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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 June 2023

1

Expert queries Sunak’s Covid scheme

Rishi Sunak is “facing a barrage of criticism” in the run-up to the official Covid-19 inquiry, said The Observer, as a top scientist criticised his “stupid” Eat Out to Help Out scheme. The president of the British Medical Association, Prof Martin McKee, said the scheme, which led to a rise in infections, was a “spectacularly stupid idea and an obscene way to spend public money”. Sunak and Boris Johnson are both under pressure amidst an “escalating Covid blame game at Westminster”, said the paper.

2

Modi vows crash punishments

Indian’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said people found guilty over a deadly rail accident in eastern India will be “punished stringently”. At least 288 people were killed and more than 800 injured in Friday’s incident in Odisha state, involving two passenger trains and a goods train. It was the “worst train tragedy in the country in two decades”, said Indian Express. The incident has “once again ignited fresh concerns regarding railway safety in India”, said the BBC’s India correspondent, Soutik Biswas.

3

Ukraine lacks arms for operation

The Ukrainian counter-offensive has not yet begun because Kyiv does not have enough weapons and ammunition, said one of President Zelensky’s top aides. Dr Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of the president’s office and his chief foreign affairs adviser, said the military needed more reinforcements to begin the long-awaited operation, which was “originally billed as a spring offensive but will now take place in summer”, said The Sunday Times. Meanwhile, 20 people have been injured after an alleged Russian strike in Ukraine’s central city of Dnipro.

4

Israeli soldiers killed at border

Three Israeli soldiers have been killed by an Egyptian security officer in exchanges of fire on the border. The armed forces of both countries say they are jointly investigating the unusual incident, which is believed to have begun when an Egyptian officer crossed into Israel while chasing drug traffickers. In the wake of the deaths, members of the Israeli parliament have called for changes to the military’s rules of engagement border, reported the Jerusalem Post.

5

Hottest day of 2023 expected

The UK is expected to experience the hottest day yet of 2023 today with temperatures expected to reach about 26C. Some parts of the country may get hotter than Istanbul. Meteorologist Rachel Ayers said today’s high is likely to be reached “somewhere in the west” in Wales or southwest England. The warm and dry conditions are expected to continue into next week – “but don’t call it a heatwave”, said Sky News.

6

Labour divisions could ‘blow up’

Divisions in the Labour Party “threaten to blow up” over a decision to block Jamie Driscoll from standing as a Labour candidate, said the inews site. The Mayor of the North of Tyne was prevented from running for the newly-created mayoralty for the North East of England, which will replace his current role. Labour sources said the decision was because Driscoll refused to distance himself from left-wing filmmaker Ken Loach, who was expelled from the party. Labour MP John McDonnell blamed “completely out of control” factionalism.

7

Charities shared data with Meta

Leading UK mental health charities shared details of sensitive web browsing with Facebook for use in its targeted advertising system, revealed The Observer. The data, which included details of webpages users visited and buttons they clicked across content linked to depression, self-harm and eating disorders, was sent through a tracking tool called Meta Pixel, which was embedded in the charities’ websites. The information sent also included details of when users requested support – such as clicking a link saying “I need help”.

8

Sunak’s college donation questioned

Rishi Sunak and his wife are facing criticism after it was revealed that they gave $3m to a “mega-rich” US college while UK schools “scrimp and save to afford even the basics”, said The Mirror. The donation paid for a computing lab at Claremont McKenna in California, where the prime minister’s wife Akshata Murty studied economics and French as an undergraduate. Labour’s shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson, said the donation was “absolutely staggering”.

9

Man arrested over Hillsborough mockery

A football fan was arrested at Wembley after wearing a shirt mocking the people who died in the Hillsborough tragedy. The Manchester United supporter had customised the club’s away shirt to display the number 97 and the words “Not Enough”. After an image of the man went viral online, the Metropolitan Police said he had been “arrested on suspicion of public order offence and taken into custody.” Ninety-seven Liverpool fans died as a result of a crush at a match against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield on 15 April, 1989.

10

Headphones ‘divide offices’

The use of headphones in the workplace is “dividing colleagues”, said The Sunday Times. Workers are increasingly using headphones and earbuds to listen to music and podcasts after becoming to them while working from home during lockdown. But their use has in the office become increasingly controversial. Debrett’s, the 250-year-old British guide to etiquette, said: “If you work in an open-plan office where there is frequent conversation and interchange of ideas between colleagues, do not wear AirPods or headphones.”

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