Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 16 Jul 2020

1

Oxford scientists hail promising findings in vaccine hunt

Scientists at Oxford believe their Covid-19 vaccine triggers a response that may offer a “double defence” against the virus. Phase I human trials of the world-leading vaccine have shown that it generates an immune response against the disease. “So far, so good,” said a source. “It’s an important moment. But we still have a long way to go.”

2

Obama and Musk's Twitter accounts hacked in Bitcoin scam

Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are among several high-profile US figures targeted by hackers on Twitter in an apparent Bitcoin scam. The official accounts of Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Kanye West were also involved in what Twitter described as a “co-ordinated” attack targeting its employees “with access to internal systems and tools”. CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “We all feel terrible this happened.”

3

Whip removed from MP who blocked committee selection

Boris Johnson has removed the whip from a Tory MP who denied his handpicked selection to lead parliament’s intelligence and security committee. Julian Lewis was punished after beating Chris Grayling to become chair of the committee. The Times says Downing Street risks losing control of the committee, which next week could bring forward the report into alleged Russian interference in British politics.

4

Manufacturers say ‘red wall’ most at risk from hard Brexit

Britain’s manufacturers say that former “red wall” constituencies won by the Conservatives last year would be at most risk of severe economic damage from a hard Brexit. The manufacturing lobby group Make UK and the accountancy firm BDO said industrial areas in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales could face the worst problems should a deal with the European Union not be struck.

5

Labour may apologise to anti-Semitism whistleblowers

The Guardian says Labour will make a formal apology to anti-Semitism whistleblowers in a bid to draw a line under allegations made during the Jeremy Corbyn reign. The accusers sued the party for defamation in the wake of a BBC Panorama investigation last year. Corbyn allies have accused the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, of capitulating to a disingenuous campaign.

6

Banks call for student-style loans to protect businesses

British banks fear that up to 800,000 businesses could go bust in the next 12 months if they are unable to defer repayments on government-backed loans. To avoid the catastrophe, lenders are suggesting a student loans-type scheme, where coronavirus loans can be converted into a tax debt repayable over 10 years. The money would only be repayable when and if the businesses can afford it.

7

Boris Johnson suggests York for temporary Parliament home

Boris Johnson says Parliament could move to York while the Palace of Westminster is renovated. The prime minister said the government was already considering establishing a hub in the northern city and “it would therefore make sense to consider this as a potential location”. Other possible locations being considered include Richmond House, the Queen Elizabeth II Centre and City Hall.

8

Dr Fauci says Trump’s campaign against him is ‘nonsense’

Dr Anthony Fauci has slammed recent efforts by the White House to discredit him as “bizarre” and “nonsense”. The infectious disease expert told The Atlantic: “Ultimately, it hurts the president to do that. It doesn’t do anything but reflect poorly on them.” However, yesterday Trump insisted he had a “good relationship” with the medical figure.

9

Vogue editor says he was racially profiled by guard

The editor of British Vogue says he was racially profiled after being told to “use the loading bay” by a security guard as he entered the magazine’s headquarters. Edward Enninful said: “It just goes to show that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved in the course of your life: the first thing that some people will judge you on is the colour of your skin.”

10

Prince William sounds alarm on danger of zoonotic diseases

Prince William has demanded “urgent steps” to end the illegal wildlife trade as part of the global fight against future pandemics. The Duke of Cambridge said: “Never before have the public health risks of the wildlife trade come into such sharp focus. Never before has there been greater public awareness about the dangers of zoonotic diseases like Ebola, Sars, Mers and Covid. And never before has the global incentive to act been so high.”

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