Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 7 Nov 2020

1. ‘We're going to win,’ says Biden as lead widens

Joe Biden has told supporters: “The numbers tell us a clear story: We're going to win this race.” Speaking last night, the Democrat candidate vowed to end the “total, unrelenting, unending warfare” of the Trump years. Biden appears close to winning the presidency after securing more than 27,000 votes more than Trump in Pennsylvania and taking the lead in Georgia, Nevada and Arizona.

2. Boris Johnson says there is a ‘deal to be done’ with EU

Boris Johnson says he believes there is a “deal to be done" on post-Brexit trade with the European Union. However, while stating that he “very much hopes” to come to an agreement, he repeated his position that the country was “very well prepared” to proceeed without one. Earlier this week, both the UK and EU's chief trade negotiators warned of “wide” and “serious divergences” between the two sides.

3. Kings College London says Covid second wave has peaked

Scientists have claimed that the peak of the second Covid wave is likely to have already passed. The King's College London symptom study found that the ‘R’ value across the UK is now one, with cases falling in the north of England and in Scotland. The study calculated that there were 42,049 daily new symptomatic cases across Britain over the fortnight to November 1, compared to 43,569 new cases the previous week.

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4. Palestinian ends hunger strike in Israeli jail

A Palestinian prisoner has agreed to end more than 100 days of hunger strike in Israel, claiming he had received promises from the authorities that his open-ended detention would not be extended beyond the end of this month. Maher al-Akhras has been locked up under administrative detention, a controversial policy Israel uses to hold Palestinians without charges on suspicion of unspecified security offenses.

5. Scotland banks smacking as ‘justifiable’ defence is scrapped

Scotland has become the first part of the UK to outlaw physical punishment of under-16s, after its ban on parents smacking their children became law. The new legislation means that the “justifiable assault” defence is no longer available. Sweden was the first country in the world to ban smacking in the home when it outlawed corporal punishment in 1979.

6. Fears of civil war following Ethiopian air strikes in Tigray

Ethiopia has carried out strikes in the Tigray region, the country’s prime minister has announced. Abiy Ahmed said the strikes in multiple locations “completely destroyed rockets and other heavy weapons” belonging to the regional government. The Guardian said the air force strikes are another escalation of a crisis that observers fear could “plunge the country into a bitter and bloody civil conflict”.

7. Oxford dictionary updates its definition of ‘woman’

The Oxford English Dictionary has updated the definition of “woman” amid claims it was sexist. Following a review, the dictionary’s editors have acknowledged for the first time that a woman can be a “person’s” wife, girlfriend or lover as opposed to only a “man’s”. Oxford University Press said that The Oxford Dictionary of English is “driven solely by evidence of how real people use English in their daily lives”.

8. Johnny Depp forced to step down from Fantastic Beasts 3

Johnny Depp has been forced to leave his role in Fantastic Beasts 3 after his unsuccessful libel trial against The Sun newspaper. In a letter to fans, Depp said he had been “asked to resign” from his role as Gellert Grindelwald and had “respected that and agreed to that request”. The star also described the libel judgement as “surreal” and confirmed his plans to appeal.

9. HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual lowest in 20 years

Public Health England says that new diagnoses of HIV among gay and bisexual men have dropped to their lowest level in 20 years. There were 1,700 new diagnoses in gay and bisexual men last year, compared with the previous low of 1,500 in 2000. Across all genders and sexualities, the number of people with a new HIV diagnosis fell by 10% from 4,580 cases in 2018 to 4,139 in 2019.

10. Judy Dench leads tributes to Geoffrey Palmer

Geoffrey Palmer, best known for his roles in the sitcoms Butterflies, As Time Goes By and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, has died aged 93. His agent said the actor passed away peacefully at home. Dame Judi Dench, who starred in nine series of As Time Goes By with Palmer, said: “Geoffrey was master of comedy, an absolute master.” His co-star in Butterflies, Wendy Craig, said: “He was just a delight to work with.”

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