Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 4 Sep 2020
Test rationing ‘could mean Covid outbreak is missed’
There are fears that a new outbreak of coronavirus will go undetected if tests for Covid-19 are rationed in parts of the country. MPs say that testing slots have “completely evaporated” in some areas, and schools have been told not to order tests for pupils with sore throats to preserve lab capacity. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said tests are being prioritised for hotspot areas.
‘Eat out to help out’ exceeds expectations with 100m meals
A last-minute rush to take advantage of the government’s “eat out to help out” offer brouight the total number of discount meals claimed to more than 100 million. Having exceeded expectations, the scheme will now cost more than the £500m set aside by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. He said: “I want to thank everyone, from restaurant owners to waiters, chefs and diners, for embracing it and helping drive our economic recovery.”
US police officers suspended after black man suffocated
Seven police officers have been suspended after an unarmed black man died from suffocation in Rochester, New York State. Daniel Prude, 41, who had mental health issues, died in March after being put in a “spit hood” to restrain him, but his death has only just been reported. Rochester's mayor, Lovely Warren, said systemic racism led to Prude’s death.
Tech firm falls put global markets into reverse
Stock markets in Asia and the US have taken a tumble after shares in America's biggest technology firms fell sharply. Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook – which have been driving US markets to new heights - fell by between 4% and 8%, amid fears about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a possible second wave. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed down 5%.
High Speed 2 rail line construction officially begins
Building work on HS2 officially begins today, with the promise of 22,000 new jobs in the next few years. The rail link is set to connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. It is hoped that the 20-year project will reduce overcrowding and boost the UK's economy through investment in transport links outside of the capital. However, critics say HS2 will also cost jobs and destroy wildlife.
Downing Street under pressure to cut ties with Abbott
Boris Johnson is facing calls to cancel the appointment of Tony Abbott as a trade adviser, due to his misogynistic and homophobic comments and his rejection of the climate crisis. Downing Street said that “no decisions” had been taken over the choice of the former Australian prime minister, after the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, Amnesty International, the TUC and environmental campaigners Greenpeace raised concerns.
Meghan and Archie to sue over Vancouver Island photos
The Duchess of Sussex and her son Archie are suing a paparazzi agency, claiming that “private information” was “misused” with the sale of photographs of her carrying Archie. Prince Harry’s wife is using a precedent set by JK Rowling, which protects the privacy of celebrities’ children, to challenge the sale of photographs taken in January on Vancouver Island.
Beirut rescue workers detect life in rubble a month after explosion
Signs of breathing and a pulse have been detected by Beirut rescue workers in the rubble of a building that collapsed after the huge explosion in the city a month ago. A rescue worker searching under a destroyed building in the Gemmayze area of the Lebanese capital, said: “These along with the temperature sensor means there is a possibility of life.”
‘Partisan’ social media posts criticised by new BBC boss
Tim Davie, the BBC’s new director-general, has announced a crackdown on stars who carry out “partisan campaigns” on social media. “If you want to be an opinionated columnist or partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice,” he said, “but you should not be working at the BBC.”
Batman halted after Pattinson ‘tests positive for Covid-19’
The actor Robert Pattinson has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus, forcing filming of the new Batman movie to be suspended. After Warner Bros said a member of production had coronavirus and was isolating, Vanity Fair and the Hollywood Reporter said it was Pattinson, who plays the caped crusader, who tested positive. The release has delayed to October 2021.