Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 October 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM under pressure over donors
The Conservative Party is facing questions over donations made by the wife of a former Russian minister. Documents revealed as part of the Pandora Papers leak revealed that the personal wealth of Lubov Chernukhin - one of the biggest female donors in recent British political history who has handed more than £2.1m to the Tories since 2012 - has been financially linked to people who were close to the Kremlin. The Guardian said Boris Johnson is facing calls to hand back the money and submit the party to an investigation.
Nurse denies killing eight babies
A nurse accused of murdering eight babies and trying to kill 10 more has pleaded not guilty. Lucy Letby is accused of embarking on a year-long killing spree while working on the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester. The accused 31-year-old, wearing a dark blue top and her hair in a ponytail, appeared in court by video link from HMP Peterborough, where she is on remand.
Just 27 drivers take up visa offer
Just 27 fuel tanker drivers from EU countries have applied to work in Britain under the government’s emergency scheme to tackle the petrol crisis. The government made 300 visas available for HGV drivers last week, however, The Times said the low take-up has “infuriated” Downing Street. The unpopularity of the scheme has also “called into question wider plans to recruit a further 4,700 haulage drivers from later this month to alleviate the pressure on deliveries before Christmas,” the paper added.
Facebook online after outage
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are back online following a six hour outage last night. The company said the cause was a faulty configuration change, apologising “to all the people and businesses around the world who depend on us”. Whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted that the outage is “a reminder that you and your friends should probably be using a more private, non-profit alternative like Signal”.
Quarter of humanity faces deadly city heat
Almost 25% of the planet’s population is exposed to deadly urban heat, a new study has found. Research published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal said the “worrying trend” is being caused by a combination of rising temperatures and growing numbers of people living in urban areas. Increased city temperatures “increase morbidity and mortality”, said the lead author of the study, adding that “it impacts people’s ability to work, and results in lower economic output”, as well as “exacerbating pre-existing health conditions”.
Tory MP ‘fine’ after conference attack
Iain Duncan Smith said he is “fine” after he was attacked during the Conservative Party conference. The former Tory leader said he was walking to a meeting in Manchester city centre when a group of people called him “Tory scum” and tried to strike him with a traffic cone. Duncan Smith told the BBC he was “big enough and old enough” to just “carry on” following the attack. Greater Manchester Police said five people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Patel to ban people from protests
Priti Patel is set to announce new powers for courts to prevent certain people from attending protests. Conservative sources told The Guardian that the new Criminal Disruption Prevention Orders, which will be announced at the party’s conference, will limit people with a “history of disruption” or could be used where intelligence suggested they were might commit a crime. The move is likely to “provoke anger from civil liberties groups”, the paper added.
Study reveals racism in finance sector
Two in three UK finance workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have suffered discrimination in the workplace, an industry study has revealed. The Race to Equality report, which quizzed 800 employees from 440 companies with more than £1.4tn in annual revenue between them, found that 66% of BAME staff had experienced discrimination at work as a result of their background. Analysts said the findings indicate the industry was “failing to back up diversity pledges with concrete action”.
Study finds surge in expensive streets
The number of British streets where the average home is valued at more than £1m has risen by almost 1,800 in the past twelve months, analysis has found, According to the property firm Zoopla, some 11,673 streets had an average property price of more than seven figures in September 2021, 1,782 more than the 9,891 in September 2020. For the 13th year in a row, Kensington Palace Gardens in London was identified as Britain’s most expensive street, with homes priced at almost £29.9m on average.
Iraq report Chilcot dies at 82
John Chilcot, who headed the inquiry into the Iraq war, has died of kidney disease aged 82. The Times said the “softly spoken career mandarin” seemed “an unlikely destroyer of reputations”. However, after his painstaking investigation that cost £10m and concluded six years later than originally intended, he “left in shreds” the already damaged credibility of former prime minister Tony Blair. Chilcot is survived by his wife Rosalind.