Hot News on 25/01/2023

Polling comes amid Conservative backbench unrest at government plan to ban conversion practices

More than 400,000 people who are gay, transgender or non-binary have been subjected to someone trying to change, “cure” or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to new research that suggests a proposed ban on conversion practices will have a wider impact than previously thought.

Polling for Galop, an LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity, found that one in five LGBTQ+ people and more than a third of trans people in the UK have been subjected to attempted conversion, which campaigners describe as abuse.

Germany to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, according to reports; Ukraine government sees wave of resignations

The United States appears poised to start a process that would eventually send dozens of its M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, US media reported, in a reversal that could have significant implications for Kyiv’s efforts to repel Russian forces.

The move follows reports on Tuesday that Berlin has succumbed to huge international and domestic pressure and was set to announce that it will send German-manufactured tanks to Ukraine, and allow other countries to do the same.

The decision is expected to be made officially on Wednesday and Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is due to be questioned in the Bundestag in the morning in a debate likely to be dominated by the tank decision.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said he was confident the alliance will find a solution soon, after meeting Germany’s defence minister. “At this pivotal moment in the war, we must provide heavier and more advanced systems to Ukraine, and we must do it faster,” Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday that Kyiv needed allies to decide on whether they would deliver modern tanks to strengthen the country’s defence against Russia. Zelenskiy said the issue was not about five, 10 or 15 tanks, as Ukraine’s needs are greater, but about reaching final decisions on real deliveries. “When the needed weighty decisions are made, we will be happy to thank you for each weighty decision,” Zelenskiy said.

In Ukraine, fifteen senior officials have left their posts since Saturday, six of whom have had corruption allegations levelled at them by journalists and Ukraine’s anti-corruption authorities. The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on Tuesday he had asked Zelenskiy on Monday to relieve him of his duties as part of the wave of government resignations and dismissals.

Deputy defence minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, responsible for supplying troops with food and equipment, also resigned, citing “media accusations” of corruption that he and the ministry say are baseless. Deputy prosecutor general Oleksiy Symonenko has been removed from his post, and two deputy ministers resigned from Ukraine’s ministry of communities and territories development.

Five regional governors are also being removed from power: Valentyn Reznichenko, of Dnipropetrovsk, Oleksandra Starukha of Zaporizhzhia, Oleksiy Kuleba of Kyiv, Dymtro Zhivytskyi, of Sumy and Yaroslav Yanushevich, of Kherson. Kherson and Zaporizhizhia are two of the regions of Ukraine which the Russian Federation has claimed to annex.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set its Doomsday Clock, intended to illustrate existential risks to the world, at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight the clock has ever been since it was first introduced in 1947. It is “largely” because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they said.

Ukraine has enough coal and gas reserves for the remaining months of winter despite repeated Russian attacks on its energy system, prime minister Denys Shmyhal has said.

Finland’s foreign minister Pekka Haavisto has signalled a possible pause in discussions with Turkey over Finnish ambitions to join Nato alongside Sweden, which he says is due to the pressure of Turkey’s forthcoming election.

Supporters of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gathered for a protest in Berlin on Tuesday to highlight the prison conditions in Russia he is being kept in.

Russia does not plan to rebuild the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol which were the site of heavy bombardment in the early weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Russian football officials met their counterparts at Uefa on Tuesday as they tried to negotiate Russia’s return to international football in Europe. It has been banned by Uefa and Fifa since the invasion of Ukraine.

Maneskin has a new album, a best new artist Grammy nomination and a lot of thoughts on fashion.

Beau Newell from Pride in Sport says it’s naive to expect all players to wear rainbow logo and does not undermine inclusivity

The NBL’s first pride round still sends a strong message of inclusivity despite the reluctance of several players to wear a logo supporting the LGBTQ+ community, according to Australian national nonprofit inclusion program Pride in Sport.

Several Cairns Taipans players are reportedly hesitant to wear a jersey bearing a rainbow logo during Wednesday night’s match against the South East Melbourne Phoenix, the first game of the pride round, citing their religious and cultural beliefs.

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A judge granted the roommate’s request for a restraining order in 2013.
The attack, which injured at least six other people, happened on a regional train in northern Germany.

