Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 October 2021

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

1

Amess suspect held under terror act

The man detained over the killing of MP Sir David Amess is Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old Briton of Somali heritage, reported the BBC. He is being held at a London police station under the Terrorism Act 2000 and officers have until 22 October to question him. The father of the suspected killer said he had been left “traumatised” by his son’s arrest. Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Sir David received an “upsetting” threat in the days leading up to the fatal attack on him.

2

A&E on ‘edge of precipice’

Doctors said that A&E departments are on the “edge of a precipice”, with patients waiting in ambulances for up to 11 hours outside hospitals. Paramedics have reported queues of up to 20 ambulances waiting outside hospitals to transfer patients into emergency departments operating at full capacity. Martin Flaherty, of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said he was “extremely concerned” as he revealed that every ambulance service in the country is now at the highest level of alert.

3

US missionaries snatched in Haiti

A group of US missionaries have been kidnapped in Haiti. The 17 abductees, including children, were on their way home from building an orphanage in the capital of Port-au-Prince, Christian Aid Ministries said. The group is being held by the armed gang, a local security source told the AFP news agency. Haiti has seen a surge in the number of gang-related kidnappings after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home in July.

4

PM and Sunak divided over climate

Leaked documents have revealed an “extraordinary rift” between Boris Johnson and his chancellor, Rishi Sunak, over the potential economic effects of moving towards a zero-carbon economy, reported The Observer. Just weeks ahead of the crucial Cop26 climate summit, the confidential documents show that Sunak is warning of serious economic damage to the UK economy and future tax rises if the UK overspends on, or misdirects, green investment.

5

Soldier dies in training accident

A soldier has died following an accident involving a vehicle during a training exercise in Wiltshire. A tank is understood to have rolled over in the incident, said The Sunday Telegraph, leaving a soldier with significant injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “It is with sadness that we can confirm the death of a soldier on Salisbury Plain Training Area.”

6

Macron condemans 1961 massacre

Emmanuel Macron has described a massacre of Algerian protesters by police in Paris 60 years ago as an “unforgivable crime”. On 17 October 1961, French police shot and drowned Algerian demonstrators. It is believed that several hundred could have lost their lives. Macron is the first French president to recognise that crimes were committed that day. He said the 1961 march was repressed “brutally, violently and in blood”.

7

Zaghari-Ratcliffe loses appeal

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has lost an appeal against a second jail sentence in Iran. The British-Iranian aid worker’s family said that there had been no court hearing, but her lawyer was informed of the outcome. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was jailed for five years in 2016 after being accused of plotting against the regime and then sentenced to another year’s confinement in April on charges of “spreading propaganda”.

8

Robert Durst has Covid

US real estate heir Robert Durst, subject of HBO crime series The Jinx, has been hospitalised with Covid-19 just days after he was sentenced to life in prison. The 78-year-old was found guilty last month of first-degree murder and was sentenced earlier this week to life in prison without parole. “We were notified he tested positive, so we’re all very concerned,” Dick DeGuerin, Durst’s lawyer said.

9

Hancock loses United Nations role

Matt Hancock will no longer become a special envoy for the United Nations, after the job offer was withdrawn. The former UK health secretary announced on Tuesday that he was “honoured” to be working with the UN’s economic commission for Africa to help the continent recover from the pandemic. There was an outcry over the appointment because of his record in government during the Covid crisis, and the UN’s official spokesperson has announced the appointment will not be taken forward.

10

Poll finds ‘levelling-up’ scepticism

Only 28% of voters believe Boris Johnson is sincere in his much-repeated aim of spreading prosperity to disadvantaged corners of the UK, a new poll has found. The Savanta ComRes study also found that scepticism about his pronouncements strongest in the northern and Midlands areas that he has promised to help. Just 10% of respondents believed that the “levelling up” project could be concluded within a five-year timescale.

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