Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 20 July 2022

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

1

Wildfires a ‘game-changer’ for UK

Firefighters battled blazes across the country yesterday as temperatures soared to a historic high of 40.3C. Sky News said the UK is “counting the cost” of the country’s hottest day on record, with homes and businesses “claimed by wildfires”. There were major fires in parts of London, Leicestershire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. A fire chief described the “brutal” day as a “game-changer” and a preview of the effects of climate change.

2

Final ballot for Tory MPs today

Liz Truss narrowed the gap with Penny Mordaunt in the latest round of voting for the next Conservative party leader, while Rishi Sunak “retained his position as frontrunner”, said the Financial Times. Polling seen by The Guardian suggests Labour could beat all three at a general election. The candidates will face one more ballot from Tory MPs today, with the result announced at 4pm. The Telegraph reports that around 2,000 Conservative members have written to the party’s chairman to demand a vote on whether Boris Johnson should carry on as leader.

3

Public-sector workers could strike

Unions have threatened strikes following “risible” below-inflation pay awards for millions of public-sector workers yesterday. Doctors and nurses have been given pay rises of up to 9.3% but public-sector unions said the increase was a real-terms pay cut as inflation is running at 11.7%. Pat Cullen of the Royal College of Nursing said that ministers were “misjudging the mood of nursing staff” but Steve Barclay, the health secretary, said that “very high inflation-driven settlements would have a worse impact on pay packets in the long run”.

4

Putin meets with world leaders

Vladimir Putin met Turkish and Iranian leaders in Tehran during his second foreign trip since he launched the invasion of Ukraine in February. The BBC said the summit was a chance for the Russian president to show he still has international allies. Following the meeting, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tehran and Moscow “should strengthen their ties, and suggested that the West was to blame for the war in Ukraine”, added the corporation.

5

Democrats arrested at abortion rally

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the Democratic members of the US Congress arrested at an abortion rights protest in Washington DC. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were also detained near the Supreme Court. The politicians had gathered in front of the US Capitol before marching to the court building, chanting “our bodies, our choice” and “we won’t go back”. Abortion is now banned or under threat of being banned in 60% of US states, after the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling, which protected the right to an abortion under the US constitution.

6

Flights to be ‘powered by cooking oil’

Electric planes will be used for domestic flights by 2030 under government ambitions for flying to “go green”. The Telegraph said passengers will be told the carbon footprint of their flight as they book, and 10% sustainable aviation fuel, which can be made from green waste or used cooking oil, will be used. Ministers said the plan would deliver “guilt-free flying” but the Transport & Environment campaign group said the plan could lead to a dependence on unsustainable sources such as crops grown on land that could be used to grow food.

7

Musk to face lawsuit in October

A US judge in Delaware has rejected Elon Musk’s bid to delay Twitter’s lawsuit against him until 2023. The hearing has been set for this October after the judge granted the social media giant a fast-track trial. The company is suing the billionaire for pulling out of a deal to buy Twitter for $44bn (£36.6bn). A lawyer for the social media platform accused Musk of “attempted sabotage” but the tycoon claims the firm failed to provide him with enough information about fake accounts.

8

Netflix loses 1m subscribers

Netflix lost almost one million subscribers between April and July, a number far lower than its own forecasts, which had projected that the streaming giant would lose double the number of subscribers. Asked what may have stopped subscriptions sliding further, the streaming giant’s chief executive, Reed Hastings, said: “If there was a single thing, we might say Stranger Things.” As well as planning a lower-tier subscription that will be supported by adverts, Netflix plans to clamp down on password sharing.

9

Protesters smash Murdoch’s windows

Extinction Rebellion protesters broke windows at the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in London. A spokesperson for the campaign group explained that Murdoch’s papers had been targeted for spending “30 life-or-death years denying or ignoring the climate crisis to ensure that business as usual keeps the money flowing into their already obscenely bloated bank accounts” meaning “millions of us still have no clue about the terrifying dangers that threaten us”. The Telegraph said “climate change has been a divisive subject within the Murdoch family” after disagreements between the media tycoon and his son, James.

10

Snakebite injuries on the rise

Snakebite injuries are becoming more common in the UK due to a rise in exotic pet ownership. Medics have treated 300 victims over the past 11 years including 72 teenagers or children, 13 of whom were under the age of five. One patient needed part of their finger to be amputated, and one man died. Although it is not illegal to keep some exotic reptiles as pets, the RSPCA advises people to research as much as possible about what owning a snake entails before buying one, to understand the considerable challenges.

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