Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 20 April 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM attacks Super League plan
Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of senior football officials and fans’ representatives to discuss plans for six Premier League clubs to join the controversial new European Super League (ESL). Writing in The Sun, the prime minister told fans “it is your game - and you can rest assured that I’m going to do everything I can to give this ludicrous plan a straight red”. Prince William has also warned that the ESL risks damaging English football, however, the chairman of the new competition, Florentino Perez, said football needed to evolve and adapt to the times.
Derek Chauvin jury retires
The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd last year, has retired to consider its verdict. The prosecution had argued that Chauvin murdered Floyd, while the defence said their client had correctly followed police training. Cities across the US are bracing for protests regardless of the verdict, with CNN reporting that the “broader issue” of police brutality towards black people shows “no signs of lessening”.
Airport eGates to reopen
Border Force chiefs hope to cut lengthy airports queues by digitally linking holidaymakers’ coronavirus paperwork with their passports. Officials are working on “top-priority” plans to reopen the automated ePassport gates to prevent huge backlogs at the border when international travel resumes next month. The move comes days after Heathrow warned that holidaymakers would face queues of more than six hours unless eGates were reopened.
Covid deaths below road death
Covid-19 deaths have dropped below those from road accidents in the UK, according to fresh data. The UK yesterday recorded four deaths within 28 days of a positive test, the lowest daily figure since 7 September. The Telegraph points out that the UK records an average of five deaths per day from road accidents. However, Monday’s Covid death figure also tends to be lower than the weekly average due to recording delays.
India added to travel ‘red list’
India has been added to a “red list” of countries from which most travel to the UK is banned. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move was taken in response to the threat of a new double Covid variant. Hancock added that there had been 103 cases of the India variant in the UK so far, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeting that the move was made to ensure the UK did not lose its “hard-won progress on the vaccine rollout”.
Protests over Brazil mining bill
Indigenous groups in Brazil have demonstrated against a bill that would legalise mining on their lands. Lobbyists have been campaigning for the revival of Bill 191 since it was dismissed by Brazil’s Congress last June. However, protesters assembled in Sao Paulo with banners reading: “Invaders get out! Miners gets out, Agrobusiness get out! Bolsonaro get out!” The demonstrators say that Bill 191 “will only bring more destruction to our people and our forest”.
Taller masts for countryside
The government has said mobile phone masts in the English countryside will be built 20% taller up to a height of 30 metres. In a bid to improve mobile connectivity and speed up the introduction of 5G networks, telecoms firms will be able to construct larger towers without council approval. 5G promises mobile speeds 10 to 20 times faster than previous generations, but its rollout has been blighted by unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.
Weight gain starting younger
“Middle-age spread” is now affecting more people and starting at a younger age than ever before, according to a new study. Data from 65,000 people in four studies showed that people are gaining more weight in their 40s and 50s when compared to past generations. “We found higher mean levels of and larger increases in BMI with age across more recent birth cohorts as compared with earlier-born cohorts,” said the researchers.
Starmer ejected from Bath pub
Keir Starmer was yesterday thrown out of a pub in Bath after he was confronted by the landlord over lockdown restrictions. Video footage shows Rod Humphris, who co-runs The Raven Pub, shouting: “That man is not allowed in my pub!” He added that the economy had been sacrificed “because old people are dying” in an apparent reference to unnecessary lockdown restrictions. Starmer, who was on a walkabout in the city, said he “profoundly disagreed” with Humphris, citing his wife’s experience working in the NHS during the pandemic.
Morrisey slams ‘racist’ Simpsons
Morrissey has claimed that a recent episode of The Simpsons that poked fun at him and his former band The Smiths was “hurtful and racist”. The singer was mocked in Sunday evening’s episode, in which Lisa Simpson becomes obsessed with a fictional band called The Snuffs and befriends its frontman, Quilloughby. The band’s songs include How Late Is Then and Everyone Is Horrid Except Me and Possibly You. Morrissey’s manager said the episode “only serves to insult the artist”.