News Round-Up

Nov 8: UK favours Gaza ‘humanitarian pause’; Laughing gas banned; Merc CLE prices

Here are the headlines on Wednesday, November 8

Time 6:31 am, November 8, 2023

Foreign secretary says government favours ‘humanitarian pause’ over ceasefire

The foreign secretary has said the government supports a ‘humanitarian pause’ in the Gaza Strip above a wider ceasefire as police give the go-ahead for a demonstration calling for a ceasefire to take place on Armistice Day.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Minister talks in Japan, the Associated Press reports James Cleverly told a select group of journalists that a ceasefire would hamper Israel’s ability to defend itself.

He said: ‘We have seen and heard absolutely nothing that makes us believe that Hamas leadership is serious about (a) ceasefire.’


Ex-head of civil service who ‘clashed with Dominic Cummings’ to face inquiry

The former head of the civil service who departed government amid reported clashes with Dominic Cummings will face the Covid-19 inquiry.

Former cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill will appear on Wednesday after explosive claims surrounding his time in office resurfaced during the evidence of other key figures. The former diplomat was running the civil service when the pandemic struck but resigned in September 2020.

Last week, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser Cummings told the inquiry that Lord Sedwill losing his job ‘set off a kind of bomb across the whole system’.


15-year-old boy dies after stabbing near West Yorkshire school

A 15-year-old boy has died after a stabbing near a school in Leeds.

The teenager was attacked on St Margaret’s Avenue in the Horsforth area of Leeds, according to the head of a nearby school.

West Yorkshire Police said officers were called to the scene just before 3pm on Tuesday to reports of an assault. The force said a teenage boy has been arrested over the incident.

Labour frontbencher resigns over party stance on Gaza

A Labour frontbencher has resigned over Sir Keir Starmer’s position on the crisis in the Middle East, adding to pressure on the Labour leader over his stance on conflict.

Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, said he was quitting his role as shadow minister for the new deal for working people to be able to ‘strongly advocate’ for a ceasefire.

In a letter to Sir Keir, he said he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the Labour leader’s interview on LBC in which he appeared to suggest that the Israeli government had a right to withhold water and power from citizens in Gaza.

Israeli ground forces ‘battling Hamas in the depths of Gaza City’

The Israeli army has said its forces are battling Hamas fighters inside Gaza’s largest city, signalling a major new stage a month into a war that has claimed thousands of lives and levelled large areas of the territory.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is likely to maintain control of security in Gaza once Hamas is defeated.

The move into Gaza City risks a further escalation in casualties, while Netanyahu’s comments pointed to the uncertainty surrounding the end game of a war that Israel says will go on for some time until it destroys Hamas rule.


Ban on ‘dangerous’ laughing gas comes into force

Possession of laughing gas with the intent of getting high has been made illegal, with repeat offenders facing up to two years in jail.

Dealers who peddle nitrous oxide – nicknamed ‘hippy crack’ – could face up to 14 years behind bars.

The ban, promised as part of the government’s anti-social behaviour action plan, makes nitrous oxide a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This means possession of nitrous oxide, where a person intends to wrongfully inhale it for a psychoactive effect, is now an offence.

Boris Johnson wanted to be injected with Covid to show ‘it didn’t pose a threat’

Boris Johnson considered injecting himself with Covid-19 on TV to show it did not pose a threat – but later said he would rather ‘let the bodies pile high’ than impose a second national lockdown, a senior aide told the inquiry into the pandemic.

There were also further details of the ‘toxic’ culture at No 10, with the inquiry shown messages from Simon Case describing people working there as ‘mad’ and ‘poisonous’ as he prepared to become cabinet secretary.

The disclosures came as Lord Edward Udny-Lister became the latest top official to appear before Lady Hallett’s inquiry this week.

Tuesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Food banks see tens of thousands of first-time users as parcels hit record high

Food banks have given out a record 1.5m emergency parcels in a six-month period, including for tens of thousands of first-time users, in statistics described as ‘extremely alarming’.

The Trussell Trust charity’s UK-wide network of food banks said 65% of all the parcels dispatched between April and September this year were for families with children.

The situation means a ‘generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a food bank in every community’, according to the organisation’s chief executive Emma Revie.

Real incomes ‘will not return to pre-Covid levels until 2026 for many families’

The real incomes of the poorest half of UK families will not get back to their pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2026, new analysis has suggested.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said it thinks interest rates have peaked and that wages will rise by just over 7% in 2023 and 2024.

The NIESR said the real incomes of families in the bottom half of the income distribution will be around 5% lower in the 2024 financial year compared with the year ending March 2020.

Barbie, ‘Beast Lab’ and digital pet set to be top-selling toys for Christmas

Barbie, a ‘Beast Lab’ and an interactive digital pet are predicted to be among the top-selling toys this Christmas as the industry prepares to take an expected £1bn from shoppers over the festive season.

The Toy Retailers Association has unveiled its annual DreamToys top 20, with old favourites Harry Potter, Lego Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and L.O.L Surprise! still claiming spots in the list.

The toys range in price from an £8.99 Squishmallows 7.5in plush toy to the £149.99 Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle and Grounds, while other pricey options include the Beast Lab and MINTiD Dog-E, both £89.99, and the £94.99 Hot Wheels City Ultimate Hauler.

New Mercedes CLE Coupe to start from £46,605

The new Mercedes CLE Coupe has gone on sale in the UK, with prices starting from £46,605.

Blending together features from the C-Class and E-Class, the new CLE Coupe will be available with a range of engines from launch including four- and six-cylinder petrol alongside a four-cylinder diesel, while a plug-in hybrid will be added ‘at a later date’, according to Mercedes.

All versions get plenty of standard equipment, however, with highlights including an 11.9-inch central display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. It all runs the third generation of the Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, too, which adds greater functionality and improved voice control features. Plus, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be accessed wirelessly.

Weather

Rain and wind for much of the UK today, but it’ll quickly blow eastwards leaving sunny spells in its wake, reports BBC Weather. Rain will linger in north-western and south-eastern areas, though.

Clear spells for most areas tonight, although western areas will be blustery with showers.

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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