It can be hard to keep up with the news. That’s why we do the hard work for you, making sure everything is written up each Sunday ‘For The Record’.
In Scottish news, the big change this week was the introduction of a Covid-19 tier system similar to that already in place in England. Nicola Sturgeon outlined the five tier system, which expands on the three tiers used in England, in a daily briefing on Friday. The system will come into force on 2nd November, replacing current restrictions.
This came as children were told to ‘stay home’ for Halloween, and Scots were asked to prepare for a ‘digital Christmas’. National clinical director Prof Leitch told BBC Scotland there was “absolutely no question” of a “normal” Christmas being allowed.
Closer to home, an eclectic mix of St Andrews stories made headlines. Plans for modern housing next to the Old Course were rejected by Fife Council, the University’s Can Do initiative was praised as students took part in Community Action Day, and Covid-19 research carried out jointly at St Andrews University and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee was called “potentially game changing” by England Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
The Courier also shared a message from local police urging the victims of any sexual offence at St Andrews to come forward. After a FOI request, it learned three students have been thrown out of the University and 20 have been disciplined following allegations of sexual misconduct in the last five years. However, none of the 42 complaints brought to the attention of university bosses in that period were reported to police. The University faces increased scrutiny for its response to sexual assault in the wake of distressing allegations from Instagram account @StAndrewsSurvivors.
National headlines this week of course continued to cover changing Covid-19 regulation across the country, too. Millions of people moved into tougher restrictions as Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire and South Yorkshire moved into Tier 3. Wales also announced a national two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown, to give the NHS breathing space before winter according to First Minister Mark Drakeford. Similarly, a two-week closure of schools began in Northern Ireland.
Beyond the usual headlines about Covid, however, the major story this week was the decision by the Conservative government to refuse footballer Marcus Rashford’s plea to extend free school meals across school holidays. This drew major criticism from Labour – Deputy Leader Angela Rayner called one MP ‘scum’ in the heated debate surrounding the issue. The government is now facing pressure to review the decision, as 2000 doctors called for a U-turn, Conservative MPs started to rebel, and Labour threatened to push for another vote.
Gloomy business headlines were this week offset by positive economic news. Rishi Sunak unveiled big changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – set to replace furlough in November – which will provide increased support for jobs and workers hit by Covid restrictions. This will pay up to half of wages for some of those affected. With more good news, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales volumes rose by 1.5% between August and September. However, it was also reported this week that government borrowing reached a record high in the first half of the year, pushing the public deficit further into the red.
US news continued to be dominated by the ongoing election, with a number of stories on Trump, Biden and the state of the race making waves across the pond.
Donald Trump continued to create controversy – with a bizarre claim that he could raise more money than rival Joe Biden, if he wanted to. At a rally in Arizona, Trump claimed all he had to do to raise funds was offer quid-pro-quo to companies. He suggested calling Exxon’s boss to offer permits in exchange for funds – adding he would never make such a call. Exxon were forced to respond on Twitter: “Just so we’re all clear, it never happened.”
Meanwhile, Biden criticised Trump earlier in the week for continuing to attack and misquote top US physician, Dr Anthony Fauci.
The big story of the week, of course, was the second and final presidential debate. Trump and Biden went head-to-head in a debate which received vastly different reviews to the first. In this debate, the candidates were muted while the other spoke in protected two-minute segments, before being unmuted for the following discussion. The rule change worked – the debate was widely regarded as robust and intelligible, unlike the first. Biden attacked Trump for his record on Covid, climate change, and racism, while Trump criticised Biden for not achieving his goals as vice-president. Both accused the other of corruption and collusion with foreign powers.
Aside from American politics, this week in global news was really a mashup of disconnected headlines, lacking in any overarching narrative. To that end, here are some of the most interesting headlines of the week from around the world:
In South America: