SPANISH ECONOMY HIT HARD BY LOSS OF TOURISM
The Express reports that Spain’s economy has lost over one hundred billion in revenue because of losses incurred by the tourism sector as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic year of 2020 saw Spain lose a total of 116 billion euros (£100 billion), the equivalent of 70 percent of the Greek economy. The year 2020 was the worst in the history of the tourism sector in Spain. To put this into graphic context this figure represents 70 percent of the Greek economy or 56 percent of the Portuguese economy. The slump in the tourism sector has seen a total of 841,436 jobs being affected.
BORIS AXES £2.6 MILLION PRESS CONFERENCE ROOM
The Daily Mail reports that Boris Johnson has axed plans for White House-style televised press briefings despite spending £2.6million of taxpayer money on the conference room. The Prime Minister had confirmed the proposals for an upgraded Downing Street briefing room last year, suggesting the public had liked having more direct information from ministers during the coronavirus press conferences. However the plans have since been scrapped and the No 9 briefing room, which was installed with microphones, control desks, cameras and computers, will instead be used by the PM, ministers and officials. The latest move will now leave an uncertain future for the wood-panelled briefing room, which was renovated by the Russian firm Megahertz.
US SPACE COMMAND LOOKS AT FIGHTING FUTURE NUCLEAR WARS
The Express reports that the US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and Space Command are set to warn the world that the spectrum of conflict today could rapidly lead to nuclear war as unpredictable conflicts could escalate “rapidly” into nuclear war. USSTRATCOM outlines that this outcome could be decided upon when certain nations consider nuclear force as their least bad option as the spectrum of conflict today is neither linear nor predictable. US Space Command is responsible for military operations in outer space which is designated as 62 miles above mean sea level. Former US president Donald Trump in December 2018 reshaped the US Space Command into a newly established, fully unified combatant command which now has full responsibilities for space warfighting.
CHILLING WARNING ISSUED BY CHINA
The Express reports that China has issued a stark warning to Taiwan, telling the island Beijing prefers war to allowing the country to forge closer ties to the US. While Chinese military jets carried out another fly-over above Taiwan, a high-level delegation of US officials visited the island. In response, Beijing told Taipei any attempts to strengthen ties with the US “would fail. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office announced the strike force of 25 Chinese fighters, bombers and surveillance aircraft which flew over Taipei was to send a message to the island.
WUNDERWAFFE TAKES TO THE SKIES
The SUN reports that Russia has unveiled a new fearsome kamikaze ‘Flying Kalashnikov’ as it threatens a new drone war in Ukraine. The weapon, which prowls for hours in the sky, can act as an aerial minefield and could be used against Kyiv’s new unmanned combat vehicles. It comes as Turkey supplied Bayraktar TB2 strike drones to Ukraine which are said to be “operational” in the heavily disputed Donbass region. This unmanned war machine – also dubbed the new ‘Wunderwaffe’ – was reportedly tested by the Russian Spetsnaz in Syria.It is described to act like an aerial minefield, loitering in the sky above a battlefield for many hours posing “an insurmountable obstacle for enemy drones.
TERRORIST EXPLOSIVE DEVICE FOUND CLOSE TONI POLICE OFFICERS HOME
The Independent reports that Boris Johnson has been accused of “false promises” after threatening to tear up unwanted parts of the Northern Ireland protocol. The PM promised to end trade barriers between GB and NI – claiming his government was now “sandpapering” the protocol “into shape.” In a new BBC interview, the PM suggested No 10 could trigger legal action over the protocol if the EU refuses to join the UK in ditching “absurd” aspects of post-Brexit trading arrangements. It comes as a viable explosive device was found close to the home of a police officer in Northern Ireland. DUP leader Arlene Foster blamed dissident Republican “terrorists” for targeting the officer.
MOVE TO FIND TAKE AT HOME COVID TREATMENTS
The Independent reports that the government is launching a taskforce that will “supercharge” the search and development of a new generation of drugs capable of treating people infected with coronavirus in their own homes. The taskforce, modelled on the team responsible for the UK’s vaccine programme, will search for and support research into promising antiviral treatments that can reduce transmission and speed up recovery from Covid-19. It’s hoped two effective treatments – offered in tablet form – will be made available to the public as early as autumn, providing Britain with “another layer of defence” alongside the vaccines in combating possible future waves and emerging variants, said Sir Patrick Vallance. The antivirals – a class of medication used for treating viral infections and preventing replication – will be specific to people who have tested positive for Covid or been exposed to someone carrying the virus, and aim to keep these individuals out of hospital.
BORIS DOES NOT RULE OUT ANOTHER COVID WAVE THIS YEAR
The Mirror reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged soaring cases overseas and warnings from scientists that there will be another wave this year. At a Downing Street press conference he said: “As we look at what is happening in other countries, with cases now at record numbers around the world, we cannot delude ourselves that Covid has gone away. He went on, “I see nothing in the data now that makes me think we are going to have to deviate in any way from the road map – cautious but irreversible – that we have set out. But the majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of Covid at some stage this year .And so we must, as far as possible, learn to live with this disease as we live with other diseases and suggested that antivirals could be a third method of defence, along with vaccinations – including booster shots – and mass testing.”
PASSPORTS TO CARRY COVID PAPERWORK
The Evening Standard reports that coronavirus paperwork could be digitally linked to travellers’ passports, in a bid to evade lengthy queues by the middle of summer. According to the Times, officials are developing top priority plans to reestablish the automated e-passport gates at airports next month, which have previously helped to prevent backlogs at the border. Under these plans, passengers would be able to scan their passport at an e-gate and the computer would automatically check their forms and save their details on a database that is used to police the UK’s quarantine policy.
JOHNSON CONSIDERS LEGISLATIVE SUPER BOMB
The Evening Standard reports: Boris Johnson has said he is prepared to legislate to block a new European Super League as he accused breakaway football clubs of forming a kind of cartel. As anger continued to sweep across the game at the actions of the so-called Big Six, the Prime Minister told the football authorities he was ready to drop a legislative bomb if necessary. In a morning conference call with the FA and the Premier League he indicated the Government could act to ensure they did not fall foul of competition laws if they imposed sanctions on the clubs involved.
JUNIOR DEFENSE MINISTER SACKED
The SUN reports that Boris Johnson sacked defence minister Johnny Mercer on Tuesday night after a row over Northern Ireland veterans. Mr Mercer was said to be on the verge of quitting all day after becoming frustrated over progress related to the Troubles. He claimed ministers had failed on their vow to protect veterans from getting prosecuted years after they left the forces. He told The Sun tonight: ”on the record I have not resigned, I have been sacked.” But Downing Street claimed tonight he had resigned from his post. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “This evening the Prime Minister has accepted the resignation of Johnny Mercer as Minister for Defence People and Veterans.He thanks Johnny Mercer for his service as a Government Minister since 2019.”
From the Guardian: Town criers come in all shapes and sizes, but you may expect the possession of a powerful set of lungs to be a prerequisite for anyone hoping to be crowned National Champion. Oyez? In a new Covid-conscious world, the answer is rather: oh no. For the first time in its history, this year the British Town Crier Championships are to be held in perfect silence, with the country’s traditional news-bearers to be judged on the quality of their written cries alone. While judges are usually focused on “three distinct parts of a cry” – sustained volume and clarity, diction and inflection, and content – this year they will focus on whether cries have stuck to the theme and the 140-word limit, says organiser and champion crier Carole Williams.