Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 29 Nov 2020

1. Rebel Tories question government’s Covid claims

Furious Tory MPs have accused the government of exaggerating capacity problems in the NHS in an attempt to win support for new Covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, in a bid to dampen growing dissent ahead of a crucial Commons vote on the new three-tier system next week, Boris Johnson has told MPs that England’s Covid tiers have a “sunset” expiry date of 3 February.

2. Met says black boys ‘nine times more likely to be murdered’

The head of the Metropolitan police has defended the use of stop and search by claiming that black youths are nine times more likely to be murdered than their white counterparts. Speaking of the controversial tactic, which disproportionately affects black people, Cressida Dick said: “We are targeting young people who are likely to be carrying knives and guns and drugs.”

3. No deal is ‘underpriced’ warns Downing Street

Downing Street warned last night that Britain could be just seven days away from leaving the European Union without a trade deal. In a statement “at the start of what may be the final week of trade negotiations”, Number 10 warned that a “significant gap” still exists on fisheries, adding: “No deal is arguably underpriced.” EU sources also say there is growing scepticism that any further progress will be made.

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4. ‘Challenging day’ as arrests are made at lockdown demo

More than 150 people have been arrested during anti-lockdown protests in London. The Metropolitan Police said it had been a “challenging day” for its officers. Demonstrators brandished signs reading “All I want for Christmas is my freedom back”, “Ditch the face masks” and “Stop controlling us”. The protest was organised by the group Save Our Rights UK.

5. Sweltering Sydney breaks temperature records

Sydney has endured its hottest November night on record, with a minimum overnight temperature of 25.4C. On Sunday, temperatures in Sydney peaked at 42.6C at Sydney airport as the extreme heat posed a fire danger across New South Wales. Ground and waterbombing crews battled to save homes from a fire at Northmead in Sydney’s west.

6. Pupils rebel against ‘merciless’ dismissal at Eton

Eton College students have signed a petition accusing the institution of “institutional bullying” as a row over free speech intensifies. Pupils at the 580-year-old school have accused it of acting in a “heartless and merciless” manner by dismissing an English master, Will Knowland, over an online lecture that questioned the prevailing idea of “toxic masculinity”.

7. Military unit will fight anti-vaccine campaigners

The army has mobilised an elite “information warfare” unit to counter online propaganda against vaccines. The defence cultural specialist unit was launched in Afghanistan in 2010 and became renowned for assisting operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The Sunday Times says the “secretive unit” has often worked side-by-side with psychological operations teams. Britain is preparing to deliver its first injections within days.

8. UK and France to harness ‘joint intelligence’ on migrants

Britain and France have signed a €31.4m (£28.2m) agreement aimed at reducing the number of migrants illegally crossing the English Channel. Speaking at the Foreign Office yesterday, Home Secretary Priti Patel praised the “joint intelligence” between the two nations, citing it as the reason “the French authorities have stopped over 5,000 migrants from crossing into the United Kingdom”.

9. Wilton Gregory is made first African American cardinal

Pope Francis has appointed the first African American cardinal. Wilton Gregory, 72, was installed at a ceremony in the Vatican. He told CNN it was “a time to thank God for this unique moment in my life”. He has been critical of Donald Trump, rebuking the US president for his visit to a shrine to St John Paul II in Washington, a move he described as “baffling and reprehensible”.

10. Darth Vader actor dies at the age of 85

Dave Prowse, the actor best known for playing Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, has died aged 85. The Bristolian former bodybuilder was cast as Vader for his significant physique. He also promoted road safety with his role as the Green Cross Code Man. “May the force be with him, always!” said his agent Thomas Bowington, announcing Prowse’s passing after a short illness.

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