Greene wouldn't recant her comparison of the Democratic Party to Hitler's National Socialist Party after she apologized for equating mask mandates to the Holocaust.
You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.Just when you think you’ve got it beat, Covid-19 somehow comes back stronger. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger but without the charm, this Terminator of a virus has an “I’ll be back” menace that risks undoing all the hard work of the UK’s stunning vaccine rollout.The epic battle between the vaccines and the virus certainly has high stakes. Perhaps that’s why Boris Johnson sounded unusually nervous as he announced he would indeed be postponing ‘Freedom Day’ by another four weeks. Instead of the sunshine of Midsummer Merrie England, there was a blizzard of scary charts of projected hospitalisations.Fluffing his lines, the PM referred to “the adults of this company” (he meant “country”) and then wrongly declared the new unlocking date was July 29th (correcting it later to July 19th). Polling shows most of the public are relaxed about a delay, but Johnson is acutely aware that the 24% who are unhappy include several of his own backbenchers, and it showed.Nowhere was this more telling than in his repeated reassurance that the Freedom Day Mk II was the real deal. He was “pretty confident” that July 19 will be “the terminus date” (he said “terminal date” too). June 21 was always a “‘not before’ date”, whereas this was much firmer, he suggested. This was not a defeat for lockdown sceptics, it was a victory, he seemed to imply.That spin may or may not work on Tory MPs, but it could paint the PM into a corner for the first time in months. Ever since he bowed to Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance’s plan for a cautious roadmap, he has been able to fall back on their insistence that all four tests have to be met (the new variant test was particularly shrewd) and that “data not dates” will drive his decisions.But now with talk of “terminal” and fixed timelines, it feels like dates not data is the new approach. Steve Baker, Mark Harper and Sir Charles Walker, who will probably vote against the delay, have much more concrete evidence of a breach of faith should that July 19 date somehow slip again.Whitty and Vallance gave the PM invaluable backing at the press conference. The chief medical officer in particular pointed out that even without the Indian variant, the very restoration of unrestricted indoor mixing of “households that are unrelated” was always going to lead to an uptick in cases. He added there had to come a point where fatalities switched from “deaths averted” to deaths delayed”, as with flu.Patrick Vallance even suggested that locking down beyond July 19 would be counter-productive. And he made the case for that date containing the Goldilocks calculation of just how hot or cold to make the roadmap porridge. Giving over-18s their first jab and pushing unlockdown closer to the school holidays certainly added some sugar, as did a lifting of the cap on wedding numbers.Still, for Keir Starmer, the talk of 19 July as a “terminal” date is an opportunity for a Judgement Day on Johnson’s competence. If the vaccination programme can’t sufficiently flatten the Delta variant spike, he is sure to step up his own attack line that Johnson’s failure to stop flights from India is the real culprit. Already today, the Labour leader hardened his rhetoric to say it was a “pathetic” border policy that had postponed freedoms.Starmer’s clear aim is to drive a big wedge between the excellence of the NHS vaccine rollout and the government’s wider failures. It’s unclear whether it was the PM’s desire to keep alive post-Brexit trade talks with Narendra Modi that prompted his inaction, but the suggestion that he recklessly undermined both the NHS’s programme and public sacrifices is a toxic one.Today’s failure to offer extra financial support to businesses added extra political risk too. Those firms which were hanging on by their fingertips will now face having to pay their share of furlough bills, with no extra income to fund them. Add in the self-employed already upset and an Opposition that was pro-enterprise could make inroads.To oversee one Covid wave is a misfortune, to allow two begins to look like carelessness. But to trigger a third wave, squandering all the good work of your own vaccine success story, could be seen as unforgivable by a public which has to date been incredibly forgiving of its prime minister.Related...Lockdown Extended For Four Weeks To Prevent 'Thousands' Of DeathsWhat The Lockdown Extension Means For YouAll Over-18s In England Offered Covid Vaccine By July 19, Says Government
The 30-guest limit at weddings in England has been lifted, despite a four-week delay to the ending of lockdown.From June 21, people can have more than 30 guests at a wedding, “provided social distancing remains in place”, Boris Johnson announced at a Downing Street press conference on Monday – welcome news to the many couples who have postponed their celebrations time and time again.The news came as Boris Johnson confirmed he was delaying the end of England’s lockdown, with July 19 now the date earmarked for remaining restrictions being lifted.He told the Downing Street press conference that the spread of the Delta variant meant the government and public “faced a very difficult choice” between continuing with Step 4 of the roadmap on June 21 or giving the NHS “a few more crucial weeks” to get all remaining vaccinations administered.“And since today I cannot say that that we have met all our four tests for proceeding with Step 4 on June 21, I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer,” he said.It is not yet confirmed if there will be an upper limit on guest numbers, but the Mirror has reported that capacity limits may be the highest number of people wedding venues can accommodate while still being Covid-secure.