Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 1 Aug 2020

1

Boris threatens national lockdown as he pauses reopening

Boris Johnson has threatened a new national lockdown as he slammed the breaks on new freedoms due this weekend amid fears of a full-blown resurgence of Covid-19. People shielding against coronavirus can now leave their home and return to work but a further easing of lockdown restrictions in England is postponed. England's chief medical officer warned the UK may have reached the limit on lifting lockdown as cases rise.

2

Underage girl ‘forced to have sex with Prince Andrew’

An underage girl was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, according to US court papers. The documents, released by a court in New York, say the alleged encounter took place on Jeffrey Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands. The late financier allegedly sexually trafficked the girl to powerful people to “obtain potential blackmail information”. The prince denies any wrongdoing.

3

Prime minister accused of ‘cronyism’ over honours

The prime minister has been accused of “cronyism” after his brother Jo, Theresa May's husband Philip and several Brexit supporters were handed honours. Sir Ian Botham, who backed Brexit, is to be made a peer along with newspaper owner Evgeny Lebedev, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson, and former Tory chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke.

4

James Murdoch quits News Corp over editorial content

James Murdoch has resigned from the board of News Corp citing “disagreements” over editorial content. He has previously indicated discomfort with the conservative slant of the empire and its sceptical stance on climate change. The move brings to an end Murdoch’s final formal link to the media empire of his father, Rupert Murdoch.

5

House prices rise - but is it a false dawn?

House prices rose at their fastest pace in 11 years in July after lockdown restrictions were eased, according to the latest survey by the Nationwide building society. However, although prices increased by 1.7 per cent, the steepest monthly increase that Nationwide has recorded since August 2009, Robert Gardner, the building society’s chief economist, warned that the increase last month could be a “false dawn”.

6

Bognor Regis teen charged in US over Twitter hack

The US Department of Justice says a Bognor Regis teenager is one of three individuals charged over a major Twitter hack. The authorities in California filed felony charges against Mason Sheppard, who is 19. A teenager in Tampa and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, were also charged. The US Attorney said the arrests proved "nefarious hacking... for fun or profit" did not pay off.

7

‘Taboo’ of herd immunity ‘must be shattered’

Herd immunity is the only long-term solution to the coronavirus but the suggestion has become “taboo”, a leading scientist has complained. Raj Bhopal, emeritus professor of public health at Edinburgh University, said the concept currently “provokes hostility and controversy” but must be revived. He says the pandemic has put ministers in a “zugwang” - the position in chess where every move is disadvantageous.

8

Sage warns that major rioting could hit the UK

The UK could be hit by riots if authorities do not reduce tensions over local coronavirus lockdowns, policing tactics, Black Lives Matter and social polarisation, scientific advisers have warned. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) says: “A serious deterioration of public order could overwhelm all attempts to control contagion, overwhelm hospitals, the criminal justice system and hinder revival of the economy.”

9

Hedge fund boss denies indecent assault allegation

Hedge fund boss Crispin Odey has denied indecently assaulting a woman more than 20 years ago. The 61-year-old, who is a donor to the Conservative Party, was charged over an alleged incident at an address in Chelsea, west London, in 1998. The Metropolitan police said Odey is alleged to have indecently assaulted “a woman over 16 years of age” but Odey said “the allegation is denied and I will strongly contest this matter”.

10

Ten dead in India after drinking hand sanitiser amid alcohol ban

Ten people have died after drinking hand sanitiser following the closure of alcohol stores shops during the coronavirus lockdown in India. All the dead suffered from alcohol dependency and had mixed the product with water and soft drinks. “Alcohol is not available because of the lockdown, but hand sanitisers are easily available,” said a police chief.

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