Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 November 2021

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

1

Five killed at US Christmas parade

Police said five people have died after a car ploughed into a parade in Wisconsin. The red SUV hit more than 20 people in the city of Waukesha, just before 5pm on Sunday. At least 28 patients are being treated at area hospitals and at least 12 of the injured are children. A police spokesman said a “person of interest” is in police custody and the incident does not seem to be connected to terrorism.

2

NHS waiting list to get longer

The health secretary has warned that the NHS waiting list of about six million people will inevitably rise. Sajid Javid said he expected the “unprecedented demand” caused by the Covid crisis to lead to further delays for those awaiting elective hospital treatment. NHS Providers said that a combination of underfunding, Covid and failures in social care meant that there was now a “high degree of concern” about the months ahead.

3

Unrest as Europe locks down again

Austria has returned to a full lockdown as protests against new restrictions spread across Europe. Violence erupted at demonstrations in Belgium and the Netherlands over the weekend. Protesters smashed the glass at the entrance to a European Commission building in Brussels after young men in hoods attacked police vans with baseball bats. Demonstrations also took place in Italy, Croatia, Denmark and Switzerland.

4

Starmer ‘won’t throw cash at UK’

Keir Starmer will attempt to woo business leaders by promising a Labour government will not attempt to spend their way out of the country’s problems. Speaking to the CBI’s annual conference in the Midlands, the party leader will say that his team “absolutely don’t think that the solution to every problem is to throw cash at it”, and will promise to run “a stable government and a tight ship”.

5

Syrian jails release men for money

Prisons in north-east Syria housing about 10,000 men with alleged links to Islamic State are releasing prisoners in exchange for money under a “reconciliation” scheme, reported The Guardian. Official documents showed that Syrian men imprisoned without trial can pay an $8,000 (£6,000) fine to be freed. The jails are under control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which denies the arrangement.

6

New homes will need car chargers

Boris Johnson is to announce that new homes and buildings in England will be required by law to install electric vehicle charging points from next year. Ministers believe the policy will add 145,000 charging points across the country each year. Newly built supermarkets and offices, as well as buildings undergoing major renovations, will also come under the new law.

7

Fur farm suffering linked to UK

The Mirror reported that UK retailers have been connected to animal suffering on European fur farms. An undercover team at a farm in Finland found arctic foxes with deformed feet and diseased eyes in small cages. Since banning fur farming in 2000, the UK has imported more than £850m of fur, £11m of it from Finland. It is sold in stores such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Flannels. TV vet Dr Marc Abraham said the UK is “complicit” in the suffering witnessed on the fur farms.

8

£1m a day for test consultants

The Covid testing-and-tracing service is still spending more than £1m a day on private consultants, reported The Guardian. Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the agency responsible for NHS Test and Trace, told MPs in July there was a “very detailed ramp-down plan” to cut the number of consultants. Just weeks ago, MPs criticised the service as an “eye-watering” waste of taxpayers’ money that is failing to cut Covid infection levels.

9

Adele tells Spotify not to shuffle

Adele has convinced Spotify to remove the shuffle button as the default option on album pages, so it automatically plays in the artist’s chosen order. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter reposted the announcement to Twitter, writing: “We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our track listing for no reason.” The streaming giant replied: “Anything for you.” Adele’s fourth studio album, 30, launched on Friday to widespread acclaim.

10

Don’t mock the woke, says teacher

The head of the Girls’ Schools Association will argue that parents and teachers have a responsibility to “keep up” with young people and not mock them for being “woke”. Samantha Price, headmistress of Benenden School in Kent, will use the association’s annual conference to urge fellow head teachers to challenge anyone who “dismisses this generation as woke, being part of a cancel-culture or snowflakes”. Her speech also includes the line: “Being woke actually just means being awake to social justice.”

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