Another week into another lockdown, 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.
Trump cleared of inciting riot on US Capitol
Donald Trump was last night cleared of inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol in January, following a historic second impeachment trial that lasted less than a week.
While the verdict was widely predicted, a record seven Republican senators broke ranks to vote for Trump’s conviction alongside the Democrats.
In a statement released moments after the verdict, the former president described the trial as “the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
He added: “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”
Coronavirus could be ‘lived with like flu’ by end of year
Levels of coronavirus infection have dropped below an ‘R rate’ of one in all four UK nations, according to the latest six-week ONS figures, as the country’s vaccination programme continues at pace.
Ministers said the UK was on track to vaccinating those in the four most vulnerable groups by Monday in England, with the other home nations reporting similar progress.
And health secretary Matt Hancock says that while the virus will remain in circulation, it should soon be controlled by vaccines and treatments in a similar way to winter flu.
However, the government remains under fire over confusing travel restrictions, and is at loggerheads with Scottish officials over differing quarantine rules for travellers returning to the UK.
Scotland wants help tracking those returning to the country via English airports, raising the possibility of police being asked to enforce travel restrictions at the border.
Hancock unveils plan for major NHS reform
Health secretary Matt Hancock has unveiled plans for sweeping NHS reforms in England that he says will help cut red tape and streamline health and social care services.
But doctors have accused the government of undermining the fight against coronavirus by pursuing reform in the middle of a pandemic.
Minister say the changes, which reverse reforms introduced by David Cameron in 2012, are about removing bureaucracy, based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
But they’ve been accused of using the pandemic as an excuse for a power grab by taking direct control of NHS bodies.
One in four adults at financial risk in pandemic, says FCA
A quarter of adults in the UK have been left financially vulnerable amid the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.
The City watchdog says the number of people struggling with ‘low financial resilience’ – defined as facing debt, lower saving ability or reduced income – has risen by a third to 14.2 million since last March.
And more than half of the UK adult population, a staggering 27.7 million people, are now showing some characteristics of vulnerability that put them at greater financial risk.
The regulator’s landmark report also highlighted the unequal impact of the crisis, with younger adults and those from BAME backgrounds most adversely impacted.
Government facing backlash over scheme to fix fire-risk cladding
The UK government is facing a backlash from its own MPs, after it announced a £3.5billion fund to fix dangerous cladding on only high-rise housing in England.
The move was announced by housing secretary Robert Jenrick this week, three and a half years on from the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people in London.
But the initiative to replace flammable cladding will be limited to properties over 18 metres tall, with residents in lower buildings being asked to take out loans to pay for repairs.
The scheme has also faced criticism from backbench MPs for failing to fund, or address, additional fire-related costs beyond the replacement of Grenfell-style cladding.
An estimated 650,000 people are believed to live in flats with unsafe cladding, but only 321,000 in buildings over 18 metres tall.
Meghan Markle wins privacy case against Mail on Sunday
The Duchess of Sussex has won her High Court privacy case against the Mail on Sunday, following its partial publication of a “personal and private” letter she sent her father.
Lord Justice Warby found for Meghan in her claim against Associated Newspapers, removing the need for her or palace staff to give evidence in person.
In his judgment, he described the letter, extracted by the paper, as “inherently personal”, ruling she had “reasonable expectation” its contents would remain private.
Meghan later branded the victory a “comprehensive win” over the newspaper’s “illegal and dehumanising practices”.
But a spokesman for Associated Newspapers said the firm was “very surprised” by the judgment, and would be carefully considering whether to lodge an appeal.
Tokyo Olympics chief resigns over sexism row
The head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee has resigned, following widespread criticism of sexist comments he made about women.
Yoshiro Mori, a former Japanese Prime Minister, caused an international furore when he told Games officials that women in the workplace talk too much and drag out meetings.
He later apologised for the remarks, but this week stepped down, admitting his comments had “caused chaos”.
His rumoured successor later withdrew his candidacy amid widespread public opposition, with Japanese campaigners and some politicians calling for a woman to replace Mori.