- Here are the headlines on Monday, January 11
Ministers contemplating tougher lockdown restrictions
Senior ministers have discussed the prospect of introducing tighter lockdown controls in an effort to improve compliance, according to reports.
The Prime Minister spoke with senior ministers yesterday to evaluate ‘whether the current lockdown rules were working’ in reducing the spike of coronavirus cases, the Daily Telegraph said.
The paper said the government is considering scrapping the exemption allowing people to exercise with one other person from outside of their household. Supermarket bosses could be told to get tougher on policing social distancing and mask wearing in-store, and people could also be asked to wear masks in queues and at work.
Mass injection sites open
Vaccinations against coronavirus are to be ramped up as mass injection centres open.
All four nations of the UK are facing dire warnings, with high levels of infection and hospitals struggling under the strain.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that when it comes to the current measures ‘every flexibility can be fatal’ as he is due to set out the government’s vaccines delivery plan – hailing it as the ‘keystone of our exit out of the pandemic’.
Business optimism highest since before the pandemic began
Businesses are more optimistic about the future that at any time since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The bank’s December Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) found positive sentiment among firms was at the highest since February.
Businesses linked confidence to hopes of an end to the pandemic and a swift economic recovery amid vaccine rollouts, the report found.
CES 2021 tech show prepares for virtual convention
The world’s largest consumer technology show begins today as an entirely virtual event for the first time.
CES is normally held every January in Las Vegas, with thousands of exhibitors and more than 170,000 attendees coming to see a wide range of new gadgets unveiled.
However, 2021 will see the convention move online with a new ‘digital venue’ created with the help of Microsoft. Keynote speeches by executives from the likes of Google, Twitter and Amazon will be shown during the event.
Charles calls on private sector to sign up to his charter
The Prince of Wales is to launch an ambitious Magna Carta-style charter to encourage the private sector to safeguard the planet and invest £7.3bn in ‘natural capital’.
At a global summit, Charles will urge business leaders to sign up to his 10-year project that puts ‘nature, people and planet at the heart of global value creation’.
Called Terra Carta, or Earth Charter, it aims to lay out a ‘recovery plan’ towards sustainability. Sir Jony Ive, the Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad designer, has produced the layout of the charter document.
New Zealand central bank’s data system hacked
New Zealand’s central bank said yesterday that one of its data systems has been breached by an unidentified hacker who potentially accessed commercially and personally sensitive information.
A third party file-sharing service used by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to share and store sensitive information has been illegally accessed, the Wellington-based bank said in a statement.
Governor Adrian Orr said the breach has been contained, and the bank’s core functions ‘remain sound and operational’.
Ford introduces ‘Guard Mode’ for Transits
Ford Transit owners can now receive an extra layer of protection for their vehicle and its contents via a new ‘Guard Mode’.
The service connects to an owner’s van through a smartphone app and, when turned on, can issue an alert if someone enters the vehicle, opens the bonnet or load bay, or starts the engine.
While Guard Mode is active, an alert will still be sent if the van is opened or started using a key, which can help tackle the issue of vehicles being taken using stolen or cloned keys.
Government ‘should help retirees buy bikes’
Electric bicycle seller Pure Electric has called for the government to subsidise cycling equipment for around a million pensioners.
The company said that a government-backed 20 per cent discount on bikes for the over-65s, and an up-front loan for the remaining 80 per cent, would help some of the six million over-55s who are currently classed as ‘inactive’.
Pure Electric thinks one million pensioners would take advantage of such a scheme if it allowed them to apply for a voucher for the full cost up front, and the Treasury then recouped the money by taking it from their state pension monthly.
Sailor rescued after drifting across Channel for three days
A sailor has been rescued from the English Channel after his yacht drifted ‘hopelessly’ for three days without a working engine or radio.
Kent Police’s Search and Marine Unit came across the vessel while on a routine patrol off the Port of Dover at about 11am on Sunday, the force said.
The yachtsman told officers that his engine had failed, which also caused his radio to lose power.
The BBC says there will be early fog or light mist patches over southern areas this morning. Spells of rain in Scotland will turn wintry in the northern areas while cloud with patchy rain will spread for most.
Tonight, it will turn chilly over Scotland under clear skies with wintry showers possible over higher ground. Elsewhere will be cloudy with spells of rain, heavy for a time, but they will start to ease by dawn.
It will be a frosty start tomorrow over northern areas, but stay mostly dry and bright. It will be cloudier across the southern half with patchy rain in the evening over south-west England, Wales and Northern Ireland.