Tuesday briefing: ‘pivotal moment’ in the battle of Covid |
Top story: Accelerate the second doses of vaccine, urge experts
Good morning all. My name is Martin Farrer and these are the best stories today.
England faces the growing prospect of lockdown restrictions beyond the promised easing deadline of June 21, as the variant of the coronavirus first detected in India continues to spread. Scientists and doctors are urging the government to tackle the problem by speeding up second doses of Covid vaccines and delaying a decision to relax the rules in three weeks. Some experts believe the country could be in the early stages of a third wave of the virus thanks to the variant, which will now be known as Delta in a World Health Organization decision to name the different strains with l Greek alphabet. The British Medical Association said the country was facing a “pivotal moment” and urged Boris Johnson to honor his pledge to respect “the data, not the dates” in deciding to lift the restrictions. Rising cases are also a matter of concern in Scotland. The government is reportedly considering extending the school day by 30 minutes to help children catch up on lessons lost during pandemic shutdowns.
An all-party group of MPs also told the Prime Minister he has a “moral duty” to match every dose of vaccine given in Britain with one for the developed world. An Australian federal court has dismissed a right-wing think tank challenge to the government’s ban on overseas travel.
Military extremism – Soldiers, air force and naval personnel are among at least 16 members of the armed forces who have been referred to the UK’s Terrorism Prevention Program, mainly due to concerns about far-right activities. They have been investigated as part of Prevent, the government program that aims to prevent people from radicalizing, the Guardian has learned. From Oswald Mosley to Tommy Robinson, the military has often proven to be a fertile recruiting ground for right-wing groups.
‘No other choice’ – Myanmar is on the brink of civil war, according to the country’s parallel government, as people take up arms to protect themselves from military violence. The country’s border areas have been rife with conflict for decades, but the crackdown following the February coup prompted at least 58 armed groups to form to resist the junta. “The people of Myanmar have no other choice,” said a spokesperson for Myanmar’s government of national unity. “They just don’t have any other choice.”
Post-Brexit squeeze – Tens of thousands of British citizens living in France, Malta, Luxembourg and Latvia have yet to apply for their rights after Brexit. If they don’t act by the deadline at the end of this month, they risk being forced to leave. One expert says vulnerable people or those living in remote areas risk “slipping through the gaps” and losing their rights unless governments communicate better.
Back to nature – Actor Mark Rylance has launched a rallying call for the arts to persuade people to “fall in love with nature again” and to get the government to support green policies. As her new BBC Radio 4 drama Song of the Reed begins this month, the star says the arts are needed to show people “that we are part of the same family as the nature around us”. The drama, starring Sophie Okonedo, takes place in a nature reserve and examines the challenges conservationists face in the face of climate change.
Glasgow greener – The councils have agreed to plant 18 meters of trees across Glasgow as the city prepares to host the COP26 climate summit later this year. The Clyde Climate Forest plan would see 10 trees planted for every person in the region and help tackle climate change and the lack of biodiversity, the leaders said.
Today in Focus Podcast: Will the Olympics Really Happen?
The Olympics were supposed to be a national holiday time but, with the rise in coronavirus cases in Japan, the Olympics postponed from this summer are the subject of recriminations and protests. Can widespread public opposition overcome enormous commercial pressure to move forward?
At lunchtime read: V on the ‘Patriarchate of Disasters’
V, the playwright formerly known as Eve Ensler, explains how the pandemic sparked a wave of violence against women. She argues that this “patriarchy of catastrophe” is a full-fledged attack on their rights and that it is time for women to fight against a system that allows them to be sacrificed, erased and raped.
Naomi Osaka withdrew from Roland Garros a day after being fined $ 15,000 by Roland Garros following her decision not to speak to the press during the tournament. The events in Paris, writes Jonathan Liew, highlight the problems of press conferences. Great Britain will be without a player in the second round this year after 19th seed Johanna Konta was beaten in the first round by world No.54 Sorana Cirstea. Meanwhile, Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam match since January 2020 with a straight set victory over Denis Istomin.
Gareth Southgate will tell seven players today that their hopes of representing England at Euro 2020 are over, having decided to wait until the last possible training session to finalize his 26-man squad. Gareth Bale has cast doubt on his future after twice turning down the opportunity to deny reports he may be retiring after the European Championship final this summer. The Scottish Football Association will be giving Steve Clarke a new contract as a reward for taking the country to a first major tournament since 1998. And Kyrie Irving says banning fans who abuse NBA players won’t solve the problem, after quitting. ‘a bottle of water was thrown at him as a result. Brooklyn’s 141-126 victory over the Celtics.
The pound hit a three-year high of $ 1.425 in Asian trading overnight as it continued to benefit from the economic recovery and greenback weakness. He was also against the euro at € 1.164. The Bank of England is closely monitoring Britain’s booming real estate market, fearing that the upturn in Covid-19 could lead to a prolonged period of inflation. Sir Dave Ramsden, deputy governor, expects the pressure on prices to be temporary but “hedge against” runaway inflation. The FTSE100 looks flat this morning after the statutory holiday.
While most newspapers agree that the picture of the day is of people enjoying the sun on the holidays, they are divided on the best story. the Guardian leads with “scientists ask to rethink June 21 end of lockdown”, while the Time a “Longer school days to help children catch up”. the Yorkshire Post goes for “Fears for the lockdown to be lifted as variant cases increase” and the Telegraph The lead is “‘Give the third world some extra blows to stop the variants'”. the Express combines the weather with a line related to Covid – “Sunny Outlook!” Jabs Boost Economy ”- and the Sun calls on readers to get vaccinated: “Jabs Army needs you.” the To post wants to act on what he calls the excessive cost of testing for holidaymakers: “Now end the holiday Covid testing scam.” In Scotland, the Herald says: “Warning parts of Scotland face delay in easing lockdown”. the Mirror leads with “Face of Hope” on the fight to overcome a genetic disease. the I “The police fail to fight police racism” and the FT splash is “EY Europe redesign raises concerns about sharing damage caused by Wirecard”.
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