Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 August 2023

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

1. UK storm a ‘risk to life’

Storm Antoni is to bring “unseasonably strong” winds and heavy rain to the UK on Saturday. Rain and wind warnings have been issued for Northern Ireland and parts of south-west Britain as the first storm to be named by the Met Office this season arrives. Extreme conditions today may disrupt air, rail, road and ferry travel, with the potential to put lives at risk, as the low-pressure weather system moves in from the Atlantic, said meteorologists.

2. Bank chief rates admission

The Bank of England is in danger of raising interest rates too far in its attempt to get inflation back under control, admitted its chief economist. As analysts warned that over-tightening would push the country into an “unnecessary recession”, Huw Pill conceded that “it is possible that we do too much” to rein in price rises. Earlier this year, Pill said faced widespread criticism for saying people need to accept being poorer.

3. Cinemas blamed for Covid spike

The rise in Covid cases may be down to a “perfect storm” of wet weather and the Barbie and Oppenheimer film releases, said The Telegraph. Covid-19 cases increased by 45% in a week, accounting for around one in 20 respiratory infections. The rise came after millions of people “flocked to the cinema” after Barbie and Oppenheimer were released. The UK is nearly “flying blind” when it comes to Covid this autumn, experts have told The Guardian.

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4. Ministers shut out Greenpeace

Greenpeace is “locked in a war of words” with the government over their protest at Rishi Sunak’s constituency home, said the i paper. Ministers have broken off all engagement with the climate charity, and Thérèse Coffey, the Environment Secretary, has told officials in her department to cancel any planned and future meetings with the group after five activists climbed onto the roof of the PM’s house in North Yorkshire on Thursday. The charity accused ministers of failing to “engage with the world around them”.

5. Lineker got M&S ovation

Gary Lineker said he received a “standing ovation” in M&S days after his controversial tweet that saw him compare language used by the government in their anti-migrant rhetoric to that used in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. “I recall walking to M&S two or three days in, and I got a standing ovation,” he told The Telegraph. “Well, I suppose everybody’s standing in M&S, but even so.” He also told the paper that he regards being called “woke” as a compliment.

6. Private equity dominating childcare

The childcare sector risks becoming a “playground for private equity”, experts have said. According to analysis in The Guardian, investment funds have more than doubled their stake in the sector in just four years, prompting concern that the increasing involvement of private equity could leave providers more vulnerable to closure. The TUC said the sector needed sustainable and long-term investment, rather than “fly-by-night merchants looking to make a quick buck”.

7. Navalny decries ‘Stalinist’ sentence

Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, has been sentenced to a further 19 years in prison under “brutal conditions”, including a ban on talking to cellmates and “constant exposure to light”, said The Telegraph. The 47-year-old, who is Vladimir Putin’s fiercest domestic critic, is already serving more than 11 years in prison for fraud. His supporters insist the charges are trumped up. Navalny described the latest sentence as “Stalinist”.

8. Streamer sparks NY disorder

A social media influencer has been charged with inciting a riot and unlawful assembly after thousands-strong crowds gathered in Union Square in New York City for a giveaway. Dozens were arrested and several police officers injured as Kai Cenat, who has millions of followers on social media, said he would giveaway Playstation 5s. Police officers fought “pitch battles” with a “mob” of several thousand young rioters, said The Independent. “This is the power of social media,” said NYPD chief of department Jeffrey Maddrey. “We can’t allow this to happen again.”

9. Izzard plans Brighton bid

Eddie Izzard has launched another attempt to become a Labour MP by running for Brighton Pavilion. The 61-year-old comedian is seeking selection as the candidate for seat, which has been held since 2010 by the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, who will step down as an MP at the next election. Izzard, who failed in an attempt to be chosen as the Labour candidate for Sheffield Central last year, said that he was “just the latest in over 200 years of Izzards in East Sussex”.

10. Boris may build ‘newt motels’

Boris Johnson promised to do “whatever it takes” to protect newts in his garden after he was told they could stop him from building a swimming pool at his country manor. After Johnson sought permission in June for the new pool at his Oxfordshire residence, an ecologist advised planners to reject the proposal because it could threaten local populations of great crested newts. The former PM has suggested he could build “little newt motels” for the amphibians if that helped.

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