Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 20 Oct 2020

1

Vallance says Covid-19 may never be eradicated

A vaccine is unlikely to eradicate Covid-19, the government’s chief scientific adviser has warned MPs. Patrick Vallance said the “notion of eliminating Covid is not right”, adding that people would have to learn to live with the virus. “I mean, it is worth reflecting that there’s only one human disease that’s been truly eradicated, and that’s from the highly effective vaccine to smallpox,” Vallance added.

2

Downing Street refuses to restart Brexit negotiations

The UK has refused to restart Brexit negotiations despite Michael Gove praising a “constructive move” by the EU. A tweet from Michel Barnier “seemingly agreed to all the government’s demands for the resumption of talks”, The Guardian says. But a Downing Street spokesperson said “the UK continues to believe there is no basis to resume talks unless there is a fundamental change of approach from the EU”.

3

Bottle-fed babies swallowing microplastic particles

Bottle-fed babies are swallowing millions of microplastic particles a day, according to a “milestone” research project. Scientists found that the recommended high-temperature process for sterilising plastic bottles and preparing formula milk caused the bottles to release millions of microplastics and trillions of even smaller nanoplastics. The researchers said there is an “urgent need” to investigate the findings.

4

Government sets deadline for Manchester lockdown

The government has given Greater Manchester leaders until midday today to reach an agreement over the move to Tier 3 Covid restrictions. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that if no agreement is made by then, Boris Johnson will decide what happens next. The BBC says the “implication” was that the top tier rules would be imposed, with or without the blessing of local representatives.

5

Moscow ‘had planned to attack Olympic Games’

Russia’s military intelligence services carried out a cyber-attack on the Japanese-hosted Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo this summer, the UK National Cyber Security Centre has claimed. The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned Moscow’s “cynical and reckless” bid to disrupt Games, before they were postponed because of the pandemic. Officials did not specify the nature or extent of the attacks.

6

Trump and Biden feud over final debate topics

Donald Trump and Joe Biden have clashed over plans for their final television debate. After the US president accused the Commission on Presidential Debates of helping the Democrat by leaving out foreign policy, the Biden camp said Trump was “afraid to face more questions about his disastrous Covid response”. Biden has a strong polling lead, however, his advantage is smaller in key swing states.

7

Study reveals rape victims lack trust in justice

Just one in seven rape survivors believe they will receive justice by reporting their ordeal, according to a study by the victims’ commissioner. The research also found that a third of the respondents had not reported what had happened to them, with 95% of those saying they feared not being believed by police. Survivors described feeling “angry, hurt and betrayed” by the criminal justice system.

8

Maxwell documents to be unsealed after court ruling

Ghislaine Maxwell has failed in her legal battle to keep depositions containing intimate details about her personal life under wraps. A US appeals court upheld a decision from a lower court that the testimony given by the socialite should be made public. Maxwell is currently being held at a Brooklyn prison awaiting trial on charges that she recruited underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein. She denies the charges.

9

Ireland orders full national lockdown

Ireland is effectively returning to lockdown after the government announced it would move the country to the highest level of coronavirus restrictions. Cabinet ministers have agreed to level five restrictions from midnight on Wednesday, with the measures lasting for six weeks but being reviewed after four. People are being asked to stay at home and only to exercise within 5km of their address.

10

Big Lebowski star Jeff Bridges diagnosed with lymphoma

The American actor Jeff Bridges has revealed he has lymphoma but says his “prognosis is good”. The Oscar-winning star of The Big Lebowski said he was starting treatment for the “serious disease”, thanking fans for “prayers and well wishes”. Lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the germ-fighting lymph system.

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