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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 June 2023

1

‘Banging’ heard in sub search

A Canadian P-3 aircraft has detected “underwater noises” in a search area for the missing Titanic sub, with internal US government memos describing them as “banging sounds”. However, search authorities estimate the vessel has less than 30 hours of oxygen left and experts have warned there was only a “1%” possibility of finding the vessel in the Atlantic. Search teams and rescuers are racing against time to find the tourist submersible that went missing during a dive to the wreck of the Titanic.

What happened to the missing Titanic sub?

2

Tory mortgage time bomb

The government is facing a “Blue Wall” mortgage time bomb with Tory seats worst hit by hikes in interest rates, said the i news site. The seats in the southeast of England are expected to take the “worst financial hit” from the hike in mortgage rates, due to high levels of borrowing in the areas, said the outlet. However, The Telegraph’s Jeremy Warner said that “mortgage doom catastrophising is the latest British disease” and the situation “does not look nearly as bleak as in the 1990s”.

Who will get the blame for UK mortgage misery?

3

Kids ‘damaged’ by lockdown

A former chief medical officer has told the Covid inquiry that lockdown has “damaged a generation” of children. Sally Davies, who was the country’s top doctor from 2011 to 2019, said she had seen the damage done to children and that it had been awful “watching young people struggle”. She added that “the damage I now see to children and students from Covid, and the educational impact, tells me that education has a terrific amount of work to do”.

Three years since lockdown: how Britain changed

4

Retailers failed on minimum wage

Marks & Spencer, WH Smith and Argos have been named and shamed for failing to pay the minimum wage. Some 202 companies are facing penalties of nearly £7m and must reimburse workers for breaches dating back over a decade. The three retailers said the breaches were unintentional and had been swiftly remedied. In total, about 63,000 workers were left nearly £5m out of pocket because of a “clear breach of national minimum wage law”, according to the department for business and trade. “Paying the legal minimum wage is non-negotiable,” said Kevin Hollinrake, the minister for enterprise, markets and small business.

5

Trump criticises Biden deal

Hunter Biden will avoid jail by pleading guilty to two federal criminal charges over his taxes and admitting responsibility for illegally owning a gun. The deal with the US Department of Justice, which follows a five-year inquiry, “met with a furious response from Republicans”, said The Times. “Wow!” Donald Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform, adding that “the corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket’”.

Hunter Biden’s laptop: the burying of a scandal

6

‘Broken promise’ on mental health

More than 5,000 mental health patients have been sent at least 62 miles from home for treatment in the last two years, The Guardian reported. In 2016, ministers and NHS bosses committed to end the use of “inappropriate” placements by the end of March 2021, admitting it was a “dangerous” practice. “Two years on, this is another disgraceful broken promise on the NHS,” said Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow cabinet minister for mental health, “with patients suffering far away from their loved ones and support networks”.

The problem with online mental health treatment

7

Judge poses Morgan question

The judge at Prince Harry’s privacy trial has questioned why Piers Morgan has not given evidence. Ahead of closing submissions, Mr Justice Fancourt said he had “a question in my mind” about whether several people “could and should have given some evidence”. He added that Morgan recently had “a good deal to say” about phone hacking “outside the court”. Morgan has repeatedly denied involvement in phone hacking – one of the central issues in the case being heard in the high court.

Piers Morgan: five things you might not know about the broadcaster

8

Lycett pulls out of LGBT awards show

Joe Lycett has become the latest star to withdraw from the British LGBT Awards over its sponsorship deals with Shell and BP. The awards ceremony “honours queer and LGBT celebrities, role models and organisations”, said The Guardian, but nominees “began pulling out” after campaigners warned them it had “become an exercise in corporate ‘pinkwashing’ for oil and gas companies”. Other figures to withdraw include drag queen Cheddar Gorgeous, podcaster Josh Rivers and trans campaigner Fox Fisher.

9

Starmer ‘to flood Lords’

Keir Starmer is preparing to appoint dozens of peers to the House of Lords to avoid a Labour government becoming “mired in conflict” with the upper chamber, said The Times. Although the Labour leader has “vocally opposed” Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list and pledged eventually to abolish the Lords, party insiders feel he would have to appoint peers to ensure his government agenda is implemented. The “current cohort” of Labour peers “aren’t getting any younger”, said a shadow cabinet minister, and “they are increasingly knackered”.

The pros and cons of the House of Lords

10

Dozens dead in Honduras women’s jail riot

A riot at a women’s prison in Honduras has left at least 41 people dead. The unrest broke out at the Centro Femenino de Adaptacion Social, a women’s penitentiary outside the capital city Tegucigalpa, when rival gangs Barrio 18 and the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) began fighting. The country has “a history of incidents at its prisons”, said CNN, with 63 people dying in a prison riot in 2003, and more than 300 people dying in a prison fire in 2021.

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