“I am sorry for all the disappointment that’s going to be caused by going a bit slower as we are today,” the prime minster told a journalist and bride-to-be who said she had already twice postponed her wedding.The reporter had questioned why testing and vaccination status could not be used to open up weddings in the same way as football matches, and said weddings felt “bottom of the priority list despite being significant life events without which some people cannot progress with their lives.”Boris Johnson, who married his wife Carrie in a secret ceremony in Westminster Cathedral on May 29 attended by 30 people, said he was sorry for the “many, many businesses” affected by delays – adding “it’s a few weeks that I think is worth it to get those jabs in”.Related...This Is The New Roadmap For Lifting Covid Restrictions In EnglandThe Riskiest (And Safest) Activities As Unlocking ApproachesStop Judging Us For Wanting A Big Wedding
England’s long-awaited exit from lockdown has been delayed, with Boris Johnson warning a spike in cases of the Delta variant could lead to a surge in hospitalisations. This is the new timeline for reaching stage 4 of the government’s roadmap.Stage 4 – July 19The prime minister had hoped to lift the remaining social distancing rules on June 21.But speaking at a press conference on Monday, he confirmed this date has been pushed back to July 19.There will be a check point on June 28, where the government will review the infection data, if it still looks bad then the current Covid rules will be kept in place until July 19.Confirmation, or otherwise, of the July 19 unlocking will be made on July 12.The previous three stages of the unlocking, were as below.Stage 1 – March 8 Two people were allowed to meet for a coffee or picnic and were allowed to meet one other from another household outdoors.All schools and colleges returned.Care home visits indoors resumed, with residents allowed one regular named visitor.The government’s ‘stay at home’ order remained in place. March 29 The rule of six on socials gathering returned. It allowed six people from up to two households to meet outside or in private gardens. The stay at home advice was replaced by new guidance to “stay local where possible”.People were asked to work at home if they could, however, and the overseas travel ban remained in place. People were allowed to travel to meet someone but not stay overnight. Outdoor facilities such as tennis courts, golf courses and basketball courts reopened. Stage 2 – April 12 Non-essential retail and personal care businesses, such as hairdressers and nail salons, reopened. Pubs and restaurants reopened but only for outdoor hospitality, although table service was compulsory.Public buildings, including libraries, reopened.People were allowed begin to exercising indoors with the reopening of gyms and swimming pools.Driving lessons resumed. Weddings and funerals resumed with guests of up to 30 and wakes could include 15 people. People were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday lets or camp sites where facilities are not shared, but only with members of their own household. Stage 3 – May 17Pubs and restaurants could begin hosting people indoors.Gatherings outdoors were allowed for up to 30 people. The rule of six/group comprised of two households was also extended to include indoor settings.Overnight stays were permitted. The ban on international travel was lifted, replaced with a traffic light system with different destinations rated green, amber or red.Hotels and museums could reopen. There were also new rules on entertainment venues, such as cinemas and theatre, and indoor sports venues. Indoors venues could host 1,000 people or be half full, whichever number was lower. Outdoors, a maximum capacity of 4,000, or half full whichever was lower, was allowed. For larger football stadiums, such as Wembley, the crowd could be as large as 10,000 or the venue be a quarter full. Exercising indoors in larger groups was allowed, so, for example, exercise classes could resume. Related...Boris Johnson To Hold Downing Street Coronavirus Press Conference
Lockdown curbs in England will remain in place for an extra four weeks in a bid to avoid a huge third wave of Covid that would cost “thousands” of deaths, Boris Johnson has announced.The prime minister had planned to lift all remaining restrictions next Monday, June 21, but has now set a new date of July 19.There will be a review on June 28, leaving open the option of ending restrictions on July 5 if the data proves drastically better than expected, but Johnson warned this is “unlikely”.The four week delay is designed to give millions more people time to be vaccinated against the highly infections Delta variant of the virus.All over-40s will have their waits between two jabs cut from 12 weeks to eight weeks, and all over-18s will be offered a first dose of the vaccine by July 19. Two thirds of the population will have had both doses by then.Johnson acted after the latest modelling by government scientists projected that the NHS would be put under huge new pressure if England abolished all its curbs as intended on midsummer’s day.The modelling suggested that the number of hospitalisations would match that seen in the first Covid wave in April 2020, when 3,500 people a day were admitted as patients across the UK.The current daily hospital rate is 187, meaning the Delta variant first identified in India would spark a nearly 20-fold increase if all restrictions were scrapped later this month.Under Johnson’s so-called “roadmap” out of lockdown, the fourth step involves the lifting of all remaining curbs including the rule-of-six guidance on gatherings, social distancing in pubs and theatres and the reopening of nightclubs.But soaring cases of the Delta variant mean that two of the government’s four tests for unlocking - a low risk of the NHS being overwhelmed and the absence of new variants – cannot be guaranteed to be met.The Delta variant is between 40% and 80% more transmittable than the Kent variant which triggered the UK’s second wave.Cases of the variant are growing 70% week on week and in a third of the country numbers are doubling every week.The average number of people admitted to hospitals increasing nationally by 15% week on week, and by 61% in the north west of England, the PM said.In a Downing Street press conference, Johnson said there were still millions of young people unvaccinated and some elderly people were at risk even if they had two jabs.He said that the link between infection and hospitalisation had been “weakened” but not “severed”.