US doubles gas exports to wean UK off Putin’s supply
As a big freeze sets in, Rishi Sunak is unveiling a new partnership designed to wean Britain off Russian gas. The US is to double gas exports to the UK, it will be announced today, as the country faces the first major test of its energy resilience in the wake of the Ukraine conflict. With temperatures set to plunge below freezing, the PM said it would boost energy security, efficiency and affordability, will cut prices and ensure the UK’s national supply can “never again be manipulated by the whims of a failing regime”. The National Grid narrowly avoided enacting its blackout plan last month, but a chilly winter will present a greater threat of shortages. Daniel Martin and Tom Haynes report that the energy partnership with the US will see at least nine to 10 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas exported to UK terminals over the next year.
It comes as Britain enters a cold snap with temperatures expected to drop to as low as -8 Celsius. The weather front, dubbed the “Troll from Trondheim” as it makes its way from Norway, is expected to lead to daily heating costs of more than £10 on average. With many people simply unable to afford to crank up the heating further, Sarah Rainey suggests nine alternative ways to keep warm this winter.
Lynch turns the screw on rail bosses
The rail nightmare before, during and after Christmas has worsened. After the RMT union announced a fresh bout of strikes, it has emerged that almost one in three trains face cancellation on non-strike days over Christmas – as trade unions exploit the rail industry’s dependency on staff volunteering to work overtime. Rail chiefs are assessing the impact of an overtime ban imposed by the union on workers at train operators. Up to 30pc of train services are expected to be cancelled on non-strike days between December 19 and January 3 if workers stick to their hours. Talks between train operators and the RMT restarted today after the union not only refused to call off industrial action – but announced three additional days of strikes over Christmas. Chief business correspondent Oliver Gill reports on the services that are expected to be worst hit. It came as RMT boss Mick Lynch admitted that strike action over the Christmas period will cause “real damage” to ordinary people.
Ambulance unlikely if you fall in strike, elderly told
In a fresh round of coordinated strike action, tens of thousands of ambulance workers across the country will walk out on December 21 in a dispute over pay. Around 25,000 NHS workers belonging to three unions – the GMB, Unison and Unite – will walk out at 10 of the 11 ambulance trusts across England and Wales. At some trusts, strike action will take place for 24 hours. It will be the biggest ambulance strike for 30 years. The unions stopped short of staging a walk out on December 20 to coincide with the Royal College of Nursing’s industrial action. But, as Lizzie Roberts reports, the announcement of coordinated NHS strikes will increase pressure on an already overstretched emergency system.
In its response, Downing Street told the RMT to take its latest pay offer “seriously” as it labelled the announcement of new rail strikes “incredibly disappointing”. Number 10 said the latest pay offer is “generous and fair”, adding that “the RMT risk driving away more people from the railways at a time when passengers and businesses should be taking advantage of this festive period”. Read the full comments in the Telegraph’s politics live blog.
World news: El Salvador troops seal off city
El Salvador’s increasingly dictatorial leader has sent heavily-armed soldiers and police to surround an entire city in the latest chapter of his offensive against warring street gangs. Wielding machine guns and wearing body armour, helmets and balaclavas, 8,500 troops and 1,500 elite police officers laid siege to Soyapango, which is a satellite city on the edge of San Salvador with 300,000 residents. As Simeon Tegel reports, the area has long been notorious as a no-go area for law enforcement.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been called “incredibly brave” for addressing racial injustice, as the couple received a human rights award at a gala in New York. Kerry Kennedy, president of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation, said she was “proud” to be honouring Harry and Meghan at the event last night for their “heroic” stance against the “structural racism” of the Monarchy. It comes before the launch of the couple’s tell-all Netflix show. The Royal family back in Britain face an era-defining dilemma: who will have the last word? Royal editor Hannah Furness examines how the King is likely to respond.
Revenge porn case | A star of reality TV waived her anonymity in a court case in which her former boyfriend is accused of secretly filming them having sex in his garden. Georgia Harrison, 27, who appeared in the ITV series Love Island, told a court that her right to be unnamed had “realistically disappeared” after the footage was uploaded to an adult website – claiming she was entitled to “some form of compensation”.
Ukraine war | Orban blocks EU plan to raise £15bn for Kyiv
On Tuesday, Hungary blocked £15.5 billion in European Union aid to Ukraine in a bid to force Brussels to release frozen EU funds to Budapest.The European Commission last week said it would not pay £11.5 billion in EU funds and coronavirus recovery money to Hungary due to concerns over corruption, the erosion of democratic standards and a crackdown on gay and trans rights.“Hungary considers it a dangerous precedent that the payment of EU funds to Hungary is linked to other, completely unrelated issues,” said Mihály Varga, the country’s finance minister.
Democrats have secured an outright majority in the US Senate with Raphael Warnock’s victory in Georgia, in a major gain for Joe Biden’s party. Mr Warnock – the incumbent senator and a pastor at Martin Luther King’s former church – defeated Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate backed by Donald Trump, in a runoff election. It came as Mr Trump’s family business was found guilty of tax fraud, dealing a blow to the former US president before his 2024 White House run.
US Senator Raphael Warnock celebrates his Georgia runoff win. Credit: Reuters
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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