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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 June 2023

1

Hundreds die in India crash

At least 288 people were killed and 850 injured in a multiple train collision in India’s eastern Odisha state, said local authorities. One passenger train is thought to have derailed before being struck by another on the adjacent track late yesterday. It is India’s worst train crash this century and officials say the death toll is expected to rise further. There is a “race against time” to find further survivors as “several coaches are still lying scattered on the tracks” and hundreds of people a “rushed to different hospitals”, said the Indian Express.

2

‘Brexit regrets’ are rising

Nearly two thirds of voters believe Brexit has contributed to runaway inflation and soaring food prices, according to polling for the inews site. “Brexit regrets” are rising among voters, said the outlet, which will “only add to the pressure that has been building on Rishi Sunak over trade terms with the EU”. Earlier this week, the Food and Drink Federation partly blamed Brexit-related factors for high prices, citing “friction at the UK’s borders and persistent labour shortages”.

3

Unit targeted lockdown critics

A “chilling” and “secretive” government unit worked with social media companies to curtail discussion of lockdown policies during the pandemic, said The Telegraph. The Counter-Disinformation Unit was used to target those critical of lockdown and questioning the mass vaccination of children. Sceptics had posts removed from social media and there is “growing suspicion” that social media stopped posts being promoted, circulated or widely shared after being flagged by unit.

4

Boat tragedy ‘like a spy novel’

Speculation is mounting over how four people drowned on the “picturesque and popular” lake south of the Swiss Alps last weekend, said the BBC. The story of a boat that sank on Lake Maggiore “has elements of a spy novel”, said the outlet, because one of the victims was a former agent from Israel’s spy agency Mossad and two were Italian intelligence officers. Companies that produce technology capable of military use are located nearby and major Italian news outlets claim that the boat ride was a secret work meeting between the agents.

5

Flack’s mother questions ITV

Caroline Flack’s mother has criticised ITV over its handling of the departure of presenter Phillip Schofield. Christine Flack, whose broadcaster daughter committed suicide, told BBC Newsnight that presenters are not always protected. She accused the broadcaster of treating employees as “commodities”, adding that presenters are “people” but are sometimes “sidelined”. Turning to the fate of former This Morning host Schofield, she said: “They could have someone speaking for him really, whether he did right or wrong…. it’s not a good look really.”

6

King asked for gay troops apology

The King has been asked to apologise for the mistreatment of gay soldiers, sailors and aviators who served under anti-gay laws. Charles, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has expressed his “support and thanks” to military personnel after evidence of traumatic interrogations and medical examinations emerged, but Duncan Lustig-Prean, an officer in the Royal Navy who was dismissed when his superiors found out about his sexuality, said the “time is right” for an apology from the monarch.

7

Sunak sketches AI unit plan

Rishi Sunak is considering setting up a global AI watchdog in London, reported The Times. The watchdog would be modelled on the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors the use of nuclear energy, promotes safe standards and checks that it is not used for military purposes. Following days of warnings from experts warning of the existential threat the technology poses to humanity, the prime minister will discuss the idea when he meets Joe Biden at the White House next week.

8

Esptein wrote to fellow paedophile

Jeffrey Epstein wrote to another notorious US paedophile before his suicide in jail, the Associated Press reported. According to newly released prison records, the financier wrote to Larry Nassar, the US national women’s gymnastics team doctor who was convicted of sexually abusing scores of young athletes over several decades and was jailed in 2016. However, the letter was found returned in the jail’s mailroom just weeks after Epstein’s death.

9

Asian drug trade soaring

The synthetic drug trade in Asia is reaching “extreme levels,” with crime groups establishing new trafficking routes as methamphetamine prices sink to news lows, according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “The most powerful regional trafficking networks are able to operate with a high degree of certainty they can and will not be stopped, and they are able to dictate the terms and conditions of the market as a result,” the report warned.

10

Parent gets bible banned in Utah

A parent upset by a series of book bans across the US has protested against the trend by getting the Bible banned from some of Utah’s schools. In a copy of the parent’s complaint seen by NBC News, the parent said their successful bid to ban the holy book was a protest against a 2022 state law that made it easier to remove “pornographic or indecent” content from schools. “Now we can all ban books and you don’t even need to read them or be accurate about it,” they said. “Heck, you don’t even need to see the book!”

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