Top story: Universities at risk of disaster, warns thinktank
Good morning – Warren Murray with act one in today’s news.
Britain’s arts and heritage sectors have been promised £1.57bn of help in a long-awaited rescue package. The playwright James Graham, who has been outspoken on the urgent need for investment, said the “surprisingly ambitious” pledge appeared to be more than most people in the arts had dared dream of. Other arts figures and institutions have given their reactions. Separately, the director Sam Mendes has established an emergency fund to give quick £1,000 grants to individual arts workers who are most in need. The Theatre Artists Fund, Mendes said, “is not for buildings, or regular staff, but for freelance artists who actually make the shows that the public pay to see”.
Ahead of the mini-budget on Wednesday, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is under pressure to unleash more financial support as figures show high streets remained quiet on Saturday despite England’s pubs, restaurants and hairdressers being allowed to reopen. The chancellor is expected to announce measures including £111m of funding for traineeships for thousands of young people. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, meanwhile, estimates that as many as 13 British universities could face financial disaster, with the after-effects of the pandemic affecting one in 20 students and causing steep job cuts.
In other coronavirus developments: evidence is emerging of long-lasting debilitating health effects among people who have had the virus, including fatigue, aching muscles, difficulty concentrating and shortness of breath brought about by scarring to the lungs. Adrienne Matei tackles the persistent notion that “people who have ‘mild’ cases of Covid-19 are spared from serious health repercussions. One thing is becoming increasingly clear: even ‘mild’ cases can be more complicated, dangerous and hard to shake than many first thought.” The border of the Australia state of Victoria has been closed as it continues to battle an outbreak in which nine tower blocks remain locked down. India has registered a record daily number of 25,000 coronavirus cases as well as 613 deaths in 24 hours – its biggest daily spike – and is has just become the third-most-infected country behind the US and Brazil. The American stage star Nick Cordero has lost a lengthy battle with Covid-19, dying at age 41 after more than 90 days in hospital, during which one leg was amputated amid attempts to save his life.
For all the latest, head to our global live blog.
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Grenfell truth at a distance – Builders behind the disastrous Grenfell Tower refurbishment are set to face public questioning over the fire that killed 72 people. As the public inquiry resumes today, strict social distancing rules have angered the bereaved, with hundreds of survivors, families and residents prohibited from attending and instead told to follow proceedings online. First under cross-examination will be Exova, the fire engineers accused of playing down non-compliance of the cladding system. Project emails showed main contractor Rydon, Exova and the architects Studio E discussing the fire safety of the cladding before its installation, including warnings it might fail. Tony Pearson, of Exova, told the architects: “If significant flames are ejected from the windows, this would lead to failure of the cladding system, with the external surface falling away and exposing the cavity.”
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Maxwell’s hideaway gatecrashed – More than 20 armed agents and police are reported to have taken part in the FBI raid that detained Ghislaine Maxwell, who is due to appear in a New York court this week accused of grooming underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein. Officers were said to have broken down the front door at the 156-acre property, called Tucked Away, in New Hampshire. Maxwell’s arrest ended almost a year of speculation over her whereabouts. Maxwell, 58, a close friend of Prince Andrew, is being held in New Hampshire’s Merrimack county jail. She is due to be transferred to New York and brought to court later this week. If convicted, she could face up to 35 years in prison. She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
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‘Worm their way into people’s lives’ – Criminal “county lines” drug gangs are dressing their exploited young couriers as nurses and Deliveroo workers to deliver cocaine, heroin and other drugs, according to a senior police officer. Supt Andy O’Connor of Merseyside police said Liverpool drug lords forced to return home during lockdown were operating a “click and collect” service. He feared the looming recession and high unemployment could make it easier for criminal groups to recruit vulnerable people. O’Connor spoke to the Guardian as Merseyside police launched their Eyes Open education campaign about tell-tale signs of criminal exploitation. “These people are grooming people the same way sex offenders are. They worm their way into people’s lives. ‘I’ll do you a favour,’ that sort of thing.” Young and vulnerable people from Merseyside had been picked up during lockdown as far away as Aberdeen in Scotland and on England’s south coast, O’Connor said.
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‘Part of history’ – A museum in the US has vowed to continue displaying the car from the Dukes of Hazzard television show that had the Confederate battle flag painted on its roof. The Dodge Charger known as the General Lee is in the Volo Auto Museum about 50 miles (80km) north-west of Chicago. Its director said the General Lee was a piece of history and the museum would not remove it any more than it would think of removing the “much worse” Nazi artefacts displayed in its military section.
Today in Focus podcast: Freedom of the press at stake
One of the most prominent journalists in the Philippines has been convicted of “cyberlibel” in a court process condemned by human rights groups. Carmela Fonbuena, a journalist in Manila, describes the chilling effect of the verdict on free expression.
Lunchtime read: Tom Hanks goes postviral
The world’s most relatable megastar talks to Hadley Freeman about his Covid-19 experience, his fears for the future and whether he’s really just so gosh-darned nice.
Valtteri Bottas took out an incident-filled Austrian Grand Prix as the F1 season finally got underway. It was a tough day for fourth-placed Lewis Hamilton, who spoke out about previously being warned against making statements about racism in sport. In the Premier League, Manchester City were stunned by Southampton while Liverpool returned to winning ways at the expense of relegation-threatened Aston Villa. West Ham United are also battling against the drop but they eked out a valuable point against Newcastle United. In Spain, Real Madrid moved closer to the La Liga title but Barcelona demonstrated they are not out of the hunt, blasting four past Villareal. In cricket, England are preparing for a Test series against the West Indies but Stuart Broad’s place in the attack could be under threat from the pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. And in horse racing, Ghaiyyath took the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
Stuff, the New Zealand newspaper group, has “paused” its relationship with Facebook as it aligns itself with a global movement to boycott the social media company giant, which has been condemned for failing to crack down on hate speech. Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has dismissed the threat of a boycott from major advertisers including Starbucks and Coca-Cola, saying they will be back “soon enough”. Asian markets rose strongly in overnight trade, helped by China’s bluechip shares hitting a five-year peak. The FTSE100 is set to follow suit with a 1.3% increase this morning. The pound is buying $1.249 and €1.106.
“The show WILL go on” – we substitute caps for the red text in the Metro’s headline, as it reports on the arts rescue package. The Express says Britain’s culture is “Saved!” while the Guardian has “Johnson pledges £1.5bn lifeline to keep the UK arts culture afloat”. The i says the measures will avoid “arts catastrophe”.
“PM: roll up your sleeves to tidy Britain” – the Mail recruits Boris Johnson as it bills itself as spearheading a fight against lockdown litter. The Times has “Cash for firms that hire young trainees” while the Telegraph says “Stamp duty ‘holiday’ to help rebuild economy”.
The FT reports that “Wirecard’s core US and Europe business was in the red for years” – here’s where you can get your head around the saga of the electronic payments firm.
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