Attempt to silence: A potentially explosive trial is being held in London over an alleged plot to kill Netherlands-based Pakistani journalist Waqass Goraya. The court was told by the prosecutor that Muhammad Gohir Khan was hired by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI to kill Goraya for his reports critical of the Pakistani government. Khan, who is alleged to have been offered 100,000 pounds to carry out the killing, was arrested in June last year. He has pleaded not guilty.
Tatas’ kiln investment: Tata Steel has announced a £4 million refurbishment of a major lime-making kiln at its Shapfell site in Cumbria, the Lake District. Tata says this will allow for the more efficient and sustainable supply of critical steelmaking material to its Port Talbot steelworks. Production began after the kiln was mothballed in 2016. This is a signal also of renewed faith in the steelworks at Port Talbot which has been under threat of closure for some time.
The Ashes burn: The England washout Down Under, and it nearly was 5-0 except that Australia offered a let-off at the end of the fourth Test that England was lucky to take, has set off a debate already on getting the team in shape for the next series in Australia in 2025-2026. That distant focus shows how England places the Ashes above all other cricket. Former England bowler Steve Finn stepped in to point out that focusing on the next Ashes is “disrespectful to the other teams you’re playing in between”.
Boris prays for business: Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has his back to the wall, is looking for some early success in trade talks with India to have something to show off to his opponents, and more, his once supporters. The PM has been hiding that Brexit is not delivering. The British government now wants an India trade deal to come to the rescue. This would be the time for the Indian government to bargain hard. There are enough signs though that India may well do the opposite.
Opening up: Britain is due to lift all curbs and nearly all testing soon over Omicron. That makes medical sense of course; it’s far too late in the day for the current limited measures to curb its spread. And the spread, such as it is, is not worrying. But it also makes political sense for Boris Johnson; he wants to win the nation over as bearer of some good news. The spread of anger against Boris Johnson over parties at No. 10 may be harder to contain than the spread of omicron.