Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 September 2021

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

1. Temporary visas for truck drivers

The government has ruled that up to 10,500 lorry drivers and poultry workers can receive temporary UK visas as ministers try to limit disruption in the run-up to Christmas. The Transport Secretary said the move would “ensure preparations remain on track” for Christmas but the British Chambers of Commerce said the measures were the equivalent of “throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire”. A shortage of lorry drivers has caused problems for a range of industries, from supermarkets to fast food chains.

2. Taliban hangs dead bodies in public

The Taliban has shot dead four alleged kidnappers and hung their bodies in public squares in the Afghan city of Herat. Eyewitnesses said a body was hung from a crane in the city centre and three other bodies were moved to other squares in the city to be displayed. The display came a day after a Taliban official warned that punishments such as executions and amputations would resume.

3. Starmer suffers ‘bruising defeat’

Keir Starmer is “battling to restore his authority” after a “bruising defeat” at the hands of unions and the left, reported The Observer. The Labour leader was forced to withdraw plans to limit the role of party members, and increase that of MPs, in selecting future party leaders, after the unions united in opposition to block the move. Opponents of the reform are angry he allowed the issue to dominate the run-up to the gathering.

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4. North Korea suggests South Korea talks

The sister of North Korea’s leader said that a summit with South Korea could take place, but only if mutual “respect” and “impartiality” are shown. The statement came a day after Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un’s sister and key adviser, urged Seoul to end its “hostile policies” towards Pyongyang after South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in called for the declaration of an official end to the state of war with the North.

5. Patel says women ‘let down’ by police

Priti Patel has admitted that violent crimes against women “are still far too common” and that victims and survivors are being “let down” by police. The home secretary is reportedly “carefully considering” recommendations made by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary that would make tackling violence against women and girls as much a police priority as combating terrorism. Detectives are still hunting the killer of Sabina Nessa.

6. Usyk beats Joshua in London fight

Oleksandr Usyk is the new unified heavyweight world champion after beating Anthony Joshua in London. The BBC said that the Ukrainian “put on a masterclass” in front of 65,000 fans inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, “outclassing Joshua over 12 rounds”. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn suggested his fighter may have suffered a broken eye socket and would need to go to hospital.

7. China may be kicked off nuclear project

Ministers are close to a deal that could remove Beijing from a project to build a £20bn nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast and pump in tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer cash instead. The government could announce plans to take a stake in Sizewell C power station, alongside the French state-backed power giant EDF, within weeks. The Observer said the move would “risk inflaming geopolitical tensions”.

8. Anti-vaxers ‘harass schoolchildren’

A head teacher says anti-vaccine protesters are harassing her pupils at the school gate. Niamh Arnull said children at Finchley Catholic High School for Boys in north London were being approached by protesters, who gave them leaflets and told them Covid vaccines are unsafe. Describing the problem as a “nightmare,” she added: “Some of our pupils came back inside because they felt very uncomfortable”.

9. Bidder would run Morrisons from tax haven

The American firm leading the £10bn race for Morrisons plans to control the supermarket through a company registered in the Cayman Islands. Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has unveiled full details of its recommended bid ahead of a vote by Morrisons shareholders. The Sunday Telegraph said the details could “stoke a row” about tax avoidance. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, is set to hike Britain’s corporate tax rate to 25% from April 2023.

10. Fire alarm takes channels off air

Several TV channels went off air on Saturday night following a fire alarm at a broadcast centre. Viewers of Channel 4 reported seeing a still screen for about 25 minutes, while Channel 5 was also off air for about 30 minutes. Other channels affected included Welsh broadcaster S4C, the BBC, ITV Paramount and E Music. Red Bee Media blamed an “activation of the fire suppression systems” at its broadcast centre in west London.

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