Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 April 2023

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

1. Attacks in Tel Aviv and West Bank

An Italian tourist has been killed and seven other people injured in a suspected car ramming attack near a beach in Tel Aviv. Local police said the suspected attacker was shot dead by officers. Earlier, two British-Israeli sisters were killed and their mother injured in a shooting in the occupied West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he had ordered the mobilization of Border Police and IDF reservists, said the Jerusalem Post. Tensions are high following two nights of Israeli police raids at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.

2. Cancer jabs ‘by 2030’

Vaccines for cancer and heart disease will be ready by the end of the decade, according to a pharmaceutical firm. “Millions of lives” could be saved by a groundbreaking set of new vaccines for a range of conditions including cancer, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, said The Guardian. Studies into these vaccinations are also showing “tremendous promise”, with some researchers saying 15 years’ worth of progress has been “unspooled” in 12 to 18 months. However, scientists claimed that the accelerated progress will be wasted if a high level of investment is not maintained.

3. Benton ‘lobbied for gambling firms’

Tory MP Scott Benton lobbied a minister on behalf of the betting industry to object to several candidates for the position of chairman of the gambling regulator, reported The Times. In 2021, Benton privately wrote to John Whittingdale, then the gambling minister, to express the “extreme worry and anxiety of the whole gambling industry” about three of the four rumoured candidates for the post of chairman of the Gambling Commission. Benton has been a passionate supporter of the gambling sector since he was elected as the MP for Blackpool South in 2019.

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4. Thornberry defends ‘attack’ ad

Emily Thornberry has defended a Labour party tweet that claimed Rishi Sunak did not think adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison. Following a row over the advert, the shadow attorney general said the prime minister was responsible for a “broken justice system”. The advert has been condemned by politicians from all parties, including Labour’s former deputy leader John McDonnell who urged the party to withdraw the tweet. “Many Labour supporters” believe the advert “could do more harm than good”, said the BBC.

5. ‘Nimbys’ cause housing crisis

The UK is faces a “house-building crisis” after dozens of local councils scrapped their planning targets amid warnings that government reforms are creating a “nimby’s charter”, said The Times. The number of housing projects granted planning permission in England last year fell to the lowest level since 2006 and 55 local authorities have suspended their development plans, which specify how they will meet demand for new homes in their area. Michael Gove, the housing secretary, admitted that the government would no longer pursue a mandatory target of 300,000 new homes a year.

6. Kate ‘found Windsor walk hard‘

The Princess of Wales said that appearing alongside the Sussexes after the death of Elizabeth II was “one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do”, according to a new book. Kate and William walked with the Prince Harry and Meghan to greet mourners and view the flowers that had been laid outside the gates of Windsor Castle. She “later admitted to a senior royal that, such was the ill feeling between the two couples, the joint walkabout was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do,” wrote the author, Robert Jobson.

7. Biden’s guards banned from Irish parliament

Joe Biden will deliver an historic speech to the Irish parliament next week but his secret service agents “won’t be present”, said The Telegraph. The armed bodyguards are an “omnipresent fixture” of any presidential visit but have been banned from the chamber of the Dáil in Dublin, said the paper. Guns are not allowed in room, as part of the “legacy of Ireland’s bloody civil war”, said the paper. The Irish Independent said a proposed compromise could see bodyguards allowed to stand ready behind an open door during the speech.

8. Chains pause Easter bunny sales

Sales of Easter bunnies have been banned by some pet shops to prevent “impulse” rabbit purchases. Pets at Home is pausing the sale and adoption of the animals at all of its 457 stores over the Easter weekend. The chain said it wants to reduce “impulse decisions over the festive period and promote responsible pet ownership”. Jollyes, another pet chain, has also paused sales at its 84 stores and declared that: “A rabbit is for life not just for Easter.”

9. S Club star dies after reunion announcement

S Club 7 member Paul Cattermole has died at the age of 46, just weeks after the band announced a comeback tour. The pop star, whose cause of death is currently unknown, was found dead on Thursday afternoon at his home in Dorset. A statement on the S Club social media accounts said: “We are truly devastated by the passing of our brother Paul. There are no words to describe the deep sadness and loss we all feel.” The 1990s pop band was due to be reuniting in October for an 11-date 25th anniversary tour.

10. Pope says sex is ‘beautiful’

Pope Francis has described sex as a “beautiful thing” and said that meeting partners on dating apps is “normal”. In the Disney+ documentary The Pope: Answers, the holy man said: “Sex is one of the beautiful things that God has given to the human person.” However, he warned that “those who are addicted to pornography are like being addicted to a drug that keeps them at a level that does not let them grow”, adding that “to express oneself sexually is something rich” and “anything that diminishes a true sexual expression diminishes you as well”.

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