Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 August 2023

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

1. Prison costs rule scrapped

The government has scrapped a rule that saw living costs deducted from compensation paid to wrongly imprisoned people. Ministers announced the change after widespread outrage over the case of Andrew Malkinson, who spent 17 years in jail for a rape he did not commit. His release from prison was “quickly soured” when he was ordered to pay back living costs for his time in jail and told that there would be a deduction from any compensation for his board and lodging while behind bars, said The Observer.

2. ‘Chilling’ Trump message flagged

Prosecutors in the US have flagged a social media post from Donald Trump in a court filing, saying that it suggests he might intimidate witnesses. Writing on his Truth Social site, the former president said, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”, a day after he pleaded not guilty to charges of orchestrating a criminal conspiracy to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss to Joe Biden. Speaking to CNN, former Trump White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the message was “chilling”.

3. CCTV car fines in doubt

Fining motorists by post using CCTV camera evidence has been ruled “illegal”, reported The Telegraph. The ruling, by a panel of lawyers, means drivers may be entitled to refunds for millions of pounds of penalty charge notices. A special test case found that Transport for London (TfL) breached government guidance by using CCTV rather than traffic wardens to enforce road rules. Data suggested TfL issues about 435,000 PCNs of all types a year, which if paid in full at £160 would net £69m.

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4. Khan calls for Pakistan protests

Imran Khan has called for nationwide protests after he was handed a three-year jail sentence over corruption allegations. The former prime minister of Pakistan was found guilty of not declaring money earned from selling gifts he received in office. Pakistan Today said Khan “urged the people to stand up for dignity and real freedom and break the shackles of slavery” because this was a “battle for their rights and freedom”, which “could not be offered in the plate”. He has been taken into custody from his home in Lahore.

5. Kyiv claims Russian war crime

A Russian guided air bomb has struck a blood transfusion centre in north-eastern Ukraine, killing and injuring people, claimed Kyiv. “Defeating terrorists is a matter of honour for everyone who values life,” said Volodymyr Zelensky, as he announced that rescuers were trying to tackle a blaze after the strike on the Kupiansk community in the Kharkiv region. He described the reported strike as a “war crime”. Russia has yet to comment on the claims.

6. Sex offender stabbed in jail

Disgraced singer Ian Watkins has been stabbed in prison, said The Mirror. The 46-year-old Lostprophets frontman is serving a 29-year jail term for sexual offences, including serious crimes against young children and babies. He was taken hostage by three other inmates on Saturday morning and was freed by prison officers six hours later. He is said to be in a “life-threatening condition” following the incident at HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire.

7. ‘Disturbing divide’ uncovered

“Top bosses” whose businesses have “fuelled the cost-of-living crisis” have “raked in” more than £100m in “pay and perks”, said the Mail on Sunday. Analysis of salaries and bonuses given to chief executives at banks, energy firms and supermarkets shows they “continue to cash in excessively” despite their customers “struggling with spiralling food, fuel and mortgage bills”, said the paper. There is a “disturbing divide” between “multi-millionaire business chiefs” and “hard-pressed families weathering the biggest squeeze on household finances for 40 years”, it added.

8. Tehran ‘biggest threat to UK’

Iran is now the biggest threat to Britain’s national security, believes the home secretary. Suella Braverman fears that the nation’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is stepping up its activities, following intelligence reports that Tehran’s spies are trying to recruit members of organised crime gangs to target regime opponents. “The Iranian threat is the one that worries us the most”, a source close to Braverman told The Sunday Times.

9. GP appointment data criticised

One in six GPs are failing to give patients face-to-face appointments, said The Telegraph. Despite repeated NHS and government commitments, polling shows one in six family doctors do not provide in-person appointments to all who seek them, with many saying that the doctor knows best about whether a meeting is necessary. Patients’ groups said the situation was “totally unacceptable”. Prior to the Covid pandemic, around 80% of GP appointments across England were held in person.

10. Hiroshima marks nuclear anniversary

The Hiroshima mayor has described nuclear deterrence a “folly” on the 78th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the city. “Leaders around the world must confront the reality that nuclear threats now being voiced by certain policymakers reveal the folly of nuclear deterrence theory,” said Kazumi Matsui. A “moment of silence” was observed at 8:15am, said the Japan Times, the exact time when the bomb was dropped by the US bomber Enola Gay and detonated over the city.

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