Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 8 Mar 2020

1

Coronavirus: 16 million quarantined in Italy

At least 16 million people are now under lock-down in the Lombardy region of Italy until early April. The unprecedented move, that affects more than a quarter of Italians, forbids anyone from leaving or entering the new red zones except for “undeferrable work needs or emergency situations”. Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, reported an escalation in virus infections on Saturday.

 

2

Six dead after quarantine hotel collapses in China

At least six people are dead after a hotel being used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in the Chinese city of Quanzhou collapsed. With 29 people missing, rescue workers are still searching the rubble of the five-storey Xinjia Hotel in Fujian. It has yet to be established what caused the collapse but the owner was reportedly told by construction workers that a pillar on the first floor had been damaged.

 

3

Poll shows that the UK is still divided over European Union

The country is still divided over the decision to leave the European Union, according to a new poll for The Independent. Some 46 per cent said they would like to rejoin the EU, against 54 per cent who believe the UK should not return. Some 63 per cent of 18-24 year-olds want a return to Europe, but 69 per cent of over-65s want to stay out.

 

4

Donald Trump replaces his acting chief of staff

Donald Trump has replaced his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. The US president said North Carolina lawmaker Mark Meadows would take over, while Mulvaney would become US special envoy to Northern Ireland. Mulvaney fell from grace when he was felt to have implicated the US president in last year's impeachment inquiry in a casual remark at the White House podium.

 

5

Sleaze watchdog probes Boris Johnson's holiday

A Parliamentary watchdog has launched an investigation into Boris Johnson and who funded his recent luxury Caribbean holiday. The Observer says the parliamentary commissioner for standards has decided to pursue an official inquiry into the PM and the mystery over the identity of the donor who lent him a property on the island of Mustique. It is the first time a serving prime minister has been investigated by the commissioner.

 

6

RAF jets scrambled as Russian aircraft head towards Scotland

Six RAF jets were scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft after they attempted to enter British airspace yesterday. The UK authorities said the aircraft were tracked heading for the northwest coast of Scotland. They were revealed to be Tupolev Tu-95 Bears. Sky News says the jets are used both as strategic bombers and long-range maritime patrol planes.

 

7

Lebanon announces it will default on its Eurobond debt

Lebanon says it will default on its Eurobond debt for the first time and seek out restructuring agreements as a worsening financial crisis hits foreign currency reserves. “The Lebanese state will seek to restructure its debts, in a manner consistent with the national interest, by entering into fair negotiations ... with all creditors,” said prime minister, Hassan Diab.

 

8

Government rumoured to be doubling spending on floods

The government is expected to double spending on flood defences in this week’s budget after recent storms across the country. The chancellor will announce an increase from £2.6bn to £5.2bn in spending on flood defences. Scientists have demanded far greater investment after floods drove thousands from their homes.

 

9

Actress says women must stop judging to achieve equality

The actress Rosamund Pike says women must stop judging themselves and one another if they want to achieve true gender equality. The star of Gone Girl and Radioactive pointed out that only women’s ages are always mentioned in Daily Mail stories. ”But it's women who are asking for the age to be declared,” she added.

 

10

Standing ovation for Harry and Meghan as they wind down

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex received a standing ovation as they attended one of their final events as working royals. The couple, who will step back from royal duties at the end of the month, received lengthy applause from the audience as they took their seats in the royal box. Harry and Meghan will cease to be working members of the Royal Family on 31 March.

 

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