Wednesday briefing: Delay to ‘freedom day’?

안녕하세요, Warren Murray with you for what I hope you will find an informative few minutes.

Rishi Sunak is willing to accept a delay of up to four weeks beyond 21 유월 for England’s Covid “freedom day”, the Guardian understands. It would infuriate many Conservative backbenchers, including the former minister Steve Baker, who has called 21 June the “last chance” to save industries such as hospitality. A Whitehall source said Sunak was not fixated on a date, but rather that when restrictions are lifted, they are lifted permanently.

delay of up to four weeks would allow second vaccine doses for all over-50s to have been administered and taken effect before reopening, under government plans. It would also coincide with the end of the school summer term, reducing any spread of the virus, particularly the Delta variant, via classrooms. A final decision is due to be announced by the prime minister on Monday.

Separately, the public accounts committee has said ministers could not justify spending millions of pounds for consultants to assess bids for £500m worth of Covid support for charities. MPs also said five special advisers were involved in a meeting where nine out of 13 bids that originally scored lowest were elevated to be among the 42 eventually chosen. Out of 35 bids for another funding programme, all four lowest-ranked bids were elevated to the final list of 20 recipients after ministers were asked for “their views and preferences”. More coronavirus developments at our live blog.

‘Axe Brexit residency deadline’ – As David Frost locks horns with an EU delegation over the Northern Ireland protocol today, 이상 40 charities have written to Boris Johnson urging him to lift the 30 유월 deadline for EU citizens to apply to keep their right to remain in the UK. The charities, which are funded to support vulnerable EU citizens, say the “reasonable grounds” for a late application allowed for in the law may not be enough to convince the Home Office. The charities are urging Johnson to lift the deadline and not impose another until it can be shown that all eligible EU citizens and non-EU family members have secured their status.

Midweek catch-up

> More than 100 terminally ill people are each month being rejected for benefits despite having less than six months to live, say campaigners. The government says it is consulting on possibly changing the so-called “six-month rule”.

> The president of Magdalen College, Oxford, has defended graduate students’ right to remove a photograph of the Queen from their common room after the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, called it “absurd”.

> Kim Jong-un looks to have lost weight, prompting speculation about the North Korean dictator’s health. We have prepared a before-and-after picture slider so that you can be the judge.

Kim’s health is a frequent source of speculation. A three-week absence last year sparked rumours that he had fallen ill after heart surgery, but he also might have been isolating because of Covid.

> Confidence in the EU’s ability to handle crises has been hit by Covid-19, says a survey for the European Council on Foreign Relations, 그러나 dissatisfaction with national politics is even higher and most people still support being in the EU.

> NHS trusts are recruiting people without the right qualifications to act as registered nurses, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) 경고했다, in what it claims is a worrying trend driven by the widespread shortage in England where there are almost 35,000 unfilled nursing posts.

> Auckland in New Zealand has been awarded the title of “world’s most liveable city”. Vienna, the Austrian capital, had been the No 1 이후 2018 but this time was tossed out of the 10 altogether.

‘Win the 21st century’ – The US Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill to boost American semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of international competition, most notably from China. “We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off,” said the president, 조 바이든. Roger Wicker, the lead Republican on the science and commerce committee, 말했다: “This is an opportunity for the United States to strike a blow on behalf of answering the unfair competition that we are seeing from communist China.” Biden is due to fly to the UK for the G7 summit starting on Friday, and Rafael Behr thinks that the president will be looking to muster support for a coming cold war with China.

Right to abortion – Government ministers from five European countries, including Belgium’s prime minister, are among 29 politicians, healthcare and women’s rights activists who have signed an open letter calling for the removal of all legal barriers to abortion. The signatories say abortion should be regarded as essential healthcare and call for a global “factual and unbiased” campaign so women and girls know their rights and understand their options. Their letter calls for an end to mandatory counselling for abortion, the implementation of forthcoming revised World Health Organization guidelines, and for the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone to be approved for use in countries where it is not yet available.

