Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 September 2022

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

1. ‘Human rights violations’ in Xinjiang

The United Nations has accused China of “serious human rights violations” in a report into allegations of abuse in Xinjiang province. Researchers said they uncovered “credible evidence” of torture, possibly amounting to “crimes against humanity”. The report by Michelle Bachelet, the outgoing UN human rights commissioner, was published with only 11 minutes to go before her term came to an end at midnight. Beijing attempted until the last moment to block the publication, but Uyghur human rights groups hailed it as a turning point in the international response to the programme of mass incarceration.

China’s ‘modern gulag’: will the leaked Xinjiang files be the wake up call the world needs?

2. Winter crisis ‘will damage children’s lungs’

Health experts have warned that cold homes will damage children’s lungs and brain development and lead to deaths during a “significant humanitarian crisis” this winter. A review by Michael Marmot, the director of UCL’s Institute of Health Equity, and Prof Ian Sinha, a respiratory consultant at Liverpool’s Alder Hey children’s hospital, concluded that unless the next PM deals with soaring fuel bills, children face chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and bronchitis in adulthood. Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation think tank said Britain is facing the deepest living standards squeeze in a century.

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Is the government more to blame than energy firms for soaring bills?

3. Truss rules out new taxes

Tory leadership favourite Liz Truss has ruled out introducing new taxes if she becomes the UK’s next PM. At the final hustings of the leadership contest, she was asked if she could pledge not to introduce new taxes if she wins power, and replied: “Yes, no new taxes.” She said she would conduct a “full review of our tax system”, including business rates paid by firms and the tax burden on families. Truss also told the audience of Conservative members that she was “prepared to look at” introducing a German-style system of motorways with no speed limits.

Where is Liz Truss?

4. Torture victims ‘sent to Rwanda’

A charity’s review of the backgrounds of asylum seekers likely to be sent to Rwanda has found many may have been tortured. The research by Medical Justice also found that the threat of being sent to Rwanda increased the risk of suicide among some vulnerable asylum seekers. The government said the scheme will help end people smuggling and dangerous crossings of the English Channel, but the charity described the policy as “cruel and reprehensible”.

Why the UK chose Rwanda to process asylum seekers

5. Report finds end of traditional family

Nearly 50% of British children now grow up outside the traditional two-parent household. According to a report published today by Rachel de Souza, the children’s commissioner for England, almost a quarter of families are headed by a lone parent, compared with the EU average of one eighth. De Souza said she will revise the “family test”, which is applied to all new domestic laws and policies, to put families “at the heart” of policymaking.

6. Trump plays down sensitive files

Donald Trump’s legal team has argued that the storage of sensitive files at his Florida home “should have never been cause for alarm”. In a filing on the eve of a court hearing about the former president’s call for a third-party official to oversee the evidence taken from Mar-a-Lago, his lawyers said the FBI search was “unprecedented, unnecessary, and legally unsupported”. Meanwhile, two of Trump’s lawyers could be witnesses or targets in the FBI investigation, legal experts have said.

Pros and cons of prosecuting Donald Trump

7. Men experience period pains in India

Men in India were left “hollering” after experiencing period pains as part of an experiment to improve menstrual discussion within the country. The #feelthepain movement has seen period simulators brought to malls and colleges in the state of Kerala to give men the chance to experience menstrual cramps. Women who used the machine “did not even flinch” on the highest pain setting, but men struggled with anything above four out of ten, according to the campaign. The experiment was part of a campaign from a non-governmental organisation that seeks to break taboos.

8. Palin comeback fails in Alaska

Sarah Palin’s comeback bid has failed after she lost a special congressional election in Alaska. Although the district has been Republican-held for nearly five decades it was won by Democrat Mary Peltola, who will be the first Alaskan Native to serve as a lawmaker in Congress for the state. Palin had been endorsed by Donald Trump. The former president called into tele-rallies for Palin’s campaign and appeared at an event in Alaska to back her and other Republican candidates in this year’s races.

9. TUC reveals racism in workplaces

A study by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has found that more than 120,000 workers from minority ethnic backgrounds have quit their jobs because of racism. According to what is thought to be the largest representative survey conducted of the UK’s 3.9m minority ethnic workers, more than one in four workers from black and other minority ethnic backgrounds said they had faced racist jokes at work in the last five years and 35% said it left them feeling less confident at work. Eight per cent left their job as a result of the racism they experienced.

10. Betty and Tobias among new storm names

The storm names for the 2022/2023 season have been revealed by the Met Office. The names are compiled in conjunction with Ireland’s forecaster Met Eireann, and the Netherlands’ KNMI. Some of this year’s names came through public consultation, with Betty receiving 12,000 votes on Twitter. This season’s other storm names include Antoni, Cillian, Daisy, Elliot, Fleur, Glen, Hendrika, Johanna, Nelly, Priya, Ruadhan, Sam, Tobias, Val, and Wouter.

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