Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 November 2022

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

1. Sunak talks tough on China

Rishi Sunak has declared that the “golden era” of relations with China is over. In his first foreign policy speech, the PM vowed to “evolve” the UK’s stance towards China and took an apparent swipe at recent predecessors, saying the closer economic ties of the previous decade had been “naïve”. Sunak also said the UK needed to replace wishful thinking with “robust pragmatism” towards competitors. Sunak has been under pressure from Tory backbenchers to “toughen the UK’s stance on China”, said the BBC.

Where Britain stands on the China-Taiwan tensions

2. UK adults fear Xmas poverty

A new survey has found that two-thirds of adults fear that they will not be able to afford Christmas dinner due to the soaring cost-of-living. The research from the Salvation Army found that concern is greater among those aged 65 and over, at 81%. Meanwhile, 16% are planning to use a food bank to get items for their meal and 14% of people cannot afford to buy their children a present this Christmas. John, a 64-year-old grandfather and volunteer worker, told Sky News: “I usually go to relatives for Christmas dinner, but they can’t afford to have me this year so I will stay at home.”

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When will the cost-of-living crisis end?

3. NHS faces £1.3bn Covid claims

An expected flood of claims for treatment delays, cancellations and misdiagnosis expected has led to the NHS setting aside a £1.3bn compensation pot. The figure is more than double the previous year, and a report from the health service said that the “main driver” of the surge “is the indirect impacts of Covid-19 of delays, cancellations and misdiagnosis reflecting longer waiting lists”. The Telegraph said that law firms are being contacted by the families of patients who had lost loved ones through delayed diagnoses or treatment.

4. Rainbow Qatar protest

A protester with a rainbow flag ran on the the pitch during the World Cup tie between Portugal and Uruguay. The man was wearing a t-shirt with “Save Ukraine” on the front and “Respect for Iranian woman” on the back. Once stewards caught him he was taken off the field at Lusail Stadium. Portugal’s Rúben Neves said: “I hope nothing happens to the boy because we understand his message and I think all the world understood it as well.” The tournament has been surrounded by controversy over hosts Qatar’s treatment of the LGBTQ community.

Qatar’s white elephant World Cup

5. Four-day week becomes more popular

A four-day week with no loss of pay “is taking the place of pay increases”, reported The Times. More than 100 UK companies and organisations have become permanently accredited four-day working week employers since the Covid crisis, including in sectors such as manufacturing, architecture, technology, retail, housing, marketing, construction and events. In 2019’s Labour manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn said he said he would introduce a 32-hour full-time working week, with no loss of pay, within 10 years.

The pros and cons of a four-day working week

6. Pence condemns Trump over guest

Mike Pence said Monday that Donald Trump was “wrong” to have dinner with Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes at his Florida resort. “President Trump was wrong to give a White nationalist, an antisemite and Holocaust denier a seat at the table, and I think he should apologise for it,” said the former vice president, who is rumoured to be looking to run for president himself in 2024. Pence added that Trump “should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification”. Trump has repeatedly refused to disavow Fuentes, rejecting advice to do so from advisers.

The top five potential Republican candidates for 2024

7. Russia condemns Pope statement

Moscow has condemned suggestions from the Pope that some minority groups of soldiers have behaved worse than others in the invasion of Ukraine. Pope Francis told a US magazine that the “cruellest” troops are generally Chechens and Buryats. Russia described the remarks as a “perversion” and insisted that national groups were “one family”. Chechens are mostly Muslim, while Buryats, a Mongol ethnic group indigenous to eastern Siberia, “traditionally follow Buddhist and shamanic belief systems”, explained the BBC.

8. Hancock facing constituency anger

There is “increasing disappointment” in Matt Hancock in his constituency, said the West Suffolk Conservative Association. “We are still waiting to hear from Matthew Hancock,” a spokesman told The Times, after the MP finished third in the game show I’m A Celebrity! Newmarket town council voted last night officially to call for Hancock to resign. Twelve councillors backed the motion for him to resign, one abstained, and none voted against. Hancock wants to remain an MP but one councillor told the Mirror: “I just hope they say, ‘No, mate, you’re out.’”

I’m a Celebrity: do the public like Matt Hancock after all?

9. Media unites against ‘Slapps’ suits

More than 70 journalists and editors have teamed up to demand that the justice secretary, Dominic Raab, backs proposed legislation to tackle the global super-rich’s use of “abusive legal tactics to shut down investigations”. The coalition wants to stop oligarchs and kleptocrats from using their wealth to “intimidate and silence journalists with strategic lawsuits against public participation (Slapps)”, said The Guardian. They said that recent examples included Roman Abramovich suing over a book called Putin’s People, and the Kazakh mining firm ENRC suing over his book about “dirty money”.

‘Slapps’: the lawsuits that silence free speech

10. Man killed by dog in Turkey

A Turkish man was shot and killed by his own dog on a hunting trip after the pet stepped on the trigger of his shotgun, according to the Cumhuriyet newspaper. Ozgur Gevrekogulu, 32, died in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Samsun last weekend. He was loading equipment into the boot of his car when his dog jumped on the back of a friend, stepping on the trigger of a shotgun. The 32-year-old had reportedly become a father just two weeks earlier.

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