Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 1 Oct 2020

1

Covid cases ‘slowing in the UK’, study claims

A major study has found that the growth in Covid-19 cases may be slowing down in England. Analysing samples from 84,000 people chosen at random from across the country, a team at Imperial College London found the R number appears to have fallen since measures including the “rule of six” were ushered in. Professor Paul Elliott said the results appear to show “a downturn in the rate of increase”.

2

Plan launched to change rules for White House debates

The commission that oversees US presidential debates plans to tweak the format for future encounters after widespread criticism of Tuesday night’s first showdown. Controlling the candidates’ microphones is at the top of the list to prevent them interrupting the moderator or each other, CBS reports. Donald Trump, meanwhile, suggested “getting a new anchor and a smarter Democrat candidate”.

3

Ministers mulling floating asylum centres

Asylum seekers could be processed on disused ferries moored off the coast of Britain under plans being considered by Boris Johnson. The Times says the move is part of the prime minister’s effort to deter migrants making dangerous crossings from France. Johnson has also asked officials to consider the option of sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco or Papua New Guinea, The Guardian reports.

4

Millions could lose jobs as furlough begins wind down

Millions of jobs hang in the balance as the countdown to the end of the furlough scheme begins. The government’s contribution to furloughed workers’ wages falls today ahead of the end of the furlough scheme on 31 October. A poll of 2,000 managers carried out by YouGov has found that more than a third of UK employers plan to make staff redundant over the next three months.

5

US claims rockets hit base in Iraq

Six rockets landed near Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq yesterday, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government. A US defense official added that three rockets struck a base where US troops are located, with additional projectiles landing outside the site. Donald Trump has threatened to close the US embassy in Iraq if rocket attacks do not stop.

6

Starmer to back more black history in schools

Keir Starmer will today call for schoolchildren to be taught more about Britain’s black history as part of an effort to reach “a full understanding of the struggle for equality”. Marking the start of Black History Month, the Labour leader will say that black history should be taught more frequently “as part of a truly diverse school curriculum that includes and inspires all young people”.

7

Irregular menstrual cycles sign of early death risk

Irregular and long menstrual cycles are associated with a greater risk of death before the age of 70, a study published in the British Medical Journal has found. The menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of a woman’s period until the day before her next. On average, this lasts 28 days, but there is considerable variation between women, with 24 to 35 day cycles.

8

Covid restrictions ‘take time to feed through’, PM says

Boris Johnson has said new measures to tackle the increase in cases of Covid-19 “will take time to feed through”. Speaking at a press briefing, the prime minister added the UK was at a “critical moment”, with a rising number of deaths showing “why our plan is so essential”. The UK yesterday reported 7,108 new coronavirus cases and 71 deaths, according to latest data.

9

Ban on plastic straws starts in England

Single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds are now banned in England. The new ruling makes it illegal for businesses to sell or supply the items, however, hospitals, bars and restaurants will still be permitted to provide plastic straws to people with disabilities or conditions that require them. England uses an estimated 4.7bn plastic straws, 316m stirrers and 1.8bn plastic-stemmed cotton buds annually.

10

Influencers paid to plug degrees they never took

Influencers are being paid to promote university degrees they never took, The Times has revealed. Anglia Ruskin University paid social media stars to tell followers about the fun they had as a student there, even when they had never attended the university. Mari Alonso, a lifestyle and travel blogger, told her 82,000 followers on Instagram to “change your life” by studying at the university.

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