Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 May 2021

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

1

Hancock appears in Commons

Matt Hancock is due to face MPs today after he was yesterday mauled by Dominic Cummings during a marathon select committee appearance. The prime minister’s former senior aide accused the health secretary of “criminal” behaviour, of being “completely incapable of doing the job” and said he “should have been fired” for lying. A spokesperson for Hancock said: “We absolutely reject Mr Cummings’ claims about the health secretary.” Hancock is due to appear in the House of Commons at around 10:30am.

2

‘Crucial’ days for jab analysis

NHS chiefs have said the next seven days will be “crucial” in assessing the impact of rising Covid infections on hospitals. The daily number of cases yesterday passed 3,000 for the first time in a month, with cases rising 18% in a week and admissions to hospitals up by 11%. However, deaths remained steady, with nine fatalities reported within 28 days of a positive test. Officials hope that the successful vaccination programme will continue to sever the connection between infections and deaths.

3

Shooting at San Jose rail yard

An employee has fatally shot eight people at a train yard in California before turning the gun on himself. The incident took place at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority site in San Jose. As well as the eight dead, at least one other person is in hospital in a critical condition. Authorities are also investigating how the gunman’s home, which is eight miles away from the site of the shooting, went up in flames.

4

Study sounds climate warning

A new study has found that there is a 40% chance of at least one year being 1.5C hotter than the pre-industrial level by 2025 - the lower of two temperature limits set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Responding to the study by the World Meteorological Organization, the UN said that the world is drawing “inexorably closer” to its global warming limits.

5

Belarus dictator slams sanctions

The president of Belarus has claimed his critics are “strangling” his country and waging “hybrid warfare” against his nation. Speaking in parliament, Alexander Lukashenko said “many red lines” had been crossed as Western countries imposed sanctions on Belarus. In what The Times describes as a “rambling address”, the president defended the move to forcibly divert a Ryanair plane, which was flying from Greece to Lithuania, to land in Minsk, where a dissident journalist was arrested.

6

Hawkings papers to offset tax

Stephen Hawking’s scientific papers and personal possessions - including childhood letters, scripts from his TV appearances and ground-breaking research into black holes - are to be saved for the nation. The late scientist’s archive and the contents of his university office have been acquired through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, which allows families to offset tax. The BBC says the 10,000-page archive will be kept in perpetuity at Cambridge University library. The Science Museum plans to put on a display of some objects next year.

7

Biden to meet Queen

The White House is arranging for Joe Biden to meet with the Queen during his first foreign trip next month, CNN reports. The encounter, during which Biden will be joined by the First Lady Jill Biden, is expected to take place before the US president leaves the UK following the upcoming G7 summit. Biden would become the 13th American president with whom the Queen, who is 95-years-old, has met.

8

Hungry Caterpillar author dies

The children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle, best remembered for his classic story The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has died aged 91. “In the light of the moon, holding on to a good star, a painter of rainbows is now travelling across the night sky”, a family statement said. It is believed Carle died of kidney failure. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969 and has sold more than 50m copies worldwide.

9

UK worst for private jet pollution

Britain has been named as Europe’s biggest polluter from private air travel. Analysis by Transport & Environment, a campaign group, found that carbon dioxide from private jets in Europe increased by about one-third between 2005 and 2019, with flights that entered or left the UK responsible for nearly a fifth of these emissions. The report also found that last August, when commercial flights were down 60% year-on-year, private jet traffic had already returned to pre-pandemic levels.

10

Pitt granted joint custody

Brad Pitt has been granted joint custody of his children with Angelina Jolie. Since Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, the pair have been embroiled in a largely secret custody battle, however, a private judge hired to oversee the case ruled in Pitt’s favour. The ruling will “significantly increase” his time with the children, a source told the Press Association. However, the Page Six website said Jolie will continue her legal fight.

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