Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 April 2022

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

1

Russia withdraws from Kyiv

The Pentagon has said that Russian forces have completely withdrawn from Kyiv and Chernihiv. “We are not showing Russian forces in or around Kyiv or in or around Chernihiv,” a spokesperson said, adding that Vladimir Putin “has achieved zero of his strategic goals” in both cities. The news comes days after Moscow announced that it would refocus its efforts on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. The Associated Press said that the number of withdrawing Russian forces amounts to at least 24,000 troops.

2

US sanctions Putin’s daughters

The US has imposed sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s daughters. The measures, which also include sanctions against the family of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and major Russian banks, follow reports of atrocities by Russian troops in Ukraine, including images of murdered civilians scattered across the streets of Bucha. Washington hopes to freeze any assets the Russian president may be hiding through his daughters. However, the move is “largely symbolic”, as “it’s unclear they have significant assets outside of Russia”, said Bloomberg. Diplomats have said the EU is also planning to target Putin’s daughters as part of the bloc’s response to the invasion.

3

Covid linked to clot risk

A study in the British Medical Journal has linked Covid-19 with a fivefold increase in the risk of deep vein thrombosis and a 33-fold increase in the danger of a potentially fatal blood clot in the lung. The Guardian said the findings may explain a doubling in the incidence of, and deaths from, blood clots in England since the start of the pandemic when compared with the same periods in 2018 and 2019.

4

PM addresses trans athletes

Boris Johnson has said he does not believe transgender women should compete in female sport. “I also happen to think that women should have spaces – whether it’s in hospitals, prison or changing rooms – which are dedicated to women,” the prime minister added. Conceding that his views may be “controversial”, Johnson insisted that he was “immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender, to transition and it’s vital we give people the maximum love and support in making those decisions”. LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall responded by saying that the issue is “complex and fast-evolving”, adding: “Much of the science doesn’t yet exist in this area.”

5

Sunak’s wife defends non-dom status

Rishi Sunak’s wife has admitted that she has non-domiciled status for UK tax purposes, meaning she legally does not have to pay UK tax on income she earns outside Britain. Akshata Murty, a fashion designer who also owns shares in her father’s billionaire-dollar IT services company, could have saved millions in tax on foreign earnings over several years, said The Independent. Labour said it was “staggering” that the chancellor’s family “may have been benefitting from tax reduction schemes”. Murty’s spokesperson told the BBC she pays all tax that is legally required in the UK.

6

IFS study reveals deep inequality

The UK’s top 0.1% of earners have annual incomes in excess of £500,000, a study by The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found. The think tank also revealed that more than 50,000 people in the top income bracket account for 6% of all earnings. The report, Top Income Inequality and Tax Policy, found that more than half of the top 1% of richest adults live in London and the south-east. Just a fifth of the country’s highest earners were women.

7

Tories split over nuclear plan

Boris Johnson is to put nuclear energy at the heart of the UK’s new energy strategy, according to The Guardian, angering Green activists and dividing his party. Environmentalists said the proposals are in defiance of the PM’s net-zero targets. Whitehall sources also said there have been rows over the strategy between No. 10, the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with one insider describing the discussions as “chaos”.

8

Cycling on phone ‘should be banned’

A Conservative peer is calling for a ban on using mobiles while on a bicycle or e-scooter. Baroness McIntosh of Pickering questioned why the Highway Code, which requires motorists to “exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times” and bans the use of a mobile phone while driving, does not apply to cyclists and other road users. However, transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said existing restrictions already banned cyclists and e-scooter riders from using mobile phones under careless and dangerous cycling legislation.

9

Trial could lead to cannabis on NHS

Thousands of Britons are to take part in a trial that could pave the way for millions to be prescribed cannabis on the NHS. The Times reported that 5,000 adults will take vaporised cannabis daily for at least a year through inhalers containing a measured dose of “whole flower” unprocessed marijuana. Their experience will be compared with a control group of 5,000 adults receiving standard pain care. LVL Health, the medical cannabis clinic behind the trial, said that marijuana could be rolled out on the NHS for chronic pain “within the next few years”.

10

Robots could dress elderly

Robots could soon be able to dress the elderly and disabled thanks to a new invention from Imperial College London. Scientists have taught a “dress-bot” to fully clothe a mannequin in a hospital gown. In 200 attempts, the robot succeeded on 181 occasions. Experts told The Telegraph that robots could provide much-needed assistance to the 80% of people in nursing care who struggle to dress themselves.

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