Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 5 Nov 2020

1. Biden smells victory as Trump threatens court action

Joe Biden last night said he is on course to win the US presidential election, as Donald Trump threatened to fight the result in court. The Democrat appears to have flipped the key states of Michigan and Wisconsin, giving him 264 electoral college votes to Trump’s 214. However, the Trump campaign looks set to challenge vote counts in key states, including Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

US election 2020: Joe Biden wins the White House

2. Tory rebellion cannot stop second lockdown

England is back in a national lockdown today despite a rebellion by dozens of Tory MPs, including two former leaders. Theresa May abstained and Iain Duncan Smith voted against Boris Johnson’s plan. The House of Commons approved the new measures by 516 votes to 38, with 34 Tory MPs voting against the four-week lockdown and several saying they could not support any extension beyond 2 December.

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Coronavirus: what will the UK’s post-lockdown rules be?

3. Watch your language - even in your home

Free speech organisations are concerned over proposals to prosecute individuals for hate crimes based on what they discuss in their own homes. The Law Commission’s 544-page consultation on hate crime includes a suggestion to remove the “dwelling” privacy exemption from criminal legislation. This would make it possible to be prosecuted over “private conversations at the dinner table”, The Guardian says.

Hate speech vs. free speech: the UK laws

4. Rishi Sunak prepares new economic support

Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England are expected to announce a new package of measures to boost the economy as Britain heads into a second lockdown. The chancellor will confirm that furloughed workers will receive 80% of their wages so long as their business is mandated to shut, The Telegraph says, while The Bank of England is rumoured to be preparing to pump an extra £100bn into the economy.

Second lockdown will plunge UK into ‘double-dip’ recession, economists warn

5. Millions of minks to be culled in Denmark

Up to 17 million minks are to be culled in Denmark after a mutated version of the coronavirus was detected on farms. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the mutated virus posed a “risk to the effectiveness” of a future vaccine. Spain culled 100,000 minks in July after cases were detected at a farm in the Aragon region, while tens of thousands have been slaughtered in the Netherlands.

Can cats really spread coronavirus?

6. Over 9,500 jobs at risk in ‘high street bloodbath’

More than 9,500 jobs are in jeopardy as a “high street bloodbath” hits John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Argos, the Daily Mail reports. John Lewis says it will axe up to 1,500 jobs, adding that the move will help it to save another £50m as it looks to make £300m in annual savings by 2022. Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer has suffered its first loss in its 94 years as a publicly-listed company.

Coronavirus: what are the Christmas Covid-19 rules?

7. Anti-Murdoch petition breaks records in Australia

An online petition calling for an inquiry into Rupert Murdoch’s media dominance has attracted a record number of signatures. More than 500,000 Australians have signed the petition to parliament since it was launched by former ex-prime minister Kevin Rudd three weeks ago. News Corp Australia, Murdoch’s company, controls 70% of local newspaper circulation in the country.

Rupert Murdoch offers to sell Sky News to appease regulator

8. US withdraws from the Paris climate agreement

One year after Donald Trump announced its exit, the US has today officially withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement. Although Joe Biden, who looks likely to win the White House, said he would immediately re-join the agreement, his ambitions “may well be stunted” by the US Senate, The Guardian says. The Senate currently looks as if it will remain in Republican control following yesterday’s vote.

What Trump’s Paris climate agreement exit means for the world

9. Palestinians homeless after Israel razes West Bank village

Israeli troops in the West Bank have razed a Palestinian village, leaving 73 people - including 41 children - homeless, the United Nations (UN) says. The excavators were filmed flattening or smashing up tents, shacks, animal shelters, toilets and solar panels. “These are some of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank,” said Yvonne Helle, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the territory.

What is the future of Israel-Palestine relations as Netanyahu pushes to annex West Bank?

10. Man arrested after social media hunt for alleged rapist

A man has been arrested over the alleged rape of a teenage girl in south London. Kadian Nelson, 26, had been urged to turn himself in for his own safety after footage shared on social media showed members of the public hunting for him. Police said Nelson was arrested on suspicion of rape after a teenager was allegedly attacked in the North Place area of Mitcham at 7am on Tuesday.

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