Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 11 May 2022

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

1

Bills warning for 1.5m homes

As many as 1.5m British households will soon face bills for food and energy that will exceed their disposable income after housing costs, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned. Householders are being encouraged to get their finances in the “best shape possible” amid evidence of increased stress over the cost-of-living crisis, Sky News reported. Addressing rising energy and food costs, Boris Johnson yesterday said: “We will continue to use all our ingenuity and compassion for as long as it takes.”

2

PM ‘bereft of ideas’

Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of being “bereft of ideas” after yesterday’s Queen’s Speech included 38 new bills, but offered no specific measures to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. The Labour leader said the government is “bereft of ideas or purpose, without a guiding principle or a roadmap for delivery”, adding: “Their time has passed.” The speech, delivered by Prince Charles for the first time, stated that the government’s priority is “to grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families”.

3

China planning Taiwan invasion

US intelligence officials have warned that China is attempting to build a military capable of invading Taiwan. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines yesterday told the Senate Armed Services Committee the threat to Taiwan between now and 2030 is “acute”, adding that China is “working hard” to “put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan”. Last week, it emerged the US has held talks with the UK to discuss how to cooperate more closely on reducing the chances of a war.

4

‘Sex for rent’ landlord jailed

A landlord who forced his tenant to wear a bikini at all times has become the first person to be found guilty of “sex for rent” offences. Guildford Crown Court heard that Christopher Cox, 53, “targeted vulnerable young women” who needed a place to stay. He asked them to send him photos of themselves and said they should wear revealing bikinis. He also asked them to take part in bondage, spanking and to sleep in his bed. He was jailed for 12 months.

5

Extension referendums to be held

Neighbours will be able to hold referendums on the style and size of extensions, new homes and conversions on their street under government plans announced yesterday. New laws will permit “street votes” on whether more loft conversions and conservatories can be built. But the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill does not include “contentious proposals” to make it harder to block development after a Tory backlash, the BBC said.

6

Apple calls time on iPod

Apple has announced that it has discontinued the iPod more than 20 years after it was launched. The software giant said it would continue to sell the iPod Touch, the only generation of the gadget still on sale, “while supplies last”. Released in 2001, the iPod was the first MP3 player capable of storing 1,000 songs. Despite the prediction of Alan Sugar that it would quickly go “kaput”, more than 400m units have been sold since its launch.

7

Heatwave reports ignore climate threat

Celebratory press reports that the UK is set for at least five heatwaves fail to mention that they are a direct result of climate change, an expert has warned. Dr Saffron O’Neill, associate professor in geography at Exeter University, told The Independent that heatwaves are normally framed as “fun in the sun”, warning that vulnerable people are largely absent from press coverage. “It makes the climate crisis seem like a distant risk,” she said.

8

Mafia prosecutor killed on honeymoon

A Paraguayan prosecutor who fought organised crime in his home country has been shot dead during his honeymoon in Colombia. Marcelo Pecci was on the beach on the “idyllic” tourist island of Baru when he was killed by two gunmen, the BBC said. Just hours earlier, his wife had announced on Instagram that she was pregnant. Paraguayan President Marcelo Abdo said “the cowardly assassination... saddens all of the Paraguayan nation”.

9

Khan blames Trump for abuse

Sadiq Khan has blamed former president Donald Trump for a rise in online abuse. The London mayor told students at Stanford University in California that he has received at least 233,000 “explicitly racist or racialised social media messages” since 2016. Racist abuse targeted at Khan rose by 1,892% in 2016, according to the mayor’s office, before rising by 94% in 2017. “During those four years he was president, that led to me having to receive police protection and a lot of racial abuse,” he said.

10

Farage outflanks Morgan’s ratings

Nigel Farage has beat Piers Morgan’s show for the first time since TalkTV launched. Some 58,000 viewers tuned in to watch Morgan’s flagship programme on Rupert Murdoch’s channel at its peak on Monday evening, compared to 73,600 for Farage on GB News. Viewers for the launch of Morgan’s launch show on April 25, which featured an exclusive interview with Donald Trump, had peaked at 400,000. At the time, Morgan bragged that his show attracted “five times the ratings” of Farage’s programme.

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