Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 18 Feb 2020

1

Water levels still rising after flood evacuations

Water levels were still rising overnight in areas badly hit by Storm Dennis at the weekend, with dozens of people forced to spend the night away from home. One woman died yesterday in Worcestershire after being swept away by floodwater and nine severe flood warnings remain in force across England and Wales this morning.

2

Bid to get Britons off coronavirus cruise ship

The Foreign Office says it is working to organise a flight back to the UK for the 74 Britons currently quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Yokohama in Japan because of fears of spreading the Covid-19 virus. The US has already repatriated more than 300 of its citizens from the ship, which has 454 cases of infection.

3

HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs after profits nosedive

HSBC is to cut its global workforce from 235,000 to 200,000 over the next three years after announcing its profits fell by 33% in 2019. It is not known what proportion of the job losses will be in the UK but the bank says the fall in profits is mainly due to its banking operations in Europe. The bulk of its profit is created in Asia.

4

Amazon warehouses: ‘hundreds seriously hurt’

The GMB union is warning today that hundreds of people have been seriously hurt in “hellish” conditions at Amazon’s UK warehouses over the past three years and is accusing the online retail giant of “failing to provide a safe working environment”. Amazon denied the claim and insisted it provides a safe space in which to work.

5

Transgender patients are risking self-medication

With transgender patients forced to wait as long as two years in some parts of the UK to see a specialist, many are taking to self-medicating, with potentially dangerous consequences, the BBC reports today. NHS England’s target waiting time is 18 weeks but in some areas of the UK, including Belfast and Nottinghamshire, the wait is far longer.

6

Weinstein jury to consider #MeToo verdict

A jury will be asked by a judge in New York later today to consider a verdict on the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who is accused of sexual assault and harassment by a large number of women, triggering the #MeToo movement. Weinstein, who has denied the allegations, could be sentenced to a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is found guilty.

7

‘Conceived by rape’ claim leads to man’s arrest

Police have arrested and released under investigation a man whose daughter claims her own existence proves he raped her mother. Identified only as “Vicky”, the woman was born in the 1970s and says records show her mother was just 13 when she was conceived. Adopted at the age of seven months, Vicky later tracked her birth mother down.

8

De Klerk rows back on apartheid comments

The last apartheid-era president of South Africa, F.W. de Klerk, has tried to back-pedal after causing upset with comments in which he insisted the former system of racial segregation was not a crime against humanity because it did not amount to genocide. After criticism from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others, the 83-year-old retracted his words.

9

Queen’s nephew Lord Snowdon to divorce

The Earl of Snowdon, the son of the Queen’s late sister Princess Margaret, has announced that he and his wife Serena are to divorce after 26 years of marriage. The couple, who have two children, said they had “amicably agreed” to split. Less than a week ago, the Queen’s grandson Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn announced they were divorcing.

10

Briefing: What Britain thinks of immigration

The BBC’s Andrew Marr has accused Labour deputy leader candidate Angela Rayner and her party of being “out of touch” with their voters when it comes to immigration.

The shadow education secretary and MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester appeared on The Andrew Marr Show calling for a fair and transparent system after Brexit. But is Marr right?

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