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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 March 2023

1

Johnson ‘fights for future’

Boris Johnson is “fighting for his political career”, said The Times, after a cross-party committee found there was significant evidence he misled MPs over lockdown parties, and that he almost certainly knew he was breaking rules. Senior parliamentary sources said the interim report was so damning that he could be suspended from the Commons for more than a month, which would trigger a by-election in his constituency. However, Johnson claimed that the committee’s work “totally vindicates” him.

2

Hancock affair reaction leaked

New leaked messages show Matt Hancock and his aides agonising over whether or not he broke Covid guidance when he kissed his aide. The latest tranche to be published show Hancock’s “41-hour scramble to save his career” after his affair with Gina Coladangelo was revealed, said The Telegraph. As he awaited publication, Hancock asked a special adviser: “How bad are the pics?” Informed that it’s a “snog and heavy petting”, he replied: “How the f**k did anyone photograph that?” Hancock has described the leaks as a “partial, biased account to suit an anti-lockdown agenda”.

3

Trump records a single

Donald Trump has released a charity single, recorded with a group of men jailed for their parts in the Capitol insurrection. Justice for All by Donald J Trump and the J6 Prison Choir, which has been released on streaming platforms, was recorded at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, according to Forbes, with the inmates recording their parts on a prison phone. The release is the latest move in a “growing trend” by Trump and others on the far right of US politics to “embrace the January 6 attack on the Capitol as a political cause”, said The Guardian.

4

Will Russia run out of cash?

Russia could run out of money as soon as next year and needs foreign investment, said a Russian oligarch. “There will be no money already next year, we need foreign investors,” said Oleg Deripaska at an economic conference. “Cracks are starting to show” in the economy said CNN, and Western sanctions could “escalate further”, meaning Russia’s economic prospects are “contingent on what happens in Ukraine”. However, last week Vladimir Putin praised the resilience of the country’s economy in the face of sanctions.

5

Coronation oil will be vegan

The oil used to anoint King Charles in the coronation will not include any ingredients from animals. Previous versions have included civet oil, from the glands of the small mammals, and ambergris from the intestines of whales, noted the BBC, but the “chrism oil” for the May ceremony will be “vegan” said the Daily Mail. It was consecrated in a religious ceremony in Jerusalem on Friday and is perfumed with sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin and amber.

6

Teen stabbed grandmother to death

A teenager who stabbed his grandmother to death while she was taking a bath has been cleared of her murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Pietro Addis, 19, killed Sue Addis, a 69-year-old businesswoman and restaurateur, at her home in Brighton in January 2021. The 19-year-old, who was a heavy cannabis user, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder, claiming he had been suffering psychotic episode at the time of the stabbing. He will be sentenced for manslaughter on May 5.

7

Students may step in during strike

The Guardian revealed that medical students are being urged to provide clinical support in English hospitals when tens of thousands of junior doctors go on strike from 13 March. The health service faces the prospect of unprecedented disruption to services when junior doctors strike for 72 hours. The news that students may be called upon “provoked immediate condemnation from doctors’ unions”, who raised “concerns about safety”, and said student medics should “refuse to undertake tasks that fell outside their competence or capability”, said the paper.

8

Argentina scrap Falklands pact

The UK government has insisted the Falkland Islands are British after Argentina called for talks on the islands’ sovereignty. In 2016, both sides “agreed to disagree” on the sovereignty of the Falklands “in favour of improved relation”, said the BBC, but Argentina pulled out of the pact this week. Argentina’s government believes the agreement is “detrimental” to its historic sovereignty claim over the islands, said the Buenos Aires Times.

9

Biden has lesion removed

Joe Biden had a cancerous skin lesion removed last month during a routine health screening, the White House has said. All cancerous tissue was removed and no further treatment is required, according to the US president’s doctor. Biden, 80, had a physical exam last year which the White House said found him healthy and “fit for duty”. In January, first lady Jill Biden had a pair of cancerous lesions removed that were also identified as basal cell carcinoma, noted NBC News.

10

West Ham donated to Tories

West Ham United donated £9,000 to the Conservative party last year, documents published by the Electoral Commission have revealed. This is not the first time the London club, whose vice-chair, Karren Brady, is a Tory peer, has given money to the Conservatives: records show it made a donation of £12,500 in 2016. However, last month, the club’s co-owner, David Sullivan, called the government “incompetent” in response to plans to establish a regulator for English football.

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