Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 26 Nov 2020

1. Sunak’s public sector pay freeze slammed by unions

Unions have described a pay freeze for millions of UK workers as “a kick in the teeth”, after Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that he would “pause” pay rises for workers including firefighters, police, teachers and local authority staff. The GMB union said it would “hit key workers who have risked everything during the pandemic”, while the Trades Union Congress said it added to “a decade of standstill pay”.

Sunak’s Spending Review: five key talking points

2. Joe Biden fires Brexit warning at Boris Johnson

Joe Biden has ratcheted up the pressure on Boris Johnson to agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, reiterating his belief that there can be no hard border on the island of Ireland. The president-elect said he had talked to Johnson and EU figures to restate his opposition to a hard border, adding the “idea of having a border north and south once again being closed is just not right”.

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US election: will Boris Johnson fall out with Joe Biden if the Democrat wins the White House?

3. Football stars pay tribute to ‘beautiful’ Diego Maradona

Tributes have been pouring in for footballing legend Diego Maradona who died yesterday at the age of 60. “To be Diego Maradona was incredibly beautiful”, said Argentine teammate Ossie Ardilles. Brazilian football star Pele said he hoped one day they would “play ball together in the sky”. Maradona’s body will lie in state at the Casa Rosada, the seat of the Argentina government, during three days of mourning.

Diego Maradona movie review: high-five for the ‘Hand of God’

4. Hancock to outline new post-lockdown tier system

The majority of England will enter the two toughest tiers of Boris Johnson’s new Covid restrictions from next week. The tiered system will be stricter than the previous one, with more local authorities placed under harsh restrictions. Health Secretary Matt Hancock will set out the plans in the Commons today, with a review of the rules promised by 16 December amid signs of a growing Conservative rebellion.

Coronavirus: the areas bracing for Boris Johnson’s tougher tier system

5. Over-55s losing trust in the BBC

Older, more well-off viewers are slowly falling out of love with the BBC, Ofcom has revealed. The regulator said Britons spent an average of two hours and 22 minutes a day with the national broadcaster’s television, radio and digital services last year, down 19 minutes since 2017. The proportion of over-55s with a positive impression of the BBC, however, has slipped from 64% to 62% in two years.

Is the BBC really biased?

6. Controversy as Trump pardons ex-aide Michael Flynn

Donald Trump has pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The White House said that the pardon would finally end “the relentless, partisan pursuit of an innocent man”. Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia’s envoy in 2017, but had tried to withdraw his plea. Trump is expected to pardon a string of key aides before he leaves office.

Trump aide Michael Flynn tries to buy time

7. Lawyer complains Ghislaine Maxwell is woken every 15 minutes

Ghislaine Maxwell is being woken every 15 minutes in jail to check that she is alive, according to a letter filed by her attorney. Bobbi Sternheim claims that “despite non-stop in-cell camera surveillance”, Maxwell’s sleep is “disrupted every 15 minutes when she is awakened by a flashlight”. Maxwell stands accused of facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls. She has pleaded not guilty.

What was in the deposition Ghislaine Maxwell fought to keep sealed?

8. Covid dethrones London as ‘most connected’ city

Shanghai has beaten London to claim the title of the world’s most connected city. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, London has seen a 67% fall in connectivity in air travel, according to the International Air Transport Association. The top four most connected cities in the world are now all in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

Coronavirus: what are the odds of catching Covid-19 on a plane?

9. Great Ormond Street Hospital porter faces sex charges

A porter at Great Ormond Street Hospital has been charged with 84 child sex offences alleged to have been carried out over the course of three decades. The Metropolitan Police say Paul Farrell, 55, targeted victims between 1985 and 2018. The charges include 20 counts of sexually assaulting a child younger than 13, paying for sexual activities with a child and creating indecent images of children.

Should suspected sex offenders remain anonymous?

10. Marcus Rashford to receive special BBC gong

Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford will be honoured with a special award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The honour will recognise Rashford’s campaigning against child poverty and in support of free school meals. The 23-year-old had been excluded from the main nominees as his on-field achievements have not reached the sporting bar required by the judging panel.

Why everybody’s talking about Marcus Rashford and free school meals

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