Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 9 September 2023

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

1. Hundreds die in Morocco quake

At least 296 people have died after an earthquake struck central Morocco, said the country’s interior ministry. The powerful quake measured magnitude 6.8 and occurred about 44 miles northeast of Marrakesh. Footage on social media showed people running into the streets and buildings shaking. A local official said most deaths were in mountainous areas that were hard to reach. Al Jazeera’s Abdel Mounim El Armani has said that the full extent of the causalities and destruction of the earthquake is yet to be seen.

2. First sighting of Khalife

A close relative of Daniel Khalife told The Times that the escaped prisoner should hand himself in, describing him as a “very, very intelligent, easygoing and kind boy” who had changed in recent years. The search for the terror suspect has entered a fourth day, with police scrambling to investigate the first confirmed sighting of him. The escapee was spotted by a member of the public on Wednesday morning, shortly after he left HMP Wandsworth by hiding underneath a delivery truck.

3. Sunak ‘fired up’ to win

Rishi Sunak has said he is “fired up” and “hungry to win” the next general election, despite his party’s poor showing in the polls. Speaking on his way to the G20 summit in India, the prime minister said that he was “entirely confident” he could land a shock victory at the next general election. Pointing to a “massive upgrade” to UK growth estimates, he said recent falls in the rate of inflation and a drop in energy prices showed his “plan is working”.

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4. Hotter Saturday forecast

The “sweltering weather” is expected to continue on Saturday, as September's unprecedented heatwave peaks, said the BBC. After Thursday was declared the warmest day of 2023 yet, with 32.6C (91F) recorded in Wisley, Surrey, Met Office forecasters said temperatures could reach almost 33C on Saturday. Meanwhile, said Sky News, the NHS has reported a surge in Britons seeking advice on heat exhaustion. There are forecasts for thunderstorms this weekend, with cooler temperatures next week.

5. Brit dies in Ukraine

A 31-year-old British man who went to fight in Ukraine was found dead in a body of water with his hands bound behind his back. Jordan Chadwick, from Burnley in Lancashire, served as a Scots guard in the British Army from 2011 to 2015. He went to fight in the Ukrainian International Army in August. His mother said her family were “devastated” by the death of her son. She described him as “a son, brother, grandson, nephew and uncle, who was loved immensely”. An inquest to establish the cause of Chadwick's death will be held in February.

6. Net zero ‘hampers inflation fight’

The focus on net zero means the Bank of England has weakened its ability to fight inflation, warned Lord King. The former Threadneedle Street governor said it made “absolutely no sense” to add net zero to the Bank’s growing list of responsibilities, because climate change had become the “straw [that] breaks the camel’s back”. Speaking to The Telegraph, he said the Bank of England “can do nothing about climate change”, so “to have a special focus on that doesn’t in my view, make any sense”.

7. Milestone for London rents

The cost of renting a single room in London has surpassed £1,000 a month for the first time, reported The Telegraph. As “demand continues to outstrip supply”, rents for a single room have risen by 15%, twice the rate of inflation, from £883 a year ago to £1,013 in August this year, said the paper. There are now 5.7 renters looking at each available room in the capital on the flatmate finding website SpareRoom. Although this figure is down from a peak of nearly nine last year, the figure is still three times the pre-pandemic average.

8. China out of deflation

China has “limped out of deflation” after its consumer price index rebounded in August, said The Guardian. Last month’s CPI, the main gauge of inflation, rose 0.1% year on year, said the national statistics bureau. However, “slow domestic consumption, high youth unemployment and decline in exports” are just some of the factors “dragging on post-Covid recovery”, said the paper. “Weak demand” points to a need for “policy support”, said the South China Morning Post.

9. Covid variant his care home

A new Covid-19 variant is spreading in the community and has caused an outbreak in a care home, said the UK Health and Security Agency. Known as BA.2.86, or “pirola”, it was first detected in Denmark in July and the first case was detected in the UK in August. Despite the outbreak in the Norfolk care home, which led to five hospitalisations, health chiefs said there was no evidence that pirola was more dangerous or would take over from the current variants circulating in Britain.

10. Crypto boss jailed for 11,196 years

A Turkish crypto boss has been jailed for 11,196 years each for defrauding investors of millions of dollars. Faruk Fatih Ozer fled to Albania in 2021 with investor assets but he was extradited back to Turkey in June and found guilty of money-laundering, fraud and organised crime. His sister Serap and brother Guven were found guilty of the same charges. Such “extraordinary” prison sentences are common in Turkey since the abolition of the death penalty in 2004, noted the BBC.

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