Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 February 2023

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

1. Secret summit addresses Brexit ‘failings’

The Observer reported that an “extraordinary” cross-party summit, bringing together leading leavers and remainers, has been held in “high secrecy” to address the failings of Brexit and how best to respond to them. Those in attendance included Michael Gove, Michael Howard, Gisela Stuart, David Lammy and Peter Mandelson. Documents from the meeting describe it as a “private discussion” under the title: “How can we make Brexit work better with our neighbours in Europe?” A source who was present said it was a “constructive meeting”.

2. Mystery object shot down over Canada

Canada’s prime minister has confirmed that another unidentified object has been shot down over North American airspace. Justin Trudeau said the latest object “violated Canadian airspace” and was shot down by a US F-22 fighter jet over Yukon, in north-west Canada. However, said the National Post, military officials have “remained mum” on what the object was or where it came from. It is the third object to be shot down over North America in the last week.

3. Violence hampers Turkey efforts

Outbreaks of violence are hampering rescue efforts in southern Turkey, said German rescuers and the Austrian army. After pausing rescue efforts, an Austrian army spokesperson said “there is increasing aggression between factions in Turkey” and “the chances of saving a life bears no reasonable relation to the safety risk”. German rescuers said “there are more and more reports of clashes between different factions” and “shots have also been fired”. The death toll in Syria and Turkey has passed 28,000.

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4. UK firms want Ukraine arms deal

British weaponry and military vehicles could be manufactured in Ukraine under plans that are being discussed between senior UK defence industry officials and their counterparts in Kyiv. With defence companies from other European nations also in talks with Ukraine, a race is on to put the UK “at the front of the queue”, an executive told The Telegraph. Any deal would mark a deepening of the country’s ties with Nato.

5. Arrests after hotel disorder

A 13-year-old boy was among the 15 people arrested after violent clashes outside a Merseyside hotel accommodating asylum seekers. A police officer and two members of the public suffered minor injuries during the disorder in Knowsley on Friday evening. A police van was set alight and missiles including lit fireworks were thrown at officers. “A number of individuals who turned up at the Suites Hotel were intent on using a planned protest to carry out violent and despicable behaviour,” an officer told the Liverpool Echo.

6. Pakistan protests after gang rape report

The reported gang rape of a woman in a park in Pakistan is evidence of “increasing sexual barbarism” in the country, said women’s rights activists. The woman, 24, was with a male colleague in the capital Islamabad’s Fatima Jinnah park when they were attacked by two armed men, according to a statement she filed with the police. The incident has “sparked outrage” in the country of 220 million, which is “highly patriarchal” and where violent attacks against women and girls frequently make headlines, said CNN.

7. ‘More deaths needed’ for cycling reform

A minister told the widower of a woman killed by a cyclist that more pedestrians needed to die before laws prosecuting dangerous cycling could match those applied to motorists. Matthew Briggs, whose wife was killed after being hit by a cyclist, revealed the comment in a letter accusing the government of “dragging its feet”. While motorists who cause death by dangerous driving can be jailed for life, cyclists who kill can currently be jailed for a maximum of two years under a “furious and wanton driving” law introduced in the 1800s to cover horse-drawn carriages.

8. Auckland braces for storm

Residents of Auckland in New Zealand are being urged to prepare for the impact of a storm that buffeted Australia’s Norfolk Island overnight. They have been told to ensure they have enough supplies to last three days in case they are trapped at home. Forecasters have issued “red” heavy wind and rain warnings for Auckland and Northland with 200mm of rain and winds of up to 130kph (80mph) expected. Evacuation centres have been set up and residents have been preparing.

9. Boss wins claim after ‘scum’ remark

A tribunal has ruled that a London Underground manager who called George Floyd “scum” on Facebook was unfairly sacked. Tracy Webb was accused of posting “racially divisive” online comments about Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in 2020. Saying she was “not sorry” Floyd was “no longer here”, she said she was “not afraid to call scum scum”. She was sacked from her job as duty trains manager but she a claim of unfair dismissal after arguing that there had been procedural faults in her sacking.

10. ‘Privileged’ Styles sweeps the Brits

Harry Styles stole the show at the Brits winning all four awards he was nominated for, including best album, artist and pop/R&B act. “I’m aware of my privilege up here tonight,” he said, naming women who missed out on artist of the year, including Mabel, Florence Welch, Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama and Becky Hill. Earlier this week, Styles had been accused of “white male privilege” after he claimed that his Grammy Awards win was a rarity for “people like me”.

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