Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 7 Dec 2020

1

Downing Street denies Brexit breakthrough report

A No. 10 source has disputed claims coming from the EU that agreement on fishing is close, as Brexit talks are due to resume in a final bid to agree a post-Brexit trade deal. Were the two sides to reach agreement on fishing, a “Franco-German demand” that Britain follow EU laws would be the “final hurdle to a historic trade and security deal,” according to The Guardian.

2

Climate change could end snowy winters in UK

Snow could become a thing of the past in the UK, according to scientists at the Met Office. If global emissions continue to accelerate, it says that by the 2040s most of southern England could no longer see sub-zero days. “We’re saying by the end of the century much of the lying snow will have disappeared entirely except over the highest ground,” Dr Lizzie Kendon told Panorama.

3

Rudy Giuliani ‘recovering’ after catching Covid-19

Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he is “recovering quickly” after testing positive for Covid-19 and being sent to hospital. The 76-year-old former mayor of New York thanked his “friends and followers” for their concern. He is the latest member in Donald Trump’s inner circle to contract the disease that has killed more than 280,000 people in the US. “Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!” the president wrote on Twitter.

4

Iran’s nuclear scientist ‘killed by high tech AI’

The assassination of Tehran’s top nuclear scientist was carried out remotely with the help of satellite guidance, artificial intelligence and facial recognition, according to Iranian military officials. The killers of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh deployed an “advanced electronic tool” guided by a “satellite device,” according to Second Brigadier General Ramazan Sharif, spokesman for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

5

Rees-Mogg warns Rishi Sunak on tax promise

Jacob Rees-Mogg says the chancellor will risk losing the general election for the Tories if he breaks a manifesto commitment by raising taxes. “No sensible party or government ever breaks manifesto commitments willy nilly: it needs extraordinary circumstances and it also needs public consent,” said the leader of the House of Commons. The Times says there is a “cabinet split” over the matter.

6

Covid-19 crisis has prompted ‘panic buying’ of pets

The coronavirus pandemic has led to “panic buying of pets for company”, according to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. After polling more than 2,000 dog and cat owners, the charity estimates that nearly a third of new pet owners bought an animal “on impulse” during lockdown. Chief executive Claire Horton says: “The animal welfare implications resulting from this year of extreme challenge could be profound.”

7

Macron to ban home-school in Islamism crackdown

All children in France will have to go to school from the age of three, in a bid by Emmanuel Macron to clamp down on radical Islam. Gerald Darmanin, the hardline conservative interior minister, said yesterday that the aim was to save “these children who are outside the scope of the republic”. Macron believes that hardline Islamist doctrines fostering a “separatist” mentality and encouraging terrorism are more easily inculcated in children taught at home.

8

Minister slammed over Black Lives Matter remarks

The environment secretary, George Eustice, has been accused of “providing shelter to racists”, says The Guardian, after he failed to condemn Millwall fans who booed players taking a knee. “My personal view is that Black Lives Matter, capital B, L and M, is actually a political movement that is different to what most of us believe in, which is standing up for racial equality,” Eustice told Sky News.

9

Shoppers return but numbers down on pre-Covid days

Although shoppers flooded back to high streets and shopping malls across England this weekend, their numbers remained well below pre-pandemic levels. In the first weekend since stores in England reopened on Wednesday, footfall across the UK was down by 30% compared to the same December weekend last year. The Centre for Retail Research predicts more than 20,000 shops will close compared to 16,000 last year.

10

Author says Starmer did not inspire Mark Darcy

Bridget Jones author Helen Fielding has scotched rumours that Keir Starmer was the inspiration for Mark Darcy, the lawyer who battled with Daniel Cleaver for the fictional heroine’s heart. “Well, I think he’s fantastic,” said Fielding of Starmer. “But no, I’ve never met him. They are very similar, though.” She added: “When he and Boris spar, it does remind me of Mark and Daniel.”  

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