Brexit

Looks like the negotiations will go down to the wire, says Reuters.

Britain and the EU have planned more trade negotiations all the way until Oct. 2, less than a fortnight before a summit where the bloc hopes to endorse any agreement with London, according to a schedule published by British negotiators on Friday.
More than four years after Britons voted to leave the EU, and after tortuous divorce talks, the two sides are negotiating on all aspects of their future ties, from trade to security to transport, from 2021 onwards.
The EU has said negotiators must seal any deal by October to allow for ratification by the bloc’s 27 nations. The EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has since, however, signalled room for some slippage.
“Negotiating rounds will take place in August and in September, unless agreed otherwise between the parties,” according to a document posted on Twitter by the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost.
The three more rounds planned would end on Oct. 2, ahead of the summit of the EU’s 27 leaders due on Oct. 15-16.
Should the two sides fail to produce an agreement by then, it would likely trigger high-level emergency talks to get a deal over the line before the end of the year, when Britain’s transition period ends.

Immigration

The good weather means hundreds more immigrants are heading for the UK, reports the Times.

Boats carrying 75 migrants were intercepted in the Channel yesterday, as Border Force officials expressed astonishment that the vessels had remained afloat during the journey.
Dozens of people in small dinghies arrived on the Kent coast, hours after the Border Force intercepted a record daily total of 202 migrants on Thursday. The migrants travelled across in overcrowded rigid-hulled inflatable dinghies.

Record numbers are making the crossing, says the Mail.

More than 200 illegal immigrants crossed the Channel to arrive on the British coast yesterday – a record for a single day.
The astonishing number brought renewed calls for ministers to get a grip on the Channel crossings crisis. The previous record for one day was 180, set on July 12.
In fact, yesterday’s figure of 202 could be even higher because the Border Force records only include intercepted boats and it was unclear last night if they account for at least two groups of migrants picked up by police inland.

EU

The bloc’s finances are in a dire state, says the Telegraph.

The eurozone economy suffered a record-smashing collapse in the second quarter as ultra-strict Covid-19 lockdowns and a late start to the summer holiday season set the region back years.
GDP plunged 12pc in the second quarter compared to the previous three months with the fragile economies in Southern Europe hardest hit, Eurostat revealed. After the woeful second quarter figures, economists warned the recovery could be derailed by signs of a resurgence in virus infections.

But the top people are still spending on luxuries for themselves – and we’ll have to chip in says the Express.

BRITONS will have to help stump up for the development of a multi-million euro retreat being planned by the European Parliament, Express.co.uk can reveal.
European politicians want to spend big on a 32-bedroom bolthole on the site of the former home of Jean Monnet, the father of the European Union, in France. They have drawn up plans to fork out more than £2 million on the guest house, according to internal documents seen by this website.

Lockdown

There’s a resurgence of the virus says the Telegraph.

When it landed on Boris Johnson’s desk on Wednesday evening, the data made for grim reading.
According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report, coronavirus, suppressed for months under a strict lockdown, was on its way back.
“The ONS surveillance data was the clincher,” said a senior Cabinet source by way of explanation for the dramatic – opponents claimed chaotic – turn of events that followed.
Downing Street insisted on Friday night that the Prime Minister and his team had acted on the data, seemingly showing a 63 per cent rise in infections in just two weeks, with a decisiveness critical to keeping on top of Covid-19.

And the new laws could be strengthened nationally, says the Guardian.

Boris Johnson raised the threat of a new national lockdown as he paused new freedoms due this weekend amid fears any further reopening of the economy could trigger a full-blown resurgence of the coronavirus.
The surprise move came with a warning from Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, that the country now appears to be “at the outer edge” of how far society can safely reopen in the age of the pandemic.
“If we wish to do more things in the future, we may have to do less of some other things,” he said. “The idea that we can open up everything and keep the virus under control is clearly wrong.”

Businesses are worried at the latest guidance, reports the Mail.

Boris Johnson’s delay to lockdown easing will take a wrecking ball to the economic recovery, according to ailing businesses braced for yet more hardship.
The Prime Minister today announced he is ‘squeezing the brake pedal’ on lifting the coronavirus restrictions still throttling some sectors of UK plc.
He also extended the compulsory wearing of face masks to most indoor public spaces, including museums in places of worship.
After the infection rate doubled in July, ministers and scientists are increasingly weary of a second onslaught of the virus, which is seeing a resurgence in several other countries.

Will it last into the autumn?  The Times says it might.

Boris Johnson has postponed easing the coronavirus lockdown and readied the country for an autumn without seeing friends or family.
The prime minister warned of “trade-offs” ahead yesterday and delayed the lifting of restrictions in England for at least two weeks after a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.
At a Downing Street press conference after households were banned from meeting each other at home in parts of the northwest, Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, bluntly warned that the country had “reached the limits” of reopening.

Shielding

We who are shielding can get out now, says the Mirror.

