Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 18 Aug 2020

1. Michelle Obama slams Trump at Democrat convention

Michelle Obama has launched a stinging attack on US President Donald Trump saying he is “the wrong president for our country”. In a recorded message to the virtual Democratic convention, she said: “You simply cannot fake your way through this job.” Looking ahead to November’s US election, she added: “If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.”

Why Donald Trump is likely to lose the 2020 election

2. Williamson tries to shift blame after grading U-turn

Gavin Williamson has sought to lay the blame for the A-level results debacle on the regulator Ofqual, following a climbdown that overturned up to 2.3m grades. Just 48-hours after insisting there would be “no U-turn, no change”, the education secretary apologised and said grades would now be based on teachers’s assessments. Universities are now preparing to deal with a rise in calls from students whose places may not be available.

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‘Exam shambles’: mystery as Ofqual removes appeal process

3. Covid-19 could cause Type One diabetes in children

Scientists have warned that Covid-19 could trigger Type One diabetes in children, with experts at Imperial College London encouraging parents to watch out for symptoms of the illness including fatigue, dehydration, frequent urination and weight loss. Although only a small number of children suffer severe symptoms from Covid-19, Type One diabetes can be life-threatening if not treated properly with insulin.

Can coronavirus damage ‘last for life’?

4. Highest ever temperature recorded in Death Valley Park

The highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth is believed to have been reached in Death Valley National Park, which straddles California and Nevada. The recording of the temperature - 130F (54.4C) - is currently being verified by the US National Weather Service. “It’s an oppressive heat and it’s in your face,” Brandi Stewart, who works at the national park, told the BBC.

Will 2020 be the hottest year on record?

5. Iran handed cash to Taliban for killings of US troops

Tehran offered bounties to Taliban fighters in exchange for targeting US and coalition troops in Afghanistan, intelligence agencies have said. Payments have been linked to at least six attacks carried out during the last year, including a suicide bombing at a US air base. The Pentagon reportedly decided against retaliatory action in the hope of maintaining a peace deal agreed by the Trump administration.

Behind the Russian plot to pay Taliban for killing US troops

6. Author claims Zimbabwe could face starvation like 1980s Ethiopia

Zimbabwe is set for a famine like the one that hit Ethiopia in the 1980s, the country’s most acclaimed novelist has warned. Tsitsi Dangarembga said the starvation “would be a continued slow implosion, a sort of black hole that sucks everyone into it”, adding: “People often say that things can’t get any worse. We will soon start to see what ‘worse’ looks like.” 200,000 to 1.2m died during the Ethiopian famine.

Coronavirus pandemic threatens ‘biblical famine’

7. Black inspector complains of racism after car stop

A senior black police inspector has complained to the Metropolitan Police after being stopped in his car by two white officers. Inspector Charles Ehikioya recorded the incident in which he claims he was stopped him without justification while driving home from work in south London. Ehikioya told the BBC the incident was an “abuse of power”. The Met Police said they found no evidence of misconduct.

Black Lives Matter protests: do UK police have a race problem?

8. Chaos as Sri Lanka suffers nationwide power cut

The whole of Sri Lanka was left without power for seven hours yesterday after a failure at a key electricity facility. Power Minister Dullas Alahapperuma blamed a “technical issue” at the Kerawalapitiya energy complex for the blackout, which hit the entire nation of 21m people at around midday. The main airport was shut, while there was mayhem on the roads as traffic lights failed.

9. Ellen DeGeneres producers sacked over sexual harassment

Three producers on the Ellen DeGeneres Show have been fired amid allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct. In a message to staff, DeGeneres said she was “so sorry for what this has become”. The sackings followed investigations by journalists into claims of bullying and intimidation. The departures followed weeks of turmoil “that has undermined the show’s public message of spreading kindness and happiness”, The Guardian says.

10. Tate Modern balcony boy returns home a year after attack

The boy who suffered devastating injuries when he was thrown from the balcony of the Tate Modern last summer has returned home from hospital. The child, aged six at the time, was visiting the UK from France with his family when he fell 100 feet, suffering life-changing injuries. Jonty Bravery, 18, who threw the boy from the balcony, was convicted of attempted murder and jailed for 15 years in June.

Tate Modern attacker told carers of his plan

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