Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 25 Nov 2020
Three households allowed to mix over Christmas
The leaders of the four UK nations have agreed that up to three households will be able to meet during a five-day Christmas period of 23 to 27 December. People will also be allowed to mix in places of worship and outdoor spaces, and travel restrictions will be eased. However, the leaders have urged people to “think carefully about what they do” to keep the risk of increased transmission of Covid-19 low.
Cabinet plans for risk of ‘systemic economic crisis’
The UK faces an increased likelihood of “systemic economic crisis” this winter as Brexit coincides with the second wave of Covid-19, according to a secret briefing paper prepared for the cabinet. In a reasonable worse-case scenario, it says, we could see “a combination of severe flooding, pandemic influenza, a novel emerging infectious disease and coordinated industrial action, against a backdrop of the end of the transition period”. A Brexit agreement would neutralise “much of the calamitous economic fallout”, says the Daily Mail.
Biden says White House has been ‘sincere’ on transition
Incoming US president Joe Biden has described the support he has received from the White House during the transition perio as “sincere”. He told NBC News: “It has not been begrudging so far, and I don't expect it to be.” Donald Trump agreed to allow the formal transition process to begin on Monday, nearly three weeks after the presidential election.
Deaths after explosions in Afghanistan market
At least 17 people were killed in two explosions in a busy market in Afghanistan’s Bamyan province yesterday afternoon. Provincial spokesperson Latif Azimi said that civilians were deliberately targeted in the neighbourhood, which is home mostly to the Shia minority of Hazara people. The central region has until now been considered the country’s safest, says The Telegraph.
Thai activists charged under monarchy insult laws
Seven leaders of Thailand’s anti-government movement have been charged with insulting the monarchy. The charges will be the first in two years brought under so-called lese-majesty laws relating to insults to the royal family. If found guilty, the seven could face up to 15 years in prison. One of them, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, told Reuters: “This will expose the brutality of the Thai feudal system to the world.”
Sunak to unveil £4.3bn package to help unemployed
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will acknowledge that the Covid-19 pandemic will lead to a steep rise in long-term unemployment as he announces £4.3bn of support for the jobless, The Times reports. Later today, the Office for Budget Responsibility will publish forecasts for the economic impact of the pandemic, including a permanent reduction in GDP of 3%, equivalent to £1,000 a head per year.
Welsh police probe I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
The reality TV show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! faces a police investigation after fears that non-native wildlife could have escaped into the countryside during bushtucker trials. Officers are examining complaints that cockroaches, maggots, spiders and worms could threaten wildlife in the 250-acre estate surrounding Gwrych Castle in North Wales, where the programme is being filmed.
Five former PMs oppose Johnson’s plan to cut foreign aid
Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major have asked the prime minister to abandon his plan to cut the target for foreign aid spending from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income. “Cutting our overseas aid is morally wrong and politically unwise,” Major said. Boris Johnson is yet to announce a decision.
Outcry as France bans ‘damaging‘ photos of police
French MPs have passed a bill that opponents say could make it harder for journalists and human rights advocates to hold police officers to account. The Global Security Bill forbids the publication of images that allow the identification of a law enforcement officer “with the intent to cause them harm, physically or mentally”. Amnesty International says the move threatens democracy.
Great British Bake Off crowns youngest ever winner
Peter Sawkins has emerged victorious from this years series of The Great British Bake Off. The 20-year-old - the youngest winner to date - beat fellow finalists Laura Adlington and Dave Friday in Tuesday’s finale, which featured custard slices, a walnut whirl and dessert towers. The finance student from Edinburgh said he felt like “an excited giddy kid”, adding: “This is going to be a huge chapter in my life.”