Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 June 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Javid replaces disgraced Hancock
Matt Hancock has resigned as health secretary after he breached social distancing guidance by kissing a colleague. Writing to Boris Johnson, the Conservative MP said the government “owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down”. Sajid Javid, the former chancellor, has said he is “honoured” to have been chosen as the new health secretary.
‘Holiday apartheid’ hits the young
A “holiday apartheid” means millions of people under 40 are set to miss out on a foreign vacation this summer because they are unlikely to have had their second coronavirus jab. The EU is planning to require proof of a two-dose course of vaccines that has been completed at least two weeks before arrival. “For millions of families this policy could mean they’re unable to holiday with their adult, but still teenage, children this summer,” said Tim Alderslade, of Airlines UK.
Biden announces Afghan future
Joe Biden said that Afghans “are going to have to decide their future” as the nation’s President, Ashraf Ghani, visited the White House. The US president promised continued support for the country, even after US and Nato troops finish their withdrawal on 11 September. The United Nations has expressed concern after Islamist Taliban fighters captured dozens of districts in a recent offensive.
Four dead in air balloon crash
Four people have been killed and another is in a critical condition after a hot air balloon hit a power line in New Mexico. The basket the passengers were riding in detached from the balloon and crashed, according to police in Albuquerque. A spokesman said: “It’s just a very tragic situation. Our officers who arrived first on scene had a tough time when they saw what they saw.”
Watchdog lawyer linked to tax scheme
The City watchdog’s top lawyer was involved in a celebrity tax avoidance scheme that cost the taxpayer £52m, claims the Sunday Telegraph. David Anthony Scott, appointed last week as the Financial Conduct Authority’s interim general counsel, is named in Companies House filings as backing a tax incentive scheme involving empty data centres in Tyneside. Famous figures, including Jimmy Carr and Wayne Rooney, were also among 675 investors linked to the scheme.
Hancock faces email probe
Matt Hancock faces a fresh scandal after it emerged he used a personal email account instead of an official address during the Covid crisis, in a breach of government guidelines. The Sunday Times says that since March last year the former health secretary has routinely used a private account to conduct government business, concealing information from his own officials and potentially the public.
Miami death toll reaches five
The death toll in the Florida building disaster has risen to five, authorities say. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the number unaccounted for has now dropped to 156, with three more of the recovered bodies identified. It has emerged that engineers flagged concerns of “major structural damage” at the south Florida condominium complex three years before its deadly collapse.
Shapps to cull train announcements
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has promised to reduce the amount of “annoying” announcements on trains and in stations. In a recent white paper, the transport secretary says there will be “fewer annoying and repetitious recorded announcements”. The Sunday Times reports that during a journey of two hours and 33 minutes from Manchester to London last week, passengers were subjected to 17 automated messages, including three doses of: “See it, say it, sorted.”
NHS operation delays rise
Covid-hit hospitals in the north of England have postponed 40% of operations, according to NHS records. Five million people in England are waiting to start hospital treatment, the most since records began. Patients whose surgery was abandoned last spring may be forced to wait until 2022. Data from the first 10 months of the Covid pandemic shows a larger impact in the Midlands and the north than in the south and east.
Woman walks free after killing husband
A Frenchwoman who admitted to killing her husband after nearly two decades of abuse has walked free from court. Valérie Bacot was sentenced to four years in prison, with three suspended. She had already spent a year in jail, so she was released. Bacot had admitted to shooting Daniel Polette, who had started raping her when she was only 12 or 13. “Now is the time for a new fight for all the other woman and all the mistreatments,” she said outside court.