Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 20 Aug 2020

1

Obama says Trump treats presidency ‘like reality show’

Barack Obama has accused Donald Trump of treating the presidency like “one more reality show”, telling the virtual Democratic conference that the president “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t”. Trump hit back, saying he can “see the horror that [Obama] left” and “the stupidity of the transactions he made”. Night three of the conference also saw Kamala Harris accept the vice-presidential nomination.

2

BTec students forced to wait as results are delayed

GCSE students will today receive grades largely based on school predictions, rather than the controversial algorithm that saw thousands of A-level results downgraded before a government U-turn. However, the exam board has announced it will re-grade BTecs in line with GCSEs and A-levels, meaning BTec students will not receive their results today as planned.

3

Single radiotherapy dose as effective of weeks of treatment

A long-term study has found that a single dose of radiotherapy delivered from inside the body over just 30 minutes is as effective for combatting breast cancer as weeks of the harmful treatment. The technique sees therapy given immediately after a tumour is removed, while the patient is still under anaesthetic. An author of the study said: “In these terrible times it is one good news story.”

4

Apple first US company to reach $2tn valuation milestone

Apple has become the first US company to be valued at $2tn (£1.5tn) after its share price hit $467.77 (£357.05) in mid-morning trading yesterday. The tech giant reached the milestone two years after becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar company in 2018. Its shares have soared by more than 50% this year, despite the pandemic forcing it to shut retail stores and increased scrutiny over its links to China.

5

Teenager found dead tried to cross Channel in dinghy

A Sudanese teenager has been found dead on a beach near Calais after trying to cross the Channel in an inflatable dinghy using shovels for oars. The French citizenship minister said the body of the 16-year-old boy was found on a beach in Sangatte, close to the former site of the “jungle” refugee camp. The Home Secretary Priti Patel said the incident was a “brutal reminder” of how criminal gangs exploit migrants.

6

Ghislaine Maxwell ‘facing uniquely onerous’ jail conditions

Prison psychologists are watching Ghislaine Maxwell in her cell for hours each day, according to her legal team. The lawyers claim that the daughter of the late British press baron Robert Maxwell is facing “uniquely onerous conditions” in jail. She is awaiting trial on charges that she helped her former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse minors between 1994 and 1997. She denies the allegations.

7

GPs ignoring debilitating reality of ‘long Covid’

MPs have been told that up to half a million Britons are suffering the effects of “long Covid,” leaving them with debilitating symptoms months after their recovery from coronavirus. Among the symptoms identified by medical experts are psychosis, fatigue, loss of eyesight and mobility issues. A campaigner said the victims are being told by their GPs that it’s “all in their heads”.

8

US says Isis Beatles will not face death penalty

The US says that two Islamic State suspects dubbed “The Beatles” will not face the death penalty if they are sent to America and convicted of the killings of Western hostages in Iraq and Syria. In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, US Attorney General William Barr said the US authorities would not seek the death penalty against Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh and “if imposed, it will not be carried out”.

9

Trump says Pompeo may re-impose sanctions on Iran

Donald Trump has announced that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may demand UN sanctions are placed on Iran. The White House will tell the UN that it plans to trigger a so-called “snapback” procedure that could end the nuclear deal he withdrew from in 2018. Britain, France and Germany say the US doesn’t have the right to make the move, but Trump told reporters: “It’s a snapback, not uncommon.”

10

Poll finds 65% of minority ethnic Britons say police are biased

A new poll has found that two-thirds of minority ethnic Britons believe the police and criminal justice system are biased against them. Eight out of 10 black Britons and eight out of 10 Bangladeshi Britons said they fear “police are biased against people from my background and ethnic group”. 65% of all ethnic minorities agreed.

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