News

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 25 April 2023

1

Sudan ceasefire begins

A 72-hour ceasefire between Sudan’s two warring factions has begun. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said an agreement had been reached between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) after 48 hours of negotiations. The UK government must “not miss the window” of opportunity for evacuations and delivering urgent aid, said the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Alicia Kearns. At least 400 people have been killed since fighting erupted on 15 April.

2

Covid inquiry Whatsapps

The Covid public inquiry has demanded all WhatsApp texts sent by ministers and other key figures involved in the pandemic response. The chair of the independent investigation, Baroness Hallett, has “made clear her determination to leave no stone unturned in relation to exchanges via the popular messaging app”, said The Telegraph. Responding to concerns raised by a KC representing families who lost loved ones to the virus in Scotland, the retired judge said “this inquiry will conduct a full and thorough investigation into and analysis of what the messages mean for the public of the United Kingdom”.

Will the Lockdown Files change Westminster’s WhatsApp ways?

3

UK calls for China ‘transparency’

The foreign secretary will urge Beijing to come clean about its “biggest military build-up in peacetime”, reported The Telegraph. In an address later, James Cleverly will warn of the risks of a “tragic miscalculation” in the Indo-Pacific if China’s aggression continues, adding that “transparency is surely in everyone’s interests and secrecy can only increase the risk of tragic miscalculation”. The BBC said the minister will “call for a constructive but robust relationship” with China.

Is China preparing to invade Taiwan?

4

Trump trial to begin

Donald Trump is facing a civil trial over an allegation that he raped a woman nearly three decades ago. Jury selection is due to begin today in a New York federal court. E Jean Carroll, a magazine columnist and author, has accused the former president of raping her in a Manhattan department store dressing room. If she wins the lawsuit, it would be the first time the former president has been found legally responsible for a sexual assault. Trump has denied the allegation, “infamously claiming that Carroll ‘was not [his] type’”, said The Independent.

What is Donald Trump doing now?

5

Mass graves ‘from Kenyan cult’

Police in Kenya have recovered 58 bodies from mass graves thought to be followers of a Christian cult who believed they would go to heaven if they starved themselves. The leader of the cult, Paul Makenzie Nthenge “is thought to have encouraged his followers to starve themselves to death to ‘meet Jesus’”, reported The Times. Interior Minister, Kithure Kindiki, said the “horrendous blight on our conscience must lead not only to the most severe punishment of the perpetrator of the atrocity” but “tighter regulation” of “every church, mosque, temple or synagogue going forward”.

Shakahola forest massacre: death toll in suspected Kenyan cult rises to 47

6

Missing girl’s family criticise Met

Relatives of a young woman who the serial killer Levi Bellfield claims to have murdered two decades ago have accused the Metropolitan police of failing to take case seriously because of their race. Bellfield has confessed to the kidnap, rape, assault and murder of the university student Elizabeth Chau, who disappeared from a west London street in 1999, at the age of 19. Her family, originally from Vietnam, said police did not tell them of Bellfield’s confession, first made verbally in October 2022, and say it should not have taken seven months for officers to question Bellfield about it. “Their lack of care is utterly shocking and traumatising. We have felt ignored and dismissed because of our race and because of Elizabeth’s gender,” the family told The Guardian.

Is Levi Bellfield telling the truth about the Russell murders?

7

Carlson out at Fox News

The right-wing anchor Tucker Carlson has left Fox News. The decision to let Carlson go was made by Rupert Murdoch, said the Los Angeles Times. The Wall Street Journal added that Carlson found out about his firing just 10 minutes before it was announced. The departure is thought to have some connection to a lawsuit filed by Abby Grossberg, a former senior booking producer on Carlson’s show, who claims she faced sexism and a hostile work environment. However, “insiders claimed it was Carlson’s private comments about Fox’s management that ultimately led to his departure”, said The Telegraph. 

Tucker Carlson: ‘Gleeful contrarian’ Fox News host who ‘hates’ Trump

8

CBI admits ‘mistakes’

The CBI has acknowledged that it failed to “filter out culturally toxic people” from its number, leading to “terrible consequences” including allegations of sexual harassment. In a letter to members, president Brian McBride, admitted that the organisation had “made mistakes” and “badly let down” its staff. More than 50 of the lobby group’s key members – including NatWest and John Lewis – publicly quit or suspended their links to the business group last week after new allegations emerged including a woman who said she was raped by two male colleagues.

CBI crisis deepens with further allegations

9

Suspects burned to death in Haiti

At least 12 suspected criminals have been beaten to death and burned in Haiti. The country’s “tailspin” into “humanitarian crisis and bloodshed” saw “bloodied men being forced to lie on the asphalt by rifle-wielding police before bystanders piled tyres on top of them, doused them with petrol and set them alight”, said The Guardian. Haiti has descended into increasing lawlessness since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

Haiti on the brink: island nation falls into anarchy

10

Kids read more books

The number of books read by children in the UK and Ireland rose by almost a quarter last year, according to a report. The 2023 What Kids Are Reading report found that pupils read 27,265,657 books in the 2021-2022 academic year, 24% more than the 2020-2021 academic year, with social media trends credited. However, the researchers found that, while average book difficulty rose as pupils became older, this was in line with the rate the pupils should have been improving in reading.

Recommended

News

Tunisia: the nail in the coffin of the Arab Spring

News

‘Mutant mogs’ prowling the UK

News

Budget 2023: the big giveaways and takeaways

News

Biden’s dilemma: should he pardon Trump?