“We can give the NHS a few more crucial weeks to get those remaining jabs into the arms of those who need them,” he said. “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.”Johnson could face a backlash from the hospitality industry as he announced no extra financial help for those firms worried about going bust from an extra month’s delay.In an attempt to sweeten the pill, the 30-people limit of wedding guests will be lifted.“To give the NHS that extra time, we will hold off Step Four openings until July 19, except for weddings that can still go ahead with more than 30 guests provided social distancing remains in place, and the same will apply to wakes,” he said.Johnson also sent a signal to his Tory backbenchers, some of whom may vote against the delay when it comes before parliament, that the extended timeline would go no further.He pointed out that the June 21 unlocking date was always a “no earlier than” date, but the new timeframe was much stronger. “I am confident that July 19 will be a terminal date, not a ‘not before’ date,” he said.Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said that “the assessment of risk has fundamentally shifted” since the roadmap was first announced.Chief scientist Sir Patrick Vallance said that the entire adult population would be have had two doses of the vaccine between eight and 12 weeks after July 19, suggesting September 13th is the earliest date for nationwide full protection. The latest date would be October 11.Johnson said he was “confident” there would be no further delay beyond the four weeks, claiming there would be “a wall of immunity” by July 19.“Looking at the data, looking at the effectiveness of the vaccines against all variants, I think that we will be able to deliver Step Four on July the 19th.“Now, at that stage, people may want to keep maintaining social distancing, they may want to keep being sensible. But as far as I can see, we will be in a much better position, as a country to go forward.”England's Lockdown ExtensionAll Over-18s In England Offered Covid Vaccine By July 19, Says GovernmentWhat The Lockdown Extension Means For YouThis Is The New Roadmap For Lifting Covid Restrictions In England'Like An Amateur Student Production': Twitter Reacts To GB News' Wobbly LaunchHow A 4-Week Lockdown Extension Could Make A DifferenceThe Riskiest (And Safest) Activities As Unlocking Approaches
If you’re like me, you spent the weekend longing for the mixed bag that is downtown Los Angeles during E3. I’ve got fond memories of fish tacos, The Last Bookstore, watching playoff basketball in garishly lit hotel lobbies and, of course, video game press conference after video game press conference. For a second year in […]
Reality Winner, a former intelligence contractor jailed for leaking classified information, has been released from prison to serve her remaining sentence in a halfway house program. Winner’s attorney Alison Grinter tweeted the news this morning, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ website lists Winner in custody of San Antonio’s Residential Reentry Management field office, which oversees community-based programs for incarcerated people.
“I am thrilled to announce that Reality Winner has been released from prison. She is still in custody in the residential reentry process, but we are relieved and hopeful,” Grinter tweeted in a statement. “Reality and her family have asked for privacy during the transition process as they work to heal the...
Priti Patel has accused the England football team of “gesture politics” for taking the knee before games.The home secretary also refused to criticise fans who booed the players, saying it was “a choice for them”.Labour condemned the home secretary for trying to “provoke a fight” with the team as its Euro 2020 campaign gets underway.It came after a minority of supporters once again defied calls not to jeer the team as they took the knee before kick-off in the clash with Croatia on Sunday.England manager Gareth Southgate has said the players will continue to do so as “a show of solidarity with the black community”.“I think as players we’ve made it very clear that we’ll all stand together against racism and that is the reason that we’ll continue to take the knee and have done over the last few weeks,” he said.Downing Street has also said Boris Johnson wanted people to “cheer” the England team and “not boo” during the tournament. But in an interview with GB News on Monday, Patel criticised the players but not those who booed.“I just don’t support, people participating in that type of gesture politics to a certain extent,” she said of taking the knee.Asked if she supported the fans who continue to boo, Patel said: “That’s a choice for them quite frankly. I’ve not gone to a football match to even contemplate that.”Jo Stevens, Labour’s shadow culture secretary, said: “It beggars belief that a day after the excellent win against Croatia, senior government ministers are still trying to provoke a fight with the England football team. “Ministers should get on with their jobs and get behind the home nations.”Labour leader Keir Starmer has said he “profoundly” believed people should not “boo your own team before kick-off”.Related...Boris Johnson To Hold Downing Street Coronavirus Press ConferenceHow A 4-Week Lockdown Extension Could Make A Difference
