Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 11 Jan 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Lockdown may be tightened
Stricter lockdown regulations are being considered by ministers amid concerns that the current rules are not being followed closely enough. A ban on people from different households who are not in a support bubble from exercising together are under discussion along with plans to enforce face coverings in offices. There are also concerns that supermarkets have relaxed the rules and are putting their customers at risk.
Hancock makes vaccine pledge
Every adult will be offered a vaccine by autumn, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, promised yesterday. Speaking to Times Radio, Hancock said that Britain was going to have a “brilliant summer”. However, Pascal Soriot, the chief executive of vaccine-maker AstraZeneca, warned that it was “important to remember that the manufacture of vaccines is a biologic process that is subject to variability”.
Brexit ‘Labour’s tuition fees’
Keir Starmer has been warned that Labour’s support for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal could become the party’s equivalent of the Liberal Democrats’ broken promise on tuition fees. Labour MP Rosie Duffield said her party’s “apparent co-ownership” of the treaty could harm it. Support for the Liberal Democrats collapsed after the party voted to treble tuition fees in 2010, after an election in which they had campaigned to abolish them.
Honduras ‘sent cocaine to US’
Federal prosecutors in the US say Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez helped an alleged drug trafficker deliver thousands of kilos of cocaine to the US in exchange for hefty bribes. A motion claims the politician vowed to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos”. The Honduran presidency rejects the claims as “100% false”.
Ex-minister slams Home Office
A former Home Office minister has described the government’s approach to enforcing immigration laws as “inhuman”. Caroline Nokes, who left her role as immigration minister in July 2019, described her former department’s culture as “profoundly depressing” and at times “hideously wrong”. She added that it will end up costing the taxpayer more money.
‘Record number’ of small firms to close
The Federation of Small Businesses has said that a record number of small firms could close in the next 12 months. Unless the government steps up support, it warned, more than a quarter of a million businesses could be lost. The organisation said it had submitted its proposals to the Treasury and is expecting a response to them within weeks.
Capitol riot like Kristallnacht, says Arnie
Arnold Schwarzenegger has compared the Capitol rioters to Nazis in a video recalling his experience of growing up in the aftermath of the Second World War. The actor-turned-politician said last week’s rampage was America’s “Night of Broken Glass” - referring to the Kristallnacht of 1938 when the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues were smashed by troops and civilians alike.
Covid backlog grows in courts
The coronavirus pandemic will mean defendants, victims and witnesses have to wait up to four years from the time of an alleged offence to their case reaching crown court trial, figures suggest. Lawyers, who also blame past government cuts for the delays, are calling for more socially-distanced emergency courts to tackle the problem of hearings being postponed. The Ministry of Justice says it has created more than 30 emergency Nightingale courtrooms.
NZ warning after central bank hack
The central bank of New Zealand says that one of its data systems has been breached by an unidentified hacker who could have accessed “commercially and personally sensitive information”. Governor Adrian Orr said the breach has been contained and the bank’s key functions “remain sound and operational”. The Guardian says that several major organisations in New Zealand have been the target of cyber interference in the past year.
Sex and the City to make a comeback
Sex and the City will return for a new series, says US streaming service HBO Max. The announcement follows intense speculation of a revival of the show, which ran from 1998 to 2004. Three of the four stars of the original show, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis, have shared a trailer for the series on social media platforms.