Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 10 Feb 2020

1

South Korean film makes Oscars history

South Korean dark comedy Parasite made history at the Academy Awards in Hollywood last night by becoming the first foreign-language feature ever to win the best picture gong. The movie also won best international film, best original screenplay and best director, for Bong Joon-ho. Brad Pitt won his first acting Oscar for his supporting role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

2

UK declares coronavirus a ‘serious threat’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has declared the new coronavirus spreading from China a “serious and imminent” threat to public health in the UK and announced measures to try to stop the infection spreading. The virus killed a total of 97 people in China on Sunday alone, the highest number of deaths in one day. The global death toll now stands at more than 900. 

3

Snow and ice on way after Storm Ciara

The Met Office has issued warnings of snow and ice for the north of England and most of Scotland today after Storm Ciara brought chaos to the UK over the weekend. The south of England is also being hit by heavy winds for a second day. More than 20,000 homes were without power overnight and floods have been reported across the country.

4

Ireland election: Sinn Fein jubilant as votes counted

Sinn Fein is celebrating a historic general election result, with the latest vote count putting the nationalist party in the lead. With all first preferences from Saturday’s vote now totted up, the nationalist party has 24.5%, followed by 22.2% for Fianna Fail and 20.9% for Fine Gael. Counts from across the 39 constituencies are continuing today.

5

Fox ‘lobbied Bahrain for Tory donor’s oil firm’

Liam Fox personally lobbied the Bahraini royal family to give a $5bn (£3.9bn) contract to a British oil company under investigation for suspected bribery and money laundering during his tenure as international trade secretary, The Guardian reports. The newspaper says the intervention was one of several attempts by senior Conservatives to help secure the contract for Petrofac, which is headed by major Tory party donor Ayman Asfari. A Serious Fraud Office investigation into the company is ongoing.

6

Spacecraft from Stevenage blasts off to unlock mysteries of Sun

A spacecraft designed and built in Stevenage has blasted off on a mission to orbit the Sun 22 times, sending back high-resolution photos and measuring solar wind. The Solar Orbiter was launched at Cape Canaveral in Florida yesterday. The mission, led by the European Space Agency, is aimed at answering questions including how the Sun’s magnetic field is generated and how flares and other eruptions make energetic particles that lead to extreme space storms.

7

Video shows policeman hitting boy on head

South Yorkshire Police has promised to launch a “full and open investigation” after an officer was caught on camera hitting a teenage boy on the head with a baton after a football match. A video circulating online shows the officer hitting the youth during clashes with fans following the Barnsley vs. Sheffield Wednesday clash on Saturday. The teen and a police officer were treated for injuries in hospital.

8

Raids uncover 90,000 unsafe condoms

Around 90,000 unsafe condoms have been seized by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency over the past two years, new figures show. Most of the contraceptives had passed their expiry date, had not been safety tested to the standard required by the EU or did not carry the correct safety symbols. The majority of the dodgy contraceptives were discovered in a single 2018 raid.

9

Phillip Schofield’s wife: ‘I’ll be there’

The wife of Phillip Schofield has said she will “still be there” for her husband “holding his hand”, following the TV presenter’s public announcement last week that he is gay. Stephanie Lowe, who has been married to the This Morning star since 1993, also praised their two adult daughters for their support. She told The Sun: “Everyone should be proud to live their own truth.”

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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