Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 September 2021

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

1. PM abandons Covid passport plans

Boris Johnson is poised to announce that he is scrapping plans for vaccine passports for entry to nightclubs, cinemas and sports grounds. As he sets out his plans to try to tackle Covid over the winter months, he will say that he has abandoned the proposed compulsory certification scheme, which would have forced venues to check people’s vaccine status. The Sunday Times said the move is a “significant concession to Tory backbench rebels”.

2. Charles offered to meet donor

Prince Charles offered to meet a Russian businessman who donated a six-figure sum to his charity. In a “gushing thank-you letter,” the prince told the banker he was “incredibly grateful” for a six-figure gift later rejected by the foundation’s ethics committee, reported The Sunday Times. A royal source said the invitation was “routine” and Clarence House said the prince supports an investigation now under way at the foundation.

3. Taliban flag raised on 9/11 anniversary

The Taliban raised their flag over the Afghan presidential palace on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The white banner, bearing a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, according to Ahmadullah Muttaqi, multimedia branch chief of the Taliban’s cultural commission. Meanwhile, Joe Biden conceded yesterday that al-Qaeda could return in Afghanistan.

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4. Priti Patel arranged ‘lobby’ meeting

Priti Patel was branded a serial offender over a secret “lobbying” meeting she arranged between a billionaire Tory donor and British Airways. In what is being described as a breach of the ministerial code, the home secretary arranged talks at Heathrow Airport’s Hilton Garden Inn without a Home Office official present, as required by the rules. Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “The home secretary is a serial offender with no regard for the ministerial code.”

5. Emma Raducanu wins US Open final

Emma Raducanu beat Leylah Fernandez to win the US Open, bringing to an end Britain’s 44-year wait for a women’s Grand Slam singles champion. In a match described as “thrilling” by the BBC, the 18-year-old ended her “scarcely believable run” in New York with a 6-4 6-3 win over her 19-year-old Canadian opponent. Raducanu was presented with the trophy by American tennis legend Billie Jean King.

6. Pope to meet Victor Orban

Pope Francis is set to meet Hungary’s populist leader Viktor Orban during a short stop in the capital Budapest. The BBC says the meeting is “expected to highlight differences between the pontiff's views and Mr Orban’s nationalist and anti-immigrant policies”. In his first international trip since surgery earlier this year, the Pope will also spend three days in Slovakia, where he will meet members of the Jewish and Roma communities.

7. Starmer to publish mission essay

Sir Keir Starmer is to publish a 14,000-word mission statement on the eve of the party’s annual conference later this month. A source close to the Labour leader described the contents of the essay as an “intellectualised version” of his conference speech. However, said The Sunday Times, it is not expected to include any fresh Labour policy announcements and will focus broadly on the themes of security and opportunity.

8. Red Wall Tories alarm on ‘poll tax 2.0’

Tories in Red Wall seats say they faced a major backlash from constituents over Boris Johnson’s National Insurance increase. One MP said they had received angry letters referring to the levy as the “poll tax 2.0”. The government’s own analysis has found that the measure could result in the breakdown of families and deter companies from hiring new staff and increasing wages.

9. Covid jabs for 12-15 year olds due

A programme of Covid vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds across the UK is to be announced by the government this week, said The Observer, with a mass inoculation programme beginning in schools within a fortnight. Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said children would receive only marginal health benefits from a mass vaccination campaign.

10. Peruvian rebel leader dies in jail

The founder of the Peruvian rebel group Shining Path, known as ‘Sendero Luminoso’ in Spanish, died in prison on Saturday, according to the country's National Penitentiary Institute. Abimael Guzman was 86. The Maoist rebel group was active in the 1980s and 1990s, spreading terror in the country through a bombing campaign that targeted buildings and infrastructure such as electricity towers, said CNN.

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