Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 26 Oct 2020

1

Arrests after special forces end suspected tanker hijacking

Seven stowaways have been arrested after the Special Boat Service stormed a tanker off the Isle of Wight. About 16 commandos boarded the Nave Andromeda last night, following a suspected hijacking. Two Royal Navy Merlin helicopters were involved, along with two Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters. “Initial reports confirm the crew are safe and well,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

2

Tory MPs ‘furious’ over Johnson's handling of school meals

Boris Johnson is under pressure to perform a U-turn on providing free school meals during school holidays in England as Tory MPs face the impact of the government’s refusal to back down in the face of the campaign led by the footballer Marcus Rashford. The Daily Telegraph says up to 100 Tory MPs are sharing furious texts about the government’s handling of the issue.

3

Joe Biden enjoys three-point lead in Texas

Joe Biden is on course to defeat Donald Trump in the Republican stronghold of Texas, according to the latest opinion polls. The state has minimal postal voting, so its resutl is expected to be declared on election night. If Biden became the first Democrat to win the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976, Donald Trump's chances of retaining the Oval Office would be very low.

4

Chileans celebrate after voting to rewrite constitution

The people of Chile have voted overwhelmingly in support of rewriting their constitution, which dates to the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. With nearly 90% of the vote counted, 78% of people had voted “yes” in a referendum. President Sebastian Pinera acknowledged the result and said it was “the beginning of a path that we must all walk together”.

5

Legal giants call for Johnson to apologise for hostility

Hundreds of former judges, lawyers and other legal figures have signed a letter accusing Boris Johnson and Priti Patel of “hostility” towards lawyers representing migrants seeking asylum. In the letter to The Guardian, they said the prime minister and home secretary have “endangered” lawyers' safety with recent comments. They call on the Conservatives to “behave honourably” and apologise.

6

LSE says 40% of pupils not receiving full education

Only three pupils in five are receiving a full education despite schools going back, a London School of Economics study has reported. In the last two months, just 59 per cent of pupils benefitted from “full schooling”, the study found. Warning of a “permanent scarring” to the Covid generation, the researchers said: “We need to keep schools open.”

7

Women taken off Qatar Airways flight and strip-searched

An Australian woman said she was “terrified” when she was taken off a Qatar Airways flight and strip-searched as the authorities tried to identify the mother of a child found in Doha airport. Nine women were taken off the flight bound for Sydney and led to a dark area where three ambulances were waiting to perform medical examinations to determine if any of the women had recently given birth.

8

Fauci says coronavirus vaccine could be available this year

The US medical chief Dr Anthony Fauci says a Covid-19 vaccine could be available in the US before the end of the year. Speaking to the BBC, he said that the limited first doses would go to people according to a set prioritisation and that it would be “several months into 2021” before it was more widely available.

9

Greenpeace says water from Fukushima could harm human DNA

Environmental campaigners say contaminated water that could be released into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contains radioactive carbon with the potential to damage human DNA. Greenpeace claims that the 1.23 million metric tons of water stored at the plant - scene of the 2011 nuclear disaster - contains “dangerous” levels of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 and other “hazardous” radionuclides.

10

BBC broadcasting titan Frank Bough dies at 87

Frank Bough, one of the most familiar faces on the BBC from the 1960s to 1980s, has died at the age of 87. Bough presented Grandstand and launched the corporation's Breakfast Time TV programme in 1983. His career ended after a scandal involving drugs and prostitutes. A family friend said he died last Wednesday in a care home. 

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