Labour MP on trial for fraud ‘appeared to be on some sort of substance’, says former caseworker

A former Labour MP held a constituency staff meeting where he was gurning, grinding his teeth and “talking a million miles an hour”, a court has heard.

Jared O’Mara “appeared to be on some sort of substance,” said Kevin Gregory-Coyne, a former caseworker for the MP.

CEO of electric carmaker says finance was ‘not an issue’ but he did not have binding commitments from investors

Elon Musk expected strong financial support when he tweeted that he would take Tesla private in 2018, but lacked specific commitments from potential backers, according to testimony he gave on his third day of questioning in a San Francisco federal court.

Musk is accused of defrauding investors by driving up the price of Tesla stock by tweeting on 7 August 2018 that he had “funding secured” to take the electric carmaker private.

We want to hear from parents and teachers about what is being done to educate pupils on misogyny in schools

The recent arrest of Andrew Tate made many aware of the controversial media personality and self-proclaimed misogynist for the first time. But Tate, and other internet figures promoting misogynistic values, have been circulating on the internet for some time, gaining popularity on TikTok, Twitter and Youtube. Among those drawn to Tate are children and young people, according to schools across the country.

Many schools are giving teachers training on how to talk to students about Tate and misogyny, while others are hosting assemblies or using personal social and health education lessons to encourage students to question the content such influencers put out.

Maneskin has a new album, a best new artist Grammy nomination and a lot of thoughts on fashion.
In an act of official retribution for how Democrats treated Republicans when they were in the majority, the speaker barred the Californians from the panel, arguing that they were not fit to serve.
Officials at a public university cut the electricity before a planned screening, and the government has prevented clips from appearing online.

National Highways faces third intervention by a local authority over infilling, after burying Congham bridge in Norfolk in tonnes of concrete

A controversial practice by the government’s roads agency of burying historic railway bridges in concrete has been dealt a fresh blow after a third council intervened over another infilled structure.

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk council has told National Highways it must apply for retrospective planning permission if it wants to retain hundreds of tonnes of aggregate and concrete it used to submerge Congham bridge, a few miles east of King’s Lynn.

Nick Sands, the brother of Julian Sands, who has been missing for 12 days in California, has said ‘I know in my heart that he has gone’

A brother of Julian Sands, the actor who went missing while hiking in California almost two weeks ago, has spoken of his fears that his sibling may not be found.

In an interview with Yorkshire paper the Telegraph & Argus, Nick Sands, a financial adviser who still lives and works in Gargrave, the North Yorkshire town where they grew up, has detailed the regular trips home his brother would make, which often involved considerable amounts of hill-climbing.

As Queensland cracks down on young offenders, experts fear ill-informed public sentiment is influencing policy

The head of the Queensland Family and Child Commission says he is “deeply concerned” at public sentiment calling for more punitive responses to youth crime in the face of clear evidence that “tough” approaches don’t work.

Luke Twyford, the QFCC’s principal commissioner, told Guardian Australia that the government and community needed to be “smart against crime, not tough on crime”.

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Australian peak GP body says ‘overall picture’ of patients’ health will be lost if Medicare changes split care across multiple providers

Australia’s peak GP group is concerned serious conditions such as cancer could be missed if general practice is deprioritised under looming changes to Medicare funding, saying parts of their roles should not be transferred to other health professionals.

As allied health groups suggest nurses, physiotherapists or pharmacists could perform some work currently done by GPs, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said it was “nervous” about patients visiting separate specialists without being monitored by a coordinating doctor.

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And now I’m supposed to use an induction stove like some sort of animal?! It isn’t fair!!

On the Lower East Side, guests at a Lunar New Year party talk fashion and goals for 2023.

CPI rose by 1.9% in the December quarter driven by surging electricity prices and the cost of holiday travel and accommodation

Inflation in Australia reached 7.8% in the year to December, in what economists hope will be the peak for runaway prices.

The consumer price index rose by 1.9% in the December quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Wednesday, driven by surging electricity prices and the cost of holiday travel and accommodation.

After last year’s countdown was topped by a band for children, Saturday’s countdown is anyone’s guess – but we do have a few hunches

Last year was an odd one for Australia’s biggest music poll – believed to be the largest music poll in the world.

