Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 18 March 2022

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

1

Putin lays out peace terms

Vladimir Putin has set out his demands for a peace deal with Ukraine during a phone call with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The BBC said the main demand is that Ukraine should be neutral and should not apply to join Nato. Ukraine would have to undergo a disarmament process to ensure it wasn’t a threat to Moscow, and there would need to be protection for the Russian language in Ukraine and a “de-Nazification” effort. However, France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said he believed Putin was only pretending to negotiate as part of a battle plan.

2

Russia accused of war crimes

Russia has been accused by the UK, the US, France, Albania, Ireland and Norway of war crimes in Ukraine. The six countries challenged Moscow before a UN security council meeting as the British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said there was now “very, very strong evidence” of war crimes being committed by Russian forces. The UN’s undersecretary-general Rosemary DiCarlo has called for an investigation into the reported attacks on civilians.

3

P&O sackings are ‘dastardly’

Anger is growing after P&O Ferries sacked 800 staff without giving them any notice. P&O Ferries sacked nearly a quarter of its staff yesterday via a video message. The BBC said a chorus of cross-party MPs described P&O’s actions as “callous”, “disgraceful” and “dastardly,” after men in balaclavas were seen removing crew members from ships. Unions have called for mobilisation and branded the redundancies “a knife right through the heart of UK maritime”.

4

Ministers targeted with fake calls

“Impostors” from Russia targeted two cabinet ministers by posing as Ukrainian politicians in an apparent bid to extract sensitive information and embarrass them. The Telegraph reported that Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, held conversations before becoming suspicious and ending the calls. Wallace said his caller looked and sounded like the Ukrainian prime minister but began to ask questions relating to UK security. Patel described the calls as “pathetic”.

5

DVLA bosses watched TV in bed

Hundreds of civil servants at the DVLA have done no work on full pay for significant periods of the pandemic, reported The Times. Managers boasted of watching Netflix in bed at the public’s expense as unopened mail piled up. Data showed that most of the government agency’s 6,200 staff were sent home during the first lockdown but 3,400 of them were put on paid special leave without having to work at all, figures show. A spokesman said “these claims are not representative of the hardworking culture in DVLA”.

6

Rates rise again due to inflation

Interest rates have been raised from 0.5% to 0.75% - their highest level since March 2020. Announcing its decision a day after US interest rates were raised for the first time since 2018, the Bank of England said it felt that “given the current tightness of the labour market, continuing signs of robust domestic cost and price pressures, and the risk that those pressures will persist”, an interest rate rise was needed. It warned inflation, the rate at which prices rise, may reach 8% and possibly higher, in the coming months.

7

Attractions start to bounce back

Visitor attractions in the UK welcomed a quarter more visitors in 2021, said the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. However, despite strong demand for gardens, parks, forests and zoos in the UK, the numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels - 57% lower than 2019, before the Covid outbreak. The BBC pointed out that the figures are not like-for-like, because attractions were not open for several months last year due to Covid restrictions.

8

Concern over police abuse data

More than 1,000 police officers and staff accused of domestic abuse are still serving in law enforcement, reported The Times. After analysing data from 41 forces across the UK, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that 1,080 of 1,319 police officers and staff who were reported for alleged domestic abuse during a three-year period were still working. David Tucker, head of crime at the College of Policing, said: “Allegations of domestic abuse by an officer must be treated with the utmost seriousness.”

9

Girl suffers ‘terrifying’ kangaroo attack

A three-year-old girl has been flown to hospital after suffering head wounds during a “terrifying” kangaroo attack in New South Wales, Australia. Emergency services were called to a residential street yesterday following reports the girl had been attacked by a kangaroo. The girl suffered significant lacerations to her head, back and arm. “This is a reminder to everyone about how unpredictable wild animals can be,” said a spokesperson from the ambulance service.

10

Amazon gobbles up MGM

Amazon has announced an $8.5 billion deal to acquire movie giant MGM. CNN said the purchase looks to bolster the company’s position in the entertainment world while giving its streaming service, Amazon Prime Video, yet more content. It had been reported that the regulator might fight the deal but the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon satisfied the watchdog that it had provided all the information requested by antitrust investigators.

Recommended

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 May 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 May 2022

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 May 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 May 2022

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 14 May 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 14 May 2022

Polygamy, fish protests and tipping
Indian protestors shout anti-government slogans during a protest against rape in New Delhi on January 2, 2013.The family of an Indian gang-rape victim said that they would not rest until her
Podcasts

Polygamy, fish protests and tipping

Popular articles

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?

The Week Footer Banner