Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 March 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM warning as lockdown eased
Two households or groups of up to six people are now permitted to meet outside again as the stay-at-home order in England comes to an end. Outdoor sport facilities including tennis courts and golf courses are also reopening, and weddings are allowed again. On the eve of the change in rules, Boris Johnson warned that “everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called”.
School abuse ‘next scandal’
Police say that sexual harassment and assault claims made by school pupils may be the “next child abuse scandal that engulfs the nation”. After thousands of allegations were posted on the website Everyone’s Invited, a police helpline is to be set up to report incidents. The website has now received testimonies from children as young as nine. Most pointed the finger at other pupils.
Suez ship ‘refloated’
A vast container ship that has been wedged in the Suez Canal since Tuesday has been refloated, according to reports. Footage on social media appeared to show that the stern of the Ever Given had been moved towards the canal bank, opening space in the channel. The 400m (1,312ft) long vessel became jammed diagonally across a southern section of the canal in high winds. The canal, which runs through Egypt, is one of the world’s busiest trade routes.
Floyd murder trial to begin
The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin starts today, ten months after the death of George Floyd. Key evidence in the hearing will be the video of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during his arrest in May last year. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to the three charges against him - second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Small firms suffer from Brexit
Small businesses have suffered a marked drop in exports to the EU, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. It said 35 of the 132 exporters it surveyed had temporarily suspended trade with the EU or stopped it permanently. UK exports to the EU fell by 41% in January, according to government figures. “It’s a nightmare,” said Sharon da Costa, the managing director of Fighting Films, a Bristol-based producer of judo movies.
Report to suggest ‘scrapping BAME’
The term BAME should no longer be used by public bodies and companies, the government’s disparities commission will recommend this week. A report by the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities is expected to say BAME has become “unhelpful and redundant”. The label is an acronym for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. The report will also include research suggesting that the term “ethnic minority” is more popular with people from ethnic minorities than “BAME”.
Girl critical after police chase
The Met has launched an investigation after a teenage girl was left in a critical condition after a car being chased by police crashed into a lamppost. On Sunday morning officers indicated for a car to stop near Streatham Common, but when it failed to do so, a chase began which ended when the car crashed into a lamppost on Greyhound Lane. Five women in the vehicle were taken to hospital.
Jab checks ‘last straw’ for pubs
A vaccine passport scheme could be “the last straw” for hundreds of struggling pubs, Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has claimed. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, he says that pubs are “hanging on for dear life” and have been “devastated by G-force changes of direction”. He adds that the passports proposal would force reluctant bar staff on to the front line of the Covid battle for civil liberties.
Slough to become ‘sponge city’
Selected roads in Slough are to benefit from the flood defence of permeable surfaces that soak up surface water. Pioneered in China, the “sponge city” project involves turning a proportion of urban land into features that absorb rain and flood water. Environment minister Rebecca Pow said the move will help “reinforce the UK's position as a world leader in innovation and new technology”.
Brisbane locks down on seven cases
The Australian city of Brisbane will go into another three-day lockdown to contain a Covid outbreak that has grown to seven cases. The Queensland state capital - home to more than two million residents, has suffered very few locally acquired cases since Australia’s first wave of the virus a year ago. In January, the city shut down for three days due to a single case.