Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 19 June 2022

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

1. Unions ‘bribing workers to strike’

The business secretary has accused Britain’s biggest trade unions of “bribing” workers to go on strike after they doubled daily payments to those who take part in industrial action. Kwasi Kwarteng said this suggested that unions had been plotting a “dangerous” summer of strikes “for some time”. However, unions said the strike payments are simply to compensate workers who lose pay when they take part in industrial action. Rail strikes will take place on almost all major lines across Britain on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

2. PM breaks jabs pledge

Boris Johnson has broken his promise to deliver 100m surplus Covid vaccines to poor countries, reported The Independent. At a G7 meeting last summer, the PM pledged to send the vaccines to developing countries within a year to help close the global vaccine gap and “vaccinate the world”. However, 12 months on the government has delivered barely a third of the number of promised jabs, with just 36.5m deployed as of the end of May – a deficit of 63.5m doses. Ministers have deducted the value of leftover jabs from existing aid agreements.

3. ADHD rate higher in jails

A new report has found that one in four prisoners in Britain are believed to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The figure is five to 10 times higher than its prevalence of 2% to 4% in the general population. Patient groups and doctors say that a routine examination of every new prisoner could reduce violent incidents behind bars and help sufferers avoid committing crimes after their release, by helping them to manage the disorder.

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4. Attack on Sikh temple in Kabul

Gunmen launched an attack on a Sikh temple in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul yesterday, killing at least two people. Police said seven attackers tried to storm the temple in the early hours of Saturday morning, throwing grenades at security guards who were standing at the entrance. The attackers also detonated a car bomb in the area. Sikhs are a very small religious minority in Afghanistan, with very few left since the Taliban takeover last year.

5. All ticket offices to close

All ticket offices are to close on the railways, as bookings move online. The Sunday Times said the rail industry has drawn up a confidential strategy to phase out paper tickets and close or “repurpose” 980 ticket offices in England, starting from September. The switch to online ticket sales will worry those who find digital services confusing or do not have a smartphone, said The Sunday Times. About three million people over the age of 65 do not have internet access, according to the charity Age UK.

6. Dame Kelly ‘excited’ to come out

Dame Kelly Holmes has revealed she is gay. Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, the 52-year-old Olympian said she was both nervous and excited about coming out. “I needed to do this now, for me,” she said. “It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement.” Dame Kelly, who has won seven gold, eight silver and four bronze Olympic, Commonwealth and European medals, said: “Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.”

7. PM warning as coalition wobbles

Boris Johnson has urged western leaders to prepare themselves for a long war in Ukraine or risk the “greatest victory for aggression in Europe since the Second World War”. Writing for The Sunday Times during his return from meeting Volodymyr Zelensky, the PM called on the UK’s allies to ensure Ukraine has the “strategic endurance to survive and eventually prevail”. The international coalition supporting Zelensky is beginning to show signs of fracturing as allies express concerns about the impact of a protracted war on their own economies.

8. Wimbledon pressed to drop HSBC

Wimbledon has been encouraged to sever ties with HSBC over its refusal to condemn China’s authoritarian crackdown in Hong Kong. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong said the move would show the championship will not tolerate links with any entity “complicit in oppression and human rights abuses”. MPs accused the bank of profiting “from human rights abuses” by backing a law which bans dissent in Hong Kong. The world’s biggest tennis tournament begins on June 27.

9. Disabled man abandoned on platform

A disabled man says he was left stranded on a train platform for hours, after staff refused to help him. Chris Nicholson needed to cross to the other side of Milton Keynes station for a connecting train on his way to London on Friday. The lift was broken and, he claims, staff refused to help him use the stairs due to health and safety policies, so he was forced to drag himself and his luggage up them on the hottest day of the year so far. Avanti West Coast said it is investigating.

10. Cocaine delivered to supermarkets

Staff at a supermarket in the Czech Republic found 840kg of cocaine worth inside boxes of bananas that were delivered to the store. Speaking on a Czech public radio station, Jakub Frydrych, the head of the police anti-narcotics unit, said the cocaine is thought to have originated in Central America, before it was sent to the supermarket in the northern region of the country. In 2015, 100kg of cocaine was discovered at a Czech supermarket in Prague.

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