Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 August 2021

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

1

Schools warning as Covid deaths rise

Experts have warned that Covid infection rates will surge when millions of pupils return to schools next week. Deaths from Covid-19 are now averaging 100 a day across the UK - a significant rise from late May and early June, when they were consistently in single figures. Confirmed infection numbers have also started to rise, with 31,914 cases reported on Monday, the seven-day average figure up 13% from a week before.

2

Afghanistan: G7 meeting could be stormy

White House aides have said they think an emergency summit of G7 leaders on Afghanistan could be contentious, after US allies have expressed their disapproval over the tumultuous American withdrawal. The Guardian said G7 leaders will be “under pressure to present a united front” despite the public divisions. Washington is facing calls to allow more time for evacuation from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as the deadline for its withdrawal nears.

3

Record number of migrant crossings

More than 800 migrants crossed the English Channel to the UK on Saturday – a new daily record. The previous highest number of migrants to cross the Channel in one day was on 12 August, when 592 people made the journey. Nearly 12,500 people have made the journey so far this year. Dan O'Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, claimed that “the dangerous crossings from safe EU countries are completely unnecessary”.

4

Proud Boys leader jailed in US

The leader of the Proud Boys group has been sentenced to five months in prison for burning a stolen Black Lives Matters flag. Enrique Tarrio, 37, pleaded guilty to burning the flag and attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device. He apologised and said there was “no excuse” for his actions at the pro-Trump demonstration following Joe Biden’s election win. However, the judge said that Tarrio’s expressions of remorse was “not credible”

5

Blair promoted group after warnings

Tony Blair continued to promote a child protection organisation despite being told that it had misused grant money and failed to pay tens of thousands of pounds in debts. The Times reported that the former PM received a letter in 2012 from a former director of Miss Dorothy.com, stating that the Blair family’s association with the organisation was “a significant reputational risk”. A spokesman said Blair raised the concerns with the organisation’s founder and “satisfactory assurances were given at the time”.

6

‘Moral blackmail’ on jabs at care homes

Six in 10 care homes say they will be forced to sack members of staff who are refusing to get vaccinated, The Telegraph reported. The government has ordered all care home staff to receive their first dose of a Covid jab by 16 September but one manager said that the pressure to force staff into receiving a vaccine is tantamount to “moral blackmail” which “infringes on their human rights”.

7

Deaths and arrests after M25 crash

Three people have died and two drivers have been arrested following a collision involving a lorry, a minibus and a car on the M25. A fourth person is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after the crash, which occurred near Waltham Abbey yesterday evening. Essex police said two drivers were arrested on suspicion of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving.

8

Next Covid-scale epidemic ‘due within 59 years’

Scientists say the next epidemic on a scale similar to Covid is due within the next 59 years – by 2080 at the latest. American and Italian researchers examined disease outbreaks over the past 400 years and found that epidemics are not as rare as originally thought. “When a 100-year flood occurs today, one may erroneously presume that one can afford to wait another 100 years before experiencing another such event,” said one. "This impression is false.”

9

Giuliani aide set to change plea

A man who helped Rudy Giuliani’s bid to unearth damaging information about Joe Biden is expected to plead guilty in a case alleging illegal campaign contributions to Washington politicians. Igor Fruman is charged with arranging hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Republicans and political action committees while attempting to uncover dirt on the US president. Giuliani denies wrongdoing.

10

TV has ‘totally failed’ disabled people

Actors have been told they are “too disabled” to play disabled roles in TV series, with parts instead going to able-bodied people, according to a top screenwriter. His Dark Materials and Enola Holmes screenwriter Jack Thorne says the TV industry has "utterly and totally" failed disabled people. He described disability as the “forgotten diversity” and demanded new quotas to improve representation.

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