Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 June 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Trump ‘tried to get to Capitol’
A former White House aide has told the committee investigating the 6 January attack that Donald Trump knowingly directed armed supporters to march to the US Capitol. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the car he was travelling in and wrestled with a Secret Service officer in an attempt to divert his motorcade to the Capitol, where his supporters had gathered. Trump called Hutchinson a “total phoney and leaker” and “bad news”, denying her story.
Maxwell jailed for 20 years
Ghislaine Maxwell has been sentenced to 20 years in a US prison for helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein abuse young girls. The 60-year-old recruited young girls for the billionaire paedophile during the 1990s and early 2000s. Handing down the sentence, Judge Alison J Nathan said Maxwell’s conduct had been “heinous and predatory”. Speaking outside the court, one of her accusers said Maxwell should stay in prison for the rest of her life.
Met put in ‘special measures’
The Metropolitan Police has been put in “special measures” by the policing watchdog, reported The Times. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services discovered systemic problems including scandals, failures in stamping out corruption and a failure to log 69,000 crimes. The special measures move will place extra scrutiny on the Met and require its leadership to produce a remedial plan. The force will have to report regularly to inspectors, the Home Office and other organisations. Just three out of the 43 forces in England and Wales are in special measures.
Cancer campaigner dies
The cancer campaigner Dame Deborah James has died aged 40. The host of the BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast, who raised millions for cancer research, had been receiving end-of-life care for bowel cancer at home. “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy,” said her family. James, a mother of two, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016. Boris Johnson described her as an “inspiration”.
Sturgeon calls for 2023 referendum
Nicola Sturgeon has proposed 19 October 2023 as the date for another referendum on Scottish independence. Scotland’s first minister said the question on the ballot paper would be the same as in the last referendum in 2014: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Sturgeon, who has written to Boris Johnson to ask for formal consent for the vote to be held, said that the referendum must be “indisputably lawful”. Downing Street said it will “carefully study the details of the proposal”.
Ministers to curb online betting
The government is expected to announce curbs on online gambling, reported The Times. New rules will include maximum stakes of between £2 and £5 for online casinos, a ban on free bets and VIP packages for those who incur heavy losses, and “non-intrusive” affordability checks. Ministers believe that current gambling legislation, which is 17 years old, is outdated due to the soaring popularity of online betting. However, they have abandoned plans to ban gambling companies from sponsoring Premier League football shirts.
Philippines to close news site
Authorities in the Philippines have ordered the closure of an investigative news site. Rappler, which was founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, is one of the country’s few media outlets that is critical of president Rodrigo Duterte, who is poised to be replaced by his ally, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. In a defiant statement, Rappler said it wouldn’t be closing and would challenge the order in court. “We will continue to work and to do business as usual,” said Ressa. “We will follow the legal process and continue to stand up for our rights. We will hold the line.”
Number of holiday homes soaring
The number of holiday let-homes in England has risen by 40% in three years, reported the BBC, causing concern that soaring property prices are pushing established residents out of many tourist-heavy areas. Estate agents noted a dramatic rise in second home ownership during the Covid pandemic, with many buyers now offering these as holiday lets. Areas which already had large numbers of such properties – including Scarborough, the Isle of Wight, North Devon and the Cotswolds – have seen sharp increases.
PM accuses Putin of ‘toxic masculinity’
Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were a woman, Boris Johnson has claimed. Calling for “more women in positions of power”, the PM said the “crazy, macho” invasion was a “perfect example of toxic masculinity”. Speaking to the German broadcaster ZDF about gender equality and the importance of education, he added that “you need more women in positions of power”. Johnson’s comments come ahead of a Nato meeting where allies will discuss how to respond to future threats.
Tennis star admits to spitting
Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios had admitted that he deliberately spat in the direction of a Wimbledon spectator who was “disrespecting” him. Kyrgios also called a line judge a “snitch” during an eventful first-round victory against Britain’s Paul Jubb. The tennis star insisted there were mitigating circumstances for his behaviour by accusing the umpire of ignoring his pleas for an abusive spectator to be ejected. Kyrgios also blamed social media for creating a new breed of supporters who enjoy filming themselves abusing athletes.