News Round-Up

Feb 19: Mobile phones ‘banned’ in schools; MPs to debate Navalny death; Oppenheimer victorious

Here are the headlines on Monday, February 19

Time 6:53 am, February 19, 2024

Teachers get new guidance as ministers ‘ban’ mobile phones in schools

Ministers have moved ahead with a pledge to ban mobile phones in schools, publishing guidance the Department for Education said would ensure consistency in classrooms across England.

In England, it is currently up to individual heads to decide their own policies on mobile phones and whether they should be banned.

The guidance, which is non-statutory, instructs headteachers on how to ban the use of phones not only during lessons but during break and lunch periods as well. It also suggests that staff could search pupils and their bags for mobile phones if necessary, noting that “headteachers can and should identify mobile phones and similar devices as something that may be searched for in their school behaviour policy”.

Navalny death likely to be discussed in Commons as MPs return

The death of Alexei Navalny is expected to be discussed by MPs later, as Commons returns after recess.

The government is currently weighing up its response to the death of the jailed opposition leader, as Western capitals heaped blame on Vladimir Putin.

Foreign aecretary Lord Cameron has already signalled that there could be fresh sanctions against Russia officials, amid questions for the Russian authorities over how exactly Navalny died.

Foreign secretary Lord Cameron due to arrive in Falkland Islands

Foreign secretary Lord David Cameron will arrive in the Falkland Islands on Monday in a high-profile demonstration that they are a ‘valued part of the British family’ amid Argentinian calls for negotiations on their future.

Lord Cameron’s visit will be the first by a foreign secretary since 1994 and he stressed that the archipelago’s sovereignty is ‘not… up for discussion’ while the islanders wish to be British.

Argentinian president Javier Milei, who met Lord Cameron last month, has called for the South Atlantic islands to be handed over to Buenos Aires.

Minister rejects claim Post Office compensation stalled ahead of election

Ministers are facing questions after the former Post Office chairman claimed he was told by a senior civil servant to ‘stall’ spending on compensation to subpostmasters ahead of the next general election.

The government has firmly denied the claim by Henry Staunton, who left his role last month after business secretary Kemi Badenoch said there was a need for ‘new leadership’. Labour said they were ‘incredibly serious allegations’ and warned against any ‘further insult’ to victims.

UK-registered cargo ship ‘under attack’ near Yemen – reports

A UK-registered cargo ship has come under attack off the coast of Yemen, according to reports.

The UK’s Maritime Trade Operations said it had received a report of an incident 35 nautical miles south of Al Mukha in Yemen. It said: ‘Authorities are investigating.’

The report gave no further details but Sky News, citing private security firm Ambrey, said that the ship was a UK-registered vessel and had come ‘under attack’ in the Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Netanyahu vows to ‘finish the job’ in Gaza as Ramadan deadline for Rafah mooted

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has brushed off growing calls to halt the military offensive in Gaza, vowing to ‘finish the job’ as a colleague threatened to invade the southern city of Rafah if remaining Israeli hostages are not freed by Ramadan.

Israel’s government has not publicly discussed a timeline for a ground offensive on Rafah, where more than half the enclave’s 2.3m Palestinians have sought refuge, but retired general Benny Gantz, part of Mr Netanyahu’s three-member war cabinet, represents an influential voice.

‘If by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue to the Rafah area,’ Gantz told a conference of Jewish American leaders. Ramadan, expected to begin on March 10, is historically a tense time in the region.

Weekend Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

US vows to veto Gaza ceasefire resolution at next UN Security Council vote

The US has announced it will veto a call for Israel to lay down arms against the people of Palestine in an upcoming vote at the UN Security Council.

The vote, tabled by Algeria and backed by 22 Arab nations, demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and is expected to take place on Tuesday.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement that Washington has been working on a hostage deal for months that would bring at least a six-week period of calm to the region, ‘from which we could then take the time and the steps to build a more enduring peace’.

Oppenheimer sweeps Baftas as Cillian Murphy and Christopher Nolan win top gongs

Oppenheimer has swept the Baftas, where it was was named best film and won best director, best actor and best supporting actor.

Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic about J Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist described as the father of the atomic bomb, scored seven awards at the ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

The British filmmaker won his first Baftas following previous nominations for Inception and Dunkirk – and joked that his brother Jonathan, the co-creator of TV series Westworld, ‘beat him up here’ by being in a chorus of a production 40 years ago.


Showery rain will push south-eastwards across most of the UK today, reports BBC Weather, leaving bright and dry spells in its wake. Rain will arrive in the north-west later. Highs of 14 degrees.

Fell spells of rain tonight in the north. Drier in the south with variable cloud and just the odd shower possible.

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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