Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 8 Jun 2020
Minneapolis to dismantle its police department
Minneapolis City Council has pledged to dismantle the local police department. Nine of 13 councillors said a “new model of public safety” would be created amid nationwide protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last month. Meanwhile, thousands are expected to gather today for a public viewing of Floyd’s body in Houston, his home city in Texas before he moved to Minnesota.
Slave trader statue toppled during anti-racism protests
Thousands of people attended largely peaceful anti-racism demonstrations in cities across the UK at the weekend. In Bristol, Black Lives Matters protesters pulled down a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston and pushed it into Bristol Harbour. Boris Johnson claimed the weekend’s protests were “subverted by thuggery” after some demonstrators clashed with police.
Quarantine rules come into force in the UK
Quarantine rules requiring all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days have come into effect. From today, people arriving by plane, ferry or train - including UK nationals - will have to provide an address where they will self-isolate and face fines of up to £1,000 if they do not follow the rules. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the laws are designed “to prevent a second wave” of coronavirus.
US officially demands that the UK hands over Prince Andrew
The US has formally demanded that the UK hands over Prince Andrew to be questioned over his links to his billionaire sex offender friend Jeffrey Epstein. The Sun says the US Department of Justice bypassed Buckingham Palace in a move that means Andrew, who “categorically denies” any wrongdoing, could now be forced to appear in a UK court as a witness within months.
Isolated Covid-19 victims not found for weeks after death
People dying at home alone of Covid-19 have sometimes not been found for up to two weeks, say doctors. In some cases victims of the disease have gone undetected for so long that their bodies have started to decompose. Campaigners for the elderly say the news shows the vulnerability of isolated older people living on their own.
Labour disputes Matt Hancock’s claim on testing
Matt Hancock’s claims that the government hit its target of testing all care workers and elderly residents by 6 June has been disputed. The health secretary said tests had now been offered to every care home for over-65s or those with dementia, with kits delivered to nearly 9,000 locations. However, Labour said the goal had been missed and the government had been “too slow to act”.
New York Times opinion editor quits amid furore
The opinion editor of the New York Times has resigned amid a row over an article by a Republican senator calling for military forces to be sent to deal with anti-racism protests. James Bennet stepped down after Tom Cotton's article “Send in the Troops” caused a revolt in the newsroom. The Arkansas senator had called for “an overwhelming show of force”.
UK fears Barnier has lost his grip on fishing
The UK fears that EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has lost his grip on fishing discussions, diminishing hope of progress towards a trade and security deal with the EU. Although Barnier had been expected to announce a compromise proposal on access to British waters last week, he was blocked at the last minute by member states with large fishing communities.
Downing Street plans new laws on foreign takeovers
Boris Johnson is to announce new laws to prevent foreign takeovers that pose a risk to national security. The prime minister is calling for legislation to make it mandatory for British companies to report attempted takeovers that could cause security risks. The Times says the move comes as concern grows about the influence of China.
White House election could end special relationship with UK
The UK’s special relationship with the US may end after the forthcoming White House election, some of the UK’s most senior retired diplomats and Conservative foreign policy specialists have concluded. A victory for Donald Trump would be a “challenge” to relations, they say. Meanwhile if the Democrat Joe Biden wins, Washington may view the EU rather than the UK as its primary partner.