Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 23 Aug 2020


Trump says ‘deep state’ delaying coronavirus vaccine

In an early morning flurry of tweets, Donald Trump has claimed the “deep state” is delaying a coronavirus vaccine until after the election. The US president wrote: “The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics.” He added: “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd.”


Starmer says ministers putting school return at risk

Labour leader Keir Starmer says plans to get all children back to school in early September are now at “serious risk” because of government incompetence and the disruption caused by the exams scandal. Meanwhile, the UK's chief medical adviser says children are more likely to be harmed by not returning to school next month than if they catch coronavirus.


UK serial killer may be butchering elderly couples

A trail of murders of elderly couples has sparked fears that a serial killer may be at large. A confidential report says a string of murders could be the work of a serial killer who attacks vulnerable elderly couples in their beds. The Sunday Times says a single killer “may have been active in Britain since the mid-1990s and could still be on the loose”.


Rule Britannia may be dropped from Last Night

The BBC may drop Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory from the Last Night of the Proms, reports The Sunday Times. Organisers fear that the traditional anthems could produce a backlash because of their perceived association with colonialism and slavery. A source said Dalia Stasevska, who is conducting the Last Night, “thinks a ceremony without an audience is the perfect moment to bring change”.


Terrorism charges as part of investigation into New IRA

Three men have been charged under the Terrorism Act in Northern Ireland. Barbara Gray, assistant chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said the terrorism investigation unit had charged the men “on suspicion of a wide range of offences under the Terrorism Act as part of Operation Arbacia” – an ongoing investigation into the activities of the New IRA. Two women have also been charged.


Maguire due back in England after Greece arrest

The footballer Harry Maguire is due to fly back to England early from his holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos during which he was accused of attacking a police officer after a late-night brawl. The Manchester United player, who was released on Saturday after spending two nights in police cells, will be tried in a Greek court on Tuesday on charges of “serial bodily harm” and “serial insult”.


Bread price warning after weak wheat harvest

The National Farmers’ Union says Britain's worst wheat harvest in 40 years is likely to cause a price hike in flour and bread. Heavy rain meant only about 40% of the usual amount of wheat crop was planted last October and crops being harvested now are very poor quality due to droughts earlier in the season followed by lots of August rain.


John Lewis to ditch ‘never knowingly undersold’ slogan

John Lewis is to ditch its “Never knowingly undersold” price promise and open a partnership with an online rival such as Amazon to deliver Waitrose food. “We’re reviewing it to improve it,” new chairman Sharon White told The Sunday Times. “My money’s on ‘Fair value for all’.” White was was appointed head of the partnership last year.


New Zealand mosque shooter to face survivors

The man convicted of the New Zealand mosque shootings is expected in court to face survivors at a four-day sentencing hearing. Brenton Tarrant, who has admitted killing 51 people when he opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch in March last year, is to appear in court in Christchurch for the four-day sentencing amid tight security.


Jets allowed to fly in straight line in Covid skies

Empty skies are allowing aircraft to fly in a straight line, saving time and fuel. As air traffic dropped to between 30% and 40% of usual levels, air traffic controllers have been able to move flights off inefficient routes and take more direct flight paths. The Sunday Times says it has offered a “glimpse of the potential benefits of reform”.

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