Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 Jan 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1. Trump pledges ‘orderly transfer’

Donald Trump has committed to an orderly transition of power a day after his supporters stormed Congress. The outgoing US president has condemned the rioters’ “heinous attack”. However, Democratic leaders have called for Trump to be forced from office before his term ends on 20 January for his role in inciting the mob attack.

What does the Capitol siege mean for Trump’s legacy?

2. Care homes ‘failing’ on Covid

The Care Quality Commission says it has discovered serious weaknesses in some care homes’ defences against the pandemic. As Covid outbreaks in English care homes rose 65% in a week, inspectors said they found Covid-positive carers being told to work because of staff shortages, a failure to isolate residents when they return from hospital and poor use of personal protection equipment.

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London hospitals two weeks from being ‘overwhelmed’

3. Musk becomes richest man

Elon Musk has overtaken Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person. Shares in Tesla, the electric car company he co-founded, have surged upwards on hopes that a Democrat-controlled US Senate would support a more green agenda. Writing on Twitter, Musk responded to the news of his status as the world’s richest person saying “how strange” and “well, back to work …”

4. Bali bomber released

A radical cleric linked to the 2002 Bali bombings has been freed despite concerns about his influence on extremists. Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, 82, is the former head of Jemaah Islamiah, the group behind the attack that killed 202 people. However, he has always denied any involvement in terrorism. Authorities say he will enter a deradicalisation programme.

5. Ambulance waiting time surges

The length of time ambulances spent waiting to offload patients in parts of England is “off the scale”, according to data leaked to the BBC. Ambulance waiting times at hospitals in the South East rose by 36% in December compared to the same month in 2019. That has a knock-on effect on emergency response times: a London paramedic said patients been left waiting up to 12 hours for an ambulance in the last week.

6. Kim makes military pledge

Kim Jong-un has vowed to increase North Korea’s defence capabilities “to a higher level” as a new portrait of him in military garb was unveiled. State-run media reported that Kim expressed his “will to reliably protect the security of the country and people and the peaceful environment of the socialist construction by placing the state defence capabilities on a much higher level”.

7. UK announces new border rules

The government says that international travellers will be asked to produce a negative Covid-19 test before being allowed into the UK. The new rules, which will come into force next week, apply to returning UK nationals as well as foreign citizens. Passengers will need to produce a test result taken less than 72 hours before their journey, and could be fined £500 without a negative result.

UK to bring in airport Covid tests for arrivals

8. Nurse catches Covid after jab

A nurse who tested positive for Covid-19 three weeks after receiving her first vaccination jab says she is “angry and heartbroken”. The NHS nurse, who works in Wales, said she was told it would take ten days for the vaccine to offer some protection. However, three weeks later she began to feel unwell and tested positive for coronavirus. An NHS spokesperson said people should still take care after receiving the vaccine. “There is particular risk that you may have contracted Covid-19 immediately prior to having the vaccine without knowing it, or that you may contract it in the week or two following vaccination as your body builds up protection,” he said.

The science behind delaying the second dose

9. Shop footfall down 43%

Retailers are calling for more support from the government after shopper numbers fell by 43% last year. Footfall nearly halved in the “golden quarter” between October and December, according to the British Retail Consortium. “The government must urgently reassure those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic that they will receive vital financial support,” said Helen Dickinson, the chief executive.

10. Leave.EU forced to move to EU

Leave.EU has left the UK because .eu internet domain names can now only be held by businesses or individuals based in the EU or wider European Economic Area. According to domain name registration records, Arron Banks’ controversial organisation, which is named after its web address, is now registered in the Republic of Ireland.

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