Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 Jan 2020

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

1

Four dead after Capitol stormed

Four people have died after Donald Trump supporters dramatically invaded the US Capitol in Washington DC yesterday. Officials say one woman was shot by police, while three others died as a result of “medical emergencies”. According to NBC, officials said at least one improvised explosive device was found on US Capitol grounds, while a pipe bomb was also discovered at the Republican National Committee. In a video address, the president told the crowds “we love you, go home”, while his daughter, Ivanka, drew criticism for describing the mob as “American Patriots” in a hastily deleted tweet.

2

Trump suspended from Twitter

Donald Trump has been suspended from Twitter in response to tweets posted during and after the attacks. In a video posted on the social media platform, he once again repeated false claims about election fraud, telling the mob he understood their “pain” as “we had an election that was stolen from us”. The company said the president’s account would remain locked until the tweets were removed, while the BBC says Trump’s days on Twitter “could be numbered”.

3

GPs told to ‘stand down’

Family doctors have been told to stop routine care and prioritise providing coronavirus vaccines, The Telegraph reports. GPs have been advised that delivering the jab should be their “top priority”, with advice to “postpone other activities”, the paper adds. The roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine to hundreds of GP-run vaccination sites in England begins today.

4

Pollution blamed for miscarriages

Researchers have found that pregnant women in South Asia who have been exposed to excessive air pollution face an increased risk of pregnancy loss, miscarriage and stillbirth. The study, published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal, found that an estimated 349,681 pregnancy losses each year across India, Bangladesh and Pakistan could also be linked to bad air quality. 

5

‘Clap for carers’ returns

A nationwide round of applause to pay tribute to frontline staff in the battle against Covid-19 is set to make a return. The weekly applause for NHS and other key workers ran for 10 weeks during the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown last spring. Founder Annemarie Plas tweeted that it would return at 8pm today as the UK remains at home in a third full national lockdown.

6

British Gas staff back strike

British Gas engineers start a five-day strike today in a dispute over pay and conditions. The GMB union says thousands of staff will walk out in response to an attempt by the firm to push through pay cuts by threatening to fire workers. It said Centrica, which owns British Gas, is to blame for the industrial action. The company will “prioritise vulnerable households and emergencies during the walkout”, the BBC says.

7

Daily Covid deaths pass 1,000

The daily coronavirus death toll in the UK yesterday reached 1,041, while the number of new cases hit a fresh high of 62,322. As the crisis escalates, the leaders of Manchester City Council warned that hospitals in the region are “at serious risk of falling over”, while London hospitals are under increasing pressure after 5,600 Covid patients were admitted in eight days. Care home providers have also reported rising rates of infection as they await delivery of the vaccine.

8

Lockdown could last until April

Boris Johnson has warned that tough lockdown restrictions could remain in place until April. Speaking in the House of Commons, the prime minister said that restrictions would be lifted only “brick by brick”. “We are in a tough final stretch, made only tougher by the new variant,” he said. “Our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will not be a big bang but a gradual unwrapping.”

9

Grantham reviews Thatcher statue

Councillors in Margaret Thatcher’s birthplace have voted to review plans to underwrite a £100,000 unveiling ceremony for a statue of the former prime minister. The 10.5ft bronze statue was offered to the district council after proposals to erect it in Parliament Square were rejected by Westminster Council over fears it would attract protests.

10

UK facing ‘sleep crisis’

Britain is suffering from a “Covid-induced sleep crisis”, The Telegraph reports, with 42% of people telling researchers that their sleep had worsened during the pandemic and 53% saying they were now dissatisfied with their rest. “Even before Covid we were saying we were going through a global epidemic of sleeplessness, and now all of the things which fuel poor sleep have been magnified,” said a spokesperson for the study.

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