Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 December 2022

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

1. Democrats tighten Senate control

Democrats have “cemented their control of the US Senate” by winning a “bitterly fought seat in Georgia”, said the BBC. Raphael Warnock beat Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a race that had been left undecided after last month’s midterm elections, meaning the Democrats now hold the upper chamber of Congress by 51-49. This is a “generational moment” and “potential opportunity to move a center-left agenda forward for the country”, said CNN.

What the US midterms results mean: five key takeaways from election night

2. New allegations hit Mone

A second company that the Conservative peer Michelle Mone lobbied ministers over in a bid to secure government Covid contracts was a secret entity of her husband’s family office, said The Guardian. The controversial peer’s lobbying prompted a formal rebuke from a minister who reminded her of “the need for propriety”. A source said that Mone was “in a class of her own in terms of the sheer aggression of her advocacy” on behalf of LFI Diagnostics. Her spokesperson said that she was taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords to “clear her name”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Michelle Mone: The Tory peer facing ‘shocking’ allegations of pandemic profiteering

3. US to double gas export to UK

The US will double gas exports to UK, it will be announced today. Rishi Sunak will announce the new partnership designed to “wean Britain off Russian gas”, said The Telegraph. The prime minister will say it will boost energy security, efficiency and affordability, cut prices and ensure the UK’s supply can “never again be manipulated by the whims of a failing regime”. The partnership will see at least nine to 10 billion cubic metres of liquified natural gas exported to UK terminals over the next year.

How the war in Ukraine led to higher energy bills

4. Experts in colds breakthrough

Scientists said they have found the first biological evidence for why respiratory illnesses like colds, flu and Covid are more widespread when the temperature drops. A study found an immune response inside the nose is suppressed by colder temperatures, making people more prone to catching colds and similar bugs. Researchers at Boston’s Mass Eye and Ear hospital and Northeastern University in the US discovered a previously unidentified immune response inside the nose, a response that becomes blocked in cold conditions.

Europe’s winter twindemic of flu and Covid

5. Trump Organization guilty of tax crimes

Donald Trump’s family real estate company has been found guilty of tax offences. The Trump Organization was convicted on all counts after two days of jury deliberations in New York. The charges related to a 15-year scheme to defraud authorities by failing to report and pay taxes on compensation for executives. Trump is also under scrutiny for his handling of classified documents, his bid to overturn the 2020 election results, and the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s business records. Alongside these, he is also facing a $250m civil lawsuit alleging a decade long fraud.

Trump to run in 2024: what has he been up to?

6. Ex-palace aide calls for fight back

A former Buckingham Palace employee has told the palace to hit back at allegations in the Netflix series Harry & Meghan. The former employee, who claims they were bullied by the Duchess of Sussex and is bound by a confidentiality agreement, said: “The only way to end it once for good is for us to be allowed to speak, and for the palace to firmly reject their lies.” The documentary will include claims that the palace leaked and planted stories and that attacks on the duchess were motivated by racism.

Harry & Meghan: a right royal case of sabotage?

7. Women sue Apple over AirTags

Apple has been sued by two US women who allege their previous partners used the software giant’s AirTag devices to track their whereabouts. One of the women said her ex-boyfriend allegedly placed an AirTag – a small tracking device, designed to help locate lost items – into the wheel well of a tyre on her car. The other woman said her ex-husband, who had been harassing her, placed an AirTag in her child’s backpack. The women, from Texas and New York, are seeking unspecified damages.

Apple AirTags: the benefits and risks

8. Government ‘won’t provide free food’

The government will not make any intervention in the market to help farmers or consumers with high food prices, said the environment secretary. Food prices have soared in the past year and food price inflation hit a fresh high of 12.4% last month, with poorer households hit hardest. Meanwhile, say farmers, supermarkets are driving down the prices they pay to producers. However, said Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey, “It is not the role of government to provide free food.”

What is inflation and why is it rising?

9. Egg thrown at King in Luton

An egg was thrown at the King during a visit to Luton town centre yesterday. A man in his 20s is being for questioning after being arrested in St George’s Square in Luton, Bedfordshire police said. Charles was temporarily moved away from the crowds outside Luton town hall by security staff but resumed shaking hands after being moved to a different area. On a visit to Yorkshire last month, eggs were thrown at the King and Queen Consort as they walked in Leeds.

10. Tory donations plummet

Donations to the Tories fell by 20% following the ousting of Boris Johnson, according to new data. The party’s takings from donors fell to just £2.9m between July and September – the lowest total for two years. Party members were upset by the move to “usurp” Johnson, said The Telegraph, but the drop is also partly explained by the summer leadership contest, with backers handing £870,000 to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.