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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 February 2023

1

Windfall could end wave of strikes

Health Secretary Stephen Barclay is to meet Royal College of Nursing bosses for pay talks later, after the union suspended planned strikes. In a joint statement, the two sides said they would hold “intensive talks” on “pay, terms and conditions” and “reforms to enhance productivity”. The Financial Times said that the government is exploring a 5% pay rise offer for public sector workers to end escalating strikes after the Treasury was given an unexpected £30bn windfall.

Public sector pay and inflation: what’s the link?

2

Chains ration fruit and vegetables

Asda and Morrisons are putting limits on fresh produce including tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers amid shortages caused by poor weather in Europe and north Africa. The National Farmers’ Union president, Minette Batters, said further rationing of fruit and vegetables was likely because of the impact of higher energy costs on British growers. Weather in southern Europe and northern Africa has disrupted crops but some have blamed increased border checks caused by Brexit, said The Guardian.

3

Blair and Hague call for digital ID

Sir Tony Blair and Lord Hague of Richmond have called for everyone in Britain to be given a digital ID incorporating their passport, driving licence, tax records, qualifications and right to work. Writing in The Times, the former PM and former Tory leader said that the British state is no longer fit for purpose. “We both believe the challenge is so urgent, the danger of falling behind so great and the opportunities for Britain so exciting that a new sense of national purpose across political dividing lines is needed,” wrote the former rivals.

Pros and cons of ID cards in the UK

4

Sunak ‘to call rebels’ bluff’ on NI

Rishi Sunak will call Tory rebels’ bluff on Brexit, reported the i news site. The PM has “faced down” threats of dissent over his Northern Ireland plans as the UK and EU inched closer to a deal to end the current stalemate, said the paper. Though Sunak has faced public warnings from cabinet ministers Penny Mordaunt and Suella Braverman, government sources have downplayed the risk of senior resignations, insisting to the news site that Sunak remained focused on talks.

Is it time for a new Good Friday Agreement?

5

Putin walks away from nuclear treaty

Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia will abandon its arms control treaty with the United States. Raging against the West in a two-hour state of the nation address, the Russian president said: “they are meddling with our nuclear facilities” and “in this context, I have to declare today that Russia is suspending its participation in the treaty on strategic offensive arms”. The treaty limited the number and deployment of long-range nuclear missiles, warheads and launch platforms by both sides. Putin’s “nuclear sabre rattling during the war has alarmed the US and its allies”, said CNN.

Are we heading for World War Three?

6

Malcolm X daughter to sue

A daughter of Malcolm X is suing New York City Police Department and other agencies for his 1965 murder. Ilyasah Shabazz says US officials concealed evidence that they “conspired to and executed their plan to assassinate” her father, the civil rights activist. “For years, our family has fought for the truth to come to light concerning his murder,” she said, announcing the legal action at the site where he was fatally shot in New York 58 years ago. The “slaying of the Black leader” has “long been the subject of speculation about potential clandestine involvement”, said Al Jazeera.

NOV 21: Who was Malcolm X? The life and death of a complex American hero

7

Lancashire police ‘let down abused woman’

The family of an abused woman who killed herself said she was failed by the same police force that conducted the Nicola Bulley search, according to The Sun. After allegedly suffering from domestic violence, Kiena Dawes, 23, left a suicide note which said: “I hope my life saves another by police services acting faster.” Her family said they felt she had been repeatedly let down by Lancashire police, who have also come in for criticism over their conduct during the search for Bulley.

8

Peers reject protest curbs

A law aimed at curbing tactics used by protest groups has suffered eight defeats in the House of Lords. In a series of setbacks for the government, the upper chamber rejected key measures of the controversial public order bill, including scrapping a measure to let police exercise stop and search without suspicion to tackle disruptive demonstrations. Peers also backed restrictions on the use of protest banning orders. The government said the draft legislation is aimed at groups such as Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion.

Just Stop Oil and the art of protest

9

9/11 victims denied Afghan windfall

A US judge has ruled that victims of the September 11 attacks are not entitled to seize $3.5bn (£2.9bn) in assets belonging to Afghanistan’ central bank. Judge George Daniels said he was “constitutionally restrained” from approving access to the funds as this would constitute a recognition that the militants were Afghanistan’s legitimate government. The decision was the first definitive ruling in a “complex saga at the intersection of foreign policy, international economics, counterterrorism and domestic politics”, said the New York Times.

10

Lawyer says Duke ‘won’t reopen sex case’

Prince Andrew will not attempt to reopen his sex abuse case because that would expose him to the renewed scrutiny and “terrible criminal risk”, his accuser’s lawyer has claimed. David Boies, for Virginia Giuffre, challenged Prince Andrew to call him if he wanted to try to overturn their out-of-court settlement, saying: “He’s got my telephone number.” However, speaking to TalkTV, Boies added that he does not believe the Duke will pursue the matter, despite reports that he is speaking to his lawyers about a potential bid to overturn a settlement with Giuffre.

Virginia Giuffre to pen memoir as Prince Andrew ‘plots to overturn’ £3m settlement

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