Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 June 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
‘Responsibility’ to replace rules in July
The government expects to lift all remaining restrictions including social distancing and the requirement to wear masks on 19 July after ministers were encouraged by the “very, very” low number of deaths from coronavirus and the slowdown in infections. A source told The Times that ministers want to “get as close to normal as possible” on 19 July with an emphasis on “personal responsibility” rather than laws and regulations.
Millions become millionaires during crisis
More than five million people became millionaires across the world in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite widespread economic damage, the number of millionaires increased by 5.2 million to 56.1 million globally, says Credit Suisse. Recovering stock markets and soaring house prices we responsible for the trend, say researchers. Total global wealth grew by 7.4%, their report said.
Thousands flee Syria shelling
About 5,000 civilians in the north-west of Syria have been forced to flee their homes after more government shelling. Since the beginning of the month, at least 31 people have died as Bashar al-Assad’s forces struck civilian buildings in southern Idlib province, the last pocket of Syria outside the regime’s control. The violence breaches a ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia in March 2020.
No Scottish referendum before 2024
Michael Gove says the government will not grant a new Scottish independence referendum before the 2024 general election. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was asked whether there was “any circumstance” in which Boris Johnson would approve a vote on independence before that date. He replied: “I don't think so.” Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister and SNP leader, wants to hold a referendum by autumn 2023.
Bercow peerage blocked - again
John Bercow will not be nominated for a peerage by Keir Starmer despite his defection to Labour, The Times reports. The news effectively ends his chances of fulfilling his ambition to join other past Speakers in the upper chamber. The newspaper says Bercow’s move to Labour is “the culmination of an ideological journey from the hard-right fringe of the Conservative Party to the liberal left”. The colourful politician denies he moved to Labour in the hope of acquiring a peerage.
Man on trial for cat killing
A security guard allegedly went on a cat-killing spree in Brighton between October 2018 and June 2019. Steve Bouquet, 54, is accused of stabbing nine cats to death and injuring seven more. He was caught when he was spotted attacking a kitten on CCTV erected by the owner of one of his previous victims, Chichester Crown Court has heard. He has been charged with 16 offences of criminal damage because under criminal legislation cats and other animals are deemed to be property.
Morgan Stanley bars unjabbed
Staff and clients will be barred from entering Morgan Stanley’s New York offices unless they are fully vaccinated against Covid. The ruling comes into effect next month in a move intended to allow the lifting of other Covid-related rules. According to a source, unvaccinated employees will need to work remotely. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has given the go-ahead for firms to bar unvaccinated staff from workplaces.
Eilish apologises for anti-Asian slur
Pop singer Billie Eilish has apologised after footage emerged of her apparently mouthing along to a song in which an anti-Asian racial slur is used. The Grammy winner posted a statement on Instagram addressing the controversy. “I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” the 19-year-old wrote. She said she was 13 or 14 at the time.
Turing note launched on anniversary
The Bank of England’s £50 note featuring a portrait of Alan Turing has entered circulation, coinciding with what would have been the computer pioneer and wartime codebreaker’s birthday. The Bank’s entire collection of banknotes is now made of plastic for the first time. Turing played a pivotal part in Allied efforts to read German Naval messages enciphered with the Enigma machine, shortening the Second World War and saving lives.
England top group as Scots bow out
A goal from Raheem Sterling helped England beat the Czech Republic to win Group D and set up a last-16 tie against France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary at Wembley. However, the BBC says manager Gareth Southgate “must find another gear from his players rather than the occasionally stodgy fare produced in this group stage”. Scotland’s dream of progressing at Euro 2020 was ended by defeat to Croatia at Hampden.