Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 22 Feb 2020

1

Evacuation flight for Brits on coronavirus ship due to land

The Foreign Office says a plane carrying Britons who had been trapped on a coronavirus-hit cruise ship in Japan is on its way to the UK. Some 78 Britons were on the Diamond Princess cruise liner when it was quarantined in Yokohama two weeks ago. China has reported 75,567 cases overall, including 2,239 deaths from Covid-19, the illness brought on by coronavirus.

2

Harry and Meghan to stop using SussexRoyal brand

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to stop using their SussexRoyal brand. A spokesperson for the couple said it was agreed the word “royal” could not be used due to government rules. The BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, says: “The couple have had to bow to the logic of their desire for a new and independent life - they will be royal no more.”

3

Sanders tells Vladimir Putin to stay out of the US elections

Bernie Sanders has told Vladimir Putin to “stay out of American elections”. After a report in the Washington Post said US officials told the Democrat presidential hopeful that Russia was trying to help his campaign, the Vermont senator said: “I don't care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.”

4

Over 100 alleged terrorists killed in Niger by local forces

More than 100 “terrorists” have been killed in Niger by local forces in a joint operation with French troops, authorities have announced. Niger’s defence minister, Issoufou Katambe, praised the “cooperation ... in the battle against terrorism”. Tight security restrictions had been imposed after attacks by jihadist groups over December and January killed 174 Nigerien soldiers.

5

Ofsted schools report slams government funding record

A report by the watchdog on school finances says “knackered” teachers are struggling to cope with increased workloads, with some opting to quit altogether. The Ofsted report found pressure on school funding has forced heads to cut the number of teachers they employ and pushed some staff into working 70-hour weeks “to plug the gaps”.

6

Man charged after stabbing in London mosque

A man has been charged with GBH and possession of a bladed article following the stabbing of a prayer leader at a London mosque. Daniel Horton, 29, will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Saturday. After receiving hospital treatment, the prayer leader returned to the mosque for Friday prayers. Scotland Yard has said it was not treating the attack as terror-related.

7

Post-Brexit blue passports were made in Poland

The Home Office has announced Britain’s new blue passports will be given to applicants from next month. The new passports, seen by many Leavers as a symbol of Britain’s bright post-Brexit future, were made by a Franco/Dutch company at a factory in Poland, under EU procurement rules.

8

Friends to reunite for a one-off special 15 years after series ended

The cast of Friends is to reunite for a one-off special. More than 15 years since the series ended, a special unscripted episode will air on the HBO Max streaming service. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer will all appear. Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, said: “Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together.”

9

Ryanair boss slammed for Muslim terrorist comments

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary claims terrorists “will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion”. The controversial 58-year-old told The Times that families with young children should be waved through airport security because there was “virtually” zero chance of them being terrorists. Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said O’Leary was “encouraging racism”.

10

Democrats in Nevada to choose their candidate for White House

The race to decide which Democrat will take on Donald Trump in November's election resumes today when Democrats in Nevada will decide who they want to be their nominee. Left-wing Bernie Sanders and moderate former mayor Pete Buttigieg are the early leaders after two states voted. The final candidate will not be known until July.

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