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  • The Know Daily - Monday 12 February 2024

The Know Daily - Monday 12 February 2024

🏡 No-fault evictions to be banned, the train travel boom in Europe + Swift at the Super Bowl

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🏡 Reform for renters: No-fault evictions will be banned in England by the next general election, the housing secretary has pledged.

🛤️ On the right track: Austria has announced an ambitious new plan to expand its rail network.

🎒 Sick for school: A government campaign encouraging parents to send their children to school with coughs has been criticised as “patronising”.

The number of wild numbats (not a typo) in Western Australia is much higher than previously thought, a new study has found. The small marsupials - also known as banded anteaters - are critically endangered, so this development has given conservationists cause for celebration.

🏡 Reform for renters

No-fault evictions will be banned in England by the next general election, Housing Secretary Michael Gove has pledged. 

What’s the background?
Gove’s comments - made on the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme - come despite “repeated delays” to legislation that would outlaw the practice of no-fault evictions, said The Independent

While the Renters (Reform) Bill is currently making its way through parliament, ministers had “come under fire” in recent days from housing campaigners who say that change is not happening fast enough, noted The Guardian.

So what has Gove now pledged?
Last year, Gove told Conservative MPs that no fault-evictions would not be abolished until the court system was reformed. But on Sunday, he said that his party will have “outlawed” the practice by the time of the next election, and “put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce that”. 

So what would the bill do?
Under the Renters (Reform) Bill, landlords would only be able to evict tenants in England under “certain circumstances”, explained the BBC. This includes when landlords wish to sell a property or when they or a close family member want to move in. 

Section 21 notices - which allow landlords to remove tenants for no reason with only two months’ notice - are a “major driver of homelessness”, noted The Guardian. Figures released last week showed a “surge” in no-fault evictions, with the number of households repossessed after receiving a section 21 notice rising by 49% last year.

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Which of the following celebrities has not been announced as a contestant on The Great Celebrity Bake Off 2024?

A) Greg James
B) Jodie Whittaker
C) Aimee Lou Wood

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🛤️ On the right track

Austria has announced an ambitious new plan to expand its rail network, as countries on the continent continue to invest in train travel. 

What’s happening in Austria?
The Alpine country is set to add “dozens of new routes and connections” by 2040, as part of an “ongoing effort to broaden the appeal of train travel”, said Euronews.

The draft plan includes a new line between Austria’s Vienna and Germany’s Munich that could see travel times cut by almost half, something which could “also benefit more distant international destinations such as Paris”, Euronews added.

What’s behind the move?
A government minister said that the plan put forward a “rail network for a climate-neutral Austria”, in which “climate protection and good mobility go hand in hand”. 

And it’s not the first time that Austria has hit the headlines for its bold initiatives encouraging more eco-friendly travel. One rather more outrageous initiative saw the government hand out year-long railcards for free - provided that beneficiaries got a tattoo.

What’s the bigger picture?
According to The Guardian’s Nicky Gardner, “the unstoppable rail renaissance continues apace” across the Channel - unlike in the UK. December saw the reopening of the iconic Paris-Berlin night train, with the Brussels-Berlin sleeper service set to be extended to Prague in March 2024.

🎒 Sick for school: A government campaign encouraging parents to send their children to school with coughs and colds has been criticised as “patronising” and “dangerous”. 

🏥 NHS workforce milestone: One in five NHS staff in England are non-UK nationals - the highest proportion since records began - according to new figures that show the “pivotal role” international workers play in sustaining the NHS. 

💰 Savings shortfall: More than 11 million working-age people in Britain have less than £1,000 in savings, according to a new study by the Resolution Foundation.

💨 UK’s vaping capital: Amid the upcoming ban on disposable vapes, a new study mapping the number of vape stores across the country has identified this city as the UK’s “vape capital”. 

🇺🇸 Super Bowl Swifty: Taylor Swift “stole the spotlight” as she supported her NFL player boyfriend Travis Kelce at last night’s Super Bowl. Even tennis legend Andy Murray was a fan.

This recipe for aloo matar, via Cook with Manali. 

Come for: A delicious and warming bowl of pea and potato curry - which is even tastier when eaten the next day.

Stay for: A relatively cheap meal, especially if you already have the spices at home.

Recommended by Esther, who thinks this is tastiest when served with garlic naan. 

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Trivia answer: C) Aimee Lou Wood has not been announced as a Celebrity Bake Off contestant - although the line-up is still pretty star-studded.

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