Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 July 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Sunak and Truss launch ‘bitter contest’
Rishi Sunak said the Conservative Party cannot win the next general election with Liz Truss at the helm as he launched his campaign to win over Tory members and reach No. 10. The Times said the race will be “bitterly contested” with allies of Truss launching personal attacks on Sunak last night over his record in government and his “betrayal” of Boris Johnson. Meanwhile, allies of Penny Mordaunt, who dropped out of the running yesterday, said she failed to make the cut due to a “vicious personal smear campaign” against her.
New therapy ‘cures haemophilia B’
British doctors said a “transformational” therapy has effectively cured people with the bleeding disorder haemophilia B. The trial team said the majority of adults with haemophilia B could be cured in the next three years by the treatment, which corrects a genetic defect that leaves people’s blood struggling to clot and stop bleeding. The findings, released in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed nine out of ten patients given the therapy no longer needed their clotting factor IX injections.
Charles escapes cash donation probe
The Charity Commission will take no further action over €3m (£2.55m) cash donations accepted by one of Prince Charles’s charities. After it was reported that the donations by a former Qatari prime minister were handed over in a small suitcase and a Fortnum & Mason carrier bag, the regulator said it had “determined there is no further regulatory role for the commission” and it had “no concerns” about the governance of the prince’s charity. The former Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker had described the reported cash payments as “grubby”.
Biden announces climate package
Joe Biden has announced a $2.3bn (£1.9bn) climate change package to help build infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather and natural disasters. Although the US president said that “climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to the world”, he stopped short of formally declaring a climate emergency, which would have granted him further powers. The Washington Post had speculated that Biden would declare an emergency to “salvage his stalled environmental agenda and satisfy Democrats on Capitol Hill”.
Draghi may step down
Italian PM Mario Draghi has won a new confidence vote, but is expected to resign regardless. Although the Senate voted 95-38 in favour of Draghi’s government it was a “hollow victory”, said The Telegraph, because Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the anti-immigrant League and populist Five Star Movement abstained. Draghi first announced he was standing down after Five Star boycotted last Thursday’s confidence vote on a multi-billion euro aid package for families and businesses.
Sugar faces tax questions
Alan Sugar is facing calls to clarify his tax status in the UK after he took a leave of absence from the House of Lords and paid himself a £390m dividend, the Financial Times reported. The Apprentice star received the payment from his main holding company, Amshold Limited, in 2021, as part of financial arrangements over the past five years. A source said Sugar plans to give up his UK tax residency, but a spokesman declined to confirm if the entrepreneur was still a resident for tax purposes, saying only that he paid UK taxes.
CIA: Putin is ‘too healthy’
There is no evidence that Vladimir Putin is unstable or in bad health, said the director of the CIA. Despite media speculation that the Russian president may be suffering from cancer or another condition, William Burns said there was no evidence to confirm this, adding that he appeared “entirely too healthy”. Politico said that Burns’ comment “could help dampen hopes among Putin’s adversaries that the Russian’s demise is near”. Burns spoke after Putin visited Iran, where he met with President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Row over artillery attack in Iraq
Iraq and Turkey are at loggerheads after nine civilians were killed when artillery shells hit a park in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Local officials in Iraq blamed Turkish forces and Baghdad is recalling its chargé d’affaires from Ankara. However, Turkey is claiming that forces belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party were responsible. Iraq state TV said the “fierce artillery bombing” hit a park in Zakho. Most of the victims were Iraqi tourists and children were among the dead. At least 23 people were wounded.
TikTok a growing news source
TikTok is the fastest growing news source for UK adults, according to a survey, with nearly half of users gathering their news from fellow TikTokers rather than conventional media organisations. “Teenagers today are increasingly unlikely to pick up a newspaper or tune into TV news, instead preferring to keep up-to-date by scrolling through their social feeds,” said Yih-Choung Teh of Ofcom. “Watch out Huw Edwards, the TikTokers are coming,” said The Guardian.
Tesco launches Christmas campaign
Tesco has begun its Christmas promotion in the middle of July. As the nation recovers from a heatwave, the supermarket chain released a Christmas advert suggesting shoppers should “spread the cost” of rising food prices by beginning their festive preparations now. The grocer said that although it may be early for shoppers to see Christmas signs, it is helping its customers “get ahead for the festive season” by allowing Clubcard members to save the vouchers they collect as they shop throughout the year.