Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 31 October 2021

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

1. COP26 ‘world’s moment of truth’

Boris Johnson said the COP26 summit will be the “world’s moment of truth”. The much-anticipated gathering will see delegates from about 200 countries discuss how they will cut emissions by 2030 and help the planet. Scientists and environmentalists have called on Johnson and Emmanuel Macron to declare an immediate ceasefire in their row over fishing rights, amid fears that the UK’s arguments with its EU neighbours could overshadow the crucial summit.

2. ‘Taliban’ attacks Afghan wedding

Gunmen who claimed to be part of the Taliban attacked a wedding in eastern Afghanistan to stop music being played, killing at least two people, officials say. A Taliban spokesman said two of the three gunmen had been arrested but denied they had acted on behalf of the Islamist movement. Although music was banned when the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, the new regime has not yet issued such a decree.

3. Baldwin speaks about film shooting

Alec Baldwin has spoken publicly for the first time since the accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Western film Rust. The actor called it a “one in a trillion episode” when he stopped to speak to reporters on a roadside in Vermont. Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded after a gun Baldwin was holding discharged with a single live round on the set of the movie in New Mexico.

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4. National Trust bans trail hunting

National Trust members have voted to ban trail hunting on its land following a series of reports that it is being used as a “smokescreen” for illegal foxhunts. A total of 76,816 votes were cast to ban trail hunts on trust land, with 38,184 against and 18,047 abstentions. The members who proposed the ban said “overwhelming evidence leads to the conclusion that trail hunting is a cover for hunting with dogs”.

5. Deaths at Sudan coup protests

Security forces in Sudan have fired live rounds and tear gas at pro-democracy protesters, killing at least three people. Thousands took to the streets yesterday, demanding the reinstatement of ousted Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok. Activists say around 100 people were injured. The protests came almost a week after the military detained Sudan’s civilian leadership, dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency.

6. ‘Historic’ corporate tax deal inked

Leaders of the 20 major economies have approved a “historic” agreement that will see the profits of large businesses taxed at least 15%, said the BBC. The pact, agreed in July, was formally inked by all the leaders attending the G20 summit in Rome. Sky News said the move is a “step toward building more fairness amid the surging revenues of some multinational businesses”.

7. Nation gets its first Covid case

The South Pacific island nation of Tonga has reported its first case of Covid-19, prompting thousands of people to get vaccinated amid warnings of a lockdown. Tonga was one of only a few countries that had not reported a single case since the start of the pandemic but it confirmed its first positive case from a passenger who had travelled from New Zealand. The Pacific nations of Tuvalu and Naura are among the only countries in the world not to have reported a Covid infection.

8. Andrew turns table on accuser

Prince Andrew has gone on the attack against the woman accusing him of teenage rape by claiming that she was involved in the “wilful recruitment and trafficking of young girls for sexual abuse”. Lawyers for the Duke of York have described Virginia Giuffre as an alleged criminal who worked to procure underage “slutty girls” for Jeffrey Epstein, the paedophile billionaire. The Sunday Times said the “controversial” move leaves him open to claims of “victim-blaming”.

9. Poll finds Brexit dissatisfaction

The latest opinion poll for The Observer found that almost twice as many voters now believe Brexit is having a negative effect on the UK economy as think it is benefiting the nation’s finances. In other data from the study, 53% of people believed Brexit is having a bad effect on prices in shops, against 13% who thought it is having a good effect, while 51% thought it is adversely affecting the UK’s ability to import goods from the EU, against 15% who thought it is helping.

10. Police ‘must get house in order’

The chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales has admitted the service has a misogyny problem and needs to get its “house in order” to win back public trust. Writing for The Sunday Times, John Apter said that a canteen culture of “sexist nicknames and derogatory remarks” towards women needs to be consigned “to the history books”. Following several scandals, including Sarah Everard’s murder, he said: “Doing nothing is not an option.”

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