Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 25 June 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Bank shrugs off inflation fears
The Bank of England has forecast a temporary surge in inflation above 3% - but insisted the increase would be short-lived and will not cause problems. Despite growing fears that ultra-low interest rates are creating conditions for the next economic crisis, policymakers voted against combatting the rise by hiking interest rates, which will remain at their record-low level of 0.1%. Economists say the Covid emergency is now over.
Travel changes ‘not enough’
The expansion of the UK’s green travel list does not go far enough, according to leading figures from the travel industry. Arrivals from 16 places, including Spain’s Balearic Islands and parts of the Caribbean, no longer have to quarantine. Sean Doyle, chief executive of British Airways, said the changes would not kickstart a recovery. The Business Travel Association described the review as “bitterly disappointing”.
Osborne lands museum job
Labour has questioned the appointment of George Osborne, who presided over austerity cuts to England’s arts and museum budgets, as the new chair of the British Museum. Shadow heritage minister Alex Sobel said Osborne “has enough jobs already [and] doesn’t need another”. Osborne said he was “absolutely thrilled” to be joining the museum.
Blood test can detect cancer
A trial has found that a blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer is accurate enough to be used with the over-50s. The test, created by the Californian company Grail, can spot the disease in people without symptoms and had a low false positive rate. The NHS will start using it in a pilot scheme with 140,000 people later this year.
Search continues in Miami
Rescuers are searching for 99 people who remain unaccounted for after part of a 12-storey beach-front building collapsed near Miami. At least one person is known to have died in the incident yesterday morning. A British mother and the family of Paraguay's first lady are among those missing. “The building is literally pancaked,” said the local mayor. “That is heartbreaking because it doesn't mean, to me, that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive.”
Khan slammed for rape comment
Pakistan’s prime minister is facing a backlash after he blamed victims of rape for wearing “very few clothes”. When asked about a “rape epidemic” in his country, Imran Khan said: “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.” More than a dozen women’s rights groups have signed a statement demanding an apology.
Sunak ready to ditch mask
Rishi Sunak has declared that he will stop wearing a face mask “as soon as possible” after the end of Covid restrictions. Referring to the prospect of a full re-opening of society next month, the chancellor said “things are looking good for July 19, as the prime minister said, and my strong expectation is we can lift these major restrictions then and get back to normal”. Laws requiring masks in certain settings are set to be lifted, although guidance urging people to wear them is likely to remain.
Britney apologises to fans
Britney Spears has apologised for “pretending like I’ve been OK the past two years” in her first public statement since her courtroom testimony about her “abusive” conservatorship. Writing to her fans on Instagram, she said she had not spoken out sooner because “I was embarrassed to share what happened to me”. The post came 24 hours after the 39-year-old pop star had testified that she has been forced to work against her will.
Hungary ‘has no place in EU’
Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, has said Hungary “has no place” in the EU after passing a bill banning LGBTQ content in schools. The legislation bans all educational materials and programmes for children that are considered to promote homosexuality and gender reassignment. Hungarian leader Victor Orban defended the bill, saying: “It’s not about homosexuals, it’s about the kids and the parents.”
Banjoist quits Mumford & Sons
Winston Marshall has left the band Mumford & Sons, blaming his “difficult decision” on an “unintentional Twitter storm”. The banjo player was criticised after tweeting about US journalist Andy Ngo’s controversial book, Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy. He praised Ngo as a “brave man” in a tweet he has now deleted. “I've had plenty of abuse over the years, I'm a banjo player after all,” he said. “But this was another level.”