After weeks of ‘will they won’t they’ debate about whether Boris Johnson will delay the June 21 final lifting of Covid restrictions, we are finally about to find out what happens next.The prime minister will deliver a press conference on Monday evening at which he will set out his plan for step four of the road map out of lockdown.A delay is widely expected, amid a spike in Covid cases driven by the Delta variant first detected in India.But there remain questions over how long it will be, whether rules for weddings or other activities could be relaxed, and what a delay means for the government’s pandemic strategy.Here’s what we know so far:What is happening with England’s lockdown?The prime minister will meet senior ministers and officials on Sunday evening to make a final decision about whether to proceed with the June 21 unlocking.He is then expected to deliver his verdict to the nation during a Monday evening press conference from Downing Street, after racing back from the Nato summit in Brussels.Will lockdown easing be delayed?Johnson looks almost certain to delay the widespread easing of restrictions, admitting over the weekend there are “grounds for caution”.Reports suggest that he is mulling over a two or four-week delay.But the smart money looks on the latter with England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty reportedly favouring a longer delay.Scientists advising the government have also now predicted that the PM will announce a delay on Monday.Why will the June 21 unlocking be delayed?The latest figures from Public Health England (PHE) on Friday showed there have been 42,323 cases of the Delta variant confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from the previous week.It estimates the strain is 60% more transmissible compared with the previously dominant Alpha, or Kent, variant, and that cases are doubling every four-and-a-half days in some parts of England.The Delta variant also now accounts for 96% of new infections.Johnson said on Saturday that cases and hospitalisations are now going up and that he has “serious concern” about this potentially feeding through to more deaths.Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that ministers would be looking at whether vaccinations have “broken the link” between rising cases and rising hospitalisations, “not just severed or weakened it”.Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Nervtag group which advises ministers on new respiratory diseases, said it was clear the country was facing a “substantial” third wave of the disease.He said the key issue was the extent to which that led to more people becoming seriously ill and requiring hospital treatment.“We still don’t know how bad it could be,” he told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.But what about Covid vaccines?More than three quarters (78.9%) of adults have now had their first dose of the vaccine.But the latest PHE estimates suggest that one dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca is only around 33% effective against the Delta variant, compared with around 50% against the previously dominant Alpha variant.Encouragingly though, once people have two jabs the vaccines’ effectiveness is only slightly reduced – from around 88% to 80%.The problem is only 56% of adults have had both jabs, so a delay would give the NHS more time to give more people their second dose, and so reduce the risk of rising hospitalisations that could put the NHS under pressure.Johnson said on Saturday that “we need to make sure we give the vaccines extra legs.”On the plus side, deaths are still very low, although there is always a lag between rising cases feeding through to more deaths.Could a lockdown delay last longer than four weeks?At a Sunday press conference to close the G7 summit in Cornwall, Johnson refused to say whether the June 21 schedule could be pushed back longer than four weeks.Foreign secretary Dominic Raab meanwhile said that unlocking needed to be “irreversible” and so the government needed to proceed “carefully and cautiously”.“We don’t want to yo-yo back in and out of measures,” he said.He also refused to rule out the possibility that restrictions could stay in place beyond the end of July.“We want to be irreversible so we have just got to be careful that we are there in terms of data,” he said.Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), has meanwhile warned that there is a risk the Covid situation could go “backwards”.He called on the government to provide more financial support to help people self isolate to stop the spread of the virus.Could there still be some relaxation of Covid rules?HuffPost UK last week revealed that Michael Gove said he would “bet” on some kind of “relaxation” of restrictions.Reports suggest that Johnson may delay most of the roadmap, but lift the cap on the number of people who can attend weddings, which is currently at 30.The PM may also choose to relax rules around attendance of large events to enable at least half-full stadiums at Euro 2020 games hosted at Wembley, including the final.Will there be a backlash?Polling by Opinium suggested broad public support for the government’s approach, with 54% in favour of a delay and 37% against.But there is frustration among some Conservative MPs – already unhappy over the impact on the economy and on civil liberties – at the prospect of further delay.Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Sir Graham Brady, the influential chairman of the backbench Tory 1922 Committee, said that it must be the final time.“On any reasonable assessment we should be still on target for lifting restrictions on June 21,” he wrote.“There is no excuse for this further catastrophic delay. It is unacceptable to restrict people’s most fundamental rights. And it must never ever happen again.”
The solo press conference is a departure from the last meeting between a US president and Putin, which last occurred with Trump in 2018.
