Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 March 2022

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

1

Russia claims to open corridors

Russia says it has opened some humanitarian corridors to allow citizens from multiple Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Sumy, to evacuate. According to Russian state media and the BBC, the ceasefire began at 10am Moscow time (7am GMT) and the corridors will lead to Belarus, Russia or other Ukrainian cities. On Sunday, Ukrainian deputy prime minister Olha Stefanishyna told the BBC that Moscow had begun an “enormous operation” against civilians, including strikes on hospitals and schools. She accused Russia of carrying out a “terroristic plan”, with attacks coming both from the air and by land.

2

Labour calls for Lebedev probe

Labour has called for the peerage of Evgeny Lebedev – the owner of the Evening Standard and Independent, and the son of a billionaire oligarch – to be investigated. The Sunday Times claimed that Britain’s security services dropped alleged concerns about Lebedev’s ennoblement following the intervention of Boris Johnson. “There’s at least the suggestion that the government and the prime minister were warned that there was a national security risk in this particular appointment,” Keir Starmer told the BBC. Dominic Raab, the justice secretary, said there is “a very strict and stringent process when anyone grants a peerage”.

3

‘18-month wait’ for treatment

Some patients are facing routine waits of more than a year and a half to be treated, reported The Times. According to data on My Planned Care, an NHS website designed to “increase transparency on waiting times and provide support while patients await treatment”, some patients have an average wait of a few weeks, while others cannot expect to be seen for months. There are more than six million people currently on the waiting list, with the Patients Association expressing concern that “long waits could lead to patients’ health declining perhaps to the point where treatment may become ineffective”.

4

Oil prices surge to 14-year high

Oil prices have reached their highest since 2008 due to delays in the potential return of Iranian crude to global markets and in response to speculation that the US and European allies will ban imports of Russian oil. Talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers are “mired in uncertainty”, said Reuters, following Moscow’s demands for a US guarantee that the sanctions it faces over the Ukraine conflict will not hurt its trade with Tehran.

5

Female-led firms outperform others

Companies with female leaders outperform those led by men, according to a House of Commons study. Researchers found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom, while companies with more than 30% female executives were more likely to outperform companies without as many women at the top, reported The Guardian. Anneliese Dodds, the shadow secretary for women and equalities, said women were being held back by a lack of investment and the risk of “childcare deserts” in parts of the country.

6

Fracking could return to UK

The chief executive of Britain’s oil and gas regulator said fracking could return to the UK amid fears about Europe’s energy security following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Dr Andy Samuel, who leads the Oil and Gas Authority, said at least one firm is hoping to resume fracking with new techniques that could avoid tremors of above 0.5 on the Richter scale, which is the current limit. A number of environmental issues have been linked directly to fracking, with the risk of man-made earthquakes among the most serious concerns.

7

Warne was on ‘ridiculous’ diet

Shane Warne had just completed a “ridiculous” 14-day liquid diet before his sudden death on Friday, according to his long-term manager. James Erskine said he had been told that the cricket legend, who died shortly after arriving in Thailand for a holiday with friends, had been complaining of “chest pain” and “sweating” in the days before his sudden death aged 52. Thai police said there were no indications that Warne’s cause of his death was not a heart attack, reported The Daily Telegraph. 

8

Jersey bird flu warning

Restrictions and biosecurity measures have been introduced to stop the spread of bird flu on Jersey, said the BBC. A dead red-breasted goose from Jersey Zoo became the third bird this year to test positive for Avian Influenza on the island, sparking compulsory measures for poultry and bird keepers. The UK Health Security Agency said that although the risk to public health from bird flu is low, members of the public are advised not to handle unwell or dead wild birds, while bird keepers must house poultry and other captive birds separate from wild birds.

9

‘Sporty’ girls lose interest as teens

More than a million girls who regard themselves as “sporty” lose interest in exercise when they leave primary school, according to a new study of more than 4,000 teens. The research, by Women in Sport, found that a fear of being judged and a lack of confidence were the main reasons why girls lose interest in sport as they reach their teenage years. Researchers found that 43% of girls felt they were sporty as primary pupils but no longer saw themselves this way, which would equate to 1.3 million girls if applied nationwide.

10

Crufts game branded ‘cruel’

New research by scientists at Washington State University has found that a Crufts game called Flyball, which sees teams of four dogs sprint over hurdles before bounding on and off a block and racing back up a track, can significantly increase the threat of a knee injury, reported The Daily Telegraph. Peta, the animal rights charity, has branded the game “cruel and unnecessary”, while the Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, said that “anyone who watches canine sports, like agility or flyball, can clearly see how much both dogs and humans enjoy taking part, and the benefits for them both”.

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