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  • The Know Daily - Wednesday 24 January 2024

The Know Daily - Wednesday 24 January 2024

📮 A Royal Mail shake-up, Trump wins the New Hampshire primary + an ear wax warning.

Read in 5m 26s Listening to Abba ∙ Share us to your socials ☝️

📮 Royal Mail shake-up: The struggling postal service could be allowed to cut delivery days from six per week to just three.

🍣 A re-eel-istic imitation: The world’s first lab-grown freshwater eel meat has been unveiled.

🇺🇸 Trump triumphs: The race for the Republican presidential nomination is “all but over”.

Pets can no longer be given out as prizes at funfairs in Wales, after all 22 councils in the country outlawed the controversial practice. The news follows an RSPCA campaign called “No Fun At The Fair”, which is now calling on the Welsh government to introduce an outright ban. 

📮 Royal Mail shake-up

Royal Mail could be allowed to cut delivery days from six per week to just three as part of a series of cost-saving options outlined by Ofcom, the industry regulator.

So the post wouldn’t arrive from Monday to Saturday?
That’s right. Letters and parcels sent via Royal Mail currently get “delivered nationwide, six days a week, for a fixed price” under something called the universal service obligation (USO), said The Guardian.

Now Ofcom has released a “much-anticipated review” of the postal service, laying out a series of options for the future of the USO and Royal Mail in general. 

What are some of the options?
Reducing the number of days a week that the post is delivered is the main one. In its report, Ofcom estimated that cutting delivery days from six to five could save the company between £100-200m, while cutting postal days to three a week could save up to £650m.

Ofcom suggested making a change which could see most letters “delivered through a service taking up to three days or longer, with a next-day service still available for any urgent letters”, explained Sky News.

Why does Royal Mail need reforming?
Over the years, the volume of letters being sent has plummeted while costs have gone up, and Royal Mail has said that it is “simply not sustainable” to maintain its current delivery network. The company was fined £5.5m by Ofcom just before Christmas because of missing delivery targets.

What has the response been?
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has said that a three-day delivery service would “destroy” Royal Mail and impact tens of thousands of jobs. Its general secretary has ruled out supporting the proposal.

Anything else I should know?
The CWU “may find unlikely support from the Conservative government in Downing Street”, said Sky News.

Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson indicated earlier this week that the PM is not in favour of relaxing the company’s six-day delivery commitment - and a change to the USO would “require primary legislation, and a vote by MPs in the Commons”, pointed out The Guardian.

🙋‍♀️ TRIVIA TIME

A copy of the book Great Prime Ministers was recently returned to an Essex library, 44 years after it was first taken out. How many different PMs have led the UK since the book was borrowed?

A) 8
B) 10
C) 12

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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🍣 A re-eel-istic imitation

The world’s first lab-grown freshwater eel meat has been unveiled, as the cultivated meat industry continues to grow.

Why do we need lab-grown eels, exactly?
The overfishing of eels has turned the “aquatic delicacy” into an “endangered species”, said Asia Food Journal. The publication explained that the “immense popularity” of eel meat in Asia, Europe and the US is posing “significant challenges” for suppliers struggling to keep up with demand. 

The development of cultivated freshwater eel meat - by Israel-based startup Forsea Foods - could therefore help diners to enjoy the delicacy “guilt-free”, said The Guardian.

Okay… so how exactly is it made?
Cultivated meat is “genuine animal meat” grown directly from animal cells, according to the Good Food Institute (GFI) think tank - and Forsea’s lab-grown eel is no different. The startup produces the meat using the embryonic cells of a freshwater eel, mimicking the natural process of cell formation.

Got it. And is cultivated meat better for the environment?
Most probably. According to The Guardian, it’s expected to have a “much lower environmental footprint” than meat from livestock - while the GFI said that cultivated seafood would help avoid “overfishing” and “the destruction of precious marine habitats”.

Last but not least - how does the eel taste?
Forsea’s chief executive said his company worked hard to capture the “unique umami flavour” of eel - but that further work is needed before the product will go on sale.

Only a few companies have so far received regulatory approval to sell cultivated meat products. Back in 2020, the US-based lab-grown-meat startup Eat Just became the first to sell cultivated chicken to the public in Singapore. “This way of eating makes sense for the future,” said its chief executive. 

Would you give lab-grown eel a try?

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🇺🇸 Trump triumphs: The race for the Republican presidential nomination is “all but over”, said the BBC, after Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary last night. 

👂 Ear wax warning: People with ear wax buildup are facing a “postcode lottery” in accessing free NHS removal services, a leading charity has said. 

⭐ How many stars?: Fake reviews and hidden online fees are to be banned, affecting things like “tickets for trains and the cinema” but not optional fees such as “airline seats and luggage upgrades”.

🐧 Penguins pictured: Four new emperor penguin colonies have been identified in Antarctica via satellite imagery.

🎥 Oscar noms 2024: The nominations for the 96th Academy Awards are in. Here’s the lowdown on which films are leading the pack - and those which were not “kenough”.

Come for: An app which lets you browse and buy the best indie food and drink. Think: your local farmers’ market… but online. 

Stay for: Pickles, kimchi, broth bases, wine, granola - you name it, they’ve got it.

Recommended by Esther, who recently bought this chilli oil on DELLI and is eagerly awaiting the next drop!

 

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Trivia answer: B) 10 different prime ministers have led the UK in the time since the book was borrowed - and you’ll be pleased to know that the late fee was waived.

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