While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 19

Twitter deletes Trump health adviser’s claim masks don’t work

Twitter Inc. blocked a tweet from a contrarian medical adviser to US President Donald Trump which stated that wearing masks doesn’t help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Masks work? NO,” Dr Scott Atlas said in a tweet removed as of Sunday (Oct 18) by the social media site. The post, which linked to an article in the American Institute for Economic Research that argued against the effectiveness of masks, was in violation of the company’s rules against sharing false and harmful information, Twitter told CNN.

Mr Trump regularly downplayed the effectiveness of masks until contracting the virus himself.


UK could rewrite lawbreaking Brexit bill as part of EU deal

British officials are prepared to water down Boris Johnson’s controversial lawbreaking Brexit legislation in a move that could revive failing talks with the European Union, according to people familiar with the matter.

Negotiations over the two sides’ future relationship have stalled, with the prime minister announcing on Friday (Oct 16) that he will focus on preparations to leave the EU’s single market and customs union at the year-end without a trade deal – though he is still open to talks if the bloc changes its stance.

One obstacle negotiators face is rebuilding the trust that was badly damaged by Johnson’s UK Internal Market Bill, which rewrites parts of the Brexit withdrawal deal he struck with the EU last year. The bloc is taking legal action against the UK, and European leaders have demanded the Johnson drop the controversial clauses relating to trade with Northern Ireland as the price of any wider accord.


France to expel 231 suspected extremists after attack on teacher: Source

France is preparing to expel 231 foreigners on a government watch list for suspected extremist religious beliefs, a police union source said on Sunday (Oct 18), two days after a Russian-born Islamist beheaded a teacher.

France’s interior ministry, responsible for expelling foreigners, was not available to confirm the information, which had been initially reported by Europe 1.

France defines extremists as “people who, engaged in a process of radicalisation, are likely to want to go abroad to join terrorist groups or take part in terrorist activities”.


Europe passes 250,000 coronavirus deaths

More than 250,000 people have died from the new coronavirus across Europe according to an AFP tally at 1530 GMT based on official sources.

A total of 250,030 deaths have now been recorded out of 7,366,028 registered cases in Europe. The five worst-hit countries account for more than two thirds of the deaths.

Britain has suffered 43,646 fatalities from 722,409 infections. After Britain, the worst-hit European countries are Italy with 36,543 deaths, Spain with 33,775, France with 33,392 and Russia with 24,187.


Football: Liverpool confirm knee ligament damage for Van Dijk amid fears season is over

Liverpool’s Premier League title defence was rocked on Sunday (Oct 18) with the news Virgil Van Dijk must undergo knee surgery amid reports the Dutch defender could miss the rest of the season.

Van Dijk hobbled off after a shocking challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in a 2-2 draw in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

“The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park,” Liverpool said in a statement.


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