Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 June 2021

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

1

Zero Covid deaths recorded

For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic last March, the UK has gone 24 hours without recording the death of someone who had tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 28 days. The news raised hopes that England’s 21 June unlocking can go ahead as planned. However, the BBC points out that reports of daily deaths are often lower at weekends and at the start of the week, “and adding in Monday’s bank holiday will make this figure still less certain”.

2

Species at risk from climate change

Key species are at risk if the planet heats up by more than 1.5C, according to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The Guardian says the report found that “corals will bleach, penguins will lose their Antarctic ice floes, puffins around the UK coast will be unable to feed their young, and the black-headed squirrel monkey of the Amazon could be wiped out” if the world fails to limit global heating levels. Other species will face increasing difficulty finding food.

3

Deadline for Israeli coalition

Israeli opposition parties have until midnight to form a coalition government that would end Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister. If opposition leader Yair Lapid’s 28-day mandate to furnish a majority by joining with rival parties ends without agreement, Netanyahu may be granted a political lifeline in the form of a snap election. The opposition hopes to discuss the last agreements for a “government of change”.

4

China accused of air incursion

Malaysia said it would summon China’s envoy to explain an “intrusion” by 16 People's Liberation Army aircraft after Malaysia’s military detected “suspicious” activity over the South China Sea. Malaysia's air force said it scrambled jets to conduct visual confirmation after the planes flew within 60 nautical miles of Malaysian Borneo. Beijing insists the planes conducted routine flight training and “strictly abided by” international law.

5

Giant meat company faces cyberattack

The world’s largest meat supplier, JBS, has suffered a cyberattack which led to temporary shutdowns at plants in North America and Australia. The White House says the Brazilian company believes the ransomware attack was probably carried out by a Russia-based criminal organisation. The incident could lead to shortages of meat or raise prices for consumers, and follows a similar attack on an oil supplier which disrupted fuel supplies in the US last month.

6

School catch-up plan unveiled

The government will pay for an extra 100 million hours of tuition under plans to repair the damage done to education by Covid. Following months of school closures due to the pandemic, £1.4bn will be spent on 15-hour tutoring courses for disadvantaged pupils as well as expanding an existing fund for helping 16- to 19-year-olds with core subjects. The government’s own education tsar has already warned that “more will be needed”.

7

Retail prices set to rise

Prices are expected to rise this autumn, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which says consumers could face higher shopping bills as costs climb and Brexit red tape increases. Global food prices have reached their highest for seven years, shipping costs have risen threefold and commodity prices are climbing. “Retailers may be forced to pass on some costs to their customers," said BRC chief Helen Dickinson.

8

Biden visits massacre site

Joe Biden has become the first sitting US president to visit the site of the Tulsa massacre. Hundreds of black people were killed by a white mob in the city’s Greenwood district between 31 May and 1 June 1921. Biden flew to Tulsa to mark the 100th anniversary of the attack, which claimed some 300 African-American lives. He said: “For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness.”

9

Police dog stabbed in face

A police dog was stabbed five times in the head and once below its eye as it helped officers catch a suspect. The dog, Kaiser, was on patrol with his handler when they were called to a report of an intruder in the garden of a home in Orpington, Kent. Kaiser survived because the knife struck bone, narrowly avoiding a permanent injury and allowing him to return to the frontline.

10

Starmer cries during interview

Keir Starmer had tears in his eyes as he spoke about his mother’s death during an appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories on ITV last night. The BBC said the interview allowed the Labour leader to move beyond “Zoom or the dispatch box”, while The Independent said his performance “should give Labour a ray of hope that when politics returns to something closer to normal, it need not fear a contest with Boris Johnson”. Morgan, meanwhile, was “flatulently pompous”, said The New Statesman.

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