Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 December 2022

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

1. Cold snap brings warning

More than three million low-income households cannot afford to heat their homes during the current spell of cold weather, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. “People are being forced to wager their financial health and whether they can afford more debt, against their wellbeing without sufficient heat, clothing or hot food,” said a spokesperson. Temperatures as low as -10C (14F) have been predicted as an Arctic blast brings a cold snap to the UK.

Looming cold snap fuels fears of UK power cuts

2. Putin has ‘not gone mad’

President Putin insisted that he has “not gone mad” as he discussed the prospect of nuclear war. “We have not gone mad,” said the Russian president, adding that Moscow would deploy its nuclear arsenal in the event of a nuclear attack on Russia. Putin also accused Poland of seeking to seize western Ukraine and “gave no indication that Russia intends to wind down its invasion”, said The Times.

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How the Ukraine war might play out in 2023

3. New UK coal project

Michael Gove has been accused of a “climate crime against humanity” after he gave the go-ahead for the UK’s first new coal mine for three decades at Whitehaven in Cumbria. The mine, which has been approved by the levelling up secretary, will produce an estimated 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, increasing the UK’s emissions by the equivalent of putting 200,000 cars on the road. Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, said the move shows the Conservatives “put the fossil fuel industry before people and planet”.

FEB 21: First new UK coal mine for 30 years

4. Trump in more hot water

Donald Trump’s lawyers found at least two items marked classified after an outside team hired by Trump searched a storage unit in Florida used by the former president, reported the Washington Post. The items were immediately turned over to the FBI, according to sources. The latest discovery could worsen the former president’s legal jeopardy after the FBI seized 103 documents marked classified at his Mar-a-Lago resort in August.

Pros and cons of prosecuting Donald Trump

5. Hancock was ‘forced out’

Matt Hancock announced he will quit as an MP after losing the confidence of his Conservative constituency association, who ruled he was “not fit” to represent them, reported the i news site. Less than 24 hours before the ex-Health Secretary announced that he would be stepping aside, his spokesman had said: “Matt has no intention of standing down”. Hancock was “forced out” after a revolt by Tory members in his constituency of Suffolk, said the paper.

Matt Hancock quits: I’m a Celeb MP gives up the day job

6. Peru president arrested

Dina Boluarte has become Peru’s first female president, “capping off a dramatic day” which saw her predecessor arrested, said CNN. Pedro Castillo was removed from office and detained on charges of “rebellion” after he announced he would install a “government of exception” just hours before he was due to face an impeachment vote. Peruvian armed forces rejected Castillo’s attempt to sideline lawmakers, describing it as an “infringement of the constitution”.

JUL 21: Peru’s pencil-carrying new president Pedro Castillo faces ‘major challenges’

7. Ministers consider strike ban

Ministers are exploring the idea of “significantly restricting” or “even banning” the right of ambulance workers and firefighters to go on strike, said the BBC. Government departments are developing a range of options to toughen up new legislation designed to reduce the impact of industrial action. Meanwhile, union leaders have told ministers to stop “hiding behind” pay review bodies in strike talks. “Now is not the time for smoke and mirrors,” said Frances O’Grady, secretary general of the Trades Union Congress.

Who is going on strike this winter – and when

8. Tory MP suspended after police complaint

Conservative MP Julian Knight has been suspended after a complaint was made to the Metropolitan Police, a party spokesperson has said. No comment has been made on the nature of the complaint as it is now under investigation. Knight is the MP for Solihull in the Midlands and has been in the Commons since May 2015. He is also chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee.

9. BBC could go digital-only

The BBC could switch off terrestrial TV and radio by the end of the decade, said the corporation’s director general. In a speech, Tim Davie said the BBC may switch to becoming an internet-only broadcaster. “A switch off of broadcast will and should happen over time, and we should be active in planning for it,” he said. The Telegraph said the BBC is “increasingly grappling for viewers’ attention against US streaming giants, such as Netflix and Disney+”, and “rapidly growing social media companies” such as TikTok.

BBC at 100: what does the future hold for at-threat institution?

10. Authors’ pay plunges further

The average pay for authors has fallen to just £7,000 a year, according to a report from the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. In 2006, the median earnings from self-employed writing was £12,330, but that has since fallen by £5,330 a year - a 60% drop when adjusted for inflation. The report’s authors said the findings raise “serious questions about the sustainability of the writing profession in the UK” and The Times said writing could “soon be the preserve of the wealthy”.

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