Tuesday briefing: Coronavirus ship Britons to be evacuated | World news

Top story: Covid-19 kills senior Wuhan doctor

Hello, it’s Warren Murray getting the show on the road this morning.

The British government has said it is working to organise a flight to evacuate citizens from the cruise ship Diamond Princess, where more than 450 people have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. The US has flown out more than 300 Americans while Canada, Australia and several other countries have made plans to evacuate their citizens. The ship remains quarantined in Yokohama, Japan.

In China, Liu Zhiming, one of Wuhan’s most senior doctors, has died after contracting Covid-19, while Chinese state media has reported new house-to-house checks are taking place in the city to seek out and “round up” all infected patients. The World Health Organisation has said that based on data from Hubei province, Covid-19 causes only mild disease in four out of five people who get it, and is not as deadly as other coronaviruses including Sars and Mers. The death rate is calculated at 2%.

Apple has warned that new iPhones are going to be in short supply for the time being and it expects a hit to its quarterly revenue amid the virus emergency in China. While all iPhone factories outside of Hubei province had reopened, “they are ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated”, said a statement. More, as has become routine, at our live blog.

‘Associate’ EU citizenship idea – The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is using a trip to Brussels to make the case for continued free movement in the EU for Britons through “associate citizenship”. It was first suggested by Guy Verhofstadt, the ex-Belgian PM and then Brexit coordinator for the European parliament, who continues to back the idea. “The Maastricht treaty created the concept of ‘European citizenship’,” Verhofstadt said, “and I am in favour of using this now as a basis for people who want to keep their link with Europe.” The chances of it making headway in “future relationship” talks are limited, though, as it would require changes to EU law. Meanwhile, Portugal is considering offering subsidised post-Brexit healthcare to British tourists. Rita Marques, the tourism minister, said Portugal wanted to ensure cover offered by the European health insurance card (Ehic) could continue: “We are trying to minimise the disruption to British tourism.” About 2 million Britons visit Portugal every year.

No plan for green schools – The new building for Hackbridge primary, in Sutton, opens next week as England’s first zero-carbon school, able to produce and conserve as much energy as it uses, and even put power back into the grid. It is the first school in England to meet the Passivhaus Plus low-energy design standard. But only a handful of the 500-plus schools being rebuilt or refurbished are installing renewable energy technology – and the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) recommended designs do not include renewables, writes Liz Lightfoot. In the West Midlands, warmth from canals could soon be used to heat hospitals and tower blocks. A consortium, led by London South Bank University and known as GreenSCIES, plans to install water source heat pumps in the canal through Sandwell near Birmingham. The group already extracts “waste heat” from the Northern line to warm homes in Islington, north London, accessing funds from a government renewables scheme.

Bercow ‘no bully’ – John Bercow, the former Commons Speaker, has hit out at the “snobs and bigots” he says are behind bullying complaints against him. Speaking at a Guardian Live event, Bercow said: “I was astonished when those allegations first surfaced on Newsnight nearly two years ago and for the best part of two years I’ve had to put up with this issue being weaponised against me.” Bercow said those concerned were “people who are very long accustomed not just to having their say but to having their way … I make no apology for the fact that I fought my corner. But the idea I was some sort of raging bull … has no credibility at all.” Bercow has not been nominated for a peerage by the Tories despite his decade in the Speaker’s chair. He said he “did care” because the decision had been made against precedent: without the convention of former Speakers being sent to the Lords, future occupants of the role would be looking over their shoulders wondering if they had “hacked off the government”.

The offending brain – Newly published research suggests people who offend throughout their life may have shown antisocial behaviour from a young age and have an abnormal brain structure. Adults with a long history of offending showed a smaller surface area in many regions of the brain, and thinner grey matter in regions linked to regulation of emotions and behaviour, according to the UCL study. However, experts warn the picture of cause and effect is far from clear: genetic and environmental factors, such as childhood deprivation, may have shaped their brains early in life, and smoking, alcohol or drug abuse could come into play later. Prof Kevin McConway, of the Open University, said that even if the brain differences were down to genetics or other early-life factors, it may be those factors themselves that were involved, not the resulting brain differences.

