Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 September 2021

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

1

Tory rebellion grows over care plan

Boris Johnson will pledge to end “catastrophic costs” for social care users in England when he sets out long-awaited reform proposals later. The Guardian says the prime minister is facing a “growing red wall rebellion” over rumoured tax rises, with one Conservative frontbencher saying they were considering their position over a planned national insurance rise to fund an overhaul of social care and tackle the NHS backlog.

2

Record number of migrants cross channel

The home secretary has told MPs that she is ready to withhold millions of pounds promised to the French to block migrant crossings. After a record number of people were estimated to have landed on Sunday, Priti Patel was said to be “furious” at the low numbers of migrants being intercepted by France. However, Refugee Action said: “The shocking images we’ve seen in Afghanistan has shown what forces people to leave their country.”

3

Northern Ireland grace period extended

Plans for post-Brexit checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland have been suspended indefinitely by London. After talks with Brussels reached a stalemate, the UK’s David Frost, who is leading negotiations about updating the contentious Northern Ireland protocol, revealed a fresh extension, with no new deadline set for the completion of talks. The grace period is designed to ease the transition into new trading arrangements.

4

Rush hour returns to pre-Covid levels

Rush-hour traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels on roads in London, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Liverpool yesterday. Transport for London confirmed that yesterday morning was the busiest on the Tube for 18 months, since before the first lockdown. Passenger numbers on buses rose by 71% in a week. The Times said the data was a sign that cities are beginning to return to normal.

5

Drug theory emerges over star’s death

Police in New York say The Wire actor Michael K. Williams has died at the age of 54. Williams, famed for his role as Omar Little in the crime drama, was found by family members at his Brooklyn home yesterday afternoon. Associated Press said the death is being investigated as a possible drug overdose. Williams - who was nominated for three Emmy Awards - had “openly discussed his struggles with drugs over the years”, the BBC said.

6

Charles has ‘no knowledge’ of honour offer

Clarence House has said the Prince of Wales has “no knowledge” of an alleged offer from his former aide to help a Saudi businessman secure an honour. After the royal’s former valet, Michael Fawcett, temporarily stepped down from his role as chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation, a spokesman said: “The Prince of Wales has no knowledge of the alleged offer of honours or British citizenship on the basis of donation to his charities and fully supports the investigation now under way by The Prince's Foundation.”

7

Johnson says Taliban has changed

Boris Johnson has told MPs he believes the Taliban has changed. The prime minister said: “What we need to do is to make sure that those elements of the Taliban who are different — and I believe different from the Taliban of 1996 — are encouraged and we put the maximum pressure on them not to allow the more retrograde elements to have the upper hand.” In another softening of rhetoric, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said there was a “clear difference” between the Taliban and terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda

8

More aid goes to fossil fuel than climate projects

Governments gave 20% more in overseas aid funding to fossil fuel projects over the last two years than to programmes to cut the air pollution they cause, according to an analysis from the Clean Air Fund. Air pollution kills more people than HIV/Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis combined but just 1% of global development aid is used to tackle this crisis, the researchers found.

9

Pelé recovering from tumour surgery

Pelé is recovering in hospital from surgery to remove a tumour from his colon. In a statement, the football legend did not say whether the tumour was malignant but said he was feeling good. The Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo said in a statement that they were keeping the 80-year-old in intensive care but expected to transfer him to a room on Tuesday. Pelé is the only player to win three World Cups.

10

Blue plaque for Muppets’ creator

A blue plaque has been erected at the former home of the Muppets creator Jim Henson. The puppeteer, who died in 1990 aged 53 from septic shock, lived on Downshire Hill in Hampstead, north London. After English Heritage unveiled the plaque ahead of what would have been the artist’s 85th birthday, his son Brian said: “It’s an honour to have his British home recognised with a blue plaque, knowing that he so admired and respected the talent in London.”

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