Brexit

Express
BORIS JOHNSON has furiously hit back the at European Union, blaming Brussels for missing a key deadline in post-Brexit trade talks as the two sides continue to trade vicious blows amid increasing fears of a no deal conclusion. The UK missed Tuesday’s deadline to hand in 28 regulatory equivalency assessments to the EU relating to Britain’s financial service industry – a crucial sticking point in current trade negotiations. Brussels needs to use these documents to conclude whether it grants the city of London lucrative access to EU markets when the transition period ends on December 31, 2020. Earlier this week, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was left furious after confirming the UK had not completed the necessary equivalence assessments.

Telegraph
Trade between the UK and European Union would still flourish in the short term even without a Brexit deal, according to a candidate seeking to run the World Trade Organization. The historic alliance of Britain and the bloc and their regulatory ties should allow goods and services to continue flowing across borders according to Hamid Mamdouh, a former WTO director of trade in services and investment who is Egypt’s candidate to run the organisation.

EU

Independent
The European Union must prepare for the possible failure of Brexit trade talks with the UK, Angela Merkel has said. Speaking in the German parliament the chancellor said negotiations were being accelerated to try and reach a deal in the autumn that could be ratified by the end of the year. But she told the Bundestag that the EU “must and should prepare for a situation in which an agreement does not happen”. She added: “The progress made during the negotiations have been, to put it mildly, minimal.

Yahoo News
The European Union must prepare for the possibility that talks with Britain on their post-Brexit relationship could fail, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday as Germany took the helm of the bloc’s rotating presidency. After months of standstill because of the coronavirus, the two sides resumed negotiations this week on how to define Britain’s future economic ties with the bloc, but the tone has hardened. “I will keep pushing for a good solution, but the EU and Germany too must and should prepare for the case that an agreement is not reached,” Merkel told German lawmakers in Berlin.

Breitbart
Progress of Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union is “to put it cautiously, very limited”, Germany’s Angela Merkel told her national Parliament today. Germany took over the rotating presidency of the European Council on Wednesday, and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel was asked for an update during a Parliamentary questions and answers session, during which she revealed her advice that European nations should step up preparations for no deal.

Leicester

Telegraph
The rate of Covid-19 cases in England has dropped almost 40 per cent in the past week, according to official figures published on Wednesday night. The new data – the first available since lockdown restrictions were eased on June 15 – show a steep decline in positive tests for coronavirus, from 10.7 cases per 100,000 population to 6.7 in just a week, a drop of 37.4 per cent. The figures also show that Leicester was put into lockdown when its infection rate was 20 times higher than the country as a whole, and suggest other local lockdowns may be unnecessary.

Guardian
Alok Sharma, the business secretary, has pledged to investigate claims that Leicester garment factories ordered sick employees to carry on working as normal despite the Covid-19 pandemic, over concerns such action precipitated a surge of cases in the city. The allegations concerning factory employees being forced to work despite high levels of infection on site, a lack of social distancing, as well as claims of “furlough fraud”, arose from a report by the campaigners Labour Behind the Label, revealed by the Guardian.

Local lockdowns

Times
Northern councils were battling to avoid more local lockdowns last night as health bosses warned that they were finding rising numbers of coronavirus cases. After Leicester’s lockdown was tightened on Tuesday Public Health England (PHE) said that mobile testing units had shown that Yorkshire appeared to be reporting more infections. Levels are also believed to be high in Greater Manchester, although officials played down fears of more local lockdowns.

Sun
PANICKED council leaders are warning people to stay home amid fears more lockdowns are only days away. It comes after a leaked government league table revealed the towns and cities with the highest rates of Covid infections. Officials are said to be particularly concerned about 36 “hotspots” nationwide. Leicester tops the “watchlist” with 135.7 lab-confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the week ending June 28. The city is followed by Bradford (42.8), Barnsley (34.7), Rochdale (31.4) and Oldham (28.4).

Guardian
Bradford, Barnsley and Rochdale can be revealed as the places with the highest levels of new Covid-19 infections after Leicester, as fears grow of further local outbreaks and the UK heads towards Saturday’s lifting of more lockdown restrictions. The official data, which has not been previously published on Public Health England’s online dashboard, comes amid complaints from local health officials and medics that a lack of detailed testing about local outbreaks is causing delays in attempts to curtail them.

Illegal raves

Mirror
Home Secretary Priti Patel has demanded police break up big street parties or raves this weekend as lockdown starts to ease. The top Tory called for officers to take action as pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels all reopen on the same day across England – threatening scenes of carnage. Despite the widespread reopenings, the government is still telling people to meet only in groups of up to six people – or two households of any number – outdoors.

Breitbart
Criminal gangs are funding illegal quarantine raves to sell drugs to young Britons during the national lockdown, police in the United Kingdom say. In Manchester, senior police officers and councillors believe that pop-up “block parties” are being sponsored by organised crime, paying for DJs and sound equipment to fill the void in drug dealer’s business models left by the closure of nightclubs in the city. Criminal gangs are funding illegal quarantine raves to sell drugs to young Britons during the national lockdown, police in the United Kingdom say.

Hospitality

Sun
PUB bosses have revealed they are planning to keep their doors closed on upcoming “Super Saturday” despite finally being allowed to open after three months of lockdown. Some landlords fear they cannot enforce Covid-19 social distancing rules when partying punters flood in for their first pint since March.  Pubs, bars and restaurants can reopen from July 4 in England and provide indoor service. New rules will see screens separating tables, bar staff delivering drink orders to customers and orders being made via apps.

Vaccine

Mail
A jab against coronavirus should last for several years at least, said the British scientist whose own vaccine project is the global front-runner. Professor Sarah Gilbert told MPs she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide ‘a good duration of immunity’. She is the world-renowned expert leading an Oxford University team that is devising a vaccine, so her claim could help to dispel the fears over how long protection against Covid-19 might last.

Sun
THE SCIENTIST whose team at Oxford University is leading the world in the hunt for a coronavirus vaccine is “optimistic” it will give protection for “several years at least” and may be ready by the autumn. Professor Sarah Gilbert said a vaccine would only be likely to “take the edge off” symptoms, rather than giving complete protection. Oxford University researchers have partnered with drugs giant Astrazeneca to mass produce it. Professor Gilbert told MPs on the science and technology select committee: “Manufacturing is scaling up.

Scotland

Mail
Emergency talks were under way last night to prevent Nicola Sturgeon from undermining plans for ‘air bridges’ to popular holiday destinations. Ministers agreed a new traffic light system last week that would pave the way for the creation of ‘travel corridors’, allowing tourists to visit certain ‘green’ countries deemed safe without the need to quarantine at either end. But Miss Sturgeon yesterday suggested the Scottish government could boycott the scheme, meaning it would not apply at airports such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Express
BORIS JOHNSON launched into a fiery rebuke of Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to impose strict quarantine and border checks on tourists travelling to Scotland from England. Boris Johnson hit out at Nicola Sturgeon as he was challenged to condemn Holyrood proposals to institute a virtual border with England to keep the coronavirus pandemic under control in Scotland. First Minister Sturgeon signalled she would be willing to impose checks on tourists travelling to England who do not comply with current lockdown measures in place across the nation.

Immunity

Telegraph
Large numbers of the population may have natural immunity against coronavirus even if they have never been infected, scientists believe. Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, who is leading an Oxford team to develop a vaccine, said there was likely to be a “background level” of protection for a “significant number of people”. Recent studies have suggested the immune system can be primed by other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, giving the body a head start in fighting off Covid-19.

Education

Telegraph
The Government will on Thursday reveal its plans to get all pupils back to school in September. Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, will announce that children must be back in the classroom at the start of the new academic year after spending up to six months at home. A final draft of the official guidance, seen by The Telegraph, reveals that schools will be expected to organise pupils into “bubbles”, overhaul the curriculum, impose strict behaviour regimes, rearrange classroom desks, ban choirs and assemblies and be ready to shut down again in the event of a virus outbreak.

ITV News
Schools in England are expected to be told to overhaul the curriculum, stagger break times and group children into “bubbles” when they return to the classroom in September, according to guidelines to be published by the government. Earlier this week England’s education secretary suggested parents could be fined if they do not send their children back to school and that social distancing may not have to be adhered to in schools in the same way as in the wider public. Gavin Williamson is due to announce the plans for getting all pupils back after the summer following up to six months at home – on the same day schools in Leicester close again as part of the city’s lockdown extension.

Sky News
School leaders in England are set to be told there is no need for pupils of any age to sit apart when they return to class in September. Boris Johnson has promised a full return to the classroom five days a week from the autumn term – with the government facing intense pressure to ensure children do not lose any more school time. Under new guidance to be set out by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today, self-contained classes or “bubbles” – which cannot mix – will be expanded to allow all children back.

iNews
“Spurious” grounds are being used to stop children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) attending school during the coronavirus pandemic, MPs have been told. Since Covid-19 struck, children with special needs recognised by an education, health and care plan have been allowed to continue going to school pending a risk assessment carried out with the local authority.

Mail
Whole year groups at secondary school will form ‘bubbles’ in a massive effort to get all children back in education from September, it was revealed today. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is unveiling plans for a full return from the beginning of the academic year, with staggered start times and strict classroom rules to minimise the risks of spreading the virus. Every school in England will reopen ‘come what may’ in September – with sources insisting even if the R rate surges other parts of society will be closed down first to facilitate the move.

