Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 Feb 2021

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

1

Ministers mull reopening

Grandparents may be able to see their grandchildren again from as early as next month under plans to ease lockdown being considered by ministers. The government is also examining a proposal that people should be allowed to go away for self-catering breaks as soon as the Easter holiday. The government announced yesterday that the most vulnerable groups in England and Wales have now all been offered the vaccine.

2

Second child for Sussexes

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they are expecting their second child. The couple, who now live in the US, shared a black-and-white picture of themselves, sitting under a tree, with Harry resting his hand on Meghan’s head as she lies in his lap cradling her bump. A spokesperson for Meghan and Harry said: “We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother.”

3

Ebola outbreak in Guinea

At least three people in Guinea have died from Ebola and four more have been infected, according to the authorities. The cases are the first confirmed since the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaged the country, along with Liberia and Sierra Leone, five years ago. The Guinean government has declared an epidemic and started contact tracing and isolating suspected cases.

4

CT scans could spot cancer early

CT scans could detect up to 70% of lung cancers in the early stages, dramatically improving survival rates, according to new research. The Summit study suggests that early detection could save thousands of lives per year, The Guardian reports. Experts are calling on the government to bring in routine CT scanning of smokers and ex-smokers to cut the huge death toll from lung cancer, which kills almost 100 people per day in the UK.

5

Separatists boost lead in Catalonia

Separatists in Spain’s semi-autonomous Catalonia are on course to increase their majority in the local parliament, according to the latest election results. After more than 90% of votes were counted, the three parties were poised to land 74 seats in the 135-strong assembly, up from 70 in the previous parliament. The Republican Left of Catalonia is on course to secure 33 seats and its leader, Pere Aragonès, is the favourite to head Catalonia’s next government.

6

Suu Kyi’s detention extended

Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained in a coup two weeks ago, will be remanded for a further two days in Myanmar. The civilian leader’s detention on charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios was due to expire today but her lawyer said she would be held until Wednesday for a court hearing. Meanwhile, internet services have been restored in Myanmar after an eight-hour blackout.

7

Johnson dismisses US ‘kerfuffle’

Boris Johnson says US democracy remains “strong”, despite the “kerfuffle” of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. After the Senate acquitted Trump of incitement to insurrection following the storming of Congress, Johnson said his relationship with Joe Biden was “excellent”. However, The Guardian says his words “jarred” with those of Biden, who described the trial as a “sad chapter in our history” that “has reminded us that democracy is fragile”.

8

Lawrence father dies at 74

The father of the missing chef Claudia Lawrence has died without discovering what happened to his daughter. Peter Lawrence died after a short illness on Thursday, aged 74, his family has announced. His death comes almost 12 years after his daughter went missing in 2009. Police believe that the 35-year-old was murdered, but her body has never been found.

9

Imperial College probed on bullying

Imperial College London is being investigated by the universities watchdog after allegations of bullying. Two of the prestigious institution’s most senior executives, its president, Alice Gast, and its chief financial officer, Muir Sanderson, have admitted they bullied colleagues. The Office for Students has powers to scrutinise whether members of senior university management meet the requirements for being “fit and proper” to exercise their roles.

10

Palestinian poet passes away

The celebrated Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti has died at the age of 77. Born in a village near Ramallah four years before the state of Israel was created, he spent much of his life in exile. He recounted his experiences in the memoir I Saw Ramallah, which won him an international audience. Gulf News describes him as “iconic”.

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