Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 September 2022

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

1. Nurses to walk in front of Queen’s coffin

NHS doctors and nurses will walk in front of the Queen’s coffin on Monday, announced Buckingham Palace, as it released details of a “fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign”. In line with the late monarch’s wishes, the state funeral will see members of the public join royalty, heads of state, and military figures for a funeral that Buckingham Palace hopes will “unite people across the globe”. However, there is growing concern that the funeral has led to the cancellations of thousands of NHS hospital appointments, including for cancer treatment.

The Queen’s funeral: what happens next

2. ‘Mass burial site’ found in Ukraine

Authorities in Ukraine say they have found a mass burial site containing more than 440 bodies in the eastern city of Izium that was recaptured from Moscow’s forces. Speaking to Sky News, Serhiy Bolvinov, the chief police investigator for Kharkiv region, said that some of the dead had been killed by shelling and airstrikes. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that a “mass burial site” has been found and said “clear, verified information” would be released later today.

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Has Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine?

3. Putin admits China has ‘concerns’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted that China had “questions and concerns” over the invasion of Ukraine, while meeting Chinese leader Xi Jinping in person for the first time since the invasion at a summit in Uzbekistan. In words that CNN said “appeared to be a veiled admission of their diverging views over the protracted military assault,” Putin said “we understand your questions and concerns in this regard”. However, Beijing has so far refused to explicitly condemn Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

How Xi and Putin meeting could affect Ukraine

4. Anger as MPs skip queue

Mourners in the queue to see Queen’s coffin have expressed anger after MPs and guests were allowed to skip it. People are already facing eight-hour waits for a brief glimpse of the Queen’s coffin and there have been warnings that the wait time could stretch to as long as 30 hours over the weekend. The revelation that MPs and peers are able to walk straight in to the lying-in-state, and bring four guests each along with them, has upset many in the queue. “I think its bit of an abuse of privilege,” one of them told The i.

Queen’s lying in state: what you need to know

5. Global warming linked to floods

Scientists at the World Weather Attribution group say global warming is likely to have played a role in the floods that hit Pakistan. The researchers said climate change may have increased the intensity of rainfall but due to uncertainties in the results, they were unable to quantify the scale of the impact. “What we saw in Pakistan is exactly what climate projections have been predicting for years,” said Friederike Otto from Imperial College London, one of the report's authors.

How Pakistan can recover from deadly flooding

6. Concern as Truss sacks Goldsmith

Zac Goldsmith has been sacked as an environment minister, prompting concern among some Tory MPs and campaigners that animal welfare plans will be scrapped by Liz Truss’s government. One MP told The Guardian that Truss “had no interest in animal welfare while a minister in Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs]”. Another Tory MP, Henry Smith, said: “Zac has been a fantastic champion of animal welfare issues in government.”

7. UK fireball was a meteor

A fireball seen over many parts of the northern UK has been confirmed as a meteor. The fireball, which blazed across the clear night sky just after 10pm on Wednesday night, caused mass confusion and speculation as it travelled 300km above Wales, the Irish Sea and Belfast before crashing into the Atlantic near Islay. “It is definitely a meteor,” said the UK Meteor Network. “Probably a small piece of an asteroid that’s broken off an asteroid. It came in at an asteroidal orbit.”

8. Exhausted stag shot by hunters

A stag that was chased for hours by horseriders and hounds was shot while it stood exhausted yards away, reported The Times. The hound had been pursued for three hours across the Somerset countryside before coming to a standstill at a fence line in a farmer’s field. A video released by anti-hunt campaigners showed that one of the huntsmen dismounted and shot the stag with a rifle before slitting its throat. The campaigners said the video showed the Hunting Act needed to be tightened.

9. Federer to stand down

Roger Federer has announced that he will retire from top-level tennis after the Laver Cup in London this month. “My body's message to me lately has been clear,” said the 41-year-old, who has not played since Wimbledon 2021, after which he had a third knee operation. “I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion. “Now I must recognise when it is time to end my competitive career.” Federer’s great rival, Rafael Nadal, said it was a “sad day” for sport.

‘Sad day for tennis’: is this the end of Roger Federer’s glittering career?

10. ‘Oldest heart’ discovered in Australia

The world’s oldest heart has been found in a prehistoric fish. Researchers in Australia said they discovered the 380-million-year-old heart preserved inside a fossilised fish. The discovery, published in the journal Science, “captures a key moment in the evolution of the blood-pumping organ found in all back-boned animals, including humans,” said the BBC. Prof John Long from Flinders University in Adelaide, described the find as “a mind-boggling, jaw-dropping discovery”.

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