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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 July 2023

1

Khan ‘retreats’ on ULEZ

Sadiq Khan is “in retreat” over the ultra-low emission zone scheme after private talks with Sir Keir Starmer, said The Sunday Times. After the policy was blamed for Labour’s defeat at the Uxbridge by-election, the London mayor said he is in “constructive listening mode” on the policy that would swell the number of drivers fined by an anti-pollution levy. Starmer called Khan on the day of the defeat and aides for both men said the talks were “positive” and “constructive”. Yesterday, Khan deleted a tweet about “bold action” being required to protect the environment.

2

Wildfire ‘warzone’ in Rhodes

Thousands of people have been evacuated from homes and resorts on the Greek island of Rhodes after wildfires overwhelmed significant parts of the island. Extreme heat across Greece has caused a number of fires across the country, with flames in Rhodes burning for the past five days. Escaping the fires on the island felt like “the end of the world”, a British tourist told Sky News. The scene is like a “warzone”, said Mail Online. Climate change has been blamed for the chaos.

3

Inquiry into Channel Islands Nazi crimes

An inquiry has been launched into the number of Jews murdered on British soil during a “little-known” episode of the Holocaust, said The Sunday Times. For much of Second World War, Nazi Germany occupied Alderney, a tiny British possession in the Channel Islands measuring three and a half miles long and one and a half miles wide. Reports of murder and torture at the camps were buried and Britain “exploited a legal ambiguity” over who was responsible for prosecutions, said the paper, but Lord Pickles, the UK special envoy on post-Holocaust issues, has ordered an inquiry into the allegations. 

4

Tories suspend ‘snorty boy’

A Tory “rising star” has been filmed offering “fun flour” to a guest on a signed framed photograph of a grinning David Cameron, reported The Mirror. The chair of the Westminster North Conservative Association, Philip Stephenson-Oliver, then “watches as a pal appears to use a banknote to snort what is claimed to be cocaine in his bedroom at a house party”, said the tabloid. “Moments later he was seen doing the same thing himself”, it added. The “snorty boy” has been suspended by “furious” party bosses, “leaving his dream of becoming an MP in tatters”, said the tabloid.

5

Fears of far-right in Spain poll

Spanish voters go to the polls today in a general election that offers a choice of “two starkly contrasting visions”, said the BBC. The left-wing Pedro Sánchez, who has been prime minister since 2018, hopes his “social reforms, crisis management and handling of a strongly performing economy” will persuade Spaniards to keep him in office, said the broadcaster, but he is behind in the polls to the conservative People’s Party, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo. He could be propped up by a far-right party, noted The Local.

6

Yellow warning for north

A yellow rain warning has been issued across most of northern England and Wales, as the region is expected to see 20-30mm of rain, while places over higher ground could see up to 50-70mm. Travel disruption is expected and major outdoor events could be affected, including the fourth Ashes Test in Manchester. The UK’s cool and wet conditions are due to the position of the jet stream, which is also pushing high pressure to the south where parts of Europe have a heatwave.

7

Russian strikes on Odesa

At least one person has been killed and 19 injured in Russian missile strikes on the port city of Odesa. A regional leader said 14 people were hospitalised in the blasts, including four children. Moscow has been launching near constant attacks on Odesa since it withdrew from a landmark grain deal earlier this week. Unesco has condemned Russia’s attack on the historic centre of Odesa, which is protected under the World Heritage Convention.

8

‘Vile’ Johnson theory condemned

A new documentary claims that Boris Johnson lied about nearly dying from Covid. The programme alleges that Johnson’s account of his illness at the beginning of the pandemic was a “terrible lie” designed to manipulate the public, reported the Mail on Sunday. The paper said the “grossly offensive” allegation is made by an “arch-Remainer”, Marcus Ball. People close to the former PM have condemned the claim. “This vile conspiracy theory is disgusting and an example of how totally deranged treatment of Boris has become,” a source close to Johnson said.

9

UK band cancels gigs after uproar

British band The 1975 has cancelled appearances in Indonesia and Taiwan, after Malaysia scrapped a festival due to a same-sex kiss and statement against the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws by the band’s frontman. During the performance at the Good Vibes Festival in Malaysia, Matty Healy addressed the audience in a “profanity-laden” speech before kissing bass player Ross MacDonald, said the BBC. A Malaysian government minister called Healy “extremely rude”.

10

Clarkson warns cider may explode

Jeremy Clarkson has warned that bottles of cider made from ingredients at his Diddly Squat farm may explode due to what he has described as “a massive cock up.” Writing on Twitter, the former Top Gear host said that a batch of his Hawkstone ciders had over-fermented and could explode. “If the cap has the code L3160, open it underwater, pour it away and get in touch for a refund,” he said. “Really sorry about this”, he added, “but on the upside, the beer is fine and still delicious.”

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