Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 30 Sep 2020

1

Trump and Biden clash angrily in ‘awful’ debate

Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden have clashed in an ill-tempered debate. The BBC says there was “angry shouting and name calling” as the two “fought over the pandemic, race and the economy” in Ohio. Biden called the president a “clown” and Trump brought up his rival’s son’s drug use. CNN says the “absolutely awful” debate “did a deep disservice to democracy”.

2

Contentious Brexit bill heads to Lords after passing Commons

The Brexit bill that controversially breaches international law has passed its final House of Commons hurdle. The internal market bill, which gives ministers the power unilaterally to rewrite elements of the withdrawal agreement with the EU, passed its third reading by 340 votes to 256 and will now go to the House of Lords, where it is expected to face stiffer opposition.

3

Johnson to address nation as infection rates hit new high

Boris Johnson will address the nation today amid a record rate of Covid infection. Daily cases have surpassed 7,000 for the first time in Britain, putting the nation on “red alert,” according to The Times. There is speculation that Merseyside will be added to the legal ban on households mixing indoors. A decision on London is likely to be deferred until next week.

4

Armenia says Turkey shot down one of its jets

Armenia says that a Turkish warplane shot down one of its jets over its homeland. Shushan Stepanyan, a defence ministry spokeswoman, said that the pilot “died heroically” when a Turkish F-16 Fighting Falcon destroyed one of its Sukhoi Su-25 jets about 35 miles into Armenian territory. The incident represents a dangerous escalation of the conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

5

Patel looked at sending asylum seekers to island

Priti Patel considered sending asylum seekers to a volcanic island in the South Atlantic, reveals The Guardian. A Whitehall brainstorming session prompted by the home secretary led to the idea being floated of sending asylum seekers to Ascension Island, an isolated volcanic British territory, and St Helena, which is part of the same island group but 800 miles away.

6

Nearly one million missed breast screening during pandemic

A backlog of nearly one million women have missed out on breast cancer screening as a result of lockdown, meaning the disease may have gone undetected in around 8,600 of them. The charity Breast Cancer Now says 986,000 patients are waiting for life-saving mammograms because screenings went on hold when the pandemic began. Campaigners say that cancer care “cannot afford to be paused again”.

7

Minister claims that Whitehall has been ‘infantilised’

A government minister has complained that Whitehall has been “infantilised” by an “unacceptable” reliance on costly management consultants. Writing to senior civil servants, Lord Agnew, the Cabinet Office and Treasury minister, demanded they wind in the growing sums paid to private firms and stop “depriving our brightest [public servants] of opportunities to work on some of the most challenging, fulfilling and crunchy issues”.

8

Teenager in India dies two weeks after gang rape

A teenager from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has died, two weeks after she was allegedly gang-raped and strangled by upper caste men. The 19-year-old woman was first admitted to a hospital in Uttar Pradesh and later transferred to New Delhi because of the severity of her injuries. Four men have been arrested on suspicion of rape and murder.

9

Chancellor urged to make temporary rise permanent

Charities and campaigners are calling on Rishi Sunak to make a temporary rise in Universal Credit, plus other benefits, permanent. The year-long hike was introduced in April, after the UK went into lockdown but the groups warn that millions of the UK's poorest households could see their incomes cut by £20 a week from April unless the “lifeline” payment continues.

10

Walt Disney lays off park employees after pandemic hits hard

Walt Disney says it will lay off 28,000 employees, mostly at its US theme parks. Disney blamed uncertainty over the future and the parks’ limited visitor capacity during the pandemic. “We have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of the parks unit. Disney lost $4.72bn in the three months ended on 27 June.

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