Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 August 2021

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

1

Prince Charles: ‘no way back for Andrew’

Prince Andrew will never return to public life after the filing of a US lawsuit against him alleging sexual abuse, according to a source close to Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales believes Prince Andrew will be consigned to the wilderness – whatever the outcome of the lawsuit – because of the repetitional damage to the Royal Family caused by his links to the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the source told The Times. They added that Prince Charles “has long ago concluded that it is probably an unsolvable problem”.

2

Afghanistan replaces army chief

Afghanistan has replaced its army chief as Taliban militants continue to make further advances across the country. The BBC reports that General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai’s successor will have to deal with “escalating violence”, with Washington warning that the government could fall in 90 days. The insurgents have now taken control of at least nine of the country’s 34 provincial capitals.

3

Crisis of child abuse and neglect

The UK is undergoing a “looming crisis of children suffering abuse, neglect and poverty”, The Guardian reports, with growing numbers of young people taken into care in some of England’s most deprived communities during the pandemic. Some councils are expected to overspend by up to £12m on children’s services this year, and leaders say they are “down to brass tacks” as social service referrals increase by up to 40% in some areas.

4

Sicily registers record temperature

Amid ongoing wildfires across southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, Sicily is thought to have registered the hottest temperature ever recorded on the continent. Regional authorities reported a reading of 48.8C (119.8F), which needs to be verified by the World Meteorological Organization, on the Italian island yesterday. The current official record in Europe is 48C registered in Athens in 1977. Climate change increases the risk of hot and dry weather that is likely to fan the devastating wildfires.

5

Tourist helicopter crashes in Russia

A tourist helicopter with 16 people on board has crashed into a lake in Russia. Thirteen tourists and three crew members were on board when the vehicle crashed into the Kuril Lake on the Kamchatka Peninsula. According to health authorities, there were nine known survivors. Emergency services have been sent to the area to search for those unaccounted for. Last month, 28 people on board an aircraft died in another crash on the peninsula.

6

Former Archbishop criticises Welby

George Carey has accused church leaders of neglecting traditional local parishes and being “out of touch with ordinary churchgoers”. The former Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments represent an implicit attack on Justin Welby, the current holder of the role, The Times says. The two men have clashed before, with Welby asking Carey, who now sits in the House of Lords, to step down from his role as an honorary assistant bishop in 2017 after a report criticised his handling of sexual abuse allegations against a bishop in the 1990s.

7

Guard at British embassy ‘spied for Russia’

Calls are growing for an urgent review of the government’s use of private contractors after a security guard at the British Embassy in Germany was arrested on suspicion of passing state secrets to Russia. Berlin’s public prosecutor said a British national, named on Wednesday night as David Smith, 57, was “strongly suspected” of having worked for the Russians since at least last November. He allegedly passed sensitive counter-terror documents to his Russian handlers in exchange for cash.

8

Isolation to end for vaccinated

Fully jabbed people in England will no longer be legally required to self-isolate following contact with a positive Covid case from Monday, Sajid Javid has confirmed. The change in the rules will instead see fully vaccinated people advised to take a PCR test instead of quarantining. The health secretary said the shift in policy is going ahead because “getting two doses of a vaccine has tipped the odds in our favour and allowed us to safely reclaim our lost freedoms”.

9

Beijing draws up karaoke blacklist

China is piecing together a “blacklist” of karaoke songs that contain “harmful content”, it has emerged. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said karaoke must not endanger national unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity, incite ethnic hatred, undermine ethnic unity, promote cults or superstition or violate religious policies. In 2015, the country banned 120 songs from the internet, including Chinese tracks titled “No Money No Friend”, “Don’t Want To Go To School” and “Fart”.

10

Kepa the hero as Chelsea win Super Cup

Chelsea have beaten Villarreal 6-5 in a penalty shootout to lift the Uefa Super Cup for a second time. At the end of an encounter described by the BBC as “a draining 120 minutes in Belfast”, substitute goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga saved captain Raul Albiol’s spot-kick to win the tie. It was the first time the Super Cup was played in Northern Ireland and 13,000 spectators were allowed to attend.

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