Immigration

Times
French authorities have managed to intercept only a fifth of migrants attempting to cross the Channel. Chris Philp, the immigration minister, said that French officials were “doing a great deal of work”, adding: “They’ve intercepted well over 1,000 people this year.” The total number of migrants who have made it to the UK in small boats is 4,100, which suggests that only a fifth are being stopped by the French. Officials in France have blamed Britain’s “hypocrisy” and “black economy” for fuelling the surge in small boats carrying migrants across the Channel.

Guardian
The UK and France are working “at pace” on a new plan to put an end to people attempting to cross the Channel in small boats, a Home Office minister has said, as tensions rise over the British government’s approach to the unfolding crisis. Following talks with officials in Paris, Chris Philp, minister for immigration compliance, conceded the French were doing a “great deal of work” and had intercepted more than 1,000 people attempting to reach England this year after days of loaded statements from the two nations. But Philp’s remarks were light on detail on what the “new operational plan” would involve, although he said if it was successful in making the Channel route unviable then “migrants will have no reason at all to come to France in the first place”.

BBC News
The UK and France are working on new measures to stop migrants from crossing the English Channel, an immigration minister has said. Chris Philp said French officials had agreed the crossing should be made “unviable” during talks in Paris. He added the UK was prepared to support the plan financially, but it was too early to make commitments. More than 4,000 people have successfully crossed the Channel on small boats so far this year. Speaking after the talks, Mr Philp said the UK and France had expressed a “shared commitment” to stem a recent rise in channel crossings. He added that the UK’s new Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O’Mahoney, would hold further talks in France next week.

Independent
A group of Conservative MPs says migrants crossing the English Channel are “invading” the country, with one claiming they can simply “paddle in”. A former child refugee condemned the “common sense group” of Tory backbenchers for lacking “humanity and decency”, after it urged Priti Patel to get tougher – including by sending in royal navy warships. A letter sent by a 25-strong group of MPs and peers reads: “It is strikingly clear that, rather than a ‘hostile environment’, invading migrants have been welcomed.” The group also claims those arriving are being put up in “expensive hotels” and enjoying “immediate access” to financial help – although cash support for an asylum seeker is just £37.75 per week.

Times
Migrants preparing to cross the Channel in small dinghies warned today that they would throw themselves overboard if the Royal Navy tried to force them back. Families living in refugee camps said that the Channel would become a sea of bodies after Boris Johnson pledged to counter a surge in the number of boat crossings. Kamal Sadeghi, 39, a Christian convert from Iran, his wife, Niki Karimi, 33, and their daughter, Sava, who celebrates her first birthday on Sunday, have spent ten days living in a tent in woodland close to Calais central hospital.

Morning Star
THE government is “ramping up” its detention and deportation “machine” once again as it prepares to remove 20 asylum-seekers on Wednesday, campaigners have warned. The planned charter flight to France and Germany will be the first to deport asylum-seekers since the beginning of the lockdown. Campaigners raised concerns that the flight could risk spreading Covid-19 between countries. The 20 asylum-seekers are believed to have reached Britain in small boats across the Channel.

iNews
The UK and France have promised to produce a “comprehensive action plan” to prevent migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats to try to reach the Kent coast. The immigration minister Chris Philp visited Paris to discuss with the French how to stem the tide of asylum seekers taking boats from France to the UK. Emmanuel Macron’s government is planning to appoint a commander to oversee the policing of the Channel, a step taken by the UK last week. Mr Philp said: “The sheer numbers crossing the Channel are completely unacceptable, unacceptable to the French government and unacceptable to the UK Government.

EU

Express
MORE than four in 10 French people believe the UK stands to benefit long-term from leaving the EU – even if Britons suffer in the short-term, a new survey has shown. The results of the Redfield and Wilton Strategies poll comes ahead of next week’s round of post-Brexit trade talks in Brussels. Just 11 percent of the French voters surveyed said Britain would not gain any long-term benefits from Brexit. A total of 6,000 people across France, Italy, Spain and Germany – 1,500 in each country – participated in the poll between July 17 and 18.

Times
Billions of euros handed to Italy by the EU to restart its crippled economy could be used to build a tunnel from the country’s mainland to Sicily, Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, has said. The €5 billion road and rail tunnel would link Sicily to Italy’s rail network, boost businesses trying to recover after a strict lockdown and replace a stalled plan for a suspension bridge. “No to the bridge over the Strait of Messina; I am thinking, instead, of an undersea tunnel,” said Mr Conte, who added that the project would be a “masterpiece of engineering”.

Express
AN SNP bid to keep Scotland linked with the EU after Brexit will not work, the Holyrood Government has admitted. Constitution Secretary Mike Russell MSP said the new Bill will mean, on devolved matters, Scottish law can keep in line with those in Europe “when appropriate and practicable to do so”. But the Scottish Government’s Chief Constitution Manager admitted she could struggle to see how the published legislation would work. The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill will provide for continuity of provision that would otherwise be lost with Brexit.

