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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 March 2023

1

US-China conflict ‘inevitable’

China’s new foreign minister said that his nation and the US are heading towards inevitable conflict if Washington does not “hit the brake”. In a press conference described as “fiery” by The Guardian, Qin Gang presented China and its relationship with Russia as a “beacon of strength and stability”, and the one between the US and its allies as “a source of tension and conflict”, said the paper. CNN noted that “ties between the world’s two largest economies are at their worst in decades”.

Ukraine and a post-Western world: are we entering a new era in global politics?

2

Hancock’s disability row

Matt Hancock supported a plan to block a disability centre in a Tory MP’s constituency in a bid to get him to vote for the Covid tier system, leaked messages suggest. The discussion between Hancock and his political aide shows they discussed taking a plan for a learning disability hub in Bury, “off the table” if James Daly, the Bury North MP, sided against the government. Responding to the disclosure, Tory Party chairman Jake Berry said that Hancock “should be dragged to the bar of the House of Commons first thing tomorrow morning to be questioned on this”. A spokesperson for the former health secretary said the message exchange was an “entirely partial account” and “what has been accused here never happened”.

3

Shoppers tighten purse strings

Rising living costs meant UK consumers “sharply cut back” spending in February, reported The Guardian. Although total sales rose by 5.2% in February compared with a year earlier, up from January’s annual growth rate of 4.2%, much of the rise was a result of high inflation pushing up the value of goods sold, said the British Retail Consortium. A separate report from Barclays found the weakness in sales was because of a reduction in discretionary purchases due to the cost of living squeeze.

How to save on your weekly shop

4

Worries over food emissions

Emissions from the food system alone will drive the world past 1.5C of global heating unless urgent action is taken, according to a new study. The analysis by Columbia University found that if current levels of food emissions continued, they would result in at least 0.7C of global heating by the end of the century, on top of the 1C rise already seen. Meat and dairy are the key culprits and “we have to make the goal of sustaining our global population consistent with a climate-safe future”, said Catherine Ivanovich, at Columbia University, who led the research.

How bad for the environment is eating meat?

5

Johnson honour plan ‘awful’

Keir Starmer has said it would be “outrageous” for Stanley Johnson to receive a knighthood from his son. After it emerged that Boris Johnson had nominated his father for a knighthood in his resignation honours list, the Labour leader told LBC he thought a knighthood for Johnson senior was “ridiculous”. The move has also been criticised on the Tory benches. One minister told The Times: “Just when we are making progress to deliver integrity and competence, wheezes like this just make us all look awful.”

Can the Tories recover from ‘Long Johnson’?

6

US Police ‘took Shaman to Senate’

Surveillance video from the Capitol insurrection, shows two police officers escorting the notorious “QAnon Shaman” through the halls of the Capitol and to the door of the US Senate. The newly-released footage, which was aired on Fox News last night, shows the officers closely following Jacob Chansley, who is bare-chested and wearing face paint and a fur hat with Viking horns. “The tapes show the Capitol police never stopped Jacob Chansley,” said presenter Tucker Carlson. “They helped him. They acted as his tour guides.”

7

Coffee chains spike prices

Coffee chains have raised their prices on hot drinks and sandwiches by as much as 50%, according to an investigation by The Telegraph. Costa Coffee increased the price of its small lattes and cappuccinos to £3.20 in London and £3.05 outside, an increase of 25p. Pret a Manger has hiked the price of its 99p filter coffee to £1.60 at its branches located at railway stations and transport hubs. Starbucks has increased the cost of a latte to £3.55. Industry experts blamed a perfect storm of staff shortages, energy bill increases and problems sourcing ingredients, said The Telegraph.

The great British food shortage: what’s causing empty supermarket shelves?

8

Couzens joked about ‘Somalia village’

PC Wayne Couzens joked about rape and sexual assault and made racist remarks in a WhatsApp group with colleagues. The messages, which were released yesterday, showed that Couzens fantasised about the sexual offences that he would go on to commit. Before he abducted, raped and murdered Sarah Everard, Couzens asked if another officer had checked if a drunk woman was all right by performing a sex act on her and also joked about sexually assaulting domestic violence victims. He also described an area of London as a “Somalia village”.

9

Royal brothers ‘like Cain and Abel’

Prince Harry is close to “being exiled” from the royal after “self-sabotaging” his relationship with his brother, according to Lady Victoria Hervey. The model compared the relationship between the two brothers to Cain and Abel, the biblical brothers. In the story, Cain murders his brother after God showed favour to Abel’s sacrifice. “It’s becoming a bit of a blood sport,” she said of the royal siblings. “Harry is getting himself closer and closer to being exiled. I think he’s only one or two steps away from that happening.”

Going Spare: can Prince Harry ever reconcile with the royals?

10

Older adults ‘more punctual’

Older people are more “punctual” and “able to spell” compared with their younger counterparts, said a Tory MP. Urging the government to do more to support people aged over 50 back into employment, Michael Fabricant said older people “on the whole tend to be more punctual, tend to be more dedicated, tend to be more reliable, tend to be able to spell”. Fabricant, who is 72, then quipped that he did not have to declare an interest, because of his “youth”.

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