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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 June 2023

1

Ukraine offensive ‘foiled’

Moscow said it has foiled a major Ukrainian offensive and killed 250 Ukrainian troops. The defence ministry said Kyiv had launched the offensive in the Donetsk region on Sunday using six mechanised and two tank battalions. There has been no comment from the Ukrainian government. However, in an interview published on Saturday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy had said that Ukraine was ready to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory. “We strongly believe that we will succeed,” he said.

How fruitful was Zelenskyy’s European tour?

2

Oil giants agree new cuts

Oil-producing countries have agreed to continued cuts in production in a bid to “shore up flagging prices”, said the BBC. Saudi Arabia announced cuts of a million barrels per day in July and Opec+ said targets would drop by a further 1.4 million barrels per day from 2024. Decisions by Opec+, which accounts for around 40% of the world’s crude oil, can have a major impact on oil prices. US president Joe Biden has encouraged producers to turn on the taps to keep prices low.

Opec+: what oil production cut means for the West

3

Concern over Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is leapfrogging Covid-19 as the world’s most deadly infectious disease, with The Mirror warning the “hidden pandemic” is a “ticking timebomb” for the UK. TB cases imported into England have started to increase after a decade-long decline, said the paper, with almost a third of patients who catch this “growing mutant form” dying. Dr Meera Chand, of the UK Health Security Agency, said: “We are working with the NHS to strengthen prevention, detection and treatment.”

4

Austerity Covid claims

Union leaders have claimed that the austerity measures introduced by David Cameron and George Osborne left Britain “hugely unprepared” for Covid, with consequences that were “painful and tragic”. A report from the Trades Union Congress will argue that the policies of the former prime minister and his chancellor led to “unsafe staffing in public services, a broken safety net and decimated workplace safety enforcement”. Cameron and Osborne are “likely to push back against the claims” when they appear at the Covid inquiry, said The Guardian.

5

Prince Harry to testify in court

Prince Harry will become the first senior royal to give evidence in court for 130 years when he appears at the high court this week. The Duke is suing the publisher of the Daily Mirror, claiming that he was the victim of unlawful information-gathering. He blames the newspapers’ for “huge bouts of depression and paranoia” and the breakdown of his relationship with Chelsy Davy. The last time a royal gave evidence was during the Baccarat scandal of 1890, when a slander action was brought by a card player accused of cheating the Prince of Wales, noted The Times.

Prince Harry’s privacy case against Associated Newspapers

6

‘Thrilling’ lung cancer development

A daily pill slashes the risk of dying from lung cancer by 51%, according to “thrilling” and “unprecedented” results from a decade-long global study. The results, which were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago, showed that taking the drug osimertinib after surgery dramatically reduced the risk of death. “Thirty years ago, there was nothing we could do for these patients,” said Dr Roy Herbst, the deputy director of Yale Cancer Center and lead author of the study. “Now we have this potent drug.”

Five good-news cancer breakthroughs in 2023

7

Poles march against government

Hundreds of thousands of people have marched through Warsaw to protest against Poland’s rightwing populist government. The Law and Justice party has “eroded democratic norms, attacked the independent judiciary and launched campaigns against the LGBTQ+ community and reproductive rights”, said The Guardian. Donald Tusk, the leader of Civic Coalition, the largest opposition group, claimed that as many as 500,000 attended, making it, “the largest democratic assembly in the history of democratic Poland”, said The First News.

8

Study finds lockdown was ‘gigantic failure’

A study has found that the benefits of lockdown measures were a “drop in the bucket” compared to the costs. Scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Lund University who analysed almost 20,000 studies on Covid measures across the world found that lockdowns in response to the first wave of the pandemic, when compared with less strict policies adopted by the likes of Sweden, prevented as few as 1,700 deaths in England and Wales. They described lockdowns as a “policy failure of gigantic proportions”.

Three years since lockdown began: how Britain changed

9

Young fear AI job hit

Researchers have found that more than half of young people are concerned that artificial intelligence will take their jobs from them. Some 52% of 18 to 24-year-olds are worried about the impact of the technology on their future job prospects, found the survey for the i news site. The poll also found that  48% of people believe it is likely that humans will one day lose control of AI systems by it surpassing human capabilities and starting to act against human interests.

AI job fears: how can we regulate the ‘rise of the robots’?

10

Heart attacks more common on Mondays

Fatal heart attacks are most likely to happen on Mondays, new research has found. Scientists who studied 10,528 patients admitted to hospital in Ireland with a serious heart attack over a five-year period found that rates were 13% higher on Mondays. They concluded that the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle is disrupted over the weekend as people stay up late or enjoy a lie-in and then, when people return to their usual weekday rising time, it causes higher levels of inflammation and stress hormones that can trigger heart attacks.

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