Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 24 Jan 2020

1

Coronavirus: UK tests for suspected cases as death toll climbs

The Chinese authorities have imposed travel restrictions on at least ten cities in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly coronovirus sweeping the country, as the death toll from the outbreak hits 26. Public Health England says 14 people have been tested for the virus after arriving in the UK from China, with five confirmed negative and the rest waiting for the results.

2

HS2 running a decade behind schedule

The HS2 rail link from London to the North is running a decade behind schedule and it is impossible to predict the total cost of the project, according to the National Audit Office. The spending watchdog says the first phase of the high-speed rail link may not be fully up and running until 2036, or possibly even later unless work starts within the next two months. Boris Johnson is to decide next month whether to continue with the project.

3

Storm Gloria: 13 killed and four missing

At least 13 people have been killed and a further four are missing as strong winds and heavy rain batter parts of Spain. The government is holding an emergency meeting today to coordinate the response to Storm Gloria, which has triggered floods and washed away roads after sweeping across the north and east of the country. 

4

US rejects Harry Dunn extradition request

The US has refused to extradite Anne Sacoolas to the UK to be charged with causing the death of 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn by driving on the wrong side of the road. Sacoolas, married to a US intelligence officer, fled Britain following the fatal accident in Northamptonshire in August, claiming diplomatic immunity. 

5

Sopranos actor tells court of Weinstein ‘rape’

Actor Annabella Sciorra yesterday became the first of six women expected to testify against Harvey Weinstein at the disgraced movie mogul’s rape trial. The Sopranos star told a Manhattan court that Weinstein held her wrists over her head and raped her after forcing his way into her apartment following an industry dinner they both attended in 1993 or 1994.

6

Johnson met Murdoch on day election bid was announced

Boris Johnson met with media mogul Rupert Murdoch last year on the day when Downing Street announced the prime minister would be seeking an autumn election if his Brexit plans were blocked, according to new transparency disclosures. Murdoch - whose considerable political influence has triggered much controversy - was the only media owner to meet with Johnson during the first three months of his premiership, although the PM saw a number of editors from the right-wing media.

7

Embassy finds coronavirus ‘cheat’ in France

The Chinese embassy in Paris says it has found a tourist from the city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak who boasted online that she had “cheated” health checks to be allowed to travel to France for a holiday despite having a fever. The Wahun resident said on Chinese social media that she had taken pills to reduce her temperature. The embassy has now confirmed that her symptoms are under control.

8

Tesco bins multipack plastic wraps

Tesco is ditching the use of plastic to wrap multipacks of tinned products, winning praise from environmental groups. The supermarket giant is working with companies including Heinz and Green Giant to replace plastic-wrapped multipacks with multibuy deals. Greenpeace has welcomed the decision to get rid of what the charity describes as “pointless plastic”.

9

Countdown until cookies baked in space are eaten

The first products baked in space are awaiting testing – and eating – in a laboratory in Texas, it has been announced. The chocolate chip cookies were made on the International Space Station in December and returned to Earth two weeks ago. Each cookie took two hours to bake in a zero-gravity oven – far longer than the 20 minutes or so required on Earth.

10

Briefing: Mexico murder rate hits all-time high

Mexico’s murder rate soared to a record high of 34,582 last year - an average of 95 killings a day, according to newly released official data.

The country has been “plagued with violence since 2006, when the government deployed the military to wage the so-called war on drugs”, says Al Jazeera. So what has gone wrong - and can anything be done to cut the death toll?

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