Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 15 Aug 2020

1

Free appeals allowed for pupils over A-level grades

The education secretary has announced that every school in England will be able to appeal against A-level and GCSE grades free of charge. Speaking to The Times, Gavin Williamson promised that the government would cover the fees to ensure that head teachers were not deterred from making appeals. He said he hoped that the move will help to avoid “shocking injustices”.

2

Stampede as tourists return from France to avoid quarantine

Thousands of holidaymakers have hurriedly returned to the UK in a bid to avoid quarantine measures imposed on France, which came into force this morning. As the stampede grew, Eurotunnel trains sold out of spaces, air travellers increased prices and ferries increased capacity. Following the imposition of the quarantine rule, France warned it would take “reciprocal measures”.

3

UAE minister says nation got no promises from Israel

The United Arab Emirates secured no guarantees that Israel will not annex occupied Palestinian territory in the future, a minister has told The Independent. “Nothing is written in stone”, and there are no “conditions attached” to the surprise agreement announced this week, said the UAE’s assistant minister for foreign affairs, culture and public diplomacy, Omar Ghobash.

4

Is Donald Trump planning to pardon Edward Snowden?

There is speculation that Donald Trump might pardon Edward Snowden after the US president said that the exiled former intelligence operative was “not being treated fairly”. Having previously described Snowden as a “traitor” who should be executed, this week Trump said: “There are a lot of people that think that he is not being treated fairly. I mean, I hear that.”

5

IDS says Covid-19 has exposed lawlessness in Britain

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith says coronavirus has revealed a “lawless state” within Britain, where people are held as slaves and criminal gangs steal from the taxpayer. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he discussed an “enormous criminal sub-society thriving in the UK” with “a significant and well-organised network of gangs”. The Modern Slavery Act was passed five years ago.

6

Princess Anne promoted by the military on her birthday

Princess Anne has been promoted by the Army and Royal Air Force on her 70th birthday. The Queen's second child will assume the role of general and air chief marshal, bringing her ranks in line with her status in the Royal Navy. Although senior royals traditionally receive military promotions as they get older, Prince Andrew’s promotion was deferred earlier this year.

7

Property sales surge but is it just a bubble?

Bank of England data shows that property sales are up by 20 per cent and average asking prices have risen by £10,000 in the four weeks since a cut in stamp duty. However, although asking prices are £30,000 higher and thousands more sales are being agreed each week, industry experts believe the rise is a bubble and the economic crash will soon be felt.

8

Bill Gates' vaccine maker triples value on market debut

The vaccine maker backed by Bill and Melinda Gates has soared on its Wall Street debut. Germany's CureVac more than tripled in its first day of trading Friday. Having priced its initial public offering at $16 a share, CureVac soared nearly 250%, to just below $56, by the end of the day. It is also backed by billionaire Dietmar Hopp, the co-founder of German software giant SAP.

9

New safety measures as more businesses reopen in England

Bowling alleys, soft play centres and casinos are now re-opening in England as lockdown rules ease. Under the new guidelines, more beauty treatments, small wedding receptions and live indoor performances can also resume. At casinos, dealers will hand out cards face up as part of safety measures to stop players from touching the cards.

10

Meghan complains of ‘toxicity’ of ‘salacious’ media

The Duchess of Sussex has spoken of the “toxicity” of the elements of the media which she says uses “salacious” stories against her. Speaking at an event organised by non-profit newsroom The 19th, Meghan said: "There's so much toxicity out there in what's being referred to, my husband and I talk about it often, this economy for attention.”

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