NETHERLANDS RIOTS MAY LEAD TO CIVIL WAR
The Daily Mail reports that in the Netherlands, after a weekend of violent anti-curfew riots, the Mayor of Eindhoven has warned that the country may be heading for civil war. European leaders have pushed to tighten Covid lockdown across the continent.
PRESIDENT BIDEN WANTS TO REVERSE BREXIT
From the Express: Joe Biden wants to reverse Brexit and has the long-term aim of ensuring the UK rejoins the European Union, a foreign policy expert has said. The Chairman of the independent Bow Group think-tank claimed Mr Biden would not give the UK a better trade deal than the US currently has with the EU, amid fears of fuelling an exodus from the bloc. Mr Harris Quinney said: “We have a President who will consider the EU, not Britain, to be his closest ally, and ultimately will want Britain to rejoin the EU in the future.”
SCHOOLS COULD BE CLOSED UNTIL AFTER EASTER
The Daily Mirror writes: Boris Johnson has been accused of lurching from one shambles to another over schools, as fears for the education of kids in lockdown grows. Amid claims classes could remain shut until May, setting disadvantaged pupils back even further, angry parents joined Labour in demanding the PM get a grip on the situation and draw up a clear plan for a return. There were calls for teachers to be prioritised during phase two of the vaccination scheme in a bid to make schools safe. And fury is growing as there is still a severe lack of devices to help poor kids in home learning.
NO HOLIDAYS ABROAD THIS SUMMER
The Daily Mail reports: No holidays abroad for a year: Airline shares fell when Boris Johnson hinted ‘quarantine hotels’ will be introduced for UK arrivals to stop mutant Covid strains coming in from abroad, with fears the country could be essentially cut off from the rest of the world for a year. The Cabinet has been wrangling for days over the shape of the new restrictions, as The Times reports the scheme under consideration could cost each traveller arriving in the UK more than £1,000 while several ministers are said to be demanding a clear exit strategy, amid fears it will ‘kill’ aviation businesses and leave the UK isolated, while airport hotels could be packed out within 24 hours if it is applied to all arrivals.
EU COMPANIES FACE INCREASED MASTERCARD CHARGES
From the Guardian: Mastercard is to increase the fees EU firms face to take payments from online shoppers from the UK by at least 400%, in a move that could mean higher prices for consumers. When a credit or debit card is used, a percentage of the purchase price is paid by the retailer to the bank that issued it as an interchange fee, which is set by a payments firm.
THE SUPER RICH COULD AFFORD TO VACCINATE THE WORLD
From the Daily Mail: An Oxfam study, reported in the Daily Mail, claims that the world’s ten richest people (including Jeff Bezos, Elton Musk and Bill Gates) have seen their collective wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the start of the pandemic. The study also claims that the magnates could pay to vaccinate the entire world with their profits from last year.
LOCKDOWN BOOK SALES
The Guardian reports: Despite the coronavirus pandemic causing a series of lockdowns around the country – bookshops in England were closed from 23 March until 15 June, and then again from 5 November until 2 December, with differing lockdowns in place around the rest of the UK – Nielsen has estimated that the volume of print books sold grew by 5.2% compared with 2019. This equates to 202m books being sold in the UK last year and was worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019, said Nielsen.
BRITAIN RISKS BECOMING A FAILED STATE
The Independent writes: Britain risks becoming a “failed state” without serious reform to its governance structures, Gordon Brown has warned. The former prime minister urged the government to devolve more power to regions and to replace the House of Lords with a regionally elected chamber. Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper Mr Brown said “the choice is now between a reformed state and a failed state”.
COVID JAB FOR CATS AND DOGS
The Independent reports: Cats and dogs may need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to curb the spread of the virus, according to a group of scientists. Coronavirus can infect a wide range of species including cats, dogs, mink and other domesticated species, experts from the University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich-based research facility the Earlham Institute and University of Minnesota have said. In an editorial for the journal Virulence, they warned that continued evolution of the virus in animals followed by transmission to humans “poses a significant long-term risk to public health. It is not unthinkable that vaccination of some domesticated animal species might… be necessary to curb the spread of the infection”.
DEBENHAMS HIGH STREET JOBS AT RISK
The Times reports: The online fast-fashion retailer Boohoo has agreed to buy the online business of Debenhams and rival Asos has entered into exclusive talks with the administrators of Arcadia to buy Topshop, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk as the coronavirus crisis accelerates the transformation of the retail industry. Boohoo, founded in 2006, has acquired the Debenhams website and brand for £55 million from the FRP Advisory, the administrators of the collapsed chain, but the deal excludes Debenhams 124 department stores and puts 12,000 jobs at risk.
STREET E.V. CHARGING POINTS
From The Times: Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to buy one of the UK’s biggest electric vehicle charging networks as the oil giant steps up its push into the power sector. The Anglo-Dutch group said that it would acquire Ubitricity, which operates more than 2,700 public charging points, for an undisclosed sum.
The Daily Mirror reports that in the HoC Labour moved a motion urging all existing employment rights and protections to be maintained. The Tories abstained, but newly appointed Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng insisted there is no Government plan to reduce workers’ rights, stating ‘We will not row back on the 48-hour weekly working limit derived from the working time directive, we will not reduce the UK annual leave entitlement, which is already much more generous than the EU minimum standard, we will not row back on legal rights to breaks at work.”