Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 3 Sep 2020
Johnson and Sunak play down tax rise plans
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have pledged to avoid raising taxes, amid rising discontent among Tory MPs. In briefings with “red wall” Tories, the pair said they believed in a “dynamic low-tax economy” and vowed that there would not be “a horror show of tax rises with no end in sight”. The promise came after reports that the Treasury was planning significant hikes in corporation and capital gains tax.
Germany confirms Navalny was poisoned
The German government says hospital tests have shown that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was “without doubt” poisoned with the nerve agent novichok. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the news was “outrageous” and demanded that Russian authorities “explain what happened to Mr Navalny”. The Putin opponent was flown to Berlin after falling ill on a flight in Siberia last month and remains in a coma.
Joe Biden calls for police to be charged over shootings
Joe Biden says charges should be brought against police who shot two black Americans, Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor. Speaking in Delaware, the Democratic presidential candidate said: “I think we should let the judicial system work its way. I do think at a minimum, they need to be charged, the officers.” Biden leads President Donald Trump, who has backed the US police, by single-digits in national opinion polls.
Coronavirus testing overwhelmed as demand grows
The UK’s Covid-19 testing system is struggling to meet demand, with people applying for drive-through tests being sent more than 100 miles away from their homes as a growing number of Britons request swabs. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a new £500m funding package will support trials of a new 20-minute coronavirus test, adding that “testing is a vital line of defence in combating this pandemic”.
Ship with 6,000 cattle missing during typhoon
A ship with 43 crew and nearly 6,000 cattle is missing off the coast of Japan after issuing a distress signal during typhoon Maysak. The vessel was on its way to the Port of Jingtang in Tangshan, China, with an estimated journey of approximately 17 days. The storm has already killed one person in neighbouring South Korea and forced 2,000 others to be evacuated from their homes.
Prince Harry and Meghan agree Netflix deal
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have signed a multimillion-dollar contract to make documentaries for Netflix. The couple plan to make “inspirational” programmes in a multi-year deal with the streaming giant. Netflix boss Ted Sarandos said he was “incredibly proud” the couple had made the company “their creative home”. Insiders say the pair will receive $1-2m (£750,000-£1.5m) a year from Netflix.
Half of Republican voters believe QAnon conspiracy
A poll has found that more than one-third of Republicans believe that the QAnon conspiracy that Donald Trump is waging a war against a secret cabal of paedophile cannibals is “mostly true”. Less than two weeks after Trump said he appreciates the movement's support, the poll found more than half of Republican voters believe the theory is either mostly (33%) or partly (23%) true.
Second Cummings recruit sacked over racism
A data specialist recruited after Dominic Cummings’ call for “weirdos and misfits” to work in Downing Street has been fired after posting on social media that police should use live rounds against Black Lives Matter activists. In February, another Cummings recruit stepped down after it emerged that he had suggested black people were less intelligent than white people.
BBC U-turns on Land of Hope and Glory
The BBC will reinstate a sung performance of Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory at the Last Night of the Proms. Following political pressure, including a statement from the prime minister that it was time “we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history”, the corporation said that it hoped “everyone will welcome this solution” of deploying a “select group of BBC singers” for the two songs.
Gary Lineker to house refugee
Gary Lineker will house a refugee in his Surrey mansion later this month, after signing up to the Refugees at Home programme. The former England striker told the Daily Mirror: “My kids are all grown up so I’ve got plenty of room so if I can help on a temporary basis then I’m more than happy to do so.”