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Ten Things in the news: 5 April 2022

1. Putin will ‘try to hide war crimes’
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia’s forces will try to cover up evidence of their “war crimes”, but added that “they will not be able to deceive the whole world”. The Ukrainian president is addressing the UN Security Council this afternoon in a meeting which is likely to focus on what appears to be the widespread killing of Ukrainians by Russian soldiers. Joe Biden has called for Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes. “You saw what happened in Bucha – he is a war criminal... but we have to gather all the detail so this can have a war crimes trial,” he said.

2. Channel 4 to be privatised
The government is pressing ahead with plans to privatise Channel 4 after 40 years in public ownership. The culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, claimed that “a change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and freedom to flourish and thrive as a public service broadcaster long into the future”. The news has been met with horror in the industry. Veteran broadcaster David Attenborough said the government was pursuing an agenda of “shortsighted political and financial attacks” on British public service broadcasters, while Channel 4 described the news as “disappointing”.

3. Nuclear threat by North Korea
North Korea would use nuclear weapons to “eliminate” South Korea’s army in the event they launch a pre-emptive strike, warned the sister of leader Kim Jong Un. As a result of such a “dreadful attack”, South Korean forces would face a “miserable fate little short of total destruction and ruin”, added Kim Yo Jong. South Korea’s defence chief, Suh Wook, had claimed on Friday that his military had missiles with “the ability to accurately and quickly hit any target in North Korea.”

4. LGBT groups boycott event
More than 100 LGBT and HIV charities are planning to boycott the government’s first global LGBT conference, in a protest against the decision to exclude transgender people from a ban on conversion practices. The government’s three-day Safe To Be Me conference was due to be held this summer to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first London Pride marches. But the charity Stonewall, which is leading the boycott, complained of “the prime minister’s broken promise on protecting trans people from the harms of conversion therapy”.

5. ‘Now or never’ for climate change
We can still prevent the worst effects of climate breakdown but only through a “now or never” dash to a low-carbon economy and society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said. In what The Guardian described as a “final warning for governments”, the IPCC scientists said greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and be nearly halved this decade to give the world a chance of limiting future heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The UN said some governments and businesses were “lying” when they claimed to be on track for 1.5C.

6. PM ‘to announce Rwanda processing’

Boris Johnson is close to making an official announcement of plans to “outsource” the processing of asylum seekers to Rwanda, claimed The Times. The PM wanted to announce a trial of the plans last week but “wobbled” after colleagues told him the details were not finalised, a government source told the paper. Under the controversial plans, the government will fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing and settlement, paying the East African nation millions of pounds under the agreement.

7. Jackson set for Supreme Court
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is expected to be confirmed as the first black female Supreme Court justice this week, said CNN. After the Senate Judiciary Committee vote tied 11-11, the nomination was sent to the floor, where every Democrat and three Republican senators voted in support of Jackson. Some Republican senators portrayed Jackson as a pawn of the “radical left” but a Democrat said she will offer “the highest level of skill, integrity, civility and grace”.

8. Watchdog blow for trans women
The equalities watchdog has ruled that trans women can be legally excluded from women’s lavatories, changing rooms and other single-sex spaces. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said “there are circumstances where a lawfully-established separate or single-sex service provider can prevent, limit or modify trans people’s access to the service”. But the EHRC added that such a move “might be unlawful if you cannot show such action is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

9. Gambling ad ban for footballers
Premier League footballers will be banned from advertising gambling products under new rules from the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP). The advertising watchdog will also ban some reality TV stars, including former Love Island contestants, from promoting betting. The new rules are designed to stop gambling from appealing to children and young people. But The Times noted that the rules are being introduced by a self-regulatory body with no statutory powers, which is dependent on the cooperation of advertisers and individuals.

10. Tributes for EastEnders veteran

June Brown, who played Dot Cotton on EastEnders for more than three decades, has died at the age of 95. Brown’s children said they were “deeply saddened” to announce that their “beloved mother” had died “very peacefully” at her home on Sunday. EastEnders actor Danny Dyer paid tribute to Brown, calling her “an icon in its truest form”, while Adam Woodyatt described her as an “incredible woman”. In December 2021, Brown was made an OBE in the New Year Honours list.