Leaders of the G7 group of wealthy nations have fallen short of directly providing one billion Covid vaccine doses to poorer countries over the next year.The final communique of the Boris Johnson-hosted summit in Cornwall revealed that the leaders only managed to commit to sharing 870m spare doses over the next year, despite a high profile commitment to a billion.The document insists that taken together with separate financial commitments it would mean the G7 has shared more than two billion doses since the start of the pandemic, and has met the 1bn target for the next year.But the leaders are facing criticism from the likes of Oxfam, which accused leaders of “cooking the books” with its vaccine figures.“A billion vaccine doses would have been a drop in the bucket, but they didn’t even manage that,” the charity said.Earlier, former UK prime minister Gordon Brown said the summit will go down as “unforgivable moral failure” as the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 11bn doses - more than ten times the number pledged - are needed to stamp out the pandemic.At his closing summit press conference, Johnson rejected Brown’s criticism, highlighting US president Joe Biden’s commitment to providing 500m Pfizer vaccines for 92 low and lower-middle income countries and the African Union. “This is another billion made up of a massive contribution by the United States and other friends,” the UK prime minister said.He said the UK’s contribution is another 100m from now to next June of the vaccines.He said: “Already of the 1.5bn vaccines that have been distributed around the world, I think that people in this country should be very proud that half a billion of them are as a result of the actions taken by the UK government in doing that deal with the Oxford scientists and AstraZeneca to distribute it at cost.”He added: “We are going flat out and we are producing vaccines as fast as we can, and distributing them as fast as we can”. The target to vaccinate the world by the end of next year will be done “very largely thanks to the efforts of the countries who have come here today”, according to Johnson.But Oxfam’s head of inequality policy Max Lawson said leaders had “cooked the books” on vaccines and “completely failed” to meet the challenge of the biggest health emergency in a century.“This G7 summit will live on infamy,” he concluded.Edwin Ikhuoria, of the anti-poverty campaign One, said: “Throughout the summit we have heard strong words from the leaders but without the new investment to make their ambitions a reality.“Crucially, the failure to get life-saving vaccines to the whole planet as fast as possible, means this was not the historic moment that people around the world were hoping for and leaves us little closer to ending the pandemic.”What else was agreed at the G7 summit? CovidG7 leaders renewed calls for a further investigation into the origin of Covid-19, following Biden’s surprise decision to order US intelligence agencies to continue probing the Wuhan “lab leak” theory.The final summit communique called for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO [World Health Organisation]-convened phase 2 Covid-19 origins study” including in China.Johnson said that the best advice available to him remained that the virus jumped species from an animal.However he said that it was important to keep an open mind as to what exactly happened.“At the moment, the advice that we have had is that it doesn’t look as though this particular disease of zoonotic origin came from a lab,” he said.“Clearly anybody sensible would want to keep an open mind about that.”ChinaAmerica’s wariness of China is continuing despite Biden replacing Donald Trump in the White House.The president managed to convince leaders to sign up to a rival to Beijing’s influential Belt and Road investment programme in an effort to counter growing Chinese influence.The Build Back Better World (B3W) programme will fund infrastructure, including green technology, and support growth in developing countries.Leaders meanwhile pledged to call on China to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms”, including in Xinjiang where Uighurs are believed to be suffering brutal human rights abuses that some say amount to genocide.It also raised the situation in Hong Kong, calling on Beijing to respect its “rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy”.But reports suggest that there were some disagreements over how strong the language on China should be.EnvironmentThe G7 is committed to supporting a green revolution that creates jobs, cuts emissions and seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degreesLeaders set out the action they will take to slash carbon emissions, including measures like ending the use of unabated coal power - although they were unable to set a deadline for this.The leaders did commit to ending funding for carbon-emitting overseas projects by the end of the year but the failure to agree a timeline may worry Johnson in the run-up to the Cp26 climate summit in Glasgow at which he is hoping to strike a much bigger global deal.The G7 also set a goal of conserving or protecting at least 30% of their land and marine areas by 2030 as part of a push to reach that level of protection globally.But Oxfam criticised the failure to make new pledges of climate finance, arguing that developing nations were looking for progress ahead of Cop26.“Vague promises of new financing for green development projects should not distract from this goal,” the charity said.Related...UK Brands EU ‘Offensive’ After Emmanuel Macron Sausage GaffeGovernment Advisers Expect Delay To June 21 ‘Freedom Day’G7 Leaders Discussed The ‘Lab Leak’ Covid Origin Theory, WHO Chief Reveals
Government scientific advisers have said they expect Boris Johnson to announce a delay to the June 21 final easing of Covid restrictions.The prime minister is continuing to study data on cases, hospitalisations, deaths and vaccinations ahead of a Monday press conference at which he will set out the plan for England’s road map out of lockdown.Downing Street has insisted no decisions have been taken yet amid reports that Johnson could delay step four of the road map by two to four weeks.Foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that ministers would be looking at whether vaccinations have “broken the link” between rising cases and rising hospitalisations, “not just severed or weakened it”.Covid: "We don't want to yo yo back in and out of measures... but we've got to be data and evidence driven"Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab talks to #Marr on easing restrictions on 21 Junehttps://t.co/1o5TqIYaKhpic.twitter.com/8wfeqgL0wW— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 13, 2021But scientists advising the government have said they now expect a delay.Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B) which advises the government, told Times Radio: “I think we’ll hear a delay, because all the data now points that way.”Cambridge University epidemiologist Raghib Ali, who advises the government on Covid and ethnicity, told Sky News: “I expect the prime minister to say that unfortunately a delay is needed to make sure that we don’t get to the situation again where the NHS is unable to provide care to all its patients.”He went on: “Hospitals are extremely busy at the moment, the emergency departments last month were the busiest they have been for years because of the huge backlog of patients that didn’t come in during the previous waves.“Even a relatively small increase in hospital admissions from Covid will have a significant impact on all our non-Covid patients.“We really can’t afford for those people to suffer any more; they have already suffered enough over the last 18 months.”Reicher meanwhile warned there was a risk that the country could go “backwards”, as he called on the government to provide more financial support to help people self isolate to stop the spread of the virus.“In a situation where things are getting worse we don’t know how much worse they’re going to get. We don’t know how many people are going to get seriously ill,” he said.“There’s still a lot of damage that can be done, therefore it makes good sense to pause.“I think pausing not moving forward is not enough when things are getting worse and we should be thinking about all sorts of measures, not further restrictions, not lockdown, but the basics that we’ve never got right.“There are all sorts of things we should be doing better to lower the level of infections to make sure we’re not going backwards.“The real issue now isn’t should we go forwards … it’s how do we stop ourselves going backwards?”Scientists now estimate that 96% of all new cases of coronavirus are attributed to the Delta variant.The latest figures from Public Health England (PHE) show there have been 42,323 cases of the Delta variant confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from the previous week.It estimates the strain is 60% more transmissible compared with the previously dominant Alpha, or Kent, variant, and that cases are doubling every four-and-a-half days in some parts of England.Related...G7 Leaders Discussed The ‘Lab Leak’ Covid Origin Theory, WHO Chief RevealsBoris Johnson Says There Are 'Grounds For Caution' On June 21 UnlockingThe 'Will We, Won't We?' Narrative Of June 21 Is Exhausting
Earlier this month, Huawei held the HarmonyOS and Huawei’s full-scene new product launch conference. At the press conference, the highly anticipated HarmonyOS 2 operating system ...
