Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 April 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
MPs oppose ‘divisive’ passports
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and veteran Tory Iain Duncan Smith are among more than 70 MPs to launch a campaign opposing Covid passports. The cross-party group said any demand to prove vaccination status to access jobs, businesses or services would be “divisive and discriminatory”. Pilot schemes for Covid certification checks are expected at the FA Cup final, World Snooker Championships and Brit Awards.
Dozens dead in Taiwan crash
At least 36 people have died after a train derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan in the island’s deadliest rail disaster in decades. The 408 Taroko Express was carrying about 350 people when it derailed in Qingshui tunnel in Huaelien county, the transport ministry said. The accident occurred at the start of the annual Tomb Sweeping festival, when trains are particularly busy.
Web giants call staff back to office
Google has told staff they must get formal permission to work remotely for more than 14 days a year after the Covid pandemic ends. The internet giant’s 4,400 staff in London will be expected to return to work once government restrictions are lifted. Earlier this week, Amazon told its white collar workers that they will be back at their desks after the summer.
Ethiopian massacre victims identified
Almost 2,000 people killed in more than 150 massacres by soldiers, paramilitaries and insurgents in Ethiopia have been identified by researchers. Some of the victims were in their 90s and the youngest were infants. The list of the dead in Tigray will increase global pressure on Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has claimed that reports of atrocities are exaggerated or fabricated.
Gambling charity ‘sits on millions’
The charity run by the controversial gambling boss Denise Coates has been accused of sitting on millions in donations. Coates, who was paid a record £421 million last year, has donated millions to the foundation in her name. However, the foundation has most of the reserves, £374 million, in an endowment fund. The gambling harm group Talkgen said “the Denise Coates Foundation sits on £300 million and has never made any donation to reduce or prevent gambling harm”.
Neo-Nazi cop convicted
The Metropolitan Police has admitted that its vetting system “will never be completely perfect” after a young neo-Nazi became the first police officer to be convicted under terror laws. PC Benjamin Hannam was a member of the extreme right wing group National Action, which was banned in 2016 for its white supremacist ideology. He had fascist literature at his home and posters of Nazi soldiers on his walls.
Oxfam faces new abuse claims
Oxfam is facing new allegations of sexual exploitation, bullying and mismanagement. The charity has launched an independent investigation into accusations against senior managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo that include intimidation, death threats, fraud and nepotism. The news comes only weeks after the charity was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following the Haiti scandal.
Lawrence slams race report
Doreen Lawrence says the government-commissioned report that claimed the term “structural racism” was “too liberally used” could allow racism to flourish. Lady Lawrence, who campaigned for 18 years for justice after her son Stephen was murdered by racists, said: “Once you start covering it up it is giving the green light to racists.”
New claims against Jockey Club
Employees at the Jockey Club have made allegations of misogyny, racism and bullying, reports the Daily Telegraph. The Jockey Club, which runs 15 racecourses including Aintree, has faced allegations of staff making racist colleagues and one of sexual harassment. Earlier this year, one of the country’s most successful female jockeys complained about being bullied.
Trump sanctioned restaurant owner
Donald Trump mistakenly imposed sanctions on a restaurant owner in Verona, Italy before leaving office. The error, which was part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on blacklisted Venezuelan crude oil, saw restaurant owner Alessandro Bazzoni put on the US Treasury’s blacklist in January. The US Treasury acknowledged the error and removed him from its “specially designated nationals list”.