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News Round-Up

Aug 25: Walkout by senior NHS doctors continues; Trump mugshot released after visit to jail; Two arrested over Crooked House pub fire

Here are the headlines on Friday, August 25

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Time 6:33 am, August 25, 2023

Walkout by senior NHS doctors continues as pay dispute shows no sign of ending

A walkout by senior NHS doctors in England continues on Friday as the government shows no sign of backing down in the bitter row over pay.

The strike by British Medical Association consultants began at 7am on Thursday, with NHS chiefs warning patients would face ‘severe delay’ as a result. Consultants will be operating on a ‘Christmas day cover’ basis – meaning emergency care will still be provided – until 7am on Saturday.

Industrial action by senior doctors shows no sign of slowing down; they have already threatened to strike again for two days from September 19 and announced strikes for October 2, 3 and 4 – during the Tory party conference – if the government continues to refuse talks.


Sunak insists his ‘Stop the Boats’ pledge will cut ‘unacceptable’ asylum bill

Rishi Sunak warned the asylum system is under ‘unsustainable pressure’ after the bill for the taxpayer almost doubled in a year to nearly £4bn.

The prime minister, who has promised to ‘stop the boats’ bringing migrants across the English Channel, said the cost was ‘unacceptable’.

Home Office spending on asylum rose by £1.85bn, from £2.12bn in 2021/22 to £3.97bn in 2022/23. A decade ago, in 2012/13, the total cost to the taxpayer was £500.2m. Government statistics also showed that 80 per cent of asylum seekers are waiting longer than six months for an initial decision.


Trump mugshot released after visit to Atlanta jail

Former president Donald Trump surrendered on Thursday on charges that he illegally schemed to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.

His 20-minute booking created a historic first: a mug shot of a former American president. He was released on a 200,000 dollar bond and headed back to the airport for his return flight home to New Jersey.

Unrepentant but subdued after the brief jail visit, he insisted as he repeatedly has that he ‘did nothing wrong’ and called the case accusing him of subverting election results a ‘travesty of justice’.

US intelligence assessment finds intentionally caused explosion killed Prigozhin

A preliminary US intelligence assessment has found that the plane crash presumed to have killed the leader of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin was intentionally caused by an explosion, according to US and Western officials.

One of the US and Western officials who described the initial assessment said it determined that Prigozhin was ‘very likely’ targeted and that the explosion falls in line with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s ‘long history of trying to silence his critics’.

The officials did not offer any details of what caused the explosion that was believed to have killed Prigozhin and several of his lieutenants to avenge a mutiny that challenged the Russian leader’s authority. Pentagon spokesman General Pat Ryder said press reports that a surface-to-air missile took down the plane were inaccurate. He declined to say whether the US suspected a bomb.

Consumer confidence shows ‘renewed optimism’ against falling core inflation

Consumer confidence is showing ‘renewed optimism’ against a backdrop of falling core inflation, figures suggest.

GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index improved five points in August, with all measures reversing the drop seen in July, although it remains firmly in negative territory at minus 25.

The forecast for personal finances over the coming year increased four points to minus three – 28 points higher than this time last year. Meanwhile, the major purchase index – a measure of confidence in buying big-ticket items rose eight points to minus 24, 14 points higher than this month last year.


More than 460,000 respond to consultation on rail ticket office closures

More than 460,000 people have responded to a consultation on controversial plans to close most railway ticket offices in England, it has been revealed.

The figure was announced by watchdogs London TravelWatch and Transport Focus with a week to go before the consultation ends on Friday September 1, following an extension from July.

London TravelWatch chief executive Michael Roberts said: ‘With more than 460,000 responses received already, it’s clear that there are strong views on the future of ticket offices.’ Over the coming weeks, the two watchdogs will continue to analyse the train operator proposals and consultation responses before they report their decisions on whether to support or object to the plans.

Two men arrested after fire at Crooked House pub

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life after a fire at the Crooked House pub.

A 66-year-old man, from Dudley, and a 33-year-old man, from Milton Keynes, remain in custody and are being questioned by officers while the investigation continues, Staffordshire Police said.

The blaze at the pub in Himley, West Midlands, was reported to the emergency services at 10.45pm on August 5. The burnt-out shell of the landmark pub, famed for its wonky walls and floors due to mining-related subsidence, was demolished without permission within 48 hours of the fire.

Paper straws may not be better for the environment than plastic, study suggests

So-called ‘eco-friendly’ paper drinking straws contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals and may not be better for the environment than plastic versions, researchers have warned.

Long-lasting ‘forever chemicals’, which are potentially harmful to people, wildlife and the environment, were found in 18 out of 20 brands of paper straws, Belgian researchers found.

A growing number of countries, including the UK and Belgium, have banned the sale of single-use plastic products, including drinking straws, and plant-based versions have become popular alternatives.

John Lewis Partnership recruiting more than 10,000 jobs ahead of Christmas

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is recruiting more than 10,000 staff as it starts its preparations for the key Christmas period.

It said it will hire for over 2,900 temporary roles in sales and merchandising positions across its 34 John Lewis stores. In Waitrose meanwhile, the retailer will recruit more than 2,800 seasonal roles across 329 shops, including supermarket assistants, night shift workers and customer delivery drivers.

The group is also recruiting 2,700 festive roles in its supply chain through recruitment agencies, with jobs including warehouse workers and drivers to help the firm fulfil online delivery and click-and-collect orders.

Weather

Showers will fall in most parts of the country today, reports BBC Weather. They will be heaviest in the north and west, possibly thundery, while the south will see more patchy cloud and lighter showers. A cooler day in store with temperatures hovering at around 21 degrees.

Tonight, rain will continue to fall in Scotland while it’ll be a dry night in England, particularly in the south-east.

Looking ahead to the weekend, a mixture of cloud, sunny spells and showers will be most likely with temperatures in the high teens. It’ll get drier on Bank Holiday Monday but temperatures won’t climb above 21 degrees.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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