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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 July 2023

1

Twitter may sue Meta

Twitter said it is considering legal action against Meta over its rival app Threads. The new platform, which was launched this week, is similar to Twitter and has been branded as a “friendly” alternative. However, Twitter’s Elon Musk said “competition is fine, cheating is not” and claimed that former Twitter staff helped create Threads. The “Twitter killer” app is “a nearly direct copy” of Twitter and will “lure users away from the increasingly-dysfunctional Elon Musk-owned company”, said The Guardian.

Tweet of clay: will Twitter’s demise bring down Elon Musk?

2

Planning ‘grinds to halt’

The planning system in Britain is “grinding to a halt”, said The Times, with four out of five big applications facing delays of up to two years. More than 500,000 new developments have been delayed during the past five years as “threadbare” planning departments “struggle to cope with even routine cases”, said the paper. “This is really a question of capacity as a lot of experienced planners have left the public sector and not been replaced as councils are increasingly pressed for cash,” said the Home Builders Federation.

Rise of the Nimby party: the Tory house-building dilemma

3

Package tourism linked to cancer

Budget package holidays to sunny destinations are powering record numbers of skin cancer cases, said Cancer Research UK. The charity said cases of skin cancer have almost tripled since the 1990s and there are now 17,500 cases of melanoma skin cancer each year in the UK, a figure projected to rise to 26,500 a year by 2040. Doctors said the rise can be dated back to the beginning of the era of cheap flights in the 1960s. There has also been a rise in people using sunbeds during the same period.

4

Minister ordered mural removal

The Home Office has confirmed that murals of Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters on the walls of an asylum centre in Kent for unaccompanied children have been painted over. Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, ordered the removal of the murals, which also depicted Baloo from The Jungle Book, because he thought they were too welcoming. Sources later told the i news site that staff were “horrified” by the “cruel” order and a former child refugee said the order was “an act of abject cruelty”. The Home Office said “we do all we can to ensure children are safe”.

The cost of housing asylum seekers examined

5

Lineker says climate more important than sport

Gary Lineker said that Just Stop Oil’s cause is “probably more important” than sports events. Hosting an environment panel at Wimbledon, a day after activists halted play by running onto court throwing debris onto the grass, the BBC Match of the Day presenter said: “I completely understand where they’re coming from – disruptive protest is the only one that gets any publicity.” Saying that he “understands” why the public get upset by protests, he added that “what is more important is probably our existence in the future rather than slight disruption of sporting events”.

Just Stop Oil: who are the eco-protesters and what do they want?

6

Labour faces wrath of press barons

Labour is “heading for a potentially bruising clash” with UK news publishers over post-Leveson press regulation, said The Guardian. Shadow ministers are expected to “incur the wrath” of some of Britain’s most powerful newspaper barons, including Rupert Murdoch, by opposing the repeal of a rule designed to force news publishers to sign up to the government-backed regulator. The government plans to repeal the clause in the forthcoming media bill and Labour’s opposition to this will “set it against almost every national news organisation”, said the paper.

7

Court rules on Covid documents

The high court has ordered the government to hand Boris Johnson’s WhatsApps to the Covid inquiry. Ministers have been told to submit an unredacted cache of documents, including messages, notebooks and diaries to the Covid inquiry. In their ruling, the judges said the diaries and notebooks requested by Lady Hallett “were very likely to contain information about decision-making”. Government insiders told The Guardian they were concerned that the ruling would set a precedent for further demands for important documents and messages held by serving ministers.

Covid inquiry: is the government attempting a cover-up?

8

Welby backs trans protection

The Archbishop of Canterbury has backed transgender students as free speech rows rage at universities. Justin Welby said that although there was no right not to be offended on campus, universities that allow students to be “abused, insulted and excluded” should face funding cuts. His remarks come after students at the University of Oxford tried to block Prof Kathleen Stock, the gender critical scholar, from speaking at its debating society because of her belief that trans women are not women, noted The Telegraph.

9

Three days of record-breaking heat

The planet saw its hottest day on record three days in a row this week. On Monday, the average global temperature reached 17.01 degrees Celsius (62.62 Fahrenheit), the highest in the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s records, which began in 1979. On Tuesday, it went higher, touching 17.18 degrees Celsius and global temperature remained at this record-high on Wednesday. Monday’s and Tuesday’s global temperatures were also new highs in the records of the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, which date back to 1940.

10

Britney ‘hit by security guard’

Britney Spears said she was struck by a security guard who was protecting the basketballer Victor Wembanyama in Las Vegas. The pop singer said she spotted the 19-year-old NBA top draft pick in a restaurant and “decided to approach him and congratulate him on his success”. As it was noisy in the restaurant, she “tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention”. A security guard protecting Wembanyama is then said to have struck her in the face with the back of his hand. Wembanyama said he “didn’t see what happened”.

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