News To Know: your speedy end-of-the-week news round-up

Photo credit: Jaime Lee
Photo credit: Jaime Lee

We're living in a world where's there's a constant plethora of news – and it can be hard to stay on top of it all. Here, our 'News To Know' round-up, has you covered for the week, with our pick of six big stories (so that you can blag your way through any conversation in the pub or at brunch over the weekend)...

1) Deborah James (Bowel Babe) announced she's receiving end of life care and raised over £4 million

In a heartbreaking message to her 611,000 followers on social media on 9 May, 40-year-old bowel cancer campaigner Deborah James (who goes by the alias Bowel Babe) said that she is now sadly receiving end of life care. "I know we've left no stone unturned, but even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can’t continue anymore," she said in her Instagram post.

Deborah also used this incredibly poignant moment to publicise the launch of the Bowel Babe Fund, which she and her family have created to support medical research projects and relevant charities, like Cancer Research UK. In just a few short days, donations have passed £4 million and Deborah has been awarded a Damehood for her exceptional contributions to the world.

You can donate to the Bowel Babe Fund here

2) Spain are set to introduce paid menstrual leave

Spanish politicians are planning to introduce paid menstrual leave for female workers, marking a huge stride for women’s rights in Europe. If approved, the bill – which is still in the draft phase but was leaked to Spanish media outlets – will see women offered three days of leave each month. Under the bill, sick leave for painful periods will need to be signed off by a doctor, and there’s potential for this to be extended to five days for particularly intense pain. However, it’s believed that the bill will not apply to those who experience only mild discomfort.

As for whether this is something we can expect to see happen in the UK anytime soon, it’s possible, particularly thanks to period equality campaigners like Bloody Good Employers – who’ve been pushing for menstrual leave here in the UK for some time (with one report saying it's "essential" we implement a similar policy to Spain).

3) Tory MP Lee Anderson sparks outrage by saying 'poor people need to learn how to cook better'

Conservative party MP, Lee Anderson, has refused to apologise for saying - in the midst of a cost of living crisis - that people who use food banks should just 'learn to cook' and 'budget better'. He also spoke proudly of a food bank in his constituency that refuses to allow anyone to collect a parcel without signing up for budgeting and cookery classes. When asked if it was wrong that food banks should be in such high demand in Britain today, Anderson said there's not a "this massive use" for them [when in actuality the number of people using them has gone up by 14% in the past year]. He added that the 'real' issue is we're seeing "generation after generation who cannot cook properly" and "cannot budget".

The Trades Union Congress said his comments show "how out of touch Conservative MPs and ministers are with the cost-of-living emergency", explaining that for many, benefits being slashed as bills continue to soar have left many trapped in a cycle of poverty. Food bank charity, the Trussell Trust, says in order to keep up with the cost of living, benefits should be raised by 7%.

4) Depp v Heard takes a break

After weeks of high drama courtroom content, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's defamation case has been put on pause and many were left wondering why. Quite simply, it was so that Judge Penney Azcarate, who is ruling over the case, could attend a conference. It's said that Depp has used the time to rest, "hang out with old friends, play music, and take long walks in the countryside in Europe". Proceedings are set to resume on Monday (16 May).

Photo credit: JIM LO SCALZO
Photo credit: JIM LO SCALZO

5) Meanwhile, the Rebekah Vardy v Coleen Rooney trial got underway

Over a year and a half after Rooney's now infamous tweet, which accused Vardy of leaking fake stories about her private life to the press, the libel trial has commenced. Rooney claimed she'd carried out a months-long “sting operation”, and allegedly found that three false stories she’d posted on her private Instagram account were sold to The Sun by Vardy.

Vardy has denied the claims made against her by Rooney, and when she did not receive an apology for the accusation, she decided to proceed with legal action. So far, the biggest revelations have seen Vardy accuse Rooney of causing her assistant to have “suicidal thoughts” as well as “weaponising her fanbase against me”. The trial is expected to last for seven days although, ironically, the pair’s legal fees will far outweigh any damages that might be awarded.

6) Labour leader Kier Starmer says he'll resign if fined over 'Beergate'

Leader of the Labour party, Kier Starmer, said he'll resign if found guilty of any wrongdoing after the Met pledged to investigate 'Beergate' (which is essentially photos of him standing around a table of takeaway food in the office and holding a bottle of beer). Labour have said the food was an impromptu delivery to the office after a continued long day and evening of campaign work – rather than a full-on Christmas knees-up, like the Conservatives were caught having.

Many now think the Tories are trying to use this as an opportunity to deflect away from the fact that over 100 fines have been handed out to government staff, relating to their parties during the pandemic. Many are pointing out the interesting contrast between Starmer's and Prime Minister Boris Johnson's responses to being hauled over hot coals for alleged bad behaviour, saying that in offering to step down if found at fault, the former shows integrity lacked by the PM.

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