Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 November 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Macron pulls back on sanctions
Emmanuel Macron has said France will delay retaliatory measures against the UK while talks over post-Brexit fishing rights continue. Paris had threatened to clog up UK exports and ban its fishers from landing catches at French ports from midnight. But the French president told reporters that sanctions would be put off as talks between officials continue. Downing Street said it welcomed the move and would continue “intensive” discussions.
Warning over deforestation deal
The Cop26 climate summit’s first major deal will today see more than 100 world leaders promise to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. Significantly, Brazil — “where stretches of the Amazon rainforest have been cut down” — will be among the signatories, the BBC said. However, experts have warned that a previous deal in 2014 has “failed to slow deforestation at all”, adding that “commitments needed to be delivered on”.
Greta says leaders are ‘pretending’
Greta Thunberg has told young activists that politicians attending Cop26 are “pretending to take our future seriously”. Addressing a demonstration in Glasgow, the climate campaigner said that “change is not going to come” from politicians at the summit but from individuals showing “leadership”. Meanwhile, the Queen has urged world leaders at the summit to “achieve true statesmanship” and create a “safer, stabler future” for the planet.
Smart motorways should be paused
MPs have warned that the building of smart motorways should be halted for five years until promised safety improvements have been delivered and there is more evidence to assess the risks. The cross-party transport select committee said that at least five years of trial data covering all variants of smart motorway, which manage road speeds through electronic signs and do not have a hard shoulder, was necessary before the project is expanded. The Department for Transport said it would consider the recommendations.
Online medical appointments ‘disastrous’
Remote medical consultations have been “disastrous” for some patients, according to a University of Cambridge review. Researchers found that 93% of clinicians said the quality of diagnoses was worse as a result. One senior doctor said “rapid digitalisation and use of telemedicine must stay“, but warned ”appropriate patient selection is key, it is perfect for some but disastrous for others”. Data shows that 61% of primary care appointments in September were in-person. Before the pandemic this figure was about 80%.
Hancock ‘associated with sleaze’
Matt Hancock is “immediately associated with the word sleaze” by the public in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, according to a survey for the committee on standards in public life. The study found that “different current and former politicians were immediately associated with the word ‘sleaze’, including Matt Hancock, David Cameron and Boris Johnson”. One focus group member said: “When you mentioned sleaze I straight away thought about Matt Hancock.”
Bank chiefs shielded from rates rise
Bank of England chiefs who could vote to raise interest rates and increase the cost of borrowing for millions of homeowners do not have mortgages themselves, according to The Telegraph. Governor Andrew Bailey and his most senior lieutenants, Jon Cunliffe and David Ramsden, own their homes outright, Land Registry documents show. This means they will be shielded from any payment increases.
Maxwell ‘forced to crawl to van’
Ghislaine Maxwell was forced to crawl on her hands and knees whilst wearing leg shackles to get into a van and attend a pre-trial hearing, her lawyer has claimed. Bobbi Sterheim said Maxwell was woken at 3.45am and arrived at the courthouse at 5.38am. There, he claimed, she was offered “very little food” and given no utensil to consume it with. The British socialite is awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking.
Man ‘abused murdered women’
A man who sexually assaulted two women after killing them in 1987 performed similar sex acts on bodies at two hospital mortuaries, a court has been told. David Fuller, 67, is accused of murdering Wendy Knell, 25, and Caroline Pierce, 20, in two separate attacks in Kent. He admits to killing the two women, but has pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Sheeran richest celeb under 30
Ed Sheeran has topped the list of the richest celebrities under the age of 30. Over the past 12 months, the singer-songwriter has increased his estimated worth to £236.5m, according to Heat magazine. Harry Styles, 27, came in second place thanks to his estimated fortune of £80m. The former One Direction singer was followed by girl band Little Mix, who came in third as a trio with an estimated worth of £66.7m.