Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 20 September 2021

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

1. PM weighs loans to energy firms

The prime minister is considering offering emergency state-backed loans to energy companies as they struggle to stay afloat in the face of soaring gas prices. The BBC said smaller suppliers “face ruin” as price hikes have made their price promises to customers undeliverable. The Times said the government’s plans could leave taxpayers with a multibillion-pound bill. Ministers have insisted there is no prospect of winter energy shortages.

The gas crunch: ‘there could be worse to come’

2. France boycotts UK meeting

The French defence minister has cancelled talks with Britain as tensions continue to rise over the new security deal between Britain, the US and Australia. Lord Ricketts, a former British ambassador to France who was due to co-chair two days of talks between the nations, confirmed the meeting had been “postponed to a later date”. France is angry that Australia joined the Aukus pact to build nuclear-powered submarines, pulling out of a major French contract in the process.

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Aukus: the new security pact explained

3. Twin advances on prostate cancer

The survival rate for men with aggressive prostate cancer could improve after it was found that adding a hormone therapy to their treatment halved deaths. The results of a trial of Abiraterone are expected to change the standard of care worldwide, experts said. Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported that scientists believe men could be cured of prostate cancer in a week using larger doses of precision radiotherapy.

4. ‘Fed up’ NHS rejects pay rise

Britain’s biggest health union has said that thousands of workers are “fed up of being taken for granted” after 80% of NHS staff voted to oppose the government’s 3% pay rise. Unison added that thousands of “exhausted” NHS staff, including nurses, healthcare assistants, ambulance workers and hospital porters, were on the brink of leaving their jobs. The Guardian said the government is “now under growing pressure to reconsider its pay award”.

A ‘paltry’ 3% pay rise for the NHS: do nurses deserve more?

5. Volcano erupts on Spanish island

A volcano has erupted on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma, sending lava shooting into the air and streaming in rivers towards houses in two villages from the Cumbre Vieja national park. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has arrived on La Palma following the evacuation of 5,000 people. The Cumbre Vieja volcano last erupted in 1971 and 1949.

6. Crown wins big at Emmy awards

British talent has dominated television’s biggest awards night, with stars including Kate Winslet, Ewan McGregor and Michaela Coel honoured - and The Crown landing several awards. The royal drama’s prizes included best drama series, plus four acting wins for Gillian Anderson, Olivia Colman, Josh O'Connor and Tobias Menzies. The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards took place in Los Angeles, with most nominees attending in person.

Is The Crown causing the Royal Family harm?

7. Mental health crisis hits A&E

The number of children who go to A&E with serious mental health issues has risen by more than 50% since the Covid pandemic began. More than 2,243 children in England were referred for specialist mental health care from emergency departments in May this year, compared with just 1,428 in May 2019. The Telegraph says school closures have “pushed youngsters to crisis point”.

8. Johnson to push nations on climate

Boris Johnson believes he has a 60% chance of convincing other wealthy countries to agree to spend £100bn helping poorer countries to tackle global warming. The prime minister is due to meet the leaders of Brazil, South Korea, Turkey and Qatar at the United Nations general assembly in New York today. The Times says he wants to get wealthy countries to hit the $100bn-a-year target to help developing countries to greatly reduce their emissions.

What is COP26 and what are its aims?

9. Shootings at US baby shower

Three people have been shot and wounded at a baby shower in Pennsylvania during an argument over gifts, US police have confirmed. Officers were dispatched after a reporting of a shooting inside a hall. “This was not an active shooter event, but rather an isolated family incident during a baby shower,” he said. A preliminary investigation found that a dispute escalated into a physical fight and then gunfire.

10. Tributes to ‘peerless’ Greaves

Tributes have been paid for English football legend Jimmy Greaves, who died yesterday at the age of 81. Former Spurs and England striker Gary Lineker told BBC Sport: "Jimmy had a fabulous contribution to football, an incredible goalscoring record.” England manager Gareth Southgate said Greaves’s place in the game’s history would “never be forgotten”. The Guardian said Greaves was a “peerless player whose legacy is etched in football history”.

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