Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 28 June 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Javid ‘to confirm 19 July unlock’
New Health Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to announce today that England will wait another three weeks before the final easing of Covid restrictions. In his first statement to the Commons in his new cabinet post, the former chancellor is set to confirm that Step 4 of the lockdown easing plan will come on 19 July and not 5 July. Boris Johnson had previously hinted at the prospect of a 5 July unlocking, but sources indicate that the earlier date is now looking unlikely.
US bombs Iraq and Syria
The US has launched air strikes against an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon said the strikes hit “operational and weapons storage facilities” in response to drone attacks by the militia on US forces. This is the second round of airstrikes that Joe Biden has authorised against the militias since taking office. The Pentagon did not say whether anyone was killed or injured in the attacks.
Asylum seekers may be sent to Africa
Priti Patel is to enable immigration authorities to send asylum seekers abroad for processing. The Nationality and Borders Bill, expected to be introduced next week, will create an offshore immigration processing centre for asylum seekers for the first time. A government source told The Times that officials will hold talks with Denmark over the “potential” to share a facility in Africa, with Danish authorities said to favour Rwanda. More than 5,600 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK in boats this year.
England team face racist abuse
England’s footballers have faced sustained online abuse during Euro 2020, it has emerged. Analysis of Twitter messages directed at and naming the England team during the three group stage matches reveal there were more than 2,000 abusive messages, including “scores of racist posts”, The Guardian says. Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have been the two of the main targets. Twitter is under sustained pressure to tighten up its response to abuse on its platform.
Prosecutors close in on Trump
Prosecutors in New York have given lawyers for Donald Trump 24 hours to respond with any fresh arguments as to why criminal charges should not be filed against his family business. Legal analysts believe an indictment against the Trump Organization could bankrupt the company by undermining its relationships with lenders and other business partners. Meanwhile, thousands of cheering fans attended a Trump rally in Ohio yesterday, during which the ex-resident attacked Republican Congressman Anthony Gonzalez for voting to impeach him earlier this year.
Russia tests huge nuclear sub
Moscow has tested a giant new nuclear submarine in open waters for the first time. The “Belgorod” is thought to be the largest submarine developed anywhere in the world in three decades. Its trial in the White Sea comes just days after a standoff in the Black Sea with Britain involving a Royal Navy destroyer. Last month, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace described Russia as the UK’s “number one adversary threat”.
Rise in chronic pain among young
Chronic pain affects one in three young adults in England, according to a new report. The rise is being blamed on obesity, sedentary lifestyles and stresses faced by those aged between 16- and 34-years-old. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts more than 12 weeks in spite of treatment or medication. The findings were based on an analysis by Public Health England and the charity Versus Arthritis.
Police shoot man in Milton Keynes
Armed police killed a man in a flat in Milton Keynes on Saturday morning after discovering another man dead and a child covered in blood. Officers said that they had used a Taser before shooting dead the man, who was in his twenties, with live ammunition. A neighbour said: “It’s such a horrible thing to have happened. You wonder if it’s gang-related.”
Labour questions Hancock payout
Anger is growing over Matt Hancock’s £16,000 payout for resigning as health secretary after being caught breaking social distancing rules during an affair with a senior aide. Labour’s Lucy Powell said the public will be “appalled” to learn that Hancock will now be given a £16,000 “golden goodbye”, adding that Labour will ask Boris Johnson to block the payment to Hancock, who resigned on Saturday evening.
Watchdog bans crypto platform
The UK’s financial regulator has banned Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange. The Financial Conduct Authority said the ban means the firm cannot conduct any “regulated activity” in the UK. Binance.com offers the purchase and trade of a wide range of digital currencies, as well as digital wallets, futures, securities, savings accounts and lending. The ban reflects a growing disquiet over cryptocurrency platforms among regulators around the world.