Another week, another barrage of news. Positivity can sometimes feel very hard to come by, and it’s understandable to want to detach from the headlines sometimes. But knowledge is power.
That’s why, each week, we’ll be rounding up the news items you need to know about. They’re not always the stories that make the front page. Rather, these are the ones we think women who rise need to be aware of.
Localised ‘lockdowns’ kicked in across UK
A new three tier coronavirus response system came into play in England this week, despite continuing arguments over its efficacy.
Lancashire became the second region to move to the highest tier three alert level on Friday, following Liverpool in the banning of household mixing.
Around 1.5 million people are now living under the tightest restrictions in England, while talks over the need to impose similar measures across greater Manchester remain mired in political division.
Meanwhile, in Westminster, Labour leader Kier Starmer accused the government of ‘abandoning the science’ by refusing to impose a full circuit breaker lockdown.
A two-week lockdown has already been imposed in Northern Ireland, where school holidays have been extended by seven days.
Record turnout ahead of US election
Huge queues formed outside polling stations across the US this week, as record numbers turned out to vote early.
More than 18 million people have already turned in their ballots, by post or in person, amid continuing nervousness about polling on November 3.
On Thursday, both Donald Trump and Joe Biden faced separate public Q&A sessions – a replacement for their scheduled second face-to-face debate.
Opinion polls currently give Biden a sizeable lead, and a major financial advantage over the incumbent.
Meanwhile, Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris is in quarantine, after two members of her team tested positive for the coronavirus.
Amazon to escape new UK digital tax
A new digital tax, designed to ensure major online retailers pay their fair share, came under fire this week after it emerged that Amazon, a key target, will be spared.
Last year, the firm paid just £293 million in tax on sales of £13.73 billion – a discrepancy the digital services tax was supposed to tackle.
But it’s now emerged the new charge will be applied only to revenue from third party sales – and will be passed on to smaller retailers in the form of higher fees from Amazon itself.
Last month, Google revealed it too would be passing the charge onto its own customers, sparing itself higher taxes on UK advertising.
Jacinda Ardern scored landslide victory in New Zealand election
Jacinda Ardern has won a second term as prime minister of New Zealand by a landslide.
Her outright majority is the greatest victory for the country’s Labour party in more than 50 years – and the first time any party has won the right to govern alone under the current electoral system.
Dubbed the ‘COVID election’, the vote had been delayed by a month, and was widely viewed as an unwelcome distraction from efforts to return the country to post-pandemic normality.
Ardern’s calm response to the crisis, resulting in fewer than 2,000 coronavirus cases and only 25 deaths, is widely credited for her continuing popularity.
Speaking after her closest rivals, the National party, conceded defeat, Ardern told voters: “We will not take your support for granted. And I can promise you we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.”
Chinese Uighar detention leaving thousands of children without parents
Thousands of Uighar children have been left without parents as a result of China’s detention of Muslim minorities, according to new research.
Analysis of government documents in Xinjiang by researcher Adam Zanz suggests as many as 250,000 children may have been left in poverty in the north-western territory due to the detainment of one or both parents.
An estimated one million Muslim men and women have been sent to prison or ‘re-education’ camps in the region, as part of a programme the Chinese government says is aimed at reducing the threat of terrorism.
Earlier this month, foreign secretary Dominic Raab refused to rule out a UK boycott of the 2022 Olympics in China, as a result of “egregious human rights abuses”.
Harman calls for data on older women in broadcasting
MP Harriet Harman this week blasted Britain’s broadcasters for the “double discrimination” of older women.
Writing for the Radio Times, she called on media regulator Ofcom to release data on the number of women over 50 currently employed in senior TV and radio roles.
Harman blasted a culture which sees women “culled” from public roles as they age, leaving female role models over 50 on TV “as rare as hen’s teeth”.
Were figures to be published, she warned, the scarcity of older female broadcasters and the pay gap between them and their male colleagues could leave a host of companies open to prosecution under the Equality Act.
Disney updated classic movies with racism warnings
A content advisory notice, alerting viewers to racism in Disney’s catalogue of movie classics, has been updated with a starker warning.
The strengthened messaging, rolled out across the Disney + network, covers films including Dumbo, Peter Pan, The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp and The Jungle Book.
Viewers selecting the movies will now be warned: “This programme includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.”
The message adds, “We want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together”.
Other films, such as Song of the South, are now absent from the service altogether as a result of their racist content.