Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 24 Oct 2020

1. UK asks EU to exempt travellers from long passport queues

Boris Johnson is at odds with Brussels over a late bid to prevent British passport holders from hours of delays at European airports after the Brexit transition period. The government is seeking continued use by UK nationals of the automatic e-gates used by EU nationals at airports and Eurostar terminals but Brussels says that giving UK nationals such a right would breach EU law.

2. Expert says Covid vaccine ‘doing everything we expected’

The Oxford coronavirus vaccine successfully provokes a strong immune response, an analysis has found. The vaccine “is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness,” said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, which led the research. The jab is considered a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine against Covid-19.

3. White House election could see highest turnout since 1908

More than 50m Americans have cast ballots in the US presidential election with 11 days to go in the campaign, signalling that the US 2020 polling could have the highest rate of voter turnout since 1908. Analysts say the trend is both a sign of the intensity of this year’s polling and of voters’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to Covid-19.

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4. Marcus Rashford ‘couldn't be prouder’ of response to campaign

Marcus Rashford has told the BBC he “couldn't be more proud to call myself British” after the response to his campaign to get free meals for children during the half-term holiday. The England striker told BBC Newsnight he was “overwhelmed” after councils and businesses offered to provide food during the break for those who are entitled to free school meals.

5. Retail sales rise for fifth consecutive month in UK

Retail sales in the UK increased for the fifth consecutive month in September as punters splashed out on DIY and household goods. The Office for National Statistics said the volume of retail sales rose by 1.5% between August and September, continuing a recovery in consumer spending from the biggest slump on record during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year.

6. Palestinians say Israel and Sudan's deal is ‘stab in the back’

Israel and Sudan have agreed to work towards normalising relations in a deal brokered by Washington. If successful, the agreement would make Sudan the third Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past two months. However, Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation official, described Sudan’s decision as a “new stab in the back”.

7. WHO warning after record high of Covid cases in the US

Cases of Covid-19 have hit a record daily high in the US as states face a renewed wave of infections. The Covid Tracking Project has reported 83,010 new cases as the World Health Organization has warned that countries in the Northern Hemisphere are at a “critical juncture”. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron says his country will be fighting the virus until at least the middle of next year.

8. Woman who lost eye calls for ban on firework sales

A woman who lost an eye after a firework exploded in her face has called for a ban on their sale to members of the public. Amber Lewis said she suffered facial injuries “like something out of a horror movie” after the accident in her garden. New data has revealed that more than 1,000 emergency incidents involving the explosives were reported in the last three years.

9. Covid-19 fallout will causes birth rates to drop say experts

The psychological impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will cause birth rates to drop, people to stay single for longer and women to sexualise themselves more, according to a new paper. Experts from the US, who reviewed 90 studies, expect planned pregnancies to decrease in response to the global health crisis as people defer marriage and parenthood, leading some nations’ populations to shrink.

10. Bear attacks in Japan spark calls for habitat improvement

A series of bear attacks in Japan have prompted calls to improve their natural habitat. After Japanese media reported episodes of “ursine terror,” experts warned of more potentially dangerous encounters with the animals as they venture into populated areas in search of food. They cited a shortage of acorns in the bears’ natural habitat, which forces them to wander into populated areas in search of food.

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