Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 7 Feb 2020

1

Coronavirus: dozens of new cases on cruise ship

Another 41 cases of the new strain of coronavirus have been confirmed on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan. A total of 61 passengers on the Diamond Princess are now known to be infected with the virus, which has killed a total of more than 630 people, the majority in China. A third person in the UK has been diagnosed with the infection after reportedly returning from a trip to Singapore.

2

Tate pusher Bravery ‘told carer of plan’

An autistic teenager who threw a six-year-old boy off the balcony of the Tate Modern gallery last summer had told his care workers that he planned to murder “anyone” at a London landmark, it has emerged. Jonty Bravery, 18, is heard making the threat in an audio clip obtained by the BBC. A care worker claims that opportunities to stop Bravery were missed, but care provider Spencer & Arlington said they had “no knowledge or records of the disclosure”.

3

Storm Ciara to bring snow to the UK

An Atlantic weather system dubbed Storm Ciara is expected to bring high winds, rain and snow to the UK this weekend. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow and wind for much of Scotland and Northern Ireland for Monday and Tuesday, where snowfall is expected at low levels. Heavy rain is forecast across the UK for Sunday.

4

Sturgeon’s ‘successor’ quits over texts to boy

Scotland’s Finance Minster Derek Mackay stepped down from the role yesterday after The Scottish Sun reported that he had send 270 messages to a 16-year-old boy on social media. The 42-year-old invited the teenager to dinner and said he looked “cute” after allegedly contacting him “out of the blue” on Facebook last August. Mackay, who is under pressure to also quit as an MSP, had been viewed as a potential successor to Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the Scottish National Party.

5

Shortage of contraceptive ‘causing chaos’

Doctors say a shortage of some contraceptives is causing “chaos” in the UK and will lead to unplanned pregnancies and abortions. Sexual health experts have written a joint letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock about the supply problems, the cause of which remains unclear. The letter also warns that many thousands of women have been left in distress for over a year owing to shortages of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medication.

6

Prince Andrew asks to defer military honour

Prince Andrew has asked the Navy to defer making him an admiral until he returns to public duties. The senior royal stepped down from official engagements in November over his friendship with the late paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. The Queen had been due to promote Andrew ahead of his 60th birthday later this month, in line with a long-standing policy that sees senior royals treated as serving military members.

7

‘New’ poems by Dorothy Parker discovered

Four poems published anonymously in 1923 have been identified as the work of famous writer and wit Dorothy Parker, after a literary detective found a record of payment for the work in the archives of the New York Library. The verses appeared in Life magazine and send up famous figures of the day including English sculptor Clare Sheridan, of whom Parker wrote: “When the lady used to sculp, Mixed emotions made us gulp; Cried we then, in accents bright, ‘Well, perhaps the girl can write.’”

8

Liverpool pub given Grade I listed status

A pub in Liverpool has joined illustrious buildings including Buckingham Palace and Chatsworth House on the Grade I list. The Philharmonic was given Grade II* listed status - protecting against alterations or demolition - in 1966, but has now been upgraded to reflect the quality of its interior, which was completed in 1900.

9

Fox removed from Parliament

A fox caused chaos yesterday evening after sneaking past Parliament security into Portcullis House, where MPs have their offices. MPs tweeted pictures of the rogue animal, which climbed staircases to reach the fourth floor and left behind droppings before being removed. Labour MP Karl Turner tweeted a photo of the fox and joked: “This little fella must know that Boris Johnson is planning to let rip with filthy fox hunting.”

10

Briefing: inside Saudi Arabia’s secret courts

Saudi Arabia is using secret courts set up under the pretence of fighting terrorism to silence political dissidents, Amnesty International has alleged.

The human rights organisation has released a damning report accusing the Saudi government of using the so-called “Specialised Criminal Court” (SCC), designed to investigate terror offences, as a “weapon of repression” to jail critics, activists, journalists, clerics and minority Muslim Shia, says The New York Times.

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