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BBC Front Page News

Girl held and stripped twice by male prison staffGirl held and stripped twice by male prison staff

Inspectors were "deeply shocked" by the treatment of a girl at Wetherby Young Offender Institution.

Children starving to death in northern Gaza - WHOChildren starving to death in northern Gaza - WHO

The World Health Organisation chief says 10 children have died due to lack of food in northern Gaza.

UN finds 'convincing information' of sexual violence against hostagesUN finds 'convincing information' of sexual violence against hostages

The UN also found "reasonable grounds to believe" rapes took place during Hamas's 7 October attack.

Councils to be told to cut diversity plans in BudgetCouncils to be told to cut diversity plans in Budget

The chancellor will urge councils to reduce wasteful spending but councillors say it is a distraction.

AskTen - Nine things you may not have noticed last week!

1. How to give feedback that crosses cultures. Giving critical feedback is an essential part of a leader’s job. But people in Shanghai don't provide feedback in the same way as people in Strasbourg or Stockholm, so how can you do your job when you're working across cultures? READ MORE

2. Do women CEOs face a 'glass cliff'? When Helena Helmersson suddenly resigned as CEO of H&M last month, her departure sparked emotion and interest - particularly having come on the heels of exits from other high-profile female leaders. Serving in her position for four years, Helmersson appears to be part of a concerning trend of short tenures among women CEOs. In 2023, male Fortune 500 CEOs served for an average of 7.2 years, while women averaged 4.5 years. A previous study revealed a similar pattern: Women CEOs tended to last on average 6.6 years, while men stayed nearly 10 years. One reason experts cite is that women are often subjected to a "glass cliff", appointed to leadership roles in turbulent times, which sets them up for failure. Fortune

3. Should letter deliveries be reduced? Posties are currently required to deliver letters six days per week, Monday to Saturday. Royal Mail is required to deliver 93% of first-class post within one working day and 98.5% of second class within three working days. But in 2022-23, the company delivered only 73.7% of first class and 90.7% of second-class mail on time, and Ofcom imposed a £5.6m fine. The number of letters being posted has halved from 14.3 billion in 2011 to 7.3 billion in 2023. Despite hiking the price of stamps four times in two years, to £1.35 for first-class and 85p for second-class, Royal Mail has struggled, posting a £319m loss in the first half of the current financial year. Would you be happy to see changes to Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation? VOTE HERE

4. HMRC slammed as phone line waits get even longer. Customer service at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is at an all-time low as phone line waiting times continue to deteriorate, according to MPs. Nearly two-thirds of taxpayers were forced to wait more than 10 minutes to speak to an adviser, a committee found. The average wait for a call to HMRC to be answered was 16 minutes and 24 seconds in the year to April 2023, according to the report by the Public Accounts Committee. That compares with 12 minutes and 22 seconds the previous year. Some 63% of callers waited more than 10 minutes to speak to an adviser, up from 46% in 2021-22. Meanwhile. taxpayers are being pursued by HMRC for trivial amounts of debt. The committee said this proportion had increased every year since 2018-19. BBC

5. Insolvencies set to grow. The number of business insolvencies is set to accelerate globally, with Allianz predicting a 9% rise in 2024 compared to last year. The analysis, deemed a "reality check", is particularly concerning for the UK - the most exposed of major European economies - where 15% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are deemed fragile, ahead of France (14%), Italy (9%) and Germany (7%). With inflation and interest rates still high, along with an under-pressure discretionary spending, over 7,000 UK firms could default in 2024 if current insolvency rates in vulnerable sectors like construction, real estate and hospitality continue. Allianz data shows that the United States (28%), Spain (28%) and the Netherlands (31%) will experience the largest year-on-year spikes in company bankruptcy in 2024. Yahoo

 

6. Is Europe's energy crisis over? The energy price cap in Great Britain will fall by £238 to £1,690 this spring, marking the lowest level since March 2022. Although still higher than pre-crisis rates, this could be a sign that the worst of the energy emergency may be over. The drop mirrors declining prices across Europe, with the benchmark Dutch rate for gas down over 50% from last year. While disruptions to Red Sea cargoes sparked fears of further spikes, these have not yet materialised. However, risks remain - a manufacturing rebound, or supply issues could still drive costs back up. And as caps fall, energy debt persists as a problem, with vulnerable household budgets still facing unsustainability. The Guardian

7. Global house prices hit turning point. Global house prices may have stabilised after a widespread decline due to rapid interest rate hikes by central banks in their fight against inflation. Analysis of OECD data shows that nominal house prices across 37 industrialised countries grew 2.1% in the third quarter of 2023 compared to near stagnation at the start of last year. Economists predict the deepest property downturn in a decade has finally hit a turning point. The data shows some countries like Germany, Sweden and Denmark may see further falls, but even then, the worst may be over. While the housing market may be recovering for many countries, in the UK, Canada and Australia, price pressures had remained high due to migration and restrictive planning permission. The Financial Times

8. Young workers suffer ill health. Young people with mental health problems are more likely to be out of work than their healthy peers, new UK research has revealed. Between 2018 and 2022, one in five (21%) 18-24-year-olds with mental health problems were workless, compared to 13% of those without mental health problems, the report by the Resolution Foundation has found. The study also shows that younger workers can end up unemployed or going into low-paid jobs due to the impact of mental health problems on their education. Four in five (79%) 18-24-year-olds who are workless due to ill health only have qualifications at GCSE level or below, compared to a third (34%) of all people in that age group. Louise Murphy of the Resolution Foundation called for action on the issue, saying without concerted cross-government support, "We risk creating a 'lost generation' due to ill health". The Guardian

9. The marvel of modern chip making. Semiconductors are the lifeblood of the modern economy, but making them as powerful as they need to be to run today's devices has become incredibly difficult. The high-end chips in our phones and laptops contain significant numbers of transistors. These are essentially tiny switches that are impossible to see with the human eye. Only three companies in the world can build these premium, transistor-packed chips: TSMC, Samsung and Intel. Meanwhile, Netherlands-headquartered ASML is the only company in the world that makes the lithography machine needed to etch the necessary microscopic patterns onto each silicon wafer. Each machine is $150m (€138m; £119m), the size of a bus, and so precise their lasers could hit a golf ball on the moon. The Financial Times

10. The bottom line. The number of obese people worldwide now stands at 1.38B, according to an analysis by medical journal The Lancet. This marks the first time the number of obese people has surpassed one billion. About 879 million adults and 159 million children were found to be obese around the world. CNN

Covid Updates for Lancashire

Click the the latest news on Covid within Freckleton https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274