Hola, Warren Murray returning to you with Friday’s briefing. Other briefings may be available – but why take the risk?
Boris Johnson has been accused of potential corruption by Labour as it emerged he sought funds for his flat refurbishment from a Conservative donor while promising to consider plans for a “great exhibition”. WhatsApp messages with the Tory peer David Brownlow show Johnson called parts of his Downing Street residence a “tip” and asked for “approvals” so his decor designer, Lulu Lytle, could “get on with it” in November 2020. He signed off the message by saying: “Ps am on the great exhibition plan Will revert.” Lord Brownlow replied: "Por supuesto, get Lulu to call me and we’ll get it sorted ASAP! Thanks for thinking about GE2.” Plans for a “Great Exhibition 2.0” were discussed by Brownlow and the then culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, weeks after the WhatsApp exchanges, official records show.
El jueves, Johnson was forced to make a “humble and sincere” apology for the texts not being given to his independent ethics adviser, Señor Geidt, during an initial inquiry last spring. Johnson said he had not remembered them and did not have access to his phone due to “security issues” – thought to relate to when his mobile number was discovered online. In thinly veiled frustration, Geidt said the saga “shook my confidence” and added that if he had seen the evidence when writing his first report, he may not have ruled that Johnson tried to make the correct declaration and seek advice at the first opportunity.
Angela Rayner, Líder adjunto de los laboristas, said it appeared Brownlow had access to Johnson and Dowden “because he was paying” for the refurbishments. She said if true, it would constitute “corruption, plain and simple … No one should be able to buy access or exchange wallpaper for festivals”. The WhatsApp messages were published as part of letters exchanged by Johnson and Geidt. For a second time, Geidt found the prime minister did not break the ministerial code over payments for the Downing Street flat refurbishment, pero Johnson was criticised for acting “unwisely”. No 10 denied there was anything untoward about Brownlow’s meeting with Dowden and stressed the peer had acted with integrity since first being approached to chair the Downing Street trust. Brownlow was contacted for comment.
Kazakhstan roils – Dozens of protesters and at least 12 police have died in the violence in Kazakhstan, las autoridades han dicho, as demonstrators said peaceful protests over fuel price rises had turned violent after a heavy-handed government response. “Peacekeepers” led by Russia have arrived in the country at the request of president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who declared a state of emergency and accepted the resignation of the government. Ahead of a national address today, Tokayev is claiming this morning that constitutional order has largely been restored.
Witnesses in Almaty, La ciudad más grande de Kazajstán, described scenes of chaos on Thursday, with government buildings being stormed or set on fire and widespread looting. The interior ministry said 2,298 people had been arrested during the unrest, while the police spokesperson Saltanat Azirbek told the state news channel Khabar-24 that “dozens of attackers were liquidated”. Video footage showed violent clashes between protesters and authorities in a number of cities.
‘The lies have not abated’ – One year after the 6 Insurrección de enero en el Capitolio de EE. UU., Joe Biden has denounced Donald Trump for spreading a “web of lies” about the legitimacy of the 2020 election and holding a “dagger at the throat of American democracy”. Biden called Trump a “defeated former president” whose “bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or constitution … For the first time in our history, the president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob reached the Capitol. But they failed.” Biden asked Americans to recommit to the protection of the nation’s 200-year-old system of government. "Los lies that drove the anger and madness we saw in this place, they have not abated."
The Republican minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, called the attack “antithetical to the rule of law” and said he supported efforts to hold perpetrators accountable. But he did not denounce Trump, as he and many Republicans did in the aftermath of the attack. Presiding over the House floor on Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that democracy had prevailed when members returned to the Capitol after the riot to ratify Biden’s electoral victory. “The Congress, because of the courage of all of you, rose to honour our oath and protect our democracy," ella dijo, before leading members – all of them Democrats, with the exception of congresswoman Liz Cheney – in a moment of silence.
School scramble for fill-in staff – Schools in England are “teetering on the edge” with more than a third (36%) struggling with staff absence rates in excess of 10%, according to a snap poll by a headteachers’ union. Some heads had more than 20% of their teaching staff absent on the first day of term for Covid-related reasons. In some schools, heads have had to send classes or year groups home for online learning, or combine classes or year groups. More than a third (37%) needing supply teachers were unable to obtain them. En otra parte, there have been reports of resistance among some pupils to masks and lateral flow testing. More Covid news from home and abroad at our live blog.
Final shutdown – The Hunterston B nuclear power station in Scotland will shut down for ever at noon today after 46 años de servicio, reducing the UK’s nuclear capacity by one-eighth and prompting calls from the industry for greater government backing. Eso lasted 20 years beyond its initial planned shutdown date. Acerca de 20% of Britain’s supply comes from 15 reactors, and almost half of this capacity is scheduled for retirement by 2025 with the closure of Hunterston B, Hinkley Point B, Hartlepool 1 and Heysham 1. EDF is due to finish its new 3.2GW plant Hinkley Point C by 2027, with the first of its two reactors coming online a year before that. The Nuclear Industry Association estimates the national capacity could reach 14.25GW by 2035, depending on whether £1.7bn in funding for the proposed Sizewell C plant is confirmed and the Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey can attract investors.
Don’t choke on your cereal – Los jefes de las empresas más grandes de Gran Bretaña habrán ganado más dinero en 2022 by breakfast time today than the average UK worker will earn in the entire year, according to analysis of the vast gap in pay between FTSE 100 chief executives and everyone else. Level up, Britain …
Guardian critics Charlotte Northedge, Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Simran Hans look ahead to the best of the year in culture.
Taiwan transitioned to a democracy in the late 1980s and is now one of Asia’s freest and most vibrant, but continues to reckon with its history – still very much in living memory – and how to remember the man who oversaw it. Memorials to the dictator Chiang Kai-shek are contentious, but also defended even by those who suffered; they want new generations to know he fostered the island’s prosperity and independence.
Novak Djokovic’s relegation to a hotel run by Australia’s immigration department continues to dominate the sporting agenda. The government has said Djokovic is not being held “captive” and is free to leave the country. The issue is becoming a diplomatic incident between Australia and Serbia as the full story is pieced together and responsibility established for the chain of events. The visa status of other players who have arrived to compete in the Australian Open is also now being investigated.
England made a disastrous reply to Australia’s 416-8d on day three of the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney. The tourists slumped to 36-4 at lunch, including a 53-ball spell where three wickets fell but no runs were scored. Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow mounted a spirited fightback before tea.
Asian shares have been climbing today, con un 1.2% gain in the Australian benchmark, though Japan’s Nikkei made gains then fell back. China and Hong Kong stocks have tracked other Asian shares higher. US jobs data is due later in the day. Futures trading indicates the FTSE will open higher. The pound is worth $1.354 and €1.198 at time of writing.
"Tory peer secretly involved in firm given PPE contracts” – our guardián lead story today. “Prisoner Cell Djokh H” – the Metro’s play on Novak Djokovic’s waylaying in Australia. los Financial Times splashes with the anniversary of the Congress attack: “Biden fears threat to democracy one year on from Capitol assault”.
los Rápido says “Cost of living squeeze will hit over-65s hardest” – their energy bills could rise by £340 a year. los Telégrafo is on the cost of living crisis también, with “One million to be pulled into higher rate of tax”. los Colston statue verdict is met with outrage in the Correo diario, which has “PM: vandals can’t change our history”. los Times’ top story is “Second Maxwell juror was abused”.
los Espejo reports on “Desperate Andrew’s £17m ski chalet sale” – because of his legal costs, the paper says. Y el Sun has “Piers troll arrested over death threats”.
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