Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 1 Dec 2020

1

Commons expected to approve tiers despite Tory uprising

MPs are preparing to vote on the government's proposals for stricter tiers of coronavirus restrictions across England. Although up to 50 Tory MPs are expected to rebel, the vote is still expected to pass. Labour will abstain - the first time during the pandemic that Keir Starmer will not support the government in a key vote. More than 55 million people will enter the two toughest tiers from on Wednesday if the plans are approved.

2

Amazon deforestation ‘soars to a 12-year high’

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has surged to its highest level since 2008. Inpe, the country’s space agency, says a total of 4,281 square miles of rainforest were destroyed between August 2019 and July 2020 - a 9.5% increase from the previous year. The carbon store in the Amazon slows down the pace of global warming.

3

Green’s ‘failure’ as Arcadia enters administration

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group collapsed into administration yesterday, putting 13,000 jobs at risk. The owner of household names including Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton appointed administrators from Deloitte, which protects Arcadia from creditors while a buyer is sought for all or parts of the company. The Guardian says Green’s high street career has ended “in failure”.

4

Grenfell insulation chief ‘sneered at safety concerns’

A boss at a firm whose flammable insulation was fitted on Grenfell Tower said that customers concerned about the safety of the product could “go f*** themselves”, a public inquiry has heard. The Grenfell Tower inquiry was told that Kingspan marketed its product as suitable for buildings above 18 metres tall despite not having safety data to back up the claim.

5

Venues may turn unvaccinated customers away

Restaurants, bars, sporting venues and cinemas may turn customers away if they have not had the Covid-19 jab, according to the new minister for the mass vaccine roll-out. Nadhim Zahawi said the vaccine would be “voluntary” but added that “the very strong message” is that the jab is “the way we return the whole country to normal”.

6

Trump’s Covid adviser quits after four months

Donald Trump’s controversial special adviser on the coronavirus, Dr Scott Atlas, has resigned. During his four months in the role, Atlas questioned the need for lockdowns, masks and other safety measures. Announcing he would step down, he said the US president had “always relied on the latest science and evidence without any political consideration or influence”.

7

Star says Crown has ‘responsibility’ to state it’s drama

Helena Bonham Carter says The Crown has a “moral responsibility” to tell viewers that it is a drama, rather than historical fact. Following clamour for a “health warning” for people watching the series, the actress, who plays Princess Margaret, said there is an important distinction between “our version”, and the “real version” of royal history.

8

Secret dossier gives ‘granular’ detail on Covid impact

The government has assembled a secret file detailing the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, with a dozen sectors rated “red” and facing significant job cuts and revenue losses. The Times says it gives “granular” detail on the effect of coronavirus on nearly 40 areas of the economy. Separately, ministers have published an assessment of the health, social and economic impacts of coronavirus.

9

Bitcoin reaches new high as ‘wild year’ concludes

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin surged by 9% to a new all-time high of about $19,860 on Monday, topping the previous peak of $19,783 from December 2017. It has risen by more than 175% since the end of 2019 in what CNN describes as a “wild year”. However, in March prices plunged below $4,000 as markets around the globe sank due to the Covid-19 economic crisis.

10

Rita Ora offers to pay fine after party broke lockdown rules

Pop singer Rita Ora has volunteered to pay a £10,000 fine after breaking English lockdown rules to celebrate her 30th birthday. It is reported that up to 30 people attended a party at a restaurant in west London on Saturday. “Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility,” she wrote in a statement.

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