Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 August 2023

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

1. Banks ‘refuse to pass on rises’

Banks are leaving savers “billions of pounds out of pocket” by “refusing” to pass on rises in interest rates, said The Times. More than £9bn has “remained in bank coffers” when it could have been paid to customers if interest rates on savings accounts had kept pace with the base rate, said the paper. The regulator discovered that 40% of all cash held in easy-access savings accounts with Britain’s nine biggest banks was earning less than 1% interest at the end of June.

2. New Letby suspicions emerge

Two families are asking police to investigate their suspicions that their babies were killed by Lucy Letby, said The Telegraph. The parents of babies treated at the Countess of Chester Hospital, where Letby murdered seven babies and attempted to kill six others, are concerned about how their children died. They believe Letby was present when they were at the hospital with their children, because the nurse appeared to have signed one baby’s baptism book, while the other infant’s father recognised Letby from media coverage of the trial.

3. Russia finds remains at crash site

Moscow says 10 bodies and flight recorders have been recovered from the scene of a jet crash that is believed to have killed Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. Investigators said that “molecular-genetic tests are now being carried out” on the remains after the plane crashed near Moscow on Wednesday, amid speculation that a bomb or a missile was to blame. The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, said he warned Prigozhin to watch out for possible threats to his life.

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4. Spain players threaten boycott

Dozens of Spanish footballers said they would not play for the women’s national team until football federation president Luis Rubiales is removed from his post. Rubiales has refused to resign after kissing forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win in Sydney. Hermoso says she did not consent to be kissed by Rubiales but the president said “I don't deserve this manhunt”.

5. Concern over justice body

Legal experts have warned that the “wheels are coming off” the miscarriage of justice watchdog, after it was revealed that the commission’s chair has been in Montenegro during one of its biggest modern scandals. The Guardian pictured Helen Pitcher, head of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, barefoot outside a mussels bar promoting her holiday home business while her organisation was in crisis over its handling of the case of Andrew Malkinson, who was wrongly convicted for rape. “This is the phenomenon you get when the justice system is rotten to the core”, said Barry Shearman MP.

6. France to splash out on surplus wine

The French government will spend €200m (£171.6m) to destroy surplus wine and support producers amid a “cocktail of problems for the industry”, said the BBC. The sector has been hit hard by overproduction and the cost of living crisis, there has also been a fall in demand for wine as more people drink craft beer. Most of the €200m will be used to purchase excess stock, with the alcohol sold for use in hand sanitiser, cleaning products and perfume, said France24.

7. Trump ‘cashes in’ on mugshot

Donald Trump’s campaign has used his mugshot to produce a series of T-shirts and mugs to raise funds for his re-election. Within minutes of the mugshot’s release, Donald Trump Jr – Trump’s eldest son - advertised the merchandise on social media. “Never one to miss an opportunity”, the 77-year-old former president himself “capped the week of his fourth criminal arrest of the year by emailing an appeal for cash”, said The Times.

8. Big movies boost coffers

The “extraordinary” success of the Barbie and Oppenheimer movies pushed admissions in July to more than 17.6m – the biggest month for UK cinemagoing since December 2019, said The Guardian. The summer’s figures are “something of a boost” to UK cinemas, which have been “struggling to recover from closures during the Covid lockdowns”, said the paper. Admissions from May to August are forecast to be up 8% compared with summer 2022, but the sector “still faces considerable challenges”, said Phil Clapp, the chief executive of the UK Cinema Association.

9. Bid to save Yorkshire dialect

The “distinctive dialect of Yorkshire” may be “dying out”, said The Times. The local tongue has been shaped by the area’s “rich history”, said the paper, as “both are marked by coal mining and still touched by the Viking invasions of medieval times”. A study predicted that the Yorkshire accent may disappear completely in 45 years as dialect and pronunciation from the south drift northwards. A local 80-year-old is holding weekly two-hour sessions from the Yorkshire Dialect Society to try and preserve it.

10. Hundreds to search for Nessie

Hundreds of people are expected to join the biggest search for the Loch Ness Monster in more than 50 years. Two hundred people will help record any unusual sights on Loch Ness from vantage points on land this weekend, with almost 300 more signing up to monitor a live stream from the search. The “modern myth of Nessie” began in April 1933, when hotel manageress Aldie Mackay said she had seen a whale-like creature in the loch, said the BBC.

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