News of the north – The Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan has questioned why there are no newsreaders with northern English accents. The north has been prominent in news bulletins all year, from the Tory demolition of Labour’s “red wall” to HS2 and flooding in the Calder valley. “The north is a ventriloquist’s dummy and the south is in control of the speaking mouth,” McMillan writes in the Radio Times. “Newsreaders from the north aren’t reading the news about themselves because, well, there aren’t any.” McMillan said that although the north was central to the news agenda, people from the area “can’t be trusted with t’autocue, tha knows”. He urged: “So, come on, people in charge: let a northern voice read the news, and not just the news about the north.”

Today in Focus podcast: Can fashion become sustainable?

Environmental journalist Lucy Siegle has been writing about the fashion industry for 15 years. As London fashion week draws to a close, she discusses ways the industry could become more environmentally friendly. And: Laura Snapes on the Brit awards and its lack of female nominees.

Today in Focus

Can fashion become sustainable?

Lunchtime read: The great vape debate

The US is cracking down on vaping while the UK is promoting e-cigarettes as an aid to giving up smoking. Where does the truth lie?

A pedestrian stands surrounded in a cloud of vapour after exhaling from a vape device as a pedestrian smoking a cigarette passes in London


Frank Lampard said after Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat against Manchester United – during which United’s new signing Bruno Fernandes showed some much needed creative spark – that he believed Harry Maguire should have been sent off. Manchester City are unlikely to take their Uefa punishment for breaches of financial fair play legislation lying down, and word is that Abu Dhabi will be fighting back. England supporters have been urged to take a stand against the Rugby Football Union’s swingeing 50% cuts to the Championship’s funding during Sunday’s Six Nations match against Ireland.

Gymnastics star Simone Biles was named the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year for the third time on Monday, while Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton shared the men’s award. Moeen Ali will captain Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural Hundred competition and says he wants to promote cricket as a unifying game. Kim Clijsters’ first WTA Tour match in eight years ended in defeat to Garbiñe Muguruza at the Dubai Duty Free Championships. Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool return to the scene of their sixth European triumph not with the confidence of Champions League holders but to prove they are contenders to defend their crown in Istanbul. And the mass participation race at the Tokyo marathon, which was expected to have 38,000 people taking part, has become the latest sporting casualty of the coronavirus.


Asian shares have fallen after Apple said it would not meet its revenue guidance for the March quarter because of the coronavirus outbreak. S&P 500 e-mini futures have dipped as much as 0.3% in Asian trade. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.65% while Tokyo’s Nikkei slid 1.0%. Shanghai shares dipped 0.2%, having gained in nine of the past 10 sessions largely on hopes for policy support by Beijing. The FTSE is in the order of 40 points down at time of writing while sterling is trading at $1.299 and €1.199.

The papers

“Racist ‘weirdo’ quits No 10 job” – how the Metro sums up the perhaps unsurprising departure in short order of Andrew Sabisky, taking his eugenic ideas with him. The Guardian version: “New advisers to No 10 resigns over race and intelligence controversy”.

Guardian front page, Tuesday 18 February 2020

Photograph: Guardian

Some look at the stance of Boris Johnson’s chief post-Brexit negotiator with the EU. “Britain will never allow EU oversight of laws, Brexit chief tells Brussels” – that’s the FT. A slightly less pugilistic-sounding version of David Frost’s remarks in the Telegraph: “Brexit can benefit all of Europe, says trade chief”.

The Times has “Boris Johnson add odds with Cummings over BBC”, reporting the PM does not agree that the licence fee should be made voluntary. The Mail is exasperated about rates being cut by National Savings and Investments (NS&I), asking: “What is the point of saving?”. The Mirror splashes with “Flooding hell”, calling the impact of Storm Dennis a “national emergency”. The Sun conveys the “Queen’s sorrow” over the Earl of Snowden getting a divorce.

Sign up

The Guardian Morning Briefing is delivered to thousands of inboxes bright and early every weekday. If you are not already receiving it by email, you can sign up here.

For more news: www.theguardian.com

Source link