Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 25 October 2021

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

1

Insulate Britain ‘to restart protest’

The direct action group Insulate Britain has warned that it will restart its road-blocking protests today after a pause in its campaign. Activists have enraged motorists by sitting on the M25 and other major roads, tunnels and bridges. A self-declared suspension to its “campaign of civil resistance” expires today and a spokesman said “there are things happening” that would target morning rush-hour traffic.

2

Covid cases ‘about to fall’

Forecasts seen by the government suggest Covid cases will plummet in November even without Plan B restrictions, according to The Daily Telegraph. A model published last week by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine predicts that cases will soon peak before falling steeply in the winter months, even without new rules. The paper says other unpublished models have also shown similar imminent drops.

3

Baldwin director ‘faced complaint’

The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that killed a cinematographer on a film set in New Mexico was the subject of a safety complaint in 2019. A crew member said that she filed an internal complaint with a TV production company regarding assistant director Dave Halls’ conduct. “Halls neglected to hold safety meetings and consistently failed to announce the presence of a firearm on set to the crew,” CNN reports.

4

Medic sounds maternity alarm

The president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the NHS could soon be unable to deliver “the care it needs to” for women giving birth due to the rise in Covid admissions. Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Edward Morris, the UK’s most senior gynaecologist, said he was increasingly concerned about the “immense pressures” facing maternity staff. He also urged unvaccinated pregnant women to get jabbed as soon as possible.

5

Networks ‘to block scam calls’

Overseas fraudsters will be blocked from making scam phone calls under plans to protect the British public. The Telegraph reported that phone networks have agreed to automatically block calls made from abroad if they show up as a UK number. There has been a huge rise in scam calls and texts over the past year, with many made by foreign gangs using technology to make it appear as if the call is coming from within the UK.

6

Zaghari-Ratcliffe to go on hunger strike

The husband of the British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has gone on hunger strike for a second time in a bid to persuade the UK government to do more to bring his wife back from detention in Iran. She has been held in Iran for five years on spying charges and recently lost her appeal against a second prison sentence. Richard Ratcliffe said his wife was “increasingly distraught”.

7

Shoppers put Christmas on ice

Consumers are filling their freezers with party food, turkey and other festive specialities over fears that food supplies will be disrupted in the run-up to Christmas. According to analysts at Kantar, sales of frozen turkey have almost doubled, frozen stuffing is up by a fifth and sales of frozen bakery items were up by 9% in the four weeks to 3 October. Market researchers said concerns about the availability of seasonal goods prompted about a quarter of shoppers to start their Christmas shopping in September.

8

Drug lord to be sent to US

Colombia has said the country’s most wanted drug trafficker, Dairo Antonio Usuga, will be extradited to the US. Also known as Otoniel, the wanted man was captured in a raid after a joint army, air force and police operation on Saturday. Officials in the US, who had placed a $5m (£3.6m) bounty on his head, say he imported at least 73 tonnes of cocaine into the country between 2003 and 2014. Colombian president Ivan Duque said the arrest was “the biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century”.

9

Arrests after two teens are killed

Police have arrested eight men after two teenage boys were killed in a suspected double murder in Essex. Officers who were called to Regency Court in Brentwood at around 1.30am on Sunday found three injured teenagers, two of whom later died of their wounds. A third victim is being treated in hospital. The victims had reportedly been stabbed. A detective said there was an altercation between two groups who “knew each other”.

10

Beckham attacked for Qatar deal

David Beckham has defended his lucrative role as an ambassador for next year’s World Cup in Qatar following a backlash from human rights campaigners. Critics have accused the former England captain of “sports washing” Qatar’s record on human rights, including the criminalisation of homosexuality. A spokesperson for Beckham said: “He’s always talked about the power of football as a force for good.”

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