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Ubisoft’s Mario and Rabbids crossover turn-based strategy game is getting a sequel for the Nintendo Switch: Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. Ubisoft revealed both a new cinematic trailer and a sneak peek at some gameplay on Saturday, as well as a launch date for sometime in 2022. The official announcement at Ubisoft Forward followed a leak hours before on Nintendo’s own online store.
The first Mario + Rabbids title, Kingdom Battle, was originally revealed by Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto at Ubisoft’s press conference at E3 2017. Despite the bizarre nature of its IP mashup, Kingdom Battle was one of the best early Switch games, mixing elements of the Mario and Rabbids characters with solid yet accessible X-COM-style tactical action. We...
FALMOUTH — It’s meant to be the week Boris Johnson resets the relations with the US and establishes the UK as a key player in the post-Brexit world of Covid recovery.But the prime minister is struggling to move the conversation away from the so-called “sausage war” that he has sparked with the EU.The row dominated the headlines in the run-up to his first ever face-to-face meeting with Joe Biden, although No.10 claimed those talks ended on Thursday with the pair in “complete harmony”.But with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the European Commission and European Council all arriving in Cornwall for the G7 summit, the issue is not going to go away.Here’s everything you need to know about the sausage squabble that’s threatening to overshadow the summit in Carbis Bay:What is the Brexit sausage war?One of the key Brexit deals negotiated by Johnson and now-senior minister Lord Frost – the Northern Ireland protocol – created a special status for the nation so it could keep an invisible border with the Republic of Ireland and preserve peace on the island.To do this, Northern Ireland remains a de facto member of the European single market when it comes to goods – but that means checks are required on goods entering the region from the rest of the UK, which is outside the single market after Brexit.Johnson repeatedly promised there would be no Irish sea border or checks on GB-NI trade under the protocol he agreed, before eventually acknowledging there would be some.But the PM has said that the EU is so far being too “purist” and “excessively burdensome” in its demands for checks, claiming they unfairly harm Northern Ireland.Frost has threatened to unilaterally suspend checks, including on chilled meats like sausages.In response, the EU is threatening a trade war with punitive tariffs on UK trade unless Johnson properly implements the deal he negotiated.The whole dispute is igniting old tensions in Northern Ireland and risks threatening the peace established by the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.What has this got to do with Joe Biden?Biden is very proud of his Irish ancestry, while the US is a guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, meaning the president has a strong vested interest in the dispute being resolved.On the eve of the president’s first ever face-to-face talks with Johnson, it emerged that a top US official issued a formal diplomatic rebuke to the UK for imperilling the Northern Ireland peace process with its stance on the protocol.The White House then attempted to dial down the row, insisting Biden did not direct the rebuke and attempting to portray it as a normal diplomatic discussion.But neither the US or Downing Street denied the Times’ report that America’s most senior diplomat in London, Yael Lempert, delivered a demarche – a formal protest – in a meeting with Frost on June 3.To the delight of No.10, Biden did not comment on the issue publicly and Johnson’s official spokesperson was able to claim the pair were in “complete harmony” after their 80 minutes of talks.So why is it threatening to overshadow the G7 summit?Biden helped Johnson rescue the narrative by using his remarks after the meeting to focus on his pledge to donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines for 92 low and lower-middle income countries and the African Union, part of Johnson’s plan for G7 countries to provide a billion doses in an effort to end the pandemic in 2022.But any relief in Downing Street will have been short lived, as French president Emmanuel Macron waded into the row to warn the Brexit deal cannot be renegotiated.“I think this is not serious,” he said on the eve of the summit. Meanwhile, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen also used a pre-summit press conference to insist the protocol is the “only solution” to prevent a hard border with the Republic and must be implemented in full.All eyes will be on that pair, as well as German president Angela Merkel, after G7 leaders gather for a “family photo” on the beach on Friday afternoon.And the careful crafted detente with Biden could easily end if the president at any point this weekend decides to wade into the row publicly.Can the sausage war be solved?Both the UK and EU may have to back down from their entrenched positions if the dispute is going to be resolved.The UK wants the EU to be more flexible and pragmatic in its application of the rules, arguing that there is little risk of substandard goods entering the single market from Britain via Northern Ireland.But Brussels has suggested the whole of the UK could accept some EU rules in specific areas, for example on plant, animal, environment and food safety regulations, in order to reduce need for checks on the types of goods regularly traded between Britain and Northern Ireland.Talks on the issue between Frost and his EU counterpart Sefcovic ended this week without agreement and at the moment, it is difficult to see a way through the row.More on the G7Sea Shanties, Hot Rum And The Queen: How Boris Johnson Will Woo G7 LeadersPM Downplays Brexit Tensions With ‘Breath Of Fresh Air’ Joe BidenJoe Biden Will Not Believe PM's 'Abject' Excuse For Brexit ‘Mess’, Lisa Nandy Suggests
