Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 6 Nov 2020

1

Trump speaks of ‘tremendous corruption’ as US awaits result

The US president has claimed again that he has won Tuesday’s election and spoken of “tremendous corruption and fraud in the mail-in ballots”. International election observer’s said Donald Trump’s demand that counting should stop is “disturbing” and a “gross abuse of office”. The BBC says it is “still too early” to project the winner in a number of key states, although Joe Biden is in the stronger position. The Democrat has called for calm as votes are counted.

2

Johnson's Operation Moonshot missed than 50% of cases

A trial of Boris Johnson’s mass-testing strategy missed more than 50% of positive cases in an Operation Moonshot pilot in Greater Manchester, The Guardian reports. The 20-minute tests, which have cost the government £323m, identified only 46.7% of infections during a trial in Manchester and Salford last month. Experts raised concerns about the accuracy of the OptiGene Direct RT-Lamp tests this week.

3

Dominic Chappell jailed for tax evasion after BHS purchase

The man who bought BHS for £1 has been jailed for six years for evading income tax due on £2.2m of earnings. Dominic Chappell bought the chain in March 2015, having never been into one of its stores before beginning to negotiate its purchase. The company collapsed 13 months later with the loss of 11,000 jobs and a £571m pension deficit. He was convicted of three charges of cheating the public revenue.

4

Students tear down fencing around Manchester campus

Fencing erected around the University of Manchester's Fallowfield campus have been pulled down by hundreds of students who said they were not warned about the measure. The barriers were put up on day one of England’s new lockdown as a “security measure” to “help avoid the mixing of households”, according to the university. It later apologised for the “distress caused”.

5

Rishi Sunak's furlough package slammed as ‘wasteful’

The chancellor’s new multibillion-pound package of support for workers has been described by a leading economist as “wasteful and badly targeted”. Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme until March, meaning the state will have paid 80% of the wages of millions of workers for a year. Paul Johnson, the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said he was “taken aback” by the move.

6

Alok Sharma met Prince Charles despite Covid test in office

Business Secretary Alok Sharma met Prince Charles three days after an employee in his private office tested positive for Covid-19, according to The Guardian. The staff member in Sharma’s inner circle received the positive result last Monday, and Sharma met Charles at Clarence House last Thursday. A spokesperson for Sharma insists that Clarence House was made aware of the confirmed Covid test before the meeting.

7

Twitter ban for Bannon over Fauci beheading post

Twitter has permanently suspended an account belonging to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon after he suggested that Dr Anthony Fauci, the US medical adviser, and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded. Bannon claimed Donald Trump had won the election and said of Fauci and Wray: “I'd put the heads on spikes… as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone.”

8

Experts conclude that dinosaurs swam across oceans

British researchers have found that dinosaurs swam across oceans, after finding the first duckbilled fossil in Africa. The experts said the creature must have travelled hundreds of miles through open water to reach the continent. “It was completely out of place, like finding a kangaroo in Scotland,” said one. “Africa was completely isolated by water – so how did they get there?”

9

Sainsbury’s axes 3,500 jobs despite soaring sales

The new boss of Sainsbury’s, Simon Roberts, is cutting 3,500 jobs despite bumper sales and a rise in underlying profit from £238m to £301m in the last six months. Retail sales have risen by 7.1%, there has been a 6.9% improvement in like-for-like sales and online sales have rocketed by 117% to £5.8bn. As the chain prepares to send out thousands of redundancy notices, the Daily Telegraph says “something doesn’t add up”. The store said it was closing meat, fish and deli counters due to a lack of demand.

10

Thunberg teases Trump over electoral reaction

Greta Thunberg, the climate activist, has mocked Donald Trump’s response to his electoral performance, urging the president to “chill” in a message on Twitter. Parodying a tweet the president aimed at her last year, she also said he should work on his “anger management”.

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