Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 September 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM challenged over defence pact
Boris Johnson has been challenged over fears that a new defence pact could lead to Britain being dragged into war with China. Following the announcement of a new alliance between Britain, the US and Australia, Theresa May asked the PM about the “implications” of the partnership in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. As an international backlash against the deal grows, Beijing accused the three countries of adopting a “Cold War mentality” and warned the countries would harm their own interests unless the deal was dropped.
Ministers to ease travel rules
The government is expected to announce changes to the rules on international travel. The BBC reported that ministers are considering scrapping the requirement for double-jabbed people returning to the UK to take PCR tests. It is also believed that the traffic light system could be simplified, with the amber list removed entirely. The Times reported that dozens of countries will be removed from the red list.
Prince Andrew ‘playing hide and seek’
Virginia Giuffre’s legal team has accused Prince Andrew of playing “a game of hide and seek behind palace walls” as they seek to serve him with a lawsuit, in court papers filed with a New York court. As evidence of their efforts to serve the duke with the suit, the lawyers have submitted photographs of an envelope containing the suit being posted into a British post box, with a first-class stamp. The suit accuses the prince of sexually abusing Giuffre when she was 17. Andrew denies wrongdoing.
Two charged with McKee murder
Two men have been charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot dead while observing rioting in Londonderry’s Creggan estate in April 2019. The men, aged 21 and 33, have also been charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, riot, possession of petrol bombs, throwing petrol bombs and arson. The attack was claimed by the New IRA, which said McKee was caught in the line of fire.
Covid paranoia causes Tube falls
Escalator falls have soared in London Underground stations because passengers are too afraid to hold handrails over fears they could catch Covid. A Tube chief said falls caused by people not holding handrails “due to a perception they are not clean” is currently a significant issue. There were 12 serious injuries between April and June and 23 on buses, which Transport for London said was “a total greater than any quarter throughout 2020/21”.
Philip’s will to remain secret for 90 years
The Duke of Edinburgh’s will is to remain secret for 90 years to protect the “dignity” of the Queen, the high court has ruled. It is a longstanding convention that, after the death of a senior member of the royal family, an application to seal their will is made to the president of the family division of the high court. A judge said Philip wanted to make as much detail as possible public without “compromising the conventional privacy afforded to communications from the sovereign”.
Met faces inquiry over hospitalised black man
The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct after a 70-year-old black man was hospitalised when officers pulled over his vehicle in south London. When the driver was stopped by officers in Bromley over a broken brake light, he allegedly got out of his car and struggled with an officer, leaving the officer with an eye injury. He was arrested for assault but sustained a cut to his head while being detained, which left him bleeding.
France kills Islamic State leader
French forces have killed the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in a drone strike, Paris has announced. Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi succumbed to the wounds he suffered in a strike on a motorbike carrying two people during an air and ground operation in Mali, said a French minister. In 2017, al-Sahrawi claimed responsibility for the ambush of United States forces in Niger that killed four American soldiers.
‘Radical’ change needed on violence against women
A British watchdog said that “radical” change is needed to stop an epidemic of violence against women and girls in Britain. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary called for “fundamental cross-system change”, including a “radical refocus” on crimes that particularly affect female victims including domestic abuse, rape and sexual grooming. The call comes after an inquiry sparked by the killing of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving police officer.
Inventor Sinclair dies at 81
Clive Sinclair, who launched the first affordable home computer and invented the pocket calculator, has died at his London home. His daughter Belinda said he passed away on Thursday morning after having cancer for more than a decade. He was 81. He was still working on his inventions last week “because that was what he loved doing,” said his daughter.