Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 June 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Biden calls for weapons ban
Joe Biden has called for the US to ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines to tackle the “carnage” of gun violence. In a speech to the nation from the White House, the US president said too many everyday places in America had become “killing fields”. As 56 candles burned behind him to represent victims of gun violence in all US states and territories, Biden asked: “How much more carnage are we willing to accept?” CNN said a “spate” of gun massacres have left the nation “shaken” and prompted new discussions on Capitol Hill about how to prevent them.
Queen to miss Jubilee service
The Queen will not attend today’s Jubilee service at St Paul’s Cathedral after experiencing discomfort while watching yesterday’s parade at Buckingham Palace. The palace said the decision was made with “great reluctance” after considering the “journey and activity required”. As four days of celebrations marking her reign began yesterday, the 96-year-old appeared twice at Buckingham Palace balcony. She also took part in a beacon lighting ceremony on Thursday evening.
Met profiles children on social media
Metropolitan police documents reveal that the force has been collecting “children’s personal data” from social media and carrying out “profiling on a large scale”. The Met says the scheme, known as Project Alpha, helps fight serious violence but Stafford Scott, a community campaigner, said he feared the project was part of a continued assault on young black people. “Young people use social media to magnify their lived experience,” he said. “It is a tool for projection, you can’t rely on it for detection.” The human rights group Liberty said the news was “deeply worrying”.
Grassroots Tories call for PM to go
Boris Johnson should stand down before he is forced out by his own MPs, said the head of the Grassroots Conservatives activist group. Speaking to The Telegraph, Ed Costello said the PM had not been “wholly honest” about lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street and risked driving away swing voters at the next general election. Grassroots Conservatives was launched to encourage the party to uphold “small-c” Conservative values of “stable family, sound economy and strong defence”.
Turkey to rebrand as Türkiye
Turkey will be known as Türkiye at the United Nations, after the body agreed to a formal request from Ankara. “Türkiye is the best representation and expression of the Turkish people’s culture, civilization, and values,” the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in December. The UN says it made the change as soon as it received the request this week. Most Turks already know their country as Türkiye, noted the BBC, but the anglicised form Turkey is widely used, even within the country.
Rowling firm ‘hampers walkers’
A company controlled by JK Rowling, the Harry Potter author, has been accused of preventing access to paths on forestry estates in the Scottish Borders. Walkers and mountain-bikers claim that navigating a historical six-mile right-of-way has been hampered by Thistlelane Ltd, which owns the 290-hectare Sheperdscleuh estate and 306-hectare Wardlaw estate. However, said the BBC, agents for the company have rejected accusations that right-to-roam legislation had been breached.
Shopping levels remain down
New figures revealed visitor numbers to UK high streets, shopping centres and retail parks last month remained 12.5% down on pre-pandemic levels. Anxiety about the cost of living and the shift to working from home continue to hold back trade, with visits to shopping centres down by more than a quarter on 2019 while high streets had 14% fewer visitors. However, noted The Guardian, the falls marked a slight improvement on April’s numbers, with high streets seeing a particularly strong recovery.
Russia ‘controls 20% of Ukraine’
Volodymyr Zelensky conceded yesterday that Moscow’s forces control 20% of his country as the Russian army moved to grab a key city in the eastern Donbas region. “We have to defend ourselves against almost the entire Russian army,” the Ukrainian leader told Luxembourg’s parliament in a video address. “All combat-ready Russian military formations are involved in this aggression,” he added via videolink. Russian forces have been intensifying attacks on the city of Severodonetsk in the eastern Donbas region.
Imperial project ‘complete nonsense’
Boris Johnson’s drive to increase the use of imperial measurements in Britain has been mocked by a supermarket chief as “complete nonsense” and confusing for business. After the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced it is pressing ahead with plans to review “overbearing EU rules” regarding weights and measurements and restore “common sense” to the statute book, the Tory peer and Asda boss Lord Rose said: “I’ve never heard such nonsense in my life. I mean, we have got serious problems in the world and we’re now saying ‘let’s go backwards.’”
Depp verdict ‘toxic catastrophe’
Charities and lawyers working with victims of domestic violence say that Johnny Depp’s victory in a defamation case against Amber Heard will deter women from reporting abuse. The actor was awarded $10m by a jury that found that he was defamed by his former wife in a column in The Washington Post where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse. Andrea Simon, of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said “the verdict in this case has certainly sparked concerns that women will be further deterred from reporting domestic abuse”. Tarana Burke, co-founder of the #MeToo movement, said the verdict “is a toxic catastrophe”.