Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 28 April 2022

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

1

Care home warnings ‘ignored’

Hospital patients were unlawfully discharged to care homes during the pandemic despite 20 warnings of asymptomatic Covid-19 transmission, the High Court has said. A 75-page ruling found that Public Health England advised the government against allowing untested hospital patients to be transferred to care homes. The i news site said this disclosure “undermines claims” from the former health secretary Matt Hancock that he did not know about asymptomatic transmission. Bereaved families said care home residents were “thrown to the wolves” during the pandemic. Around 20,000 elderly or disabled residents died.

2

Putin makes nuclear threat

Any nation attempting to intervene in the Ukraine invasion will face a “lightning-fast” response, Vladimir Putin has warned. In what has been widely regarded as a reference to Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the president said: “We have all the tools no-one can boast of... we will use them if necessary.” However, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Western allies must “double down” on support for Ukraine, providing heavy weapons and air power. “We will keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine,” she added.

3

Sunak threatens windfall tax

The chancellor has threatened energy companies with a windfall tax unless they “support the economy” by upping their investment in UK energy supply. During a question and answer session on Mumsnet, Rishi Sunak said that if big firms fail to protect energy security, levying a windfall tax is “something I’d look at”. He also said it would be “silly” for the government to provide more help to families struggling with energy bills before the next price cap is announced in the autumn.

4

Andrew loses freedom of York

Prince Andrew has lost his honorary freedom of the city of York. Councillors voted unanimously for a motion brought after the settlement of the civil sexual assault case against the royal by Virginia Giuffre. Darryl Smalley, the executive member for culture, leisure and communities at York Council, said that the move “sends the right message that we as a city stand with victims of abuse”, adding: “The next logical step is now for Prince Andrew to relinquish his Duke of York title.”

5

Suu Kyi sentenced to five years

A Myanmar military court has sentenced deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in jail after finding her guilty in the first of 11 corruption cases against her. Suu Kyi, who was forced from power in a coup in 2021, has been charged with at least 18 offences that carry combined maximum jail terms of nearly 190 years. It is not clear if the Nobel Laureate, who is currently being held in an undisclosed location, will be transferred to a prison.

6

MPs ‘ballistic’ over porn claim

An independent investigation could be launched into claims a Conservative MP watched pornography on his phone while in the Commons. A female junior minister complained about the incident to the Conservative Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris during a meeting of a new group for female MPs and peers on Tuesday night. Others at the meeting were said to have “gone ballistic”, reported The Guardian, triggering “fevered speculation” over the identity of the MP.

7

Charles backs masks for cows

Methane-catching devices could be fitted to British cows to reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas. A company called Zelp has been working with one of the UK’s largest meat producers to trial the devices that help cut the carbon footprint of herds. The device, which sits around the animal’s head, captures methane, which then travels through a micro-sized catalytic converter and is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and water vapour. The invention has the backing of Prince Charles, who described it as “fascinating”, according to The Telegraph.

8

BBC’s ‘lurch to youth’ ends

The BBC’s director-general has said the corporation’s “lurch to youth” is over as he tries to win back disaffected older viewers. The broadcaster has made “determined attempts” to woo the 16 to 34 demographic in recent years, said The Telegraph, while over-55s have been tempted by streaming services such as Netflix. Tim Davie said “we need to be healthily paranoid about making sure we give value to people aged 16 to 34”, adding that the corporation doesn’t “have to skew everything young in any shape or form”.

9

‘Perfect storm’ sees measles surge

Cases of measles cases soared by nearly 80% worldwide this year, as the pandemic interrupted vaccination campaigns for non-Covid diseases in what the UN described as a “perfect storm”. More than 17,300 measles cases were reported in January and February, compared with about 9,600 during those months last year. The UN said that the rise of the “canary in a coalmine” illness indicated that outbreaks of other diseases were likely.

10

Westwood exits Capital show

Tim Westwood has stepped down from his Capital Xtra radio show “until further notice” following allegations of sexual misconduct, the station’s owner has announced. On Tuesday, an investigation by the BBC and The Guardian reported claims from seven women of predatory sexual behaviour by the British hip-hop DJ. Forthcoming DJ sets in Birmingham and Bognor Regis have also been cancelled in the wake of the allegations, which the 64-year-old strenuously denies.

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