Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 10 Dec 2020

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1

‘Large gaps’ remain after eleventh hour Brexit talks

Brexit trade talks have entered their final day with both sides warning they are unlikely to reach an agreement. A government source says the terms offered by the European Union are “unacceptable” to the UK. The Mail on Sunday claims the chances of a no-deal Brexit are at “80%” as Germany’s Angela Merkel tries to “make Britain crawl across broken glass”.

2

Joe Biden’s son facing tax investigation

Hunter Biden, son of US president-elect Joe Biden, has revealed that his tax affairs are being investigated. Hunter said that he “takes this matter very seriously” but is “confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately”. Biden’s attorney general pick will face the uncomfortable job of overseeing the probe.

3

Labour fears ‘red wall’ seats are lost for good

The “red wall” seats lost to Tories in 2019 might be “lost for good”, according to a new report by a group of Labour MPs. Published by the group Labour for the North, the study says the party faces a continuous decline in its traditional heartlands unless it challenges “an enduring perception of us as ineffective, complacent or indifferent”. Winning back the seats is a key challenge and target for Keir Starmer’s team.

4

42 journalists killed over their work in 2020

42 journalists have been killed while doing their jobs this year, the International Federation of Journalists’ annual tally has revealed. Mexico topped the list for the fourth time in five years with 13 deaths. Pakistan came in second place with five deaths, while Afghanistan, India, Iraq and Nigeria all recorded three killings. A further 235 journalists are in prison due to their work, the report adds.

5

Rowling calls for ‘nuanced’ trans conversation

JK Rowling has said there is a “climate of fear” around speaking about transgender issues, while calling for “a more nuanced conversation”. After sparking controversy by speaking out on transgenderism earlier this year, the Harry Potter author said: “I’ve had a huge postbag since speaking up on this issue and more than 90% of the letters and emails have been supportive.”

6

Elon Musk’s Starship explodes while trying to land

SpaceX’s Starship prototype has exploded while trying to land after its test launch from the company’s rocket facility in Texas. Footage of the test showed the self-guided rocket landing at speed after a controlled descent, before disappearing in flames. Before the flight, tech billionaire Elon Musk had dampened expectations for his craft, warning that a mishap was likely.

7

Thousands of patients caught Covid in UK hospitals

More than 10,000 people caught Covid-19 when they were being treated in hospital for other illnesses, The Telegraph reports. Since August, more than 16% of patients treated for coronavirus in hospital acquired it there. Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said that 139 out of 357 Covid-19 patients they had treated had caught the virus there. Of those patients, five died with Covid-19.

8

Manchester police fail to record crimes

Greater Manchester Police failed to record more than 80,000 crimes in a year and closed cases without proper investigation, the police watchdog has found. Inspectors found that the service offered by England’s second-largest police force to victims of crime was a “serious cause of concern”. A spokesman said the force had “robust plans” in place to address issues.

9

Only 20% of pubs plan to open over Christmas

Just one in five pubs could be open this Christmas because of the challenges of Covid restrictions, The Sun reports. Industry figures fear that the curbs in the run-up to the festive season may mean nearly 10,000 pubs will shut for good, with as many as 290,000 jobs lost. Just 19,000 of Britain’s 47,000 pubs were allowed to open last weekend.

10

Melania Trump ‘just wants to go home’

As Donald Trump strives to hang on for another term in the White House, his wife is not so keen to stay in Washington, CNN reports. “She just wants to go home,” a source close to Melania told the broadcaster. Asked how the first lady feels about speculation that her husband might announce a second bid ahead of the 2024 US election, the source added: “That might not go over well.”

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