Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 11 December 2023

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

1. Boats 'to continue until 2030'

The government has allocated at least £700m to manage the arrival of migrants on small boats until 2030. According to previously unnoticed plans, commercial partners would run extensive services at "permanent" facilities, with channel crossings expected to continue up to 2034. The invitation to businesses is the "clearest public sign yet" that the Home Office is planning for the small boats to continue arriving, said the BBC.

Will Rishi Sunak stem the tide of small boats?

2. Gaza ceasefire warning

Qatar said the chances of a new ceasefire between Israel and Hamas are "narrowing", but the chief mediator has vowed to keep up the pressure on both sides. In a televised statement about the Israeli hostages, Hamas said Israel will not receive "their prisoners alive without an exchange and negotiation and meeting the demands of the resistance". The World Health Organization has described a "catastrophic" situation for healthcare in Gaza, saying there are now "ideal" conditions for diseases to spread.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

3. Sunak 'on the line'

Rishi Sunak's leadership is "on the line" as Tory MPs decide whether to vote down his flagship Rwanda emergency laws, said the inews site. "Five factions" on the Tory right will unite for a "crunch meeting" today at which a "star chamber" of legal experts will rule that the laws are "not hardline" enough to save the deportation deal, predicted the outlet. This is the week when the prime minister's "past, present and future collide", said the BBC, as Sunak will also appear at the Covid inquiry.

The High Court’s ruling on Rwanda deportations

4. Trump 'would beat Biden'

Donald Trump would secure the US presidency in a race against Joe Biden, according to a new study in the Wall Street Journal. With Trump at 47% support and Biden at 43%, the poll is the first by the paper to give the Republican the lead in a head-to-head contest with the Democrat. Biden's satisfaction rating has fallen to a record low with just 37% of those surveyed saying they were content with his performance. Trump's lead on Biden grows to six points if a third-party candidate enters the race.

2024 US election: is a Biden-Trump rerun inevitable?

5. Bethlehem 'cancels Christmas'

Christmas is "cancelled" in Bethlehem, said The Times, with celebrations being "kept to a minimum" in the birthplace of Jesus as Palestinian Christians recognise the suffering in Gaza. "We cannot celebrate when our brothers and sisters are dying," said Issa Thaljieh, the Greek Orthodox priest of the Church of the Nativity, the 4th-century Byzantine basilica whose crypt holds Christ's supposed birthplace. Bethlehem is a predominantly Muslim town, but is 20% Christian.

6. UK mosquito warning

Health officials said several parts of the UK could become "home to mosquitoes" capable of spreading dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus by the 2040s and 2050s, said the BBC. The UK Health Security Agency said that in a worst-case scenario, with high emissions and temperatures rising by 4C by 2100, London could see regular cases of dengue fever by 2060. The virus is "most commonly seen in tropical regions", said the broadcaster, and can make people "seriously ill".

Mosquitoes: malaria species gathering in Britain's gardens

7. Kenya death probe

Human rights activists are investigating a death at a farm in Kenya after a man's body was found. The body of Peter Mutuku Mutisya, 25, was discovered floating in the dam on Del Monte's plantation, four days after friends said he had gone there to steal pineapples. The news follows allegations of "brutal assaults and killings" by security guards at the farm, said The Guardian. Del Monte, the world's biggest pineapple supplier, said it had "fully cooperated with Kenyan authorities".

8. Farage 'now a remainer'

Nigel Farage finished in third place on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! as Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson was named king of the jungle. Farage, the former UKIP and Brexit Party leader, joked he was "now a remainer" when he made it to the final. He added that he was "absolutely thrilled" to make it to the final, because "not everyone likes the stuff I've campaigned for and stood for over the years". Boxer Tony Bellow finished in second place.

9. New Lineker 'row'

Gary Lineker has "sparked a fresh BBC impartiality row" by promoting a campaign against the government's Rwanda Bill, said The Telegraph. The football broadcaster is among 32 high-profile figures to sign a letter criticising Rishi Sunak's deportation scheme. The Match of the Day host's involvement in the project has "fuelled fresh calls for the broadcaster to sack him", said the paper.

The impact of the Gary Lineker furore

10. Comfort food 'discomforts'

Resorting to comfort foods during times of stress can impair the body's recovery from the pressure, according to new research. Unhealthy foods such as chocolate or crisps can reduce blood flow to the brain and cause poorer vascular function – which in turn can have a negative effect on mental health and cognitive function, found the researchers. Healthier snacks, including cocoa, berries, grapes, apples and other fruits and vegetables, can prevent the impairment in vascular function.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.