Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 16 November 2021

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


Ministers to redefine ‘full vaccination’

The government is planning to change the definition of fully vaccinated, it has emerged, requiring three jabs from those eligible for boosters in order to qualify. Downing Street sources told The Guardian that the intention is to end up in a place where three jabs, rather than two, are required for things such as “travel or avoiding mandatory isolation”. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Boris Johnson said: “It’s very clear that getting three jabs — getting your booster — will become an important fact and it will make life easier for you in all sorts of ways.”


Biden and Xi hold first meeting

Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have concluded their first face-to-face virtual summit, according to Chinese state media. The US president said both countries have a responsibility to ensure their rivalry does not “veer into open conflict”. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying described the meeting as “constructive and productive”, adding that it helped “increase mutual understanding”. The two nations remain locked “in fierce tensions on trade, military aggression and human rights”, CNN said.


‘Evidence’ at bomb suspect’s home

Four men arrested under terrorism laws following a bomb explosion in Liverpool on Sunday have been released without charge. Police said “important evidence” has been found at an address rented by Emad Al Swealmeen, the man who died when a homemade device blew up in the back of a taxi. According to reports, the 32-year-old was an asylum seeker from the Middle East who converted to Christianity in 2017.


US condemns Russia ‘missile test’

Washington has condemned Moscow for conducting a “dangerous and irresponsible” missile test that it claims endangered crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS). US Space Command claimed that Russia tested a direct-ascent missile, striking a Russian satellite and creating a debris field in low-Earth orbit of more than 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris. Crew members on the ISS were forced to scramble into their spacecraft for safety.


Tory MP blocks Paterson verdict

A Conservative MP has blocked parliament from endorsing a report that found Owen Paterson committed an egregious breach of lobbying rules. Tory backbencher Christopher Chope objected to ratifying the findings about Paterson’s behaviour which followed a two-year investigation by the Commons standards watchdog. The Guardian said the “deeply embarrassing” move means Boris Johnson’s efforts to draw a line under the sleaze scandal have fallen apart.


Rent rise fastest for 13 years

Rents are rising at the fastest pace since 2008, according to a leading property company. Zoopla found that private sector rents in the UK were 4.6% higher in September than a year before, clocking in at £968 per month on average. With fewer people made unemployed during the pandemic than had been expected, rents are expected to rise further in 2022. By the end of next year, rents are forecast to increase by another 4.5%, the company added.


Bannon surrenders to FBI

Steve Bannon hit out at the Biden administration as he surrendered to the FBI to face charges over his refusal to co-operate with the congressional Capitol riot inquiry. “This is going to be the misdemeanour from hell”, said Trump’s former chief strategist, describing the occupants of the White House as the “illegitimate Biden regime”. Bannon is accused of defying a summons to testify about what he knew about plans for the protest that ended with Trump supporters storming Congress. Restrictions imposed by the court include weekly check-ins and the surrender of his passport.


Bird flu alarm in Europe and Asia

Several outbreaks of severe bird flu have been reported in recent days, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Europe and Asia has caused panic in the poultry industry as previous outbreaks led to the culling of tens of millions of birds. The Guardian said that the virus can be transmitted to humans, adding that China has reported 21 human infections with the H5N6 subtype of avian influenza so far this year, more than in the whole of 2020.


Clooney questions gun set story

George Clooney has questioned gun control on movie sets, revealing that he has never heard the term “cold gun” after it was allegedly used by an assistant director to indicate that a revolver was safe before it was fatally fired by Alec Baldwin. Clooney also said he was surprised that an assistant director was the person who handed Baldwin the gun, telling the WTF podcast that in his 40-year career, the person responsible for guns “is either the prop person or the armourer”.


Trump ally calls for ‘one religion’

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has called for “one religion” in the US to win a battle of good versus evil. CNN reported that Michael Flynn made the comment during a speech to a conservative Christian audience on the ReAwaken America tour in Texas. “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” he said. “One nation under God and one religion under God, right? All of us, working together.”


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