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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 June 2023

1

Wagner chief accused of mutiny

Anti-terror measures are in place in Moscow after the chief of Wagner was accused of mutiny. Footage being shared online seemingly shows Wagner forces entering the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Security in Russia has been tightened, the internet is restricted and military trucks have been seen on Moscow streets. The developments come after Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin called for a rebellion against Russia’s army, which he accuses of killing a “huge amount” of his mercenaries in a strike on a camp.

2

Titan boss ‘dismissed warning’

Emails seen by the BBC reveal that warnings over the safety of OceanGate’s Titan submersible were repeatedly dismissed by the CEO of the company. In the messages, deep sea exploration specialist Rob McCallum told OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush that he was potentially putting his clients at risk but Rush responded that he was “tired of industry players who try to use a safety argument to stop innovation”. McCallum said the exchange ended after OceanGate’s lawyers threatened legal action.

3

Health warning as temperatures soar

A heat health alert has been issued for parts of England this weekend as temperatures could soar to more than 30C. The Met Office and the UK Health Security Agency have issued a yellow heat warning for three days starting at 9am on Friday to 9am Monday with “scorching weather” on the way, said The Independent. Temperatures are expected to reach 32C on Saturday in a number of locations across the country. “Feeling hot, hot, hot!” said the Daily Mail.

4

Tory support plunges again

Support for the Conservatives has fallen to its lowest level in more than four months, according to a YouGov poll for The Times. Voters are “appearing to penalise” Rishi Sunak and his government for inflation and interest rate rises as researchers found that Tory support has fallen to 22%, a figure not seen since February. Only 15% of people think that the government is handling the economy well, down four points on last week. The poll puts Labour on 47%, a 25-point lead.

5

Pence escalates abortion stance

Mike Pence has challenged his rivals in the Republican presidential race to support a 15-week national abortion ban. The former US Vice-President told a conservative gathering every Republican candidate for president should support 15 weeks “as a minimum nationwide standard” on abortion. “More than any other Republican candidate, the former vice president has staked his pitch to voters on his unabashed ‘pro-life’ stance”, said Politico.

6

Cheltenham may lose spa status

Cheltenham fears losing its 300-year-old spa status after bacteria made its health-giving water unfit for human consumption. Work on a new water system at Pittville Pump Room has been suspended after the bacteria was discovered. Local authority bosses fear the water is unlikely to ever be fit for drinking again. “Now we find out that the waters might never be coming back and we still don’t understand what the cause might be,” councillor Stephan Fifield told Gloucestershire Live. “The waters are a part of Cheltenham’s identity.”

7

Illegal vapes flood UK

Experts warned of a “tsunami” of vaping products flooding the UK as it was revealed that millions of illegal and potentially harmful vapes have been seized by trading standards in the last three years. Freedom of information requests to 125 local councils revealed that more than two and a half million illicit e-cigarettes were collected since the beginning of 2020. The e-cigarettes do not comply with UK legal regulations and could have higher nicotine concentration levels, contain banned ingredients or have oversized tanks for nicotine liquid, said The Guardian.

8

Sunak may block pay rises

Public sector workers could have pay rises of 6% blocked by the government amid claims that they would fuel inflation. Rishi Sunak said he may overrule the independent pay review bodies if pay rises risk setting off a “wage-price spiral”. Two senior government sources told The Times they are likely to take the rare step of overruling pay review bodies that have recommended that teachers should receive a 6.5% pay rise for 2023-24, while police officers, prison officers and junior doctors should all get 6% or more.

9

Unemployed ‘can’t be job snobs’

A government minister has said that the unemployed cannot be “job snobs”. Mims Davies, the government’s social mobility minister, said that those who want to progress should adopt an ABC approach: “Any job, better job, career”. She added: “Some of the best jobs I’ve ever had have been the least glamorous ones.” Last month the UK’s unemployment rate “continued to creep up”, said The Times, with the jobless rate rising by 0.2 percentage points to reach 3.9%.

10

Is Elvis facing ‘Me Too’ moment?

The Elvis estate is “all shook up” by a forthcoming Priscilla Presley biopic that depicts the courtship, marriage and divorce of the famous couple, said The Telegraph. Although the star’s ex-wife has praised the film based on her memoir as “masterful”, the Elvis estate has dismissed it as “horrible” and “like a college movie”. The film features some of the many women the singer dated when they were 14. “Is Elvis Presley due a #MeToo moment?” asked The Times.

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