A children’s group who formed more than 30 years ago topped Triple J’s chart with a cover of a decade-old song, while Olivia Rodrigo and Doja Cat made up 10% of the total list between them – despite neither being the fare we would expect from the alternative youth station.

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Jimmy Kimmel said the papers were found in a box with “a four-pack of Zima and Polaroids of Mother dressed in her swimming costume.”
A proposal to end a decade-long attempt to seek the death penalty before a military tribunal carries political risks, but the Trump administration also decided the system failed.

Campaigners welcome vote by MSPs to close loopholes they say were smokescreen for illegal foxhunting

Animal welfare campaigners have hailed the decision by the Holyrood parliament to toughen anti-hunting laws as a wake-up call to Westminster.

Màiri McAllan, the Scottish government’s environment minister, said chasing and killing a wild mammal with a dog had “no place in modern Scotland”, as MSPs voted 90 to 30 for the hunting with dogs bill, which aims to close loopholes 20 years after a ban on foxhunting was first put in place, in 2002.

MPs and peers warn bill ‘will damage UK’s international reputation as guardians of human rights’

Rishi Sunak is being urged to abandon the government’s controversial attempt to overhaul human rights legislation after a warning that the bill of rights appears to “tip the balance” in favour of the state and seriously damages people’s ability to enforce their rights.

A cross-party committee of MPs and peers said the bill, which would replace the Human Rights Act, which enshrines the European convention on human rights in the UK, showed a “disregard” for the UK’s international legal obligations and would lead to more cases going to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.

Andrew Bagshaw, 47, and Chris Parry, 28, were part of an ad hoc cohort of foreigners who have gone to Ukraine despite little to no experience with combat situations.

Experts urge governments to reprioritise public health messaging amid fears the anti-vaccine lobby ‘has the floor’ on immunisation

Australia’s national vaccine advisory body is expected to decide within weeks if a fifth Covid vaccine dose will be made available to more Australians this year.

Meanwhile, infectious disease physicians have urged federal and state governments to reprioritise vaccine awareness campaigns, warning the “anti-vaccine lobby seems to have the floor”.

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News comes after unusual activity at the zoo that included one of its clouded leopards missing

A lappet-faced vulture at the Dallas zoo has died from a suspicious wound in its Wilds of Africa habitat. Officials called the mysterious death of 35-year-old Pin “devastating” and are offering a $10,000 reward for any information.

The announcement follows a bout of unusual activity at the zoo. Last week it shut down after it reported one of its two clouded leopards, Nova, was missing. A zoo spokesperson assured the public the 25lb cat didn’t pose a threat to humans and Nova was found later that day on zoo grounds near her habitat.

Sunak faces uncomfortable PMQs, with ‘too many impossible questions’ over ex-chancellor’s tax affairs

Rishi Sunak should encourage the Conservative party chair, Nadhim Zahawi, to resign because his position is untenable, a former Tory cabinet minister has warned.

David Gauke and the Conservative peer Lord Hayward both urged Zahawi to consider his position as he comes under increasing pressure over his tax affairs, with Sunak braced for a grilling at prime minister’s questions.

Mayor says she is concerned for safety of staff, but senator says he knows nothing of the group, which used his video warning of ‘climate lockdown’

The South Australian Liberal senator Alex Antic says he has “nothing to do” with a group that has distributed flyers with his image to promote a protest against a local council’s use of “Big Brother technology” to create an “open-air prison”.

The No Smart Cities Action Group (Noscag) is encouraging people to show up to a Salisbury council meeting next week to oppose the use of smart city technology, which is used for purposes such as notifying council workers when bins need to be emptied or toilets cleaned.

The Biden administration had resisted sending tanks, which Ukraine says it needs, but the move is seen as likely to push Germany to approve the transfer of its own tanks.

Latest updates: PMQs will be ‘very uncomfortable’ if Zahawi still in post, says David Gauke, as Lord Evans criticises threats of libel action

Good morning. Rishi Sunak is taking PMQs in about three hours and, as he rehearses how to respond to Keir Starmer’s attack lines, one thing he would appreciate is an interruption from an aide saying that the minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office (Nadhim Zahawi) is on the line to offer his resignation. If Zahawi were to quit this morning, PMQs would be a lot easier.

