Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 22 Sep 2020
Pubs in England face 10pm closing time
Pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England will have to close at 10pm from Thursday, as the UK’s Covid-19 alert level moved to four. The upgrade in severity means the risk of transmission is now “high or rising exponentially”, with Boris Johnson set to announce the new measures in the House of Commons before addressing the nation in a live broadcast at 8pm this evening.
Starmer to appeal to patriotism in conference speech
Keir Starmer will strike a patriotic tone during his first party conference speech as Labour leader. In an online address, he will tell voters who abandoned the party that “we love this country as you do” and ask them to return to Labour, which he will say is “under new leadership”. The Tories have accused Starmer of “refusing to take a position” on important issues, including Brexit and the Covid-19 response.
Coronavirus bereaved call for inquiry into NHS 111
Families whose loved ones died from coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic are calling for an inquiry into the NHS 111 service, alleging that many critically ill people were given poor advice and told to stay at home. “We believe that in some cases it is likely these issues directly contributed to loved ones dying,” said the co-founder of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group.
FTSE drops by 3.4% over second lockdown fears
Traders wiped more than £50bn off Britain’s blue chip companies yesterday, as fears of a new lockdown spread in the City. The FTSE 100 plunged 3.4%, with £51bn knocked off its value on the index’s worst day since the middle of June. Economists have warned that new restrictions could cause another slump in GDP, which collapsed by 20.4% between April and June.
Abramovich donates millions to Israeli settler group
Companies controlled by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich donated tens of millions of pounds to an Israeli settler group accused of displacing Palestinian families from Jerusalem, the BBC says. The owner of Chelsea F.C., who was granted Israeli citizenship in 2018, was the biggest individual donor over the past 15 years to Elad, a Hebrew word which means “God’s eternal faith”, handing the group £74m.
Arctic sea ice at second-lowest level on record
Soaring temperatures in the Arctic have shrunk the ice over the polar ocean to its second-lowest level in four decades, scientists have revealed. Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, US, say this year’s sea ice minimum was 3.74m sq km on 15 September, only the second time the ice has been measured below 4m sq km in 40 years of record keeping.
Premium bonds and other savings hit by interest cuts
Up to 25 million savers will see their returns plunge after National Savings and Investments (NS&I) slashed its interest rates. NS&I, which is backed by the Treasury, will slash rates on several accounts and significantly worsen the odds on winning in its Premium Bonds prize draw. The move has been described by analysts as “devastating” for the market and savers.
Former PM May vows to join Tory rebellion on Brexit bill
Theresa May says she will rebel over the Internal Market Bill, after ministers admitted it will break international law. The ex-PM warned that the bill “puts the future of the UK at risk”, adding that despite Boris Johnson’s partial concession – a parliamentary lock on using the legislation’s powers – the UK is still flouting “the rule of law”. Downing Street claims the bill is a fallback in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Whales die after mass stranding in Tasmania
Rescuers say that up to a third of 270 whales stranded off the coast of Tasmania, Australia have died. Although whale beachings are common in the region, it has been more than 10 years since a event of this scale was recorded. “If the conditions stay the same, they can survive for quite a few days,” said a rescuer. It remains unknown what drew the whales to the shore.
Tory MP apologises after maskless train journey
A Conservative MP who was snapped on camera travelling without a face mask during an hour-long train journey has apologised, claiming he did have one but “forgot” to put it on. Danny Kruger, a close ally of Boris Johnson and MP for Devizes, was snapped while travelling on a train from the Berkshire town of Hungerford to London’s Paddington Station.