BORIS CALLS FOR GREAT NEW POST COVID GLOBAL ACCORD
The Daily Mail reports that Boris Johnson and other world leaders have called for a global treaty in response to Covid – similar to that agreed after the Second World War. In the face of vaccine nationalism and clashes between countries, the Prime Minister, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel – among others – warned against isolationism. They described the pandemic as a ‘stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe’. Writing for newspapers across the world the leaders also urged a new era of solidarity in the face of the biggest challenge to the global community since the 1940s. The group of 24 world leaders – and the head of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom – called for a new international accord similar to those agreed after the war which saw countries work together for the common good.
THIRD OF THE WORLD’S FARMLAND AT HIGH RISK OF POLLUTION
The Daily Mail reports that nearly a third of the farmland around the world is at high risk of pesticide pollution. Scientists in Australia examined how nearly 100 agricultural chemicals were used across 168 countries, to determine which pesticides surpassed recommended levels. Pointing to ‘widespread global pesticide pollution risk,’ the research found 64 percent of agricultural land had levels of pesticide chemicals higher than what industry standards consider ‘no-effect concentrations.’ A third were considered high-risk, with pesticide levels more than 1,000 times higher than no-effect concentrations. That includes over 60 percent of European farmland, which is treated with dangerous levels of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
FRENCH FISHERMEN ANGRY AT LICENSE DELAYS
The Express reports that French fishermen and politicians have erupted in anger claiming hundreds of fishing fleets are yet to receive a licence to fish in restricted British waters. Fishing chiefs in Boulogne-sur-Mer, just over an hour from the UK’s maritime border with the EU, have complained they have yet to be granted a licence to fish in the UK’s 12-mile zone. The Express understands officials at the UK Single Issuing Authority (SIA) responsible for licencing began to issue licences to allow EU fisheries to operate within 12 miles of the British coastline on January 29. But to date and despite this commitment, only 23 licenses have been awarded directly threatening the activity of the 850 sailors of Hauts-de-France and the 5,000 jobs in the port.
EVER GIVEN PULLED FREE CANAL OPEN
The Mirror reports that workers have successfully set free a colossal container ship that for nearly a week has been stuck sideways across the Suez Canal, a canal service provider has said. Leth Agencies said that the vessel had been refloated on Monday. Helped by the peak of high tide, a flotilla of tugboats managed to wrench the bow of the skyscraper-sized Ever Given from the sandy back of the crucial waterway, where it had been firmly lodged since last Tuesday. Tugboats were pulling the vessel toward the Great Bitter Lake, in the middle of the waterway, where it will undergo inspections. All its 25 crew members, who have remained on board, were safe, in good health and spirits, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the Ever Given’s technical manager said.
BIRD FLU OUTBREAK IN CHESHIRE
The Mirror reports that a bird flu outbreak at a farm in Cheshire has forced authorities to put a 1km restriction zone in place – affecting up to 300 homes. Workers at the poultry site in Tarporley raised the alarm after noticing some of the birds had become unwell. A multi-agency response has been launched and a restriction zone established to stop the spread of infection, reports Cheshire Live. Officials say the zone will affect between 200 and 300 properties, although the movement of people is not restricted. The birds affected by the outbreak are currently being culled to ensure there is no further spread.
COVID PASSED TO HUMANS VIA BATS AND ANOTHER ANIMAL
From the Guardian: Covid-19 probably passed to humans from a bat via an intermediary animal, an international expert mission to China has concluded in a report, with investigators all but ruling out a laboratory leak. The intermediate host hypothesis was deemed very likely, while the theory that the virus escaped from a lab was considered “extremely unlikely”, according to a copy of the long-awaited final report seen by AFP on Monday before its official release. Drafted by a team of World Health Organization-appointed international experts and their Chinese counterparts, the report has been keenly anticipated since investigators left China more than a month ago. But it does not offer definitive answers on the mystery at the very heart of the pandemic: how the virus that causes the disease first jumped to humans.