That does not mean it will happen. Sunak has said that he wants Zahawi’s fate to be decided by the ethics adviser’s inquiry, and Zahawi has said that he has done nothing wrong and intends to stay in post. But on the Today programme a few minutes ago David Gauke, the former Tory cabinet minister, said it was “hard to see how this doesn’t ultimately end in [Zahawi’s] resignation”. He also said, if Zahawi was still in post at 12pm, PMQs was going to be “very uncomfortable” for the prime minister.

If you’re trying to close down a legitimate public debate, I don’t think that lives up to the standards Lord Nolan laid down and which the government has committed itself to. Accountability [and] openness are things which the government says that it wants to be characterising its own behaviour, so that I think speaks for itself …

The sort of attempts, apparent legal attempts, to suppress this story … I don’t think that does live up to the sort of standards that the public would rightly expect.

What we now know is that what Nadhim Zahawi was saying in the summer is very hard, if not impossible, to reconcile with the information that he has paid a penalty in respect of his [tax] arrangements …

It appears that he was threatening to sue people for libel for essentially telling the truth, for essentially setting out analysis of what happened that seems to stand up to reality.

Plus: the biggest wins for caretaker managers and non-scoring outfield players

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“Shakira’s epic takedown of her ex, Gerard Piqué, has been a smash hit worldwide (certainly in terms of YouTube views),” writes Rashaad Jorden. “Has any other footballer been the subject of a diss track?”

Diss tracks are another part of modern life that we don’t really understand, but we’ve clicked on enough bait to know that they are increasingly commonplace – and that Piqué isn’t the first footballer to be on the receiving end.

Authorities say 67-year-old killed four and wounded one at a mushroom farm then killed three more at a trucking firm

An agricultural worker in northern California allegedly killed seven people as part of a “workplace violence incident”, the state’s third deadly mass shooting in little more than a week.

Police are questioning 67-year-old Chunli Zhao, who they say shot dead four and wounded one more on Monday afternoon at a mushroom farm where he worked in Half Moon Bay, a coastal community 30 miles south of San Francisco.

January boom means airline expects to beat market expectations for profits this year

EasyJet has lauded a surge in record bookings in January as passengers prioritised travel for the coming year amid signs airlines are finally recovering from the pandemic downturn.

Despite the continuing cost of living crisis in the UK and abroad, the airline said current high levels of demand and strong bookings meant it expected to beat market expectations for its profits this year.

The experimental educator teamed up with television producer Joan Ganz Cooney to create Sesame Street after seeing his daughter interact with a TV

Lloyd Morrisett, the co-creator of Sesame Street, the educational television show watched by millions of children around the world, has died at the age of 93.

Morrisett’s death was first announced on Tuesday by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit he helped to co-found under the name the Children’s Television Workshop. No cause of death was given.

Insurrection: A Work in Progress by Peter Brathwaite will highlight folk traditions as a form of resistance

A leading British opera singer is developing a work based on the music of his enslaved ancestors in Barbados as a way of examining complex historical events and highlighting forms of resistance.

Peter Brathwaite and the Royal Opera House (ROH) will present Insurrection: A Work in Progress to audiences in March, inviting feedback from the public that will shape the opera’s next stages.

Nurse denies murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others at hospital in Chester

A “smiling” nurse offered to take photographs of a baby soon after murdering her on the fourth attempt, a court has heard.

Lucy Letby, 33, is accused of harming the newborn by injecting air into her feeding tube and bloodstream before she died at the Countess of Chester hospital on 23 October 2015.

Thinktank says of advanced economies, only Greece would have lower public and private investment

If the north of England were a country, it would be second bottom of a league table showing levels of investment in advanced economies, according to a report by a leading thinktank.

Only Greece has lower levels of public and private investment in a ranking of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries compiled by researchers at IPPR North, the northern branch of the influential Institute for Public Policy Research.

Alabama crew had ‘safety huddle’ about how to move around the plane and employee who was killed received warning to stay back

A worker at an airport in Alabama who died after being sucked into a jet engine this past New Year’s Eve had been warned repeatedly about the dangers of going near it, federal investigators revealed this week.