Boris Johnson has been slammed for refusing to delay the end of ‘shielding’ support for millions people at higher risk of Coronavirus.
The Prime Minister today (Friday) announced a raft lockdown-easing measures due to take effect tomorrow would be postponed.
But the plan to end help for people at increased risk from Covid-19 will still go ahead – despite charities branding the move “desperately unfair.”

And we can even go back to work, reports BBC News.

People shielding against coronavirus can now leave their home and return to work, as a further easing of lockdown restrictions in England is postponed.
More than two million at high risk will no longer need to isolate in most of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It comes after the PM applied the brakes to easing restrictions further and as some businesses remain closed.

Muslims

Muslims are being accused of failing to respect the rules, says the Independent.

Millions of households across northern England have been banned from cross-household gatherings in homes or pubs under last-minute new lockdown measures introduced overnight, as the government rushed to contain “increasing” transmission of cases.
The new rules, announced the night before Muslims across the country are set to celebrate Eid al-Adha, are being introduced in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and east Lancashire following increased rates of coronavirus transmission.

They’re not being serious about the pandemic, an MP is reported to say by BBC News.

A Tory MP has defended his claim that some Muslims in West Yorkshire are not taking the pandemic seriously.
Craig Whittaker said the “vast majority” of those breaking the rules in his constituency were from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
Tory peer Baroness Warsi called his comments “divisive nonsense” and Labour said they were “overtly racist”.
But Mr Whittaker said he would continue to speak out to try and prevent excess deaths in BAME communities.

The Guardian says his comments are racist.

A Conservative MP has been accused of racism after he said the “vast majority” of people breaching coronavirus lockdown rules were from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, particularly those from Muslim backgrounds.
Craig Whittaker, the MP for Calder Valley, West Yorkshire since 2010, told LBC radio there were “sections of our community that are just not taking the pandemic seriously”.
Asked if by this he meant the Muslim community, Whittaker said: “Of course. If you look at the areas where we have seen rises, and cases, the vast majority – not by any stretch of the imagination all areas – it is the BME communities that are not taking this seriously enough.”

But a religious leader agrees, reports the Mail.

One mosque leader in locked down Yorkshire has criticised some of his worshipers for failing to take the threat of coronavirus ‘seriously enough’ and a lack of social distancing that has contributed to a ‘dangerous’ spike in cases in the north of England.
Mohammed Ashrif Tahir Nushai, 84, a community leader in Bradford, spoke out as the Government was blasted for imposing a new lockdown in Manchester, east Lancashire and West Yorkshire at the start of Eid.
Mr Nushai told MailOnline: ‘Sadly, there are people within our community who are not taking coronavirus seriously enough. Since the easing of the main lockdown, a lot of people have been visiting relatives and friends and attending events in each other’s homes with very little thought of keeping themselves safe.

The health secretary says in the Independent that he was not taking the new measures simply because of the religious celebrations.

New restrictions placed on gatherings the day before the Muslim festival of Eid are not aimed at curtailing celebrations, the Health Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock denied Muslims were being targeted by the measures, which restrict gatherings of separate households at home in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.
Eyebrows were raised by the fact the measures leave pubs and restaurants open in the affected locales while targeting gatherings at home – a key part of festivities.
A government source told broadcaster Sky News: “Eid was discussed in the gold command meeting today, and was a factor towards the decision to implement these restrictions particularly because of household transmission.”

Disorder

Several papers point out the potential for riots.  The Times says the army should be alerted.

The military should be on standby to intervene as local lockdowns compound tensions, threatening disorder not seen since the 2011 riots, the government’s scientific advisers warn.
Mass protests, illegal raves and increases in racism, inequality and unemployment are among the issues combining to raise the risk of disorder, according to a report by the Sage advisory group published yesterday.
The police are ill equipped to cope and military assistance is likely to be needed if widespread rioting were to break out, the report delivered at a meeting on July 2 added.

And the Metro says the disorder could be overwhelming.

Serious public disorder could ‘overwhelm all attempts’ to control the coronavirus crisis, resulting in army intervention, scientific advisers have warned.
Tensions arising from the pandemic have become ‘inextricably bound’ with structural inequalities and international events, leaving the UK in a ‘volatile and highly complex situation’, according to a paper considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) two days before pubs reopened in England. Behavioural science experts claim widespread disorder is not certain to happen – but police ‘are in a far weaker position in terms of capacity to deal with these threats’ in ‘Public Disorder and Public Health: Contemporary Threats and Risks’.

And the Sun says problems could arise within days.

BRITAIN could be rocked by riots within days amid growing tensions over local lockdowns, Government advisers have warned.
Inequalities fuelled by the virus have left the UK “precariously balanced” and at risk of disorder that threatens to overwhelm police.
The violence may be worse than that seen during clashes in 2011 and “catastrophically undermine” the country’s recovery plans.
It would require military intervention, send Covid  infections spiralling out of control and hinder the revival of the economy, it is claimed.

The results could be catastrophic, reports ITV News.

