/Monday briefing: Deadly fixation of Streatham knife attacker

Monday briefing: Deadly fixation of Streatham knife attacker

Top story: Questions over release of another extremist

Hello, Warren Murray bringing you our first briefing of Britain’s post-EU era. Let’s get started.

Sudesh Amman, who stabbed two people on Streatham High Road in London, had been released from jail after serving half of his sentence of more than three years for possessing and distributing extremist material, it has emerged. Amman was shot dead outside a Boots on Sunday by police using pistols normally carried by surveillance officers. He was under active police surveillance following his release.

Streatham attack: police shoot man dead after ‘terror related’ stabbing – video report

Three people were taken to south London hospitals. One man’s condition was no longer life-threatening after treatment; a woman with minor injuries was discharged; and another woman had minor injuries believed to be from glass shattered by police gunshots. Amman had previously been noted by police as having a “fascination with dying in the name of terrorism”. He had been jailed aged 18 in December 2018. A Whitehall source claimed that the attack was evidence that Boris Johnson should be able to enact harsher anti-terror laws. “There was nothing that could be done to keep him behind bars under existing laws, hence why he was under surveillance and strict licensing conditions,” the source said. After an emergency meeting in Downing Street, Johnson said: “[On Monday] we will announce further plans for fundamental changes to the system for dealing with those convicted of terrorism offences.”

British screen’s night of whites – Sam Mendes’s war drama 1917 won seven Baftas at last night’s awards including best film and outstanding British film, best director, sound, production design, special visual effects and cinematography. In the lead acting categories, Joaquin Phoenix won for Joker and Renée Zellweger was given her third career Bafta for Judy. This year’s ceremony was dominated by complaints about the lack of diversity and Phoenix tackled it head-on in his acceptance speech: “I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem, because I’ve not ensured that the sets I’ve worked on are inclusive … We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. It is the obligation of the people who have created and benefit from the system of oppression to be the ones to dismantle it. So that’s on us.” South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho took two awards including best original screenplay while adapted screenplay went to Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi who is of Maori descent. Here is the full list of winners.

Coronavirus toll grows – There have now been more than 360 deaths recorded by China from the novel coronavirus, as well as the first outside the country, in the Philippines. Confirmed infections in China are 17,238. Official figures from China include Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao – outside those places, infections stand at more than 150. China’s share market has plunged on the first day of trading since the extended lunar new year. The new hospital in Wuhan, built to accommodate coronavirus patients, is slated to open today.

Regeni truth still eludes – It is four years since the mutilated body of the Cambridge doctoral student Giulio Regeni was discovered in Cairo. Italian politicians and officials are now pinning hope for fresh information on an Italian parliamentary inquiry as Egypt continues to obstruct investigations. Widespread suspicions that Egyptian security forces were responsible for his disappearance and murder were reinforced in 2018 when Italian prosecutors named five officials as suspects. “We have these names, and we will not stop. We cannot pretend nothing happened,” said Robert Fico, the president of Italy’s lower house of parliament. A Cairo NGO working to uncover the truth has had its offices raided and staff detained.

Ofgem sees the light – Britain’s energy regulator is to change how it governs the energy industry to help meet climate targets. Ofgem has come under fire for failing to prioritise the climate emergency. It has now published a climate action plan that aims to help get 10m electric vehicles on the roads by 2030 and support a fourfold increase in offshore wind generation, while protecting homes from rising energy bills. Scottish Power had accused the regulator of hindering the UK’s electric vehicle rollout due to its “colossal disconnect” with Britain’s climate policies.

Sea urchin sushi anyone? – Ravenous sea urchins destroy vast swaths of kelp forests, which are crucial for carbon storage – and in parts of the marine environment they have no natural predator. Today our Age of Extinction series reports that demand for uni, the Japanese name for urchins, is rising, and they were named one of the top food trends in 2018. Can urchin roe sushi save the planet?

Today in Focus podcast: US elections – why Iowa is key

Chris McGreal visits the first US state to vote in this year’s race for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are vying for crucial early momentum in the race to take on Trump. Plus: Iman Amrani on modern masculinity.

Today in Focus

The importance of Iowa

Lunchtime read: ‘You never stop grieving’

Under the new Jack’s law, workers who lose a child will finally get the right to statutory paid leave. But it won’t help in all cases – and many feel it doesn’t go far enough, writes Amelia Hill.

Graphic of mother and child overlaid with calendar dates


Patrick Mahomes led a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback to lead Kansas City to a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers for the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl title in 50 years. Pep Guardiola appeared to mock Richard Scudamore after Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat by Tottenham, sarcastically questioning whether the Premier League is concerned that Liverpool are 22 points clear at the top of the league. Jay Rodriguez missed the game’s best chance as Burnley and Arsenal played out a 0-0 draw at Turf Moor.

France replied with interest to Eddie Jones’s pre-match threat as England foundered on Shaun Edwards’ strictly organised defence in their Six Nations opener. Gregor Townsend leapt to the defence of his new captain, Stuart Hogg, after the Scotland full‑back lost control of the ball in the act of touching down against Ireland, who won 19-12. Dan Biggar, whose flick through his legs helped Wales to a 42-0 defeat of Italy, has warned that facing Ireland will be far tougher. The women’s Six Nations champions, England, began their 2020 campaign with a pulsating victory in Pau that owed as much to scramble defence as it did to their impressive attacking repertoire.

Novak Djokovic says he does not believe he crossed the line when touching the chair umpire during a volatile Australian Open men’s final. By beating Garbiñe Muguruza in the women’s final, American Sofia Kenin upstaged her lauded compatriot Coco Gauff and showed a champion’s resolve. And Sonny Bill Williams’s first game of rugby league since 2014 ended in defeat as Toronto Wolfpack lost 28-10 to Castleford at Headingley in the Super League.


Shares in London are set to open higher this morning despite a turbulent night on the Chinese stock markets. The authorities in Beijing reeled off a series of measures to try to stem the losses, including a cut in bank funding rates, interest payment holidays for companies affected by the virus outbreak and a £130bn flood of liquidity into the financial system. The pound is on $1.316 and €1.187.

The papers

Words like “terror”, “jail”, “freed” and “early” are a common thread on today’s front pages. “Knife jihadi freed days earlier”, reports the Express. In the Guardian: “Terror attacker freed from jail and on police watchlist”.

Guardian front page, Monday 3 February 2020

Guardian front page, Monday 3 February 2020.

“Terror returns to streets of London” says the Times while the i has “High street terrorist freed from jail early” and the Telegraph couches it as “A freed terrorist strikes again”. The Mail asks “Why did they let him out?”

In other front-page news: the sidebar to the Times’ lead is “Johnson: I’d rather accept tariffs than EU rules” – the Guardian’s version also makes our front. The FT has “Nissan draws up plans for UK pivot if Brexit leads to EU trade barriers” – apparently the Japanese carmaker believes this would give its Sunderland-built cars a competitive edge in the British market, over continental imports.

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