Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 June 2021

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

1

Cummings ‘in it for long haul’

Dominic Cummings has signalled that he plans to continue his campaign against Boris Johnson’s “chronic dysfunction” after he published texts from the prime minister in which he describes his health minister as “totally f***ing hopeless”. In a 7,000-word essay, Cumming says Johnson told “rambling stories and jokes” during emergency meetings. A former ally of Cummings said of his efforts to embarrass the prime minister: “He is in this for the long haul.”

2

Summer Covid estimates reduced

Forecasts for the number of people who could die or need hospital treatment in a summer wave of Covid are to be reduced by thousands after data showed that vaccines were more effective than thought. A previous estimate by Sage was based on the assumption that two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provided up to 90% protection and two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech up to 91%. The jabs are now considered 92% and 96% effective, respectively. 

3

Food situation ‘tense’ says Kim

Kim Jong Un has officially acknowledged that North Korea is facing food shortages. Addressing senior leaders, he said “the people’s food situation is now getting tense” after the agricultural sector failed to meet its grain targets because of last year’s typhoons, which sparked widespread flooding. North Korea suffered a devastating famine in the 1990s and has had to cope with periodic shortages since.

4

EU job searches fall in UK

The number of EU citizens looking for work in Britain has fallen by more than a third since Brexit, according to a study by a jobs website. Data from Indeed shows searches by EU-based jobseekers were down by 36% in May compared with average levels in 2019. Clicks on job adverts from non-EU countries fell by just 1%.

5

Irish teen verdict changed

A Malaysian court has overturned a lower court’s finding that an Irish teenager had died by misadventure after vanishing in the jungle. The court ruled that an open verdict should have been recorded instead. In 2019, the naked body of Nora Anne Quoirin, 15, who suffered from learning difficulties, was found in a ravine near the Dusun holiday resort where her family was staying in Seremban, about 45 miles south of the Malaysian capital.

6

Child protection slammed in report

Child protection services in England do not provide enough early support, a report has found. The independent review of council-run care found that the services are too focused on investigating families in crisis. The chair said: “If we carry on like this, children’s social care will both become more expensive and continue to be inadequate.”

7

Ryanair challenges traffic light system

Ryanair is to launch a legal challenge against the government over the travel traffic light system. Along with the owner of London Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands airports, the carrier is demanding more transparency about how the government decides which countries qualify for the green list of safe places to visit during the pandemic. 

8

Varadkar hopes for ‘rainbow’ Ireland

British ministers have criticised the Irish deputy prime minister after he said that a united Ireland could be achieved in his lifetime. Describing reunification as “a legitimate political aspiration,” Leo Varadkar told the annual Fine Gael party conference it would be “like the new South Africa, a rainbow nation, not just orange and green”. Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, said that the comments were “ill-advised”.

9

Man killed and ate mother

A man has been jailed for 15 years for killing and eating his mother at the apartment they shared in Madrid. Alberto Sanchez Gomez cut up his mother’s body and ate her over a period of at least 15 days in early 2019, according to court documents. Sanchez has been dubbed the “cannibal of Las Ventas” by local media, after the area of Madrid where he lived.

10

Supermarket renames kaffir leaves

Waitrose is renaming its kaffir lime leaves to avoid offending customers who associate the name with a racial slur used in South Africa. The supermarket chain has given the spice the alternative name “makrut lime leaves” after customers complained. The Times says the word kaffir is considered so offensive in South Africa that a woman was jailed in 2018 for using it in a tirade against a black policeman.

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