The Montgomery regional airport employee, along with other colleagues of the facility’s ground crew, had undergone a “safety huddle” about how to move around the plane at the center of the case 10 minutes before it arrived at the gate on 31 December, and there was another similar briefing just before the aircraft arrived at the gate, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a report Monday.

Nottingham University Hospitals trust faces fine after pleading guilty to two charges of failures of care

The mother of a baby girl who died in hospital 23 minutes after being born has said she was “failed in the most cruel way” by an NHS Trust that has admitted failings in their care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) prosecuted the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust after it admitted that its maternity services had not provided safe care and treatment to mother, Sarah Andrews, and her baby, Wynter Andrews.

Solicitors launch case on behalf of civil servant dismissed after calling for resignation of cabinet secretary

A GCHQ employee who was sacked after publicly calling for the resignation of the UK’s most senior civil servant during the final weeks of Boris Johnson’s government is launching a legal claim under whistleblowing legislation.

The former mandarin of 17 years, known as Stuart, was forced out of his job at the spy centre after using a radio interview with James O’Brien to demand that the cabinet secretary, Simon Case, step down.

Fake cryptocurrency or forex broker websites the most common scam in what has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry

Financial scams have become more sophisticated and easier to perpetrate, ballooning into a billion-dollar industry in Australia, experts have warned.

Last year more than 239,000 scams worth $570m were reported to Scamwatch, but the organisation says the real number is much higher, as only about 13% of scams are reported.

Growing number of offenders on remand in England and Wales not offered support before being freed, prisons inspector says

Potentially dangerous prisoners are spending years on remand before disappearing into the community after their release without being properly monitored, the prisons watchdog has warned.

Charlie Taylor, HM’s chief inspector of prisons, said a restructuring of probation services last year failed to address the growing number of offenders held on remand who are not offered support before being freed.

A 74-year-old Spanish man was detained days after American and European officials said that Russian military intelligence officers might have directed the attacks.

Minister says Northern Territory government responded too slowly and a First Nations body advising parliament would have delivered earlier intervention

The minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, says the Northern Territory government responded too slowly to the spike in crime in Alice Springs, and she’s argued a voice to parliament would have prevented a problem escalating to a crisis.

Burney’s comments follow the announcement on Tuesday of new alcohol restrictions accompanied by more than $50m worth of community support to restore order and safety in Alice Springs. Dorelle Anderson has also been appointed as a central Australian regional controller, and will report on next steps to the prime minister and the NT chief minister, Natasha Fyles, on 1 February.

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Move leaves British Museum and Science Museum isolated as arts institutions with fossil fuel sponsors

Campaigners have hailed a “seismic shift” in arts funding after the Royal Opera House confirmed it had severed its sponsorship relationship with BP after more than three decades.

The oil and gas multinational has been a sponsor of the ROH since 1988, most recently under a five-year deal that began in 2018. However, in a statement on Wednesday the opera house said there had been an “agreement” that the funding would not be renewed.

Amid an escalation in gang violence in small California towns, families have usually been spared. But gangs there are increasingly working with violent Mexican cartels.

New campaign finance filings reported by Daily Beast do not shed light on real source of $600,000 in funding

In a new twist to one of the most bizarre American political scandals in decades, the New York Republican congressman George Santos appeared to admit on Tuesday that more than $600,000 in loans to his campaign did not come from personal funds, as was originally claimed.

But new campaign finance filings first reported by the Daily Beast did not shed light on where the funds actually came from.

Olaf Scholz confirms decision after weeks of pressure, with Berlin providing 14 tanks from military stocks

Germany will supply its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, it announced on Wednesday, overcoming misgivings about sending heavy weaponry that Kyiv sees as crucial to defeat the Russian invasion but Moscow cast as a needless provocation.

Pressure has been building for weeks on Olaf Scholz’s government to send the tanks and allow other Nato allies to do the same before expected spring offensives by both sides that could help turn the tide of the war.

Move seen as retribution against House Democrats who booted Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from their committees

Speaker Kevin McCarthy reiterated Tuesday that he will block Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California from serving on the House committee that oversees national intelligence, saying the decision was not based on political payback but because “integrity matters, and they have failed in that place”.

In the previous Congress, Democrats booted Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committee assignments for incendiary commentary that they said incited potential violence against colleagues.