Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 April 2022

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

1

Missiles strike Kyiv during UN visit

Russia struck Kyiv with cruise missile strikes while the UN secretary general was visiting the city. One of the missiles hit a residential building near to the empty Artem defence plant. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has described how Moscow’s forces came close to capturing or assassinating him in the early hours of the invasion. Russian troops made two attempts to storm a compound while Zelenskyy’s family were still inside, according to Time magazine. 

2

Cost of living hits cancer patients

Cancer patients are putting their lives at risk by cutting back on meals, heating and other essentials due to the cost of living crisis, said Macmillan Cancer Support. The charity found that one in four people (24%) with cancer in the UK – almost 750,000 people – said they “can’t afford life at the moment”. People recovering from chemotherapy or radiotherapy are sleeping in cold bedrooms to keep energy bills down, while others are washing their clothes and bedding less frequently or skipping meals. Experts say that nutrition, warmth and hygiene are vital to beating cancer.

3

UK homes hit by air pollution

Almost all homes in the UK are subjected to air pollution above World Health Organisation guidelines, according to a map produced by the Central Office of Public Interest and Imperial College London. More than 97% of addresses exceed WHO limits for at least one of three key pollutants. In Slough, a record 90% of homes were in the top 10% most polluted, followed by London, with 66%. Other cities most affected include Portsmouth, Leeds and Manchester. You can check your address here.

4

Some male MPs ‘behave like animals’

A minority of men in politics “behave like animals,” Attorney General Suella Braverman has told the BBC. Braverman said the problem started in wider society and there needed to be a discussion about “moral standards”. Following claims that a Tory MP watched pornography at work, Braverman suggested that if the allegations were proven the culprit could be suspended or even expelled from the House. Boris Johnson has said watching such material at work is “totally unacceptable”.

5

New lockdowns in China

China has reintroduced lockdown measures in Beijing and Shanghai in an “uncompromising bid to stamp out Covid-19 outbreaks,” said CNN. Shanghai, which is reporting upwards of 10,000 new cases a day, is facing a city-wide lockdown that confines nearly all 25 million residents to their homes or neighbourhoods. In Beijing, officials have launched mass testing exercises, closed schools and imposed targeted lockdowns on some residential buildings. China has followed a strict zero-Covid strategy throughout the pandemic.

6

Black children face ‘adultification’

Black school pupils are viewed as “less innocent” and more adult-like, a report has found. The Commission on Young Lives in England report said this process of “adultification” means black children feel over-policed in schools. Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield, who chaired the commission, said this “has a huge impact” on affected children’s lives and means that “we look after them slightly less and they don’t get the protections and safeguarding they should”.

7

Amazon hit by $3.8bn loss

Rising costs and a fall in online sales have helped to push Amazon to its first loss since 2015. As the boost to its business from the pandemic starts to wane, said the firm, online sales at the e-commerce giant fell 3% in the first three months of the year. “The pandemic and subsequent war in Ukraine have brought unusual growth and challenges,” said chief executive Andy Jassy. The company’s loss of $3.8bn was also driven by a hit from its investment in electric carmaker Rivian.

8

Hospital visitor rule ‘illegal’

Hospitals are breaking the law by banning families from visiting patients despite the end of Covid restrictions, a group of Tory MPs and peers have claimed. In a joint letter to The Telegraph, the politicians said they are “deeply concerned” that visiting is still forbidden in many hospitals and care homes where “over-interpretation of testing guidelines is leading to isolation, neglect and abuse of vulnerable residents”. The letter’s signatories include former minister Esther McVey and the former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.

9

White paper signals end of licence fee

The government has “formally signalled the death of the licence fee,” said The Times. In the first significant update to British broadcasting laws for nearly 20 years, the government said it would draw up a timetable for a review of the licence fee over the coming months, because there are “clear challenges on the horizon to the sustainability of the licence fee”. The same white paper has fired the starting pistol on plans to privatise Channel 4, despite 96% of 56,293 respondents to a government consultation opposing a sale.

10

Arthritis patients told to exercise more

Patients with arthritis will be told to exercise and lose weight instead of taking painkillers, reported The Times. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence believes physical activity is a better path for relieving pain caused by osteoarthritis than drugs such as paracetamol. Osteoarthritis affects about 8.5m people in the UK, so the new guidelines could save the health service billions of pounds by reducing the number of prescriptions.

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