Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 19 August 2021

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

1

Biden: no American will be left behind

Joe Biden says US troops may stay in Afghanistan beyond his withdrawal deadline, as armed Taliban fighters kept desperate evacuees from reaching Kabul’s airport. However, there are fears in Westminster that US forces may pull out of the airport within days, putting it at risk of closure and raising concerns over the emergency airlift of thousands of people. The US president told ABC News the turmoil in Kabul was unavoidable.

2

Vaccinated can harbour high virus levels

A new study has found that fully jabbed adults can shelter virus levels as high as unvaccinated people if infected with the Delta variant, supporting the theory that hitting the threshold for herd immunity is unlikely. “The fact that they can have high levels of virus suggests that people who aren’t yet vaccinated may not be as protected from the Delta variant as we hoped,” said a professor. Positive tests, hospitalisations and deaths linked to Covid are rising in the UK.

3

Record number of young have eating disorders

Soaring demand for treatment is overwhelming services as a record number of children and young people with a potentially life-threatening eating disorder are waiting for help in England. Analysis by Royal College of Psychiatrists found that at the end of the first quarter of 2021-22, 207 patients were waiting for urgent treatment, up from 56 at the same time last year, with a further 1,832 patients waiting for routine treatment, up from 441.

4

Raab ‘too busy’ to make key call

Dominic Raab failed to make an important phone call while he was on holiday to seek urgent help airlifting translators out of Afghanistan. Senior officials in the Foreign Office department advised last Friday that he should make contact with Afghan foreign minister Hanif Atmar to urgently request assistance in rescuing interpreters who had worked for the British military. However, they were told the holidaying Raab was “too busy,” says the Daily Mail.

5

Rail fares set to soar

Rail fares in England and Wales are set to rise at their fastest rate in nearly 10 years unless the government opts to prevent steep price increases to encourage commuters back on to trains. The Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday that the retail prices index for July was 3.8%, meaning prices could rise by 4.8% in January if they follow the usual formula. Labour warned of “yet another eye-watering hike” for commuters.

6

Brit jailed in Singapore for mask refusal

A court in Singapore has sentenced a British man to six weeks in prison after he repeatedly breached Covid protocols by refusing to wear a face mask in public. Benjamin Glynn, 40, was found guilty over his failure to wear a mask on a train and at a subsequent court appearance, as well as causing a public nuisance and using threatening words towards public servants. The judge told Glynn that he was “completely misguided” in his belief that he was exempt from Singapore law.

7

Court orders Geronimo slaughter

The owner of Geronimo the alpaca has vowed to fight on after she lost a last-ditch attempt at the High Court to win a stay of execution. The male alpaca has twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has ordered his slaughter. However, Helen Macdonald, Geronimo’s owner, believes the test results are false positives.

8

Stimulating jobs lower dementia risk

Doctors and chief executives could be 23% less likely than farm labourers to develop dementia, according to a new study. Researchers measured how “cognitively stimulating” participants’ jobs were at an average age of 45 and followed them for about 17 years, by which time 1,143 had developed dementia. They found that having a mentally stimulating job in the second half of a career may help to stave off dementia.

9

Queen ‘didn’t take ownership’ of race claims

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feel the Queen failed to take “full ownership” of the race allegations made in their Oprah Winfrey interview, according to a new book. A source also told Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, the authors of Finding Freedom, that the Queen’s assertion that “recollections may vary” about their claims had not gone down well. Meghan and Harry made a series of allegations about the Royal family during their two-hour televised interview with Winfrey in March.

10

Study finds home fans sway refs

A study of football matches played during the Covid pandemic has offered new evidence that referees are swayed by home crowds. When fans were absent during lockdown, the officials were tougher on home sides: the chances of the home team being given a yellow card for foul play increased by 26%, compared with game where spectators were present. “We believe that this referee bias has a strong effect on the so-called ‘home advantage’ effect,” said a researcher.

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