Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told MSPs a draft bill will be drawn up setting out the timing, terms and question for a new Scottish independence referendum.
Portugal has passed the government's cases threshold for imposing quarantine.
Piers Corbyn has been labelled “dangerous” by Dr Hilary after espousing his views that the coronavirus may not exist and that “vaccines cause death”.The former Labour leader’s brother appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday after being fined £10,000 for helping to organise an anti-lockdown rally in Trafalgar Square.
Professor Chris Whitty is hampering the Government’s return to work message because ministers fear he could resign if too many people return to the workplace at once. Cabinet sources have told The Telegraph ministers believe Prof Whitty could leave his post as Chief Medical Officer if they push too hard on their plans to reopen workplaces in an attempt to get the economy moving. Prof Whitty fronted many of the Government’s first Covid-19 briefings from Downing Street, and is seen by the public as one of the most trustworthy voices in the debate over how to handle the pandemic. If he were to resign over a conflict of opinion with the Government, it would undermine any attempts by ministers to persuade the public to follow its advice, it is feared. Prof Whitty has recently urged caution in reopening offices and other workplaces too quickly.
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier today stepped up warnings across Europe that there will be new barriers with the UK even if an 11th-hour trade deal is struck.Ahead of travelling to London to try to break the deadlock in negotiations, he tweeted guidance from the European Union that “changes are inevitable” and businesses, citizens and public bodies should prepare for them.
Ocado has apologised after a "surge in demand" meant that a "small number" of customer orders were cancelled on the first day of its tie-up with M&S.
Data analysts working for the Democratic party have warned that Donald Trump could appear to have won on election night, only for him to lose days later.Describing a possible scenario for the night of 3 November, Josh Mendelsohn, who heads the Michael Bloomberg-funded data analytics agency Hawkfish, said voters would see a “red mirage” with early results.
Could the likes of Caroline Quentin, Bill Bailey, Max George and Clara Amfo be taking to the floor on the BBC ballroom show this year?
Ant and Dec have formed a “cohort” while filming Britain’s Got Talent which allows them to work without social distancing.Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are being tested for Covid-19 every four days so they can continue to work together in close proximity.
Israeli strikes on Syria killed one civilian, three government troops and seven allied foreign fighters, a war monitor said on Tuesday in a new toll.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which had previously put the toll from Monday's strikes at five, said Iran-backed paramilitary fighters were among those killed in the attack.The Britain-based monitor said the strikes hit Syrian army positions south of Damascus as well as positions belonging to Iran-backed paramilitaries, including fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, in the southern province of Daraa. The Observatory said it could not confirm if Hezbollah fighters were among those killed. Late on Monday, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported that "the Zionist enemy carried out a strike... on some of our military positions south of Damascus and our air defences confronted them". "The Israeli attack led to two martyrs being killed and seven soldiers being wounded," the source said, adding the fire had came from the direction of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.It later said that one civillian was also killed in the attack. Israel has carried out hundreds of raids in Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces as well as government troops.The Israeli army rarely acknowledges individual strikes, but said that on August 3 it had used fighter jets, attack helicopters and other warplanes to hit Syrian military targets in southern Syria.Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah warned on Sunday that the group would kill an Israeli soldier for each of its fighters slain by the Jewish state, after one of its combatants was killed in an Israeli strike in Syria on July 20.(AFP)
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, is refusing to open discussions on Britain's new fisheries proposals until the UK budges on other issues, it has emerged. Mr Barnier, who is meeting David Frost, the UK's lead negotiator, in London on Tuesday, is insisting on "parallelism" – where multiple aspects on a range of issues must be agreed before moving forward. Britain is keen to move on and progress talks, and the pair are meeting outside of the scheduled negotiating timetable to try to straighten out the stagnated talks with the official, eighth round resuming in London on Monday September 7. The UK had wanted a deal done at the end of July and Mr Barnier says an agreement has to be in place by the end of October for it to be ratified around Europe by the end of the year. Fisheries remains just one of the main sticking points, and if there is no deal by October, European fishermen will be completely excluded from British waters under international law, causing a devastating impact on their fishing communities.
Donald Trump and his partisan sidekick William Barr have found a new secret ingredient to deflect attention from the coronavirus, economic depression and racist policing. No, not bleach or hydroxychloroquine or UV light — instead, it is pentobarbital, the lethal chemical being used to execute federal prisoners on death row after a 17-year hiatus on federal executions. Five men have been executed this summer; two more have been scheduled for September.Violent crime has declined precipitously in the last 30 years. So has support for and use of the death penalty. This has been driven by effective advocacy in uncovering the frequent incidence of wrongful convictions, the disproportionate racial impact in the execution process and the reality of excruciating pain imposed by incompetently administered lethal injection protocols. Pharmaceutical companies do not want their products used to kill people. Even conservatives have stated to accept that the cost and timing of the execution process is hugely wasteful when weighed against life without parole.
