Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 14 September 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM to announce booster jabs
A programme of booster jabs to help prevent a winter surge in Covid-19 infections will be confirmed today, according to the BBC. Ministers are expected to announce jabs for the over-50s as part of their winter plan following guidance from the independent vaccine panel, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Meanwhile, the UK’s four chief medical officers have also decided that children aged 12 to 15 can be offered Covid vaccinations. Both groups will be offered a single Pfizer shot.
Taliban says aid workers safe
The Taliban have given the UN written assurances on the safe passage and freedom of movement for humanitarian workers. The promise came as the militant group faces the “imminent collapse” of humanitarian aid into Afghanistan, reported The Guardian. Meanwhile, The Times said that an Afghan sniper who worked alongside British special forces was “executed by the Taliban in broad daylight”. The British-trained soldier was “shot multiple times in front of his family outside their home in Kabul”, according to Ash Alexander-Cooper, a former British army colonel.
Gove recorded using racial slur
Michael Gove used a racist slur, made a homophobic comment and joked about paedophilia within top levels of government during his twenties, The Independent revealed. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster referred to people living in countries colonised by the British as “fuzzy-wuzzies”, said that gay people “thrive primarily upon short-term relations” and suggested that the late Tory minister Leon Brittan was a paedophile. Gove has refused to comment on the recordings from the 1980s and 1990s.
Fossil fuels blamed for heat surge
The number of days when the temperature reaches 50C has doubled since the 1980s and they happen in more areas of the planet than ever before, BBC analysis has found. High heat can be deadly for humans and nature, and climate change is being blamed for the trend. “The increase can be 100% attributed to the burning of fossil fuels,” said Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.
Labour wins Norwegian election
Labour’s Jonas Gahr Støre is on course to be Norway’s new prime minister after the Conservative incumbent conceded defeat. “The Conservative government’s work is finished for this time around,” Erna Solberg told supporters. Støre is expected to face tough choices as he chooses allies following a general election campaign described by The Guardian as being “dominated by questions about the future of the key oil industry in western Europe’s largest producer”.
Holiday bookings collapse
Holiday bookings have fallen by 83% amid confusion at the government’s “traffic light” system of restrictions, The Independent reported. Abta, the leading travel industry body, said that new summer holiday bookings for 2021 were just one-sixth of those for 2019, with the three-tier system of travel restrictions being blamed by industry chiefs. Abta warned that seven out of 10 holiday firms plan to cut jobs when the government’s furlough scheme ends on 30 September.
Andrew Neil quits GB News
Andrew Neil has quit as lead presenter and chairman of GB News after differences of opinion over the direction of the channel. The former BBC anchor was the face of GB News before it went on air in June but has left after presenting just eight programmes in three months. The Guardian said Neil was “unhappy with technical mistakes, the loss of top staff” and the channel’s “political direction”, adding that his exit “raises questions over its future”.
Clinton says US democracy in peril
Hillary Clinton has said that the US is in a “real battle for our democracy” amid the rise of the far right who are seeking to entrench minority rule and turn back the clock on women’s rights. The Democrat dismissed suggestions that the world was witnessing the twilight of US democracy, but added: “I do believe we are in a struggle for the future of our country”. Speaking at a Guardian Live event, the former presidential candidate also described the assault on the Capitol building as a “terrorist attack”.
Starmer to pledge £10 minimum wage
Keir Starmer is to pledge that Labour will guarantee a £10 minimum wage, ban fire-and-rehire policies and provide greater protection against unfair dismissal to all workers from day one in power, the Financial Times said. He is expected to tell the Trades Union Congress conference that “ensuring good-quality secure work, underpinned with employment rights fit for the reality of modern working, is not only good for employees, but it’s good for business”. The speech comes as the Labour leader faces increasing pressure to set out his policies and vision.
PM’s mother dies at 79
Boris Johnson’s mother has died at the age of 79. Charlotte Johnson Wahl, a portrait painter, passed away “suddenly and peacefully” at a London hospital on Monday, the family said in a statement shared with The Telegraph. The prime minister has previously described his mother as the “supreme authority” in the family and said she taught him “the equal importance, the equal dignity, the equal worth of every human being on the planet”, the paper added.