Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 11 Oct 2020

1

Professor says UK is at Covid ‘tipping point’

A leading scientist says the UK has reached a “tipping point” in the Covid-19 crisis similar to that last seen in March. Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, said more deaths will follow a rise in cases over the coming weeks. He warned that “the seasons are against us” and the country is running into a “headwind” ahead of winter.

2

Downing Street switches attention from Trump to Biden

A panicked Number 10 has told ministers to forge links with the White House frontrunner Joe Biden after “writing off” Donald Trump’s chances of re-election. Private polling and computer models shown to Boris Johnson last month put Biden’s chances of victory at more than 70%. Diplomats say Biden remains annoyed by Johnson’s 2016 comments about Barack Obama and “the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British Empire”.

3

Avocado farm owners accused of murder and other abuses

The British owners of an avocado farm in Kenya that supplies leading chains including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl are being sued over a series of alleged human rights abuses. The Sunday Times says the accusations include battering a 28-year-old man to death for allegedly stealing avocados, the rapes of 10 women, and attacks on villagers. Former employees of the firm are among the claimants.

4

Lawyers say Priti Patel inspired armed attack on London firm

Leading lawyers say a knife attack at law firm last month was inspired by Priti Patel's rhetoric. On 7 September a man with a large knife entered a London law firm and launched a “violent, racist attack” that injured a staff member. He was found to be carrying far-right literature. A few days before, the home secretary had claimed “activist lawyers” were hampering the removal of migrants.

5

Mexico tells Pope to apologise and return manuscripts

Mexico’s president has demanded that Pope Francis apologises for the Catholic church’s role in the oppression of indigenous people in the Spanish conquest 500 years ago. Andrés Manuel López Obrador is also asking the Vatican to temporarily return ancient indigenous manuscripts held in its library, ahead of next year’s 500-year anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

6

Labour level with Tories after losing three-point lead

Labour and the Tories are neck-and-neck again, according to the latest Opinium poll for The Observer. The two parties recorded 40% support, with Labour’s three-point lead from a fortnight ago evaporating. The public is also split over who they prefer as prime minister, with 32% opting for Boris Johnson and 33% backing Keir Starmer. Some 42% think Johnson is out of his depth handling coronavirus.

7

Deaths as train collides with Buddhist bus in Thailand

A train has collided with a tour bus in Thailand killing at least 17 people and injuring 30 others. The bus had 65 passengers on board as it crossed a railway track in Chacheongsao, 50 miles east of Bangkok. It was travelling from Samut Prakan province to a Buddhist temple in Chachoengsao. Thailand regularly tops lists of the world’s most lethal roads.

8

Red wall Tory voters ‘betrayed’ by Boris Johnson

The prime minister has been accused of betraying red wall voters over lockdown cash. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester and a former health secretary, said Boris Johnson could be vulnerable to court action on grounds of discrimination, particularly against people in low-paid hospitality jobs across the north. Downing Street is expected to announce new lockdown rules for the north-west and north-east on Monday.

9

White House doctor says Trump no longer infectious

Donald Trump is no longer a transmission risk to others, the White House physician has claimed. Sean Conley's memo is the first update on the US president’s health since Thursday. The doctor said the latest tests on the president revealed there was “no longer evidence of actively replicating virus”, and that his viral load was “decreasing”.

10

Meghan says she was ‘the most trolled person in the world’

The Duchess of Sussex has described herself as “the most trolled person in the world”. Speaking on the Teenager Therapy podcast, she said the unrelenting abuse that she suffered last year had left her feeling “isolated” and “othered”. She said that what was “manufactured and churned out” was “almost unsurvivable”. The podcast was recorded with three teenagers to mark World Mental Health Day.

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