Take five: A news summary for anxious times
Another week on the Tory carousel of chaos got you in a spin? Fear not. These are the stories you need to know…
This week’s news summary is free, but if you appreciate these round-ups and would like to read more from The Flock, please do subscribe, share and support the work that goes into them when you can…
I’d love to say I’m coming to you this morning bringing clarity, but I’ll get my disclaimer in early – there’s a distinct possibility that between me hitting send and you reading to the end of this sentence, something else utterly inexplicable will have happened in Britain. Boris back in Downing Street? Grant Shapps declared a credible contender? These are strange times people. Anything is possible.
Nonetheless, it’s Friday, and outside the merry-go-round of SW1A, the cost of living crisis, war in Europe and unrest in Iran continue. As such, and as ever, this weekly summary will aims to bring you up to date on the news stories that matter to women and marginalised communities, hidden behind the kamikaze cabinet headlines.
Let’s give it a go…
1. Boris Johnson considering run as Truss resignation leaves Parliament in chaos
Allies of Boris Johnson last night touted his potential return to Downing Street after the resignation of Liz Truss plunged the Tory party into disarray.
The Prime Minister said yesterday that she would step down in a week following the expedited selection of a new leader, having admitted she could no longer effectively command the confidence of her party.
The decision to resign after 44 chaotic days in office makes Truss the shortest serving Prime Minister in British history.
Opposition parties have now called for an urgent general election, with Kier Starmer tweeting that “the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos.”
Read more here
2. Braverman quietly pushes through anti-protest powers for UK
New powers added to the Public Order Bill before its passing this week could allow officials to place injunctions on people considered “likely” to protest.
A last-minute amendment introduced by Suella Braverman on Tuesday would allow officials to crack down on protests that could cause ‘serious disruption’ – a measure previously rejected as “draconian” by the House of Lords.
Braverman said action was needed in the wake of a series of high profile climate protests which she blamed on the “Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati”.
On Thursday, she was forced to quit as Home Secretary after seemingly breaching rules on ministerial email security.
3. Russian war has pushed 4m children into poverty says UNICEF
An estimated 4million children have been pushed into poverty as a result of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, a new UNICEF study has suggested.
The United Nations Children's Fund said new research, carried out across 22 countries, shows children are bearing the brunt of economic sanctions and displacement.
"Unicef is sounding the alarm on the consequences of this war and is calling on governments to provide extremely strong support for social protection," Adeline Hazan, president of UNICEF France, told AFP.
This week, Russia declared martial law in four illegally annexed Ukrainian regions, leading to the displacement of tens of thousands more civilians.
4. Inflation back to 40-year high in UK as 1 in 7 skip meals to save
UK inflation rose 10.1% last month, matching the 40-year high reached in July, according to new ONS estimates.
Increasing grocery, transport and energy costs were named as the biggest contributing factors, with food up 14.6% year-on-year.
It comes as a new poll of 10,000 people by the TUC reveals one in seven Brits has started skipping meals in a bid to cut their household spending.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “No one should have to worry about putting food on the table or heating their homes. But millions of families are struggling to cover even the basics.
“Unless we get pay rising across the economy – and ensure benefits rise in line with inflation - we risk heading towards Victorian levels of poverty.”
5. Trump questioned under oath over historic rape allegation
Donald Trump was this week forced to answer questions under oath in a lawsuit brought against him by an American columnist who says he raped her.
E Jean Carroll alleges the attack took place in the dressing room of a New York department store in the mid-1990s.
Mr Trump previously denied the claim and said Ms Carroll was lying to sell books, prompting her to sue him for defamation.
A civil trial in the case is due to begin in February – one of a number of lawsuits and investigations the former President is facing.
Read more here
The good news
1. MPs approve buffer zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales
MPs this week voted in favour of introducing buffer zones around abortion clinics in England and Wales.
The measure would protect patients from harassment and make intimidation within the zones a criminal offence.
Clare Murphy, Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), said she was delighted, adding: “Every year, around 100,000 women are treated by a clinic or hospital for an abortion that is targeted by anti-abortion protests, causing women significant distress. Today’s vote will bring an end to this activity.”
Read more here
2. World’s female foreign ministers join forces to back Iranian women
Canada yesterday hosted a virtual meeting of 15 female foreign ministers from across the globe, aimed at raising collective support for the women of Iran.
The show of strength and solidarity came amid continuing protests following the death of Mahsa Amini in custody earlier this month.
Canada’s foreign minister, Melanie Joly, said attendees wanted to communicate that they would “continue to stand by the courageous Iranians who are fighting for their human rights and standing up for their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters,” adding: “Women’s rights are human rights.”
Read more here
3. New test can more accurately predict cervical cancer cases, say researchers
A new test that can more accurately predict the risk of cervical cancer has been hailed as a breakthrough by researchers.
Scientists at the University of Innsbruck and University College London say the new screening method can also pick up DNA markers for breast, womb, and ovarian cancers.
It’s hoped the discovery could soon lead to more accurate early detection programmes and better outcomes for women diagnosed with cancer.
Read more here
4. Legendary Glasgow club will harness body heat to generate power
A nightclub in Glasgow has unveiled a new sustainable power system that will harness and store body heat to generate energy.
The Bodyheat system, first trialled during COP26, will now provide the SWG3 venue with carbon-free climate control, saving an estimated 70 tonnes of CO2 a year.
“Bodyheat is a crazy dream born from being in lots of hot clubs, working in geothermal energy, and bringing the two together,” inventor David Townsend says. “This dream is now a functioning, complex energy system that hopefully can inspire lots of other businesses and venues to reach net zero.”
Read more here
5. Sri Lankan author picks up Booker Prize for supernatural civil war satire
Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka this week called for peace in his country after being awarded the 2022 Booker Prize.
Karunatilaka won the prestigious prize for his second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida – a supernatural satire which explores the impact of civil war.
Accepting his prize, Karunatilaka said: “My hope is that, in the not too distant future, Sri Lanka has understood that these ideas of corruption and race-baiting and cronyism have not worked and will never work.
“I hope it's in print in 10 years... and that Seven Moons will be in the fantasy section of the bookshop, next to the dragons, the unicorns and will not be mistaken for realism or political satire.”
Read more here
The best of the rest
1. Liz Truss left as she arrived, weirdly disconnected from reality
It might be an exaggeration to say she appeared to find the whole thing a hoot, but she certainly smiled a lot.
2. Lizzo Is Here to Talk About All of It – That Flute, That Lyric, Her Man, and More
The Emmy- and Grammy-winning superstar flautist gives Vanity Fair insight into her art, and the nuances of positivity.
3. Half the World Has a Clitoris. Why Don’t Doctors Study It?
The organ is “completely ignored by pretty much everyone,” medical experts say, and that omission can be devastating to women’s sexual health.
4. Suella Braverman v the tofu-eating ‘wokerati’ — whose side are you on?
The former home secretary blamed the recent oil protests on a bean curd-loving ‘coalition of chaos’. You could be part of it — take my test to find out, says Ben Machell
5. What to Know About the Iranian Climber Who Competed Without a Hijab
Elnaz Rakabi has returned to Iran, but many fear for her safety…
I’m not sure I want to ask - but how are you feeling about this past week? Perhaps there’s relief in sharing with company?!
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