News Round-Up

Feb 15: PM to lead Ukraine Cobra meeting; Kremlin ready for more talks; Petrol prices hit record high

  • Here are the headlines on Tuesday, February 15

Time 6:54 am, February 15, 2022

PM to lead Cobra meeting as hope remains for diplomatic solution in Ukraine

The prime minister will lead a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee on Tuesday as he maintained there is still time for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

As efforts continued to avert a war in eastern Europe, Boris Johnson and US president Joe Biden stressed there remains ‘a crucial window for democracy’.

In a call on Monday evening, the two leaders agreed western allies should stay ‘united in the face of Russian threats’, and will keep in close contact as the situation develops, according to a No 10 spokesperson.

Kremlin ready for more talks with West over Ukraine tensions

The Kremlin has signalled that it is ready to keep talking with the West about security grievances that led to the Ukraine crisis, offering hope that Russia might not invade its beleaguered neighbour within days, as the US and Europe increasingly fear.

But questions remain about Russian president Vladimir Putin’s intentions, and countries around Europe are evacuating diplomats and on alert for possible imminent war amid the worst East-West tensions since the Cold War.

On a last-ditch diplomatic trip, Germany’s chancellor said there are ‘no sensible reasons’ for the build-up of more than 130,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders to the north, south and east, and urged more dialogue.

Northern Ireland’s remaining Covid-19 restrictions to be lifted

All remaining Covid-19 legal restrictions in Northern Ireland are to be lifted and replaced by guidance.

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann confirmed on Monday that all legal restrictions in the region would be replaced by guidance from February 15.

Under current Covid-19 regulations, people are still required to wear face coverings in public places and Covid certificates are needed for nightclubs.

UK petrol prices hit record high of 148p per litre

Average UK petrol prices have surpassed 148p for the first time, according to new figures.

The AA said that petrol jumped to 148.02p per litre on Sunday, rising above the previous record high of 147.72p from November 21 last year.

Meanwhile, the cost of diesel has also increased to a new record high of 151.57p per litre, which it struck last week. On Thursday, it passed the previous record set on November 20 of 151.10p a litre.

Welsh government announces measures to help with cost-of-living crisis

People in Wales are to get extra help in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, with politicians in the devolved nation saying they are going ‘above and beyond’ as they criticised the chancellor whose offer they said ‘fell short’ of what was needed.

Wales’ minister for finance and local government, Rebecca Evans, said the government is ‘more than doubling the equivalent support provided by the UK government’ for those most in need, as it aims to ensure ‘no-one is left behind’.

The Welsh government has announced what it described as a package of expanded measures to help people amid rising prices, including a £150 cost-of-living payment to be paid as soon as possible and an extra £200 for low-income households through the winter fuel payment next winter.

Monday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

2022 Women’s World Car of the Year category winners announced

The 2022 Women’s World Car of the Year category winners have been announced, with jurors now set to select the overall winner from these contenders.

Models including the Peugeot 308, Kia Sportage, BMW iX and Audi e-tron GT took category wins. The overall winner will be announced on International Women’s Day on March 8.

Now in its 12th year, WWCOTY features 56 journalists from 40 countries across five continents. For the 2022 awards, 65 vehicles were whittled down to just six, with each going on sale between January 1 and December 31, 2021.

NatWest and RBS name 32 branches to close in England and Wales

Banking giant NatWest is to close 32 branches, including several RBS sites, as customers switch increasingly to using online services.

The bank said the sites, overwhelmingly in England, would close but did not say when. NatWest said 21 of the closures would be NatWest branches, and 11 of them RBS, while most staff will be moved to other branches, but 12 jobs will be at risk.

The list includes the Royal Bank of Scotland branch in NatWest’s headquarters in Bishopsgate, in the heart of the City of London.

JD Sports and Footasylum fined almost £5m over breaching merger rules

JD Sports and Footasylum have been fined a combined £4.7m over breaching rules stopping the firms working too closely amid their proposed merger last year.

The UK competition regulator announced on Monday morning that the two sportswear retailers – which saw their proposed £90m merger deal blocked in November – exchanged ‘commercially sensitive information’ and failed to report this to the watchdog.

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The CMA also said there was a ‘black hole’ related to meetings between the businesses, saying they had ‘deleted’ some records of the meetings before these could be given to the regulator. Bosses at JD Sports admitted to ‘inadvertently’ receiving the sensitive information and failing to report it, but struck back at claims it deleted records.

Weather outlook

A wet morning for southern and eastern areas, however it’ll turn dry and bright later on, reports BBC Weather. Cloudy for Northern Ireland; wintry showers in northern Scotland.

Tonight, dry and clear to start with but clouds and rain will move in from the west later. Wintry showers in northern Scotland; dry in the south of the UK.

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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