Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 June 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Re-opening ‘to be delayed for a month’
The government will delay the lifting of England’s remaining Covid restrictions by up to four weeks, according to multiple reports this morning. The final stage of ending lockdown, originally planned to take place no earlier than 21 June, is expected to be delayed due to growing concern over the Delta variant. A Whitehall source told the BBC a number of options were being considered and the four-week delay was currently the favourite.
Vaccine chiefs in Queen’s honours list
Figures from the UK’s Covid vaccine programme, and community volunteers who helped during the pandemic, feature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Vaccine developer Prof Sarah Gilbert and the former chair of the UK vaccine taskforce Kate Bingham are both recognised with damehoods. Meanwhile, England and Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling has become an MBE for his services to racial equality in sport.
Marriages under 18 to be banned
The minimum legal age for marriage is to be raised to 18. Currently, sixteen-year-olds can marry if they have their parents’ consent but activists say that this enables sexual abuse with young women forced to wed against their will. The former chancellor, Sajid Javid, is introducing a private member’s bill next week that will make it illegal for anyone to marry below the age of 18.
EU to threaten trade war with UK
EU leaders are to warn Boris Johnson today they are prepared to start a trade war with Britain. During one-to-one meetings with the prime minister, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and President Macron of France will increase the pressure on Johnson to honour the terms of the Brexit deal in relation to Northern Ireland. Brussels chiefs say they will impose trade sanctions unless terms are agreed as part of a wider deal on implementing the Northern Ireland protocol.
Burial site found near Auschwitz
Prosecutors in Poland are investigating a mass burial site near the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. A total of 12 human skulls and a number of bones were discovered by a local resident on the banks of the Sola river. Prosecutors and the police are examining whether or not the bones could be linked to the infamous former death camp located nearby.
Putin compares Biden and Trump
Vladimir Putin says US-Russia relations are at their lowest point in years. Ahead of his meeting with the US president, Joe Biden, next week, the Russian president described former US president Donald Trump as “an extraordinary individual, talented individual”, but impulsive. He described Biden, as a career politician who was “radically different” from the “colourful” Trump. Putin and Biden are due to meet in Geneva on Wednesday.
Murdoch writes down Sun value to zero
Rupert Murdoch has reduced the value of The Sun newspaper to zero amid a drop in print advertising revenues. After the tabloid endured one of the worst years in its history, falling to a £197m loss, News Corp said it does not expect the paper to return to growth. The Sun’s fortunes have collapsed from its mid-1990s heyday when circulation reached 5m. It now sells fewer than 1m copies a day.
Netanyahu battles on ‘final weekend’
Benjamin Netanyahu is still fighting for his political future on what could be his final weekend as Israel’s prime minister. The longstanding leader and his allies have been working to encourage politicians from the right-wing Yamina and New Hope parties to vote against Naftali Bennett’s new government in a pivotal confidence vote scheduled for Sunday. Ynet News says the prime minister is “not relenting for a second”.
Starmer says PM ‘lacks guts’
Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of a lack of courage over his reluctance to condemn fans who boo England’s players for taking the knee. The Labour leader says that the prime minister’s “failure of leadership” has undermined the national team’s chances of success at Euro 2020. “He didn’t have the guts to call it out, he hedged his bets and in doing so he undermined the team on the verge of this competition,” said Starmer.
EU fishermen can still ‘plunder’ UK waters
EU fishermen have been given the right to “plunder” UK waters of red mullet, scallops and lobster after London failed to decide limits on the amount that can be caught in a post-Brexit agreement. According to the Daily Telegraph, the UK’s first annual fisheries agreement with Brussels since Brexit will allow more than 1,600 European boats to catch an unlimited amount of non-quota species until the end of 2020.