Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 March 2021

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

1. Police hurt at Bristol protest

Police have clashed with protesters at a demonstration against the government’s policing bill in Bristol. Officers suffered broken bones, police vans were set alight and windows were broken as angry scenes unfolded in the city centre. “What started out as a peaceful protest has been turned by a small minority into a violent disorder,” said Will White, chief superintendent of Avon and Somerset police.

The police, crime and sentencing bill explained

2. PM to speak to EU on vaccines

Boris Johnson is set to speak to his EU counterparts this week as a row over Covid vaccine supplies rolls on. The European Commission president says the EU can “forbid” vaccines made on the continent being sent to the UK. The Guardian says Britain’s Covid vaccine programme would face a two-month delay in the event of an EU export ban, postponing the end of lockdown.

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Has vaccine ‘jingoism’ poisoned the EU’s reputation?

3. Trump plans new social network

Donald Trump is planning to return to social media by launching his own web platform, his former adviser Jason Miller has revealed. “This is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media,” Miller told Fox. Trump was banned from Twitter and suspended from Facebook after his supporters stormed the US Capitol to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Are the Republicans beginning a Trump detox?

4. Union boss criticises Starmer

Keir Starmer is turning Labour into “the party of the establishment”, according to Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite. The union chief said the opposition leader has “missed the opportunities” during the Covid pandemic and would be “ditched into the dustbin of history” unless he changed his approach.

Are Labour knives out for Keir Starmer?

5. Half suffered pay cut in 2020

Half of British workers had a real-terms pay cut last year, despite official figures showing the fastest earnings growth in almost two decades, according to the Resolution Foundation. The think tank says official data on average weekly earnings has been “hugely disrupted” by widespread job losses in low-paid work and the furlough scheme, meaning that the headline rates were “too good to be true”.

6. Army numbers to be cut

The British Army is expected to shrink by about 10,000 soldiers as the military continues to modernise, with robots, drones, and cyber warfare taking their place. Some tanks and aircraft will also be retired but the government said there would be “more ships, submarines and sailors”. Numbers in the regular Army will be reduced to about 70,000 soldiers.

What Boris Johnson has planned for his £16bn military spending spree

7. Emergency declared in Miami

The mayor of Miami Beach has declared a state of emergency after crowds descended on the city for the annual US spring break. Police fired pepper balls into crowds of revellers and arrested at least a dozen people over the weekend as the city cracked down on spring breakers whom officials have said are out of control.

8. William ‘would challenge PMs’

Prince William plans to “robustly challenge” advice from his prime ministers as king if he feels their actions would damage the monarchy, according to sources quoted in The Sunday Times. Friends of the prince say he was upset that the Queen was left with “no choice” but to agree to Boris Johnson’s request to prorogue parliament in 2019. William reportedly intends to provide a “more private, robust challenging of advice”.

9. Oil giant profits halve

Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, has said its net income dropped to 185 billion riyals (£35.4bn) last year, a fall of 44%. The price of crude collapsed as Covid-19 took hold and demand from transport and industry plummeted. The company said it will honour its $75bn (£54bn) dividend promise to shareholders.

Saudi Aramco float values oil giant at $1.7 trillion

10. Meat linked to dementia

Eating processed meat could increase your risk of dementia, according to scientists at the University of Leeds. They studied data from 500,000 people and found that a 25g serving of processed meat a day, equivalent to one rasher of bacon, is associated with a 44% increased risk of developing the disease. The report said “lower intakes of unprocessed red meat could be beneficial for health”.

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