Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 29 May 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1

Masks may stay as cases rise

Facemasks and guidance to work from home could remain in place after June 21 as ministers plan to “prioritise” the end of social distancing. Amid fears that the variant’s spread could undermine plans to lift all restrictions next month, ministers are discussing a partial end to the lockdown. The Treasury wants to prioritise the end of the “one metre plus” distancing rule and the “rule of six” indoors, moves viewed as crucial to supporting hospitality and retail.

2

Biden announces tax rises

Joe Biden has announced a $6tn (£4.2tn) spending plan that includes steep tax increases for wealthier Americans. His first annual budget would include huge new social programmes and investment in the fight against climate change but it needs approval from Congress, where a Republican Senator has already dismissed it as “insanely expensive”. Biden said his budget “will strengthen our nation's economy and improve our long-run fiscal health”.

3

Teen charged over BLM shooting

Police have charged an 18-year-old man over the shooting of prominent Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson, who remained in a critical condition last night. The 27-year-old was shot in the head at a house party in Peckham on 23 May. Cameron Deriggs, 18, from Lewisham, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday. Four other men arrested over the incident have been bailed until late June.

4

Only 20% of English oppose Scots separation

Only a fifth of English voters oppose Scottish independence, according to a new poll. When researchers asked 1,894 English adults to what extent they support or oppose Scottish Independence, just 32% said they opposed it, and only 20% said they “strongly oppose” separation. The Daily Telegraph says the news is a “worrying development” for Boris Johnson, who opposes the move

5

Warm Bank Holiday weekend forecast

The UK could enjoy the hottest day of the year so far this bank holiday weekend. Following grey skies and rain, forecasters say Brits can expect blue skies and widespread sunshine. They have predicted highs of 23C (73.4F) in London on Saturday and predicted temperatures of 24C (75.2F) in Manchester and Liverpool on Sunday. On Monday, temperatures could reach as high as 25C (77F).

6

White House plans Belarus measures

The White House has said it is drawing up a list of targeted sanctions against the Belarusian government after it forced the landing of a passenger jet and had a journalist on board arrested. A spokeswoman said the US was suspending a 2019 agreement between Washington and Minsk that allowed airlines from each country to use the other’s airspace, and taking other actions against the government of President Alexander Lukashenko.

7

PM ‘unwise’ over No 10 refit

Boris Johnson “unwisely” embarked on a refurbishment of his official Downing Street flat without knowing how it would be paid for, according to a report by the new independent adviser on ministers’ interests. Christopher Geidt Lord Geidt said a Tory donor had paid an invoice for some of the costs but he cleared the PM - who was seemingly unaware of the arrangement - of breaking ministerial conduct rules.

8

Ministers may revive UFO hunters

The government is considering restoring a team of UFO hunters, a senior defence source has revealed. The Ministry of Defence’s dedicated UFO desk was disbanded in 2009 but ahead of a US report into alien visitors, a source told the Daily Telegraph: “I think that if there was enough evidence to suggest that there was something, and that we needed to do it as well as the US, then of course we'd think about it.”

9

TV producer faces sex claims

A leading producer has been removed from the Netflix series After Life and had his Bafta membership revoked after a number of women accused him of being a sexual predator. Charlie Hanson, who has produced sitcoms such as Extras, Desmond’s and Birds of a Feather in a 40-year career, had been vocal in his support for the MeToo movement, criticising Bafta for not doing more over the allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor and director, Noel Clarke.

10

Patient dies after being dropped on floor

A patient has died after being “dropped” on the floor during surgery on her hip, which she had broken while in hospital. Jeannette Shields, 70, was receiving treatment in Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle for gall stones. She broke her hip after leaving her bed to go to the lavatory. When she underwent surgery to repair it, the hospital called her husband to say that surgery had been successful, but they had “dropped her off the operating [table] after the surgery”.

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