Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 January 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
‘Damning’ party evidence
Downing Street police who were on duty when a string of lockdown-breaking parties are alleged to have taken place there have given “extremely damning” evidence to inquiry chief Sue Gray, a source told The Daily Telegraph. “If Boris Johnson is still prime minister by the end of this week, I’d be very surprised,” the source said. Gray is thought to be interviewing Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings today and her report on her findings is due to be published by the end of the week.
US tells citizens to leave Ukraine
The US has ordered the families of its embassy staff in Ukraine to leave, amid claims that Russia is planning significant military action against the bordering nation. The State Department has also given permission for non-essential staff to leave and urged US citizens in Ukraine to consider departing. Moscow denies it is planning an attack but has called for the West to promise that Ukraine will not join its Nato defensive alliance.
Taliban talks spark protests
The Taliban is meeting with Western officials at a hotel in the Norwegian capital Oslo, for the first talks in Europe since the group took control of Afghanistan. The three-day talks are expected to cover human rights and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where 95% of the population do not have enough to eat, according to the UN. The talks have triggered a series of protests in Europe, with critics claiming that the meetings are “normalising a terrorist group as the representative of Afghanistan”, the BBC reported.
Queen returns to Sandringham
The Queen has returned to Sandringham’s Wood Farm for the first time since the Duke of Edinburgh’s death last April. She was flown by helicopter from Windsor Castle to her Norfolk estate yesterday. The Queen is expected to stay there for the next few weeks and it is where she plans to mark accession day – the anniversary of when her father, King George VI, died and she became monarch – on 6 February. The day will mark the start of a series of Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
MPs ‘back’ National Insurance pause
A minister has claimed that the entire cabinet would back delaying the National Insurance hike to help families hit by the cost of living crisis. Boris Johnson is under pressure to rethink the proposed 1.25% rise, due in April, as households also face rising energy bills, council tax and inflation. An unnamed senior minister told the Daily Mail that there would be “no objection” from the cabinet if Chancellor Rishi Sunak paused the increase.
Brit killed in Thai ‘sickle attack’
A British man has been killed and another injured in an attack reportedly involving a sickle in Thailand. Marcus Evans, a 49-year-old from Somerset, was killed in the early hours of Saturday in the western Kanchanaburi region. Police say he was found dead at his home with knife wounds. A 55-year-old man, also British, was injured and taken to hospital. Thai police have arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with the attack, which they believe involved the use of a sickle – an instrument with a curved metal blade that is used to harvest rice.
Arrest over Nazi salute at Auschwitz
A Dutch tourist has been detained in Poland for performing a Nazi salute at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, local police say. The 29-year-old woman, who has not been named, made the gesture in front of the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) gate. She was charged with engaging in Nazi propaganda and prosecutors issued a fine, which she agreed to pay. According to Poland’s PAP news agency, the woman claimed that the salute had been a bad joke.
French fashion giant dies at 73
Manfred Thierry Mugler, the French fashion designer, has died at the age of 73 from “natural causes”, according to his agent. The former ballet dancer was known for the “powerful-shouldered, cinch-waisted silhouettes that reigned over fashion in the 1980s” and were at the forefront of power dressing, said The Guardian. “He was timeless and ahead of his time,” said supermodel Jerry Hall – the face of Mugler’s bestselling Angel perfume – of the designer in 2019.
Banks add pronouns to staff badges
For the first time, HSBC branch workers will be able to add their preferred pronoun (such as she/her/hers, he/him/his or they/them/theirs) to their name badge, reported The Daily Telegraph. Stuart Haire, HSBC UK’s head of retail banking, said it was “vitally important” to the bank “that everyone feels they can be themselves in the workplace”. NatWest is also trialling a new branch uniform that includes a pronoun option on new badges, and other banks are expected to introduce similar changes.
Katie Price facing jail over alleged restraining order breach
Katie Price faces up to five years in jail after she allegedly sent an abusive text to her ex-partner about his fiancee. The Sun reported that the reality TV star spent 12 hours in police custody after being arrested at her home, known as the “mucky mansion”, on Friday night. Her message potentially breached a court-imposed ban. Price is already serving a 16-week suspended sentence for drink driving after she flipped her BMW in a car accident in September.