22 million in UK brace for energy price rise
Millions of UK households, facing a spike in energy costs, will find out how much more they will pay by mid-day today – a new price cap likely to add hundreds of pounds onto the annual bill, a key factor in the rising cost of living. The regulator’s new cap for England, Wales and Scotland will come into force in April and will effect 22 million. Most of the British national papers focus on the “surge” in energy costs which could lead to over £50 a month being added to household bills. The Daily Mirror’s lead story is titled “D-Day on prices agony”. Also focusing on the spiking cost of living is the Daily Mail, which reports that the rise in the energy price cap set to be announced by the regulator is set to be record-breaking. The paper quotes Chancellor Rishi Sunak warning he “can’t stop all the pain”.
RAF intercept Russian military aircraft
Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters have intercepted four Russian military aircrafts flying north of Scotland. The BBC Defence Correspondent, Jonathan Beale, tweeted the aircrafts were Russian four-engined bombers, Tupolev Tu-95, dating back to the Cold War and called ‘Bear’ by NATO, which had never entered UK airspace. Observers said a similar incursion had happened in November, as were other instances for some time but were attracting little attention. But now, with the ever-increasing tension between the Atlantic Alliance and Russia over the Ukrainian question, things have changed.
Sending US troops is a ‘destructive’ initiative – Moscow
Russia has condemned the decision of the United States to deploy 3,000 troops to support NATO allies in Europe. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko, said the move was an “unjustified, destructive measure that increases military tensions and reduces the scope for political decisions”. About 2,000 soldiers will be sent to Poland and Germany, while another 1,000 will be relocated from Germany to Romania at the “express request of the Bucharest government”. The Pentagon has confirmed the troops would not fight in Ukraine but “they will be there to defend our NATO allies”.
IOC praises China for ‘outstanding games’
The head of the Internaional Olympic Committee has praised China on the eve of the official opening of the Beijing winter olympics. Thomas Bach said everything was in place for “oustanding games”. China has put severe restrictions on the movement of competitors and others as it tries to maintain its zero-COVID strategy.
Six die of hunger every minute in Africa
Right now in Africa one in five people suffer from malnutrition and 93 million people in 36 countries are literally running out of food. A note by Oxfam says the most affected are women and children. In the sub-Saharan region, one child dies of starvation every 30 seconds, while two in five women of childbearing age suffer from food shortage anemia. Noting that food prices across the continent have skyrocketed, Oxfam raised the alarm on the eve of the summit of African Union leaders on the food emergency, scheduled in Addis Ababa and in view of the summit with EU leaders on the crisis, scheduled for February 17 and 18 in Brussels. Climate crisis, pandemic and wars fuel hunger that causes the death of every minute. As many as 20 African countries are currently experiencing violence and conflicts, with seven coups that have occurred in the last year alone. Drought has decimated thousands of hectares of crops and killed livestock, meaning millions of people have been deprived of their primary source of income and livelihood.
12 refugees die of cold on Greek-Turkish border
At least 12 migrants have died due to the cold on the border between Greece and Turkey. Turkish state TV, TRT, quoted an Interior Ministry statement saying the migrants were reportedly turned back by Greek border guards towards Turkey as they attempted to enter Greece illegally. Turkish authorities found a group of 22 migrants, whose clothes and shoes had been stolen.
Monica Vitti is dead
The death has been announced of the iconic actress of Italian cinema Monica Vitti. She was 90. She had been absent from the scene since 2001 through illness. Among those who paid tribute to her memory was Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who described her as “an actress of great irony and extraordinary talent” who had conquered generations of Italians with her spirit, skill and beauty. “You have given prestige to Italian cinema in the world,” he said.
3,000 USA flights cancelled in view of winter storm
CNN reports US airlines have already cancelled 3,000 flights in anticipation of a powerful winter storm that would affect about 90 million people from the Midwest to the south of the country. Chicago O’Hare, hub of United and American Airlines, is currently the most affected airport with 164 cancellations.
Former Dutch gynaecologist ‘fathered 21 children’
An investigation in the Netherlands has found a former Dutch gynaecologist used his own sperm in at least 21 fertility treatments. Joe Beek – who died in 2019 – was found to have impregnated women without their consent between 1973 and 1986. A hospital in the city of Leiden, where he worked as a specialist for 25 years, confirmed the findings. It is the third known case in the Netherlands where a gynaecologist used his own sperm in fertility treatments without consent.
Football: Senegal through to Africa Cup final
Senegal are through to their third Africa Cup of Nations final having beaten Burkino Faso 3-1 in the first semi-final. In an eventful match, VAR chalked off two Senegal penalties, with Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi injured during the events of the first. Senegal will face Egypt or hosts Cameroon in Sunday’s final. Burkina Faso will take part in the third/fourth-place play-off, on Saturday.