Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 13 Nov 2020
Dominic Cummings ‘to leave No. 10 by Christmas’
Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings has added to speculation that he will leave his position by the end of the year. A Downing Street source said that the aide would be “out of government” by Christmas. Although Cummings said that “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented”, he added that his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog” when he wrote that he wanted to make himself “largely redundant” by the end of 2020.
Covid-19 vaccine scientist says it can stop pandemic
The scientist behind the first Covid-19 vaccine to clear interim clinical trials says he is confident his product can “bash the virus over the head” and end the pandemic. BioNTech’s chief executive, Ugur Sahin, told The Guardian: “If the question is whether we can stop this pandemic with this vaccine, then my answer is: yes, because I believe that even protection only from symptomatic infections will have a dramatic effect.”
US electoral officials say no evidence of fraud
Federal election officials in the US have said the 2020 presidential vote was the “most secure in American history”. After Donald Trump claimed without evidence that 2.7 million votes for him were “deleted” in last week’s election, the electoral committee said: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
Learning disability death rates ‘six times higher’
People with learning disabilities were up to six times more likely to die from coronavirus during the first wave of the pandemic. Analysis from Public Health England found the death rate for those with a learning disability was 30 times higher in the 18-34 age group. In response to the news, the charity Mencap said Boris Johnson’s government had “failed to protect” a group already experiencing health inequalities.
Aung San Suu Kyi's party returns to power
The National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, has won Myanmar’s second general election since the end of full military rule. Electoral authorities say the party has secured 346 of the 412 seats declared so far. Myanmar’s military-backed opposition, which has performed poorly, said there had been “many contentious events” during the election but observers have not reported any major irregularities.
TikTok granted a late reprieve by American court
The US government says it will delay a ban on TikTok, granting the Chinese-owned social media app more time to find an American owner. The Commerce Department has postponed the ban “pending further legal developments,” citing a Philadelphia court ruling from September where three prominent TikTokers had argued that the app should be allowed to operate in the US. Donald Trump has said he wants TikTok to be sold to a US company.
Caffe Nero facing insolvency due to second lockdown
The coffee shop chain Caffe Nero is on the brink of insolvency, and has blamed the second national lockdown for its plight. Its owners have sought a Company Voluntary Arrangement, a form of insolvency that allows firms to continue trading while they attempt to get their finances in order. Founder Gerry Ford said: “With our dine-in facilities now closed for a second time, we have little option but to launch this CVA.”
Obama says Trump offered ‘elixir for racial anxiety’
Donald Trump won the US presidency in 2016 by promising “an elixir for the racial anxiety” of “millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House”, Barack Obama has claimed in his memoir. The former president writes that these Americans were vulnerable to “xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories [and] an antipathy toward black and brown folks”. His memoir, The Promised Land, is published next week.
Majority of care workers earn below ‘real’ living wage
Almost three-quarters of frontline care workers in England are earning below the “real” living wage, says the Living Wage Foundation. “They’ve put their lives on the line caring for others during this pandemic, so it’s essential we ensure they earn enough to look after their own families,” said a spokeswoman. The Guardian say the living wage is the bare minimum to allow families basics such as a secondhand car.
First same-sex couple leave Strictly after Covid test
Nicola Adams and her Strictly Come Dancing partner Katya Jones have left the BBC talent show after Jones tested positive for Covid-19. The former boxer and Jones had made history as the first same-sex couple to take part in the UK show, but a statement said the programme's “protocols” meant the pair would now self-isolate and would not be able to take part in the rest of the series.