Serious public disorder in the coming months could “overwhelm all attempts” to control coronavirus and “catastrophically” undermine recovery plans, scientific advisers have warned.
The current “volatile and highly complex situation” means the UK will face “grave challenges” in maintaining public order, according to a paper considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in July.
The academics warn that tensions resulting from the pandemic have become “inextricably bound” with structural inequalities and international events.

Herd immunity

Will herd immunity work?  The Telegraph investigates.

Herd immunity is the only long-term solution to Covid-19 but the idea has wrongly become “taboo”, a leading scientist has said.
The concept currently “provokes hostility and controversy” but it must be revisited, according to Raj Bhopal, emeritus professor of public health at Edinburgh University.
In a new article published in the journal Public Health in Practice, he argues that the Covid-19 pandemic has put ministers in a “zugwang” which is a position in chess where every move is disadvantageous and where every plan must be examined “however unpalatable” it might be.
Herd immunity is when enough people become resistant to a disease – through vaccination or previous exposure – that it can no longer significantly spread among the rest of the population.

It could be the only answer, says the Star.

A British scientist claims “taboo” herd immunity is the only way to beat coronavirus in the UK.
Despite backlash, herd immunity could be the long term solution to tackling the deadly bug.
Leading scientist, Professor Raj Bhopal says although the concept “provokes hostility and controversy” – it must be revisited.
The emeritus professor of public health at Edinburgh University says the idea must be discussed “however unpalatable” it may be, reports The Telegraph.

The current rules

Yes, they’re confusing – and changing all the time.  The Mail tries to keep up.

Confused about the rules of lockdown? Here’s what you can and can’t do now.

Scotland

Away from the pandemic, there’s political turmoil north of the border says the Express.

CONFIDENCE amongst Tory MSPs in their own party is deepening as Douglas Ross confirmed his intention to run for the new leadership after Jackson Carlaw’s sudden resignation.
One Scottish Tory MSP Adam Tomkins said support for Scottish independence is the country’s “majority position”. Mr Tomkins, a former constitutional advisor to the Scotland Office and the former Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell, spoke out against one of the Tories’ main policies after Mr Carlaw’s sudden resignation.

And the Evening Standard also reports on the country’s Tory leadership race.

Douglas Ross is likely to be a candidate in the contest to be leader of the Scottish Conservatives following Jackson Carlaw’s sudden resignation, a fellow party MP backing his bid has said.
After less than six months in the job, former minister Mr Carlaw yesterday said he had made the “painful decision” after realising he was not the best person to lead the party in the run-up to next May’s Holyrood election.
Tory MP John Lamont also confirmed today that former leader Ruth Davidson will return to frontline politics and play a part in the team if Mr Ross is elected.

Honours

Sir Ian Botham is to become ‘Lord Beefy’, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson was at the centre of a ‘cronyism’ row last night after his brother was named on a list of 36 new peers in the House of Lords, alongside ex-Tory chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond and England cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham.
The Government published its list of proposed peerages and political honours this afternoon, confirming Jo Johnson as one of a handful of former Tory MPs who are being elevated.
Jo, 48, was the former universities minister before resigning from government over Brexit, and standing down from the House of Commons at the last general election, in an astonishing blow to brother Boris.

Property

The price of your home could be rising, says the Times.

House prices rose at their fastest pace in 11 years last month as buyers piled into the market after lockdown restrictions were eased, according to the latest survey by the Nationwide building society.
House prices increased by 1.7 per cent last month, the steepest monthly increase that Nationwide has recorded since August 2009. The average price of a home in Britain is now £220,936, 1.5 per cent higher than a year ago.
The performance in July represents a stark contrast to June, when house prices fell 1.6 per cent month on month and 0.1 per cent year on year.

TV licences

Don’t forget you’re supposed to buy a television licence now if you’re over 75 says the Times.

The chairman of the BBC hits back at the government today as millions of older people are forced to start paying for their TV licences for the first time in more than 20 years.
Sir David Clementi points the finger of blame at ministers for the decision to charge over-75s £157.50 a year. Writing for The Times, he says: “It’s important to recognise that this change has come about because the government made a decision, in 2015, to stop funding free TV licences for over-75s.”

Hong Kong

Elections could be delayed because of the virus, says the Times.

The Hong Kong authorities postponed local elections for a year yesterday, infuriating pro-democracy supporters and capping off a month of political disqualifications, arrests for social media posts and activists fleeing overseas.
Claiming a surge in coronavirus cases in the territory  made it dangerous to hold elections, Carrie Lam, chief executive of the territory, invoked emergency powers to reschedule the polls.

US elections

And President Trump could be trying to get his retaliation in first in the US elections says the Times.

President Trump demanded that election results in November must be declared within hours of Americans casting their vote.
Ahead of an expected surge in postal votes, the US leader raised the spectre of fraud in the election, claiming that it would be “the most rigged” in history.
Mr Trump, 74, backed away from his earlier suggestion that the presidential election could be delayed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote” after widespread objections, including from many senior Republicans.

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