Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 30 Jun 2020

1

Boris Johnson promises ‘new deal’ for Britain

Boris Johnson will promise to “build back better” as he announces that he wants to use the coronavirus crisis “to tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges,” with a “new deal” bringing forward £5bn of spending on infrastructure projects. However, critics have scoffed at the plan, saying Johnson cannot be compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who created the approach of a “new deal”.

2

Matt Hancock announces local lockdown for Leicester

A local lockdown has been announced in Leicester because of a rise in coronavirus cases in the city. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced last night that non-essential shops will shut on Tuesday, and schools will close for most pupils on Thursday. He said Leicester accounted for “10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week”.

3

Covid-19: WHO says worst could be yet to come

The World Health Organization says the worst could be still to come in the Covid-19 pandemic. Six months on from the outbreak, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus would infect many more people if governments did not start to implement the right policies. The WHO chief said his message remained “Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine”.

4

China passes contentious national security law for Hong Kong

China has passed a controversial national security law for Hong Kong. The new legislation was passed unanimously by the Chinese parliament's top decision-making body. Critics fear the move will crush political freedoms and pave the way for Beijing to cement its control over the semi-autonomous territory, says The Guardian.

5

Trump ‘bullied May’ and called Merkel ‘stupid’

President Donald Trump’s private calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin resemble conversations between “two guys in a steam bath,” according to an insider account. “Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her ‘stupid,’” added the source, while Trump’s conversations with former prime minister Theresa May were described as “humiliating and bullying”.

6

Some school subjects shelved until summer of 2021

Government plans show that schools may teach a trimmed-down curriculum focusing on maths and English when children return in September, with the full syllabus not back in place until next summer. Some subjects may be put on hold to allow time for pupils to catch up on the core subjects given insufficient attention during lockdown.

7

Charity warns of worsening lockdown mental health crisis

A leading charity says the coronavirus lockdown has been devastating for mental health and the worst could be yet to come. The mental health charity Mind says its research has revealed that lockdown has had a dramatic impact on the nation’s mental health. It called on the government to take urgent action to invest in services and put safety nets in place for the future.

8

Flu with pandemic potential found in China

A new strain of flu, with the potential to become a pandemic, has been identified in China. Scientists say the virus, which is carried by pigs, can infect humans. Experts fear that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak. They say it has “all the hallmarks” of being highly adapted to infect humans and must be closely watched.

9

Israel’s West Bank annexation plans hit obstacle

Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to begin annexing parts of the occupied Palestinian territories this week may have hit an obstacle as the country’s alternate prime minister, Benny Gantz, suggested the controversial move would have to wait while the country dealt with its coronavirus crisis. Gantz told a US envoy that a 1 July deadline was neither “sacred” nor urgent in the midst of the pandemic.

10

Former French PM is sentenced after sleaze trial

The former prime minister of France, Francois Fillon, has been found guilty of misappropriation of public funds, complicity and concealment by a Paris tribunal. He was sentenced to five years in prison, three of them suspended, a fine of €375,000 and a 10-year ban on running for elections. His wife was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence of three years and a fine of €375,000.

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