Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 July 2021

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

1

Experts warn against reopening

More than 100 global experts have warned Boris Johnson that lifting the remaining Covid-19 restrictions in England later this month is “dangerous and premature”. Writing in The Lancet, the group of scientists and doctors argue that the plan will lead to millions of infections and risk creating a generation with chronic health problems and disability due to long Covid. The UK yesterday reported more than 30,000 new cases for the first time since January, with an increase of more than 40% in hospital admissions and deaths.

2

England march to Euro final

England have reached their first major men’s football final for 55 years after victory against Denmark at Euro 2020. In front of 66,000 fans, England triumphed 2-1 after extra time thanks to captain Harry Kane’s winner. The Three Lions will face Italy - who have been unbeaten for nearly three years - in the final at Wembley on Sunday. “Now we have a real challenge in the final”, said manager Gareth Southgate, adding: “I’m so proud of the players. It’s an incredible occasion to be a part of.”

3

Covid jab rates plummet

Vaccination rates have almost halved over two weeks as young people hesitate over Covid-19 jabs, The Times reports. According to government scientists, the country is thought to be “close to maximum take-up”, with many young people still sceptical about vaccination. Ministers hope that removal of quarantine for the fully vaccinated when going on holiday or coming into contact with an infected person will further boost vaccination take-up.

4

Four dead after Haiti assassination

Police have killed four people suspected of assassinating Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse. Two others have been detained, while officers are still in combat with some remaining suspects in the nation’s capital Port-au-Prince. The shooting of Moïse yesterday, and the wounding of his wife who remains in a stable but critical condition, is expected to bring more chaos to the unstable Caribbean nation. Claude Joseph, Haiti’s interim prime minister, has declared “a state of siege throughout the territory”.

5

Miami search gives up hope

There is a near “zero” hope of finding survivors from the collapsed apartment building in Florida, the mayor of Surfside, Miami has said. Rescue teams are switching from a search-and-rescue mission to a recovery effort, around two weeks after the 12-storey Champlain Towers South fell in the middle of the night. A grand jury investigation has been launched to try to determine the reason for the 24 June collapse.

6

Low supply boosts house prices

House prices are continuing to rise thanks to a lack of available properties, surveyors have said. Diminishing supply meant the number of new properties coming on to the market fell by a third in June, leading a majority of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors members to conclude that prices will continue to rise over the next year. There were notable sharp house rises in Yorkshire and the Humber, Northern Ireland and Wales.

7

Anger over China LGBTQ+ clampdown

The removal of social media accounts associated with China’s university campus LGBTQ+ movement has sparked fear of a crackdown on gay content online. Dozens of WeChat accounts run by LGBTQ+ university students were blocked and then deleted without warning yesterday. The Guardian says the shutdowns have added to concern over China’s worsening intolerance for sexual and gender minorities. Homosexuality was illegal in China until 1997, before being classified as a mental health disorder until 2001.

8

Johnson ‘apprehensive’ about Afghan pullout

Boris Johnson has said he is “apprehensive” about the future of Afghanistan as he confirmed that the UK will end its 20-year deployment in the country. Admitting that the current situation in the country is “fraught with risks” due to rapid Taliban advances, the prime minister said: “If you ask me if I feel happy about the current situation in Afghanistan, of course I don’t.” A total of 454 British troops have died in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.

9

Climate change blamed for heatwaves

The extreme heat that hit western Canada and the US at the end of last month would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, a team of scientists have said. “Without the additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, in the statistics that we have available with our models, and also the statistical models based on observations, such an event just does not occur,” said Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

10

Giuliani suspended from legal practice

An appeals court in the US has suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law in Washington DC. The former mayor of New York, who led Donald Trump’s legal challenge after his election defeat, was already suspended from practicing law in “the big apple” after a court ruled that he made “demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public” while trying to overturn the 2020 election.

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