperatures of 40C “set to hit in weeks”, the weather agency said the speculation was “not accurate”. The Met Office also rejected claims that the UK was on course for a summer even hotter than last year, reminding members of the public that “it’s not possible to forecast the highest temperature this summer at this range”.

Why do heatwaves in the UK feel hotter than abroad?

10

Braverman considered radio hoax

Suella Braverman said she considered posing as a caller to a radio station to quote Margaret Thatcher and defend herself against claims of racism. Writing in The Spectator, the home secretary said that a radio station had a phone-in asking listeners to discuss whether she is racist. She wrote: “I thought about calling in as Margaret from Fareham, to suggest the home secretary take courage from another Margaret’s words: ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left’.”

Suella Braverman – and five of the other most divisive politicians since Brexit

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