Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 30 Jan 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
EU backtracks on vaccine threat
The European Union has been forced into a U-turn amid an on-going row over Covid vaccine supplies in the bloc. Brussels had sought to trigger a Brexit deal clause to establish border controls on vaccine doses moving into Northern Ireland from the Republic but the European Commission later said it would ensure the Northern Ireland Protocol is “unaffected”.
Economic impact ‘to kill 40,000’
Government modelling has found that the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis could kill an extra 40,000 people over the next 50 years. Scientists believe that unemployment, slashed incomes and rocketing anxiety are likely to add a major extra burden of deaths on top of those killed during the pandemic itself. Government departments have also warned of a possible 18,000 deaths due to delayed elective treatment over five decades.
BLM nominated for Nobel prize
The Black Lives Matter movement has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel peace prize. Nominating the movement, the Norwegian MP Petter Eide said: “I find that one of the key challenges we have seen in America, but also in Europe and Asia, is the kind of increasing conflict based on inequality.” Nominations for the Nobel peace prize are accepted from any politician serving at a national level.
KGB ‘cultivated Trump for 40 years’
Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years, a former KGB spy has told the Guardian. Yuri Shvets, posted to Washington by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, says Trump first appeared on the Russians’ radar in 1977. Ten years later, the KGB had identified him as a potential asset. “The feeling was that he was extremely vulnerable intellectually, and psychologically, and he was prone to flattery,” remembers Shvets.
Floods and snow hit UK
Forecasters have warned that heavy snow, torrential rain and icy conditions are expected to hit parts of the UK over the next few days. Substantial snow could fall in large parts of Wales, with smaller flurries in London and parts of southeast England. With heavy rain moving across the south west, the Environment Agency had 69 flood warnings in place across England on Friday evening.
Arrest over asylum camp photos
A journalist has been arrested after taking and sharing photographs outside a controversial military camp that houses hundreds of asylum seekers in Kent. The Independent reports that after Andy Aitchison took photos during a demonstration, five police officers arrived at his home and charged him with criminal damage of a dwelling.
Minister issues warning on spending
Britain cannot spend its way to prosperity, the Business Secretary has warned. Kwasi Kwarteng signalled that a squeeze on public spending is coming in the forthcoming budget. He told the Daily Telegraph that “without a thriving private sector, we will not be able to afford good public services” and “we as a government are not going to be able to spend our way to prosperity”.
New data shows deadly fortnight
An average of more than 900 people died with COVID-19 each day in the first two weeks of this year – the deadliest period since April. There were 52,519 deaths between 1 March and 1 June 2020; and 48,023 between 15 October 2020 and 15 January. Today is the first anniversary of the UK’s earliest known death from the disease - 84-year-old Peter Attwood from Chatham in Kent.
France shuts borders
France is to close its borders to all countries outside the European Union from Sunday. Prime minister Jean Castex says that people seeking to enter from the EU will need a negative test, except for commuters. Grant Shapps, the UK’s transport secretary, says the ban would not apply to hauliers, adding “trade will continue to flow smoothly”. More than 75,000 people have died with the virus in France.
Capitol officer to lie in state
Brian Sicknick, a police officer who died during the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January, will lie in honour at the same location. The 42-year-old was injured while “physically engaging with protesters,” police said, and died the following day. “The US Congress is united in grief, gratitude and solemn appreciation for the service and sacrifice of Officer Brian Sicknick,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.