Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 25 May 2022

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

1

Shooting at US primary school

Nineteen children and two adults have died in a shooting at a primary school in Texas. Officials said an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in the city of Uvalde before he was killed by law enforcement. The teenager, identified as Salvador Ramos, is also believed to have shot his grandmother. The shooting was the deadliest at a primary school since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut which left 26 people dead, including 20 children.

2

Gray to deliver report today

Sue Gray is set to hand her completed Partygate report to No. 10 this morning. Downing Street has promised to publish the report’s findings, with Boris Johnson planning to address the Commons in the afternoon. Pressure on the PM over the issue has grown this week following the publication of new photographs which show him toasting an aide at a Downing Street leaving drinks event during a national lockdown. Insiders who attended gatherings at No. 10 during the pandemic told the BBC’s Panorama that staff would crowd together and sit on each other’s laps.

3

Ukraine ‘could start WW3’

George Soros has warned that the conflict in Ukraine could develop into World War Three. The billionaire investor told the World Economic Forum in Davos that “the invasion may have been the beginning of the third world war and our civilisation may not survive it”. The BBC said the Ukrainian army is currently under more pressure than at any time since the first few weeks after the Russian invasion in February. 

4

Trump’s man defeated

Donald Trump’s handpicked candidate for Georgia governor was defeated heavily at the polls. The former US president recruited David Perdue, an ex-senator, to challenge incumbent Brian Kemp in the Republican primaries. As the ballots were counted, Perdue was so far behind that he was defeated before half of the votes were in. The BBC said the primary was being “closely watched” as a test of Trump’s “hold over the Republican party” ahead of the midterm elections in November.

5

North Korea launches more missiles

North Korea has fired three ballistic missiles, according to South Korea’s military. Seoul said the missiles were fired in the space of less than an hour from the Sunan area in Pyongyang. Japan also reported that at least two missiles had been fired from North Korea, with one of them flying in an “irregular trajectory” and landing just outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The launches come just a day after US President Joe Biden left the region.

6

Cost-of-living plan ‘not a distraction’

A government plan to help support people with the rising cost of living could be announced on Thursday, reported the BBC. Boris Johnson is believed to have met with economists with a range of views to explore the options available to him and is keen to balance any further government spending and intervention with not raising inflation any further. Downing Street “denied the announcement was timed to distract from Sue Gray’s report into lockdown gatherings”, added the BBC.

7

Drugs boss runs kids’ home

The leader of a gang that smuggled cannabis has been running a residential home for vulnerable children despite a requirement for Ofsted to vet company directors, said The Times. John Smith, 66, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison in the 1990s, co-owns an Essex children’s home that receives taxpayer-funded fees. The paper found that other inexperienced or first-time owners of children’s homes include a taxi operator, a family of opticians, someone who owns a cocktail bar and “a member of a religious group whose leader claims to be able to cure HIV and make the blind see”.

8

Thomas Markle taken to hospital

The Duchess of Sussex’s father, Thomas Markle, has been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke. Last month, the 77-year-old said he was planning to fly to the UK in June for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the hope of seeing his estranged daughter and Archie and Lilibet, the grandchildren he has never met. Speaking to GB News, Markle said he was also hoping to meet Prince Charles to “thank him for walking my daughter down the aisle”, adding that the two men have a lot in common because “we’ve pretty much both been ghosted by our children”.

9

Iraqi national ‘conspired to kill Bush’

An Iraqi national living in Ohio has been arrested and faces federal charges related to an alleged plot to assassinate former President George W Bush. Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, 52, drove to the neighbourhood of Bush’s residence in Dallas and allegedly took videos of its access gate and the surrounding area, said CNN. Shihab is also alleged to have planned to smuggle four Iraqi nationals into the US as part of the plot.

10

Councillor quits over Banksy rumours

A councillor has resigned after claims that he is Banksy made his role “untenable”. William Gannon was voted onto Pembroke Dock town council in the May elections in Pembrokeshire, south Wales, having worked as a community artist for four decades. However, said The Telegraph, he was “dogged by rumours” that he is Banksy, the anonymous graffiti artist. Gannon said the situation escalated when local vandals “went wild” by dousing parks, benches and doors with graffiti, leading him to fear he may be held responsible.

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