Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 10 September 2021

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

1. Burnham warning as Labour go into lead

Andy Burnham has told Keir Starmer he must set out an alternative to Boris Johnson’s social care plans, as he warned Labour could miss the “biggest opportunity for some time” to take on the government. The Manchester mayor, who is widely tipped to be the next Labour leader, said Sir Keir should “catch the wave” of anger directed at the National Insurance rise. A poll in The Times shows Labour ahead of the Tories for the first time since January.

2. Jab chief says mass boosters unneccessary

The lead scientist of the AstraZeneca jab said a mass booster programme is unnecessary because immunity to Covid from two vaccine doses is “lasting well” in the majority of people. Speaking to The Telegraph, Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert argued that it would be better to send Britain’s third dose supplies to countries where only a small number of the population had been vaccinated.

3. Queen ‘supports Black Lives Matter’

The Queen and the royal family are supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, one of her representatives has claimed. Sir Ken Olisa, the first black lord-lieutenant of London, told Channel 4 he had discussed the “whole issue of race” with members of the royal family in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minnesota in May last year. Asked whether the palace supported BLM, Olisa replied: “The answer is easily yes.”

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4. Universal Credit cut will cause sickness

A new study by the Health Foundation has found that scrapping the boost to universal credit will trigger mental illness and poorer health for thousands of people, and hit the sickest areas of the UK hardest. The Guardian says Boris Johnson’s commitment to “levelling up” is thrown into doubt by the impact assessment of the dropping of the £20-a-week increase. The Health Foundation said it would be a step backwards.

5. Midnight parade in North Korea

North Korea has held a midnight military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 73rd anniversary of its founding. According to reports, planes flew above Pyongyang firing flares, and paratroopers dropped from aircraft in the night sky. Analysts noted that images of Kim Jong Un appeared to show the North Korean leader has lost weight, as he appeared on a platform in Kim Il Sung square and waved at the crowd.

6. Remote GP appointments ‘caused deaths’

A coroner has warned that remote GP appointments may have contributed to the deaths of five people who did not see their doctor in person. Alison Mutch said that family doctors missed important details in telephone appointments that may have been spotted if they were seen face-to-face. A third fewer people are seeing their GP in person now compared to before the pandemic and experts have long warned that moving away from in-person appointments can lead to missed diagnoses.

7. ‘Super pigs’ closer to market

A Basingstoke-based animal genetics company has moved a step closer to selling a genetically edited “super pig” that is resistant to a deadly virus. Genus said that tests have proved that its engineered pigs can fight off porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, an illness that is devastating to pig herds. Genus's animals will be the first gene-edited pigs in the world to be approved for commercial use if given regulatory clearance.

8. Oxygen therapy ‘could reverse Alzheimer’s’

Alzheimer’s disease could be delayed or even reversed by giving oxygen therapy to patients in pressurised chambers, an Israeli study has concluded. Researchers found that elderly patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment – a forerunner to dementia – had enhanced memory and brain functioning following regular 90-minute sessions in a hyperbaric chamber. The treatment allows more oxygen to be dissolved into the tissues.

9. Raducanu ‘can’t believe’ semi win

Britain’s Emma Raducanu reached the US Open final with a stunning straight-set win over Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari in New York. The 18-year-old extended her dream run with a 6-1 6-4 victory in which, says the BBC, her “dominance again almost defied belief”. She will play another teenager, Leylah Fernandez, on Saturday. “I actually can't believe it,” said Raducanu.

10. Man kept mother’s corpse in basement

Police in Austria say a man kept the mummified corpse of his mother in a basement for over a year while continuing to receive her pension payments. The 89-year-old woman, who reportedly had dementia, is thought to have died of natural causes in June last year. Police believe her son, who used bandages and ice packs to mask her smell, may have illegally received about €50,000 (£42,000) in payments.

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