Brexit-watch
THE EU HAS a vested interest in making Brexit as painful as possible for Britain lest other countries follow the UK out of the door.  Research by Redfield and Wilton Strategies consultancy – on behalf of Euronews – analysed data in the four largest EU economies of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The data didn’t make for good reading for the EU, with Italy and France showing increasingly negative sentiment towards the bloc. As David Walsh reported for Euronews, “Italy would be the most likely of the “Big Four” member states to consider exiting the European Union if Brexit proves to be beneficial to Britain, according to a Euronews-commissioned poll.”

Labour Party

Express
KEIR STARMER must “embrace” the UK’s independence post-Brexit if he is to become the next Prime Minister, the general secretary of Labour Leave has claimed.  If the party is to win the next election, they must embrace Brexit and “bite the bullet”, Brendan Chilton has claimed. Only then will the party reclaim the red wall seats lost during the 2019 election. Emmanuel Macron could scupper a last-minute trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union over access to UK fishing waters, officials on both sides fear.

Deaths

Sun
CORONAVIRUS deaths in England and Wales are at the lowest level since before lockdown began in late March, figures show. The number of people dying from the deadly bug has dropped drastically, with fatalities now around the same as they were 19 weeks ago. In the week to July 31, 193 death certificates mentioned Covid – the lowest number since the week ending March 20, when it was mentioned on 103 death certificates. Lockdown began in the UK on March 23. The strict laws are being eased in stages. And officials from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the number of deaths from all causes are below average for the seventh week in a row.

Mail
More Britons have been killed by flu and pneumonia than  coronavirus for seven weeks in a row, new data has revealed.  Research published by the Office for National Statistics found influenza caused more deaths in the UK than Covid-19 between June 19 and July 31.   In the seven-week period, 6,626 Britons were killed by flu or pneumonia – compared to 2,992 coronavirus deaths.  For much of the worst days of the pandemic, Covid-19 deaths far outnumbered those linked to flu or pneumonia.  But the gap has narrowed, and flu and pneumonia became a more common cause of death for the first time since March in the week ending June 19.

Times
Flu and pneumonia are killing five times as many people as coronavirus at present, with Covid deaths at their lowest since the end of March, figures show. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that overall deaths were below average for the time of year for the seventh consecutive week, while deaths from Covid-19 were at a 19-week low. There were 193 deaths reported in the week ending July 31 that had coronavirus mentioned on the death certificate, continuing three months of falls since a weekly peak of 8,758 in April. It is the lowest figure since 103 died in the week ending March 20, on the eve of lockdown.

Mail
The UK today recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases in seven weeks with 1,148 infections and a further 102 deaths across the country. The total number of cases today reached 312,789 after the largest rise since June 21, when there were 1,221 new cases. The total number of deaths rose to 46,628 today.  The new rise in cases breaches the ceiling that the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre said was acceptable to avoid ‘flare-ups’ of Covid-19, according to Sage documents.  In recent days thousands of Britons have flocked to beaches and parks to cool off during the sweltering heat, making social distancing largely impossible.

Education

Times
Tens of thousands of pupils in Scotland will see their exam results bumped up after the education secretary scrapped the lowering of grades based on past school performance. John Swinney withdrew the grades awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and was issuing pupils with their teacher-estimated grades, described only days ago as “not credible”. The decision is likely to mean that thousands more youngsters will be eligible for university places than in previous years. They will compete for places with pupils from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who will not have such a generous grading system.

Guardian
Ministers made an 11th-hour bid to stave off a revolt over the handling of exam results on Tuesday night, granting pupils in England the right to use mock exam results if they are unhappy with their grades. The intervention, on the eve of the release of 730,000 A-level results decided by an algorithm on Thursday, follows growing alarm in Downing Street. It comes after the Scottish government was forced to take the extraordinary step of reinstating 124,000 downgraded results and Labour called on the government to change course on the system for deciding A-level results or risk “robbing a generation of young people of their future”.

Evening Standard
GCSE and A-level students will be able to keep mock exam results if they are higher than grades calculated by moderators, the Education Secretary will announce. Results in mock tests – which were held before schools were forced to close amid the Covid-19 crisis – will carry the same weight as the calculated results to be awarded this month. The move comes after unions called on the UK Government to follow Scotland’s lead in scrapping moderated grades after the downgrading of more than 124,000 results was reversed.

