Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 20 Mar 2020


Retired medics called into service as Sunak prepares worker rescue plan

Nurses’ and doctors’ groups are writing to retired medical professionals to ask them to return to work to help the UK tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce a package of employment and wage subsidies to support companies and their employees during the crisis.


Californians ordered not to leave their homes

California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday issued a statewide order for all residents not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary during the coronavirus pandemic. Newsom had warned earlier that experts believe more than half of the state’s 40 million residents will be infected in the next two months. More than 10,000 people worldwide have now died after contracting the virus. 


Schools closing across UK – but not for key workers

The UK government has issued a list of the key workers who will be allowed to send their children to schools in England after all other pupils are sent home for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak. Ministers have been criticised for delaying the publication of the list, which includes health and social care staff, teachers, delivery drivers, some journalists and undertakers.


Alex Salmond ‘was sexual predator’, jury told

Former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond was a “sexual predator” who “abused his power to satisfy his sexual desires with impunity” while in office, a jury at Edinburgh’s High Court has been told. Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC summed up yesterday after nine days of evidence. Salmond denies 14 charges including attempted rape.


India: four men hanged for gang rape and murder

Four men convicted of the gang rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus have been hanged in India’s first executions in five years. The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, could not be named under Indian law but became known in the media as Nirbhaya – the fearless one. Another man arrested for the 2012 attack later took his own life, and a sixth was jailed.


Patel apologises to victims of ‘preventable’ scandal

Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday apologised on behalf of successive UK governments to the victims of the Windrush scandal. A new report has concluded that their mistreatment was “foreseeable and preventable” and called for ministers to apologise to the entire black population of Britain over the debacle, which saw thousands of Commonwealth-born citizens incorrectly identified as illegal immigrants.


Netflix lowers streaming quality as broadband creaks

Video-streaming provider Netflix is lowering the quality of its output in Europe for the next 30 days following discussions with EU officials, amid fears that broadband providers will struggle to cope while people work from home during the coronavirus outbreak. EU officials said the move would help “preserve the smooth functioning of the internet”.


‘Miss Hitler’ beauty contestant jailed on terror charges

A 23-year-old woman from Yorkshire who entered a “Miss Hitler” beauty contest to raise the profile of neo-Nazi group National Action has been convicted of terror charges. Alice Cutter was found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday along with three other National Action members including her former boyfriend Mark Jones. The court heard that the couple had sported “his-and-hers swastika knitwear”. 


Londoners happiest when active outdoors, say researchers

A new study for the World Happiness Index has found that Londoners get the highest feelings of exhilaration when outdoors, particularly when gardening or jogging. The researchers used data from a specially created app to analyse 500,000 individual moments of happiness recorded by around 13,000 residents of the UK’s capital.


Briefing: who is the new Isis leader Amir al-Mawli?

The US government has placed the new leader of Islamic State (Isis) on its official blacklist of terrorists and offered a $5m reward for information leading to his capture.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed the new leader “was previously active in al-Qa’eda in Iraq and is known for torturing innocent Yazidi religious minorities”. But what else do we know?

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