Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 March 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Russia won’t rule out nuclear strike
Vladimir Putin’s press secretary has refused to deny that Russia could resort to using nuclear weapons. Speaking to CNN, Dmitry Peskov was asked under what conditions Putin would use Russia’s nuclear capability. He replied: “If it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be”. The Pentagon denounced the statement as reckless, saying “it’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act” – but also said its officials “haven’t seen anything that would lead us to conclude that we need to change our strategic deterrent posture”.
Met recruits have criminal records
The Metropolitan Police is failing to root out corruption, according to an official watchdog. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services found that more than 100 officers with criminal convictions have been hired in two years, and none were monitored. The inspectorate found that some recent recruits were “closely connected to known criminals”, while others have convictions for handling stolen goods, possession of drugs and assault. It concluded that Scotland Yard’s plan to address corruption is “not fit for purpose”.
Royals face anti-slavery protest
Prince William and Kate have been accused of benefiting from the “blood, tears and sweat” of slaves at a protest greeting their arrival in Jamaica. One placard held by a young girl outside the British high commission in Kingston read: “Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairy tales not in Jamaica!” Opal Adisa, a human rights advocate who helped organise the protest, said: “Kate and William are beneficiaries, so they are in fact complicit because they are positioned to benefit specifically from our ancestors.”
US eases tariffs on UK steel
Business groups have welcomed news that Washington has agreed to lift some Trump-era tariffs on UK steel and aluminium imports. The controversial taxes were imposed by Donald Trump in 2018 in the name of national security, but have strained relations between the allies. The US will replace the 25% tariffs on steel with a quota system that will allow UK metal imports into the country duty-free up to a certain level before taxes kick in again.
Northern Ireland terror threat reduced
The threat posed by terrorism in Northern Ireland has been lowered for the first time in 12 years. Since 2010 it had been severe, meaning an attack, or attacks, were highly likely, said the BBC, but it is now substantial, meaning attacks are likely. Chief Constable Simon Byrne said the move “signals a success”, but Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, who announced the move, said now was not the time for complacency.
Florida disputes trans victory
The governor of Florida has refused to recognise the victory of a transgender athlete in a swimming competition. Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation recognising runner-up Emma Weyant as the winner of the highest US national college swimming title – an event she lost to Lia Thomas, the first known transgender athlete to win the title. DeSantis said the result “undermined the integrity of the competition”. He said that the National Collegiate Athletic Association was “basically taking efforts to destroy women’s athletics”.
Anne Frank book withdrawn
The Dutch publisher of a book exploring the betrayal of Anne Frank said it was recalling the book following a critical report on its findings. The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, written by Canadian author Rosemary Sullivan, named a Jewish notary, Arnold van den Bergh, as the main suspect in exposing the Frank family’s hideout to the Nazis. It has been widely criticised by experts since its release in January. Historians said “there is not any serious evidence for this grave accusation”.
Tennis No. 1 in shock retirement
Ash Barty, the world’s leading female tennis player, has said she is retiring from the sport at the age of 25. “Today is difficult and filled with emotion for me as I announce my retirement from tennis,” Barty wrote on Instagram. The Guardian said she “departs the sport at the peak of her powers” as the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, who has held the world No. 1 position since winning the 2019 French Open.
Nicaragua candidate sentenced to jail
A former Nicaraguan presidential candidate has been jailed for financial crimes. Cristiana Chamorro Barrios was sentenced to eight years in prison for money laundering and improper retention in the latest crackdown by President Daniel Ortega’s government on opposition members. Ortega has used a vague national security law as justification to lock up opposition presidential candidates, opposition leaders, journalists, human rights activists and others.
Tulse Hill could be renamed
The south London district of Tulse Hill could be renamed, according to the local council, as it originates from a family who held had links to slavery. A “community listening exercise” explained that Sir Henry Tulse, who was lord mayor of London, was a 17th-century descendant of the earlier Tulse family after whom the area was named. The council told residents that Sir Henry derived “much of his wealth” from the slave trade and asked them whether the name should be changed. Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party chairman, said the council was wasting money on a “vanity project”.