Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 17 Sep 2020
Number 10 strikes deal with Conservative rebels
Downing Street has reached a compromise with some of the Conservative MPs opposed to plans to give the government the power to override parts of the UK's Brexit agreement. Boris Johnson has agreed to amend the Internal Markets Bill, giving MPs a vote before he could use the powers in it that would break international law. Yesterday, Lord Keen, Scotland's Advocate General, stood down over the issue.
Sections of public could be refused coronavirus tests
Large swathes of the public will be refused Covid-19 tests even if they have symptoms under government plans, according to the Daily Telegraph. A prioritisation list drawn up by health officials suggests that tests would be restricted to hospital patients, care homes, certain key workers and schools. The UK has recorded nearly 4,000 new Covid-19 cases in a day for the first time since the start of May.
Biden warns the UK over Northern Ireland and Brexit
Democratic nominee Joe Biden says he will not allow peace in Northern Ireland to become a “casualty of Brexit” if he becomes US president. He said any UK-US trade deal had to be “contingent” on respect for the Good Friday Agreement in final Brexit arrangements. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also applied pressure on the issue, saying he trusted the UK to “get this right”.
Up to 25,000 teachers in self-isolation amid school outbreaks
A study has found that up to 25,000 teachers in England may already have been forced into self-isolation at home just a fortnight after schools reopened. Amid a lack of availability of tests, unions warned the crisis was out of control in state schools. However, a private school teacher said: “If schools can afford to take the hit, private companies don’t have any problems providing tests.”
Belarus charges opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova
The authorities in Belarus have charged the opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova with “actions aimed at undermining national security”. The BBC says the charge, which carries a jail sentence of up to five years, is the latest attack on opposition leaders by the “embattled” president, Alexander Lukashenko, who has lost legitimacy among much of the population but still has the support of law enforcement agencies.
George Floyd police trial to be broadcast live in Britain
The trial of four police officers accused of killing George Floyd will be broadcast live on the UK television station Court TV. After Floyd’s death in May, one officer, Derek Chauvin, was charged with murder and manslaughter, while three others - Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao - face charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
Early closing times on the cards for pubs and restaurants
Restaurants and pubs may have to close early to control Covid-19 infections, with London’s public health chief warning of a “local curfew” in the capital. Almost two million people in north-east England are expected to face local restrictions as coronavirus cases rise there, but Boris Johnson said a second full lockdown would be “completely wrong” and disastrous for the economy.
Outcry as 13-year-old jailed for blasphemy in Nigeria
A 13-year-old boy has been sentenced to ten years in prison for blasphemy in northern Nigeria. Omar Farouq was convicted in a Sharia court after he was accused of using foul language toward Allah in an argument with a friend. Unicef has released a statement “expressing deep concern” about the sentencing, saying it “negates all core underlying principles of child rights and child justice”.
Extinction Rebellion ‘flipping nuisance’ says police chief
A senior police officer has described a tactic used by Extinction Rebellion climate activists to complicate their arrests as a “flipping nuisance”. Sir Steve House, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is urging protesters to stop letting their bodies fall limp as they are taken away - a peaceful disruption tactic that forces the police to deploy extra officers to complete arrests. He said the tactic is “a complete pain in the neck”.
Cameron ‘embarrassed’ by the Sasha Swire diaries
David Cameron says he has felt humiliated by the diaries of a Conservative MP’s wife, admitting: “It’s kind of embarrassing.” After Sasha Swire, wife of the MP Sir Hugo Swire, claimed that Cameron joked that her perfume made him want to push her “into the bushes and give you one,” the former PM said that private details were not what you wanted “splashed all over the place”.