ICYMI: Drought, energy bills and Trump – this week’s five biggest stories, explained

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August 13th 2022

ICYMI: Drought, energy bills and Trump – this week’s five biggest stories, explained
Donadl Trump, nuclear plant in UKraine, bear, Martin Lewis, dry field showing drought.
It’s that time of the week again (Picture: Metro)

It’s hot, we’re all broke, some people think it’s a good idea to set bombs off next to a nuclear plant and it’s also very hot.

That’s it. That’s the news.

You can exit this link and go drink a pint in the beautiful weather (that may well be consequence of the climate change contributing to the demise of our planet).

Have a good weekend.

Nah, we don’t mean that – do get a pint but make sure to read on.

Things are pretty grim but there are always some good bits going on somewhere.

And if Positive Pollies aren’t your type: It’s important to pay attention to the bad bits so we know how to make them stop being bad.

There is also a story about a bear tripping on psychedelic honey in here. And no that was not a typo.

Like we said, it’s hot

England, a country known around the world for its miserable, wet weather, is officially experiencing drought.

The National Drought Group declared a drought in eight parts of the country at midday on Friday, after the dryest July since 1935, with only 35% of average rain for the month falling.

Parched fields and meadows in Finedon, Northamptonshire.
2022’s July has been the dryest July since 1935 with very little rainfall (Picture: PA)
Cracks can be seen on dried up bed of Tittesworth Reservoir, in Leek, Britain, August 12, 2022. REUTERS/Carl Recine
Cracks form on a dried up bed of Tittesworth Reservoir, in Leek, Staffordshire (Picture: Reuters)

The announcement gives water companies the freedom to impose restrictions on customers as a way to save water.

The drought classification covers Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and South London, Hertfordshire and North London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire and the East Midlands.

Yorkshire and the West Midlands are also expected to move into drought status later this month.

Five water companies have so far announced hosepipe bans, affecting almost 19 million people.

The largest comes from Thames Water, which said yesterday the exact date it comes into force will surface ‘in the coming weeks’.

Harsher restrictions could also be put in place, including banning the cleaning of vehicles, buildings and windows. It could also mean water rationing and a ban on sprinklers.

More hosepipe bans could follow as the National Drought Group holds a meeting today (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Water Minister Steve Double said: ‘All water companies have reassured us that essential supplies are still safe, and we have made it clear it is their duty to maintain those supplies.

‘We are better prepared than ever before for periods of dry weather, but we will continue to closely monitor the situation, including impacts on farmers and the environment, and take further action as needed.’

This weekend is this summer’s second heatwave.

While temperatures are not expected to soar to the sweltering 40°C the country saw last month, there is a heat warning in place from Sunday until Tuesday.

Reservoirs and lakes have been running low of water and major wildfires have been breaking out amid bone-dry conditions.

Scientists are predicting heatwaves becoming more common because of climate change.

At the moment, heatwaves like we’re currently experiencing happen only once in 100 to 300 years.

But the Met Office said that by 2100, even with current pledges to reduce emissions this would reduce to just every 15 years.

TL;DR: Anyone looking for their next business venture should seriously consider selling some fans.

Everything is (even more) expensive

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any relief coming for how expensive everything is.

Researchers at energy consultancy Auxilione estimate Ofgem will rise its price cap to £5,038 next year, in the most depressing forecast yet.

The next increase of the cap is due in October – predicted to go up to £3,634 from £1,971 today.

The upcoming increase will likely worry families more than the last on in April, as it will kick in just as people need to start heating their homes in winter.

Someone changing the temperature on their heating.
The next price cap increase will come into effect in October, when people will start using heating (Picture: PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosts energy round table 11/08/2022. London, United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson said he urged energy companies to help with the cost of living crisis (Picture: 10 Downing Street)

Ministers, including Boris Johnson, met with energy companies on Thursday but did not announce any new measures to help.

Instead, the prime minister reminded the public of the support package it announced in May, when it was thought bills would peak at £2,800 in October.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng are set to meet with energy companies today to discuss the upcoming ‘challenging winter’.

But energy businesses insist there is little they can do because the market is ‘globally-influenced’, despite many recording huge profits recently.

Critics have flocked to slam the Government, with Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon calling ministers ‘missing in action’ over the issue.

