Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 10 October 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Nursing crisis on UK wards
There is a “nursing crisis” in England’s hospitals as they struggle to recruit staff for tens of thousands of vacancies, reported The Observer. One in five nursing posts on some wards are now unfilled following a collapse in the numbers of recruits from Europe, including Spain and Italy. The UK is facing worker shortages in a number of sectors after Brexit, from lorry drivers to farm workers.
Britain is least bio-diverse G7 nation
A new study has found that the UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. It has an average of about half its biodiversity left, far below the global average of 75%, putting it in the bottom 10% globally and last among the G7 group of nations. Researchers say a figure of 90% is considered the “safe limit” to prevent the world from tipping into an “ecological meltdown”.
UK ‘on course for EU trade war’
There are fears that the UK is heading for a trade war with the EU following signals from London that proposals to be unveiled in Brussels over Brexit arrangements do not go far enough. The Brexit minister, Lord Frost, is expected to say that the bloc’s scrapping of its prohibition on British sausages to resolve the dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol is not sufficient. The peer will demand “significant” changes to the post-Brexit agreement he negotiated.
Patel ‘angry with PM over harassment law’
Priti Patel is furious with Boris Johnson after he overruled attempts to make public sexual harassment a crime, reported The Observer. The Home Office now fears that the prime minister regards the problem as mere “wolf whistling”, rather than the aggressive targeting of women and girls going about their daily lives. Johnson said that he did not support any new law on tackling violence against women, as he believed there is “abundant” existing legislation.
Iran passes agreed uranium limit
The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency has told state television that the regime has amassed more than 120kg of 20% enriched uranium, well above the level agreed to in the 2015 deal with world powers. “We have passed 120 kilograms,” said Mohammad Eslami. Under the agreement, Tehran was not meant to enrich uranium above 3.67%, well below the 90% threshold needed for use in nuclear weapons.
Taiwan and China trade barbs
Taiwan will not bow to pressure, said its president Tsai Ing-wen as tensions grow with Beijing. During a speech in front of the presidential office on National Day, the leader warned that Taiwan is facing the “most complex situation” in the past 72 years, since the end of the Chinese civil war. Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to pursue “reunification” with Taiwan by peaceful means, warning: “Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland and seek to split the country will come to no good.”
Kidnapped nun released in Mali
A Colombian nun kidnapped in Mali four years ago has been freed. Gloria Cecilia Narváez was snatched by Islamists in 2017 while working as a missionary in Koutiala, about 400 kilometres east of the capital Bamako. A statement released by the Malian president’s office said her release came after more than four-and-a-half years of “combined effort of several intelligences services”. It is not clear whether a ransom was paid.
Bolshoi performer killed on stage
A performer at Moscow’s Bolshoi theatre was killed on Saturday in an accident on stage during an opera. The theatre said the incident occurred during a set change in Sadko, an opera by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The performance was immediately stopped and the audience was asked to leave. The BBC said the 37-year-old performer was crushed to death by falling scenery.
Grieving family bid to block assisted dying
The family of a teacher poisoned for his estate have launched a campaign to block the legalisation of assisted dying. The brother of Peter Farquhar, who was murdered by a churchwarden, said that any new law would risk making more people vulnerable to the same fate. Farquhar was slowly poisoned by Ben Field, who had convinced him he was unwell before pressuring him to amend his will to leave him his home in Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire.
Fury wins thrilling bout
Tyson Fury has retained his WBC heavyweight title after knocking out Deontay Wilder in an engaging contest in Las Vegas. “I was down a couple of times, I was hurt, Wilder is a strong puncher,” said Fury after the bout, which featured five knockdowns. “I always say I am the best fighter in the world and he is the second best. Don't ever doubt me. When the chips are down I can always deliver.”