Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 10 Aug 2020

1

Downing Street plans to set rape prosecution targets

Police and the Crown Prosecution Service will be set prosecution targets by the government in an attempt to reverse the record decline in rape prosecutions. Boris Johnson’s crime and justice taskforce is planning to give police set goals to refer more rape cases to the CPS and for the CPS to prosecute and bring more rape cases to the courts. The Guardian says the CPS is likely to oppose the change.

2

Experts clash over the safety of school re-openings

The children’s commissioner has contradicted the government by calling for pupils and teachers to be routinely tested for Covid-19 when schools re-open. Anne Longfield’s statement came after Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said the present precautions were sufficient. Meanwhile, Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said “the risks to children from Covid are very low”.

3

Disputed election result leads to violence in Belarus

Demonstrators and riot police have clashed in Minsk and other Belarusian cities after a state TV exit poll said long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in Sunday’s election. While the state media exit poll showed that Lukashenko won nearly 80% of the vote, the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said she did not trust the data.

4

Travel industry begs ministers to reconsider quarantine

Beleaguered travel businesses have urged the government to rethink its 14-day quarantine policy for returning holidaymakers. With rising coronavirus cases on the continent placing more countries in danger of joining the quarantine list, travel bosses have asked ministers to keep measures “proportional” and “under close review”. France recorded its highest increase in cases since May on Friday.

5

Daily coronavirus death toll announcement may end

The official Covid-19 daily death toll may be scrapped following an investigation into how Public Health England calculateds it. The review, which was ordered by Matt Hancock after it was claimed that the official figure exaggerates deaths from the virus, may recommend stopping daily reporting altogether and shifting to a weekly official death toll instead, a government source told The Telegraph. Unusually, England’s Covid toll includes people who have died of other causes months after testing positive for the virus.

6

Leading Hong Kong democracy campaigner arrested

Jimmy Lai, a prominent Hong Kong democracy campaigner, has been arrested and his newspaper offices raided by police over allegations of collusion with foreign forces. The BBC says his case is the most high-profile arrest so far under the controversial security law imposed by Beijing in June. Seven men in total, aged between 39 and 72, were arrested.

7

Beirut blast response leads to £228m in donations

World leaders pledged to give £228m in emergency aid to Lebanon to assist its response to the Beirut explosion. International donors made the promise in a virtual conference on Sunday – less than a week after the devastation blast killed at least 158 people and injured more than 6,000 people. Meanwhile, two Lebanese ministers have resigned from the country’s government following mass protests.

8

Dawn Butler accuses police after car is pulled over

The Labour MP Dawn Butler has accused the police of being institutionally racist after she was stopped while driving to Sunday lunch with a friend. The former shadow equalities minister, who is an outspoken critic of police stop-and-search tactics, said the car was being driven by her male friend, who is also black, when two police cars pulled it over in Hackney, east London.

9

Alzheimer’s drug set to be fast-tracked for approval

A drug that shows signs of halting Alzheimer’s disease could be prescribed within six months after US authorities approved it for “priority review”. Charities welcomed the decision to fast-track Aducanumab, which could be targeted at those with early signs of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia in the UK, affects about 500,000 people here.

10

Month's worth of rain expected after record-breaking heat

Yellow thunderstorm warnings are in place across the UK from today until Thursday, with the Met Office expecting severe thunderstorms and “torrential downpours”. More than a month’s worth of rain could fall within two hours in some places, causing flash flooding. Temperatures of 36C were recorded on Saturday.

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