Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 4 Aug 2020

1

School return could cause bigger second wave, experts say

Scientists have warned that current testing and contact tracing are insufficient to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 when schools in the UK reopen. Researchers at UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say transmission would increase as parents would no longer stay at home with their children. They predict the second wave would hit in December and could be twice as large as the first wave.

2

Russian hackers stole information from cabinet minister

The government has confirmed an “on-going criminal investigation” after it emerged that Russian hackers stole classified documents from the email account of a cabinet minister. Sources say former Trade Secretary Liam Fox was the victim of a “state-backed” operation ahead of last year’s general election. The papers were used by Labour to claim the NHS would be put at risk in a US trade deal.

3

Donald Trump facing expanded criminal inquiry

Prosecutors seeking Donald Trump’s tax returns in New York have widened their probe to investigate claims of “protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization”. The BBC says the new court filing suggests the inquiry is broader than alleged hush money payments made to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump. The US president has dismissed the probe, describing it as a “witch hunt”.

4

Government calls for no-deal Brexit medicine stockpile

Ministers have told medicine suppliers to stockpile drugs ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit, following warnings from medical bosses that this may not be possible amid the coronavirus pandemic. The government said it recognises “that global supply chains are under significant pressure”, but added that the costly precaution was still necessary.

5

Leaked footage reveals George Floyd arrest details

Leaked police bodycam footage has revealed new details of George Floyd’s fatal arrest. Floyd can be seen struggling with officers while in the back of a police car in the minutes before his death, saying: “I can’t breathe”. One of the officers involved has been charged with second-degree murder, while the other three are facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

6

Ex-king of Spain goes into exile over money scandal

Juan Carlos, the former king of Spain, has been forced into exile over a money laundering scandal. The 82-year-old, who stepped down in 2014, told his son that he had made the “considered decision to move outside Spain at this time” in the face of the “public repercussions that certain past events in my private life are generating”.

7

Common painkillers ‘do more harm than good’

Health officials have said painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin and opioids can do “more harm than good”. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said there was “little or no evidence” the pills for primary pain made any difference to people’s quality of life, pain or psychological distress. But, NICE said, they can trigger a range of health problems, including addiction.

8

Tributes paid to ‘titan and visionary’ John Hume

Tributes have been paid to John Hume, the former SDLP leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has died aged 83. Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, said Hume was a “political titan and a visionary”, while former US President Bill Clinton said his “friend” had “fought his long war for peace in Northern Ireland”.

9

UN report says North Korea has made nuclear breakthrough

North Korea has probably developed nuclear devices to fit ballistic missiles, according to the United Nations (UN). An interim report has concluded that the regime’s past six nuclear tests had almost certainly helped it develop miniaturised nuclear devices. North Korea’s mission to the UN in New York did not respond to a request for comment on the report’s findings.

10

Jet can fly from London to New York in 90 minutes

Virgin Galactic has developed a supersonic business jet that will fly at three times the speed of sound, taking passengers from London to New York in just 90 minutes. The jet, which has had input from Rolls Royce and Nasa, would fly between nine and 19 passengers and crew at an altitude of over 60,000ft (18.2km). Richard Branson’s company posted a $60m (£45.9m) loss in the first quarter of 2020.

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