Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 27 Aug 2020
Germany scraps Brexit talks after ‘wasted summer’
Germany has abandoned plans to discuss Brexit at a diplomatic meeting next week, citing the lack of “any tangible progress” in negotiations. As Brussels laments a “completely wasted” summer, EU officials believe the UK government is prepared to risk a no-deal exit when the transition period comes to an end on 31 December. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously been billed as a potential dealmaker.
Pence says Americans ‘won't be safe’ if Biden wins
Mike Pence has claimed that violence will spread in American cities if Joe Biden wins the presidency in November. “The hard truth is you won't be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” said the US vice president in his keynote speech to the Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has called for himself and Democratic challenger Biden to submit to drug tests before their first televised debate next month.
New Zealand mosque killer sentenced to life without parole
A court in New Zealand has sentenced a man who killed 51 people at two mosques to life in prison without parole. Brenton Tarrant, 29, admitted to the murder of 51 people, attempted murder of another 40 people and one charge of terrorism. The judge described his actions “inhuman” and made the Australian the first person in New Zealand’s history to receive a terrorism conviction.
Warnings of ‘unsurvivable’ surge as hurricane approaches US
Hurricane Laura has strengthened into a Category 4 storm as it heads towards the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. The National Hurricane Center says Laura is expected to cause an “unsurvivable” storm surge, extreme winds and floods as it hits the US. Half a million residents have been told to leave their homes along the Gulf Coast, ahead of the storm surge caused by powerful winds and low pressure.
‘Hidden waiting list’ shows true scale of NHS backlog
The NHS has a “hidden waiting list” of 15.3m patients who need follow-up appointments for health problems, according to a ground-breaking report. The Times explains that the official waiting list, which currently stands at 3.9m, only shows how many patients are yet to have their first hospital appointment after a GP referral. However, the total number that need appointments is not collated centrally.
Military scientists claim insect repellent can kill Covid-19
Military scientists say a high street insect repellent may offer protection against the Covid-19 virus. In experiments at the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, scientists found that Mosi-guard Natural spray could kill the virus when used either as a spray or as a liquid. The Independent says it should only ever be used as an additional measure, alongside a face mask, gloves and other PPE.
Harry Maguire granted retrial after successful appeal
The Manchester United footballer Harry Maguire has been granted a retrial, after a Greek court accepted an appeal against his convictions for attacking and attempting to bribe police officers. Just 24 hours after he was found guilty, the verdict against Maguire was “extinguished” and his convictions “nullified”. The defender was, however, dropped from the England squad in connection with the original convictions.
£13 a day for low-income workers forced to self-isolate
People on low incomes in areas with high Covid-19 rates will be able to claim up to £182 if they are forced to self-isolate. People claiming Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits who cannot work from home will be able to claim the payment - the equivalent of £13 per day. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the payment, which will be trialled in the north-west, “goes nowhere near far enough”.
Lib Dems to announce new leader after tight race
The Liberal Democrats will announce their fourth leader in five years today. Party sources say it has been an extremely close race between acting leader and former energy secretary, Ed Davey, and the party’s education spokeswoman, Layla Moran. The result is due to be announced at midday and is Davey’s second attempt to win the leadership of the party, after he lost to Jo Swinson last summer.
CBI says PM must get workers back to ‘ghost towns’
Boris Johnson must get office workers back at their desks, according to the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Carolyn Fairbairn said commercial centres risk becoming “ghost towns” unless the government makes getting staff back into offices and workplaces a priority. A BBC survey found 50 of the country’s biggest employers have no plans to return all staff on a full time basis.