Few tears likely to be shed as plan for No 10 TV press briefings droppedAnalysis: Insiders say plan had been ‘kicked down the road for so long’ it was inevitable it would be dropped Allegra Stratton has been handed a new role as spokeswoman for this autumn’s Cop26 – the global climate change conference. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA
Tens of thousands turn out in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic, who is currently on hunger strike
Transparency International UK said those with political access appeared to be favoured.
Johnny Mercer's extraordinary attack also extended to the 'cesspit' of Westminster, which he said is populated by 'children' who are 'frankly unemployable elsewhere'.
India’s shocking surge in Covid cases follows baffling declineAnalysis: Rapid spread of cases across country comes after long spell in which virus seemed almost to vanish Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage Relatives wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) mourn a man who died from the coronavirus. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
The Church of England should stop “unconditionally celebrating” slave traders with statues, a landmark anti-racism report has concluded. The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce was set up last October following the murder of George Floyd – a black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis which sparked protests around the world – with the aim of bringing greater racial justice and equality in the Church of England. The report, published on Thursday to coincide with Stephen Lawrence Day, warns that a failure to act could be a “last straw” for many people of UK Minority Ethnic (UKME) backgrounds, with “devastating effects” on the future of the Church. It comes days after a Panorama investigation reported claims that UKME church staff subjected to racist abuse are "forced to sign NDAs to buy their silence”. The report sets out almost 50 actions for the Church to implement. These include establishing new, salaried “racial justice officers'' in all 42 dioceses, and introducing a “racial justice Sunday'' once a year. It calls for at least one black and UKME candidate on every job shortlist and an aim of 15 per cent of General Synod, the Church’s legislative body, and all local church councils to have black and UKME representatives by 2030. On slavery, the taskforce drew a line on where the Church should stand regarding potentially offensive monuments and criticised it for taking “little action” so far. It said: “The protests following the killing of George Floyd, and in particular the tearing down of the Colston statue in Bristol, highlighted issues surrounding the Church of England’s consideration of its own contested heritage. “The Church of England has taken little action in addressing the historic slave trade and its legacy since it made an apology at General Synod in 2006 for its involvement in the trade. “Regarding monuments and the built environment, deciding what to do with contested heritage is not easy. “While history should not be hidden, we also do not want to unconditionally celebrate or commemorate people who contributed to or benefitted from the tragedy that was the slave trade.”
Sushila Phillips was ‘eternally compassionate in the face of unspeakable suffering’, her sister says
Jeanette Whittle, 44, and Rhianne Halton, 19, from Torquay, died within weeks of one another and were laid to rest at a joint funeral.
The United States is considering sending missiles and other weapons to Ukraine, amid a buildup of more than 100,000 Russian troops along its eastern border and fears of an impending invasion. Shipments of military aid have been discussed by Joe Biden’s administration, and could include anti-tank, anti-ship and anti-aircraft systems according to the Wall Street Journal. Officials in Kyiv have asked for help after Russia’s increasingly bullish behaviour, which has included the largest troop buildup in the region for nearly a decade, intruding into European airspace and restricting the movement of foreign ships in the area. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns told Congress last week: “That buildup has reached the point where it could also provide the basis for a limited military incursion. “It’s something not only the United States, but also our allies have to take very seriously.”
‘The news you’ve all been waiting for,’ band teased
Universities have offered to "hotel quarantine" students from "red listed" India amid concerns the Government will not be able to cope with an influx of up to 50,000 from the country. The universities say they have the experience and accommodation, including even their own hotels, that would enable them to quarantine the Indian students and potentially cover their costs to avoid them facing hardship or being forced to give up hard-won places. Universities UK International (UUKI) has been in talks with the Government over the plan and an agreement with the Scottish Government for international students attending Scottish students is understood to be on the brink of being signed. The move has emerged just days after the Government placed India on its red list for travel, which requires any arrival including students to quarantine for 11 days in Government-approved hotels at a cost of up to £1,750 per person. The ban on foreign travel from India was imposed after a double mutant variant emerged amid a spike in coronavirus cases that has claimed thousands of lives. There are about 55,000 Indian students currently studying at UK universities, with each providing a major source of income of between £10,000 and £60,000 a year to the UK institutions through fees on top of any wider benefits to the UK economy. Most are postgraduates.
Lockdown roadmap could have to be adjusted, says member of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation
Security forces broke up a protest in Myanmar’s southern city of Dawei, arresting four demonstrators and a reporter according to Dawei Watch media outlet, which also said live rounds were used.
