Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 11 Jul 2020
Trump commutes prison sentence of Roger Stone
Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend and former adviser Roger Stone, who was convicted of crimes that included lying to Congress to protect the US president. The move came just days before Stone was set to report to prison in Georgia. Stone was the sixth Trump aide found guilty on charges linked to a justice department probe that alleged Moscow tried to boost the Trump 2016 campaign.
Government set to make face coverings compulsory in shops
Boris Johnson is expected to make face coverings compulsory in shops after new evidence that they slow the spread of coronavirus. The prime says he will get “stricter” on the use of masks. Speaking to The Times, a government source said it was a “fair assumption” that masks would become mandatory in shops within weeks.
SAGE concludes that Covid-19 spreads fastest at 4ºC
Covid-19 spreads fastest at 4ºC, government scientists have concluded, fuelling fears of a winter resurgence. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies studied the precise temperature as Melbourne, which is currently in its coldest month, re-entered a six-week lockdown due to a steep spike in cases. Average temperatures in Britain during January and February have fluctuated between 3º and 5ºC in three of the last six winters.
Ghislaine Maxwell appeals for bail over coronavirus risk
Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers have argued that she should be released on bail while awaiting trial for sex trafficking minors because of the risk of contracting coronavirus in prison. Maxwell, 58, was arrested on 2 July at her Bradford, New Hampshire, home. Her lawyers insisted that the British socialite is not a flight risk, and said she was trying to keep a low profile amid “carnival-like” media attention.
Cabinet Office awards contract to friend of Cummings
The government has awarded an £840,000 public opinion contract to a company owned by two long-term friends of Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings, without putting the work out for tender. Public First is run by James Frayne, who first worked alongside Cummings on a Eurosceptic campaign 20 years ago, and Rachel Wolf, a former adviser to Gove who co-wrote the Tory party’s manifesto for the 2019 general election.
Workers offered £3 an hour at Leicester clothing factory
Workers have been offered as little as £3 an hour to make clothes for the fashion label Quiz, reveals The Times. An undercover journalist was told by bosses at a factory before the lockdown that she would have to undertake two days of unpaid work before moving onto a rate of £3-£4 an hour. Another fashion brand, Boohoo, was hit by similar allegations.
Singapore government wins election but opposition gain
Singapore’s governing party has won the city-state’s general election as the opposition made minor but historic gains. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said his People’s Action party took 83 parliamentary seats, retaining its overwhelming majority with 89% of the total seats. However, the Workers’ party increased its seats from six to 10 – the biggest victory for the opposition since independence.
Is Boris Johnson planning a risky shake-up of the NHS?
Boris Johnson is planning a radical and “politically risky” reorganisation of the NHS, reports The Guardian. The prime minister has set up a taskforce to devise plans for how ministers can regain much of the direct control over the NHS they lost in 2012. Downing Street is said to be frustrated with the health service’s chief executive, Simon Stevens.
Unnamed Premier League footballer reveals that he is gay
An unnamed Premier League footballer has revealed that he is gay. In an open letter, he says he is keeping his sexuality secret from his team-mates and says that his sport is not ready for a player to announce he is openly gay. “Day-to-day, it can be an absolute nightmare. And it is affecting my mental health more and more,” he says.
Government set to launch ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign
The government will launch a “Get Ready for Brexit” campaign next week. As part of the multi-million pound intiative, controversial Brexit border plans will be published on Monday along with fresh detail on post-Brexit immigration. Meanwhile, the government has secretly purchased 11 hectares (27 acres) of land 20 miles from Dover to build a new Brexit customs clearance centre for the 10,000 lorries that come through the port daily.