News Round-Up

Feb 7: Sunak in hot water over Rwanda wager; HS2 ‘poor value for money’; New 5 Series Touring

Here are the headlines on Wednesday, February 7

Time 6:47 am, February 7, 2024

Sunak admits he is ‘not a betting person’ amid criticism over Rwanda wager

Rishi Sunak said he was taken by surprise when he appeared to accept a £1,000 bet over the success of the government’s Rwanda asylum scheme.

The prime minister has been criticised over the ‘depraved’ wager with broadcaster Piers Morgan. Sunak denied the wager was a mistake but admitted he had been caught off guard when Morgan shook hands with him on the bet.

The TalkTV presenter offered Sunak a £1,000 charity bet that ministers would not be able to send asylum seekers to Rwanda by the time of the election. The PM faced questions about making the bet on a whim on such a controversial subject at a time when many households are struggling to make ends meet.

William to carry out first engagement since King’s diagnosis and Kate’s surgery

The Prince of Wales will carry out his first official engagement since his father, the King, was diagnosed with cancer and his wife, the Princess of Wales, underwent surgery.

William, 41, will perform an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle after temporarily stepping back from his royal role three weeks ago to juggle caring for his wife and their children following Kate’s operation.

It is understood he is likely to undertake some duties on behalf of his father while Charles undergoes treatment, in addition to his own diary of engagements.

Hunt continues for suspect Abdul Ezedi a week after Clapham chemical attack

Suspect Abdul Ezedi remains at large a week after a chemical attack which injured a woman and her two young daughters.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have been searching for Ezedi since last Wednesday after a woman and her two daughters, aged eight and three, were injured in the attack in Clapham, south London. The 31-year-old mother may lose the sight in her right eye after being doused with corrosive liquid, police said.

Police have offered a £20,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the 35-year-old’s arrest after they released more CCTV of him as they piece together his movements.

HS2 offers very poor value for money, MPs warn

Building HS2 between London and Birmingham but not extending the line to Manchester will be ‘very poor value for money’, MPs said.

There are ‘many uncertainties’ in the government’s assessment that it was better to complete Phase 1 of the project than cancel the whole high-speed railway programme, according to the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The committee said it is ‘highly sceptical’ that the Department for Transport (DfT) will be able to attract the private investment needed for the planned London terminus at Euston.

The report raises questions about the ramifications of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to cancel HS2’s northern section in October last year amid spiralling costs. These include how land and property no longer needed will be disposed of, impacts on other rail projects dependent on the cancelled phases, what will be delivered with the money saved, and how HS2 trains will operate on existing lines.

Investigators say bolts on Boeing jet missing before panel blew out mid flight

Bolts that helped secure a panel to the frame of a Boeing 737 Max 9 were missing before the panel blew off the Alaska Airlines plane last month, according to accident investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a preliminary report on the January 5 incident on Tuesday.

The investigators said that the lack of certain damage around the panel indicates that all four bolts were missing before the plane took off from Portland, Oregon.

Meta to label images on Facebook and Instagram which were created by AI

Meta is to begin labelling images posted to Facebook, Instagram and Threads that it detects have been created using AI, the company has announced.

The social media giant said it was currently building the capability and will roll it out across its social platforms in the ‘coming months’ and ahead of a number of major global elections this year.

Meta already places a label on images created using its own AI, but said its new capability will enable it to label images created by AI from Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Adobe, Midjourney and Shutterstock as part of an industry-wide effort to use ‘best practice’ and place ‘invisible markers’ onto images and their metadata to help identify them as AI-generated.

Tuesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

BMW’s new 5 Series Touring arrives with electric variant for the first time

BMW has unveiled its new 5 Series Touring while introducing an electric version of the firm’s spacious estate.

It’s slightly larger than the car it replaces, too, with much of that extra space put into rear-seat legroom – though it still features a 570-litre boot which is 10 litres larger than the one on the older 5 Series Touring. It can be expanded up to 1,700 litres with the rear seats lowered, too. This boot capacity is the same regardless of the powertrain selected, although the car loses its trademark split-section glass hatch due to aerodynamic improvements.

The new 5 Series Touring will be available as an electric version – badged i5 Touring – initially, with a ‘regular’ i5 eDrive40 Touring delivering up to 348 miles of range from its 81.2kWh battery. A more powerful electric version and a plug-in hybrid will arrive later.


A dry and bright day for most of the UK, reports BBC Weather. A few snow showers will drift into northern Scotland while the south-west will see rain. Much chillier than of late with highs of nine degrees.

The rain in the south-west will move northwards tonight enveloping much of the country. Temperatures will plummet to minus two in Scotland while in Wales, the Midlands and south of England it’ll be between two and six 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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