With everything that’s been going on recently, it’s no surprise to us to hear that many people are going to great effort to avoid the news. But while that might feel like a necessary safeguard from anxiety, knowledge is power.
That’s why, each week, we round up the stories you need to know about. They’re not always the events that make the front page. Rather, these are the headlines we think women who rise need to be aware of.
Red Cross blasts ‘inhumane’ proposals for UK migration system
Refugees who arrive in Britain by boat will be indefinitely liable for removal, even if they are granted asylum, according to new immigration proposals outlined by Priti Patel.
The home secretary unveiled “the biggest overhaul of the UK’s asylum system in decades” on Wednesday, outlining punishing new regulations for those who arrive via illegal routes.
Patel insisted those coming to the UK by boat or via cargo vehicles “could and should have claimed asylum” elsewhere in their journeys.
But the plan has been vehemently criticised by experts including the UNHCR and Red Cross, which described plans for a two-tier system as “inhumane”.
Man arrested after brutal assault on pregnant Jewish woman
A man has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, after a pregnant woman was brutally assaulted while walking on the street in north London.
The woman, who is Jewish and said to be 27-weeks pregnant, was repeatedly punched by her attacker after he snuck up behind her and threw a pillowcase over her head.
The attack was caught on CCTV and reported by the local Shomrim neighbourhood watch group, which said attacks on Jewish women had become more common in the area.
The group has since released a CCTV image and appealed for witnesses to come forward.
A man in his late 50s was later arrested at a residential address in the city.
Salmond launches new party to take on SNP in Scotland
Alex Salmond has launched a new pro-independence political party in a bid to secure his return to Holyrood in the upcoming May election.
The former SNP leader said Alba, which is expected to field candidates in every regional list, would seek to build a super-majority for independence in the next Scottish Parliament.
The move came just 48 hours after Salmond threatened further legal action against Scotland’s most senior civil servant over the botched investigation of sexual harassment claims against him.
Meanwhile, a second independent inquiry, carried out by James Hamilton, this week cleared Nicola Sturgeon of breaching the ministerial code during that investigation of Salmond’s conduct.
She later survived a no confidence vote brought by the Conservative Party, telling her opponents “If you want to remove me as first minister, do it in an election.”
UK urged to rethink aid cuts to Syria
The UN has urged the UK not to push ahead with plans to slash aid to Syria, warning the move could further destabilise the country.
The UN’s chief humanitarian coordinator, Mark Lowcock, described British cutbacks as a “grave step in the wrong direction” at a time when a $10bn appeal for aid is being launched.
Mr Lowcock warned the move could also backfire on Britain, insisting: “In 2014 our appeal was poorly funded. In 2015 there was a huge exodus of people from Syria to Europe.”
His comments came after the government was warned its planned cutbacks were against the law and could lead to a judicial review as well as a backbench rebellion.
China bans MPs and boycotts brands over Uighur abuse sanctions
China this week banned nine of its most vocal British critics, including academics and MPs, accusing them of spreading “lies and disinformation” about the country’s human rights record.
The sanctions came in retaliation for new measures against the country from the UK, EU, US and Canada, taken in response to the continuing imprisonment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
China has denied carrying out torture, forced labour and sexual abuse at camps where Uighars are being held, claiming they are education centres working to combat terrorism.
The bans on critics were imposed as shoppers in China began to boycott a number of Western fashion brands over their refusal to purchase cotton linked to forced labour in Xinjiang.
Call for calm amid protests outside cartoon row school
The ongoing row over the use of a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in a school classroom is being exploited by parties on both sides, critics have claimed.
Politicians and religious leaders have called for calm following parental protests outside West Yorkshire’s Batley Grammar School, later blasted by government ministers.
Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative cabinet minister, told the BBC the “matter has been hijacked by extremists on both sides to kind of create this culture war.”
The school has apologised “unequivocally” for the use of the image in a lesson, and the teacher responsible has been suspended.
But both Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson have waded into the row, describing the protests in turn as “unsettling” and “unacceptable”.
Amazon under fire over driver bathroom breaks
Amazon is under renewed pressure to review its treatment of employees, amid claims delivery workers are being forced to urinate in bottles due to a lack of bathroom access.
The firm initially denied its drivers were forgoing comfort breaks, until a memo leaked to The Intercept revealed bosses had been aware of the issue for almost a year.
Leaked internal communications show the company issued staff with a warning about leaving human waste products in its vehicles, and threatened disciplinary action.
Workers say they’ve been finding it impossible to meet delivery targets during the pandemic and also take the time to seek out public bathrooms open during lockdowns.