Banning smart motorways would "kill drivers" by forcing them onto unsafe roads, a government minister has said. Baroness Vere, the roads minister, told MPs that the stretches of motorways that used the hard shoulder as an extra lane were safer than conventional roads and motorways as they eased congestion. She also defended the Government’s decision to keep the system in place despite recent warnings from coroners over the deaths of drivers left stranded on smart motorways, saying a number of safety improvements have been made to them. Her comments come after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced recently that no new smart motorways will be created unless they have the technology in place to spot when a broken-down motorists is unable to reach the sporadic safety bays that replace the hard shoulder. A number of smart motorways were previously launched by Highways England without the monitoring system in place and the Government has given the organisation until March 2023 to ensure all have coverage. Highways England has previously insisted smart motorways are the “safest roads in the country”. However, figures show there were 15 deaths on them in 2019, up from 11 in 2018. Appearing in front of the transport select committee, Baroness Vere said she was “astonished” and “disappointed” by the way Highways England had handled the rollout of smart motorways. However, she said smart motorways were safer than conventional roads as they gave drivers more space. Baroness Vere said: “One of the things that makes all drivers more safe is to provide more capacity on our safest roads and that is what all-lane running motorways do. “If you increase capacity on those roads they are our safest roads in terms of fatalities, as you take traffic off less safe roads.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has condemned as "unbearable" the Russian determination to break hunger-striking opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, warning that the European Union will not hesitate to sanction Vladimir Putin and the Russian authorities in the event of Navalny's death in prison. Thousands of people took to the streets across Russia on Wednesday evening, demanding freedom and proper medical attention for Navalny, who has been hunger strike for three weeks in a detention centre outside Moscow.The opposition staged demonstrations in dozens of Russian cities, with the largest rallies taking place in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.The OVD-Info monitoring group, which tracks detentions at opposition protests, said that by Thursday morning police had detained "more than 1,783 people in 97 cities", 805 of them in Saint Petersburg.Navalny was arrested when he returned to Russia in January after months recovering in Germany from a near-fatal nerve agent poisoning he blames on the Kremlin -- an accusation Russia rejects.He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years on allegations of fraud and has been serving time in a penal colony about 100 kilometres east of Moscow. He claims the verdict and his subsequent imprisonment were politically motivated.Navalny's health has been failing since he launched his hunger strike to demand proper medical care for a range of ailments, including back pain and numbness in his limbs.A group of UN rights experts expressed alarm Wednesday over his deteriorating health."We believe Mr Navalny's life is in serious danger," they warned, calling on Russian authorities to allow Navalny "to be evacuated for urgent medical treatment abroad".Stark warning from French Minister Le DrianFrench Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned that Navalny's life is clearly in danger, saying that, if he dies in custody, "we will impose the necessary sanctions . . . putting the responsibility for this tragedy firmly at the door of Mr Putin and the Russian authorities".Le Drian has criticised three dangerous tendencies evident in current Russian policy.The first is "an internal drift towards authoritarianism," clear in the treatment of Navalny.The second, according to the French foreign affairs chief, is "an external drift towards provocation and intimidation," notably at the border with Ukraine, where more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have recently been deployed.And the third dangerous tendency of the Kremlin, according to Le Drian, is "a drift towards interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, threatening the working of our democratic model".Putin tells the West not to cross Russian red lineMeanwhile, President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Wednesday against "crossing the red line" with Russia.Putin said Moscow would respond swiftly and harshly to moves against its interests."The organisers of any provocations threatening the fundamental interests of our security will regret their deeds, more than they have regretted anything in a long time," Putin said.Putin unsurprisingly made no mention of Navalny in his state-of-the-nation speech, delivered on Wednesday -- he has always refused to use the name of his most prominent opponent.The Russian leader did however hit out at rivals abroad, with Moscow and Western capitals at loggerheads over a Russian troop build-up on Ukraine's borders and a series of espionage scandals that have resulted in diplomatic expulsions."I hope that no one will think of crossing the red line in relation to Russia. And where it will be -- we will determine that ourselves," Putin said.
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Mike and Zara Tindall were able to attend the funeral of her grandfather Philip at the weekend.
‘You gotta let the jury speak, it’s the American way’
Lateral flow tests for pregnant women and their partners are among measures ‘urgently’ recommended by NHS England.
Workers at a field hospital in rural Bangkok prepare beds made out of cardboard to receive Covid-19 patients. The country is facing a wave of infections due to a highly infectious variant first detected in the UK.