Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 9 Nov 2020

1

Joe Biden ‘will prioritise Covid-19’ says transition team

The US president-elect Joe Biden is expected to announce a series of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic later today. His team says the first steps in his transition plan will include more testing and Americans being asked to wear masks. Biden is also expected to name a 12-member coronavirus task force, announce plans to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and reverse the decision to pull out of the World Health Organization.

2

‘Outlines’ of agreement as EU and UK resume talks

Officials from the EU and the UK will resume trade talks in London this week. Boris Johnson said on Sunday that the “outlines” of an agreement were clear and a deal was “there to be done” but the two sides will have to resolve significant differences on fishing quotas and competition issues. The EU has warned that it will not do a deal “at any price”.

3

GCHQ spies to disrupt anti-vaccine propaganda

Intelliengence agents working at GCHQ have launched a cyber-operation to disrupt anti-vaccine propaganda being spread by hostile states, according to The Times. Using a toolkit developed to tackle disinformation and recruitment material spread by Islamic State, the agency is seeking to counter Russian-linked efforts to exploit the pandemic to undermine and destabilise the West.

4

NHS staff warn Boris they could quit without support

“Exhausted” NHS staff could “quit in their droves” after the Covid-19 second wave, reports the Daily Mirror. Unions representing 1.3 million staff have written a joint letter to Boris Johnson asking him to support them with a pay boost after he described them as the “beating heart of the nation”. They tell the PM: “Times may be tough, but you know this is the morally the right decision to take.”

5

UAE allows alcohol and cohabiting outside marriage

The United Arab Emirates is to allow its citizens to drink alcohol and live with each other before they are married, in a relaxation of its strict Islamic laws. “Honour killings,” in which men murder female relatives who are deemed to have brought shame on the family, have been criminalised under laws that have come into immediate effect. The reforms come after the Covid pandemic decimated the tourism sector.

6

Ethiopia on brink of civil war after fresh Tigray clashes

Major casualties have been reported in clashes between the Ethiopian army and troops loyal to the ruling party of the restive northern province of Tigray. Doctors Without Borders said that at least six people were killed and 60 people wounded in one location along the Tigray border alone. The fighting means the nation is on the brink of what analysts say could be a long and bloody civil war.

7

Confirmed global cases of Covid-19 pass the 50m mark

The global total of confirmed coronavirus cases has passed 50 million following record numbers of new cases in several countries. A second wave of the virus has accounted for a quarter of all cases but the true figure is thought to be higher because of insufficient testing in many countries. More than 1.25m people have now died after contracting the virus, according to Johns Hopkins university.

8

Economy expected to suffer a slump before Christmas

Britain’s economy is set for a pre-Christmas slump with further job losses and shop closures, according to new surveys showing a decline in business activity. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said: “The best that can be said is that the situation is getting worse more slowly. Employment looks set to keep falling and the relatively weak demand for labour means that it is going to be a long and hard winter.”

9

Four in ten keep financial secrets from loved ones

A survey has found that 40% of adults in Britain keep debts and other money secrets from their loved ones. It found that consumers aged 25 to 34 are the most secretive age group, with nearly 60% hiding credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts. It also concluded that people in relationships tend to underestimate the extent of money secrets their partner keeps from them.

10

Former White House officials tell Trump to move on

A bipartisan group of former White House officials has urged Donald Trump to concede the election and allow them to “immediately begin the post-election transition process”. The bipartisan group includes Bush White House chief-of-staff Josh Bolten and Clinton-era chief-of-staff Thomas McLarty. CNN says Trump's inner circle is beginning to split over his ongoing refusal to accept the results of the election.

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