Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2022

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1

Russian convoy nears Kyiv

Satellite images are showing that a 40-mile Russian military convoy is advancing towards Kyiv. Other images have shown additional deployments and helicopter units in southern Belarus, around 20 miles north of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. At least nine people were killed and 37 injured in the city of Kharkiv on Monday after Russian forces launched multiple rocket strikes in civilian areas. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague said he wants to investigate Russia for possible war crimes or crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

2

‘Bleakest warning’ on climate

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has sounded a fresh alarm bell, warning that climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly, many of its impacts will be worse than predicted and there is only a slim window to avoid its worst effects. In a report described as the IPCC’s “bleakest warning yet”, the global authority on climate science said that human actions are causing dangerous and widespread disruption, threatening devastation to swathes of the natural world and rendering many areas uninhabitable, reported The Guardian.

3

Sunak asked to delay NI rise

Business leaders are putting fresh pressure on Rishi Sunak to delay a planned £12b rise in national insurance. Noting that the conflict in Ukraine is likely to send inflation ever higher, the trade body Make UK, which represents 20,000 firms of all sizes across the country, said the proposed increase “remains illogical and will be even more ill-timed given how circumstances have rapidly changed since it was announced”. Employees, employers and the self-employed will all pay 1.25p more per pound once national insurance rates rise next month.

4

TfL warns of Tube strike today

Transport bosses warned last night that there is a “high chance” of no services being run on the London Underground network today. Around 10,000 Tube workers are expected to strike over plans by Transport for London to cut up to 600 station posts, as well as concerns over pensions and working conditions. Walkouts are also expected this Thursday. In another blow for public transport, the highest train fare rises for nine years have come into force for rail travellers, with regulated fares in England and Wales increasing by up to 3.8%.

5

Bodies pile up in Hong Kong

Health chiefs in Hong Kong have admitted that bodies are piling up in the city’s mortuaries as it faces its worst Covid outbreak since the pandemic began, reported The Daily Telegraph. Hospital and public mortuaries have reached maximum capacity after the city of 7.4 million people reported 34,466 new infections and 87 fatalities. Supermarket shelves across the city have emptied following hints that the government may introduce a Hong Kong-wide lockdown to stem the spread of the virus. 

6

Trumps appeal court ruling

Donald Trump has appealed a court ruling that required him to answer questions under oath in New York state’s civil investigation into his business practices. Lawyers for the former president and his two eldest children filed papers arguing that ordering them to testify violates their constitutional rights because their answers could be used in a parallel criminal investigation. CNN said Trump’s legal team is “confronting trouble on a number of fronts” while the former president weighs a possible White House run in 2024.

7

Teacher suspended over bin Laden image

A Church of England school has suspended a teacher for using a picture of Osama bin Laden to portray the Prophet Mohammed during a Year 10 lesson. All Saints Academy in Bedfordshire issued a profuse apology over what it described as “totally inappropriate images” used in a religious education class last week. The Daily Telegraph said a “concerned” pupil raised the alarm about the presentation slide and the member of staff was suspended “immediately” pending a “detailed and swift investigation”.

8

MPs reject police bill amendments

MPs have rejected a proposal to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales as part of new public order laws going through Parliament. The amendment was part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which returned to the House of Commons after suffering a series of defeats in the House of Lords. Other amendments to the bill were rejected by MPs, including one designed to crackdown on predatory “sex for rent”. The BBC said the bill is a “mammoth piece of legislation” which has proved controversial.

9

Ultra-wealthy profit from pandemic

More than 51,000 people joined the ranks of the “ultra-wealthy” last year, according to a report by the property consultants Knight Frank. The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals – classed as those with assets of more than $30m (£22.4m) – rose by a record 9.3% last year to 610,569. The Guardian said the very wealthy benefited from rising global stock markets and increased property prices during the Covid pandemic.

10

Home Office criticised over Afghan family

The government sent an asylum-seeking family back to Afghanistan just days before the fall of Kabul, leaving them “in danger” and afraid to leave their home. Labour’s shadow Home Office minister, Holly Lynch, said the decision was “shameful”, adding that the family “felt they had no choice” other than agree to be sent back. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said the British government “must now do everything it can to grant safe passage to at-risk Afghans”.

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