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Home Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, introduced the Illegal Migration Bill, intended to stop people crossing the Channel on small boats. It would ban those who entered Britain illegally from claiming asylum or re-entering in future, and would place a duty on the Home Secretary to deport them ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’. Writing to MPs, the Home Secretary said there was a ‘more than 50 per cent chance’ that it was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. She also said she had ‘pushed the boundaries of international law’. Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, rang the President of Rwanda to tell him to expect deliveries. The price of a first-class stamp is to go up from 95p to £1.10 on 3 April.

Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour party, offered a post as his chief of staff to Sue Gray, whose independent report into breaches of lockdown rules at Downing Street damned Boris Johnson, the Conservative prime minister at the time. An interim report by the cross- party Privileges Committee that had been asked by parliament to investigate whether Johnson misled parliament over lockdown gatherings in Downing Street said that evidence ‘strongly suggests’ that breaches of guidance ‘would have been obvious to Mr Johnson at the time he was at the gatherings’. Constance Marten and Mark Gordon were charged with the manslaughter of a baby named in court documents as Victoria, whose remains were found in an allotment shed in Brighton after a police search. Emergency coal power- stations contributed to the National Grid


to avoid blackouts during a spell of cold nights. Wally Fawkes, the jazz clarinettist and cartoonist ‘Trog’, creator of the Flook strip, died aged 98.

WhatsApp messages taken from the 100,000 sent or received by Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, were published by the Daily Telegraph, exposing the PR-driven dynamics of government during the Covid pandemic and banter from civil servants asking, for example, of Nigel Farage, photographed in a pub: ‘Can we lock him up?’ They showed that face masks were introduced in secondary schools in England despite England’s chief medical officer saying there were ‘no very strong reasons’ to do so. The cabinet secretary Simon Case considered whether he should resign after the disclosures. Booster Covid vaccinations are to be offered this spring to those over 75. A loud bang was heard in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire: ‘I was watching TV with my cat Jones and I heard a loud boom sound,’ said Anne-Marie Oostveen of Chipping Norton. ‘My cat just looked up and then went back to sleep.’

Abroad In Ukraine fighting continued for Bakhmut after weeks of heavy losses; 4,000 civilians remained in the ruined city, formerly of 73,000, living in shelters without electricity or water. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenaries employed by Russia, complained of a lack of ammunition at Bakhmut that could be ‘ordinary bureaucracy or a betrayal’. An unarmed Ukrainian prisoner of war was seen in a video on social media smoking a last cigarette in a trench, crying ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ and being shot by Russian soldiers. A pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last year, intelligence reports concluded, according to the New York Times. Kaja Kallas, the pro-Kyiv prime minister of Estonia, won a convincing election victory.

Japan had to blow up its new rocket during a failed launch; the H3 had been intended as a cheaper alternative for putting satellites into orbit than Elon Musk’s Falcon 9. In South Carolina, Alex Murdaugh, whose trial for the murder of his wife and son had attracted wide interest on television, was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for the rest of his natural life. More than 600 people from Cameroon found themselves stranded on Antigua without funds to take them to Latin America from which they had planned to migrate to the United States. Five Christian MPs in Iraq made a legal challenge to the implementation of a law against the production, sale or import of alcohol.

Fuel deliveries were blocked from French refineries by protestors resisting plans to raise the pension age from 62 to 64. Australian agricultural exports were expected to reach a record amount by June despite the damage done by heavy rains. Argentina ended an agreement on co-operation over the Falkland Islands reached in 2016 and demanded talks with Britain on their sovereignty. The European Medicines Agency, which moved from London to Amsterdam after Brexit, opposed the building of a multi-storey ‘erotic centre’ employing prostitutes near its headquarters. CSH

11 2023 . . .

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