Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 22 Jul 2020

1

Trump admits pandemic ‘will get worse before it gets better’

Donald Trump has conceded that the US coronavirus crisis may “get worse before it gets better”. The US president also asked all Americans to wear face coverings, saying “they'll have an effect” and show “patriotism”. Previously, he had dismissed masks and suggested the virus might be treated by injecting disinfectant. The BBC says Trump’s aides have encouraged him to adopt a more measured approach as virus caseloads spike across the US.

2

Ministers abandoning hope of Brexit trade deal

The government has concluded that Britain and the European Union will fail to sign a post-Brexit trade deal, says the Daily Telegraph. With just days to go until Boris Johnson’s July deadline for an outline agreement passes, ministers’ working assumption is that Britain will trade with Europe on World Trade Organisation terms when the transition period ends on 31 December.

3

Ministers consider tighter laws after Russia report released

The government is considering tightening security laws after a report by MPs said the UK had “badly underestimated” the threat of subversion by Moscow. Labour has criticised “systemic failings” in how the UK has dealt with Russia and other “hostile states”. The Guardian says ministers “in effect turned a blind eye to allegations of Russian disruption”.

4

More avoidable baby deaths unearthed at NHS trust

Hundreds more cases of potentially avoidable baby deaths, stillbirths and brain damage have emerged at an NHS trust. The 496 new cases at Shrewsbury and Telford trust bring the total number of cases being examined to 1,862. The news has raised concerns about a possible cover-up of the true extent of one the biggest scandals in the health service’s history, says The Guardian.

5

Jeff Bezos sets new record after major wealth acceleration

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has set a new record, increasing his fortune by an additional $13bn (£10bn) in a single day to take his personal wealth to $189bn. The acceleration in the wealth of the world’s richest man is the equivalent of adding nearly 30 times the Queen’s £350m fortune in a single day. His total wealth now makes him worth more than Britain’s biggest company, the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

6

Anger as nurses are left out of Sunak’s pay rises

There is widespread anger as nurses, paramedics, porters and cleaners were left out of Rishi Sunak’s plans for pay rises for public sector workers. They are due a pay review in April, but the chancellor warned future rises may be at risk so he can “deliver savings”. Unison chief Dave Prentis said: “Talking of holding down pay will go down like a lead balloon with the public.”

7

Twitter begins crackdown on QAnon conspiracy accounts

Twitter has announced that it will crack down on the QAnon conspiracy theory. The social media platform said it would ban thousands of accounts, stop recommending content linked to QAnon and block web addresses associated with it from being shared on the platform. QAnon is a “sprawling conspiracy theory whose followers support US President Donald Trump,” says the BBC.

8

Study concludes video games do not lead to violence

Video games do not lead to violence or aggression, according to a new analysis. Researchers re-examined 28 studies from previous years that looked at the connection between aggressive behaviour and video gaming. “Current research is unable to support the hypothesis that violent video games have a meaningful long-term predictive impact on youth aggression,” the report concluded.

9

Mike Pompeo said WHO is to blame for ‘dead Britons’

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacked the World Health Organization during a private meeting in the UK, accusing it of being responsible for “dead Britons” who passed away during the Covid-19 pandemic. Pompeo told those present that he believed the WHO was “political not a science-based organisation” and was in the pocket of Beijing.

10

Thinktank says high streets should be used for housing crisis

The UK’s high streets could be transformed into housing, according to a thinktank. The Social Market Foundation said the UK cannot “turn the clock back” to a time before online shopping, particularly after internet retail gathered pace during the Covid-19 lockdown. Instead, town centres could be turned into residential hubs, creating at least 800,000 homes.

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