Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 10 July 2021

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

1

Anxiety over ‘dramatic’ Covid surge

The situation with Covid will get worse before it gets better with cases “rising dramatically”, warned the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The latest data from swab tests in the community suggests one in every 160 people has the virus - up from one in every 250 in the previous week. The Guardian says Boris Johnson may tone down talk of “freedom” as anxiety grows among ministers over the planned re-opening on 19 July.

2

Taliban makes major gains

The Taliban have captured major border crossings with Iran and Turkmenistan in northern Afghanistan, officials say. The militants are rapidly retaking land across the nation after US President Joe Biden defended his administration’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. Several US intelligence analysts believe the Taliban could seize control of the country within six months.

3

Ministers may prescribe fruit

A government-ordered review will call on ministers to prescribe fruit and vegetables to deprived families to “break the junk food cycle”. The review, headed by Henry Dimbleby, the founder of Leon restaurants, will point to the produce prescription programme in the US. It will also encourage people to eat algae, fermented microbes and other meat alternatives as part of radical changes to Britain’s diet to deal with obesity and climate change.

4

Haiti requests US troops

Haiti has asked for US troops to be sent to the country to protect key infrastructure after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Washington acknowledged the request but said it has no plans to offer military assistance “at this time”. Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moise, was killed during an attack on his private residence in the capital of Port-au-Prince on Wednesday. Haiti's first lady, Martine Moise, was also shot in the attack and evacuated to hospital.

5

Ireland resists Biden’s tax plan

Ireland is holding out against Joe Biden’s plans for a minimum corporation tax rate of 15%, despite pressure from G20 finance ministers. The low tax country fears the proposals will damage its economic model. The Daily Telegraph says Dublin’s resistance will deepen a rift with the US president, who has spearheaded the reforms despite emphasising his ancestral Irish heritage on the campaign trail.

6

Lockdown dragging young into crime

A generation of children is dragged into crime as both victims and perpetrators due to school closures, according to senior police officers. With new data revealing that youth crime has exploded during the pandemic, Paul Griffiths, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said: “As well as schools and youth services being closed, the support networks outside the family that provide preventative and diversionary opportunities have not been there.”

7

MSP condemned over ‘hell’ tweet

A tweet from the account of an SNP MSP that suggested Jacob Rees-Mogg will “undoubtedly rot in hell” has been reported to the Standards Commission for Scotland. James Dornan, who represents Glasgow Cathcart, was replying to the Tory MP’s post about the Nationality and Borders Bill when he made the statement. Scottish Conservative chief whip Stephen Kerr MSP said: “James Dornan must urgently apologise for this wholly unacceptable and abusive behaviour.”

8

Covid passports ‘to launch in autumn’

Covid certificates will be required for customers to enter bars, restaurants and nightclubs as part of a drive to tackle a fourth wave of the virus. Under plans being considered by ministers, entertainment venues in England would be forced to make customers use so-called vaccination passports from autumn, to prove that they had either had both doses or a negative test the day before. Experts hope the move will boost jab rates among the young.

9

Murdoch ‘authorised Arizona call’

A new book claims that on election night last year Rupert Murdoch gave his son Lachlan permission for Fox News to call Arizona for Joe Biden, a decision that signalled Donald Trump’s defeat. According to Michael Wolff’s third book on the Trump presidency, Landslide, Murdoch delivered “a signature grunt” and said of the Republican: “F**k him.” However, a Fox News spokesperson told The Guardian that Wolff’s account is “completely false”.

10

Bear shot dead after killing woman

A grizzly bear has been shot dead in Montana after it dragged a woman from her tent and killed her. Leah Davis Lokan, 65, was on a mountain biking trip with two friends in Ovando, when the 400lb bear attacked their camp. Officials hunted the bear for three days using helicopters and ground equipment, before it was shot dead in the early hours by staff using night-vision goggles.

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