Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 8 Nov 2020

1. Joe Biden says it is ‘time to heal’ and ‘unify’

Joe Biden has said it is “time to heal” and vowed “not to divide but to unify” the United States. In his first speech as president-elect, the Democrat said: “Let's give each other a chance”. Yesterday, it was confirmed that he defeated incumbent President Donald Trump, who has yet to concede but has threatened legal action.

2. Covid raises chance of third world war says defence chief

The risk of a third world war has risen because of the Covid-19 pandemic, says a UK military leader. General Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the defence staff, said that, with the world being “a very uncertain and anxious place” during the pandemic, there was the possibility “you could see escalation lead to miscalculation”. He added that regional conflicts could ramp up into “a full-blown war”.

3. Brexit negotiations at deadlock ahead of crucial week

Brexit negotiations are deadlocked ahead of a decisive week of talks. Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have both highlighted the divisive issues of EU access to British waters and agreement on future rules to ensure fair competition. Downing Street said negotiators must “redouble efforts” when the two sides, led by the EU’s Michel Barnier, and his British counterpart, David Frost, speak next week.

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4. Marcus Rashford welcomes government u-turn on meals

Marcus Rashford has spoken warmly of the government’s new steps to tackle holiday hunger and child poverty in England. The prime minister telephoned the Manchester United star on Saturday to announce a £396m package. “I had a good conversation with the prime minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK,” he said.

5. Nightingale hospitals may stay empty in second wave

The UK’s Nightingale hospitals have been “grounded” by staff shortages, says The Sunday Times. Most of England’s seven emergency hospitals, which cost £220m and have treated only 200 Covid patients, may stay empty in the months ahead. Despite fears that the NHS is reaching breaking point as the second wave hits, only the Nightingale in Manchester is currently taking patients.

6. Tributes as former chief rabbi dies at age of 72

The former chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has died of cancer at the age of 72. He was the Orthodox chief rabbi for 22 years until 2013, and was made a life peer in 2009. His regular broadcasts on Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme meant he reached a wide audience. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply saddened” and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Sacks was a “towering intellect”.

7. China launches first test satellite for 6G

China has launched what has been described as “the world's first 6G satellite” into space. The satellite went into orbit along with 12 others from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province. The BBC says the telecoms industry is still some years away from agreeing on 6G's specifications, so it is not yet certain the tech being trialled will make it into the final standard.

8. Churchill legacy is reviewed by Imperial War Museum

Sir Winston Churchill’s legacy is being reviewed by the Imperial War Museum in the aftermath of this year’s Black Lives Matter protests. The Sunday Telegraph says senior staff have called for a fresh look at “Churchill’s views” in relation to “sensitive topics” after marches on Parliament Square resulted in his statue being defaced with graffiti claiming he was racist.

9. Government's vaccine chief charges £670,000 for PR

The head of the government’s vaccine taskforce has charged the taxpayer £670,000 for a PR team. Since June, Kate Bingham, a venture capitalist married to Jesse Norman, a Conservative minister, has used eight full-time consultants from Admiral Associates, a London PR agency, to oversee her media strategy. She was appointed to her role by Boris Johnson.

10. Social distancing on scaled back Remembrance Day

There will be scaled back commemorations today as people across the UK mark Remembrance Sunday at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Royals will join the government and military at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London. There will be social distancing measures in place. At 11am, the annual two-minute silence will be held across the UK.

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