WE WON’T EXTRADITE CRIMINALS TO UK SAY FRANCE AND GERMANY
The SUN reports that ten countries including France and Germany will no longer extradite criminals to the UK after Brexit, the government has admitted. The decision comes after the UK left the European Union and ended its participation in the European Arrest Warrants scheme. Following the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020, the UK is no longer part of the European Arrest Warrant scheme. Because the UK is no longer participating in the scheme, it may now have to attempt prosecutions in other countries or liaise with Interpol – International Criminal Police Organisation – in the hope that a suspect can be caught in another country and then brought back for a trial.
CHINESE DIPLOMAT SAYS CANADA IS A RUNNING DOG OF THE USA
The Guardian reports that a Chinese diplomat has dismissed Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau as a boy in a social media attack marking a new low in the fractured relationship between the two countries. China and Canada have clashed repeatedly in recent months, and last week the two countries imposed sanctions on each other in a growing row over Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur minority. But on Sunday, Trudeau was singled out for insult by China’s consul general to Rio de Janeiro, Li Yang in a tweet blaming him for the diplomatic crisis. “Boy, your greatest achievement is to have ruined the friendly relations between China and Canada, and have turned Canada into a running dog of the US”, he tweeted.
LITTLE POLICE LEGITIMACY IN BLACK COMMUNITIES SAYS CHIEF OFFICER
The Guardian reports: The leader of Britain’s police chiefs has said forces legitimacy in black communities is so low it is damaging the effectiveness of law enforcement, as he vowed to change generations of strained trust and confidence. Everyday crime-fighting was being damaged, he said, with the issue of race being the continual fault line of British policing. Hewitt said he wanted to change “generations of history” between police and black communities, strained by stop and search and decades of reports finding black people were being treated differently to white people. Hewitt, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), says two key issues are: to boost the almost 20% deficit in trust and confidence black communities have in police compared with the average; and to boost the number of black recruits in the ranks, which is lower than their proportion of the population.
LOW JAB TAKE UP FROM BLACK AFRICAN HERITAGE PEOPLE IN ENGLAND
The Guardian reports that the over 70s of black African heritage in England are 7.4 times more likely not to have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine compared with their white British counterparts, according to analysis by the Office for National Statistics. The ONS found that 90.2% of all over-70s resident in England had received at least one jab between 8 December and 11 March but the percentage vaccinated was lower among all minority ethnic groups, prompting concerns that it could jeopardise the effectiveness of the UK’s vaccine rollout programme. The lowest rate was among people identifying as black African (58.8%), followed by those of black Caribbean (68.7%), Bangladeshi (72.7%) and Pakistani (74.0%) heritage; promoting concerns by race equality campaigners that this lower uptake could jeopardise the integrity of the UK’s effective rollout of the vaccine.
UK HAS PROBLEM WITH RACISM SAYS REPORT
The Independent reports that a significant proportion of the British public believe the UK has yet to face up to its problem with racism, an exclusive survey suggests. From the government and police to the media and royal family, many voters believe these institutions are racist and the number increases markedly among Black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) respondents, according to a poll by BMG Research for The Independent. As calls for the government to publish the race commission’s report into inequalities intensify, four months after the initial publication deadline, the research found that close to a third (31 per cent) of minority ethnic respondents think the Conservative Party is racist.
From the Telegraph: Personalised vehicle numbers plates that refer to Covid-19 and the pandemic have been banned by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The government agency blocked the creation and sale of the virus car registrations amid concerns they would cause “offence, embarrassment and are in poor taste”, particularly for those who have lost loved ones to the disease. Meanwhile, sales of plates celebrating the NHS and health care services have increased with many seeing a dramatic rise in price. Unique number plates can change hands for between £150 and £200,000 with some people viewing the most valuable ones as potential investments. NHS plates are now collectors’ items and have a real value and the entire number plate reseller market is ablaze.