Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 April 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Cameron probe launched
The government has announced a review into David Cameron’s efforts to lobby ministers on behalf of finance firm Greensill Capital. Downing Street said the probe would be led by lawyer Nigel Boardman as Labour criticised the government’s reaction, describing it as “inadequate”. The former prime minister has been attacked for contacting ministers via text on behalf of Greensill, which collapsed in March. Cameron has insisted that he has not broken any codes of conduct or lobbying rules.
Variant warning in London
Health authorities have said a cluster of the South African Covid-19 variant has been found in two areas in south London. Public Health England’s Dr Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser to NHS Test and Trace, said the number of cases was “significant” and repeated that it was “really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community”. There are concerns that some vaccines may not protect as well against the variant.
Police in shooting accident
Police have claimed that the fatal shooting of a black man by an officer in the US city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota was an accident. City police chief Tim Gannon said that Daunte Wright, 20, was shot after the officer meant to use a Taser, but mistakenly drew her gun instead. The county medical examiner has ruled the death as a homicide. Wright’s death triggered protests across the city and a curfew has been declared.
Japan to release Fukushima water
The Japanese government has announced plans to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea. The water will first be treated and diluted so radiation levels are below those set for drinking water. Greenpeace said Japan’s plans to release the water showed the government had “once again failed the people of Fukushima”. The plant was damaged in 2011, when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan.
Jab rollout hits milestone
Britain yesterday reached the “hugely significant milestone” of offering Covid jabs to everyone over the age of 50, the government said. To accelerate the rollout among younger groups, the Moderna jab will start being administered at 20 sites across England today, alongside the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca. On Monday, the UK recorded 3,568 new coronavirus cases and 13 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
London ‘buzzing’ as pubs reopen
Londoners welcomed seeing the West End “buzzing” with life again last night as lockdown measures were eased. Drinkers enjoyed their first night out in months as England reopened outdoor hospitality. However, The Times says Britain’s “notoriously fickle” spring weather dampened the high street’s recovery. The number of people visiting high streets overall was 25% lower than the equivalent day two years ago.
Slavery film boycotted in Georgia
A movie about a man who escapes slavery will no longer be filmed in Georgia as a result of a controversial voting bill that passed in the state last month. Emancipation, which is set to be directed by Antoine Fuqua and star Will Smith, is the first production to leave the state as a result of its new law. Critics claim the voting legislation “will disenfranchise black, disabled, and other minorities, and lead to voter suppression in Georgia”, The Telegraph reports. The cinema and television sectors are huge revenue generators for Georgia, pulling in billions of dollars a year.
Complaints over Philip coverage
The BBC’s blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death has become the most complained-about moment in British television history, The Guardian reports. At least 110,994 people have contacted the BBC to complain about the the decision to turn most of the corporation’s TV and radio stations over to rolling tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh. A spokesperson for the BBC said: “We are proud of our coverage and the role we play during moments of national significance.”
Taiwan claims record incursion
Taiwan has said a record number of Chinese military jets flew into its airspace yesterday. The government claims 25 aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered its so-called air defence identification zone on Monday. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, while democratic Taiwan regards itself as a sovereign state. The US has warned Beijing about its “increasingly aggressive actions” towards Taiwan.
‘Trailblazer’ Williams dies at 90
Baroness Shirley Williams has died at the age of 90, the Liberal Democrats announced yesterday. The political veteran was hailed as a “Liberal lion and a true trailblazer” by the party’s leader, Ed Davey. Boris Johnson said the SDP founder would be “much missed”. Williams was a leading member of the 1970s Labour government and one of the first female cabinet ministers.