Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 January 2023

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

1. Firefighters battle cancer

Firefighters who saved lives during the Grenfell Tower disaster have since been diagnosed with terminal cancer, according to the Daily Mirror. Up to a dozen responders are suffering with rare cancers linked to the high levels of unprecedented exposure to contaminants during the huge rescue effort but it is feared that these cases could be the “tip of the iceberg”, said the paper, as some cancers take up to 25 years to appear. A total of 72 people died in the fire in 2017.

What next after the four-year Grenfell fire inquiry ends?

2. Barclay ‘set to increase pay offer’

Steve Barclay has privately admitted he will have to increase his pay offer to NHS staff, reported The Guardian. The health secretary has a “newfound determination” to end the walkouts by increasing the £1,400 offer, said the paper. Although the development could herald a U-turn that helps to end industrial action, the Treasury has insisted that the health secretary will have to find any new cash from within the existing health budget, raising the spectre of cuts to key services.

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Winter strikes: can a resolution be found?

3. Exxon ‘predicted climate change’

A study has found that the oil giant Exxon privately predicted global warming “correctly and skilfully” only to then spend decades publicly dismissing such science in order to protect its profits. Researchers found that Exxon’s scientists were “uncannily accurate” in their projections from the 1970s onwards, said The Guardian, predicting an upward curve of global temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions that is “close to matching” what actually occurred. “This really does sum up what Exxon knew, years before many of us were born,” said Geoffrey Supran, who led the research.

What healing of the ozone layer means for climate crisis

4. Johnson may request truce

Friends of Boris Johnson say the former prime minister could agree not to challenge Rishi Sunak in exchange for the promise of a safe seat at the next election. Under “plans being discussed by his allies”, said The Times, Johnson would “leverage” his position over Sunak if the Tories fared badly in the local elections in May. Johnson “will be in a strong position assuming we [the Conservatives] get hammered in May,” a friend said. “He can go to Rishi and say ‘give me a seat in exchange for good behaviour’”.

What is Boris Johnson doing now?

5. Statins could be offered more widely

Millions more people could start taking statins as new guidance sets out that the drugs should be given to anyone who wants them. Sir Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, has warned that thousands of middle-aged people are dying of heart conditions because they were not prescribed statins or similar medicines during the pandemic. Statins can cause side effects, noted the BBC, and there is debate about “how widely this long-term treatment should be given and what associated risks are acceptable”.

Are lockdown effects ‘killing more people than Covid’?

6. Man charged with Merseyside murder

A man has been charged with the murder of Elle Edwards, who was shot at a Merseyside pub on Christmas Eve. Connor Chapman has also been charged with two counts of attempted murder, and three counts of unlawful and malicious wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm. He has been remanded in custody to appear at Wirral Adult Remand Court on Friday. Edwards, a 26-year-old beautician, was shot in the head at the Lighthouse Pub in Wallasey Village on 24 December.

7. BLM cousin killed by police

A cousin of a co-founder of Black Lives Matter died hours after he was repeatedly Tasered and restrained in the street by Los Angeles police. Keenan Anderson, 31, a teacher and cousin of Patrisse Cullors, died at a hospital in Santa Monica. Footage of the incident showed Anderson saying: “They’re trying to George Floyd me!” - a reference to the May 2020 murder of a black man in Minnesota, by a policeman. The footage adds to pressure on the LAPD, said the BBC, as “encounters with black and brown men have resulted in three deaths in under a week”.

8. Elvis daughter dies at 54

Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of rock and roll legend Elvis, has died, her mother has said. The 54-year-old singer suffered a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas, California, on Thursday. “She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known,” Priscilla Presley said in a statement. Grammy award winner Diane Warren said that “the entire world is sending love and prayers to Priscilla and Lisa Marie’s children right now”, while Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson said: “It’s hard to take when someone so young and full of life passes on.”

9. Doctors shocked by homeless study

Being homeless may have contributed to the “sudden and unexpected” deaths of at least 34 children in England between 2019 and 2022, reported the i newspaper. Doctors and coroners involved in an NHS-funded study were stunned by what they discovered and “have demanded better scrutiny to show the real scale of child deaths”, the paper said. Homeless children were also found to be at higher risk of fatal breathing problems.

10. Chinese city offers cash for kids

Shenzhen, a city in the south of China, has become one of the first to propose cash incentives for people to have children. Under the proposals, the city’s 17.7 million residents “would be offered support worth about £900 for starting a family”, said The Times, with additional payments of around £1,300 and £2,300 if they have a second and third child. Despite a cap on Chinese families having more than one child being lifted in 2016, the country’s birth rate has continued to decline with India set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country this year.

What declining birth rates mean for our future

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