Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 14 Sep 2020

1

Cox leads rebellion against Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Geoffrey Cox, the Brexit-supporting former attorney general, says he will vote against the government's attempt to override the Withdrawal Agreement when it comes before the Commons. Writing for The Times, Cox has accused Boris Johnson of doing “unconscionable” damage to Britain’s international reputation. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland defended the bill as an “insurance policy”.

2

‘Rule of six’ measure comes into effect in England

MPs have expressed concern as measures banning social gatherings of more than six people came into effect in England, following a rise in cases of Covid-19. Former minister Steve Baker said the latest government action amounted to “arbitrary powers without scrutiny” and Desmond Swayne MP said it was “outrageous” not to have a parliamentary debate. Michael Gove said the new measures were “absolutely right”.

3

WHO announces record one-day rise in Covid infections

The World Health Organization has recorded a record 307,930 new Covid-19 infections reported in the past 24 hours. The previous one-day record for new cases came on 6 September, when the agency reported 306,857 new infections. Yesterday’s biggest increases were in India, the US and Brazil. Worldwide there have been more than 28 million confirmed cases.

4

Alarm as chunk of ice breaks away in Greenland

Scientists have sounded a warning about climate change after a large chunk of ice broke away from the Arctic's largest remaining ice shelf in north-east Greenland. Last week, it was revealed that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting at a rate that matches climate scientists’ worst-case scenario forecasts. The resulting meltwater has raised the global sea level by 1.8cm in the past two decades.

5

Israel announces second national coronavirus lockdown

Israel is preparing to impose a new national lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, beginning on Friday and lasting for at least three weeks. The restrictions, which overlap with important Jewish festivals, will “exact a heavy price on us all”, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel has recorded about 4,000 new daily infections for the past few days.

6

House prices forecast to fall by 14% in 2021

The Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted that house prices will fall by almost 14 per cent next year, once the government’s temporary cut in stamp duty ends and the economic impact of the pandemic sets in. Despite figures this month showing house prices rising at their fastest pace in 16 years, the group says they “will start to fall significantly” in the medium term.

7

Oracle set to win TikTok bidding after Microsoft fails

Microsoft’s offer to buy the US operations of the video-sharing app TikTok has been rejected by its Chinese parent company. The development sets the scene for software company Oracle to make a last-minute bid. A source told the Wall Street Journal that Oracle will succeed in becoming TikTok's “trusted tech partner” in America. Donald Trump claims TikTok and other Chinese apps are national security threats.

8

Drivers who cause death by speeding could face life sentence

Motorists who cause death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone could face life sentences, reports The Guardian. An overhaul of sentencing policy follows pressure from campaigners and judges, who argue that the current 14-year maximum is too lenient. A cabinet spokesman said: “This government has been clear that punishments must fit the crime.”

9

Georgia deputy fired after punching black suspect

A sheriff’s deputy in Georgia has been caught on video repeatedly punching a black man during a traffic stop. The Clayton county sheriff’s office said the deputy was fired for “excessive use of force”. The video shows that during the beating the suspect’s girlfriend screams and a child in the vehicle yells: “Daddy!” The suspect has received medical attention.

10

Study reveals the unhappiest point of our lives

A study has found that happiness levels through life follow a U-shape, with people at their saddest at the age of 48. The study by David Blanchflower, a former Bank of England chief, concluded that moods reach their lowest point at the age of 48.3, after which people become successively happier. The highest levels of happiness were found among people aged 18 to 25.

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