Four senior aides and a First Minister - it was a busy day for resignations. Who ever said politics is boring?
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THURSDAY'S TOP LINES
Four of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior aides have resigned.
What positions did they hold? The four were Johnson's chief of staff, principal private secretary, Downing Street's director of communications and head of policy.
Why resign? Well, some were said to have been connected to the multiple party allegations. However, Munira Mirza - Johnson's former Head of Policy who worked with him for 14 years - did not hold back. In a letter, she said her decision was based on Johnson's failure to apologise to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, for falsely suggesting earlier this week he was responsible for the late paedophile Jimmy Saville escaping justice.
Context: Sir Keir Starmer used to be the director of public prosecutions. Starmer described the slur as "the conspiracy theories of violent fascists". Below is a great explainer on all of this 👇🏽
"This was not the normal cut-and-thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse." - Munira Mirza
Sunak stepping up? In two interesting comments, Chancellor Rishi Sunak sought to distance himself from Johnson's woes. Firstly, he stated he "wouldn't have said" the accusation about Starmer and Saville. In a second subtle swipe at the prime minister, Sunak wrote in The Sun that The Conservatives will "always be the party of sound money," adding "that is the only kind of party I am interested in".
Keeping an eye: BBC News is now reporting 17 Conservative MPs have handed in letters of no confidence in the prime minister. 54 are required to trigger a confidence vote.
Northern Ireland's First Minister, Paul Givan, announced his resignation Thursday, hours after rumours began to swirl in the media.
Givan has been in the position for less than a year. Because of Northern Ireland's unique power-sharing agreement, this now means the Deputy First Minister - Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill - has also lost her post for now.
Bigger picture: The political deadlock in Northern Ireland comes amid the DUP's ongoing objections to the Northern Ireland Protocol. The leader of the DUP, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, described it as "an existential threat to the union and to the future of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom". It is also just months ahead of critical elections in May. Sinn Féin are now calling for an early election.
For anyone struggling to wrap their head around what the protocol is, click below for our explainer 👇🏽
The leader of ISIS was killed during a US military strike in Syria on Wednesday night.
Announcing the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, President Biden said the American military had "removed a major terrorist threat to the world".
The Washington Post reported that thirteen people, including children, were killed during the overnight raid, when Qurayshi reportedly "detonated a huge explosion that killed members of his family".
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ON TODAY'S AGENDA...
The Winter Olympics in Beijing get underway today, and will run until February 20.
In the lead up to the games, there have been many discussions about China's human rights record - particularly in reference to Uyghurs. For example, the US is doing a diplomatic boycott of the games - athletes can compete, but government representatives will not be attending.
Who is attending? President Putin is in Beijing for the opening ceremony, and will also have a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration alleges Russia was planning to "fabricate a pretext" for invading Ukraine. How? According to BBC News, Russia was planning to "falsely blame Ukrainian military for an attack on Russian-backed separatists or Russia itself". Russia denied this.
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, was trending online after this new propaganda video of him riding a white horse was released.
Worth. A. Watch.
- BBC News: Tories retain seat in by-election after MP's death
- The Guardian: Southend West: byelection win for Tories in seat of killed MP
- The Financial Times: Investors wipe more than $220bn from value of Facebook owner Meta
- Al Jazeera: US officials share details of raid that killed ISIL leader
- The Irish Times: Miriam Lord: And just like that, Golfgate is brought to a swift and sudden end
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
Drop it like its hot.