Telegraph
Gavin Williamson is under mounting pressure to follow Scotland’s lead and ensure all A-level pupils receive their  predicted grades.  Amid a growing furore over results, which due to coronavirus have had to be determined without exams, John Swinney, the Scottish education minister,  on Tuesday announced a major U-turn after close to 125,000 students had their predicted results downgraded by a moderation process. Mr Swinney said that all the downgraded results, awarded last week for the Scottish equivalents of GCSEs and A-levels, would be withdrawn and replaced with teachers’ recommendations, telling the Scottish parliament that “We got this wrong”. Parents and peers are now urging the Prime Minister to follow suit in England, where 250,000 students are sent to receive A-Level results on Thursday, and do away with the exam regulator’s algorithm – which takes into account pupils’ past performance as well as their school’s historic grades to determine results.

Mail
Students were given a ‘triple lock’ on their A-level and GCSE grades last night as ministers ripped up the system in the wake of the Scottish exams fiasco. Just 36 hours before A-level results are released, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said students could now opt for the grades they got in their mock exams. It means A-level students can choose between the marks they get awarded tomorrow – which are based on teacher assessments and a computer-generated ‘standardisation’ model – or their mock results.

Times
Pupils will be able to claim their mock A-level and GCSE grades as their final result this year, ministers announced last night, as they sought to head off a rebellion over their assessment plan. In a last-minute concession Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said pupils would have their grades, which they receive tomorrow, improved if their mock results were better. Mr Williamson also promised to waive fees for pupils wishing to take resits in October and said that schools would be given £30 million to pay for invigilation and any other running costs.

Health

Times
Are you feeling ill? The computer will see you now. And just like a human doctor this medical app will use “imagination” when making a diagnosis. The result is a program that can diagnose illness with greater accuracy than a GP — achieved thanks to an approach that lets it think like a GP. In 1,671 test cases the program, from the British healthcare company Babylon Health working with colleagues at UCL, correctly diagnosed a disease 77 per cent of the time, compared with 71 per cent by doctors.

Jobs

Telegraph
Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the British economy faces “bumpy months” ahead following the latest spike in job losses. The Prime Minister said the UK has a “long, long way to go” until it sees a return to “economic vitality and health”. Wednesday’s GDP figures are expected to show Britain officially falling into recession for the first time since the 2008 financial crash. It comes after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said about 730,000 jobs have been lost since March, based on pay as you earn data.  Speaking hours after the ONS report, Mr Johnson said: “We always knew that this was going to be a very tough time for people.

Mail
The number of people on company payrolls has fallen by 730,000 since lockdown – as employment saw the biggest drop in a decade. Dire figures have started to show the huge impact of coronavirus on the labour market, with a wave of jobs being axed. In the three months to June, the number in work decreased by 220,000 – the largest quarterly slump since 2009. Total hours worked slumped by a fifth over the quarter to the lowest level since 1994. Meanwhile, the numbers on payroll tumbled another 114,000 in July, as the claimant count – which includes some people who are in work – increased again to reach 2.7million.

Times
Jobs were lost during lockdown at the fastest pace since the financial crisis a decade ago, official figures show. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that employment fell by 220,000 between April and June, the steepest fall since May-July 2009, when 254,000 jobs were lost. The scale of the downturn is likely to be even greater, and ONS analysis of tax data shows that between March and July the number of people on payrolls fell by almost 750,000.

Vaccine

Times
Russia has approved the world’s first coronavirus vaccine for use, President Putin said yesterday, claiming that it had “passed all the checks” and been administered to one of his daughters. The announcement after less than two months of human testing was tantamount to a declaration of victory in the global race for a vaccine. Moscow was accused of cutting corners for propaganda purposes, with one expert calling it a reckless decision. “This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered,” Mr Putin told a government meeting.

Metro
Vladimir Putin has been slammed by the scientific community after announcing Russia had approved the world’s first coronavirus vaccine. Experts have called the move ‘reckless and foolish’ as the jab is yet to pass clinical trials. But the Russian leader has insisted it offers ‘sustainable immunity’ and that his daughter has already been inoculated. The country is preparing to start a mass vaccination campaign in October, but scientists have said this would be ‘unethical’ as an ‘improperly tested vaccine’ could have a ‘disastrous’ impact on the population. No approval was granted by the World Health Organisation for the vaccine, named Sputnik V after the former Soviet space satellites.

Guido
In a televised video conference this morning, Vladimir Putin attempted to steal a march on the west by announcing Russia has become the first country to approve a Coronavirus vaccine.  This just a month after the UK announced Russian hackers had been attempting to steal Oxford University vaccine research… The vaccine, which people are already taking in Russia, has not undergone the months-long so-called ‘Phase Three Study’ involving thousands of people that is the international standard to ensure vaccines are safe, meaning that this could go badly wrong for those who take it.

Obesity

Telegraph
Obesity is associated with “higher odds” of admission to hospital from severe Covid-19, a study using data from more than 300,000 people in England has suggested. Scientists sought to build on previous smaller-scale studies which examined the potential link between being overweight and progressing to intensive care due to coronavirus infection. Researchers from University College London and the universities of Southampton and Edinburgh drew on data from the UK Biobank study, collected between 2006 and 2010, covering 334,329 people with an average age of 56.

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