Latest

Wednesday briefing: Covid propels tycoons to further riches

Written by corres2

[ad_1]

Top story: Billionaires ‘worried by own sheer wealth’

Welcome to Wednesday morning with me, Warren Murray. Here are the stories that are definitely worth a look.

The world’s billionaires have grown their fortunes by more than a quarter to a record $10.2tn (£7.8tn) during the coronavirus pandemic, the Swiss bank UBS says. This surge came at the height of the crisis from April to July as millions of people around the world lost their jobs or were pushed on to government schemes. Josef Stadler, UBS’s head of super-rich banking, said they were able to buy shares when markets were crashing and were rewarded when global stocks rebounded. Elon Musk has made the most money so far this year with his fortune increasing by $76bn to $103bn, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index, while Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth by $74bn to a total of $189bn on the back of the surge in Amazon’s share price.

Luke Hilyard, executive director of the High Pay Centre, said the “extreme wealth concentration is an ugly phenomenon from a moral perspective, but it’s also economically and socially destructive”. Stadler said billionaires were aware the extent of their riches could lead to public and political anger. “Is there a risk they may be singled out by society? Yes,” he said. “We’re at an inflection point. Wealth concentration is as high as in 1905, this is something billionaires are concerned about. The problem is the power of interest on interest – that makes big money bigger and, the question is to what extent is that sustainable and at what point will society intervene and strike back?”


‘A house divided’ – Joe Biden has appealed for national unity from the civil war battlefield of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, rejecting “anger and hate and division” and casting the election as a “battle for the soul of the nation”. “Today, once again we are a house divided. But that, my friend, can no longer be. We are facing too many crises. We have too much work to do.”


Biden denounces hate and calls for US unity in ‘house divided’ speech at Gettysburg – video

Biden vowed to govern as an “American president” who would seek bipartisan solutions to the nation’s most consequential problems including the pandemic, racial injustice and economic turmoil. Crisis has spread further in the incumbent president’s administration with the chair and vice-chair of the joint chiefs of staff and other military officials isolating after a senior coast guard official with whom they had met tested positive for coronavirus. Trump has meanwhile caused outrage by walking away from talks with Democrats over trillions in coronavirus relief – essentially saying he won’t pass a stimulus bill unless he wins the election. A top Trump aide, Stephen Miller, is among the latest in Trump’s circle to test positive.


Brexit fuels consultant splurge – The scale of the government’s reliance on management consultants has been laid bare as analysis shows that spending with eight top firms has risen by 45% to more than £450m in three years. Figures show departments at the forefront of leaving the EU have become increasingly reliant on City consultants who command up to £3,500 a day. It comes after Lord Agnew, the civil service minister, called for senior mandarins to use the talents of their own staff rather than contracting work out. As Rajeev Syal writes, this appears to conflict with the views of Dominic Cummings, chief adviser to Boris Johnson, who has threatened to shake up Whitehall and criticised what he perceives as “group think” among public servants. Cummings has presided while government departments have spent more than £56m on consultancy firms to help deal with the pandemic, mostly without giving other companies the chance to compete. Dave Penman, head of civil servants’ union the FDA, said “there does seem to be a conflict in the statements that civil servants have heard from Lord Agnew and those that have come from Cummings and his friends. Does the government trust the civil service or not?”


Midweek catch-up

> Facebook is to ban any groups, pages or Instagram accounts that “represent” QAnon, the baseless, antisemitic conspiracy movement whose followers believe, without evidence, that Donald Trump is waging a secret battle against an elite global cabal of child-traffickers.

> The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Sheffield are to all but halt face-to-face teaching as efforts to reopen campuses appear to unravel. Read the latest coronavirus developments at our global live blog.

> The world of rock ’n roll is mourning Eddie Van Halen after the legendary guitarist died aged 65 from throat cancer. And at the age of 80 the writer and performer of one of music’s great feel-good anthems has also departed: Johnny Nash, the crooner turned reggae star behind I Can See Clearly Now, which he reportedly wrote while recovering from cataract surgery.

Johnny Nash at the height of his fame in 1972



Johnny Nash at the height of his fame in 1972. Photograph: Michael Putland/Getty Images

> The government’s ambition of fibre broadband to every home by 2025 is likely to be missed, says the Social Market Foundation thinktank. Its report says issues including pricing and concrete plans on reaching remote towns and villages must be addressed.


