Hello, Warren Murray with Thursday morning’s offering.
Priti Patel is preparing to send back small boats carrying migrants in the Channel despite French authorities’ warnings that it could endanger lives. Border Force staff were being trained to employ “turn-around” tactics at sea, a statement from the Home Office said. UK officers would force small boats back into French waters; it is unclear whether migrants would be put back on French shores.
A letter from the French government said the turnbacks could not be accepted by the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, on the grounds that “safeguarding human lives at sea takes priority over considerations of nationality, status and migratory policy … The use of maritime refoulements [the practice of sending back asylum seekers] to French territorial waters would risk having a negative impact on our cooperation.”
The Home Office said 785 people crossed the Channel in small boats on Monday, short of last month’s record daily total of 828 migrants. In a statement, the Home Office said Patel had become “the first home secretary to establish a legal basis for the sea tactics, working with acting attorney general Michael Ellis and expert QCs”. Pierre-Henri Dumont, France’s MP for Calais, said: “This suggestion tears apart the UN Geneva conventions giving the right to everyone to apply to any country for asylum.”
Foreign students bring in billions – The 272,000 students from outside the UK who began university courses in 2018-19 would generate close to £26bn in net economic activity after the costs of their being here is taken into account, according to research from the Higher Education Policy Institute and Universities UK International. Just 10 international students arriving from outside the EU will generate £1m of net economic impact during their studies, according to the findings. The figures show the economic benefits far outweigh the costs to public services. Including teaching grants from central government as well as net NHS spending and other social expenditure such as police and education, the costs amount to just £2.9bn.
Social care plan goes through – Boris Johnson’s £12bn-a-year health and social care plan passed the Commons by 319 votes to 248 last night, amid warnings it will fail to fix the urgent crisis in the care system. Labour warned that some patients could still end up having to sell their homes in order to pay for their care. Nadra Ahmed from the National Care Association said: “Boris Johnson’s claim that this was about ‘fixing’ social care was misleading … this is a recovery plan for the NHS and that is very obvious. The funding pot being talked about for social care is not sufficient to even address the issues of today.” Business leaders, free-market economists and rightwing MPs said the 1.25 percentage point increase in employer national insurance would drag down business investment and could cost the Tories their claims to be the party of business and low taxation.
Early start to Scouting – The Scouts movement is to start enrolling four-year-olds with the aim of kickstarting children’s interest in trying new things after 18 months of Covid restrictions. It is launching Squirrel Scouts in scores of the most deprived areas. Preschool and reception-aged children will be encouraged to cover their bright red Squirrel Scouts uniforms in badges earned for accomplishments such as learning to spend 50p in a shop, planting seeds and meeting new friends.
The movement cites Ofsted research suggesting that in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, children have returned to early-years education less confident and more anxious after lockdowns.
Dementia risk from transport noise – Living in a home exposed to noise from roads and trains is associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to the largest study of its kind, which involved 2 million adults and took more than a decade. Possible explanations include the release of stress hormones and sleep disturbance, leading to health problems that are seen as being linked to the onset of dementia. The findings have been published in the BMJ. Dementia is one of the world’s biggest health challenges, and besides well-established risk factors such as unhealthy lifestyle, experts increasingly believe environmental factors may play a role. Previous research has linked air pollution to dementia risk. The findings suggest it may be reduce the incidence of dementia by tackling traffic noise, the researchers say.
Fukushima research scales up – Scientists have glued and taped sensors on to snakes so they can monitor potentially harmful radioactivity around the Fukushima nuclear meltdown site in Japan. Nearly 400 square kilometres are still deemed unfit for human habitation after the 2011 disaster. The researchers found that snakes inside the zone – where people are recommended not to live – showed radiocesium levels around 22 times higher than those from outside. “Radiocesium 134 and 137 tends to bind to soil and accumulates in the muscle tissue of snakes,” explained Hannah Gerke, one of the lead researchers. “But we don’t understand what level would be harmful.”
Few terrorist organisations survive for more than a few years. Al-Qaida was different. Jason Burke, who has spent much of his career reporting on the group, and former member Aimen Dean reflect on how it was able to carry out the September 11 attacks more than a decade after it was formed – and then survive the fallout from its “catastrophic success”.
In the summer of 1988, a dozen or so men gathered in the sweltering Pakistani frontier town of Peshawar. A handful had been with their de facto leader, a wealthy Saudi Arabian called Osama bin Laden, when he had fought off a Soviet attack on a base inside Afghanistan a year earlier.
They wanted to talk over a new project: the creation of a unit of committed and experienced Islamist fighters who could deploy to wherever Muslims needed their protection. The group would also be a vanguard who could attract further recruits and spread the radical views of its adherents. Its name would be al-Qaida.
Emma Raducanu’s searing run from the depths of the US Open qualifying tournament to the highest levels of the sport continued as she defeated Belinda Bencic, the Olympic gold medallist and 11th seed, to reach the semi-finals on her debut appearance in New York.
Gareth Southgate defended his decision not to make any substitutions after England conceded a last-minute equaliser in their World Cup qualifier against Poland. Wales drew 0-0 with Estonia to seriously damage their hopes of automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup, while Northern Ireland’s path to Qatar remains tricky after they had to settle for a draw against Switzerland. Manchester City were knocked out of the Women’s Champions League after Claudia Zornoza gave Real Madrid a 1-0 win at the Academy Stadium and a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Michael Schumacher’s wife Corinna has said the former seven-time world F1 champion is still battling to recover from brain injury caused by a skiing accident and he remains “here, but different”. And the Ryder Cup will take place minus “Captain America” after Patrick Reed was surprisingly omitted from Steve Stricker’s wildcard selections for the US team at WhistlIng Straits.
Shares in the Chinese property giant Evergrande have plunged almost 10% as fears mount that the company will default on some of its massive $300bn debts, triggering a domino-like effect in the country’s shaky real estate sector. Evergrande, which has been downgraded by credit agencies twice this week, also saw trading in bonds suspended on the Shenzhen stock exchange after they fell 20% in value. The FTSE100 is set to lose around 0.6% when it opens this morning, while the pound will fetch you $1.375 and €1.164.
We’ll begin as we generally do with our own Guardian print edition, which leads with “PM warned £12bn gamble will not fix care crisis”. The infectious smile of Emma Raducanu makes for a great picture. Also prominent: the Taliban’s talk of an inclusive and tolerant Afghan regime is shown up as a sham, as in response to protests it bans demonstrations and slogans that do not have its prior approval.
The front page of the Express blares out “Migrants will be turned back to France”, an idea the Times says is meeting with “French anger”. The latter paper also has “Health service hiring dozens of managers on up to £270k”, which the Telegraph reports as “NHS hires army of £200,000 bureaucrats” – and there’s more than a whiff of public service bashing to that coverage after the government’s tax hike for health and social care, which the Financial Times reports comparatively straitlacedly as “Johnson secures £12bn in tax rises to battle NHS and social care crises”.
Alternative splashes elsewhere include “Boosters to be wrapped up by Christmas” in the i and “Met chief must go” in the Daily Mail, which is about a call by victims of police malpractice. The Sun calls Andrew “The deluded prince” as it says he “plots royal return”, as in a resumption of public duties.
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