News Round-Up

Jan 4: Junior doctors called back to work; Epstein documents published; Audi Q8 e-tron Dakar

Here are the headlines on Thursday, January 4

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Time 6:47 am, January 4, 2024

A number of hospitals call on junior doctors to return to work

A number of hospitals have called on striking junior doctors to return to work due to patient safety concerns, during the longest walkout in NHS history.

Services across England are facing ‘significant demand’ on the first day of a six-day walkout by junior doctors, health leaders have said.

Two hospitals have declared critical incidents while others reported significant waits in A&E departments – with one hospital saying patients may need to wait ‘up to 11 hours’. A number of hospitals have submitted so-called derogation requests, calling on doctors to return to work.


Motorist killed by falling tree as homes evacuated after Storm Henk flooding

A motorist has been killed by a falling tree as 90mph winds battered the Isle of Wight, and homes were evacuated, after Storm Henk brought flooding and disruption.

Gloucestershire Constabulary said a man in his 50s died while driving near Kemble, and more than 200 flood warnings remained in place on Wednesday, with severe flooding at holiday parks near Tenby, south-west Wales, and Northampton.

The storm brought gusts of 94mph at Needles on the Isle of Wight while Exeter Airport saw winds of 81mph, and a family was left ‘exposed to the elements’ more than 400ft in the air when strong winds ‘ripped the hatch’ off their London Eye pod.


Starmer urges voters to reject ‘populism and cynicism’ ahead of next election

Sir Keir Starmer will urge voters to reject ‘pointless populist gestures’ as he kicks off the likely election year with a speech seeking to draw dividing lines with Rishi Sunak’s Conservative party.

In a visit to the West of England, the Labour leader will claim the Tories have ‘no practical achievements to point towards’ after nearly 14 years in government.

With 2024 expected to be the year the prime minister calls the next general election, Rishi Sunak will also take to the road on Wednesday, with a rival new year stump speech planned in the East Midlands.

Watchdog to scrutinise Sunak’s claim the asylum backlog has been ‘cleared’

Rishi Sunak’s claim that ministers have ‘cleared’ the asylum backlog is being investigated by the official statistics watchdog after allegations from opponents that it is a ‘barefaced lie’.

The UK Statistics Authority said it was looking into the announcement as more than 4,500 ‘legacy’ cases remained outstanding despite ministers claiming they had succeeded.

In a major pledge, the prime minister promised to clear the backlog of the 92,000 cases of people who had claimed asylum before July last year but were still awaiting an initial decision.

UK sends investigation team to Japan after fatal Tokyo runway crash

Four UK-based inspectors are being sent to Japan after a large passenger plane and a coastguard aircraft collided on a runway and burst into flames, killing five people.

The accident happened on Tuesday evening when Japan Airlines flight 516 landed at at Tokyo’s Haneda airport as the coastguard plane – a Bombardier Dash-8 – was preparing to take off.

All 379 passengers and crew on board the bigger aircraft were evacuated, but five of the six crew on the coastguard plane died.

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Epstein ready to reward victim’s friends to prove Hawking orgy claims were false

Paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein was ready to reward one of his victim’s friends if they could ‘prove her allegations false’ – including that Professor Stephen Hawking participated in an underage orgy, court documents have revealed.

The names of more than 170 people who were either associates, friends or victims of Epstein are set to be made public following a US judge’s order last month.

The first tranche of documents was released on Wednesday evening with high-profile figures such as the Duke of York and former US president Bill Clinton featuring heavily.

Captain Tom spa pool demolition: Deadline for High Court challenge passes

The family of Captain Sir Tom Moore must demolish an unauthorised spa pool block at their home, as the deadline for them to mount a High Court challenge has passed without a claim being made.

Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband, Colin, lost an appeal against an order to remove the Captain Tom Foundation Building in the grounds of the property in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, after a hearing in October.

Inspector Diane Fleming ruled in November that the spa block must be demolished within three months, by February 7. The family had six weeks in which the appeal decision could be challenged in the High Court.

Wednesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Changes to food labelling to encourage buying British

Consumers may soon see a change in food labelling that would say when imported goods do not meet UK welfare standards, with the Government discussing with retailers a ‘buy British button’ on supermarket websites.

Environment secretary Steve Barclay will announce plans at the Oxford Farming Conference on Thursday, which also include consistent labelling for food that is produced to the highest standards. He wants to give more information to shoppers at the point of purchase, with the plans including a consultation on proposals to make food labelling clearer, such as highlighting when imported products do not meet UK welfare standards.

Barclay will also speak with major online retailers about ways of helping customers to understand where their food comes from, including the option of a ‘buy British button’ on websites.

Aldi and Lidl join Sainsbury’s and Tesco as festive winners

German discounters Aldi and Lidl notched up their highest ever market shares over the Christmas season, while Sainsbury’s and Tesco outshone their traditional supermarket rivals, according to figures.

Kantar data showed that Sainsbury’s reached its highest market share for three years, at 15.8% in the 12 weeks to December 24, up from 15.5% a year earlier as it saw sales jump 9.3%. Its larger rival Tesco increased its market share to 27.6%, up from 27.5% a year ago, as sales lifted 7.5%.

Aldi and Lidl were again the fastest growing of the supermarkets, with sales up 9.9% and 13.8% respectively.

The Audi Q8 e-tron Dakar Edition is an off-road electric SUV

Audi has unveiled a new special edition of its electric Q8 e-tron SUV that draws on the firm’s off-road motorsport expertise.

Known as the Q8 e-tron Dakar Edition, it is being introduced to coincide with the launch of its third season in the legendary Dakar Rally.

It has a lifted chassis raised by 67mm, and the arches have been widened to allow larger wheels and tyres to be fitted. The Dakar Edition will have a ‘limited’ production run, though has not yet confirmed if it will be sold in the UK. In Germany, it’s priced from €120,000 (£104,000).

Weather

Dry and bright in central parts, reports BBC Weather, but the south will see heavy showers sweep in later and there will be cloud and showers in the north. Winds will begin to ease; temperatures will be between eight and 10 degrees.

Heavy rain will continue in the south and south-east tonight. Scotland will see a few drops of rain, too, but it won’t be as heavy. Drier elsewhere with patchy cloud.

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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