Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 30 Oct 2020

1

National lockdown ‘a matter of time’ say experts

Scientists have told the BBC it is “only a matter of time” before the UK faces a second national lockdown. Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, says any delay will mean later restrictions will be “harder and longer”. Meanwhile, a new UK campaign group, Recovery, has criticised the government’s willingness to impose lockdowns, claiming that “rushed legislation” prioritises quantity of life over the quality of life.

2

Union chief: Corbyn suspension could cost election

Labour's decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn could cost the party the next election, according to Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite. After the whip was withdrawn from Corbyn for saying that the scale of anti-Semitism in Labour had been “dramatically overstated,” the union leader warned: “A split party will be doomed to defeat.” The former shadow chancellor John McDonnell described Corbyn's suspension as “profoundly wrong”, but former Labour minister Margaret Hodge said it was “the right decision following Corbyn’s shameful reaction to the EHRC report”.

3

Trump and Biden rally in crucial state of Florida

The two men battling for the US presidency, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, have both held rallies in the pivotal state of Florida. Celebrating signs of a growing economy, Trump said of his rival: “He's going to lock you down.” Meanwhile, Biden told supporters: “You hold the power. If Florida goes blue [Democratic], it's over.” The BBC says that although Biden has a solid lead nationally in opinion polls, his advantage looks “less assured” in the battleground states.

4

UK has ‘grave concern’ for Zaghari-Ratcliffe

Britain has expressed “grave concern” about a move to bring fresh court proceedings against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. The British-Iranian, who has been under house arrest in Tehran since being moved from jail in March, has been told to expect to return to prison at a court hearing next week. She has been detained in Iran since 2016, when she was accused of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government.

5

Controversy over new BBC rules on LGBT pride events

New impartiality rules dictate that BBC staff who are required to be politically neutral must not attend LGBT pride protests. David Jordan, the corporation’s director of editorial policy and standards, says that the new rules ban attending “political protests”, such as LGBT celebrations. The i newspaper says the BBC is concerned it could be seen to take a side in the debate around transgender rights.

6

Macron calls for unity after attack leaves three dead

The French president has said the country will not give in to terror after three people died in a terrorist attack in Nice. Emmanuel Macron spoke after a man armed with a knife killed two women and a man in the city’s Notre-Dame basilica. France’s anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said one the victims had her throat cut “to the point of being almost decapitated”.

7

Scientists traces Europe’s second wave to Spanish farm

A study has claimed that a mutated strain of Covid originating in Spain may be to blame for Europe’s second wave of Covid-19. An international team of scientists estimate that the variant, called 20A.EU1, is responsible for 90% of cases in the UK since summer. They believe it originated in a farm in the north of the country and spread across the continent as holidaymakers returned over summer.

8

Amazon forecasts dip after posting 200% leap in profits

The e-commerce giant Amazon has revealed a 200% leap in profits as sales climbed by 37% in the third quarter of the year to $96.1bn (£74.3bn). Profits also rose, from $2.1bn to $6.3bn. However, the company forecast a slowdown in growth in the next quarter, predicting that most of its profits over the Christmas period would be wiped out by $4bn of warehouse safety costs related to Covid-19.

9

Nurseries warn they will not survive past Christmas

A quarter of nurseries and childminders in deprived areas of England say they will go out of business by Christmas without additional income. Research by the Early Years Alliance found that reduced demand and a lack of government support during the coronavirus pandemic could result in mass closures of childcare facilities, with one in six providers overall saying they may not be able to reopen next year.

10

New Zealand votes for legal euthanasia - but not cannabis

New Zealand has voted in a referendum to legalise euthanasia for those with a terminal illness. Preliminary results suggest that the proposal was approved by 65.2% to 33.8%. However, on the question of whether to legalise cannabis, only 46.1% of New Zealanders voted in favour and 53.1% against.

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