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The Telegraph looking at the second week of August 2022

August 08

Big-name charities resume controversial fundraising tactic
Family stumble across cache of firearms while paddling in pond
The Real Windsors: Queen of Steel, review: Her Majesty recast as Logan Roy from Succession
Gurinder Chadha: ‘People get defensive about the British Empire but it’s our shared history’

August 09

Blower's cartoon
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
We knew it had been dry, but Britain has now officially experienced the driest year since 1976. Consumers are being told to reduce their water consumption, but what about suppliers?

Official drought looms in driest year since 1976

In many parts of Britain, it is hard to remember when it last rained and gardens are beginning to resemble dust bowls. Now, it is official: the UK has had the longest stretch without rain for nearly 50 years. Swathes of the country have experienced the driest year since 1976, figures have shown, with hosepipe bans expected to last until October. South east England has had 144 days with little or no rain since January, the most in nearly half a century, according to the Met Office. A second heat health alert of the summer comes into effect from 6pm and extends into the weekend, with temperatures expected to rise into the mid-30s Celsius in central and southern areas. Ministers are poised to declare an official drought this week ahead of a meeting on Friday between representatives from the Government, water companies and farmers. Declaring a drought would put pressure on water companies to bring in hosepipe bans. Millions in the south east are already facing restrictions on water use. Is there a hosepipe ban in your area? Check the rules where you live.

Consumers are being asked to do their bit to reduce consumption, but what about water companies? It has emerged that firms are increasing efforts to find and fix leaks when a drought is looming – prompting accusations they are downgrading leaks and waiting until a crisis to act. Some 2.4 billion litres of water are lost every day to leaks, about 20 per cent of all water use in the UK. As environment editor Emma Gatten reports, both candidates for the Tory leadership have vowed to crack down on the water industry over its record on leaks.

FBI agents raid Donald Trump’s Florida estate

The FBI has raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and broken into his safe in a stunning escalation of the legal scrutiny faced by the former US President. Agents executed a search warrant, authorised by a judge, which appeared to be to do with boxes of documents containing classified information that Mr Trump brought with him to Florida when he left the White House. There was outrage among Republicans, who accused Democrats of “weaponising” the justice system. As Nick Allen and Rozina Sabur report from the US, yesterday’s raid was made public by Mr Trump in a lengthy statement. In a separate development, a new book claims that Mr Trump asked why his generals could not be more like those who served Adolf Hitler.

World hopelessly devoted to Olivia Newton-John

For a time, it seemed as if the whole world was hopelessly devoted to Olivia Newton-John, the British-born star of Grease who died yesterday aged 73 after a long battle with breast cancer. The singer, who moved to Australia as a child, died “peacefully” at her ranch in southern California surrounded by family and friends. Music critic Neil McCormick looks back at a remarkable career for someone who projected such girl-next-door sweetness and general affability. And read her Telegraph obituary.

Today’s other headlines

Cut-price crossings | A Channel migrants “summer sale” is contributing to a rise in crossings with people smugglers cutting prices by as much as 30 per cent or £1,500 per person, it has emerged. Social media adverts, found yesterday by The Telegraph, offer “bargain” prices and crossings on traffickers’ small boats that have “never been cheaper”. Charles Hymas and Dominic Penna report on the “promotions”.

Around the world: British link to Russian weapons

British technology has been found in Russian weapons used against Ukraine, a report has found. Oscillators and crystals produced by Somerset-based Golledge Electronics have been built into Russian radars and missile systems. According to the Royal United Services Institute, the highly sophisticated components show Moscow’s war machine is reliant on Western technology. Follow the latest in our live blog as heavy Russian shelling bombards front lines in the Donbas region

Emergency workers tend to a boy hit by shrapnel during shelling in Soledar yesterday. Residential buildings were damaged as Russian artillery targeted the city in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

Emergency workers tend to a boy hit by shrapnel during shelling in Soledar. Credit: ANADOLU

Comment and analysis

Teenagers jumping into the Dnipro river in Zaporizhzhia

Teenagers jumping into the Dnipro river in Zaporizhzhia Credit: PAUL GROVER FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Once a prime summer holiday destination, hotels are practically empty in Zaporizhzhia

Danielle Sheridan By Danielle Sheridan,
DEFENCE EDITOR, IN ZAPORIZHZHIA
In some parts of Ukraine, life is so normal, it is hard to imagine a war is raging in the country. Unfortunately, this isn’t so in Zaporizhzhia. Before travelling south we stayed in Kyiv, where air raid alarms no longer sound through the air and people are getting on with their lives.

Our Saturday evening in the capital constituted a visit to an art exhibition and dinner in a trendy restaurant among throngs of hipsters gathered for sundowners. In the 30-degree heat it almost felt like being on holiday. In fact, bar the curfew, it was not dissimilar to the Saturday nights I spend in London.

