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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 April 2023

1

Sudan help limited

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has admitted that help for Britons stuck in Sudan will remain “severely limited” until a ceasefire is agreed. The SAS led a “dramatic rescue” of British diplomats from “war-torn” Khartoum yesterday, reported the Daily Mail. However, the paper said that while Foreign Office officials and their families were escorted to safety, “terrified Britons hunkering down in the city” were told to rely on a telephone hotline for updates as “street battles raged around them”. Violence in Sudan between two opposing forces has led to deadly shooting and shelling.

What next for Sudan as ceasefire attempt fails?

2

Starmer suspends Abbott

Keir Starmer has sought to avoid a new antisemitism row by suspending the party whip from Diane Abbott, after the former shadow home secretary was accused of playing down racism against Jewish people. In a letter to The Observer, Abbott argued that minority groups – such as Jewish people and Traveller communities – faced similar levels of prejudice to people with red hair. Abbott has claimed her remarks were made in error because an “initial draft” of her thoughts had been sent for publication. A spokesperson for the Labour party said the comments were “deeply offensive and wrong”.

3

Emergency alert issues

The national emergency alert system test “descended into a farce” after it failed to work on up to 10m phones, said The Telegraph. Although the government insisted the test had been a “success”, customers on Three, one of Britain’s biggest mobile networks, failed to receive the 10-second alert. Some phones received the alarm up to 20 minutes after the scheduled 3pm test and Welsh speakers noted that the computerised system made up the word “Vogel”, which is a ski resort in Slovenia. The Cabinet Office insisted that the “vast majority of compatible phones’ received the alert”.

Pros and cons of the emergency alert

4

Labour food price claim

Labour has forecast that the UK will be hit with the fastest and harshest price rises in the G7. The party predicted that prices for everyday goods are set to rise 40% faster in the UK than any other major advanced economy, costing households nearly £1,500 per year. The party blamed the economic turmoil on Brexit and a lack of support for businesses across the UK. Last week, the deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said “we’re rock bottom of the G7 and it’s not good enough” after IMF figures placed Britain bottom of the world’s major economies on expected growth. But Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, said the UK outperformed many forecasts last year.

Price of pasta doubles: what food is getting more expensive in UK?

5

Putin spokesperson’s son joins mercenaries

The son of President Putin’s spokesperson has joined the Wagner group and is fighting in Ukraine, he told Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. British-educated Nikolai Peskov, son of Dmitry Peskov, joined the mercenary group with his father’s approval and received a medal for bravery during a six-month tour that just ended, he said.  Wagner is called a “private military company” in Russia but it has “international notoriety” for “alleged war crimes and other abuses in Ukraine”, said the BBC.

Why are private military companies playing such a major role in Ukraine?

6

£55bn withdrawn from Credit Suisse in bank run

Beleagured banking giant Credit Suisse has announced it saw 61.2 billion Swiss francs (£55.2bn) leave the bank during a first-quarter collapse this year that culminated in its emergency rescue by domestic rival UBS. The announcement “gives an insight into the scale of the bank run that caused the 167-year-old lender to fail and triggered its state-backed rescue”, said the BBC. The acquisition by UBS is expected to be consummated by the end of this year, if possible, but the full absorption of Credit Suisse’s business into the UBS Group is expected to take around three to four years.

Credit Suisse: will emergency lifeline calm global bank fears?

7

Bishop opposes migration plans

The Bishop of Durham has condemned the government’s proposed laws to crackdown on Channel migrant crossings, warning the plans will “inflict harm” and force people into “destitution”. Paul Butler, one of several bishops in the House of Lords, has attacked the Illegal Migration Bill, insisting it cannot pass in its current form and accusing the government of “abdicating in its moral and legal” duties to protect those fleeing persecution. The bill is due to return to the Commons this week, where it faces a backbench rebellion led by two former party leaders, Theresa May and Iain Duncan-Smith.

‘Red Rishi’ no more: is Sunak shifting rightwards?

8

Flambéed pizza kills two

Two people have died after a waiter accidentally set fire to a restaurant in Madrid. Emergency crews called to the Burro Canaglia restaurant in the centre of the city on Friday found a wall of flames blocking the entrance to the establishment. The two dead were a female customer and a 25-year-old male member of the restaurant staff. Another eight people were taken to hospital after inhaling smoke. “It appears the fire started when a flambéed pizza was being served, which set fire to the decorations in the restaurant,” Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida, Madrid’s mayor, told TVE.

9

Israeli police West Bank controversy

Grieving relatives of a Palestinian man killed by settlers in the occupied West Bank said they were unable to report his murder to police. Sameh al-Aqtash was shot outside his home near Hawara in February, after a crowd of Israeli settlers and soldiers gathered at the perimeter fence of a nearby Palestinian village. His brother said the family had tried twice to report his death to the Israeli authorities, but were turned away. Israeli police eventually opened an investigation after media reports highlighted the family’s difficulty in reporting the death. The Israeli human rights organisation, Yesh Din, said Palestinians in the West Bank often encounter problems reporting crimes to Israeli police.

10

Trump ‘to publish Charles letter’

Donald Trump will publish a personal letter from the King without the monarch’s permission, said The Telegraph. The letter is expected to be included in a new book of personal correspondences with world leaders, public figures and celebrities due to be published tomorrow. Written in 1995, when the King was Prince of Wales, the letter thanks the American for offering an honorary membership to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Letters to Trump will be released by a publishing house co-founded by the former US president.

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