Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 23 Sep 2020

1

Boris Johnson unveils new Covid crackdown

Boris Johnson has warned of “tougher measures” to come if people do not follow the latest coronavirus restrictions. Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues will have to close by 10pm, while the number of people allowed at weddings has been halved. The BBC describes the new rules, which also include orders to work from home where possible, as “the last throw of dice before the really tough call” of a national lockdown.

2

Trump blames Beijing for Covid as UN tensions rise

Donald Trump has once again blamed China for the coronavirus during the annual UN General Assembly. The US president called for Beijing to be held “accountable” for the pandemic, but Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country had “no intention to enter a Cold War with any country”. The US Covid-19 death toll is currently at more than 200,000, the highest in the world.

3

Gove warns of 7,000-long truck queues after Brexit

Companies exporting to the European Union face 7,000-truck-long queues in Kent and two-day delays to trade after the Brexit transition period ends, a leaked government document claims. Michael Gove, who is responsible for no-deal planning, wrote to logistics groups with the government’s “reasonable worst-case scenario” for when the UK leaves the EU’s single market and customs union rules on 1 January.

4

Are spies about to be handed a licence to kill?

British spies could be given the “licence to kill” under new laws expected to be unveiled within days, The Daily Telegraph says. After a long-running battle over the legality of the guidelines used by the security services, the new legislation will allow people working for organisations such as MI5 to sanction agents to carry out “necessary and proportionate” offences in the line of duty.

5

Arrests after black man’s body found burning in ditch

Police in Iowa have arrested three men and one woman in connection with the death of a black man whose burning body was found in a ditch. One of the men arrested was already in jail on unrelated charges and is now facing first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse charges. An investigation found “no evidence” to show the acts were “motivated by race nor that [the] death was the result of a hate crime”.

6

‘Crisis’ as a third of nurses consider quitting NHS

One-third of nurses are considering leaving the NHS in the next year, MPs have claimed. The Commons Public Accounts Committee said it was not convinced by government plans to train 50,000 more nurses by 2025, with Labour MP Meg Hillier, the committee’s chairperson, adding “the strain of a huge shortage of nurses and the worrying reports of low morale” could trigger “an emerging crisis in nursing”.

7

Sunak mulling German-style scheme to replace furlough

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak may replace the furlough scheme with German-style wage subsidies as part of a broader support package to help businesses through a second wave of coronavirus. The Guardian reports that Rishi Sunak is considering adopting the German Kurzarbeit - meaning short work - system, which would see the government pay the wages of employees working reduced hours.

8

Musk predicts cheaper and longer lasting car batteries

Elon Musk says a new generation of electric vehicle batteries will be more powerful, longer lasting and half as expensive as his company’s current cells. Speaking at a Tesla event, the colourful and controversial entrepreneur said: “We do not have an affordable car. That’s something we will have in the future. But we’ve got to get the cost of batteries down.”

9

Germany suggests Madeleine McCann is dead

Prosecutors in Germany have said that there is evidence that Madeleine McCann is dead. Speaking on Portuguese television, German public prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters was asked whether there was any material evidence that Madeleine, who was three years old when she disappeared in 2007, is dead. He replied “yes”, but refused to elaborate when asked what evidence he had.

10

West Ham manager and players test positive for Covid-19

West Ham manager David Moyes and two of the club’s players were sent home after returning positive tests for coronavirus 70 minutes before a match was due to kick off last night. Moyes, defender Issa Diop and midfielder Josh Cullen will now be required to self-isolate. “The manager and both players immediately left the stadium and have returned home,” a club statement said.

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