Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 October 2021

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

1

Blair and Putin’s finances exposed

A vast leak of financial documents has exposed the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires. The files from offshore companies, named the Pandora Papers, reveal that Tony Blair and his wife saved £312,000 in stamp duty when they bought a London office. They also show that the King of Jordan secretly amassed £70m worth of UK and US property. The leak links Russian President Vladimir Putin to secret assets in Monaco.

2

Met officer charged with rape

PC David Carrick, 46, of the Metropolitan police has been charged with rape after allegedly attacking a woman in St Albans last September while off-duty. Cressida Dick, Metropolitan police commissioner, said she was “deeply concerned” by the news. Meanwhile, a retired Metropolitan police detective has accused Dick of ignoring evidence of “vulgar and sexist” WhatsApp group messages involving police contractors and officers.

3

PM to make green power pledge

Boris Johnson is poised to announce that all of Britain’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2035, The Times reported. The prime minister is expected to use his conference speech to commit his party to make big investments in renewable and nuclear energy, as he seeks to reduce the country’s dependence on gas and other fossil fuels. Joss Garman, UK director of the European Climate Foundation, said: “This will go a very long way to putting Britain on track to net zero.”

4

Prophet artist dies in crash

The Swedish cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body has died in a traffic accident. According to police, a civilian police car and a truck collided and caught fire on Sunday afternoon. Lars Vilks has lived under police protection since his 2007 sketch, which offended many Muslims who regard visual representation of the prophet as blasphemous.

5

Trump seeks Twitter return

Donald Trump has asked a federal judge to force Twitter to restore his account, which the company suspended in January following the attack on the US Capitol in Washington DC. The former president’s lawyers filed a motion in US district court in Miami seeking a preliminary injunction against Twitter and its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, arguing that Twitter is censoring Trump in violation of his rights to free speech. Trump had about 89m followers when he was banned.

6

Deaths in Kabul bomb blast

At least five civilians were killed in an explosion at the entrance to a Kabul mosque yesterday, in the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since US forces left at the end of August. Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, The Guardian said that suspicion fell on Islamic State extremists, who have stepped up attacks on the Taliban. Last week, an IS roadside bomb wounded four Taliban fighters in the area.

7

US condemns China over jets

Washington has accused Beijing of staging “provocative” and “destabilising” military exercises after nearly 100 fighter jets and bombers were sent into Taiwan’s air defence zone over three consecutive days. After Beijing marked its National Day on Friday with its biggest aerial show of force against Taiwan to date, Taiwan’s premier, Su Tseng-chang, said: “It’s evident that the world, the international community, rejects such behaviours by China more and more.”

8

Survey finds ‘mental health pandemic’

Britain is “in the grip of a mental health pandemic”, said the Daily Mirror as it revealed that one in four adults in a study said their state of mind was now worse than before the virus emerged. One in 12 of all adults polled has had panic attacks and one in 15 has had suicidal thoughts. Experts fear that if the government does not tackle the problem, the nation “will be plunged into a post-Covid mental health crisis that could take more than a generation to recover from”, the paper said.

9

Dry ice could cut train delays

A new technique to deal with leaves on railway lines could cut autumnal delays. Developed by University of Sheffield engineers, it involves blasting tracks with dry ice from a unit at the front of a train. This freezes the leaves, making them brittle, so they shatter and fall away as the train passes over them - instead of turning into a slippery mulch that prevents train wheels gripping the track.

10

City complain over Liverpool ‘spitting’

Manchester City have made a formal complaint to Liverpool, claiming that a home fan spat at their backroom staff in the first-half of the 2-2 draw at Anfield. City coach Pep Guardiola said: “They [the staff] told me but I didn't see it. I'm pretty sure Liverpool FC will take measures against this person. I know they are greater than this behaviour.” Liverpool are investigating the incident and are examining CCTV footage from that area of the ground.

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