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The Telegraph Frontpage for Thursday 2022 December 15

Blower cartoon
Danny Boyle By Danny Boyle
For the first time, picket lines are being set up in a national strike by nurses in a pay dispute. Also today, the Bank of England is expected to announce another rise in interest rates.

Longer walkouts ‘with greater risks to patients’ likely

As nurses begin their first ever national strike today, there are fears of worse yet to come. Hospital leaders are warning that staff are set to embark on longer, more damaging strikes in January that could affect end-of-life care. The threat comes as tens of thousands of nurses are taking part in action by the Royal College of Nursing, despite fears it could cost lives. Even after last-ditch pleas from NHS leaders, cancer patients will not be spared, with thousands of operations and appointments postponed. The 12-hour strikes by nurses, starting today at 8am and continuing on Tuesday, will involve 44 NHS trusts in England – about one in four trusts. Health editor Laura Donnelly explains how a numbers game behind the scenes ensures strike activists hold sway.

It comes as the country grinds to a halt as a result of rail strikes – with traffic chaos compounded by icy weather – and the third of six days of industrial action by Royal Mail workers, delaying thousands of cards and gifts. More train strikes are almost guaranteed to ruin the rest of Christmas and return to work in the New Year as warring bosses and union leaders enter a “cooling off period”. Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, will today be warned by ministers and rail chiefs that they will not back down in the response to his union’s hardline tactics. Oliver Gill reports on what is likely to be discussed at a meeting between Mr Lynch and Huw Merriman, the rail minister, at 5pm today. And chief city commentator Ben Marlow explains why he thinks, for the first time in this bitter confrontation, the Government has the upper hand.

Melting ice raises Chinese threat – defence chief

Melting ice caps will enable China’s military to “reach into the Atlantic”, the Chief of the Defence Staff has warned. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin urged the Government and defence industry to consider what the effects of climate change would have on the security of the nation. Danielle Sheridan explains why the High North region becoming more accessible because of melting ice caps has been of growing military concern. Sir Tony’s address came as it emerged the Chinese consul general and five other Chinese officials wanted for questioning over a clash with protesters in Manchester are fleeing the country or have left.

> China’s military forces will start to reach into the Atlantic?”

As the former first sea lord, Sir Tony previously warned that, as the transit time between Europe and Asia inevitably shortens, so too can the West expect to see China sailing its “growing navy” through the shorter route.
Sir Tony said that while China was not a threat in “the same vein as Russia or Iran or North Korea”, it was a “tacit supporter of Russia”, and he warned that it was a nation that determines advantage from a substantial increase in its nuclear arsenal, its missile inventory, and its army, navy and air force.

The real price of Harry and Meghan’s LA dream

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex live in Montecito, the most exclusive area of California. When they fell in love with the nine-bedroom, 16-bathroom estate (price tag a reported $14.6m), they did “everything they could” to buy it. One of those things was a reported $100m deal with Netflix, the first fruits of which, Harry & Meghan, launched last week and continues with three more episodes today. Now their story has been sold, Kate Wills examines if the couple can sustain their life of luxury.

Also in the news this morning

Academic ‘self-censorship’ | Universities must stop using equality laws as an excuse to restrict free speech, the head of the higher education watchdog has warned. Susan Lapworth, chief executive of the Office for Students, said that “too often” universities were curtailing free speech by “leaning more fully” into their equality duties “than the law supports”. Meanwhile, trans rights activists have forced the cancellation of a screening of a gender-critical film on a university campus after they stormed a lecture theatre to prevent the event going ahead.

Around the world: India covers up border clashes

India is covering up the true extent of border clashes with China to avoid panicking the public, senior Indian army sources have told The Telegraph. Several incidents are taking place in the northern state of Arunachal Pradesh every month, with soldiers from the two nuclear-armed countries sometimes engaging in violent hand-to-hand combat – often using spiked clubs and other homemade weapons. South Asia correspondent Joe Wallen reports how Delhi has accused China of attempting to gradually seize strategically important territory.
Activists in New Delhi hold a protest against China’s aggression

Activists in New Delhi hold a protest against China’s aggression. Credit: EPA-EPE

Comment and analysis

Sport briefing: France book place in decider

Reigning World Cup champions France survived a major scare before seeing off Morocco 2-1 to seal their place in a mouthwatering final against Argentina. Chief football writer Sam Wallace has our match report from the Al Bayt Stadium on a night France dug deep. These are our player ratings. And Jason Burt writes about the tackle that summed up the guts, determination and desire of the Moroccan side.

Editor’s choice

SAS Rogue Heroes
SAS Rogue Heroes | Fact vs fiction: How much of BBC show really happened?
According to the opening blurb of the BBC’s souped-up WW2 drama, SAS Rogue Heroes, “those events depicted, which seem most unbelievable… are mostly true.” The six-part series – created and written by Peaky Blinders’ Stephen Knight, and based on the book by Ben Macintyre – tells the story behind the formation of the Special Air Service in North Africa. It focuses on the exploits of three founding members: David Stirling (Connor Swindells), Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne (Jack O’Connell), and Jock Lewes (Alfie Allen).

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton does Dickens | Review: Four stars for a Southern-fried Scrooge

Cold Feet alumnus Robert Bathurst is an iron-fisted Scrooge in Parton’s homespun, soulful interpretation of the famous novella

Alas, Dolly Parton herself does not appear, but her spirit thoroughly pervades this unexpectedly charming new southern-fried take on Dickens. And although we hardly need yet another Christmas Carol, this musical one (originally crafted for Parton’s Dollywood theme park) feels fresh thanks to its transposition to Depression-era East Tennessee, where Parton herself grew up in poverty.

PJ fashion
Fashion | ‘Why I am wearing pyjamas to all my Christmas celebrations this year’

Business briefing: Fed rise piles pressure on Bank

The US Federal Reserve has vowed to push on with interest rate rises as it increased borrowing costs for the seventh time running, despite signs inflation is peaking on both sides of the Atlantic. Jerome Powell, the Fed’s chairman, insisted the fight to contain surging prices was not over, after unveiling a rate rise of 0.5 points. The decision will pile pressure on the Bank of England, which is expected to announce its own increase of 0.5 points today. Meanwhile, Germany has snubbed British-backed Eurofighter jets in favour of a €10bn deal for US-made F-35 aircraft.

Here is a selection of articles we think you’ll be interested in today.
Rishi Sunak unveils new plans to tackle migrant crisis
Labour on track for 314-seat majority at next general election, new poll finds
Chris Hopkins, Savanta’a political research director, said their last round of polling, which was conducted during the Labour Party conference, put the party on a 12 point lead and a 56 seat majority.

The Conservative Party would likely be wiped out in much of the north of England, the model suggests

The Scottish National Party gains an extra seven seats according to the model, leaving them with all but four of Scotland’s 59 Westminster constituencies.

Mick Lynch claims working-class voters will abandon Labour over strikes stance
Nicola Sturgeon’s husband loaned SNP £100,000 to help with ‘cashflow’ problems
Chinese envoy flees UK after clash with protesters

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