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The Telegraph Frontpage for Friday 2023 January 20

Bomb disposal experts were on the scene at St James’s Hospital in Leeds
Sam Hall By Sam Hall
Good evening.

A counter-terrorism investigation has been launched after a man carrying a gun and a suspect package was arrested inside the grounds of a hospital in Leeds. We also have the latest analysis from Ukraine, as Germany dashed hopes for the quick delivery of tanks by saying a decision on sending them could take a month.

Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines

Leeds | A 27-year-old man was arrested at around 5am on Friday on suspicion of firearms and explosives offences inside the grounds of St James’s hospital in Leeds. Our crime editor Martin Evans writes that it is understood the suspect was arrested close to the hospital’s maternity unit. Part of the hospital had to be evacuated and bomb disposal teams from the British Army were drafted in. Some patients were evacuated while experts from the Army and counter-terror police investigated.

A Ukrainian soldier drives a tank on the Donbass frontline

World leaders meet today to pledge more support to Kyiv in resisting Russia’s invasion, but there will be an elephant in the room – Germany’s Olaf Scholz holds the future of the conflict in his hands. We examine why his decision on tanks could be key to a Ukrainian victory.

The big story: No decision on ‘releasing the leopards’

There is one question everyone wants answering on the war in Ukraine: will Germany ‘release the Leopards’? The answer, at this stage, appears to be a resounding no. Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, is the politician tasked with making or breaking the dreams of Ukrainians on the front lines. Only he can approve the export of Leopard II tanks held by Germany and its allies to Kyiv. Publicly, Mr Scholz has expressed fears that by putting German tanks on the battlefield, Berlin would be going it alone. But there is another worry in the German capital, writes our Brussels correspondent Joe Barnes. After breaking away from decades of cosy relations with Moscow last year, there is a reluctance to unilaterally escalate the war in Ukraine. There are fears that the move could prompt Vladimir Putin to launch wider reprisals against Kyiv or mainland Europe. There is also a sense that Berlin has still yet to come to terms with its past history, especially surrounding its role in triggering two world wars. As a result, Germany does not want to be seen as the main aggressor in Europe’s biggest conflict since 1945.

Indeed, Germany dashed hopes for a quick delivery of tanks to Ukraine by saying on Friday that the decision could take “a month“. Boris Pistorius, the defence minister, said that allies had discussed the subject at the meeting of his counterparts at Ramstein airbase. He said there were “good reasons for, good against”, and that a decision could be “made in a week, in a month, or in a day”. The newly appointed minister said he had ordered the defence ministry to audit the stocks of Leopard tanks. It was unclear if Berlin would agree to allow other nations to press ahead by granting them export licenses for the Leopard IIs in their arsenal. Meanwhile, Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of defence, thanked Britain for its commitment of tanks to Ukraine, as he noted the reluctance of other allies to follow suit.

How does the war end?

Britain’s decision to send 14 Challenger II tanks was meant to give Mr Scholz the political space to at least sign the export licences. But neither Joe Biden nor Rishi Sunak can make the choice for him. Our senior foreign correspondent Roland Oliphant writes that behind the leopards looms an even bigger question: Does Germany – or the West in general – really want Ukraine to win the war? And if so, how? Ever since the war began, Western officials have tip-toed around the question of how it ends. The eloquent non-answer favoured by Western diplomats is that it is up to Ukraine to decide what victory looks like. This, as many of them will happily acknowledge in private, is a cop-out – read Roland’s full piece here.

Russia faces ‘incredible poverty’

Russia’s people face “incredible poverty” following Western sanctions in response to Putin’s war, according to the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard professor, said the country is headed towards being a new Cuba, Venezuela or “a giant Iran”. Mr Rogoff also said the West needs to think about imposing secondary sanctions on the Kremlin. In all, 39 countries are imposing sanctions on Russia, with the country also facing a cap on the price of its oil from the G7 nations and the EU. Mr Rogoff said sanctions alone are not enough to win the war, but said “you have to stay the course”.

Suspected paedophile ring at Metropolitan Police

Two retired Metropolitan Police officers have been charged in connection with a suspected police paedophile ring being linked to the death of a serving chief inspector. Richard Watkinson, who worked in neighbourhood policing in west London, was found dead at his home in Buckinghamshire last week. The 49-year-old had been due to answer bail on the day he was found dead. He was to be charged with a string of child abuse image offences. Two former Scotland Yard officers, who each retired more than a decade ago, have now also been charged as part of the same investigation and are due to appear in court next month. Crime editor Martin Evans has our full report.

PM to be investigated by police after a day to forget

The day started with a smiling Rishi Sunak heading north to take his five pledges on tour – but ended with him being investigated by the police for not wearing a seatbelt. The Prime Minister was filmed in a moving vehicle on his way to Morecambe to promote the £2 billion dished out in the latest round of levelling up funding. But the cash soon became less of a talking point than the clip itself, as social media users pointed out he was not wearing his safety belt. Political reporter Dominic Penna reports on how yesterday’s trip turned into a car crash.

Comment and analysis

World news: Romania extends Tate’s detention

Andrew Tate and his brother will remain in Romanian custody for 30 more days after a judge granted prosecutors another request to extend their detention until February 27. Mr Tate and his brother Tristan are under investigation over allegations of sexual assault and exploitation. The pair deny the allegations against them. Mr Tate, 36, a former Big Brother contestant who has amassed more than four million followers on Twitter with provocative messages and misogynistic views, was initially detained on December 29 at his home in a suburb of Bucharest along with his brother.

Editor’s choice

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Property | How beach huts went from 1950s cheap holiday to ultimate wealth symbol

Business news: Google owner axes 12,000 staff

Google’s parent company Alphabet revealed it will slash 12,000 jobs, becoming the latest tech giant to axe staff numbers amid a slowdown in the world economy. The cuts, representing about 6pc of its global workforce, were revealed in an email to staff by chief executive Sundar Pichai. He said he took full responsibility for “decisions that led us here”. Meanwhile, James Warrington reports how data-powered art and music have opened up a legal minefield in the entertainment industry.

Tonight starts now

How to avoid soaring car hire prices | Last summer saw a serious car hire crisis in many key holiday destinations. A surge in post-pandemic bookings and a collapse in the number of rental vehicles available pushed prices to record highs. Here are our top tips at avoiding the highest prices when it comes to hiring a car this summer.

Three things for you

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".

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