Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 25 Feb 2020

1

Coronavirus: infection tally passes 80,000

More than 80,000 people worldwide are now known to have been infected with the new strain of coronavirus that causes Covid-19 disease, with more than 2,600 deaths recorded. Although the majority of cases and fatalities have been confined to China, almost 900 cases have been recorded in South Korea, and Iran and Italy are also battling to contain outbreaks - raising fears of a global pandemic.

2

Harvey Weinstein: accusers welcome conviction

Some of the many women who have publicly accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault or inappropriate behaviour welcomed his conviction for rape yesterday, with actor Rose McGowan telling the BBC that “this is a great day”. Weinstein, 67, was found guilty of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act in a New York trial relating to two women, but was cleared of the most serious count of predatory sexual assault.

3

Environment Agency: don’t build on flood plains

The head of the Environment Agency is today calling the Government to block the building of new housing in areas that are not resilient to flooding. The plea comes as regions across the UK continue to battle floods following the recent storms. A severe flood warning remains in place in Shrewsbury, where river levels are still rising.

4

Farmers lobby for food standards after Brexit

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is demanding that EU-level food standards be enshrined in UK law before the end of the Brexit transition period in December, amid suggestions that the Government will allow chemically washed chicken in order to secure a US trade deal. Environment Secretary George Eustice has hinted that Britain would be open to discussions over imports of acid-washed meat, but NFU president Minette Batters will tell members today that UK standards must not be “undermined”. 

5

Female life expectancy drops in poor areas

The life expectancy of women has dropped in some of England’s poorest areas, a new report suggests – and the rate at which national life expectancy is increasing has also slowed. The average length of life of a woman in the poorest parts of England fell by 0.3 years between 2010 and 2018, while increasing by six months in the richest areas.

6

Royal spaniel breeder shot dead in Somerset

A dog breeder who has supplied spaniels to Princess Anne has been shot dead at her home on Exmoor in Somerset. Debbie Zurick, 56, was pronounced dead at the scene after being found severely injured outside the property in Winsford, near an estate owned by Boris Johnson’s father Stanley. A badly injured 67-year-old man was also found.

7

Swedish citizen gets ten years for China books

A Hong Kong bookseller who holds Swedish citizenship has been sentenced to ten years imprisonment by a Chinese court for publishing books exposing the personal lives of Communist Party members in China. Gui Minhai has been in and out of jail in China since 2015, when he went missing during a holiday to Thailand.

8

Yorkshire Tea ‘shocked’ by Sunak backlash

Tea firm Taylors of Harrogate says it is “shocked” by online calls for a boycott after Chancellor Rishi Sunak posted a photo to Twitter of himself posing with a large bag of its famous Yorkshire Tea. Sunak said he was “making tea for the team” in the picture caption. Taylors pointed out that Jeremy Corbyn has also name-checked the blend.

9

Wilder blames Fury defeat on ring-walk costume

US heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder has blamed the weight of his ring-walk costume for his defeat to Briton Tyson Fury last weekend. Wilder, who was stopped in the seventh round of the WBC title fight in Las Vegas, said: “My uniform was way too heavy for me. I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight.” The 34-year-old intends to trigger a rematch clause for a third fight against Fury.

10

Coronavirus: epidemic vs. pandemic and why it matters

The increasing number of cases of coronavirus being diagnosed around the world has prompted fears that the outbreak will become a pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the spread of the virus a “public health emergency of international concern” on 30 January, but has so far stopped short of saying the situation has reached pandemic levels.

So what would that definition mean?

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