Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 2 Jun 2020

1

Trump threatens to send in military to quell protests

Donald Trump has threatened to send in the military to crush civil unrest in the US over the death of African-American man George Floyd in police custody. The US president said that if cities and states failed to control the protests, he would deploy the army and “quickly solve the problem for them”. Police in Washington D.C. used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters near the White House yesterday so that Trump could be photographed in front of a church.

2

UK quarantine rules may be relaxed as draft plans raise eyebrows

Tens of thousands of new arrivals to the UK will be able to go food shopping, change accommodation and use public transport from airports during a 14-day quarantine imposed to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections, under draft government plans. According to the BBC, the government is looking at ways to further relax the quarantine rules for people entering the UK over the coming months, amid concerns that the restrictions will damage the travel industry.

3

School return in doubt as majority of pupils fail to show up

Governors and head teachers say Boris Johnson’s aim to have all primary-aged children return to school for a month before the summer holidays would be impossible to achieve. In a poll of 2,350 school governors for the National Governance Association, three in four said it was unlikely that pupils would be back for a full month. As few as 40% of eligible children are estimated to have returned to school yesterday.

4

Study finds reducing distancing to one metre doubles risk

A major study part-funded by the World Health Organization has found that reducing physical distancing advice from two metres to one metre could double the risk of coronavirus infection. The UK’s current two-metre rule is out of kilter with advice in most other countries and with recommendations from WHO, which currently says people should stay one metre apart. Some other countries including Germany and Australia have a 1.5-metre rule.

5

Britain and EU ready to compromise to keep Brexit talks moving

Britain is set to offer to compromise on fisheries and “level playing field” trade rules during Brexit negotiations if the EU drops its “maximalist” demands on regulatory alignment and fishing access, according to sources. Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for the EU, says he believes the UK government wants progress over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s negotiator, David Frost, is disputing that the talks are deadlocked.

6

May was sunniest in UK since records began

May was the sunniest month in the UK since records began, the Met Office has said. England also saw its driest May on record and Wales enjoyed its second driest, with just 17% of average rainfall for the month in both countries, according to records stretching as far back as 1862. The hot, dry weather followed a wet winter that saw record-breaking rainfall in February.

7

US may offer abode for those uncomfortable in Hong Kong

The White House may allow those who no longer “feel comfortable” in Hong Kong to move to the US, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has signalled. As tensions grow between the US and China over Beijing’s moves to impose national security laws on the semi-autonomous region, Pompeo said the US is “considering” a “right of abode” to people who no longer wish to live in Hong Kong.

8

British troops unlikely to face prosecution over Iraq claims

More than 1,000 war crime accusations made against the British military in Iraq have been dismissed, with only one case remaining to be resolved, the head of the Service Prosecution Authority has revealed. Andrew Cayley says independent investigators looked at claims made against British troops following the 2003 invasion but concluded that no charges should be brought in almost all the cases owing to the “low level” of offending and lack of credible evidence. Meanwhile, the government has presented a bill aimed at stopping what it calls “vexatious claims” against Armed Forces personnel deployed overseas.

9

Joe Biden widens leads over Donald Trump

Joe Biden has a ten-point lead over Donald Trump in the latest polling. However, the lead for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was halved when people were asked if they were certain to vote, indicating that he was vulnerable to a low turnout. Trump dismissed the ABC News/Washington Post findings as a “heavily biased Democrat poll”, but commentators have noted that polling has consistently put Biden ahead since the beginning of the year.

10

French senators push for levy on ready meals

Senators in France want to introduce a tax on foods containing high levels of salt, sugar and fat. Proponents hope the move will discourage French citizens from consuming “more Anglo-Saxon-style pre-cooked meals”, The Times reports. Senator Jean-Luc Fichet said the tax would be similar to a levy on soft drinks introduced two years ago, adding: “There are good grounds for legislating to improve the recipes produced by the industry.”

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