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  • The Know Daily - Tuesday 30 January 2024

The Know Daily - Tuesday 30 January 2024

🤝 The DUP deal, a brain-chip implant first + all the train strike info.

Read in 5m 31s Listening to Green Day ∙ Share us to your socials ☝️

🤝 DUP deal: The Democratic Unionist Party has agreed to a deal to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland, subject to UK government legislation.

💰 Angel investment: The UK Treasury has been urged to rethink an upcoming rule change which could directly impact female founders.

🧠 Neuron news: Elon Musk says his brain-chip startup Neuralink has implanted a wireless chip into a human for the first time.

With the help of volunteers, the National Trust is planting more than 100,000 trees across north Devon to boost the region’s temperate rainforests. These are some of the UK’s “most magical but endangered environments”, according to The Guardian, and home to a unique variety of flora and fauna.

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🤝 DUP deal

The Democratic Unionist Party has agreed a deal to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland, subject to UK government legislation.

What’s the story?
In the early hours of this morning, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson announced that his party would end its boycott of the Stormont assembly after nearly two years. 

The announcement followed a “fraught five hour meeting” of the party’s executive, said The Guardian, and comes after “months of tortuous negotiations” between the UK government and the DUP. 

What was behind the DUP boycott?
The power-sharing model - devised as part of the Good Friday Agreement - requires the Stormont executive to be made up of representatives from both nationalist and unionist parties.

But in February 2022, the DUP collapsed the government in protest at post-Brexit trade arrangements that have “created trade barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, explained Sky News.

So what’s changed?
For months now, talks have been taking place between the DUP and UK government over these trade rules. Donaldson said the deal agreed with Westminster would “remove checks on goods moving within the UK and remaining in Northern Ireland”.

Why is this a big deal? 
The DUP’s boycott has meant that Stormont has not been able to operate - delaying important legislation and leaving officials “unable to make vital decisions on changes to public spending”, said The Guardian.

In December, the UK government offered a £3.3bn financial package to fund public services, but said it was conditional on the DUP returning to Stormont.

What happens now?
The specific details of the deal “have yet to be published”, noted the BBC, but Donaldson said he believed Westminster could move “quickly” to bring forward the agreed legislation. 

If power-sharing is restored, Irish republican party Sinn Féin - the largest party in the most recent election - is in line to take the first minister position for the first time.

🙋‍♀️ TRIVIA TIME

Which Canadian-American singer-songwriter is set to make her debut performance at this year’s Grammy Awards at the age of 80?

A) Dolly Parton
B) Joni Mitchell
C) Celine Dion

Scroll to the very bottom for the answer.

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💰 Fighting for female founders

The UK Treasury has been urged to reverse an upcoming rule change that would see fewer women able to angel invest in startups. 

What’s the story?
From 31 January, the income threshold needed to qualify as a “high net worth individual” is set to increase from £100,000 to £170,000. This will result in fewer individuals qualifying as angel investors (in other words, those who provide initial seed money for startups) - and impact women the hardest.

How, exactly?
The rule change will result in a “huge reduction” in the number of women able to invest in startups on the basis of income, said Sifted EU

According to estimates, the number of women meeting these new income thresholds is just 72,500 in England (compared with 291,000 men), only 500 in Wales and zero in Northern Ireland.

Why does it matter?
Writing on LinkedIn, founder and investor Becky Lodge acknowledged that the rule change may seem “like a top 1% issue”, but emphasised that it is also “excluding more women and minorities from being actively involved in angel investing”. 

This is problematic because only 2% of venture capital funding (investment which tends to come from banks and other institutions) goes to female founders, who therefore have to rely heavily on angel investment. Moreover, as AllBright co-founder Anna Jones noted, “female angels often back women [founders]”. 

What’s being done about it?
Over 500 firms and investors have now signed an open letter urging Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to backtrack over the planned rule change on the grounds that “female and underrepresented founders will be hit hardest”. 

A public petition has also been launched to lobby the UK government on the issue - you can sign it here.

We’ve teamed up with LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor to answer your biggest contraception questions, from which method is the most effective to how it might impact your skin.

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🧠 Neuron news: Elon Musk says his brain-chip startup Neuralink has implanted a wireless chip into a human for the first time. 

🏠 Council tax rise: Officials have suggested that the maximum possible 4.99% increase will be applied to council tax in April - adding around £100 to a typical band D council tax bill.

🚂 Train pain: Thousands of trains have been cancelled due to a strike over pay which began today and will continue region-by-region until 5 February. Find the full strike schedule here.

🎵 Misogyny in Music report: The chair of a new report from a committee of MPs has called for a “shift in the behaviour of men” in the music industry after it found misogyny and discrimination to be “endemic” in the sector.

🐧 Penguins and planes: Passengers on board a recent flight from New Zealand’s Wellington Airport had a rather unusual excuse for being late: there was a penguin on the runway.

Come for: Comedian Sara Barron and her husband Geoff Lloyd’s hilarious and rec-heavy TV podcast. 

Stay for: Finding out about great shows you didn’t know existed - and hearing Sara’s funny takedowns of the series she wasn’t so keen on (hello And Just Like That…).

Recommended by Kate, who loved listening to Sara and Geoff’s Succession podcast and think they make an incredible double act. 

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Trivia answer: B) The Big Yellow Taxi singer is nominated for best folk album and will be performing at the Grammy Awards on 4 February.

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