Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 6 Oct 2020

1

Trump stages ‘bizarre’ White House comeback

Donald Trump has returned to the White House to continue his treatment for Covid-19. On his return, the US president promptly removed his face mask on the Truman Balcony, telling Americans “to get out there” and not fear Covid. CNN says the “bizarre White House comeback” included “the reckless pronouncement there is nothing to fear from Covid-19, which has already killed 210,000 Americans”.

2

Hancock ‘put lives at risk’ with spreadsheet blunder

Ministers have been accused of “putting lives at risk” after a spreadsheet blunder led to Covid-19 cases going unreported. Contact tracers are now rushing to reach up to 50,000 people who should be self-isolating after it emerged that official figures missed 15,841 positive results due to a “catastrophic” data error. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is facing much of the “fury” over the “blunder”, the Daily Mail says.

3

No-deal Brexit could spark Northern Ireland violence

A no-deal Brexit risks the return of violence in Northern Ireland, MPs have warned MI5. The Commons Security Committee said republicanism remained resilient, was recruiting young members and could be inflamed if “border infrastructure” were to reappear along the frontier with the Republic of Ireland. MI5 devoted 20% of its resources to countering terrorism in Northern Ireland in the year to March 2018.

4

Study finds 14m tonnes of plastic at bottom of oceans

At least 14 million tonnes of plastic, each piece less than 5mm wide, are sitting at the bottom of the world’s oceans, scientists has discovered. Following analysis of ocean sediments from as deep as 3km, a researcher told The Guardian that finding microplastic in such a remote location and at such depths “points to the ubiquity of plastics, no matter where you are in the world”.

5

Surgeons warn of ‘tsunami’ of cancelled operations

Top surgeons have warned there could be a “tsunami” of cancelled operations this winter as the NHS copes with rising numbers of Covid-19 patients. The Royal College of Surgeons of England says it is doubtful that the health service can meet targets to restore surgery back to near pre-pandemic levels. President Professor Neil Mortensen described the oncoming cancellations as “a national crisis”.

6

Westminster Holocaust memorial a ‘terror trophy site’

Proposals for a Holocaust memorial next to the House of Commons would create a “trophy site” for terrorists, the former independent reviewer of terror laws has claimed. Lord Carlile told a planning inquiry that the landmark would be a “self-evident terrorism risk”. The memorial, proposed for Victoria Tower Gardens on Millbank, features 23 large bronze fin structures and an underground learning centre.

7

National Trust forecasts particularly vivid autumn colours

The National Trust says the UK’s parks and gardens will produce a glorious and prolonged autumn display of colour this year. Recent warm weather, coming after six months with lots of sunshiner, should “ensure a long and very colourful display”, Simon Toomer, the organisation’s plant specialist, said.

8

Police accused of throwing teenager from bridge

A police officer in Chile has been detained on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly threw a teenage protester from a bridge during protests on Friday. Footage seeming to show the incident at an anti-government protest in the capital city Santiago has gone viral in Chile. The authorities say the officer also “gave false information to the Prosecutor’s Office”.

9

Johnson to pledge wind power for all within 10 years

Boris Johnson will today pledge to launch enough wind farms to power every home in Britain within a decade. In a speech to the virtual Conservative Party conference, the prime minister will say that the government will invest in a clean energy future to create “hundreds of thousands, if not millions of jobs” over the next ten years.

10

‘What’s the time?’ and other hand gestures to die out

Linguists say hand gestures such as “what’s the time?” and “can I have the bill?” could die out because young people do not understand them. Professor of linguistics and communications expert Vyv Evans said the gestures have a specific meaning, known as emblems, that are specific to individual cultures or generations. He added: “Younger generations just will not know what these signals are.”

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