We’ve summarised the 15 key stories of the last week into an easily digestible briefing so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening around the world. You can subscribe to receive the briefing in your inbox each week.
- This week Covid-19 deaths passed 1 million worldwide, as global cases topped 32 million. The UN Secretary-General called it an “agonising milestone”, and despite work on a vaccine continuing to progress, the WHO warned that total deaths could top 2 million before a vaccine is widely available.
- The UK has recorded record numbers of Covid-19 cases this week, with over 10,000 new cases recorded on Saturday 3rd October. This was helped by an outbreak at Northumbria University, where 770 cases were recorded in a single day.
- The first presidential debate of the 2020 election took place this year between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Taking place only a day after Trump’s tax returns were revealed, the debate was extremely hostile, leading the Commission on Presidential Debates to promise stricter rules for future debates.
- President Trump contracted Covid-19 on Thursday this week and was moved to Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday. His physicians have assured the public that he is recovering well, but doubts remains after anonymous sources suggested that he had received supplemental oxygen and that the next 72 hours will be crucial.
- Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen agreed to intensify Brexit talks as the October deadline approaches. Johnson is hoping for a Canada style deal with the EU, but remains prepared to drop out with no deal.
- Early this week China launched military drills in four seas, including the disputed South China Sea, as tensions in the region continue to rise. The US responded by flying a spy plane through a no-fly zone above the drills.
- The diplomatic row between the US and the Vatican has continued this week when the Pope refused to meet Mike Pompeo. Suggesting that it was inappropriate during an election period, the Vatican accused Pompeo of trying to use the visit for electoral advantage.
- The Conservative Party Conference got underway this weekend. The conference is taking place on a virtual platform, although a glitch in the system led to many being unable to log on for Saturday’s session. CCHQ has also announced the opening of a new headquarters in Leeds.
Business & Economics
- Cineworld has announced the temporary closure of all 120 of its UK cinemas. It had already reported a £1.3 billion loss for the first 6 months of the year due to coronavirus restrictions and the further delay of the new Bond film has meant it is no longer viable to keep the cinemas open. 5500 jobs are at risk.
- Asda has been bought from Walmart by the billionaire Issa brothers, owners of the EG Group, and TDR Capital. The deal means the grocer returns to majority UK ownership for the first time in 20 years. Walmart had decided to sell Asda after a failed merger with Sainsbury.
- US unemployment fell again in September, but at a slower rate than previously. 661000 jobs were added in September, below an expected gain of 800000. The jobless rate is now 7.9%.
- With airlines threatening to cut thousands of jobs with demand for air travel still very low, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house, hinted at a new airline bailout. This support for the industry could form part of wider fiscal stimulus, or, if Democrats and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement, could be a standalone bill.
- This week, with Covid-19 still ravaging the US, Disney announced it was cutting about 25% of its resort workforce, which equates to about 28000 jobs. Disney had kept its workers on furlough, hoping for a reversal of fortunes, but weak attendance figures at the reopened Disney World Florida, and continued high Covid-19 case numbers in the US, has meant this position was no longer tenable.
- Shell announced this week plans to cut around 10% of its workforce, equivalent to about 9000 workers. Plummeting oil demand and oil prices saw its net income take a heavy hit in its second quarter results. These layoffs form part of a broader restructuring project to make the company more streamlined and greener, with the ultimate goal to have net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Rolls Royce, the jet engine manufacturer, is hoping to raise £5 billion to steady its finances. Rolls Royce, which makes its money on a power by hour, has been hit hard by the falling demand for air travel. The company hopes to raise £2 billion through a rights issue and £3 billion in loans.
Written by Milo Dennison and Ed Hilditch