Ministers make plans for energy crisis
Crisis talks were held in Whitehall on Monday over the energy crisis. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng held a meeting with 30 leaders of the sector to put together contingency plans to safeguard consumers from a sudden spike in their gas bills. Kwarteng said the cap will "protects millions of consumers". Following the talks, he told the House of Commons: "We have sufficient capacity, and more than sufficient capacity, to meet demand and we do not expect supply emergencies to occur this winter."
The government currently refuses to lift the price cap consumers pay on their bills, despite complaints from energy companies that have no other means to combat the increase in wholesale gas prices. Bulb, the sixth-largest UK energy provider, is seeking a government bailout as four energy companies have already gone into administration. British Gas has taken on 350,000 customers from People’s Energy, which shut down last week.
The business secretary explained that from 1st October gas from Norway should help alleviate the pressure on demand. Boris Johnson said: “We will make sure we work with all the gas companies to do whatever we can to keep people’s supplies coming, to make sure they don’t go out of business, and to make sure we get through the current difficult period.”
US to lift travel ban from uk
The US will re-open to UK and EU air passengers as of early November. White House correspondent Jeff Zients said the US had acted with "science as our guide" in making the decision. The news comes as Boris Johnson was expected to pressurise Joe Biden into changing Covid-19 travel guidance when they meet in Washington DC later today.
The prime minister said the easing of US travel rules for fully vaccinated travellers was "a fantastic boost for business and trade," adding it was “great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again”. Foreign secretary Liz Truss said the news was "excellent".
Dame Karen Pierce, the UK's ambassador to the US, stated: "We are grateful the US has recognised the progress the UK has made against Covid-19, including high vaccination rates and declining cases." Under new guidance, passengers will have to show proof of vaccination before boarding a US-bound plane and a test with a negative result within three days of departure.
A statement from Buckingham Palace regarding the birth of Princess Beatrice’s daughter. The baby girl was born on Saturday at Chelsea and Westminster hospital and weighs six pounds and two ounces. The palace also said: “The new baby's grandparents and great-grandparents have all been informed and are delighted with the news. The family would like to thank all the staff at the hospital for their wonderful care.”
Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020 who, from a previous marriage, already has a four-year-old son called Christopher. The newborn, whose name has not yet been announced, is the Queen’s 12th grandchild. Beatrice is the eldest daughter of the Duke of York and his ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York. Princess Beatrice is 10th in line to the throne and her daughter will be 11th in line.
In other news
4 bodies discovered in man’s house
Four bodies have been discovered in a house in Killamarsh near Sheffield. Police were called to the house after concerns were raised about a man living there. Jason Bennett said his son John Paul, 13, and daughter Lacey, 11, were among the victims. The other two victims were the children’s mother, Terri Harris, 35, and a child, Connie Gent, 11, who was a friend of Lacey's.
Bennett posted on social media: “Absolutely heartbroken my heart into a million pieces. I didn’t protect my beautiful babies enough and now they have been suddenly taken away from me.” The community of Killamarsh is said to be rocked by the murders. Police said they have arrested a 31-year-old man and are not looking for any other suspects, although there are still questions over how the four were killed.
More Insulate Britain blockages
Climate activists caused delays on the M25 for the fourth time yesterday morning. Insulate Britain blocked junction 18 as police officers were initially stuck in traffic and struggled to get to them. Many of the protesters were glued to the road while police arrested them. Hertfordshire police said 29 people had been taken into custody.
The group was launched in August by members of Extinction Rebellion. Its aim is for the government to insulate every house in the UK. Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "It is a completely inappropriate way of making the point they're trying to make.” The protesters tweeted that they will continue to take similar action until the government makes a “meaningful commitment” to insulate Britain’s 29m homes.
2 new Tube stations open
Two new tube stations have opened up in the first major expansion of London Underground this century. The first train ran at 5.28am yesterday morning to the new stops at Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms. The Northern Line project cost £1.1bn, which will be funded through business rates in the local area as well as £270m from developers.
London mayor Sadiq Khan says the services will play “a major role” in the capital’s recovery from the pandemic by “supporting thousands of new jobs, homes and businesses”. Transport for London (TfL) estimates the new services will support 25,000 new jobs and 20,000 new homes. It is the first major expansion of the tube since the Jubilee line was extended in 1990.
Climate crisis will increase modern slavery
A new report from Anti-Slavery International (ASI) has warned that millions of people could be at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking due to climate change forcing them to leave their homes. Fran Witt, a climate change and modern slavery adviser at ASI, said: “Extreme weather events contribute to environmental destruction, forcing people to leave their homes and leaving them vulnerable to trafficking, exploitation and slavery.”
The report found that instances have already occurred in northern Ghana, where drought has forced young men and women into major cities where they have become trapped in sexual exploitation and debt bondage. The World Bank estimates that by 2050, the impact of the climate crisis will force more than 216m people across six regions from their homes. The report comes as Boris Johnson admits he was wrong in the past about climate change ahead of talks at the UN in New York.
Folic acid in flour to fight birth defects
Flour in the UK is to be fortified with folic acid to reduce the number of babies born with life-threatening spinal conditions. There were concerns that adding the acid to bread would disguise other health issues such as a deficiency in vitamin B12 or an increase in the risk of colon cancer. However, the government's independent advisory body – the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition – says it is satisfied these concerns are not supported by evidence.
Folic acid is added to flour in more than 80 countries. When it was added to bread in Australia, neural tube defects fell by 14%. Since WW2, the UK's non-wholemeal flour has been fortified with iron, calcium, thiamine and niacin. Boris Johnson said folic acid-fortified flour would be "a quick, simple win" to enhance a baby's development, as well as helping to boost the health of UK adults.
A mystery woman who speaks “perfect English” has been found on a rock in the ocean near Croatia, but cannot say how she got there. Thought to be in her 60s, the woman was covered in cuts and bruises when a nearby fisherman spotted her crying on her own. The police were notified and she was rescued by a team of 14 who had to walk two miles over jagged rocks to reach her. Reports suggest she survived several nights in an area where bears are known to exist. Police have contacted tourist and accommodation facilities with her photograph in the hope that someone will recognise her.