Knowledge vacuum – The technology institute founded by Sir James Dyson will soon have the power to award its own degrees. The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, has 150 engineering undergraduates who pay no tuition fees and receive a full-time wage during four years studying and working with Dyson’s staff. It will begin awarding degrees in its own name from 2021 under legislation that created the route in 2017. Dyson said: “There is no doubt that the academic classes in Britain still look down their noses at those with a practical bent, but there is also a wider image problem: engineering is seen as boring and difficult. This stigma, and the assumption you need to spend your days deep in complex physics, maths and chemistry, is part of the reason that the shortage of engineers in the UK is so acute.”

Today in Focus podcast: How Sweden lives with Covid

The Swedish example is regularly raised by libertarian-minded Conservatives when protesting against government restrictions aimed at quelling the spread of the virus in the UK. We examine what the Scandinavian country did differently, while an expert explains that it would not necessarily work elsewhere.

Today in Focus

How Sweden lives with Covid

Lunchtime read: Apprentice survivors tell all

How does it feel to be backstabbed? Do they still get shouted at in the street? Are the jobs fake? Did Lord Sugar use a booster seat? Past winners and losers of The Apprentice relive their traumas and triumphs.

Neil Clough, Leah Totton and Alex Mills on The Apprentice



Neil Clough, Leah Totton and Alex Mills on The Apprentice. Photograph: BBC/Boundless

Sport

Rafael Nadal overcame his first real test at this year’s French Open, beating Jannik Sinner in straight sets to reach the Roland Garros semi-final for a record-extending 13th time. Police are investigating a possible case of match-fixing during a French Open doubles match after hundreds of thousands of euros were reportedly bet on a break of serve in the fifth game of the second set. Next year’s Six Nations tournament could be put back because of the financial consequences of playing matches either behind closed doors or before small crowds when the unions are making cutbacks enforced by Covid-19.

The former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman destroyed a laptop with “a screwdriver or blunt instrument” before handing it to forensic experts conducting a doping investigation, a medical tribunal has been told. Cristiano Ronaldo’s legal fight against a woman who accuses the Juventus star of raping her in his suite at a Las Vegas resort more than 10 years ago is heading toward a trial before a federal judge in Nevada. Breanna Stewart scored 26 points as the Seattle Storm won their second WNBA championship in three seasons, sweeping the Las Vegas Aces with a 92-59 rout Tuesday night; while it was Los Angeles Lakers 102-96 Miami Heat in game four of the men’s finals. And finally, the Guardian picks the best young player at each Premier League club born between 1 September 2003 and 31 August 2004, an age band known as first-year scholars.

Business

Taxpayers could lose up to £26bn on the government’s most popular Covid-19 business loan scheme because of fraud or an inability to repay the money, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has warned. Asian markets were reasonably calm overnight despite Trump’s edict that talks on a US stimulus package should be ended. The FTSE 100 is due to open down slightly while the pound is buying $1.288 and €1.098.

The papers

The Guardian leads with the universities that are suspending face-to-face teaching while the picture slot goes to a drive-in wedding ceremony in Essex where guests watched the ceremony on a big screen. Two views of the PM’s conference address: “Boris – we will come out of this darkness fighting fit” says the Express but after the PM left the door open by hanging his speech on wind power, the Mirror lunges through it with “Wind bag”, dismissing “PM’s conference bluster”.

Guardian front page, Wednesday 7 October 2020



Guardian front page, Wednesday 7 October 2020.

“World’s top scientists rage against lockdown” – the Mail says experts want restrictions lifted except for the elderly and vulnerable. “Rail” would have been more accurate than “rage” because there is nothing in the so-called “Great Barrington Declaration” that conveys a sense of veins popping from epidemiologists’ foreheads. “Cabinet split over tougher lockdown” says the Telegraph while the Times has “Soaring virus rate leaves Britain on lockdown alert”.

The i sounds a positive note: “Revealed – medics are saving more second wave patients.” The Metro reports on Facebook and Twitter censoring Donald Trump’s false posts about influenza: “Fake flu news”. The FT leads with NHS Covid shortages and the picture slot goes to Kyrgyzstan where protests have brought about the cancellation of the contentious election result. The Sun reminds us that Remembrance Day is coming up with “Every poppy counts”.

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

[ad_2]
Source link

About the author

corres2

Leave a Comment

x

COVID-19

India
Confirmed: 7,597,063Deaths: 115,197
x

COVID-19

World
Confirmed: 40,388,802Deaths: 1,118,083