Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 October 2021

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

1. Javid sounds Covid-19 warning

Sajid Javid has called on politicians to set an example in the battle against Covid-19, including wearing masks in crowded places. Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, the health secretary predicted that infections could hit a record 100,000 a day. He warned that the “pandemic is not over” and insisted he would do “what it takes” to protect the NHS. Javid also hinted that restrictions will be reintroduced if not enough people get their booster jab when invited by the health service.

Inside Plan B: ministers urged to enforce Covid-19 winter back-up measures

2. Trump announces new social network

Donald Trump has announced plans to launch a new social media network named TRUTH Social. The former president said the platform would “stand up to the tyranny of big tech”. An early version will open to invited guests next month ahead of a “nationwide rollout” in 2022. “Trump clearly wants his megaphone back” after he was banned from Facebook and Twitter in January, the BBC said. But his new venture “simply won’t” rival the social media giants.

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What is Donald Trump doing now?

3. Patel demands action on spiking

Priti Patel has demanded an urgent update from police on the scale of the UK’s “spiking epidemic”, the Daily Mail said. The home secretary urged police to investigate amid a rise in claims that women have been drugged by men at nightclubs and parties using needles to inject “date-rape” drugs. Two students who fear that they were “spiked by injection” told The Times they felt “violated and terrified”. Police have suggested that officers could be deployed in nightclubs to catch predators.

4. Did Amess suspect target other MPs?

Two more MPs may have been targeted by the suspected killer of Conservative MP David Amess, it has emerged. Sources close to the police investigation told The Telegraph that detectives have been tracing Ali Harbi Ali’s movements and examining CCTV footage amid reports that he was seen outside offices in central London. Priti Patel has announced that the threat level to MP’s was being increased to “substantial” following the murder of the longstanding Tory backbencher.

David Amess, Jo Cox and the knotty problem of MPs’ security

5. Meat tax suggested by report

British shoppers should face a meat tax to help fight climate change, according to a government report on “high-carbon foods”. The document was published by the Business Department’s Behavioural Insights Unit yesterday morning before being removed from the government’s website shortly afterwards. It suggested a tax on red meat and dairy to “help everyone eat more sustainably”.

Should there be a tax on red meat?

6. WHO warns pandemic will ‘drag on’

The pandemic will “go on for a year longer than it needs to” because poorer countries are not getting the vaccines they need, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Less than 5% of Africa’s population have been vaccinated, compared with an average of 40% on most other continents. This means the pandemic could “easily drag on deep into 2022”, warned Dr Bruce Aylward, a senior advisor to the WHO’s director-general.

Covax: what’s gone wrong in the fight against vaccine nationalism?

7. Horse racing hit with sexism claims

A second female jockey has filed a complaint with the British Horseracing Authority after an incident involving a male jockey. The Times said the alleged incident further highlights the need for a review of the “culture and working conditions for female jockeys in the sport”. The news comes days after another female jockey claimed that a male rider had called her a “whore”, threatened her with violence and appeared naked before her in the changing room.

8. UK may sell arms to Ukraine

The UK is in talks to sell weapons to Ukraine for the first time as fears grow that Russia could exploit the gas crisis to seize territory. Britain has suggested it provides surface-to-surface missiles for Ukrainian patrol boats, as well as missiles for aircraft. A Ukrainian diplomat told The Times that any escalation in fighting between Russia and Ukraine would have “unpredictable consequences” for European security.

What has Nord Stream 2 got to do with eye-watering energy prices?

9. China braced for historic corporate failure

Shares in the beleaguered property firm China Evergrande have fallen dramatically after plans to offload a stake in one of its units for $2.6bn (£1.8bn) fell through. The parent company of Xu Jiayin’s “sprawling empire” was down more than 10% in Hong Kong at midday on Thursday, The Guardian said. Analysts have said this could become the “country’s biggest ever corporate failure”.

Evergrande: why China’s property crisis matters for the world

10. New team to choose Eurovision entry

The team behind pop superstars Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey will choose the UK’s entrant for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, according to the BBC. Tap Management, which also looks after Ellie Goulding, will take over the selection after the UK came last in this year’s contest, failing to score a single point in the process. No entrant from the UK has made the top 10 of the annual competition since Jade Ewen in 2009.

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