Yet 560km away from the capital in the Zaporizhzhia region, it feels ghostly. In the city itself, once a prime summer holiday destination, hotels are practically empty.

Restaurants close early and the sandy beach along the Dnipro river, which would have been packed with holidaymakers pre-war, is now dotted with vanishingly few sun worshippers. There are, however, those locals who have not fled the city, including teenagers we saw jumping into the water to cool off from the 36-degree heat.

A shelled block of flats in Stepnohirsk

A shelled block of flats in Stepnohirsk Credit: Paul Grover for The Telegraph

Drive a little further into the surrounding villages that are that bit closer to the front line and they are practically devoid of human activity. One block of flats we visited in Stepnohirsk, 15km from Russian-occupied land, had recently been shelled and a man was killed.

In the middle of the block was a children’s park complete with swings, a slide, and all manner of apparatus kids would normally pack onto after school. Except the school just around the corner was shelled four days ago. Children here don’t go to school anymore and there are hardly any of them still in this part of Ukraine.

The unused swings were a poignant reminder that closer to the front line, the war still rages.

The grass is no longer green on London's Blackheath
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
With green spaces turning brown in exceptionally dry weather (such as London’s Blackheath, above), another hosepipe ban is coming. Yet thoughts are turning to winter with dire new price fears.

Today’s essential headlines

Hosepipe bans | Another day, another extreme weather alert. As the Met Office issued a four-day amber warning for heatwave conditions in parts of England and Wales, Thames Water announced it is planning to introduce a hosepipe ban “in the coming weeks” in the face of the long-term forecast. Check on the details of restrictions in your area. The UK is not alone in experiencing water shortages. Our correspondents based around Europe report on the “most serious” drought on record.

New dire energy price cap warning

In the end, it could be even worse than had been feared. Today saw the release of a new forecast for the energy price cap – and it does not make for comfortable reading. Experts predict that the figure will hit more than £4,200 in January. In a new dire outlook for households, Cornwall Insight said bills are set to soar to around £3,582 in October – from £1,971 today – before rising even further in the new year. Ofgem is set to put the price cap at £4,266 for the average household in the three months from the beginning of January. The energy consultancy said this is around £650 more than its previous forecast. Consumer expert Martin Lewis described the latest forecasts as “tragic”, saying they will leave many households “destitute”. It comes as suppliers are being allowed to charge more upfront this winter so that they can quickly recoup the costs of buying energy in advance – a practice known as hedging.

As Britain rushes to wean itself off Russian energy, British Gas owner Centrica today inked a £7billion deal to import liquefied natural gas from the US. The company signed an agreement with Delfin Midstream to buy LNG from America’s first floating export facility off Louisiana. While deliveries are not expected to start until 2026, James Warrington reports that it highlights how suppliers are securing extra imports after Vladimir Putin’s gas cuts sparked fears of energy shortages this winter.

The next PM’s move

There is still almost a month in the race to become Britain’s next Prime Minister, but the first major crisis for Number 10 is already clear. Cataclysmic costs are on the way for households and the Bank of England expects it to force the UK into a recession that lasts for more than a year. Contenders Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are under pressure to announce more plans to help balance the domestic books. But what more could – and what more should – the nation’s next leader do to help prevent an energy catastrophe? From pushing up incomes to slashing green tape, deputy economics editor Tim Wallace examines all the options.

To cap or not to cap

France’s Emmanuel Macron has smothered his country’s cost-of-living problem by capping electricity bills at 4pc by state dictate, while gas prices have been frozen at the October 2021 level until the end of this year under a “tariff shield”. Should the UK go down this road as a short-term emergency measure in order to break the vicious circle of rising prices and wage demands? Jeremy Warner writes in praise of Mr Macron’s policy, while Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues that the last thing we need to fight energy poverty is Soviet price controls.

 

Why FBI raid is a gift for Trump

Having the FBI raid your home is never a good thing, but for Donald Trump it may prove a blessing in disguise. The former US president has not seen such an outpouring of support from senior Republicans in a long time and the incident looked set to light a new political touch paper that could propel him to the party’s nomination in 2024. In his analysis, US editor Nick Allen explains how Mr Trump is now – in the eyes of many Republicans who were shying away from him – the victim of an egregious attempt by Democrats to politicise the justice system.

August 10

Blower cartoon
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
As the Tory leadership hopefuls once more traded blows on economic policy last night, details have emerged of a stealth raid on workers. Read on for how your finances might be affected.

Income tax threshold freeze would dwarf NI cut

As the cost-of-living crisis bites deeper still, there is yet more bad news for household finances. Taxpayers will have to hand over an extra £30 billion a year as soaring inflation drags millions of people into higher income tax bands, according to a leading think tank. Rising prices and Rishi Sunak’s freeze on tax thresholds has left workers facing a stealth raid, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said. The change is down to so-called “fiscal drag”, which pulls people into higher income tax brackets as pay rises. Tax allowances usually rise in line with inflation, but were frozen by the former chancellor until 2026. As economics editor Szu Ping Chan reports, the £30bn in extra income tax is almost four times as much as the Government was originally expected to raise from Mr Sunak’s policy and will wipe out any gains from tax cuts promised by Liz Truss. These are the 10 other hidden taxes that could make you poorer.

Both Tory leadership hopefuls are under mounting pressure to offer more financial support. The pair once more traded blows on economic policy during a feisty hustings in Darlington last night. Mr Sunak vowed to slash business rates this autumn as he warned that Ms Truss’s economic plans would see the Tories get “absolutely hammered” at the next election. Political correspondent Nick Gutteridge examines where the pair stand on key issues. It is not too late to sign up to our own hustings event tomorrow, hosted by associate editor Camilla Tominey.

Unisex lavatories | Schools that only offer “gender neutral” lavatories are acting unlawfully, Suella Braverman has said, as she uses a major speech to set out the Government’s legal advice on transgender pupils. The Attorney General warns today that teachers who allow their students to “socially transition” to the opposite gender without their parents’ consent could be in breach of their duty of care to the child and open themselves up to a negligence claim. Read her article for us.

Missile strike on Russian base

Explosions rocked a Russian air base in Crimea, killing at least one person, in what appeared to be an unprecedented Ukrainian attack. If confirmed, the strike would represent a dramatic escalation in the five-month conflict. Nataliya Vasilyeva says it fuels speculation Ukraine’s armed forces carried out the bombardment with long-range heavy weapons donated by the United States. The latest is in our live blog.

Smoke rises as people relax on the beach at Saky in Crimea.

Smoke rises as people relax on the beach at Saky in Crimea. Credit: UGC/AP

Tankers sent in as village runs out of water

An Oxfordshire village is the first place in Britain to run out of water in the heatwave, forcing residents to rely on deliveries. Thames Water had to send water tankers and hand out bottles. The company has announced a hosepipe ban for 15 million people across its area, which includes London, in the “coming weeks”. It came as the former head of Natural England said that water firms have sold off reservoirs that could have helped ease drought to housing developers. And, four decades on, the same questions are being asked as during the heatwave of 1976. Daniel Capurro looks back at how The Telegraph covered that summer.

Transport vessels cruise past the partially dried riverbed of the Rhine river in Bingen, Germany CREDIT: WOLFGANG RATTAY/REUTERS
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
Energy bosses are being summoned for crisis talks with ministers over soaring prices – as a key route for transporting coal, oil and gas in Germany is close to running dry, pictured above.

Today’s essential headlines

Heatwave | After the first place in Britain ran out of water, Germany’s Rhine river is close to running dry – in a devastating blow for the transport of goods. A key point along the waterway west of Frankfurt will become impassable for barges carrying coal, oil and gas later this week. Louis Ashworth explains how extreme heat is impacting other European rivers. With another hosepipe ban coming into force on Friday (check your area here), these are eight easy ways to save water.

The big story: Ministers to ‘knock heads together’

Soaring energy bills will almost certainly be the new prime minister’s biggest headache – and were today described as “a national crisis” on the scale of the Covid pandemic by consumer expert Martin Lewis. Now energy bosses are being summoned for crisis talks. Discussions to “knock some heads together” will take place between gas and electricity company bosses and ministers tomorrow after the price cap was forecast to hit more than £4,200 in January. Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will ask executives to submit a breakdown of profits and payouts. Seeking to downplay concerns over energy blackouts this winter, Education Secretary James Cleverly insisted that Mr Zahawi and Mr Kwarteng are “calling in the leaders of those big energy companies to knock some heads together and basically hold them to account about what they’re going to do with those profits”. Mr Zahawi said that the Treasury has been preparing “options” for the next prime minister. This is how the cost-of-living crisis could be eased – but Jeremy Warner fears that neither candidate can save us from crisis.

Meanwhile, support is growing for the Don’t Pay UK movement – a campaign that calls on the Government to scrap energy price rises or face one million people cancelling their direct debits. But Derek Lickorish, chairman of energy firm Utilita, insisted that energy firms “will not be in a position to subsidise the bills” and called for a social tariff to help the poorest households. Read more on how Ofgem, the energy regulator, warns that customers who refuse to pay will push up all bills.

Truss faces Red Wall voters

With questions over the cost-of-living crisis no doubt ringing in her ears, Liz Truss is facing questions from Red Wall voters. Follow the Tory leadership favourite’s answers in our live blog with Dominic Penna – which will then cover rival Rishi Sunak’s grilling from Nick Robinson, the Today programme presenter, on the BBC at 7pm. Their appearances come ahead of tomorrow’s sixth leadership hustings, organised by The Telegraph and hosted by our associate editor Camilla Tominey.

Around the world: Special forces ‘behind daring raid’

Ukrainian special forces were behind the daring attack on a Russian airbase 125 miles into occupied Crimea, according to a Kyiv official. A US source said the assault is believed to have been carried out without a weapon via Washington. Our live blog has the latest after at least 12 explosions killed one person and damaged Russian aircraft. In his analysis, James Kilner says that Vladimir Putin will be rattled.

Germany raises tax thresholds

Pressures on household finances are not unique to Britain, but some other countries in Europe are taking very different approaches. As British workers brace for a £30bn stealth tax raid spurred by price increases, Germany is preparing €10bn (£8.5bn) of relief for families battling the rising cost of living. Finance minister Christian Lindner said the country would raise income tax thresholds while millions of UK taxpayers are dragged into higher bands. Read more of his thoughts.

Polio vaccine offered to under-9s in London

All children between one and nine years old in London are to be offered a polio booster vaccine in the next four weeks, health officials have said.

Polio has been spotted in eight north London boroughs, with evidence the virus is spreading in the UK for the first time in 40 years.

August 11

By Chris Evans,
EDITOR

Dear Reader,

In a bid to allay energy supply concerns, ministers are drawing up contingency plans that would ration power for British households. ‘Load-shedding’ is common in the developing world, but Helen Cahill explains how the spectre of electricity blackouts is now hanging over the UK.

There is growing speculation that Ukraine is responsible for a deadly string of explosions on a Russian air base in Crimea. Moscow denies that any such attack took place, yet new satellite images tell a different story – and appear to show considerably worse destruction than the Kremlin is prepared to admit.

If you are planning a trip to Europe next year, brace yourself for a raft of new post-Brexit rules. From fingerprinting and biometric data to forms and fees, Nick Trend explains how travel to EU countries will feel very different from 2023.

It may not be the first approach you think of, but giving your garden a spruce-up can be the quickest and cheapest way to add value to your home. Anna Tyzack reveals the simple and inexpensive revamps that can reap an impressive payoff.

Going on holiday with both your children and your parents can create memories that last a lifetime, but is it worth the stress of keeping the whole family entertained? Glenda Cooper, who went to America with her mother and two daughters, describes the trials and unforeseen joys of a multi-generational getaway.

It does not seem unreasonable to expect clothes of the same size to fit us in the same way, but – frustratingly – that is often not the case. Melissa Twigg investigates the confusing world of measurements in fashion and why shopping may soon become easier.

Chris

The developing world blackouts on their way to BritainBritain is threatened with South African-style ‘load shedding’ as electricity rationing looms.

A fire burning on Rushmore Heath, Ipswich, yesterday. Credit: Sky Cam East/PA
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
With temperatures set to reach 36C this weekend, homes face an “unprecedented” danger from destructive blazes – as dry weather combines with strong winds. We have full details of the fire risk areas.
 

‘Exceptional risk’ of wildfires this weekend

One spark is enough to cause destruction. That is the warning as wildfires threaten to sweep across parts of the country this weekend, after ministers were warned of an “unprecedented” risk to homes and the countryside. Fire chiefs told government officials during an emergency meeting yesterday that destructive blazes were likely to spread into residential areas in the coming days – fuelled by dry conditions and a strong easterly wind. The Met Office has raised the Fire Severity Index, which assesses how easily a blaze could spread, to the highest, “exceptional” level for an area of southern England that stretches from Nottingham to Sussex and as far west as Abergavenny this Sunday. As temperatures are expected to reach 36C (97F), see a map of the forecast and fire risk areas. Police are planning to step up patrols for activity that could spark a blaze in high-risk areas as the Government prepares to announce an official drought in the south as soon as tomorrow. Liz Perkins and environment editor Emma Gatten report on the “firestarter patrols” on a mission to protect the countryside.

The Oxfordshire village of Northend became the first place in Britain to run out of water earlier this week, with residents resorting to using bottled water for everything from filling troughs to washing themselves. Levels at their nearest reservoir dropped so low that taps are running dry and toilets will not flush. Helen Chandler-Wilde visited the village to learn how households are coping without running water.

Sunak ‘dug heels in’ to halt Brexit reforms

After 24 hours of bitter briefing wars in the Tory leadership race, two Cabinet ministers claim today that Rishi Sunak resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape. Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, who both back Liz Truss, say Mr Sunak “dug his heels in as chancellor” on reforms that were only possible after the UK left the EU. The pair make the allegation in an article for The Telegraph in which they name two specific incidents. The escalation in the war of words between the two camps comes as the candidates prepare for tonight’s sixth leadership hustings, organised by The Telegraph and hosted by our associate editor Camilla Tominey.

Pardon my French if this upsets you…

It is the latest front in the culture wars. French history and culture has been given a trigger warning in a university module as they “may be upsetting to some students”. Professors at Aberdeen University have said that grappling with aspects of France should be done “sensitively”. University documents state that the trigger warning is included in a course guide for a module called Qualify French Language. Craig Simpson explains the topics on the syllabus.

Chopper's Politics
By Dominic Penna,
POLITICAL REPORTER
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak tonight face questions from associate editor Camilla Tominey – plus an audience of more than 1,800 – at our official Conservative leadership hustings in Cheltenham.

It could hardly come at a more heated time in the race for Downing Street after 24 hours of brutal blue-on-blue briefings.

Mr Sunak’s campaign accused Ms Truss of a “serious moral misjudgment” over cost-of-living support, while two of the Foreign Secretary’s leading supporters claimed Mr Sunak had resisted attempts to cut Brexit red tape.

It all begs the question of how the eventual victor will unite a party that has spent more than a month airing its dirty laundry in public.

Already fractured by splits on Covid, tax and Boris Johnson, the Conservatives have rarely seemed more divided than they do now.

Andrew Stephenson, the Tory Party co-chairman, tells me the contest “has rightfully seen robust debate”.

“This isn’t some garden party, this leadership election will decide who our next prime minister is,” he says, but adds that members are ready to “unite behind a new leader” after September 5.

Indeed, voters would struggle to forgive a prime minister who allowed the internal psychodrama to continue once in office – or failed to take some form of immediate action to help the British public.

Since Mr Johnson’s resignation, the in-tray facing his successor now looks much worse than first thought.

Energy bills threaten to top £5,000, while rolling winter blackouts loom and Vladimir Putin’s devastating war on Ukraine continues.

Against this bleak backdrop, who gets the keys to Downing Street could scarcely matter and it is now clear the two competing candidates’ offers are worlds apart.

Ms Truss, a free marketeer, has promised immediate tax cuts in an attempt to avoid a recession. Little wonder then she has emerged as the grassroots favourite and polling suggests she is on the way to No 10.

Mr Sunak would focus on “temporary and targeted” support throughout the winter and insists difficult choices are needed, with controlling inflation his top priority.

With Britain now at a fork in the road, the choice currently being made by 160,000 party members will put the country on one of two very different paths.

You can watch tonight’s proceedings live on the Telegraph’s YouTube channel, and join in the debate with live updates on our excellent politics live blog.

Until next time,

Dominic

A Palestinian clown carries a child during a show amid the rubble of a building destroyed in the latest round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian clown carries a child during a show amid the rubble of a building destroyed in the latest round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Credit: SAID KHATIB/AFP

Inside the bloodstained Gaza tower block ripped apart by an Israeli airstrike

James Rothwell By James Rothwell,
GAZA CITY, STATE OF PALESTINE
This week I have been reporting from Gaza with my brilliant Palestinian colleague, Siham Shamalakh, on the aftermath of a three-day round of fighting with Israel which began last Friday.

It is hard to imagine that, just a few days ago, these same people were hiding in terror from incoming Israeli airstrikes – while hundreds of outgoing rockets from Palestinian militants were also being fired at Israeli towns across the border. (Some of those rockets also appear to have misfired and landed inside the Gaza Strip, causing civilian casualties.)

More than 40 Palestinians were killed in this round of fighting, including 15 children according to the Hamas-run Gaza ministry of health.

On the Israeli side, there were no deaths or serious casualties, thanks mainly to the Iron Dome missile defence system. Many Israelis, however, did spend tense days and nights hiding in bomb shelters.

How did the bloodshed begin? As always with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s complicated. The trouble arguably kicked off in earnest last week, when Israeli forces arrested a senior member of the Islamic Jihad militant group in the West Bank.

Islamic Jihad was angered by this and, according to Israel, was poised to launch an attack on Israeli towns, prompting the Israelis to launch a pre-emptive strike. (A spokesman for Islamic Jihad denied this when we interviewed them yesterday.)

This came in the form of an airstrike launched by Israel last Friday on an apartment block in Gaza City. The target: Tayseer al-Jabari, an Islamic Jihad leader. Siham and I entered what remains of this building two days ago, and you can read our grim account of what we saw here.

We listened to Palestinian residents talk about what they saw and heard that afternoon, while they collected their belongings from the gutted tower. We also visited Shifa Hospital, where we interviewed a father-of-four who had suffered serious shrapnel wounds to his legs.

During our work I had a strange sense of déja vu, as just one year and three months ago we were in that same hospital, reporting on the fallout from the May 2021 round of fighting. That was a far deadlier conflict for both sides, killing some 260 Palestinians and 15 Israelis.

This time around, Hamas – the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip – did not join the fray, though it expressed solidarity with Islamic Jihad. They are understood to have done this on pragmatic grounds, as if they had joined in, the conflict would have been far longer and bloodier.

It remains to be seen whether Hamas will also sit out any future exchange of fire, should the ceasefire be broken – which, one suspects, is an almost unavoidable scenario.

Alcohol

There are concerns that new laws banning the sale of cheap alcohol could reduce tax returns Credit: PA

Ireland’s cheap booze ban is sparking UK tax fears

James Crisp By James Crisp,
EUROPE EDITOR
One of the eternal Brexit debates is whether size matters and by how much.

Brexiteers believe a nimble UK shorn of its ties to the EU can be speedier and smarter than rivals in the bloc and gain a competitive advantage.

Remainers insist that a small, independent UK will never have the heft or influence of a massive trading bloc like the EU.

Brexiteers say the UK can gain a first mover advantage by regulating emerging technologies and setting what will become global standards.

This is laughed off by supporters of the European Project, who point to the global influence that Brussels exerts thanks to its rule-drafting machine and 460 million-strong Single Market.

Resistance or submission to the EU’s regulatory tractor beam after Brexit is sure to be a cornerstone of British political debate for years to come.

There are signs of that in the tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is a magnifying glass to any divergences between London and Brussels because it requires the country to follow some EU rules, while the rest of the UK does not have to.

In Ireland, which is far more used to being neighbours with a larger power than Britain, there are concerns that new laws banning the sale of cheap alcohol could reduce tax returns.

A finance department paper warned shoppers in the Republic could simply travel north, stock up on cheaper booze and head home, the Irish Independent reported today.

Since Brexit, there is duty-free shopping between the UK and Ireland but with limits on quantities.

But with no real enforcement on the Irish land border, there is nothing to stop low-level smuggling to the extent that it could hurt tax revenues.

The “invisibility” of the Irish border is guaranteed by the Protocol, which moves customs checks on UK goods and animals entering Northern Ireland to the Irish Sea.

This is seen by both Dublin and, at least in public, London as vital to protect the Good Friday Agreement.

Ireland also views the Protocol as a vital safeguard to its place in the EU’s Single Market, which is a cornerstone of its economy.

The treaty was meant in part to ensure there was no need to introduce border checks between Ireland and other EU member states, which would reduce the benefits of membership.

Alcohol tax revenue is small beer compared to the Single Market or an imperilled peace process.

But it is the kind of consideration Dublin is long accustomed to when setting its own laws.

And it is similar to the choices and dilemmas the UK government might soon find itself habitually facing in relation to the EU.

Britain is rescuing France with energy exports – and it’s making trade threats feel increasingly hollow

Olivia Utley By Olivia Utley,
ASSISTANT COMMENT EDITOR
If Protocol negotiations between Britain and the EU turn nasty later this year, conventional wisdom has it that Britain would be the loser. A new development, however, could put paid to that notion.

Since 2017, Britain has relied on electricity imports from the continent to help top up our own grid, particularly during still and grey periods when neither solar nor wind power are generating much energy.

But in the last few months that balance of power has shifted. This summer, France has had its lowest nuclear output for more than 10 years, with half of the country’s reactors offline for refuelling and maintenance purposes.

These prolonged closures have coincided precisely with European energy ministers agreeing an EU-wide plan to cut gas consumption in case of a complete shut-off of Russian supplies – leaving France in a precarious position.

Even Emmanuel Macron – who has previously been bullish about his country’s readiness for the European energy crunch – has now made a dramatic about-turn, warning in a recent speech that businesses, households, and government agencies will need to start cutting down on energy consumption.

Luckily for both him and the French people, Britain is here to help. Liquified natural gas (LNG) imports to the UK from the US and Qatar have increased recently, leaving us in a position to ride to the rescue of our European neighbours. This summer, in fact, our power grid has become a net exporter of energy for the first time in five years.

Brussels will likely continue to mutter darkly about a trade war with Britain if no satisfactory compromise on the Protocol is reached. But with France now heavily dependent on Britain for energy, those threats feel increasingly hollow.

Tinderbox Britain | A regional drought in southern England is expected to be announced tomorrow, The Telegraph understands. The official status means the Environment Agency will more closely monitor water companies’ plans to protect supply and add to pressure for hosepipe bans. It came after warnings of an “exceptional” wildfires risk amid an amber heat warning. With highs of 36C forecast this weekend, these are six ways high temperatures can affect your health – and this is what Britons can learn from their continental cousins about keeping cool.

With the cost-of-living crisis one of the key leadership battlegrounds, a grim new forecast today predicted that average household energy bills will soar to more than £5,000 a year next April. Ministers held crisis talks with utility bosses this morning to discuss how to help ease the pressure. But the meeting failed to produce any immediate concrete help for struggling consumers, with Boris Johnson acknowledging any “significant fiscal decisions” would be a matter for his successor. Instead, the Prime Minister urged the companies to act “in the national interest”.

Find also to read: Shall skyrocketing energy prices bring down consumption

European oil demand

Meanwhile, experts warned that oil giants including Saudi Arabia will be boosted by a rise in European oil demand as Vladimir Putin shuts off the continent’s gas taps. World oil consumption is set to jump by 2.1m barrels a day this year as factories and power generators try to dodge rocketing gas prices, the International Energy Agency said. It warned the rise in oil demand would emerge against a backdrop of tighter supply, with Russia cutting down on production as the EU prepares sanctions on its oil. Experts said Russian oil production will drop by a fifth in the early months of next year. Louis Ashworth explains the likely ramifications.

‘Micro-charges’ on the rise

Free products and services have rarely been so valuable in keeping household budgets under control, yet they are disappearing quickly. Anaya Suresh, a 24-year-old from London, was shocked to find she and her family were denied tap water at a restaurant this summer. “We had to pay £4 instead,” she said. “But it came out in jugs and was clearly from the taps.” It is an example of a rising number of “micro-charges” that have proliferated since the pandemic. Martyn James, a consumer rights campaigner, lifts the lid on other areas where consumers are expected to pay more for services that come at no extra cost to businesses.

‘Explosions’ at Belarus airbase

Unexplained explosions were heard early today at a military airbase in Belarus that Russia has been using as one of the launchpads for its invasion of Ukraine. Locals reported seeing at least eight flashes in the sky and feeling a powerful blast wave. The Zyabrouka base reportedly hosts large numbers of Russian tanks and long-range artillery. Overnight, new satellite images revealed the extensive damage to another Russian base in Crimea after it was targeted in an attack suspected to have been carried out by Ukraine. Follow our live coverage.

Law and order | Police failure to tackle thieves and burglars threatens their “bond of trust” with the public, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary says today. In an article for The Telegraph, Andy Cooke says most victims of such crimes are being denied justice because of officers’ failure to do the basics in investigations. As home affairs editor Charles Hymas reports, Mr Cooke says police are “setting themselves up to fail” from the point of taking a 999 call to finalising a case.

August 12

Drought declared across half of England

Low water levels at Holme Styes reservoir in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire Credit: PA

More than half of England’s Environment Agency areas are to be moved into drought status, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Eight of 14 areas in England will be declared in drought status.

Drought conditions might last until next year

As water levels in reservoirs across England and Wales dropped to record lows, experts have predicted that drought conditions could last into next year. An official drought is expected to be declared across the worst-hit areas of southern England today during a meeting between ministers and the water industry, after the region had its driest July since 1836. The announcement could bring more hosepipe bans and also orders for canals to close to boats. Search by postcode to see restrictions in your area. Daniel Capurro reports how drivers have been warned not to pull on to verges because of the risk of starting a fire.

Chopper's Politics
By Dominic Penna,
POLITICAL REPORTER
Last night’s biggest and best Conservative leadership hustings to date, hosted by The Telegraph, saw Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss face a grilling from Camilla Tominey and our readers in front of some 1,800 people at the world-famous Cheltenham Racecourse.

For a contest now regularly going over old ground (who knew Ms Truss was a Liberal Democrat?), the scale of what we learnt last night was a testament to Camilla’s excellent hosting.

There’s a reason why Ms Truss is the front-runner and she was in comfortable form, with a wisecrack for every occasion but also some powerful warnings about declinism and “failing” Treasury orthodoxy.

It was also the strongest showing to date of the Foreign Secretary’s true blue credentials, as she insisted profit was not a “dirty word” and suggested that the windfall tax – introduced by her rival during his time at the Treasury – was a “Labour idea all about bashing business”.

There was no way that Mr Sunak was going to take those criticisms lying down.

Arguably the main takeaway from last night was the sheer willingness of the former chancellor, against whom the odds are stacked, to fight right up until the end.

He doubled down on his record at 11 Downing Street and seemed unfussed as he revealed Boris Johnson now refused to return his calls.

Asked if his Winchester background gave him opportunities that others lacked, Mr Sunak snapped back: “I am not going to apologise for what my parents did for me. You must be joking.”

While polls suggest he currently trails Ms Truss by more than 30 points, he was unequivocal – he is not stepping aside.

Sunak asserted: “We are only halfway through this thing. I am going to fight until the last day with everything I have got because I am fighting for what I believe in.”

That may just be wishful thinking. Speculation suggests that more than half of members have now voted. And campaigners are privately dismayed by his rival’s high-profile endorsements and momentum.

But as we see all the time at Cheltenham Racecourse, those who lead during the early furlongs are not always the first to cross the line.

The smart money is still on Ms Truss, who is a good few lengths ahead.

With Mr Sunak finally appearing to gather pace, and an online Telegraph poll suggesting he was last night’s best-in-show, there is nonetheless plenty of life left in this two-horse race.

Until next time,

Dominic

Our writers’ verdicts on who came out top in hustings

Last night’s Tory leadership hustings run by The Telegraph drew the biggest audience of the contest so far, as Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss faced a forensic examination. The final two candidates were grilled on pivotal topics, from the cost-of-living crisis to water shortages, that will shape party members’ decisions – and Britain’s future. With time running out for the pair to change the dynamics of the race, Janet Daley, Tim Stanley, Ross Clark and Patrick O’Flynn deliver their verdicts on who came out on top. Ms Truss is the frontrunner after leading in Tory member polls, but Mr Sunak secured more support from readers in a live online vote during the hustings. In her sketch, Madeline Grant says the increasingly bitter race for No 10 felt more like a two-horse race. And associate editor Camilla Tominey, who hosted the event at Cheltenham Racecourse, reveals how the rivals interacted behind the scenes.

During the event, Ms Truss rejected calls to increase the windfall tax on energy companies to fund handouts for households, saying profit was not a “dirty word”. The Foreign Secretary said she was “absolutely” against such taxes and argued it was a policy approach that would be taken by the Labour Party. Mr Sunak, the former chancellor, accused Ms Truss of irresponsibility over her willingness to borrow more to pay for tax cuts and said he would prioritise helping pensioners and low earners. He also revealed that Boris Johnson is refusing to answer or return calls from him a month after he resigned from the Cabinet. Topic by topic, read how the rival candidates faced scrutiny of their plans for leadership.

Salman Rushdie attacked on stage in New York

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, has been attacked as he was about to give a lecture in New York.
Salman Rushdie is treated on stage
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
There is a major breaking news story in the US, where Salman Rushdie – the Satanic Verses author – has been stabbed on stage. His condition was unclear as I sent this email. Follow the latest here.

Following years of death threats, the author Salman Rushdie was today attacked on stage by a knifeman. The 75-year-old suffered what police believe was a stab wound to the neck after a man stormed the event in New York at about 11am local time (4pm BST). The novelist was flown to hospital, but his condition was unclear as I was sending this email. He was taken away on a stretcher with a drip in his arm and blood covering his torso, hands and face. Our US correspondent Josie Ensor has the latest developments. The Indian-born British writer’s earlier work led to death threats and a fatwa from the Iranian regime. His most well-known book, The Satanic Verses, has been banned in Iran since 1988.

Supermarket rations water as drought declared

Huge parts of Britain are being officially declared in drought. More than half of England is to be moved into drought status following the driest summer in 50 years, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said. It will impact eight out of 14 areas in England – and at least two more areas are expected to move into drought later in August. Amid fears of supplies drying up, a supermarket has imposed a limit on customers buying multi-packs of bottled water. See the signs at the branch of Aldi. The new drought declarations are expected to trigger hosepipe bans by Thames and South West Water and could see further restrictions elsewhere. Search by postcode to check on the situation where you live. And, as environment editor Emma Gatten reports, it could also see canals closed to boats and extra rules brought in to protect wildlife – with measures potentially lasting into next year.

Scorching temperatures are to continue, with a Met Office amber warning for extreme heat in place for parts of central and southern England and Wales until midnight on Sunday, with temperatures as high as 36C on Saturday and Sunday before returning to the low 30s by Monday. With a survey finding that around two-thirds of people struggle to sleep during hot conditions, you might be in need of advice for a more comfortable night. We have eight tips from sleep experts.

Tory leadership | The next prime minister will give households “extra cash” to take the sting out of the cost-of-living crisis when energy bills go up in October and January, Boris Johnson has said. The outgoing premier’s comments come after the Tory leadership hopefuls – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – last night clashed over their economic policies at a hustings hosted by associate editor Camilla Tominey. Here, Telegraph readers deliver their verdicts on the candidates’ performance.

Other essential headlines

Same energy, different bills | EDF energy customers in this country are paying almost two and a half times as much as their counterparts in France after Emmanuel Macron imposed strict price caps. EDF customers in Britain have had their bills capped at £1,971 by energy regulator Ofgem, while French customers on regulated tariffs face bills of around £803. Helen Cahill explains how the French government has ensured the state-owned supplier can maintain low prices for consumers. Meanwhile, households with smart meters could be moved to prepayment plans without consent if they refuse to pay their bills.

Russia’s ‘worst loss since WW2’

Russia appeared to suffer its biggest loss of aircraft in a single day since the Second World War, as fresh analysis of the explosive strike at an air base in occupied Crimea contradicted Moscow’s claim that no jets had been destroyed. Military analysts said a review of new satellite images revealed the full extent of damage. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told officials to stop talking to reporters about Kyiv’s military tactics against Russia. The latest is in our live blog.

Satellite imagery shows the destroyed Russian aircraft at Saky air base after explosions

August 13

Drought looms, inflation is soaring and the energy crisis continues to intensify. We bring you a deeper understanding of the issues at play this week with our hand-picked articles, below.

August 14

Rishi Sunak says Iran should be sanctioned over the stabbing of Salman Rushdie as the suspected attacker, Hadi Matar, appeared in court on Saturday. Rushdie is off a ventilator and talking.

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

3 thoughts on “The Telegraph looking at the second week of August 2022

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