Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 25 Jul 2020

1

PM admits ‘open questions’ on Covid-19 response

Boris Johnson has admitted there were “things we could have done differently” over the coronavirus. The prime minister also said the government did not understand the virus in the “first few weeks and months”. Although he told the BBC it was not the moment to “run a kind of inquiry into what happened in the past,” he added that there were “very open questions” about whether the lockdown had started too late.

2

Gyms and pools struggle to survive despite re-opening

Indoor gyms, swimming pools, dance studios and leisure centres are allowed to reopen in England today. However, Community Leisure UK, the association that represents charitable leisure and culture trusts, estimated that, due to hardship, 48% of all public leisure facilities face closure, meaning as many as 1,300 could disappear by the end of the year, along with more than 58,000 jobs.

3

Warning as Hurricane Douglas approaches Hawaii

Hurricane Douglas, the strongest storm currently on the planet, is approaching Hawaii. Forecasters say the storm is likely to weaken before it reaches the island chain this weekend. Douglas is currently a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 115 mph that extend 25 miles from the centre of the storm. CNN says it has been a “slow start” to the eastern Pacific hurricane season.

4

Restaurants and alcohol bottles will display calorie counts

Restaurant and takeaway outlets will be forced to publish the calories in every meal they serve, says the Daily Mail. Labels will also have to be placed on bottles and cans of beer, wine and spirits sold in shops, as part of Boris Johnson’s anti-obesity drive. The need for action on obesity has “never been stronger”, according to Public Health England.

5

Book says Prince Harry feels belittled by family

Prince Harry felt “unprotected” by the royal family and belittled within palace walls for being “too sensitive and outspoken,” according to a new book. Finding Freedom, the new book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, also claims that Harry believed that some of the old guard “simply didn’t like Meghan and would stop at nothing to make her life difficult”.

6

Donald Trump signs orders to cut prescription charges in US

Donald Trump has signed four executive orders aimed at cutting prescription drug prices in the US. The president said: “The four orders I'm signing today will completely restructure the prescription drug market.” He is a longstanding critic of “astronomical” prices for prescriptions but some industry analysts say his move would have little effect.

7

Australia disputes China's claims on South China Sea

Australia says “there is no legal basis” to China’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea. The statement, made in a submission to the UN, comes after Washington hardened its position, accusing Beijing of a “completely unlawful campaign of bullying” to control the sea. The Guardian says Canberra is moving “further in line” with the US.

8

Three teens cleared of murdering PC Andrew Harper

Three teenagers have been convicted of the manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper, who died after being dragged along a road by a car. All three were cleared of murder over the death of PC Harper, who suffered catastrophic fatal injuries when his ankles got caught in a strap trailing behind a vehicle driven by one of the three. PC Harper's widow Lissie said she felt “heart-wrenching pain” over the “brutal and senseless killing”.

9

Singaporean man admits working in US for China

A Singaporean man has pleaded guilty in the US to working as an agent of Beijing. Jun Wei Yeo has been charged with using his political consultancy in the US as a front to collect information for Chinese intelligence. As tensions rise between the two nations, China earlier ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu after Washington closed China's consulate in Houston.

10

Four out of five Britons want to continue working from home

Four out of five people who have been working from home during lockdown want to continue doing so after the pandemic is over, according to a new poll. The study found that 48% of workers had already spoken to their employers about making the temporary arrangements permanent with 57% saying that they are more productive at home.

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