Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 April 2021

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

1

Free twice-weekly tests to begin

Everyone in England will be given access to two rapid Covid tests a week from Friday. The lateral flow kits, which provide results in around 30 minutes, will be available free of charge at testing sites, pharmacies and through the mail. Matt Hancock said it would help squash any outbreaks as lockdown is relaxed but Allyson Pollock, professor of public health at Newcastle University, said mass testing is a “scandalous waste of money”.

2

Baby dies after car hits pram

A two-week-old baby boy has died after his pram was hit by a car in the West Midlands. A BMW is understood to have collided with another car before hitting the boy’s buggy, on Easter Sunday in High Street, Brownhills. The driver left the scene, according to police, but a 34-year-old was arrested in nearby Bloxwich soon afterwards.

3

Legal observers arrested at protest

Human rights campaigners have criticised the Metropolitan police after two independent legal observers were among 107 people arrested following a march in London on Saturday. The two legal observers were from Black Protest Legal Support, an organisation which provides free legal support to protesters. “We’re really concerned by the continued and systemic use of violence against protesters,” said a spokesperson.

4

Moscow tests arms in Arctic

Moscow is assembling unprecedented military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons in a region freshly ice-free due to climate change, reports CNN.  One of the weapons, the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo, would deliver a powerful warhead, causing radioactive waves that would leave swathes of the target coastline uninhabitable for several decades.

5

Women and girls terrified at school

Female teachers and pupils fear walking down school corridors alone due to “misogyny and sexism” issues, says the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union. Dr Patrick Roach said teachers have experienced “upskirting, down-blousing” and “inappropriate” touching at school. He added that he fears these incidents are only the “the tip of the iceberg”. Some students have accused their establishments of not tackling a “rape culture”.

6

Dozens die in Indonesia floods

At least 71 people have died after flash floods and landslides struck Indonesia and East Timor yesterday. Torrential rain hit islands stretching from Flores Island in Indonesia to Timor-Leste, a small nation east of the Indonesian archipelago. More than 40 people are still missing in Indonesia, and officials warn the death toll could rise further. “There are 55 dead, but this number is very dynamic,” said the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency.

7

Netanyahu trial to hear testimony

The Israeli prime minister’s corruption trial is to resume, with the court due to hear evidence for the first time. Benjamin Netanyahu, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases. His trial has been delayed several times due to the Covid pandemic and last month’s general election. Netanyahu describes the charges a “witch-hunt” by his political opponents.

8

Smart traffic lights planned

Slower pedestrians will be given more time to cross the road under plans for a new era of smart traffic lights. Wide-angle cameras and artificial intelligence will detect pedestrians beside the road and then turn the lights red without the need to touch a button. The new lights could also recognise pedestrians who are taking longer to approach the crossing, such as older people and parents with young children.

9

Driving licences for young at record low

The number of young people qualified to drive has fallen to the lowest level since records began. Just 2.97m people aged 16 to 25 in Great Britain hold a full licence, down from 3.32m in March 2020. Driving lessons and tests have been suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic. “This has been a very stressful time for many learners,” said the AA.

10

More unrest in Belfast

Police have been attacked during a second night of disturbances in Newtownabbey, on the outskirts of Belfast. Bricks and bottles were thrown at officers and a bin was set alight. The crowd consisted of young people and older men.“ This was not a loyalist protest that went wrong,” said the BBC’s Northern Ireland correspondent. “It looked like a planned confrontation.”

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