Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 11 December 2021

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

1

Millions of Britons ‘have no Omicron protection’

Health chiefs have repeated their call for everyone eligible to come forward for a booster jab after analysis by the UK Health Security Agency showed a third vaccine dose prevents about 75% of people from getting any Covid symptoms. However, the same study found that millions of Britons have effectively no protection against the variant because people who had two doses of AstraZeneca several months ago had almost no protection against Omicron infection, and two Pfizer doses offered little more than 30%.

2

Truss warns Moscow over Ukraine

The UK’s Foreign Secretary has warned Russia it will face “severe economic consequences” if it invades Ukraine. Liz Truss said G7 foreign ministers meeting in Liverpool this weekend would unite to make clear such a move from Moscow would be a “strategic mistake”. Although the Kremlin has denied it plans to invade, tensions are growing as Russia amasses troops on Ukraine’s border. Moscow has accused Ukraine of provocation.

3

Fewer will follow rules after ‘partygate’

A survey for The Mirror has found three in four Britons are less likely to follow fresh Covid restrictions following revelations of lockdown parties in Downing Street. The Survation poll revealed that 77% of people are less likely to follow rules if government officials have broken them. It also found 75% believe government officials did break the rules at the peak of the second wave, with 66% believing the incidents should be investigated by the police.

4

‘Mass casualty incident’ at Amazon warehouse

Emergency crews in Illinois are responding to reports of injuries at an Amazon warehouse after the roof collapsed during severe weather. A US official told a local television station that up to 100 people were believed to be in the building, working the night shift, at the time of the collapse. The Collinsville, Illinois, Emergency Management Agency described it as a “mass casualty incident”.

5

Maxwell prosecution rests case

Prosecutors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial have rested their case. The last of four alleged victims to testify was Annie Farmer, who spoke of the “dark memory” of abuse by Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. She said she had been groped by Maxwell, who is accused of grooming underage girls for Epstein. The defence is set to begin its case on Thursday. The judge has indicated that closing arguments might now occur as soon as December 20 instead of in early January.

6

Coalition urges PM to keep schools open

Boris Johnson has been urged to ensure that schools reopen fully after the Christmas break. A coalition including three former education ministers, the social mobility tsar and the Children's Commissioner has demanded that schools stay open “come what may” with the Omicron variant and urged the prime minister to draw up fresh legal protections to ensure this happens. The Telegraph noted that the UK has closed schools for longer than anywhere else in Europe apart from Italy during the Covid pandemic

7

Compulsory training considered for dog owners

Dog owners could be forced to undergo compulsory training to prevent attacks after a new report concluded that owners, not breeds, are to blame. The report also suggested that those who purchase a dog could have to face a test of their knowledge of responsible ownership. A government spokesman confirmed ministers were “carefully considering” the recommendations of the report, which would replace the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and put the onus on irresponsible owners rather than breeds such as pit bulls.

8

Morrison asked to intervene on Assange

The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has been urged to intervene in the case of Julian Assange, after the United States won a crucial appeal in its fight to extradite the WikiLeaks founder on espionage charges. “An Australian citizen is being prosecuted for publishing details of war crimes, yet our government sits on its hands and does nothing,” said the Australian Greens leader. Yesterday, the High Court ruled that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited from the UK to the US.

9

Hospitality fears Omicron will finish it off

Hospitality bosses say Boris Johnson is bringing the sector’s recovery to a “shuddering halt” after his Plan B restrictions raised fears of a wave of corporate failures and mass job losses. In a joint letter from more than 130 leading businesses, they warned that the PM’s new rules risk destroying healthy companies unless the Treasury provides financial support which it has so far been unwilling to give.

10

F**k him – Trump slates Netanyahu

Donald Trump has lashed out against his one-time close ally Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview, saying he felt betrayed by the then-prime minister of Israel’s call to Joe Biden congratulating him on winning the presidency. “It was early. OK? Let’s put it this way - he greeted him very early. Earlier than most world leaders. I've not spoken to him since. F**k him,” the former US president told Axios.

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