The Government has argued it cannot make any ‘make significant fiscal decisions’ until a new Conservative leader is chosen in September.

Money expert Martin Lewis has blasted this response, saying: ‘What a load of bull’.

Mr Lewis’s anger was palpable in an interview with Good Morning Britain where he warned of possible civil unrest.

He said: ‘Thankfully we don’t have volcanos in this country, but if we did and it erupted, I would be surprised if the government said they couldn’t call a Cobra meeting.

‘A volcano erupting is an emergency that risks lives, this is a financial emergency that risks lives.’

TL;DR: This price cap really doesn’t know how to cap.

Fighting next to Europe’s biggest nuclear plant

Just in case drought and recession wasn’t enough to ruin your weekend, you can also add fears about a nuclear disaster onto your list.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog chief has warned of a ‘serious, grave hour’ over dangerous fighting taking place near Zaporizhzhia – Europe’s biggest nuclear plant.

Kyiv said the site was hit by explosives fired by invaders five times, including near a radioactive material storage unit.

The Russian defence ministry claimed Ukrainian troops were to blame and that they had damaged a thermal power plant and part of the cooling system.

Kremlin soldiers have occupied the area since March but Ukrainian technicians continue to operate the plant itself, effectively being held at gunpoint.

Chilling footage of fire near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant have led to desperate calls for a demilitarized zone in the area.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant map
Fighting has taken place dangerously close to the power plant (Picture: Metro Graphics)

A poor quality video, shared across social media, shows smoke rising after apparent shelling.

The UN has made an urgent plea for a ceasefire zone to be established around the station to prevent the risk of nuclear catastrophe. 

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said attempts to accuse Moscow of the attack were ‘too absurd to be heard from grown-up, respectable people’.

He told a UN security council meeting: ‘The representative of the Kiev regime was the only person to claim during today’s session that Russia was shelling the Zaporizhzhia NPP and the city of Energodar that it controls.’

TL;DR: Some people never learnt not to run in the house with scissors and it shows.

Donald’s Trump’s house raided by the FBI

Former president Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago residence was raided by the FBI on Monday morning, an unexpected and mad new episode in the long-running Trump Show.

Authorities were tight-lipped about what they were looking for and the rumour machine went into hyperdrive.

The Washington Post reported agents were looking for nuclear weapons documents, with other sources saying Trump may have taken papers from the White House before he left office.

Echoing the demand late Thursday night, Trump dubbed the raid a ‘break-in’.

FBI agents raided ex-President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on Monday in search of classified documents
FBI agents raided ex-President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Monday in search of classified documents (Picture: AP)

The former POTUS, as chill as ever, called it an ‘unprecedented political weaponisation of law enforcement’ which, of course, it wasn’t.

After his public meltdown, the justice department took the unusual step of unsealing crucial documents, including the search warrant.

It happened a day later and the contents was just as explosive as the various rumours suggested it might have been.

The former president was stashing boxes and boxes of top secret documents that were never meant to have left the White House at his home.

They included, mysteriously, ‘info on the French president’, as well as stacks of confidential material.

Trump, the documents revealed, is being investigated under the Espionage Act.

Why? Who the hell knows. What happens next? Who the hell knows even more.

America, you simply never fail to deliver.

TL;DR: Guess the FBI really doesn’t believe in WFH.

Told you it was worth reading on

This week’s news may make you empathise with the path chosen by a bear cub who spent a good few hours completely out of it.

A young bear got high in Turkey, after gorging itself on a type of honey that can make animals trip balls.

The ‘mad honey’, known as ‘deli bal’ in Turkish, is is produced by rhododendrons.

Rescuers found her staggering around a rural part of Duzce province earlier today looking like she’d just wandered bleary-eyed out of a 1960s squat.

The bear was loaded onto the back of a truck, where she managed to get sat upright while appearing to be a little overwhelmed by whatever philosophical conundrum she was pondering.

The bear was taken to the vet and given a once over but she was fine once she came down.

She was eventually released back into the wild, maybe with a new perspective on life and time and whatever.

TL;DR: A bear after Jim Morrison’s own heart.

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(Source : https://metro.co.uk/2022/08/13/icymi-drought-bills-and-trump-this-weeks-five-biggest-stories-17173739/)