Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 August 2022

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

1

China makes threats as US visits Taiwan

China scrambled fighter jets as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan for a controversial visit. Beijing said the visit would have a “severe impact” on US-China relations, and announced the launch of exercises and “targeted military operations” around Taiwan in response. Pelosi said US solidarity with Taiwan is “crucial” but China’s vice foreign minister said the visit was “extremely egregious”. Beijing sees self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be part of the country.

2

BP accused of ‘unfettered profiteering’

Bumper profits of nearly £50bn shared by the world’s five biggest oil companies have sparked fresh anger as UK households were told to brace for average annual energy bills of more than £3,600 this winter. BP was accused of “unfettered profiteering” after it revealed that underlying profits had tripled to $8.5bn (£6.9bn) between April and June, thanks to high oil prices. The Mirror said this means BP raked in £880 a second, which, The Guardian said, has “prompted a chorus of calls for higher taxes on the energy sector”.

3

Security fears over Tory ballots

The distribution of ballot papers for the Tory leadership election has been delayed after GCHQ warned that hackers could change people’s ballots. It was initially intended that members would have been allowed to choose whether to vote by post or online and use the alternative method to cancel out their previous vote if they changed their mind but this plan has now been abandoned. Meanwhile, a YouGov poll, reported in The Times, found Liz Truss had the support of 60% of Tory members, while Rishi Sunak was backed by 26%.

4

Thinktank warning on vulnerable families

An impending recession will hit millions of the most vulnerable households, economists have warned. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research said households with no savings are set to double to 5.3m by 2024, while real wages will fall by 2.5% in 2022 and remain more than 7% below their pre-Covid trend beyond 2026. The independent think tank also said the number of households living pay day to pay day will almost double from 3.9m to 6.8m – a 25% rise by 2024. The i newspaper said the findings “call into question the impact of the government’s levelling up plans”.

5

Last-ditch appeal for Archie

Archie Battersbee’s life support is set to be switched off this morning, pending another last-ditch attempt by his family to postpone the move. Although the parents of the “brain-stem dead” 12-year-old had announced that his treatment would be brought to an end at 11am today after they lost a Supreme Court bid to keep it going, his mother, Hollie Dance, then said their legal team will be submitting an application to the European Court of Human Rights to postpone the withdrawal of his life support.

6

Ukraine grain ship reaches Turkey

The first grain ship to depart Ukraine since Russia invaded has reached Turkish waters. The Razoni, which is carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn, will be inspected before continuing its journey to Lebanon. Under the terms of a deal brokered by Turkey and the UN last month, shipments can resume after Moscow blockaded Ukraine’s ports. “Trust is low on both sides,” said the BBC, but if the agreement is kept to, the deal is set to last 120 days and can be renewed if both parties agree.

7

US fears Zawahiri retaliation

The US state department has warned its citizens to be vigilant against possible retaliation following the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Authorities fear that the terror suspect’s death could prompt al-Qaeda supporters or other linked terror groups to target US facilities and personnel abroad. Zawahiri was killed by a US drone in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Sunday. CNN reported that his potential successor, Saif al-Adel - reported by the UN to be in Iran - may have entered Afghanistan recently.

8

Lineker ‘will not be censored’

Gary Lineker says he will not be “bullied” into self-censorship following what he calls the “ludicrous” controversy over a quip he tweeted about Chloe Kelly’s goal celebration during the Euro 2022 final. The former footballer was branded a “misogynist” and accused of “casual sexism” after he wrote that “Kelly is England’s heroine, bra none” when Kelly removed her shirt, revealing her sports bra after scoring the winner in Sunday’s match. “It was just a play on words, like I do all the time, in most of my tweets when I’m watching football matches,” he told Telegraph Sport.

9

Mass chicken deaths during heatwave

Millions of intensively farmed chickens died during the heatwave and whistle-blowers said that little was done to protect the birds from the record-breaking temperatures. The birds – which lived in industrial farm sheds – perished slowly of heat exhaustion, “flapping and panting” as they died, reported The Independent. Workers at the factory farms said they were experiencing flashbacks from the “sheer scale and stink of the dead bodies” of the chickens that died. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was “deeply concerned” and will investigate.

10

Women under-represented in dance music

A new study has found that less than 1% of the dance music played on UK radio is made by a female solo artist or all-female band. The research, by the Jaguar Foundation, also found that women are under-represented on the charts, accounting for just 5% of dance hits. Radio 1 DJ Jaguar Bingham said she was “disappointed and saddened” by the findings, and believes the lack of female dance producers is “systemic,” with many women discouraged from pursuing a career in music at an early age.

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