Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 August 2023

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

1. Recession warning for UK

Britain could “lurch” from high inflation into a recession next year, said The Independent. George Dibb, head of the Institute for Public Policy Research’s Centre for Economic Justice, warned that “there is a very real risk that a recession may soon overtake price rises as the main economic concern”. However, Rishi Sunak told The Times that Britons will feel better off next year. The PM said that he was “really optimistic” about the future and “confident” that inflation would fall enough to ease the cost of living crisis in 2024.

Cost-of-living crisis: is the UK over the worst of it?

2. British museum robbed

The British Museum has sacked a staff member and ushered in “emergency measures” to increase security after it found items from its collection were missing. Valuables including gold jewellery and gems of semiprecious stones and glass dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD were found to be missing, stolen or damaged. Specialist detectives are now “in a race against time” to recover the missing pieces before they can be smuggled out of the country or destroyed, said The Telegraph.

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3. A-level results day

A-level results in England are expected to drop for a second year running, bringing grades back in line with 2019 levels. Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive A-level, T-level and BTec results this morning. Those opening their A-level results should be “braced for disappointment”, said The Guardian, “especially as many will be those who enjoyed a bumper set of GCSE results two years ago”. There was a spike in top grades in 2020 and 2021, when exams were cancelled because of Covid.

4. Dozens die in migrant tragedy

More than 60 people are believed to be dead after a boat carrying migrants was found off Cape Verde in West Africa. The authorities were able to save 38 people, including children, with footage showing them being helped ashore, some on stretchers, on the island of Sal. The boat is believed to have departed Senegal with more than 100 migrants on board in early July. Although the route from west Africa to Spain is “one of the world’s most dangerous”, the number of migrants leaving from Senegal on “rickety wooden boats” has surged, said Sky News.

5. Covid jabs ‘should be available privately’

Top scientists have argued that Covid vaccines should be made available for people to buy privately in Britain. As fears grow over a new wave of the virus, which could intensify in autumn and winter, Prof Adam Finn, of the University of Bristol, a member of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said: “I think it will be a good idea for vaccines to be made available to those that want them on the private market.” Despite a growing number of cases and hospitalisations, Covid levels are still “relatively low”, said The Guardian.

The new Covid variant Eris behind a rise in cases this summer

6. Arrest over Trump judge threat

A woman in Texas has been charged with threatening to kill a judge who is overseeing a criminal case against Donald Trump. Abigail Jo Shry, 43, is accused of phoning the court in Washington DC on 5 August and telling US District Judge Tanya Chutkan: “You are in our sights, we want to kill you.” She also allegedly threatened to kill a Democratic member of Congress. According to the affidavit, she admitted to making the call but said she had no plans to carry out any of her threats.

The judges deciding Donald Trump’s future

7. UK ‘slow’ on disabled progress

A human rights watchdog has accused the government of making “slow progress” in improving the lives of disabled people. In a new report submitted to the United Nations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said some recommendations made by in 2016 had not been delivered. The news comes 24 hours after The Guardian revealed that a “benefit backlog” is costing disabled people £24m a month, according to Citizens Advice.

8. Sunak rules out net zero poll

The prime minister has ruled out a Brexit-style referendum on net zero, defying pressure from the Tory backbenches to give the public a vote on the 2050 climate target. Red Wall MPs were among those pressing Rishi Sunak to commit to a vote on the issue but the PM told ITV News that “most people are committed to getting to net zero”. The issue “has become key for both the Tories and Labour in recent weeks”, said The Telegraph.

Will Sunak and Starmer drop green policies to win voters?

9. 9/11 suspect may avoid death penalty

The suspected architect of the September 11 attacks may never face the death penalty, under plea agreements that are being considered. The Pentagon and FBI have told relatives of some of the thousands killed that they are “considering entering into pre-trial agreements” that may involve the removal of the death penalty for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others. The United States’ 9/11 Commission concluded that it was Mohammed who first pitched the idea of an attack on the US to Osama bin Laden.

9/11 timeline: how events unfolded

10. Giuliani begged Trump for help

Rudy Giuliani has visited Mar-a-Lago on a “mission” to make a “personal and desperate appeal” to Donald Trump to pay his legal bills, said CNN. As Giuliani faces “ballooning legal bills”, he and his attorney made “several pitches” about how paying his bills was also in the best interests of the former US president. But Trump, who is “notoriously strict about dipping into his own coffers, didn’t seem very interested”, said the broadcaster. The Times said Giuliani’s legal woes, including this week’s indictment in Georgia, are an “astonishing fall from grace”.

Teflon Trump no longer: is the Georgia indictment different?

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