From insurrection in the US to the escalating COVID crisis impacting lives across the globe, 2021 is already feeling like another year for bad news. But while positivity may still feel very hard to come by, knowledge is power.
That’s why, each week, we’ll continue to round up the stories you need to know about. They’re not always the events that make the front page. Rather, these are the headlines we think women who rise need to be aware of.
COVID death toll passes 80,000 in UK
More than 80,000 coronavirus deaths have now been reported in the UK, with more than 1,000 people succumbing to the illness daily since Wednesday.
On Friday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident in the city, describing the latest coronavirus surge as “out of control”.
One in 30 people are now understood to be infected in the capital, rising to one in 20 in the worst hit areas.
On a national level, there are now more than three million confirmed cases, with a record 1,325 new deaths reported on Friday – higher than ever recorded in one day during the first peak.
The government’s health advisers have now warned even more stringent measures may be required, with one describing the current lockdown rules as “quite lax”.
Twitter suspends Trump as inauguration security reviewed
Twitter this week permanently deleted the account of outgoing president Donald Trump, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence” were he to remain on the platform.
Facebook also instituted a minimum two-week ban following Wednesday’s attack on the US capitol, in which five people died.
Meanwhile, Google has banned the so-called ‘free speech’ app, Parler, and Apple has threatened to do the same, thanks to its popularity with Trump’s most militant supporters.
The moves come amid increased fears for security ahead of Joe Biden’s imminent inauguration, with some right-wing activists already threatening unrest.
The event, due to take place on January 20, has been declared a “national security special event”, with a state of emergency declared in DC until January 21.
The city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, says more than 6,200 national guard personnel are now being deployed across the city in a bid to stem further violence.
Maternity services hit afresh by pandemic
Maternity services across the south east are being reduced amid the latest coronavirus surge, while fresh restrictions on partners have been applied on labour wards across the country.
Six NHS trusts across Kent and Sussex have now suspended home birth services amid fears over a lack of available ambulances.
Meanwhile, two Sussex trusts have also closed stand-alone midwife units, forcing all labouring women into a heavily-restricted hospital environment.
Partners are once again being denied access to maternity appointments, while restrictions on birth partners have now been reapplied across the UK.
Indonesian passenger plane believed to have crashed into sea
A passenger plane with an estimated 62 people on board remains missing, having lost contact with the ground shortly after its take off from Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.
Flight tracking website Flightradar24 says the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 aircraft lost 3,000 metres in altitude in less than a minute.
Witnesses then report hearing at least one explosion before the aircraft lost contact, while signal believed to be from the jet’s flight recorder has been traced to two sites.
Search and rescue operations are continuing, while investigators are examining debris believed to be wreckage from the aircraft.
Sturgeon accused of ‘misleading parliament’ over Salmond sex case
The former leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond, has accused Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, of misleading parliament and breaching the ministerial code.
He’s claimed evidence she gave to an inquiry into the handling of sexual harassment claims against him was “simply untrue”.
She, in turn, says she “entirely rejects” his accusations, while the party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, says she “acted in an honourable way”.
Salmond was last year found not guilty of 12 charges of attempted rape, sexual assault and indecent assault, while another charge of sexual assault with intent to rape was found not proven.
He has since claimed that the party mishandled its investigation into the allegations – a Holyrood inquiry is continuing.
Woman arrested over lost phone attack on black teen
A 22-year-old woman has been arrested after video of her allegedly attacking a black teen she falsely accused of her stealing her phone went viral.
Miya Ponsetto is accused of grabbing 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr in the lobby of a New York hotel, claiming he had stolen her iPhone – later found in an Uber.
After footage of the incident spread across social media, Ponsetto denied her attack had been racially motivated, and insisted she had done nothing wrong.
She later gave an extraordinary interview to CBS News, in which she protested her innocence, describing herself as “a girl” while wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with the word ‘Daddy’.
She was arrested in California on Friday, after initially refusing to leave her car for police.
Elon Musk tops billionaire rich list
Elon Musk has become the world’s richest person, after his fortune climbed to $185 billion.
The Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur was catapulted into the top spot after Tesla’s share price soared on Thursday, despite the company only just reporting its first annual profit.
His rise knocks Amazon founder Jeff Bezos off the number one spot for the first time since 2017.
Musk, whose firm is now worth more than Toyota, VW, Hyundai, GM and Ford combined, commented on Twitter, saying simply “how strange”.