Travel

Sun
BRITS flocking back to Spanish resorts have been stunned by a “Covid tax” charged by bar owners. UK holidaymakers were furious at having to find extra cash to help pay for the ­personal protective equipment being worn by staff. A Spanish consumer rights group has declared the charge illegal but the first Brits arriving after lockdown are still being stung. Bars across Spain are charging a “servicio Covid”, sometimes €1 per table and sometimes €1 per drink.

Telegraph
Individual air bridges will be effectively abandoned by the Government, as it emerged that as many as 75 countries will be on the first quarantine exemption list for British holidaymakers. The list, to be published on Thursday or Friday, will lift the Foreign Office ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, the British territories including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. All 75 have been judged sufficiently low risk destinations for holidaymakers based on the prevalence of Covid-19, that their infection rate is in decline and that their data on the state of the disease can be trusted.

Mail
Travel industry bosses are demanding more answers from ministers as it emerges just 12 air bridges have been agreed with other countries.  Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to give UK citizens a green light today to travel abroad to 95 countries, in a move that signals the end of the Government’s blanket quarantine policy on arrivals to the UK. However, only a dozen are expected to allow Britons to enter because bilateral deals to create ‘air corridors’ have not been agreed.

BLM

Mail
The BBC has banned pundits and guests from wearing Black Lives Matter badges after the logos returned to Sky Sports last night following a row over the movement’s ideology.  A senior source at the corporation told the Daily Telegraph that bosses decided they did not want ‘visual symbols of support’ for BLM to be worn on screen. On Sunday’s Match of the Day neither Alan Shearer or Micah Richards were wearing Black Lives Matter badges.

Telegraph
The BBC has told its presenters and guests not to wear Black Lives Matter badges as the campaign was accused of “hijacking” George Floyd’s death for political reasons. Bosses at the corporation have decided not to allow “visual symbols of support” for Black Lives Matter to be worn on screen, senior sources told The Telegraph. It comes as a number of high-profile organisations were forced to backtrack on their support for the Black Lives Matter movement as its UK arm publicly criticised Israel and called on the British government to “defund the police”.

Mail
It took a good few weeks, but the Premier League seems to have finally twigged that plastering ‘Black Lives Matter‘ across the shirts of Britain’s top footballers may end up backfiring.  The sentiment behind the gesture was doubtless honourable: In the wake of George Floyd‘s death, our national sport wanted both to express revulsion at police brutality against people of colour, and to campaign against systemic racism that still exists in pockets of British society.

Fox News
Black Lives Matter, which saw an initial wave of support in the U.K. following the death of George Floyd, is now encountering pushback as a number of Brits mark a distinction between combating racism and the organization’s more radical positions. As protests took off across America in June, they soon spread to the U.K., where there was also a mix of peaceful protests against racism, violent outbursts, anti-police sentiment, and even vandalism of statues in places such as Bristol.

Hong Kong

Times
Millions of Hongkongers will be offered five-year visas and a path to British citizenship after the government stepped in to protect residents of its former colony against a draconian Chinese security law. The new law gives Beijing powers to crack down on dissent with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for a range of crimes, in effect outlawing public protest. Boris Johnson described it as a “clear and serious breach” of China’s treaty with Britain and Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which serves as its constitution.

Mirror
Boris Johnson has pledged to extend the right of Hong Kong citizens to live and work in the UK after accusing China of a “clear and serious breach” of a treaty with Britain. Mr Johnson’s landmark pledge was followed by condemnation of China from the Foreign Secretary – which was echoed by all parties in the House of Commons. The PM accused Beijing of violating the former British colony’s degree of autonomy by imposing a much-criticised national security law on the territory.

Breitbart
Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said that the UK should take as many Hong Kong refugees as it can, describing the “authoritarian overreach” of the draconian national security law implemented by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a Tiananmen Square moment for the free world. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that the British government will be offering settlement rights and a path to citizenship for up to three million Hong Kong residents.

BBC News
Up to three million Hong Kong residents are to be offered the chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship, Boris Johnson has said. The PM said Hong Kong’s freedoms were being violated by a new security law and those affected would be offered a “route” out of the former UK colony. About 350,000 UK passport holders, and 2.6 million others eligible, will be able to come to the UK for five years.

Independent
The UK will offer some Hong Kong residents a new route to British citizenship after Beijing imposed a draconian new “national security” law, Boris Johnson has confirmed. He and, earlier, Dominic Raab, said the new law violated the city’s autonomy which had been agreed when the UK handed control to China in 1997. Mr Johnson faced a grilling at PMQs as Keir Starmer said he was “blind to the risks” of easing lockdown.

Times
Hong Kong police turned water cannon, tear gas and pepper spray on protesters after thousands took to the streets to defy a draconian law introduced by Beijing. The security forces arrested 370 people, including ten on suspicion of violating the new law, which critics say is intended to crush dissent and end freedoms enshrined in the agreement under which Britain returned the city to China in 1997.

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