Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 10 August 2022

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

1. Truss softens stance on crisis

Liz Truss has refused to rule out future government “handouts” after it was projected that energy bills are forecast to hit £4,200 a year. For weeks, the foreign secretary has insisted that tax cuts, not direct payments to households, were her answer to soaring costs. However, speaking to a Tory membership hustings event in Darlington last night, she said that if she became PM she would “look at the situation” at the time before making a decision. Boris Johnson told a No. 10 reception that he was “certain” the two candidates would announce further help next month.

Energy bills: what to expect this winter

2. Republicans back Trump on raid

Former vice president Mike Pence has shared his “deep concern” over the “unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump”. Republicans are rushing to Trump’s defence after the FBI searched his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as part of an investigation into the handling of potentially classified material. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the Department of Justice has reached an “intolerable state of weaponised politicisation” and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said the department “should already have provided answers to the American people and must do so immediately”.

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What was the FBI looking for in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate?

3. Met issues longest amber warning

The Met Office has issued a four-day amber extreme heat warning as temperatures are set to reach up to 35C (95F) in some areas. The warning, which applies to southern and central England and parts of Wales from midnight on Thursday until Sunday, means vulnerable people’s health could be impacted and travel could be disrupted. Meanwhile, flood resilience campaigners have warned that flash flooding could follow the prolonged period of dry weather the UK has been experiencing and many households are unprepared.

Why do heatwaves in the UK feel hotter than abroad?

4. Postal workers to strike

More than 115,000 postal workers will strike in a dispute over pay. Walkouts will be held on 26 and 31 August and 8-9 September in what the Communication Workers Union said will be the biggest strike of the summer so far to demand a “dignified, proper pay rise”. The Guardian said the coming weeks are “shaping up to be a summer of discontent”, as thousands of workers from different sectors take action to demand pay awards that keep up with the soaring cost of living.

Which workers will be next to walk out?

5. Dry spell harming river wildlife

The prolonged dry spell is having a “serious” impact on wildlife in rivers. Chalk streams, which support species such as salmon, kingfisher and otter, are beginning to dry up, said the Rivers Trust. “This is our Barrier Reef or our Amazon rainforest; it’s our unique contribution to global wildlife and biodiversity,” said a spokeswoman. Jamie Marsh, reserves manager for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, warned of a “serious situation” for wildlife as rivers run low.

6. ‘Challenging’ books removed by unis

Universities are removing books from reading lists to protect students from “challenging” content, The Times reported. The 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, has been “removed permanently” from a course reading list at Essex University because of concerns about graphic depictions of slavery. The play Miss Julie, by August Strindberg, has been withdrawn by Sussex University because it includes discussion of suicide. Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss criticised the moves. “Real life doesn’t come with a content warning,” she said.

The Overview podcast: why are more books being banned?

7. Most babies born out of wedlock

More babies are being born out of wedlock for the first time since records began. Data from the Office for National Statistics, which started recording the numbers in 1845, showed there were 320,713 live births registered outside a marriage or civil partnership last year, accounting for 51.3% of the total number of live births in England and Wales. The count coincided with the Covid-19 lockdowns, when weddings and civil partnership ceremonies were not allowed, Sky News noted.

8. ‘ATM’ solicitor convicted of fraud

A solicitor who nicknamed his firm ATM because it was “a cash machine” for litigation awards has been convicted of a £25m fraud. The Times reported that Timothy Schools “lived in luxury” on an estate in Cumbria while he “fleeced” investors that he had lured into a financial services scheme. Southwark Crown Court heard that hundreds of investors injected funds into the Axiom Legal Financing Fund scheme, which Schools claimed lent funds to solicitors operating no-win, no-fee claims for clients. Prosecutors said he was “making money hand over fist” while investors in the scheme “lost everything”.

9. Domino’s fails in land of the pizza

Domino’s Pizza has been forced to pull out of the home of the pizza. The US chain said it will close its restaurants in Italy after seven years of trying to get local residents to take to its American-style slices. The company insisted its pizza recipe “respects tradition” when it pushed ahead with plans to open 880 Italian stores by 2030. It had hoped to outcompete local rivals with its delivery service. However, one Twitter user commented that “trying to open Domino’s Pizza in Italy is like trying to sell snow in the North Pole”.

10. Daley blames colonialism for homophobia

Tom Daley has blamed “colonialism” for anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth. In a BBC documentary, the Olympic diving champion visits “the most homophobic countries in the Commonwealth” and says the experience taught him “where homophobia stemmed from in the first place, and it is a legacy of colonialism”. However, said The Telegraph, some historians argue that the persecution of gay people long predates colonial expansion around the world.

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