⏳ Wednesday Fix: Bad Sport
It's a bad day of headlines in the world of sport - a watershed moment for cricket, a footballer facing further rape charges, mounting concerns for a tennis player, and could a chairman resign over the sportswashing debate?
TUESDAY'S TOP LINES
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is in favour of a ban on MPs haveing second jobs as paid policital consultants, as the fallout over the 'sleaze' row continues.
The statement was released - by no coincidence - just as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer began a press conference about how he would ban nearly all second jobs for MPs.
Acknowledging the u-turn in stance, Johnson's spokesperson said;
“We have changed our approach in recognition of the strength of feeling and the need to ensure that the public continues to have faith in the strength of the rules that guide parliamentarians.”
It is undoubtedly going to be the top topic at Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) laster today. Since the statement, the clip below of Boris Johnson - while serving as Mayor of London - has resurfaced. In it, Boris Johnson refers to a £250,000 salary from a second job with The Telegraph as "chicken feed".
The Irish government has announced its "largest ever" redress scheme for survivors of the mother and baby homes. According to RTÉ News, an estimated 34,000 people will be financially compensated from a fund of €800m. A national memorial was also announced.
Who will be entitled to financial compensation? A mother who was in one of the homes for any length of time, and any child who spent more than six months there.
What were the mother and baby homes? For decades, Ireland's Catholic church was incredibly dominant and had immense influence over society. Women who got pregnant outside of marriage were often ostracised by their families and communities, and many were sent to these homes. Often run by nuns, many mothers and children have spoken of the horrific abuse they endured during their time in these homes. The last one closed in the 1990s.
*In the email version of the newsletter this morning, we accidentally wrote 'nurses' instead of nuns when describing who often ran these homes. Apologies for any confusion.
A number of Australian women are suing the government of Qatar, following a pretty unbelievable ordeal they experienced at Doha airport.
What happened? Last October, a newborn baby was found in a bathroom bin in Doha airport. Following the discovery of the baby, a number of women were taken off a Qatar Airways plane and were forced to undergo invasive medical examinations to see whether or not they might have been the person who gave birth. The women were allegedly given no explanation - nor choice - regarding why they had to be examined.
Manchester City footballer Benjamin Mendy has been charged with two further counts of rape.
Mendy is now facing a total of six charges of rape, and another charge of sexual assault. According to Sky Sports, all of the charges relate to four women over the age of 16. The alleged crimes occurred between October 2020 and August of this year.
Worth noting: Another man who is co-accused alongside Mendy, faces similar charges relating to the alleged incidents.
Mendy has been denied bail a number of times since August, was suspended from Manchester City, and is due to appear in court today.
There are mounting concerns for Chinese tennis star, Peng Shuai, who has not been heard from publicly since accusing the country's former vice-premier of forcing her to have sex with him. The pair are understand to have had an on/off consensual affair for years.
Remember: Peng made the extraordinary allegation on Weibo, the country's equivalent to Facebook. However, within half an hour the post was deleted and a major censorship effort was made to prevent any online conversation about the matter.
Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq gave a damning testimony on racism in cricket on Tuesday, amid the ongoing fallout over how he says he was treated at the club.
During the emotional testimony, Rafiq accused those at the club of "not being bothered" when he received a call in 2017 to say his wife had miscarried.
What happened? Last summer, Azeem Rafiq said he was left feeling suicidal by how he was treated at the club. Below is a full explainer from our Instagram page.
KEEPING AN EYE...
There are widespread reports that the Chairman of England's Premier League is set to resign amid backlash over the Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United.
Sky News was the first to report it, saying the expected resignation would come "just days before the publication of a review aimed at strengthening the regulation of English football".
Remember... there has been weeks of backlash and debate over the purchase of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. The club - and football in general - have faced accusations of sportswashing, allowing Saudi Arabia to buy their influence despite concerns over the country's human rights record.
Is Britney Spears going to speak to Oprah? Well, nothing is confirmed, but Spears did give "a hint of her thoughts" in an Instagram video "before I go and set things square on Oprah".
Anyway, in the caption Britney once again said her family "should be in jail" for what she endured, describing it as both "demoralising and degrading".
A judge decided to officially end Britney's controversial conservatorship last Friday, after more than 13 years.
In Ireland, a number of measures are to be reintroduced, following concerns over the number of people in hospital with coronavirus. Below are some of the key measures;
- From Thursday, bars restaurants and nightclubs will have to close by midnight
- From Friday, work from home wherever possible (teachers excluded)
- A Covid pass will be required to enter the cinema or theatre
- BBC News: Warning of antibiotic resistant infection pandemic
- The Guardian: Prince Andrew's £1.5m loan paid off by firms linked to Tory donor - report
- The Financial Times: Germany suspends certification of Nord Stream 2 pipeline
- Al Jazeera: Ugandan capital hit by twin suicide bombings, three dead: police
- The Irish Times: Covid-19: new restrictions announced for first time since last winter
WHAT TO WATCH?
Tiger King season 2 is set to be released on Netflix later today.
Not familiar with it? Back at the beginning of the pandemic, the series about the wild world of cat lovers went viral, and was viewed by more than 64 million people. Here is a great read with all the background you need, and below is the trailer.
MAGICAL START TO THE NEW YEAR
The main Harry Potter cast will reunite and reminisce on the movie franchise for a HBO special that will air on January 1.
We did a quiz on our Instagram page yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of the first movie. While it was a tightly fought race all evening, a majority - 58% of you - prefer the books to the movies.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
You sure you meant to do that, Dad? 🥺