Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 6 Sep 2020

1

‘Seat out to help out’ as theatres cleared to reopen

Theatres and sporting venues will be allowed to open without social distancing within weeks after the prime minister and Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, told officials to “move at extreme pace” to encourage crowds back into large venues. The team behind the “eat out to help out” scheme has been commissioned to create a “seat out to help out” plan to encourage people to attend cultural and sporting events.

2

Britain is ‘not scared’ to walk away from Brexit talks

Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator insists the government is not “scared” of walking away from talks without a trade deal. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, David Frost said the UK would leave the transition arrangement “come what may” in December. Meanwhile, the EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said he is “worried and disappointed” about a lack of concessions from London.

3

Report says Covid could be endemic in deprived areas

Public Health England says Covid-19 could be endemic in areas that have severe deprivation, poor housing and large BAME communities. A leaked government document marked “official sensitive” suggests the national lockdown did little to cut infection in parts of the north. Gabriel Scally, visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol and a member of the independent Sage committee, described the findings as “extremely alarming”.

4

Britain's rail services to be cut by 10% this autumn

Passengers will face longer waiting times and the loss of some routes as Britain’s railway firms operate an autumn timetable of services that will be 10% below the pre-pandemic level. With certain lines facing cuts of up to 35%, some trains that ran hourly will run only every two hours and some direct routes connecting the regions to capital are being suspended.

5

‘Desperate’ Johnson ‘to step up attacks on Starmer’

An “increasingly desperate” Boris Johnson has ordered his staff to step up personal attacks on the Labour leader Keir Starmer and his record as a lawyer, says The Observer. As confidence in the prime minister’s leadership falls among party members, a source said Johnson told his team that he wanted them to “go after Starmer’s legal record and double down on the attacks on him.”

6

Major incident declared in Birmingham after stabbings

Police have declared a major incident in the centre of Birmingham after officers were called to reports of multiple stabbings. A spokesperson for West Midlands Police says officers were called to reports of a stabbing in the city centre at 12:30am. “We immediately attended, along with colleagues from the ambulance service,” they said. “A number of other stabbings were reported in the area shortly after.”

7

PM condemns Extinction Rebellion’s newspaper protest

Ministers have criticised Extinction Rebellion’s blockade of newspaper printing plants that prevented the delivery of 1.5 million papers. The prime minister said: “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account.” The activists had unfurled banners reading “Free The Truth” and “5 Crooks Control Our News”.

8

Irish pubs in plea for re-opening amid longest shutdown

Irish pubs are begging the authorities to allow them to reopen as they endure longest shutdown in Europe. After Ireland's bars were shut in March, pubs that could serve a “substantial meal” were allowed to re-open from the end of June subject to strict conditions. However, an estimated 60% of pubs remain shut as they do not serve food, with debts mounting for owners.

9

World's loneliest elephant allowed to leave his zoo

An elephant who has become known as the “world's loneliest elephant,” will be allowed to leave the Pakistani zoo that he has lived in for 35 years. Kaavan has been given medical clearance to travel after an examination at the zoo in Islamabad on Friday, according to Martin Bauer, a spokesman for animal welfare group Four Paws. Having lost his partner in 2012, Kaavan has battled loneliness in poor iving conditions.

10

Backlash against Ian Brown for Covid-sceptic tweet

The indie singer Ian Brown is under fire after he sent out a tweet opposing coronavirus vaccines, lockdowns and face masks. The former Stone Roses frontman sparked outrage when he posted: “NO LOCKDOWN NO TESTS NO TRACKS NO MASKS NO VAX #researchanddestroy.” A fan on the social network responded: “Love your music Ian but I am seriously hoping you've been hacked.”

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