Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 May 2023

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

1. Tories ‘despair’ at Braverman speech

Suella Braverman has been accused by “despairing” Conservative MPs of undermining Rishi Sunak’s authority and making a bid for the leadership of the party, reported The Guardian. The home secretary delivered a “highly personal blueprint for a political philosophy” in what was interpreted as a pitch to be the right’s next candidate, at a National Conservatism conference in London, said the paper. A minister accused Braverman of treating her role as home secretary as a “side hustle”. However, the Daily Express described her speech as “barnstorming”.

Suella Braverman - and five of the other most divisive politicians since Brexit

2. Kyiv faces heavy attack

Kyiv has come under attack, according to reports overnight. Russia launched an “exceptionally intense” air assault on Kyiv in the early hours of Tuesday, said CNN, using drones, cruise and “probably ballistic missiles”. A Ukrainian military official said the “vast majority” of Russian targets in Kyiv’s airspace were destroyed and at least three people were injured. The attacks came after Ukraine said Russian forces were no longer capable of large-scale offensive action but that Moscow is able to sustain the current rate of missile attacks.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

How the Ukraine war started and how it could end

3. Giuliani accused of harassment

Rudy Giuliani is being sued for sexual harassment by a former employee. The $10m (£8m) civil case makes a series of colourful claims about Donald Trump’s former lawyer, including that he coerced the woman into sex acts, made her work naked, and launched into “alcohol-drenched” racist rants at work. He is also accused of regularly exposing himself, taking Viagra “constantly” and boasting that he and Trump would sell presidential pardons for $2m apiece. Giuliani “vehemently” denies the allegations by Noelle Dunphy.

4. Universities loosen drug policies

Universities are softening their policies on drugs following pressure from student activists and amid a surge in deaths from ketamine. Punishments for drug use are being reduced and “harm reduction” measures, such as urging students to take substances with friends so someone can call an ambulance, are being encouraged. Students are also being offered free drug-checking kits for ketamine, MDMA and cocaine. The “revolution” in universities’ attitudes has been guided by Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK, said The Times. “This is an absolute disgrace,” said former home secretary Priti Patel.

Should the UK decriminalise some drugs?

5. Tory donor named in laundering probe

A major Tory donor has been linked to a massive money laundering investigation, said the BBC. The broadcaster has named Javad Marandi, who has an OBE for business and philanthropy, after he lost a 19-month legal battle with to remain anonymous. The judgement against him is a “milestone for freedom of the press amid growing privacy laws in the courts”, said the BBC, but Marandi strongly denies wrongdoing and isn’t subject to criminal sanction. A National Crime Agency probe found some of Marandi’s overseas interests had played a key role in an elaborate money-laundering scheme.

How and where money is being laundered

6. ASA cracks down on eco claims

Advertisements that claim products are carbon neutral using offsets are to be banned by the advertising watchdog unless companies can prove they really work, said The Guardian. The Advertising Standards Authority will crack down on the use of terms such as “carbon neutral”, “net zero” and “nature positive”. The luxury brand Gucci, which announced it had become “entirely carbon neutral” in 2019 in part using rainforest offsets, has deleted the claim from its website and no longer works with South Pole, the Swiss carbon credit consultancy it partnered with on the promise.

7. Brit describes ‘mercy killing’

A British pensioner told a Cyprus court his wife begged him to end her life in what he insisted was a mercy killing. David Hunter, 75, showed the court how he placed his right hand over the mouth of his wife, Janice, 74, and his left hand over her nose. His wife, who was in extreme pain from blood cancer, had pleaded with him to kill her, he said. Hunter, who is charged with murder, admits killing his wife in 2021 but under Cypriot law there is no defence of assisted suicide.

The countries where euthanasia is legal

8. Lords team up against abuse

Online misogynistic abuse is set to be banned under plans from a cross-party group of peers. Baroness Morgan, the former culture secretary, is proposing a new legally enforced code of practice that would require social media firms to prevent online abuse and violence against women and girls. Companies that failed to remove abusive misogynistic content and protect women by banning repeat offenders would face fines worth up to 10% of their global turnover. With cross-party backing and the support of Church of England bishops, the amendment is likely to pass.

9. Morgan ‘knew about hacking’

The biographer of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has told the High Court he heard Piers Morgan being told that a story about Kylie Minogue was obtained by voicemails. Giving evidence to a phone hacking case against Mirror Group Newspapers, Omid Scobie, said that in 2002 he did work experience at the Daily Mirror and overheard then-editor Morgan being told by the entertainment desk that a story relating to Minogue came from her voicemails. He denied having a “vested interest” in misleading the court due to his connection with Harry and Meghan.

A timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s legal action against UK press

10. Stewart becomes swimwear model at 81

Martha Stewart has become Sports Illustrated’s oldest cover model of all time, posing for the magazine’s swimsuit edition at the age of 81. “When I heard that I was going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, I thought: ‘Oh, well that’s pretty good,’” said the television personality. “And I don’t think about age very much, but I thought that this is kind of historic and that I better look really good.” The previous oldest cover model was Elon Musk’s mother, the model Maye Musk, who posed in 2022 when she was 74.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.