- 1. Sunak backs ‘late election’
- 2. Four-day NHS strike starts
- 3. IMF: low interest rates ‘to return’
- 4. Shooting at US bank
- 5. Petrol bombs in Derry
- 6. Biden ‘plans second term’
- 7. ‘Swap to stop’ scheme launched
- 8. US ‘rattled’ by leaks
- 9. Mother of shooting victims dies
- 10. Queen ‘wanted William in war’
1. Sunak backs ‘late election’
Rishi Sunak is planning an autumn 2024 general election because he believes a vote later that year brings the best chance of victory, reported The Telegraph. “Well-placed sources” believe “going late” maximises the chance of the economy improving and a new small-boats law bringing down English Channel crossing numbers. The approach “echoes” that taken by Gordon Brown, who as PM after 13 years of Labour government waited as long as he could before calling the 2010 May election, noted the paper.
2. Four-day NHS strike starts
A four-day junior doctors’ strike starts across England today and is expected to be the most disruptive in the NHS’s history. More than 250,000 appointments and operations could be cancelled, and some hospitals say up to half of planned treatment is affected. Health chiefs urged the public to avoid “risky behaviour” during the walkout from all hospital departments in England including A&E, noted The Times. Union leaders told the paper they are striking for patient safety as well as better pay and working conditions.
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3. IMF: low interest rates ‘to return’
The International Monetary Fund said that an era of ultra-low interest rates will return in Britain. The organisation said that a combination of an ageing population and low productivity will temper inflation and lead to interest rates returning to pre-Covid lows. The prospect of low interest rates will be “welcomed by homeowners”, many of whom are “grappling with rocketing mortgage costs”, said The Telegraph.
4. Shooting at US bank
Five people have died after a former employee opened fire at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky. The victims of the attack, which was livestreamed on Instagram, were aged between 40 and 64, according to US police. The man suspected of the shooting was a star athlete in high school who allegedly suffered so many concussions he wore a helmet at basketball games, said the New York Post. His last post on Instagram reportedly read: “They won’t listen to words or protests. Let’s see if they hear this.”
5. Petrol bombs in Derry
Petrol bombs were at police in Northern Ireland on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Following “strong intelligence” that attacks would be attempted on officers during a parade on Monday, video footage shared online showed masked teenagers throwing petrol bombs at a police van in the Creggan area of Derry on Easter Monday. Around 30 youths set wheelie bins alight in the middle of the road of the Eastway area to create a roadblock a short time later, said the Belfast Telegraph.
6. Biden ‘plans second term’
Joe Biden said that he plans to run for a second term as president next year but is not ready to formally announce his campaign. “I plan on running . . . but we’re not prepared to announce it yet,” the US president told NBC News before the White House’s annual Easter egg roll for children. Biden’s delay in announcing his presidential run is “partly due to the media spotlight on the indictment of Donald Trump”, said The Times. Biden “faces no serious challenge” for the Democratic presidential nomination, added the paper.
7. ‘Swap to stop’ scheme launched
One million cigarette smokers will be offered vape starter kits as part of a government “swap to stop” programme. The health minister will announce today that the kits will be offered to almost one in five of all smokers in England as part of a scheme which he will claim is “the first of its kind in the world”. However, campaigners said that although the measures are “welcome steps in the right direction”, they are “nowhere near sufficient”.
8. US ‘rattled’ by leaks
Washington is attempting to mend relations with key allies, after leaked Pentagon documents claimed that the US had been spying on friendly nations, including South Korea and Israel. The White House is “scrambling to assess and contain the fallout” from the leak that has “rattled US officials”, members of Congress and key allies, said CNN. “Little is known about who may have been responsible for the leak,” it added.
9. Mother of shooting victims dies
A British-Israeli woman has died after a suspected Palestinian gun attack in which two of her daughters were also killed. Lucy Dee, 45, had been in a coma since the shooting in the occupied West Bank on Friday. Her daughters Rina, 15, and Maia, 20, were buried on Sunday in the settlement of Kfar Etzion. Her husband, Rabbi Leo Dee, said: “I ask the person with the Kalashnikov: “What have you achieved?”
10. Queen ‘wanted William in war’
The Queen wanted Prince William and Harry to join the war in Afghanistan, according to a forthcoming documentary. The then-Army head General Mike Jackson tells the ITV show: “She was very clear. She said, ‘My grandsons have taken my shilling, therefore they must do their duty.’ And that was that.” However, he added, the “risk was too great” for “William as heir to the heir”. The five-part documentary The Real Crown, will be broadcast later this month.
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