Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 April 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM told ‘the gig’s up’
Boris Johnson has been told by one of his own MP’s that “the gig’s up” after the Commons backed a formal investigation to look at whether he lied to parliament. The PM will be investigated by a Commons committee over claims he misled MPs about lockdown parties – a potential resigning matter under the ministerial code. The Times said junior ministers had threatened to resign rather than back Johnson. Former Brexit minister Steve Baker said the prime minister “should be long gone”.
‘Mass graves’ in Mariupol
A US satellite firm says it has identified a mass burial site containing about 200 graves near Mariupol after Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared the siege of the city to a “terrorist operation”. Much of Mariupol has been destroyed in weeks of heavy Russian bombardment and intense street fighting, said the BBC. The mayor estimated that more than 20,000 Mariupol residents had been killed since Russian forces began attacking the city during the early days of the invasion.
Consumer confidence lower than 2008
UK consumer confidence is even lower than when banks were on the brink of collapse during the 2008 financial crisis, according to a study. A perfect storm of rocketing energy prices, higher taxes and high inflation meant the headline consumer confidence index dropped by seven points to -38 in April. A year ago the figure was -15. Joe Staton, the client strategy director at GfK, which undertook the study, said: “The cost crunch is really hitting the pockets of UK consumers and the headline confidence score has dropped to a near historic low.”
Salvation Army a ‘rogue landlord’
The Salvation Army has been accused of acting like “a rogue landlord” by leaving some of its private tenants exposed to “serious” hazards for years. Tenants in the Christian organisation’s rental properties in Hadleigh, Essex have complained that they have lived for years with problems including fire risks, damp, and vermin infestations, but the charity ignored repeated requests to improve conditions. The Guardian noted that the Salvation Army’s objectives include “the relief of poverty, suffering, distress” and “the assistance of those in need of protection”.
Edward scraps Grenada visit
The Grenada leg of Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex’s tour of the Caribbean has been postponed, 24 hours before their six-day trip begins. Buckingham Palace said the decision was made after talks with the island’s government and governor general. No reason was given for the decision. Meanwhile, the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission has told the couple to avoid “phoney sanctimony” over slavery during the tour.
Suspect declared in McCann case
Christian Brueckner has been declared as an official suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, claimed the German newspaper Bild. The Portuguese prosecutor’s office confirmed “a defendant was appointed this Wednesday”. Brueckner, also known as Christian B, is in prison in Germany after being convicted of raping a 72-year-old woman in 2005, in the same town where Madeleine went missing. Next month will be the 15th anniversary of then three-year-old Madeleine's disappearance from the Portuguese Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
Florida strips Disney’s special status
Lawmakers in Florida have voted to strip Walt Disney of its special self-governing status, which gave the company powers to levy tax, build roads and control utilities on the lands of its theme park. The BBC said the vote is widely seen as “retribution” for Disney’s opposition to a bill that bars primary school classrooms from discussing sexual orientation. The state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, is running for re-election and is positioning himself as a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate.
Co-op scraps yoghurt use-by dates
Co-op is to scrap use-by dates on yoghurts, the supermarket chain has announced. They will be replaced by best-before dates. The company says the move, which will apply to its entire range of own-brand yoghurts, is an industry first. Co-op said six million people in the UK eat a yoghurt every day, but research suggested half are thrown away in unopened packs, mainly because they aren’t used in time.
Obama calls for tech giant reform
Tech giants must be reined in to address the “weakening of democratic institutions around the world”, said Barack Obama. Speaking at Stanford University in Silicon Valley, the former US president said the technology sector is “turbo-charging some of humanity’s worst impulses”. The Guardian said Obama has “increasingly focused his post-presidential messaging on misinformation and what should be done about the largely unchecked power wielded by big tech”.
Vardy tried to sell drink-driving story
Rebekah Vardy tried to sell a story about her husband Jamie’s former team-mate Danny Drinkwater being arrested for drink-driving, a court has been told. The news emerged during the latest round of Vardy’s libel case against Coleen Rooney, a rival footballer’s wife who has accused her of leaking private information. The notorious case has been dubbed “Wagatha Christie” after Rooney revealed how she carried out a “sting operation” to unmask Vardy as the alleged source of leaks to The Sun from her Instagram account.