In a press conference at the Élysée Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his focus on online regulation, and more particularly toxic content. He called for more international cooperation as the Group of Seven (G7) summit is taking place later this week in the U.K. “The third big topic that could benefit from efficient multilateralism […]
Boris Johnson has attempted to downplay tensions with US president Joe Biden over Brexit following the pair’s first ever face-to-face meeting as leaders.The prime minister praised Biden as a “breath of fresh air” after the Donald Trump years and an ally who wants to work with the UK on issues from security to climate change.Johnson meanwhile insisted that there is “absolutely common ground” between the pair on the need to protect peace in Northern Ireland amid a simmering row between the UK and EU over how post-Brexit arrangements are being implemented in the region.Biden - who is proud of his Irish ancestry - is thought to be seriously concerned about Johnson potentially refusing to implement parts of the Northern Ireland protocol and earlier this month ordered officials to deliver a formal diplomatic rebuke to the UK for imperilling the peace process over Brexit.Johnson and his Brexit minister Lord Frost want the EU to be less “purist” about applying checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, but Brussels is threatening a trade war with the UK unless it properly implements the deal it signed up to.The president was expected to use Thursday’s meeting to urge Johnson to “stand behind” the protocol.But asked if Biden urged him to “crack on” and implement the deal, Johnson told reporters: “No he didn’t.“But what I can say is that America, the United States, Washington, the UK plus the European Union, have one thing we absolutely all want to do, and that is to uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process going.“That’s absolutely common ground and I’m optimistic that we can do that.”The PM added: “The talks were great, they went on for a long time, we covered a huge range of subjects and it’s wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and to Joe Biden because there’s so much that they want to do together with us, from security, Nato to climate change.“It’s fantastic, it’s a breath of fresh air.”It came after 80 minutes of talks between Johnson and Biden on the eve of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, at which they signed a new Atlantic charter, paving the way for co-operation on challenges including climate change and security.Also attending the meeting were UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken.Yael Lempert, America’s most senior diplomat in the UK, was also present hours after the Times revealed that she was ordered by Biden to deliver a demarche – a formal protest – in a meeting with Brexit minister Lord Frost on June 3.In a joint statement following the meeting, Johnson and Biden reaffirmed their commitment to the Good Friday Agreement for peace in Northern Ireland. But Johnson had earlier tried to gloss over any tensions with Biden by suggesting the pair would not disagree on “anything”.Ahead of the high level talks, the two leaders admired the view over Carbis Bay with their wives - Carrie Johnson and Jill Biden.As the politicians sat down to talk, Biden said: “I told the prime minister we have something in common. We both married way above our stations.”Johnson responded: “I’m not going to dissent on that one. I’m not going to disagree with you there or indeed on anything else, I think highly likely.”Talks between Frost and the European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic on Wednesday failed to make a breakthrough on the protocol.The EU has threatened to launch a trade war against Britain if it fails to implement checks on goods entering Northern Ireland under the terms of the Brexit “divorce” settlement which Johnson signed.But Frost has refused to rule out unilaterally delaying the imposition of checks on British-made sausages and other chilled meats due to come into force at the end of the month.At a press conference in Brussels on Thursday ahead of the summit, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen again insisted the protocol was the “only solution” to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and must be implemented in full.In a joint statement following the meeting, Johnson and Biden reaffirmed their commitment to the Good Friday Agreement for peace in Northern Ireland. A Downing Street spokesperson added separately: “The prime minister and president both reaffirmed their commitment to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and to protecting the gains of the peace process.“The leaders agreed that both the EU and the UK had a responsibility to work together and to find pragmatic solutions to allow unencumbered trade between Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.“The prime minister outlined his ambitions to further expand opportunities for all the people in Northern Ireland and hoped that the US would continue to work with the UK to boost prosperity there.”Related...Joe Biden Will Not Believe PM's 'Abject' Excuse For Brexit ‘Mess’, Lisa Nandy SuggestsJill Biden Hailed As 'Queen Of Shade' For Perceived Diss Of Melania TrumpBoris Johnson Defends Flying From London To Cornwall
