After a threatened Tory rebellion, house-building targets are being watered down. We also analyse why all is not what it seems with the Sussexes’ latest Netflix trailer, above.
Town halls to be allowed to build fewer homes
In the face of rebellions by backbench Conservatives, Rishi Sunak has climbed down on key elements of his planning reforms. The Prime Minister ditched compulsory house-building targets for local areas after 60 Tory MPs threatened to vote against his flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The new rules will mean that town halls will be allowed to build fewer homes than Whitehall believes are needed if they can show that hitting the targets would significantly change the character of an area. The change came after dozens of Conservative MPs signed an amendment laid by Theresa Villiers and Bob Seely calling on the Government to scrap its target that 300,000 homes should be built each year. In an article for The Telegraph, the pair explain their plan to “revive communities across the country”. We understand that Mr Sunak is also poised to back down on the ban on onshore wind farms, after 34 Tories including Boris Johnson and Liz Truss demanded it be lifted. Discussions are under way on the issue between rebels and Daniel Martin and Christopher Hopereport on one possible compromise.
Meanwhile, the Transport Secretary described new rail strikes as “incredibly disappointing”. Mark Harper accused the RMT of causing “harmful disruption” with a fresh series of walkouts that will take place from Dec 24 through to Dec 27. This is in addition to the strikes that are already due on eight other dates in December and January. These are all the planned walkout dates after unions rejected an 8pc pay increase.
Health exclusive | More than 10,000 patients have been given a faulty knee replacement which doubles the risk of joint failure, we can disclose. The implant has been shown to fail in up to 7pc of patients after 10 years, twice the accepted failure rate set by the National Joint Registry. As Cameron Henderson reports, this can have catastrophic consequences for patients, many of whom are elderly, as undergoing a second knee replacement operation poses a much greater risk.
According to ISNA, an Iranian news agency, 1,200 students at Kharazmi and Ark universities were taken ill with vomiting, severe body aches and hallucinations. Similar illnesses were also reported at at least four other universities.
The Iranian science ministry confirmed that the students were struck by food poisoning, which has led to students protesting by dumping their food onto pavements. Video footage posted online over the weekend showed row upon row of plastic bags containing canteen food placed on the ground outside Ark university.
Guardian | ‘Atmosphere of fear’ governs trans coverage
A former Guardian journalist has accused the newspaper of censoring her views on women’s rights, claiming an “atmosphere of fear” governs its coverage of trans issues.
Hadley Freeman claimed she was barred from interviewing JK Rowling and Martina Navratilova, both of whom have expressed gender-critical views.
Meanwhile, the newspaper ran “glowing profiles of trans activists” such as Munroe Bergdorf, Paris Lees and Freddy McConnell, Freeman said.
She quit The Guardian earlier this year after editors said she could not follow up the The Telegraph’s investigation into Mermaids, a trans charity.
Mud and snow are already setting in on the battlefield in Ukraine, bringing a slowing of the tempo of war, according to the ex-deputy head of the CIA. Avril Haines, the US director of national intelligence, said Ukraine and Russia will probably turn to repair of broken people and equipment and restock depleted ammunition supplies in preparation for spring offensives. Associate editor Dominic Nicholls is not so sure and explains why winter is the time to send in armoured cavalry.
Destroyed Russian tanks covered in snow outside Bucha. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell
Sam Ashworth-Hayes | Musk is proving his doubters wrong
We were told over and over that Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter would be a disaster. Sure, he’d successfully sent people into space, developed the largest satellite constellation, turned Tesla into one of the world’s most successful car companies, founded Neuralink to develop brain-machine interfaces, as well as the research juggernaut OpenAI – but Twitter? A website where people express their views in 280 characters or fewer? That would be a technical and political bridge too far.
Vodafone is under pressure from a billionaire French shareholder to accelerate cost-cutting and asset sales after the ousting of its chief executive. The telecoms giant announced Nick Read’s departure after the firm saw a 50pc slump in its share price since he took charge four years ago. But Xavier Niel, founder of the French operator Iliad and owner of 2.5pc of Vodafone, said that change at the top would not be enough to deliver a turnaround. Christopher Williams says Mr Read departs as an accomplice to one of the UK’s great corporate declines.
Here is a selection of articles we think you’ll be interested in today.
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".
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