Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 24 May 2020

1

New claims Cummings broke lockdown rules

The prime minister's chief aide Dominic Cummings is under renewed pressure after fresh allegations that he breached lockdown rules. After Cummings and ministers insisted he acted “reasonably and legally” by driving from London to County Durham while his wife had coronavirus symptoms, it is now being reported that he was seen in the North East on two more occasions, after returning to work in London.

2

Boris Johnson’s ‘dithering’ cost ‘thousands of lives’

Thousands of lives were lost by “22 days of dither and delay” from Boris Johnson’s government, reports The Sunday Times. During the nine days before lockdown was announced, the number of coronavirus infections across Britain rocketed, from 200,000 to 1.5 million, according to a study by modellers from Imperial College London, and Oxford University statisticians.

3

Calls for career support for ‘Generation Covid’

Business leaders and youth charities are joining forces to demand that Generation Covid, the young people whose prospects have been shattered by the pandemic, should be guaranteed work and mentoring until at least the end of next year. In an open letter, the groups are calling for the creation of a National Youth Corps to guarantee work for 16 to 25-year-olds at the minimum wage.

4

North Korea holds talks to increase ‘nuclear deterrence’

The regime in North Korea has held talks over new policies for increasing its “nuclear war deterrence,” according to news agency KCNA. The state media outlet said that “crucial measures” were taken at the meeting “for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces of the Korean People’s Army”. Meanwhile, security officials in Washington have discussed holding the first US nuclear test since 1992.

5

Could Coronavirus be ‘wiped out’ in UK by October?

Coronavirus could be “completely wiped out” in the UK on September 30, according to modelling reported in the Mail on Sunday. A team at the Singapore University of Technology used data from the pandemic to predict a total eradication of the bug in Britain with no new cases or second wave from the end of September. Yesterday, Britain announced 282 more coronavirus deaths, taking total fatalities to 36,675.

6

Prince William says fatherhood brought back painful memories

Prince William says that becoming a father brought back painful memories and emotions from his mother's death when he was 15 years old. He told a BBC documentary “I think when you've been through something traumatic in life” such as the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, “your emotions come back in leaps and bounds because it's a very different phase of life”.

7

Brits fear work during pandemic will endanger family

Most people believe returning to work during the coronavirus pandemic will put their family at risk, a study has found. The polling by the GMB union found that four in five people voiced concerns about going back to work as the lockdown eases. Almost two in three said they were concerned about being pressured into returning to work. Most described government advice as “unclear”.

8

Thinktank calls for Brexit extension over border question

The new Brexit border in the Irish Sea will not be ready by Boris Johnson’s end-of-year deadline, according to an influential thinktank. The Institute for Government is calling for the transition period to be extended. “Against the background of a global pandemic, it is very difficult to see how preparations to implement the protocol can be completed before the end of the year,” it said.

9

Taliban agrees Eid ceasefire with Afghan government

The Taliban has agreed a ceasefire deal with the Afghan government for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr. President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the three-day ceasefire, which is likely to raise hopes of a longer-term reduction in violence in the country. However, a similar ceasefire was announced for same festival in 2018 and was not extended.

10

Western Australia braces for historic storm

Western Australia is bracing for a massive storm, which is expected to make landfall in the coming hours. The historic storm, which is the result of the remnants of tropical cyclone Mangga interacting with a cold front, will bring torrential rains, powerful winds and huge waves. A spokesman for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said it would be a “once-in-a-decade” storm.

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