Joe Biden will not believe Boris Johnson’s “nonsense” claim that the government underestimated how difficult trade would be for Northern Ireland under the terms of its own Brexit deal, Labour has said.Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast that the government’s “excuse” for the region’s post-Brexit settlement was “pure and utter drivel”.Tensions between the UK and EU over the way the Brexit deal affects Northern Ireland are threatening to overshadow Johnson’s first face-to-face talks with Biden on Thursday and the subsequent G7 summit in Cornwall over the weekend.The US president has already taken the extraordinary step of ordering officials to deliver a formal diplomatic rebuke to the UK for imperilling the Northern Ireland peace process over Brexit, according to the Times.Johnson and his Brexit minister Lord Frost want the EU to be less “purist” about applying checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, but Brussels is threatening a trade war with the UK unless it properly implements the deal it signed up to.Biden is expected to use Thursday’s meeting to urge the PM to “stand behind” the Northern Ireland protocol that he negotiated, but which has triggered the dispute with the EU.Nandy said Biden is unlikely to believe Frost’s excuse that the UK “underestimated” the impact of the protocol on Northern Ireland.She told Commons People: “It’s just utter abject nonsense.“It’s just pure and utter drivel, lies, nonsense - they knew exactly what they were doing and they made big, big promises around it.“But as always with Brexit they were much more interested in defending their own interests in the Tory Party than they were in thinking about the interests of the country.“And if I sound angry, that’s because I am”. Asked whether Biden would believe the government’s claims, she added: “I don’t think anybody at the moment thinks that there is an excuse for where we’ve ended up.“But all minds now including ours are concentrated on how we move this forward.”Nandy said foreign ministers around the world believe Johnson can go “missing in action” at important moments and that Biden would be asking the PM to now “step up”, while acknowledging that “goodwill and creativity on both sides” is required to solve the impasse.“I speak to counterparts around the world on quite a regular basis,” she said.“The number of times that people have said to me the prime minister just seems to be missing in action at the moment that it matters.“We saw violence flare up agian in Belfast recently, and there was just a sense that the prime minister simply wasn’t there.”She said that Labour had urged the PM to convene an intergovernmental conference, which had support from all sides in Northern Ireland and the Irish government “and yet the government just wasn’t willing to step up and show that level of leadership”.“And I think that Joe Biden will be asking for that from the prime minister - this is a mess that he created, he said it wasn’t going to be like this and I think everybody, even privately, the government now understands that this is a situation that they’ve got to sort out,” Nandy said.“We can’t afford to be in a situation where we are constantly at war with our closest neighbours [the EU].“Because you’ve seen over the last few months since president Biden was elected that the idea that you can have a very antagonistic relationship with the EU but then you can have a very strong relationship with the United States is for the birds.”The Times reported that the president – who is intensely proud of his Irish roots – took the extraordinary step of ordering the United States’ most senior diplomat in London, Yael Lempert, to deliver a demarche – a formal protest – in a meeting with Frost on June 3.The newspaper reported that government minutes of the meeting said: “Lempert implied that the UK had been inflaming the rhetoric, by asking if he would keep it ‘cool’.”The US charge d’affaires indicated that if Johnson accepted demands to follow EU rules on agricultural standards, Biden would ensure that it would not “negatively affect the chances of reaching a US/UK free trade deal”.Talks between Frost and the European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic on Wednesday failed to make a breakthrough on the protocol.The EU has threatened to launch a trade war against Britain if it fails to implement checks on goods entering Northern Ireland under the terms of the Brexit “divorce” settlement which Johnson signed.But Frost has refused to rule out unilaterally delaying the imposition of checks on British-made sausages and other chilled meats due to come into force at the end of the month.At a press conference in Brussels on Thursday ahead of the summit, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen again insisted the protocol was the “only solution” to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and must be implemented in full.HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast will be available in full later on Thursday.Related...Boris Johnson Defends Flying From London To CornwallWhite House Press Plane Grounded…By CicadasMatt Hancock Denies Lying To Boris Johnson About Covid Pandemic
Osaka was slapped with a $15,000 fine and threatened with disqualification after she skipped a press conference for mental health reasons.
JBS, a Brazilian company which supplies a fifth of the world’s meat, was the victim of a coordinated cyberattack, Bloomberg reports.
Details are still emerging about the extent and severity of the attack — which became apparent to JBS on May 30th, and was disclosed to staff in a memo on the 31st — but it has caused some of the largest slaughterhouses in the US to shut down already, and at least one in Canada. According to Bloomberg, JBS has suspended its own IT systems in Australia and North America, though the company’s backup servers appear to be unaffected. Naturally, the shutdowns of computer systems and physical plants are likely to cause supply delays.
In a press conference earlier today, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine...