Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 1 Sep 2020

1

Gap between rich and poor pupils in England widens

A teacher survey has found that pupils in England are three months behind in their studies after lockdown. And the gap in England between poorer pupils and their wealthier peers has widened by 46% during the past school year. Research found that disadvantaged and BAME pupils lost the most learning in lockdown and now require urgent support as the new term begins in England and Wales this week.

2

Joe Biden claims ‘toxic’ Trump is encouraging violence

Joe Biden has accused Donald Trump of provoking violence in US cities after the president endorsed supporters who fired paintballs at protesters in Portland. The Democratic hopeful declared Trump “a toxic presence” who has spent four years “poisoning the values this nation has always held dear”. Earlier, Trump refused to condemn his supporters for their alleged roles in recent deadly street clashes.

3

Experts warn that the UK is risking new Covid-19 spike

The UK is in danger of a new surge of Covid-19 infections, experts say, after the government reported 1,715 new cases in 24 hours on Sunday. The figure is the highest daily number since 4 June and the largest for a weekend day since mid-May. Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London and ex-government scientific adviser, said: “We don’t have much room for manoeuvre.”

4

Hamas and Israel agree truce after weeks of bombings

Following three weeks of violent exchanges, Hamas has announced that it has reached a Qatari-mediated deal with Israel. A spokesman for the group said “an understanding was reached to rein in the latest escalation and end aggression against our people”. The Israeli military has bombed Gaza almost daily since 6 August, in response to airborne incendiary devices and rocket fire.

5

Profits at Zoom more than double during lockdown

Revenues at Zoom have soared, as second quarter profits more than doubled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The popular video conferencing application saw revenues leap 355% to $663.5m (£496.3m) for the three months ending 31 July, outstripping analysts’ positive expectations. Profits soared to $186m, while customer growth rose 458% compared with the same period in 2019.

6

Boris Johnson ‘to appoint former Prince William assistant’

A former assistant to Prince William has been chosen by Boris Johnson to head the civil service, the Financial Times reports. Simon Case, who was made permanent secretary at 10 Downing Street earlier this year, is expected to be announced as the cabinet secretary today. As the replacement for Mark Sedwill, Case will be charged with pushing through Dominic Cummings’ “hard rain” Whitehall reforms.

7

Lost swimmer found near Dover after eight-hour hunt

A man who went missing while trying to swim from Dover to Calais has been saved by a passing boat, just 500m off the coast of Dover. An eight-hour hunt was sparked by a call to the coastguard from a friend of the swimmer. A coastguard spokesperson said the swimmer was taken ashore and was “cold and tired but otherwise well”.

8

Further assault charges for adult movie star Ron Jeremy

The adult movie star Ron Jeremy has been charged with 20 new counts of rape or sexual assault involving 12 women and a teenage girl. Earlier this year, the 67-year-old was charged with the rape of three women and the sexual assault of a fourth in incidents dating back to 2014. “I can’t wait to prove my innocence in court! Thank you to everyone for all the support,” he wrote on Twitter.

9

Marcus Rashford launches new campaign on child food poverty

Marcus Rashford is teaming up with the food industry to tackle child food poverty. The Manchester United and England star has told MPs that the Child Food Poverty Task Force and leading firms would be “standing side by side to shed light on the issue of child food poverty in the UK”. Earlier this year, Rashford forced a government U-turn on providing free school meals during the summer holidays.

10

New BBC director general ‘to tackle left-wing comedy’

The Daily Telegraph says the BBC’s new director-general is planning to address “perceived left-wing bias” in the corporation’s comedy shows. Sources claim that Tim Davie believes the BBC’s comedy output is too one-sided and needs a complete overhaul. Later this week, Davie is expected to set out plans to restore “trust and confidence” in the BBC by better reflecting all sides of the political divide.

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