Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 May 2022

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

1

BP profits put pressure on PM

Calls for a windfall tax on energy giants have grown after BP reported that its profits more than doubled in the first three months of this year after oil and gas prices soared. The company reported an underlying profit of $6.2bn (£4.9bn) compared to $2.6bn in the same period last year – ahead of expectations. Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Secretary Ed Miliband said Boris Johnson’s refusal to levy a windfall tax to help cut energy is “deeply wrong, unfair and tells you all you need to know about whose side this government is on”.

2

Putin may declare war on 9 May

Western officials and analysts have speculated that Vladimir Putin may officially declare war in Ukraine on 9 May. Although Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Vladimir Putin has insisted that his troops are carrying out a “special military operation”. CNN said a formal declaration of war would “pave the way for Putin to step up his campaign”. Officials believe that Putin could leverage the symbolic significance and propaganda value of 9 May, which is known as “Victory Day” in Russia and commemorates the country’s defeat of the Nazis in 1945.

3

Biden warning on court ruling

Joe Biden has warned that a leaked draft Supreme Court ruling overturning the right to abortion could endanger a wide range of other civil rights. The US president described the provisional court opinion as “radical” and said that it would represent a “fundamental shift in American jurisprudence” and could imperil rights including same-sex marriage and access to contraception. CNN said that this will be a decisive moment for the millions of women who supported Biden during his presidential campaign, in part based on his vow to protect their reproductive rights.

4

UK becoming ‘fattest nation’

Britain is on track to be the fattest nation in Europe in a decade, with takeaway companies and sedentary lifestyles being blamed. An expert from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that, by the early 2030s, 37% of British men and women are expected to be obese. Dr Kremlin Wickramasinghe, the WHO lead for non-communicable diseases in Europe, told The Daily Mirror that the UK was adopting a lifestyle with “more and more digital screen time” and highlighted the prevalence of food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Just Eat.

5

City bonuses boost inequality

The biggest boom in City bonuses and pay since the 2008 financial crisis risks deepening inequality in Britain, a think tank has warned. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said pay and bonus deals in the City had shot up in recent months, rising by about twice as much as other sectors in the past two years. It said this meant the top 1% highest-paid workers were beginning to pull further away from the rest of the UK workforce despite the cost of living crisis hitting the country at large.

6

McCann evidence ‘found in van’

Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann said they have found evidence in the camper van of prime suspect Christian B, prompting speculation that the evidence is fibres from her pink Eeyore pyjamas. Interviewed on Portuguese TV, Hans-Christian Wolters, who is in charge of the case against the suspect, was asked if he had found something belonging to McCann in the campervan. “I don’t want to deny it,” he replied, adding that “the suspect has not yet been informed”.

7

Covid has become more cold-like

Experts have said that within a year we will talk about “catching a Covid” just as we do with a cold. The i news site reported that, as people build up immunity from vaccines and previous infections, the virus has weakened to become more cold-like in recent weeks. However, Covid remains deadly for some people and there is still a risk that immunity levels will deteriorate and that a much more deadly new variant will emerge.

8

Rail cuts ‘endanger passengers’

Unions have warned that cuts to rail funding could lead to more serious rail accidents. The TUC said Network Rail’s plans to save £100m a year means around 2,500 jobs are expected to go, putting passengers at risk. It warned that the Treasury was also demanding cuts from train operators that would disrupt services and leave fewer trains running, leaving commuters “packed like sardines”. Network Rail insisted it would not compromise safety.

9

Musk hints at Twitter fee

Business and government users on Twitter may be asked to pay a “slight” fee to stay on the platform, Elon Musk has said. After the board of Twitter agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from Musk, the Tesla boss said the site would always be free for “casual users”. He has previously hinted that he would introduce new features to the platform and signalled that he would tweak its new premium subscription service, including cutting its price. His takeover of the company is expected to be completed later this year.

10

Anti-speeding campaigner caught speeding

A Conservative police and crime commissioner who vowed to crack down on speeding motorists has been caught breaking a 30mph limit five times within 12 weeks. Caroline Henry, PCC for Nottinghamshire police, was said to be “embarrassed and ashamed” after admitting to the offences. During her election campaign, her police and crime plan pledged to crack down on speeding as a priority, and on her personal website Henry said she wanted to ensure an “effective and efficient” police response to the problem.

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