Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 June 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM’s school tsar quits
Boris Johnson has been accused of failing hundreds of thousands of students by the expert he appointed to lead the coronavirus recovery in schools. Kevan Collins yesterday said that he had “no option” but to resign after the prime minister rejected his proposal for a £15bn package to provide extra time and teaching to catch up on lost education over the next three years. Writing in The Times, he accused Johnson of “failing a generation of children”, adding: “The support announced by government so far does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge.”
Coalition may oust Netanyahu
The Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has told the country’s president that he can form a government following days of frenetic negotiations. Under the agreement, Lapid would form a “government of change” with his former rival, the far-right politician Naftali Bennett. Bennett would be installed as prime minister for the first two years of the administration, before passing on the role to Lapid for the final two years. The agreement came together after Lapid secured the backing of a small Arab Islamist party who signed two hours before the deadline. If approved by lawmakers, the coalition would oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a 12-year stretch in power.
Stabbed teen racially abused
A 14-year-old boy was racially abused before being chased and stabbed to death in Birmingham, police have said. Four men in their 30s and two boys aged 13 and 14 have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody. Police said the attack on Monday evening took place following an earlier incident involving the victim, Dea-John, and his friends during which they were subjected to racist language.
Tory rebels to block aid cuts
An unexpected Conservative rebellion could force the government to reverse its planned cuts to the foreign aid budget. Tory backbenchers claim they have enough support to defeat the government and see aid spending increase in 2022. Four former Tory cabinet ministers and the chairs of eight powerful Commons select committees are among the rebels. A government spokesperson said the Covid pandemic has “forced us to take tough but necessary decisions” on spending.
Trump ‘blog’ closed down
Donald Trump’s communications platform has been permanently shut down just a month after its launch, a spokesperson for the former president has confirmed. Senior aide Jason Miller said the blog-like platform, named From the Desk of Donald J. Trump, was “just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on”. Miller also hinted that the closure of the platform was a precursor to Trump joining another social media platform. The former president was banned from Facebook and Twitter following the storming of the Capitol in January.
Buffett and Gates building nuclear plant
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are joining forces to build a new kind of nuclear reactor in Wyoming. The project in the country’s top coal-producing state is a small advanced reactor that runs on different fuels to traditional ones. Gates said he believes the first Natrium nuclear reactor project will be a “game-changer for the energy industry”. It is expected to take around seven years to build.
‘Nepal variant’ may scupper holidays
Foreign holidays are “under threat” due to fears of another new Covid variant, the Daily Mail reports. Scientists have warned the government about a mutant strain - thought to have originated in Nepal - which has apparently spread to Europe. There are fears that the variant is “resistant to vaccines”. However, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies told the paper that officials “should not be overly concerned”. The development is another blow for the struggling travel industry.
Royals ‘banned coloured immigrants’
Buckingham Palace banned “coloured immigrants or foreigners” from serving in clerical roles in the royal household until at least the late 1960s, according to newly discovered documents. The Guardian says the papers also reveal that the royal household negotiated controversial clauses - that remain in place - exempting the Queen from laws that prevent racial or gender-based discrimination in employment.
Petrol prices at two year peak
The RAC has said petrol prices have climbed to their highest level in two years. Pump prices fell in May 2020 to a low of 106p but the average cost of a litre has since soared to 129.27p. “After seven consecutive months of rising prices, drivers will be wondering if the increases are ever going to end,” said RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.
Iranian navy ship sinks after fire
One of the largest ships in the Iranian navy has caught fire and sunk in the Gulf of Oman, according to state media. The blaze began early on Wednesday morning, with 20 hours of efforts by rescue teams failing to stop the vast training vessel from sinking off the coast of the southern Iranian port of Jask. All crew members were evacuated and there were no casualties, according to reports.