Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 June 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM ‘wounded’ after vote
Boris Johnson described his confidence vote win last night as “decisive” despite a significant revolt against his leadership. The PM won 59% of the vote, with 211 Conservative MPs supporting his leadership and 148 voting against him. He is now immune from a party leadership challenge for a year but commentators have described him as “wounded” and a “lame duck” following the result. The Times said the outcome was “worse than expected”, while The Telegraph warned that “the vultures are circling”.
Russia walks out of UN meeting
Moscow’s ambassador to the UN walked out of a Security Council meeting after the European Council president blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for causing a global food crisis. The EU’s Charles Michel said Russia was using food supplies as a “stealth missile” against the developing world, forcing people into poverty. He also accused Russian troops of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual violence. The Russian envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, accused Michel of spreading lies.
British geologist jailed in Iraq
A retired British geologist has been jailed for 15 years for trying to smuggle artefacts out of Iraq. The family of Jim Fitton, 66, described the ruling by an Iraqi court as a death sentence because of his age, said The Times. Fitton, from Bath, had arrived at the court in Baghdad expecting a short suspended sentence after being charged with collecting fragments from a site in southern Iraq during an organised archaeology tour. His family said that British ministers have shown no interest in his case.
‘Postcode lottery’ for long Covid
NHS services for the two million Brits struggling with long Covid are “woefully inadequate”, nurses’ leaders have warned. The Royal College of Nursing said there are too few specialist clinics to handle the soaring demand for treatment, with only a tiny number of sufferers receiving any help. Ministers are being urged to increase investment in long Covid research after being warned that patients are suffering under a “postcode lottery” in care.
Shoppers tightening belts
Shoppers are spending less than they were a year ago, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said. Both in-store and online sales fell for the second month in a row in May, declining by 1.1% compared to May 2021. That was a sharper slowdown than in April, when BRC figures showed a fall of 0.3% compared to April 2021. Although sales of clothing, footwear and accessories rose, consumers weren’t buying “bigger ticket items” such as furniture and electronics, said the BBC.
UK journalist missing in Amazon
A veteran British journalist has gone missing in a remote part of the Amazon, a local indigenous association has said. Dom Phillips, a longstanding contributor to The Guardian, was last seen at 7am local time on Sunday in the Sao Rafael community, according to the Unijava association. He was with Bruno Araujo Pereira, a Brazilian indigenous expert. The Independent said the area where the pair disappeared houses one of the largest indigenous territories in Brazil and has been “marked by violent conflicts between fishers, poachers and government agents”.
US cops ‘watched man drown’
Three police officers in the US have been placed on leave after they failed to rescue a homeless man from drowning. Bodycam footage and transcripts show 34-year-old Sean Bickings getting into Tempe Town Lake, Arizona, and warning police he was “going to drown”. None of the officers attending the scene intervened to save him and one is heard telling him: “I’m not jumping in after you.” Bickings was later declared dead. A human rights group told The New York Times that the incident was another reminder of excessive policing in the city.
RAC warns of ‘fuel crisis’
The RAC has warned that Britain faces a “national fuel crisis”. It now costs nearly £98 to fill a petrol tank and nearly £102 to fill a diesel tank, with crude prices continuing to climb. RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said further government intervention was “urgently needed”, such as a fuel duty cut or a VAT cut. The Telegraph has pointed out that the shift to electric vehicles is accelerating: battery-powered cars accounted for one in eight new models last month, compared with one in ten in April.
Israeli coalition weakened by vote
The Israeli government suffered a defeat when members of the coalition voted against upholding Israeli law in settlements on the West Bank. The legislation, which gives settlers the same rights as citizens in Israel, is automatically ratified by parliament every five years, but two members of the coalition, a member of an Arab party and a member of a leftist party, voted at first reading against the bill. The move will not block the continuation of Israeli law in the West Bank, but it weakens the government, said The Guardian.
Half of GPs plan early retirement
A poll has found that 47% of GPs plan to retire at or before the age of 60. The study, carried out by Pulse, the magazine for health professionals, also found that 11% of GPs said they intended to retire aged 50 to 55, while only 14% intended to retire aged 66 or over. One GP partner, who aims to retire aged 50 to 55, told Pulse: “The sooner I leave this mess, the better. I don’t recognise the job any more and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone pursuing a career in general practice.”