Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 23 Jul 2020

1

Test and trace failing in England’s worst-hit areas

The £10bn test-and-trace system described by Boris Johnson as “world-beating” is failing to contact thousands of people in the most affected parts of England. According to data obtained by The Guardian, in areas with the highest infection rates in England the proportion of close contacts of infected people being reached is far below 80%, the level required for test and trace to be effective.

2

Trump announces ‘surge’ of federal forces in three US cities

Donald Trump has announced a “surge” of hundreds of law enforcement officers into three cities run by Democrats. “Today, I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” he said. Chicago, Kansas City and Albuquerque are being targeted after federal deployments in Portland, Oregon, sparked controversy.

3

Tory ministers accepted donations linked to Russia

Two Tory MPs on the intelligence watchdog committee and 14 Conservative ministers have accepted donations linked to Russia. According to Electoral Commission records, six members of the cabinet and eight junior ministers received tens of thousands of pounds from individuals or businesses with links to Russia. The Times says the news puts Tory party finances “under renewed scrutiny”.

4

George Floyd police officer charged with tax evasion

The former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd has been charged with tax evasion. Derek Chauvin and his wife are accused of failing to report income and reportedly owe nearly $38,000 (£30,000) to Minnesota state. Chauvin, who was fired from his job, now faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting murder.

5

PM says Covid-19 response shows ‘might’ of union

Boris Johnson says the response to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown the “sheer might” of the UK union. The prime minister will visit Scotland today, meeting members of the armed forces and their families. The SNP said the visit showed Johnson was “in a panic” about rising support for Scottish independence. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had no plans to meet Johnson.

6

Nike under pressure amid claims of ‘Uighur ties’

Nike and Apple are among the major companies under pressure to cut ties with suppliers that allegedly use forced labour from China's Uighur people. Campaigners claim a string of corporate giants are “bolstering and benefiting” from exploitation of the Muslim minority group. Nike said it was “conducting on-going diligence” with suppliers and Apple said it will “continue monitoring”.

7

MPs says government failings on pandemic are ‘astonishing’

A committee of MPs says the government's failure to plan for the economic impact of a pandemic is “astonishing”. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said the economic reaction to Covid-19 was rushed and the impact could be “long-term”. Official data has shown that the UK economy shrank more than first thought between January and March, contracting 2.2% in the joint largest fall since 1979.

8

Study finds that eating chocolate is good for your heart

Eating chocolate at least once a week reduces the risk of heart disease, new research has concluded. After studying 330,000 participants, the team found that eating chocolate more than once a week reduced the risk of developing coronary heart disease by 8%. “Moderate amounts of chocolate seem to protect the coronary arteries but it’s likely that large quantities do not,” warned a researcher.

9

Downing Street denies that Brexit talks have broken down

No. 10 denies that Brexit negotiations have broken down but admits they are at an impasse. After two full days of talks, a London source said the situation was neither a “breakthrough nor a breakdown”. Recent polls show that voters in former “red wall” constituencies overwhelmingly want Boris Johnson to agree a deal with the EU rather than walk away from talks.

10

Kim Kardashian asks for compassion for Kanye West

Kim Kardashian West has asked for compassion for her husband Kanye West’s bipolar disorder after his recent erratic behaviour. “Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words sometimes do not align with his intentions,” she wrote on Instagram. The rapper had given a rambling address on Monday and has posted peculiar tweets.

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