Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 May 2023


Buckingham Palace arrest

A man has been arrested outside Buckingham Palace after throwing what are suspected to be shotgun cartridges into palace grounds. The Metropolitan Police said a precautionary controlled explosion was carried out outside the palace, with officers saying that after a search, a knife was found on him but that he did not possess a gun. The man has been held on suspicion of the possession of an offensive weapon. The episode is not currently being treated as terror-related but instead is being “regarded as an isolated mental health incident”, said Sky News. Buckingham Palace has declined to comment.


Clampdown on cold calls

The government has announced a clampdown on the use of cold calls to sell financial products and on technology that allows mass texting of numerous phones, as part of a strategy to combat fraud. The ban will include unsolicited phone calls from people trying to sell insurance or cryptocurrency schemes. “We will take the fight to these fraudsters, wherever they try to hide,” said Rishi Sunak.

How Scotland Yard took down iSpoof in UK’s biggest ever fraud investigation


Israel bombs Gaza Strip

Israel bombed the Gaza Strip last night after militants there fired rockets into Israel following the death of a Palestinian hunger striker in an Israeli prison. The Israel Defense Forces said that after dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza, Israel’s fighter jets struck a military post, a weapon storage, weapon manufacturing sites, and a Hamas training facility. Some of the targets were “located inside civilian areas and in close proximity to schools, hospitals and religious institutions”, said the Jerusalem Post. In a tweet, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said the security establishment will act with “determination and force” against those who harm the country. 2023 has seen a huge uptick in violence in the region. 

Will deadly rise in West Bank violence prompt full-scale Palestinian uprising?


Letby weeps in witness stand

Lucy Letby cried as she told a court her “whole world was stopped” when she was accused of the “sickening” murders of multiple babies in a hospital neo-natal unit. Giving evidence for the first time in her eight-month trial, Letby, who is accused of murdering seven babies, said she was arrested in her pyjamas and had been in prison awaiting trial for two and a half years. She said she was “devastated” by the allegations and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to her “traumatising” arrest. She denies the charges.

Lucy Letby: who is the nurse accused of murdering babies?


Warning over media danger

Media freedom is in dire health in a record number of countries, according to a new report. Warning that disinformation, propaganda and artificial intelligence pose growing threats to journalism, the World Press Freedom Index deemed an unprecedented 31 countries to be in a “very serious situation”, the lowest ranking in the report, up from 21 just two years ago. “The international community needs to wake up to reality, and act together, decisively and fast, to reverse this dangerous trend,” said a spokesperson from Reporters Without Borders, the group behind the report.


Russia linked to pipeline blasts

Russian ships were present near to where explosions later took place on the Nord Stream pipelines, according to a new documentary. Underwater explosions last September knocked out the two Nord Stream pipelines – built to carry gas from Russia to Europe – out of action. Some in the West have “pointed the finger at Russia”, said the BBC, while Moscow blamed Western countries, including the UK. The documentary “does not say there is conclusive proof of what the vessels were up to or that Russia was behind the blast”, added the broadcaster, but “it raises questions about the unusual nature of the activity”.

Nord Stream mystery: who blew up the pipelines?


Protest letters ahead of coronation

Official warning letters sent to anti-monarchists planning protests at King Charles III’s coronation have been described by lawyers as “intimidatory”. The Home Office’s Police Powers Unit wrote to the campaign group Republic saying new powers had been brought forward to prevent “disruption at major sporting and cultural events”. The government claims that the timing of the laws is coincidental and a Home Office source said that the letter sent to Republic was meant to inform, not intimidate.

SEPT 22: ‘A fundamental right’: free speech and anti-monarchists


Osborne calls for juice tax

George Osborne said orange and other fruit juices should be taxed and smoking banned, as he called for major public health interventions to reduce obesity and cancer. Insisting that “anti-nanny state Conservatives” are “not worth listening to”, the former chancellor told The Times that Britain should look at “the long-term legality of smoking” and follow the lead of New Zealand in gradually raising the legal age of tobacco. He also called for the sugar tax on soft drinks, which he introduced in 2016, to be expanded to cover fruit juice.

New Zealand’s new smoking ban


Man’s body found in crocodile

The body of an Australian man who disappeared while he was fishing has been found inside a crocodile. Kevin Darmody, 65, was last seen at a well-known saltwater crocodile habitat in a remote part of northern Queensland on Saturday. Following a two-day search of the area, police euthanised two large crocodiles and found human remains. Tributes on Facebook described Darmody as a “real character”, a “truly top bloke” and a “great man” who tells “the best yarns”, noted 7 News.


‘Blasphemous’ exhibit angers MEPs

An exhibit at the European Parliament depicting Jesus surrounded by leather-clad gay men has angered right-wing politicians from Italy and Poland, who branded it “blasphemous”. Maria Veronica Rossi, an MEP from Italy’s far-right Lega party, told The Times that the exhibit “represents Jesus surrounded by apostles dressed as sadomasochistic slaves”. LGBT culture battles are “common” in the European parliament, where 705 members “come together from every corner of the EU’s 27 member states and across the political spectrum”, said the paper.



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Is Hunter Biden’s plea deal a gift to Republicans?


‘Homage of the People’: should public pledge allegiance to King?


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