Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 30 September 2021

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

1. Jobs warning as furlough ends

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been criticised for winding up the government’s furlough scheme, which ends today. The Guardian said “an array of unions, business groups, employment experts, City firms and politicians” have warned that the end of the scheme will “intensify Britain’s economic woes”. With more than one million people still thought to be on the scheme, economists say there will be a rise in unemployment. The scheme was introduced in March 2020 after the government’s lockdown measures forced large parts of the economy to close.

2. Everard killer used police card

The police officer who kidnapped Sarah Everard before raping and strangling her used his Metropolitan Police-issue warrant card and handcuffs to abduct the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London. Wayne Couzens, 48, could be handed a whole-life sentence later today. The mother of Everard told the court she is “tormented” at the thought of what her daughter endured.

3. Nurses may stay in hotels

Hospitals are making plans to put staff up in hotels should fuel issues stop them travelling to and from work. The Times reported that cancer patients are among those who have had appointments delayed by the crisis, with patient transport services unable to fill up and NHS staff struggling to get to work. Hospitals in rural areas where staff have little choice but to drive to work are thought to be worst affected.

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4. Kim Jong-un restores hotline

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has said he is prepared to restore a vital communication hotline with South Korea, in a possible offer of reconciliation. Although the leader has condemned a US offer of dialogue as a “facade”, he added that he had ordered officials to restore communication lines with South Korea to “promote peace”. His latest comments came during Pyongyang’s annual parliament session.

5. Deaths after gangs clash in Ecuador jail

At least 116 people died in a fight between rival gangs in an Ecuador prison, officials say. Five inmates were decapitated in Tuesday’s clashes in the city of Guayaquil, while others were shot dead. Police say the prisoners also threw grenades in the worst prison violence in the country’s history. The BBC reported that it took 400 police officers to regain control of the jail, which houses inmates linked to global drug gangs.

6. Supply crisis ‘to delay recovery’

Britain’s economic recovery will be delayed until next year due to the crisis in supply chains, said the Bank of England’s governor. Andrew Bailey said that staff shortages, shipping chaos and surging fuel costs are likely to cause further disruption as winter draws near. The pound has fallen to its lowest level since December amid fears of stagflation in the UK.

7. Judge suspends Spears conservatorship

A judge has suspended Britney Spears’ father from the legal arrangement that gave him control of her life. Mathew Rosengart, attorney for Britney Spears, described the elder Spears as a “cruel, toxic and abusive man,” adding his client wants him out “today”. The pop star said in June: “I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years, and it’s enough.”

8. Woman of 96 on trial for Nazi crimes

A 96-year-old woman who worked as a secretary for a Nazi concentration camp commandant is going on trial in Germany on charges of aiding and abetting the murder of thousands of prisoners. Irmgard Furchner is the first woman to stand trial in decades over crimes connected to the Third Reich. She was just 18 when she started work at Stutthof camp on the Baltic coast in Nazi-occupied Poland. Holocaust survivors are expected to testify at the trial.

9. Man dies of rabies after waking up to bat

A man in the US died from rabies about a month after apparently being infected by a bat he found in his room. The man, who was in his 80s, woke up and found a bat on his neck. His was the first human case of rabies in Illinois since 1954. A health chief said “there is life-saving treatment for individuals who quickly seek care after being exposed to an animal with rabies”. However, the man declined postexposure treatment.

10. JK Rowling table saved in fire

A table where JK Rowling wrote sections of her Harry Potter books has been salvaged from a huge fire. The BBC said the blaze on Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge last month badly damaged flats and businesses including The Elephant House café, where Rowling has worked on her books. She wrote in The Elephant House cafe in 1996 and 1997, after her first Harry Potter book was published, and often sat at a particular antique wooden table.

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