Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 9 April 2022

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

1

‘Monstrous’ war crime in Ukraine

Ukraine’s foreign minister has accused Russia of carrying out a “monstrous” war crime after a ballistic missile hit a crowded train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, killing at least 50 people, including four children. Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president, told the west that a “delay in providing weapons to Ukraine, any refusals, can only mean the politicians in question want to help the Russian leadership more than us” in the wake of the attack.

2

Murty backs down on UK tax

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife has said she will pay UK taxes on her overseas income, following an outcry over her non-domicile status. As a non-domiciled UK resident, Akshata Murty is not required by law to pay UK taxes on her overseas income but she told the BBC she did not want to be a “distraction” for her husband. The Times said the move was her attempt to “save her husband’s political career” after a “taxing week” for the chancellor.

3

Heart issues can be detected in voice

Researchers have discovered that when people are suffering from heart problems it can be detected in their voices.  Although the vocal change is too subtle for humans to hear, scientists at the Mayo Clinic have created an artificially intelligent algorithm that can pick up the minor speech differences. Although the technology will not replace doctors, it could prove a useful tool in identifying those at risk of developing coronary heart disease.

4

Misery for disrupted travellers

Travel chaos is expected to continue this weekend as holidaymakers try to get away for the Easter break. The BBC reported that airlines have cancelled more than 100 flights a day due to staff shortages and ferry operators are struggling to meet demand after P&O suspended services. Meanwhile, noted The Guardian, travellers are also being forced to cancel Easter travel bookings because of a backlog at HM Passport Office, which is delaying renewals.

5

Becker could be jailed

Boris Becker is facing a long prison sentence over a £2.5m bankruptcy scam. The six-time grand-slam winner was convicted of four charges, each of which carries up to seven years in jail. A series of secret payments totalling £350,000 began the day after his bankruptcy, including more than £28,000 to his former wife. He also hid details of a home, a loan and shares. The Times said the verdicts “leave his reputation as the golden boy of Wimbledon and the voice of BBC tennis in tatters”.

6

Khan faces no-confidence vote

Pakistan’s Imran Khan has warned that he will not recognise an opposition government if he is ousted from power. The prime minister was speaking ahead of a no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday, which he is expected to lose. Pakistan’s Supreme Court has blocked his bid to stay in power, setting the stage for today’s vote, with opposition politicians saying they have the 172 votes in the 342-seat assembly necessary to unseat Khan.

7

South Korea asks US for nukes

South Korea’s president-elect has asked Washington to deploy nuclear warheads in the country for the first time since the cold war. “The deployment of strategic assets is an important part of building up extended deterrence against North Korea’s provocations,” said a member of a South Korean delegation after meetings with senior members of the Biden administration. The Times said deploying nuclear arms in South Korea “would increase tensions in east Asia”.

8

Queen to miss Maundy service

Buckingham Palace has announced that the Queen has pulled out of the annual Royal Maundy service and will instead be represented by the Prince of Wales. The 95-year-old monarch has had mobility problems, but took part in the Thanksgiving Service for Prince Philip. It will be the first Maundy Service missed by the Queen since 1970. ITV said she wanted to offer clarity at an early stage to avoid any potential later decision to pull out from overshadowing the event.

9

Macron hits back at Polish PM

Emmanuel Macron has described Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki as “a far-right anti-Semite who bans LGBT people”. The outburst came after Morawiecki compared the French president’s talks with Vladimir Putin to negotiating with Adolf Hitler. The BBC said it is “not clear” why Macron accused Morawiecki of anti-Semitism, although the Polish government has been criticised for laws that make it harder for Jewish people to recover property lost during and after World War Two.

10

Smith banned from Oscars for 10 years

Will Smith has been banned from the Oscars gala and other Academy events for 10 years after the US actor struck comic Chris Rock at the Oscars. Announcing the measure, the Academy said the 94th Oscars had been “overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behaviour we saw Mr Smith exhibit on stage”.  It added that banning Smith was aimed at protecting performers and guests and “restoring trust in the Academy”. The actor has apologised for his actions and resigned from the Academy.

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