Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 September 2021

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

1

No. 10 in Taliban talks

Downing Street is negotiating with the Taliban to secure safe passage out of Afghanistan for more British nationals and Afghans. A No. 10 spokesman said the prime minister’s special representative for Afghan transition, Simon Gass, has travelled to Doha and is meeting senior Taliban representatives. Yesterday fake coffins draped in the flags of the UK, US and France were paraded through the city of Khost by the Taliban. 

2

Cholesterol drug announced

The NHS is to offer a cholesterol-lowering drug that could save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade. It is hoped that Inclisiran, described as a “game-changer”, will prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes in the coming years. It will be offered to hundreds of thousands of people with high cholesterol or mixed dyslipidemia – abnormally high levels of fats in their blood – who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke.

3

Police ‘leaving children at risk’

A police watchdog says vulnerable children are in danger because detectives do not want to jeopardise their investigations into paedophiles. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary accuses the Metropolitan Police of making slow progress in child protection and says it has “acute concerns” over how detectives investigate online child abuse and the use of indecent images.

4

‘Glass ceiling’ for black surgeons

Black surgeons are far less likely to be promoted than their white colleagues, according to analysis of NHS data. Black men who were junior surgeons in 2010 were 27% less likely to be promoted to consultant than white men between 2016 and 2020, while for black women the gap was 42%. The Guardian said this is “stark evidence of a glass ceiling”. The Royal College of Surgeons described the study of more than 3,000 doctors as “deeply concerning”.

5

Cameron set for stocks payday

David Cameron is poised for another big payday as one of his employers considers a stock market listing in New York. The former PM is chief adviser to Afiniti, a software company based in Bermuda, and “has a small stake in the firm, although the exact amount has not been publicly disclosed”, said the Daily Mail. It reported that a 1% stake would now be worth more than £11m.

6

Police warn gay people

The Metropolitan Police have urged gay people to avoid “dimly lit areas” and “listening to loud music” following a suspected homophobic murder. Ranjith “Roy” Kankanamalege, 50, was found dead last month in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. His death is being treated as a homophobic hate crime. Data shows that hate crimes related to gender identity and sexual orientation have increased annually since 2015 – and by 19% in the year to March 2020.

7

Vaccine passports ‘would increase hesitancy’

A study has concluded that imposing vaccine passports is likely to make some hesitant people even more reluctant to get Covid jabs. As the government vows to press ahead with passports within weeks, the researchers announced that groups that are less likely to get vaccinated – including the young, ethnic minorities and non-English speakers – also view vaccine passports less positively. Some said they would be less likely to get vaccinated if passports were introduced.

8

Warning as India’s economy grows

India’s economy grew at a record pace in the second quarter, with GDP rising 20.1% in the three months to June 30, compared with the same period a year earlier. CNN says the “big jump” reflects a rebound from the deep slump in activity in 2020, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the world's toughest lockdowns on 1.3bn people. However, analysts said an economically destructive third wave of Covid “cannot be ruled out”.

9

Geronimo the alpaca killed

Geronimo the alpaca has been euthanised by government officials after four years of court battles, protests and celebrity interventions. The Guardian says the UK’s “most divisive alpaca,” who had tested positive for bovine tuberculosis, was taken from his home at Shepherds Close Farm in south Gloucestershire on Tuesday. The government says the killing was a “necessary measure to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis” but supporters of Geronimo insist it was “unnecessary” and “abusive”.

10

Transfer window spending down

Premier League spending topped £1bn during the transfer window but was down on previous years. Cristiano Ronaldo completed his move back to Manchester United and Nikola Vlasic switched from CSKA Moscow to West Ham, while Chelsea captured Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid. In total, Premier League clubs spent £1.1bn – 11% lower than last summer’s total of £1.3bn, which was itself a 9% fall from 2019.

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