Royals urged to go wild – More than 100 academics, experts and public figures have signed a letter calling on the royal family to rewild their lands to help tackle Britain’s biodiversity crisis and show climate leadership. Balmoral, owned by the Queen, is about 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) – almost twice the size of Manchester. Dartmoor, where the Duchy of Cornwall is the largest landowner, used to be covered in temperate rainforest but only fragments remain. 그 동안에, landowners in England will be paid thousands of pounds in bonuses for creating new woodlands. A Forestry Commission scheme will cover the costs of saplings and planting and pay bonuses of up to £2,800 a hectare for woodland that helps wildlife recover, £1,600/ha for riverside trees, £2,200/ha for woodland with long-term public access and £500/ha for cutting flood risk by slowing water flow.

Two weeks after Dominic Cummings told MPs that the health secretary was a serial liar who lost the trust of No 10, Matt Hancock will face the same committee to defend himself. Heather Stewart explains what is at stake, and what it could mean for the next stage of the pandemic.

The last time the UK chaired a summit of the G7, or the G8 as it was in 2013, David Cameron sensed he had pulled off a diplomatic triumph by championing the global fight against corruption – the money launderers, tax avoiders, the kleptocrats, the crooks hiding their dealings behind front companies.

But nearly a decade after the promises in Northern Ireland, the UK has lost its leadership role in bringing the wealthy and corrupt to account. Patrick Wintour explains how.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has pledged to take “relevant and appropriate action” after more historical tweets from England players emerged. Jordan Henderson has said fans booing England’s players for taking the knee achieves nothing and proves the fight against racism is far from over. The extraordinary spate of athletics world records in the super spikes era has continued as Letesenbet Gidey smashed the two-day-old women’s 10,000m best, set by Sifan Hassan on Sunday, by more than five seconds.

Stefanos Tsitsipas continues to play some of the best tennis of his life and he will face Alexander Zverev for a place in the French Open final after defeating Daniil Medvedev, the second seed. Tamara Zidansek and Anatstasia Pavlyuchenkova reached the semi-finals, continuing the series of unexpected results in the women’s singles at Roland Garros. The British Olympic Association has reacted to speculation that Japan could place the UK on its red list by revealing that 86% of Team GB has already had at least one Covid vaccine. England football fans attending the team’s opening 유로 2020 group game against Croatia will be able to use a “vaccine passport” for the first time, Uefa has confirmed. And Aaron Rodgers wasn’t with the Green Bay Packers for their first mandatory minicamp session on Tuesday, the latest chapter in the standoff between the team and their MVP quarterback.

Britain’s housing market is “on fire” thanks to Covid-era tax breaks for buyers and heightened demand for larger properties from households with more savings following lockdowns, the Bank of England’s chief economist said yesterday. But Andy Haldane warned that higher prices, which rose 10% in the year to March, would worsen inequality. The FTSE100 is set to dip 0.1% or so this morning while the pound is up at $1.416 and €1.163.

“Sunak open to four-week delay to lockdown easing” – the lead story on our 보호자 front page today, which also covers the guilty plea of PC Wayne Couzens to the kidnapping and rape of Sarah Everard, yesterday’s major web outage, 그리고 heartbreaking story of Artin Iran Nezhad, the toddler who died in his family’s attempt to cross the Channel. “Fresh rush to get jabs raises hopes for end of lockdown” – the i splashes on what we report as the “Glastonbury–style” race to book in (though hopefully not while calf-deep in mud and worse).

“You’ll have to arrest us to stop us reopening” – Andrew Lloyd Webber stages a drama on the front of the Telegraph. “Bride and doom” – the Mirror says delaying lockdown would put 50,000 weddings at risk, while the Times has “Ministers under fire for summer holiday muddle”, which is about the confusion surrounding the green, amber and red country lists.

If Magdalen college students had set out to bait the Mail 그리고 Express they could not have hoped for a better result. “Outrage as Oxford students vote to axe Queen”, fumes the former, while the latter gasps “How dare they! Oxford students cancel our Queen”. 그만큼 Metro has “You’re tricked”, about the global sting where criminal gangs were lured into using a messaging app run by the FBI. 그만큼 Sun’s exclusive is “Corden/Mourinho” – not exactly Frost/Nixon, but rather the TV host chatting with the Special One about England’s hopes in the Euros. 그만큼 Financial Times leads with “Sunak presses for City exemption from G7’s global taxation regime” while it also has the richest 25 Americans paying, surprise surprise, very little tax.

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