Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 19 Jul 2020

1

Johnson says he does not want second national lockdown

Boris Johnson says he does not want a second national lockdown if there is a fresh outbreak of Covid-19. The prime minister compared such a move to a “nuclear deterrent” and said he does not think the country “will be in that position again”. However, the UK's chief scientific adviser said there is “a risk” such a measure could be needed around winter time.

2

Largest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases since pandemic began

The World Health Organization says the number of new cases of Covid-19 rose by almost 260,000 in 24 hours - the largest single-day increase since the pandemic began. The global death toll from coronavirus also rose by 7,360 - the largest daily increase since 10 May. The biggest increases in cases were in the US, Brazil, India and South Africa.

3

TikTok scraps UK HQ plan amid China tensions

The social media firm TikTok, which has links to the Chinese state, has broken off talks to open a global headquarters in Britain and create 3,000 jobs, due to economic tensions between London and Beijing. Meanwhile, The Observer says the British government privately told tech giant Huawei that it was being banned from Britain’s 5G telecoms network partly for “geopolitical” reasons following pressure from Donald Trump.

4

Oregon files lawsuit against US federal government

The US state of Oregon has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, accusing it of unlawfully detaining protesters. Amid on-going protests against police brutality, federal officers in unmarked vehicles have forcefully seized protesters from the streets and detained them without justification. The federal government insists it is trying to restore order in the city.

5

Alleged victim claims Maxwell sourced girls for Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell helped to acquire up to three girls a day for Jeffrey Epstein’s “sexual pleasure”, claims an alleged victim. Annie Farmer says the British socialite ordered her to strip naked at the disgraced financier’s ranch before groping her breasts when she was 16. Maxwell, due to go on trial in July 2021 on child sex-trafficking and perjury charges, faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

6

Two arrested after serious incident at Thorpe Park

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an attack at Thorpe Park yesterday afternoon. The victim suffered a slash wound to his stomach following an “altercation” between two groups on the Surrey theme park's footbridge at around 4.50pm on Saturday. Visitors were locked down as police arrived. The site reopened on 4 July after being closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

7

National Lottery attacked for allowing children to gamble

The National Lottery is using a loophole that allows children to gamble hundreds of pounds a week online, reveals The Sunday Times. Children as young as 16 can spend up to £350 a week gambling on games such as Bingo Millionaire, Fruity £500s and Treasure Temple, which offers a top prize of £500,000. The children’s commissioner for England said the news is “worrying”.

8

Potential new civil service head faced bullying claims

A Whitehall figure widely expected to become the first-ever female head of the Civil Service was investigated for bullying staff and misusing expenses, according to the Mail on Sunday. In 2017, when Antonia Romeo was Britain's consul general in New York, she was investigated over claims she had “terrorised” colleagues. Critics say the inquiry that cleared her was a whitewash.

9

EU leaders fail to agree on major stimulus plan

European Union leaders have failed to agree on a massive stimulus plan for economies hit by the coronavirus pandemic. A deal is seen as crucial to rescue economies in free fall and restore confidence in the EU. However, it’s understood that wealthy northern states, led by the Netherlands, refused to budge on access to the recovery fund, in the face of opposition from Germany, France and Spain.

10

Charity warns that face masks might unsettle pet dogs

Dogs are unsettled by face masks, according to experts. The charity Dogs Trust has said facial coverings could make our canine pets feel “confused” and “concerned” as they can’t read human facial expressions. A spokeswoman said: “With Government social distancing guidelines firmly in place, it is also useful to be aware of how these apply to our dogs.”

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