News Round-Up

Dec 13: Sunak wins Rwanda vote; Asylum seeker dies on Bibby Stockholm; Range Rover EV

Here are the headlines on Wednesday, December 13

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Time 6:44 am, December 13, 2023

Sunak faces new year showdown with Tories over Rwanda policy after Commons win

Rishi Sunak faces a new year showdown over his Rwanda deportation policy after right-wing Conservative MPs said they could vote emergency legislation down if it is not tightened.

The prime minister on Tuesday won a crunch vote on the Safety of Rwanda Bill after spending the day in talks with potential rebels to avoid a defeat on his flagship ‘stop the boats’ pledge.

The efforts to bring people on side worked, with MPs approving the Bill at second reading by 313 votes to 269, giving the UK government a winning majority of 44. But right-wing Tory factions said they reserved the right to vote against the draft law when it returns to the Commons next year if its contents are not strengthened to ensure asylum seekers can be deported to Rwanda before the next election.


UN General Assembly votes to demand humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to demand a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza on Tuesday in a strong demonstration of global support for ending the Israel-Hamas war.

The vote also shows the growing isolation of the United States and Israel.

The vote in the 193-member world body was 153 in favour, 10 against and 23 abstentions. The United States and Israel were joined in opposing the resolution by eight countries — Austria, Czechia, Guatemala, Liberia, Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay.


Cleverly promises investigation after asylum seeker dies on Bibby Stockholm

The death of an asylum seeker on board the Bibby Stockholm barge will be investigated ‘fully’, home secretary James Cleverly has said.

Police were called to reports of the ‘sudden death’ of a man living on the giant vessel, which houses migrants in Portland, Dorset, early on Tuesday morning.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax described the news as a ‘tragedy born of an impossible situation’ and said he had been told by the Home Office the man is thought to have taken his own life. Several other sources told the PA news agency the death is believed to be a suicide.

Stronger Cop28 text stops short of calling for phasing out of fossil fuels

The proposed final agreement from the UN Cop28 Climate Summit in Dubai calls for the world to wean itself off planet-warming fossil fuels, but it stops short of calling for them to be phased out.

More than 100 countries had called for that to be included in the final text after an initial draft was released.

Instead, the text issued on Wednesday calls for ‘transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade’.

Eight million households set to receive £299 cost-of-living payment in February

Around eight million eligible households across the UK will receive a £299 cost-of-living payment in February, the government has announced.

The payment will be made to people on eligible means-tested benefits between February 6 and 22 and is part of a wider support package for households.

It is one of three means-tested cost-of-living payments being made over 2023/24, worth up to £900 in total. The £299 payment in February 2024 will be sent automatically, so eligible people do not need to apply or take any action to receive it.

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UK unprepared for ransomware attack amid lack of government investment – report

The UK is unprepared for a large-scale ransomware attack ‘at any moment’ and could be brought to a standstill unless major changes to planning and preparation are made, a new report says.

Parliament’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) said responsibility for tackling ransomware attacks should be taken off the Home Office – which the report accuses of giving political priority to other issues – and given to the Cabinet Office and overseen directly by the deputy prime minister.

The report said former home secretary Suella Braverman ‘showed no interest’ in the issue and instead focused on issues such as illegal migration and small boats.

Child serial killer Lucy Letby struck off nursing register

Child serial killer Lucy Letby has been stripped of her nursing credentials after a panel ordered she be struck off from the register at a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing.

The 33-year-old was sentenced in August to 14 whole-life orders after being convicted of murdering seven babies and trying to murder six others, with two bids on one victim.

The panel found she was unfit to practise nursing before it went on to make the striking-off order, a move they have heard Letby does not resist, despite maintaining her innocence in respect of her convictions.

Tuesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Hasbro to axe 1,100 jobs as slowdown in toy sales continues

American toymaker Hasbro has announced it is axing around 1,100 jobs, or 20% of its workforce, as a slowdown in sales extends into another major shopping season.

Hasbro, which is nearly 100 years old and based in Rhode Island, said the job cuts are on top of 800 already made in 2023 as part of moves announced last year to save up to 300m US dollars (£239m) annually by 2025.

Like many toy companies, Hasbro is struggling with a slowdown in sales after a surge during pandemic lockdowns when parents were splashing out on toys to keep their children occupied.

Electric Range Rover teased as waiting list opens

Land Rover is currently one of the largest car firms that has yet to sell an EV, but that will change in 2024 with the introduction of the Range Rover Electric.

Officially teased for the first time to coincide with the waiting list for this new SUV opening, the Range Rover Electric is expected to closely resemble conventionally-powered versions but will get a range of unique touches to set it apart.

These include a specific grille that is more ‘closed’ than petrol and diesel Range Rovers, along with a sliding charging flap. Specific wheel designs with an ‘EV’ emblem have also been displayed. Performance is expected to be ‘comparable to a flagship Range Rover V8’, which produces 606bhp, and a range of more than 300 miles is expected.

Weather

A cloudy day for the south-east of England with scattered showers, but it’ll be drier and brighter elsewhere, reports BBC Weather. Temperatures will be around eight degrees in Scotland, which is milder than of later, while temperatures will drop in the south to around nine degrees.

A band of rain will push eastwards across the north and west tonight. Drier and clearer in the east and in other parts.

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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