⏳ Tuesday Fix: A Most Impressive Witness
A harrowing and complex case of torture and intimidation, another round of bad headlines for Boris, and an ambitious cling to power in China.
Here's the podcast version of today's newsletter.
CONVICTIONS IN LUNNEY CASE
A "most impressive witness" - that is how a judge described Northern Irish businessman Kevin Lunney, who was abducted and brutally tortured in an effort to make him resign from his job in September 2019. On Monday, three men were convicted, and face sentencing later this month.
What's the background here? Lunney was an executive at a company called Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH). One day he was bundled into the boot of a car and brought to a horse trailer where he was doused in bleach, his leg was broken, and the letters QIH were carved into his chest as he was repeatedly told to resign.
Who organised the attack? While three were convicted on Monday, the attack is believed to have been organised by a criminal called Cyril McGuinness. He died in November 2019, collapsing as police raided his home. Monday's court judgement said it was "almost certain" McGuinness did not act alone, and others beyond those convicted may have been involved.
Below is a fascinating TV report from 2019, weeks after Lunney's ordeal. It provides some context behind the challenges QIH executives were facing, and we would highly recommend watching it.
MONDAY'S OTHER MAIN LINES
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was criticised for missing a debate in the House of Commons on parliamentary standards, in the wake of the sleaze row last week. Johnson was visiting a hospital instead, but was later criticised for that too as he was pictured not wearing a mask.
Fascinating statistics: According to The Guardian, a quarter of all Conservative MPs in the UK have a second job. That's about 90 politicians, an incredibly high number when compared to Labour, who reportedly have three.
Also, The Guardian claims the vast majority of them are older, and 86% of them are male.
Monaco's Princess Charlene is back in the principality after months away that sparked plenty of speculation online. Charlene spent much of the last year back in her native South Africa, where she was reportedly being treated for illness. She has arrived back just ahead of Monaco's National Day on November 19.
Rumours: While the royal couple repeatedly said the separation was due to health reasons, there has always been a lot of speculation around her marriage to Prince Albert. He has been embroiled in a number of scandals over the years, including fathering several children out of wedlock before the pair married in 2011.
Rapper Travis Scott has offered to pay for the funerals of the eight victims who died during his Astroworld festival over the weekend.
Scott is facing multiple lawsuits as the fallout continues and investigations remain ongoing into the event's failings. Many attendees have taken to social media to document the trauma they experienced at the concert.
ON TODAY'S AGENDA...
Will Smith's memoir is releasing today. The actor has made headlines ahead of its release, in particular for comments about how he fell in love with a co-star while still married to his first wife.
He also reportedly considered suicide at the age of 13, watching his father's violence towards his mother.
A Washington Post review says Smith is "self-deprecating but ultimately invincible".
KEEPING AN EYE...
In China, a four-day closed summit is ongoing where it is expected the country's president, Xi Jinping, will solidify his stamp on power.
The Financial Times said the summit is expected to "pave the way for his unprecedented bid for a third term in power next year". We'll keep an eye...
In Abu Dhabi, new laws have been passed on divorce, child custody and inheritance for non-Muslims. The changes include a new court in which proceedings will be conducted in Arabic and English.
Context: According to Al Jazeera, these are the latest in a number of changes the authorities have made to rebrand the emirate as a tourism and business destination - much like neighbouring Dubai.
Victims and those impacted by terror attacks are calling for changes in the rules of how media can report attacks, in an effort to avoid worsening their grief.
An example given was that a sister of one of the Manchester Arena bombing victims was informed of her brother's death when a journalist knocked on her door and asked her for comment.
- BBC News: The man who has lived as a hermit for 40 years
- The Guardian: Tory MP faces bankruptcy over unpaid taxes and may have to step down
- The Financial Times: Tesla shares slide after Musk's Twitter poll backs stake sale worth over $20bn
- Al Jazeera: What 60C temperature could look like for the Middle East
- The Irish Times: Fintan O'Toole: Britain, betrayal and getting Brexit undone
There's a documentary on the BBC at 10pm tonight about the secluded life of a man in the Scottish highlands, who has lived remotely and without electricity or running water for 40 years.
We know it sounds like a random watch, but this article highlights some of the trauma that shaped Ken Smith's decision to take a step back from society.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
Adele: Go Eee-ee-ee-ee-asy on Me...
Tape cassette: Nah