Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 27 Oct 2020
Covid immunity wanes ‘quite rapidly’, study says
Researchers say levels of protective antibodies fall “quite rapidly” after coronavirus infection. An Imperial College London team found the number of people testing positive for antibodies has fallen by 26% between June and September, meaning there is a risk of catching the virus multiple times. The BBC adds other parts of the immune system, such as T-cells, may also play a role in protecting against the virus.
Nasa discovers water on the moon’s surface
Scientists have gathered strong evidence for the existence of accessible water on the moon. A team headed by Casey Honniball, at Nasa’s ASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, US, detected the chemical signature of H2O, by measuring the wavelengths of sunlight reflecting off the moon’s surface. The water could be used for drinking, as a rocket propellant, or to aid breathing on future missions.
Sunak accused of keeping fortune in offshore tax havens
Rishi Sunak is facing questions over where his multimillion-pound personal fortune is invested after claims that some of his wealth could be held in offshore tax havens. Opposition MPs say the chancellor must be “completely transparent” about where his vast wealth is invested. Sunak registered a blind trust in July 2019, when he was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury under ex-chancellor, Sajid Javid.
Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to US Supreme Court
The US Senate has confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. In a development seen as a victory for Donald Trump a week before the general election, Republicans voted 52-48 to approve the judge, overcoming opposition from Democrats. Justice Barrett’s appointment seals for the foreseeable future a 6-3 conservative majority on the US’s highest judicial body.
Police investigate collision involving Keir Starmer
Police are investigating a collision involving Keir Starmer in which a cyclist was taken to hospital. The Labour leader is understood to have been driving through north-west London around midday on Sunday when the crash occurred. A spokesperson said Starmer reported the incident to a police station soon afterwards and has been in touch with the person injured in the crash.
Kushner attacked over African-American remarks
White House adviser Jared Kushner is under fire for remarks about African Americans. Donald Trump’s son-in-law said the president “can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about but he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful”. The comment was “one of the more damning ones” made about black Americans by the administration, CNN says.
Black Lives Matter applies to become political party
A Black Lives Matter group has applied to register as a political party and could field candidates in next year’s local elections. The application suggests that the party intends to operate over the whole of the UK, “launching splinter groups in Wales and Scotland”, The Telegraph says. It may also try to contest the London mayoral and assembly elections next year under the name “Black Lives Matter for the GLA”.
Tory MPs ask PM for ‘clear roadmap’ out of lockdown
More than 50 Tory MPs have written to Boris Johnson calling for a “clear roadmap” out of lockdown restrictions in northern England. The letter from the Northern Research Group said the pandemic threatened the prime minister’s pledge to “level-up” parts of England and warned that the region risks being “left behind”. Downing Street said it remains “committed to levelling up across the country”.
Support for populism falling in Europe, study finds
Support for populist beliefs in Europe has fallen, according to a major YouGov survey. The study of around 26,000 people in 25 countries showed a significant decline in populist tendencies in 2020. For instance, there was steep drop in several countries among those agreeing with the statement: “The power of a few special interests prevents our country from making progress.”
BBC presenter to flout Covid restrictions over Christmas
Victoria Derbyshire has vowed to ignore Covid restrictions and break the rule of six in order to celebrate with her family at Christmas. The Bafta-winning BBC presenter said that should the rule still apply during the holiday season, her family will be “breaking it”, defiantly stating that “we just are”. Derbyshire’s comments come despite the threat of police action and thousands of pounds in fines.