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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 July 2023

1

Tributes to O’Connor

The singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor has died at the age of 56, prompting a flood of tributes. She had a voice that “cracked stone”, said the singer Alison Moyet and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said her talent was “unmatched and beyond compare”. She was a “passionate, eclectic, compulsive teller of truths”, said The Guardian, while The Times said she was “someone who stood up for what she believed in, whatever the consequences”. The cause of her death has not been released.

2

Alien claims grip Congress

The US government conducted a “multi-decade” programme, which collected, and attempted to reverse-engineer, crashed UFOs, a former American intelligence official has claimed at a congressional hearing. David Grusch also told the House oversight committee that “non-human” beings had been found. He said his claims were based on “extensive interviews with high-level intelligence officials”, but sceptics said that accusations that the government is hiding information on UFOs are “nothing new”, noted The Guardian. UFOs and aliens have brought a “divided US Congress together”, said the BBC.

Pentagon whistleblower claims government hiding alien technology

3

Rape conviction quashed

A man who spent 17 years in jail for rape has had his conviction overturned by the court of appeal. In 2004, Andrew Malkinson was found guilty of raping a 33-year-old woman, who was left for dead on a motorway embankment in Salford, Greater Manchester. After “enduring two decades of being labelled a sex offender”, Malkinson, 57, had his conviction quashed following a “DNA breakthrough”, said The Guardian. Malkinson always insisted he was innocent, and spent “more than double the time in prison as a result”, noted the paper.

4

Goldsmith attacks Gove

Michael Gove is a “monster” if he continues to dismiss green policies while fully understanding the urgency of the climate crisis, said Zac Goldsmith. In an interview with The Guardian, described as “surprisingly frank” by the paper, the former environment minister also said he was “confused” by Grant Shapps, who rather than promoting climate policy, has appeared to mostly spend his time attacking climate activists and vowing to “max out” North Sea oil and gas. He described Shapps as a “caricature of a climate sceptic”.

Will Sunak and Starmer drop green policies to win voters?

5

Niger troops declare coup

The military in Niger said it has removed President Mohamed Bazoum from power, after armed troops blockaded the presidential palace in the capital of Niamey. Reading from a statement, Colonel Amadou Abdramane said the defence and security forces had decided to “put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance”. Bazoum, who was elected two years ago, is a “key ally” in efforts from the West to stabilise Africa’s Sahel region, which has been “plagued by coups in recent years”, said Sky News.

6

Pandemic created ‘ghost children’

Thousands more violent offenders will be created by the government’s failure to get children back to school after the Covid pandemic, the Centre for Social Justice think tank has claimed. According to calculations based on official studies, up to 9,000 more young offenders, including 2,000 violent criminals, could be on Britain’s streets by 2027, as a generation of “ghost children” at risk of turning to crime because of official neglect of their futures. A government spokesperson said ministers are “working to prevent youth crime through our £200 million Youth Endowment Fund”.

Three years since lockdown began: how Britain changed

7

Heatwaves to become ‘typical’

Last year’s record-breaking heatwave will become “typical” in the UK within 40 years, the Met Office has warned. Sky News said that although the “remarkable” weather of last year, when “almost every month was hotter than average, wildfires torched homes and more people died in the summer” was considered “extreme”, forecasters believe that by 2060 that persistent hot weather will become “simply average”. The Met Office’s annual State of the UK Climate report said that the UK’s record year was made much more likely by climate change.

Is climate change to blame for Europe’s blistering heatwave?

8

GB News owner won on NatWest row

The hedge fund of the owner of GB News has made a “multi-million pound gain” on its bet against NatWest shares following the exit of Dame Alison Rose, said The Telegraph. Regulatory filings show that Marshall Wace, the fund of Paul Marshall, has the biggest short position in the lender’s shares, meaning it stands to gain from falls in the bank’s market price. GB News employs Nigel Farage as a host and he has used his show as a platform to attack NatWest, but it is understood Marshall Wace’s bet against the lender is “mostly computer-driven”, said the paper.

9

Rantzen questions BBC asbestos

Dame Esther Rantzen believes that her lung cancer may have been caused by asbestos in BBC buildings. The broadcaster, 83, spent several decades working in BBC buildings, including the Shepherd’s Bush studios Lime Grove. The BBC has reportedly paid £1.64m in damages to 11 families of former staff who died from cancer after working in its “asbestos-riddled buildings”, said The Mirror. The former “That’s Life” presenter said she finds herself “wondering whether my particular brand of lung cancer was caused by all the asbestos in the BBC building I worked in for decades”.

10

Pope praised for trans remark

The Pope told a young transgender person that “God loves us as we are”, in a remark that is being seen as his “latest outreach to members of the LGBTQ+ community”, said The Independent. Pope Francis’ comment was in response to Giona, a young Italian individual “torn by the dichotomy” between their Catholic faith and “transgender identity”. He drew praise from the LGBTQ+ community in 2013 when he was asked about a gay priest and replied, “Who am I to judge?” In an interview with Associated Press, he said that laws criminalising homosexuality were “unjust”.

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