Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 May 2022

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

1. Patel: volunteers can use Tasers

Priti Patel is to allow volunteer police officers in England and Wales to use Tasers for the first time. At a conference held by the Police Federation today, the home secretary is expected to say that special constables should be able to use the electric stun guns if they complete the specific training that’s required. The Home Office said it would ensure they are not “at a disadvantage” when facing attackers, but Amnesty International UK’s policing expert warned that arming volunteer officers is “dangerous” and will inevitably lead to “more instances of misuse, serious harm and death from Tasers”.

2. Bank ‘helpless’ on inflation

The governor of the Bank of England has warned of “apocalyptic” global food price rises and admitted he is “helpless” in the face of surging inflation, reported The Telegraph. Andrew Bailey told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that he has “run out of horsemen” as prices rise at the fastest rate in three decades. Bailey added that Ukraine, one of the world’s major producers of wheat and cooking oil, was struggling to export food during the conflict. “That is a major worry not just for this country but for the developing world,” he said.

Andrew Bailey: who is the Bank of England governor?

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3. Fighters leave Mariupol plant

Hundreds of Ukrainian fighters who have been trapped for more than two months in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks have now been evacuated. A minister said 53 badly wounded soldiers were taken to the town of Novoazovsk, held by Russian-backed rebels, and another 211 were evacuated using a humanitarian corridor to Olenivka – another rebel-held town. The evacuation is likely to mark the end of the “longest and bloodiest battle of the Ukraine war” and is “a significant defeat for Ukraine”, said The Guardian.

Why the Black Sea is key to Russia’s Ukraine invasion

4. Footballer praised for coming out

Jake Daniels has become the first professional footballer in the UK men’s game to come out publicly as gay while still playing since Justin Fashanu in 1990. The Blackpool player said his announcement would allow him to feel “free and confident”. “I’m so pleased as I think he is going down a path many others will follow and I think the game will be better for it,” said former England striker Gary Lineker. England captain Harry Kane said Daniels deserves “massive credit”, adding that “football should be welcoming for everyone”.

5. Prevent ‘too focused on right wing’

Leaked extracts from a landmark review of Prevent said the government’s counter-terrorism programme has been too focused on right-wing extremism and should now crack down on Islamist extremism. The Guardian said a “particularly provocative recommendation” stated that individuals had been targeted for expressing mainstream right-wing views because the definition of neo-nazism has expanded too widely, while the focus on Islamist extremism has been too narrow. Prevent is one of four strands of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, launched in 2003.

Prevent: is the UK’s anti-extremist programme fit for purpose?

6. US to ease Cuba sanctions

Washington has announced plans to ease sanctions imposed on Cuba by former president Donald Trump. Restrictions on family remittances – funds sent by migrants in the US to family members in Cuba – and rules on travel to the island will be relaxed, and the processing of US visas for Cubans will also be accelerated. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the move would allow Cuban citizens to pursue a life free from “government oppression”. Trump announced a range of sanctions on the Cuban government in 2017 following an easing of restrictions under former president Barack Obama.

Can Joe Biden finally close Guantánamo?

7. Carers given 4p an hour rise

Millions of carers have received an “insulting” 4p an hour increase in carers’ allowance. Family members who care for sick loved ones for more than 35 hours a week and who receive a state-paid benefit have seen their allowance increase from £67.60 a week to £69.70, a rise of just £2.10 per week. The Telegraph pointed out that this is a 3.1% rise, while general consumer prices are expected to jump 10% this year. “Nearly half of carers think the rising energy costs will impact on their health and the health of the person they care for,” said Helen Walker of Carers UK.

8. Macron appoints female PM

Élisabeth Borne, the French minister for labour, has been appointed prime minister of France – the first woman to hold the post in more than 30 years. “I dedicate this nomination to all the little girls in France, to tell them, ‘Follow your dreams’,” she said. “Nothing should stop the fight for women’s place in our society.” Borne will replace Jean Castex in the role, becoming only the second woman ever to serve as French PM. The first was Édith Cresson, who served under President François Mitterand in the 1990s.

Emmanuel Macron’s vision for a new ‘European political community’

9. Petrol retailers ‘profiteering’

Britain’s petrol retailers have failed to pass on nearly half of Rishi Sunak’s 5p fuel duty cut. The RAC said that retailers are taking 2p more on average in profit per litre of fuel sold than they did before the chancellor reduced duty in March. This suggests that supermarkets and other petrol retailers may be making extra profits of about £7m a month, reported The Times. “It is high time that the government set up a pump-watch regulator to ensure fair prices,” said Robert Halfon MP, who led the campaign for the March fuel duty cut.

Record petrol prices in the US: who should carry the can?

10. Beckham: thin is ‘old fashioned’

Victoria Beckham has said that wanting to be thin is an “old fashioned attitude”. The 48-year-old, who was once said to have a 23-inch waist, said that women today want to look “healthy and curvy” and that curvier women are better role models for her ten-year-old daughter, Harper. “There are a lot of really curvy women in Miami, and they really own it, you know? They walk along Miami beach with not a lot of clothes on, and they look fantastic,” Beckham told Grazia magazine.

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