Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 14 January 2021

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

1

Trump impeached again

Donald Trump has become the first president in history to be impeached twice after the House of Representatives voted 232-197 to begin proceedings. Ten Republicans sided with Democrats to take action against the president for “incitement of insurrection” after the Capitol Hill riots last week. His trial in the senate will take place after Joe Biden is inaugurated next week, meaning his “toxic presence” will “pollute” the opening of his successor’s presidency, CNN says.

2

‘Worst day’ of UK pandemic

More than 83,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the UK after yesterday’s daily figure for recorded deaths hit 1,564, a new record high. The majority of the latest fatalities reported took place during the past week, however, some date back to 8 May 2020, when the first lockdown was in place. Following what is being described as the “worst day” of the pandemic so far, public health experts told The Guardian that the UK’s death toll is a sign of “phenomenal failure of policy and practice”.

3

Covid gives some immunity

Catching Covid-19 gives a level of immune defence against future infection for up to five months, a study of more than 20,000 healthcare workers in the UK has found. After following patients who caught the virus last spring, researchers discovered that previous illness provided 83% protection against both asymptomatic and symptomatic reinfection. The small number that got reinfected typically suffered a milder form of the disease the second time.

4

Uganda votes in tense election

Ugandans are heading to the polls today as a 38-year-old pop star challenges one of Africa’s longest serving leaders. Bobi Wine, a former reggae singer and actor, hopes to unseat Yoweri Museveni, 76, from his 34-year rule. Wine’s challenge is “emblematic of a continent-wide generational struggle between ageing leaders who refuse to relinquish power and younger voters mobilising against them”, The Guardian says.

5

Huawei boss sent bullets

Senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has been sent bullets in the mail while under house arrest in Canada, court testimony has revealed. The company providing security for Meng, who was detained in 2018 on charges relating to allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s dealings in Iran, says there have been several death threats against her. She is currently fighting against a proposed extradition to the US.

6

Twitter boss on ‘dangerous’ Trump

The boss of Twitter has come out in support of his company’s move to ban Donald Trump from the social media platform after the violence seen in Washington DC last week. In a thread posted on Twitter, Jack Dorsey said there were “extraordinary and untenable circumstances” surrounding Trump’s permanent suspension. However, he added that “having to take these actions fragment the public conversation. They divide us… and sets a precedent I feel is dangerous”.

7

Afghanistan ‘foils assassination bid’

Afghanistan’s intelligence agency says it has prevented an attempt by the Islamic State (Isis) to assassinate a US diplomat in Kabul. The US Charge d’Affaires in Kabul, Ross Wilson, was the target of the planned attack by four Isis members on Monday. The National Directorate of Security arrested all members of the cell in a special military operation in the Kama district of Nangarhar province.

8

Weather warnings as snow expected

There are warnings over potential power cuts and travel delays as heavy snow and freezing rain is set to batter the UK this week. Up to 30cm of snow could fall in Scotland, while regions in Northern England could see around 20cm. The rest of England faces heavy rainfall, particularly in London and the Southeast. Met Office chief meteorologist, Paul Gundersen, said that “cold air from the north pushing down the east side of the UK and warm air moving in from the west” are set to meet, “bringing some heavy rain which is turning to snow in places”.

9

Pizza Express sounds warning

Pizza Express has raised question marks over its ability to continue trading after it slumped to a £350m loss even before the pandemic hit. Blaming property and labour cost pressures, as well as one-off charges totalling £286m during the year to 29 December 2019, it said its condition showed a “material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the group’s and company’s ability to continue as a going concern”. The restaurant chain employs 14,000 staff worldwide.

10

Football elite ‘insulting NHS staff’

Premier League clubs are expected to defy a government order to punish players who flout Covid rules by hugging during goal celebrations. In the first round of top-flight matches since the third national lockdown began, players ignored guidelines that ban handshakes, hugs and other unnecessary physical contact during matches. The goal celebrations have been described as an “insult to NHS staff”, The Telegraph reports.

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