Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 10 Mar 2020

1

Coronavirus: all of Italy in lockdown

Italy is today under lockdown, with the entire population of 60 million told to stay at home and all public gatherings banned. The move expands the emergency measures already in place in northern Italy and comes as the nationwide death toll from the coronavirus outbreak reaches 463. Meanwhile, scientists have confirmed that it takes an average of five days for people to start showing coronavirus symptoms after becoming infected.

2

Japan markets stabilise following government intervention

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index of share prices recovered by 1% this morning after plunging by 5% yesterday, following a promise by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to work closely with the country’s central bank to boost the economy. Stock markets also posted major losses across the West on Monday, with the worst day’s trading since the 2008 financial crisis.

3

UK ‘cannot be climate neutral before 2050’

Claims by environmental campaigners that the UK could achieve climate neutrality sooner than 2050 are unrealistic, according to a new report by a government-funded research group. Experts at Energy Systems Catapult, whose computer models are used by the Committee on Climate Change, say the only way that target could be achieved is if people stop flying and eating red meat - but warns that the British public are not ready to take such steps. 

4

MPs seek bedroom tax exemption for domestic abuse survivors

A cross-party group of 44 MPs has written to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey urging her to ensure that the so-called “bedroom tax” is not applied to domestic abuse survivors fleeing their partners. The government has been ordered by the EU to pay compensation to a mother who was re-housed for her safety in a larger home but lost benefits because the property had a spare room. 

5

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders head into next round of primaries

Voters in six US states are casting their ballots today on which of the two remaining candidates should be the Democrat who takes on Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. Joe Biden will seek to cement his lead over Bernie Sanders, who hopes to win Michigan, which accounts for more than a third of the total 352 pledged delegates up for grabs in this round of primaries.

6

British couple in Vietnam ‘left coronavirus trail’

A British couple who contracted the new coronavirus on a flight from London to Vietnam “left infections everywhere” as they travelled around the Southeast Asian country, the Vietnamese authorities say. Graham and Mary Craddock, both in their late 60s, visited attractions in Hanoi and in the northwest town of Sapa after touching down in the Vietnamese capital on 2 March on Vietnam Airlines flight VN54. They are now in quarantine in Hanoi.

7

Harvey Weinstein ‘suffering concussion’ following prison fall

Jailed former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has fallen and hit his head and believes he has concussion, his lawyer says. The 67-year-old is reportedly being treated in the Rikers Island prison infirmary while he awaits sentencing for his conviction for rape and sexual abuse. Weinstein attended court using a walking frame after undergoing back surgery.

8

Court agrees Led Zeppelin ‘did not steal Stairway’

A US court has reinstated a plagiarism ruling in favour of Led Zeppelin, agreeing that the veteran British rockers did not steal the opening riff of their hit Stairway To Heaven. The band were accused in 2014 of ripping off a song called Taurus by US group Spirit, but the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has now upheld a 2016 trial verdict that found Led Zeppelin did not copy it.

9

Amanda Redman: ‘Relax about over-50 sex scenes’

Actor Amanda Redman has told the Radio Times that British audiences find sex scenes between people aged over 50 “repulsive” but should “relax” and follow the lead of more open-minded US audiences. The 62-year-old told the magazine: “Americans seem less frightened of intimacy between older couples.”

10

Briefing: when will coronavirus end?

Worldwide, there have been more than 111,000 infections from coronavirus and more than 3,800 people have died.

But in China, where the disease originated, the rate of infection has slowed. Zhang Jun, the ambassador to the UN, last week said that the decline in cases demonstrated that “we are not far from the coming of the victory”. So is he right?

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