Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 August 2021

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

1

‘Holidays saved’ as watchlist scrapped

Boris Johnson has “stepped in to save summer holidays” by blocking the creation of a controversial new “amber watchlist” for foreign countries, reports the Daily Telegraph. Spain, Greece and France were rumoured to have faced being added to the watchlist of countries at risk of moving to red in the travel traffic light system. The prime minister says he wants a “simple” and “balanced approach” to pandemic travel.

2

Taliban fighting escalates in Afghanistan

Fighting is raging in the Afghan city of Lashkar Gah amid fears it could be the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban. CNN says the Taliban have taken over a TV station in the area, marking the latest of a series of advances by the militant group in the country. Meanwhile, the US has ramped up air strikes against the Taliban in a bid to turn back the militants’ advances on a number of key provincial capitals in Afghanistan.

3

Germany sends warship to South China Sea

Germany has sent a warship to the South China Sea for the first time in almost two decades, notes CNN. Beijing has established military outposts on artificial islands in waters that contain gas fields and rich fishing. Berlin says its mission signals that it does not accept China’s territorial claims. Britain, France, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have also been expanding their activity in the Pacific to counter China’s influence.

4

Call for warning on football sales

Footballs should be sold with health warnings, the scientist leading a landmark study has said. Professor Willie Stewart of the University of Glasgow said the link between dementia and heading a football is now so clear that the laws of the game need to be changed for amateur and youth football to reduce the risk of degenerative brain disease. The study found no evidence that the transition from heavy leather balls to lighter, synthetic replacements had made a difference.

5

Palestinians reject homes offer

Palestinians threatened with eviction in east Jerusalem have rejected an offer that they rent their homes from a Jewish settlement organisation. Israel’s top court had proposed the compromise to end a long legal fight but the affected Palestinians say they want recognition of their rights to the properties. The issue has further ignited Israeli-Palestinian tensions in recent months.

6

Sunak warns against working from home

Rishi Sunak has told young people that going into the office can be “really beneficial” to their careers. Warning that remote working from home should not become the norm, the chancellor told LinkedIn News that he still speaks to the mentors who he met early in his career. “I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my internship or my first bit of my career over [Microsoft] Teams and Zoom,” he said.

7

Latifa campaigner named in Pegasus row

A British human rights activist and lawyer who was campaigning to free Dubai’s Princess Latifa had his mobile phone compromised by Pegasus spyware, according to a forensic analysis carried out by Amnesty International. The attack on David Haigh’s phone is suspected to have been ordered by Dubai, because of his connection with the 35-year-old princess, a daughter of the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed. She is currently believed to be being held against her will.

8

Dizzee Rascal charged with assault

The rapper Dizzee Rascal has been charged with assaulting a woman following a domestic argument in south London. The Metropolitan Police announced that the hip-hop star, whose real name is Dylan Mills, has been charged with assault “after an incident at a residential address in Streatham on 8 June,” at which “a woman reported minor injuries”. Mills, who is currently on bail, is due to appear at Croydon magistrates court next month.

9

Smoking harms poor more than wealthy

A new study has found that smoking causes almost twice as many cancer cases among the poor as the wealthy. Some 11,247 cases of cancer caused by smoking are diagnosed among the poorest 20% of people in England each year, but just 6,200 are diagnosed among those in the top 20% income bracket. Cancer Research said “it’s very concerning that smoking causes more cancer cases in more deprived groups”.

10

Clarkson attacks Sage ‘communists’

Jeremy Clarkson has raged at “those communists at Sage” and their approach to the Covid pandemic because, he argues, “if you die, you die”. Speaking to Radio Times, the broadcaster called for Boris Johnson to ignore scientists’ calls for restrictions. Remarking that Covid could be around forever, he added: “Well, if it’s going to be for ever, let’s open it up and if you die, you die.”

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