Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 8 Aug 2020

1

Coronavirus infections may be levelling off in England

Covid-19 infections appear to be increasing only slightly in England and may be levelling off, according to the Office for National Statistics. The Times says new data suggests that, despite local spikes, England and Wales are managing to keep a lid on the virus. However, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies says that the indirect effects of the lockdown will be responsible for more than 80,000 deaths.

2

Russia working to ‘denigrate’ Joe Biden's campaign

The US intelligence community's top election security official says that Moscow is working to “denigrate” Joe Biden's White House bid. William R Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, also said in his statement that that China “prefers” President Donald Trump to not be re-elected in November, because Beijing sees him as “unpredictable”.

3

Corbyn formally accuses party officials of sabotaging election

Jeremy Corbyn has openly accused Labour officials of sabotaging the 2017 election campaign in a factional dispute. It is also claimed that internal opponents of Corbyn hampered efforts to tackle antisemitism within Labour. Corbyn, the former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and seven other former shadow ministers and aides have formally endorsed the claims made in a party report leaked in April.

4

Whips’ office ‘knew of complaints about arrested MP since 2010’

The Conservative whips’ office has been aware since 2010 of concerns relating to the behaviour of the MP arrested last weekend on suspicion of rape, reports The Times. Several sources allege that ministers had to intervene to “manage” his conduct in 2016 and 2019. There are also claims of inappropriate behaviour at a party conference. A Conservative Party spokeswoman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment.”

5

Evacuations as massive fire breaks out in Surrey

Locals have been evacuated from their homes after a huge 100-acre wildfire in Surrey. The blaze broke out on Chobham Common and spread to Wentworth golf course, halting play in the Rose Ladies Series Grand Final tournament. The fire service said it sent 10 fire engines, two water carriers and 10 other vehicles to tackle the blaze. Local MP Michael Gove described the fire as a “tragedy”.

6

Deaths as passenger plane breaks in two at Indian airport

A passenger jet with 190 people on board has crashed at an airport in the southern state of Kerala, killing at least 18 people. The authorities say that the Air India Express Boeing 737 skidded off the runway in rain and broke in two after landing at Calicut airport. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the plane accident”.

7

Record number of child migrants arriving in the UK

An unprecedented number of unaccompanied migrant children have arrived in the UK after crossing the English Channel in small boats, according to data from Kent county council. The local authority said it took 23 under-18s into care on Friday alone, after a record 235 people made the crossing in 17 vessels on Thursday. Home Secretary Priti Patel says the number of arrivals is “unacceptably high”.

8

Negotiations over stimulus package fail in US Congress

Attempts at the US Congress to create another stimulus package for the economy have collapsed in stalemate amid splits over unemployment benefits, financial aid for schools and cash injections for states’ coffers. As the Covid-19 pandemic savages the economy, unemployment benefits and a federal moratorium on evictions have expired. Donald Trump says he may extend unemployment benefits through an executive order.

9

Hottest August day in 17 years as heatwave starts in England

Yesterday was the hottest August day in 17 years, the Met Office has announced. In a tweet, the weather authority said it was “very hot in the southeast” as Heathrow and Kew Gardens reached 36.4°C, making it the hottest August day since 2003. It has predicted a weekend of “exceptional” temperatures that will extend into the start of next week.

10

Second woman injured by humpback whale off Australia

A woman has been injured by a humpback whale in Western Australia - the second such incident in less than seven days. The woman was on a snorkelling tour at the popular Ningaloo Reef when she was struck by the mammal. Days earlier, another Australian woman was left with fractured ribs and internal bleeding after being struck by a whale at the same reef.

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