Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 8 Feb 2020

1

Deadliest day for coronavirus as US records first death

Yesterday was the deadliest day for the coronavirus as mainland China recorded 86 fatalities in 24 hours. That brought the coronavirus death toll up to more than 720 people, and all but two of those died in mainland China. Across the globe, the virus has infected more 34,400 people across 27 countries and territories. The US has announced the first American death.

 

2

Trump fires officials who testified against him on impeachment

Donald Trump has dismissed two senior officials who testified against him at his impeachment trial. Lt Col Alexander Vindman, a top expert on Ukraine, was escorted from the White House and then the US envoy to the EU, Gordon Sondland, announced he “was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately”. The Senate decided not to remove the US president from office on charges arising from his dealings with Ukraine.

 

3

Storm Ciara tipped to bring disruption to UK this weekend

Storm Ciara is expected to hit the UK this weekend, with winds of up to 80mph predicted in coastal areas. The Met Office has warned of travel disruption and potential power cuts in some areas on Sunday. The biggest impact is expected to be on the south coast of England between 9am and 9pm on Sunday, where an amber warning has been imposed for several regions.

 

4

Sinn Fein hopes for breakthrough in Irish election

The polls are open in the Republic of Ireland's general election. After polls close at 10pm, counting will begin on Sunday in all 39 constituencies and newly elected TDs will gather on 20 February for the 33rd Dáil. Sinn Fein is hoping a surge in recent opinion polls will translate into a parliamentary breakthrough.

5

Phillip Schofield thanks fans for support after coming out

Phillip Schofield has thanked fans for their support after publicly coming out as gay. After the broadcaster’s announcement on social media yesterday, he sent a second message, telling fans how “important" their support has been for him, while praising his family for the “love and understanding” they have shown him. He wrote: “I've read as much as I can.”

 

6

DWP slammed over surge in claimants' suicide rate

The Department for Work and Pensions has been condemned for a “disgraceful” surge in suicides among benefit claimants. The government has investigated 69 suicides of benefit claimants in last five years but this is “highly unlikely” to be overall number of self-inflicted deaths, says the National Audit Office. Michael Paul, from Disability Rights UK, said the report was “shocking”.

 

7

Is the Evening Standard about to sack George Osborne?

George Osborne’s future at the Evening Standard is in doubt, reports The Guardian. The former chancellor, who joined the daily London newspaper in March 2017, has juggled the job with several other roles, including a £650,000-a-year post advising the investment fund BlackRock. Sources say said the publication is to change direction under its new chief executive, Mike Soutar.

 

8

Mike Pence warns that UK's Huawei decision could hit trade

The US vice-president Mike Pence has warned that Boris Johnson’s decision to give Chinese tech giant Huawei a role in the UK’s 5G telecoms network could block the way to a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. Asked if the prime minister’s choice could be a “deal-breaker” for a UK-US trade agreement, the vice president replied: “We’ll see.”

 

9

Prince Harry reportedly announces he is in therapy

Prince Harry has revealed he has been in therapy for the last seven years to cope with the loss of his mother, reports the Daily Mail. He made the announcement during his keynote speech at a JPMorgan summit in Miami on Thursday night. A source said: “He talked about how the events of his childhood affected him and that he has been talking to a mental health professional.”

 

10

Women hold one-third of board positions in the UK’s top firms

Women now hold a third of board positions in the UK’s top public companies, reaching this milestone a year sooner than expected. However, the government’s Hampton-Alexander review is far away from its second main aim: to have 33% of women in the leadership teams of firms listed in the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices.

 

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