By Sunder KatwalaThe debate over the last night of the Proms appears a hardy perennial. It is half a century since the BBC made a proposal to ditch the patriotic anthems in 1969 – in the hope of making the event "more attractive to 40 million viewers in Europe". That decision was reversed in response to media, political and public opposition. Even the liberal Guardian newspaper editorialised against the change. "The point about this famous Albert Hall occasion was that it was an unblushing piece of English nonsense," it wrote. "Are we now going to be ashamed of our national eccentricities?"In 2020, there are two different reasons suggested for a change. One is practical: there will be no audience in the Royal Albert Hall this year and a much smaller orchestra. The BBC says that this is the reason to propose an instrumental version of the anthems for this year, with the singing returning when the audience does in 2021. But much more attention has been paid to the idea that the move is a response to the Black Lives Matter anti-racism protests. This appears to be because a handful of well-wishers and a larger number of opponents have been happy to assume that this is the sort of thing that the movement must want.It was Richard Morrison, the long-standing art critic of The Times, who began this year's debate with a magazine piece. His article suggests two motivations. Firstly, that he has personally never liked the Last Night of the Proms and would love to ditch what he called the "unholy trinity" of Land of Hope of Glory, Rule Britannia and Jerusalem. Secondly, that the Black Lives Matter protests appeared to offer the opportunity and the moment to pursue this long-standing preference.Morrison is entitled to his view. But his language, that it would be "insensitive, even incendiary" to continue, was clumsy. His premise – that supporters of Black Lives Matter would be hurt and upset by the continuation of the last night of the Proms – is an assumption for which the evidence is scant. So the use of "incendiary" was a hyperbolic claim, bringing to mind hackneyed images of rioting and violence about something that few people care about at all.The debate then continued when Sunday newspaper reports suggested that the Finnish conductor of this year's proms shared the view that it was a good opportunity to ditch the patriotic songs. She has since stated that the reports were inaccurate.So what do ethnic minorities actually think about the last night of the Proms? The most plausible answer is: Not much and not often. The important and necessary caveat is that there is no unified view of this issue, held by two million black people, nor among eight million people who are not white.The polls on the last night of the Proms are typical of most polling in the country. Ethnic minorities are a bigger share of the population than the under-24s but are not a standard break in opinion polling. Generally, there is considerably less information on the views of the one-in-six people in Britain who are not white than on just about every other demographic. Pollsters have recently begun to step up their efforts to fill this gap.Overall, support for ditching the patriotic anthems runs at about a quarter of the support of the Black Lives Matter protests. Clearly, only a minority of supporters of the Black Lives Matter protests oppose the last night of the Proms – reflecting the fact that this is not something that campaigners or protestors have called for or prioritised.In July, YouGov found that 11% would drop the songs while 69% would keep them. In the same poll, 42% of people described themselves as supporters of the Black Lives Matter protests. Support for ditching the proms is somewhat higher among sections of the population who are most supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement. For example, 71% of Labour voters are supportive of the Black Lives Matter protests, while 21% would ditch the songs from the Proms. Keir Starmer reflects the views of most Labour voters in believing that keeping the songs as a "staple of the British summer" is compatible with a critical interrogation of British history. Similarly, just 14% of Liberal Democrat voters polled would ditch the anthems while more than six out of ten support Black Lives Matter.Recent polling suggests that support among ethnic minorities for the Black Lives Matter protests is around seven out of ten people. Two-thirds of ethnic minorities say that their concerns about racism appear well reflected by the protests – and about a quarter of ethnic minority respondents say that they participated in or actively supported the protests in some way.This pattern makes it plausible to estimate that between one-in-ten to one-in-five ethnic minorities would support ditching the Proms anthems. It is very unlikely to have majority support among non-white Britons. Attitudes towards the last night of the Proms differ by age and social class, by education, by geography and by politics. Those demographic drivers of attitudes will have some influence among black and Asian Britain too.The issue may well matter more to ethnic minority musicians than to the public at large. Chi-Chi Nwanoku revealed that she had been lobbying the BBC to ditch the songs. As the founder of Chineke, the largest BAME-led orchestra in Britain or Europe, she has a good claim to be the most influential black British classical musician today. Nwanoku also wrote a public letter emphasising a broader set of changes for the classical music sector.Those working for race equality in classical music have expressed a range of different views of whether changing the proms would help or hinder this broader agenda. Saxophonist Nate Holder would rather see more understanding of the context than the removal of the songs. Oboist and researcher Uchenna Ngwe said she wanted to see bigger issues dealt with. "We don't need any more pointless symbolic moves," she tweeted. There does not seem to have been any structured attempt to assess where the overall balance of views among musicians from minority backgrounds currently lies.Outside of classical music, my own anecdotal effort to assess ethnic minority opinion on Twitter resulted in a broad landslide for indifference. Only a handful supported ditching the anthems. And similarly only a few people cared about and enjoyed the proms. Most were indifferent to them. A number of those who found the spectacle a bit "cringey" didn't think the issue was worth the argument, while others thought it was wrong to remove something that other people enjoyed. There was an overwhelming frustration at the level of profile of the debate and concern at how divisive it could become.A recent Hope Not Hate poll, of 1,000 ethnic minority respondents, illuminates some of the reasons why ethnic minority opinion will be ambivalent and sceptical about the proposal to ditch the proms. There is a broad majority among ethnic minorities - around two-thirds - who support the removal of the statues of slavers. Yet most respondents also expressed scepticism about the focus on statues: a very wide majority of 60% to 15% feel that this has become a distraction from substantive issues of race equality.History matters. The strongest consensus - across ethnic minorities and the white majority - is for teaching the history of Empire, including its controversies, in schools. That is a much higher priority for most ethnic minority Britons than changing the Proms would be.Asked about removing negative portrayals of ethnic minorities on films and television, opinion divides. 'It's complicated' would sum up the median view - context matters, with a significant difference between egregious and trivial examples.A majority of ethnic minority respondents agreed with the idea that the statues debate represented "political correctness" going too far – by 52% to 22% - showing a concern to differentiate between the most egregious examples and a sweeping 'year zero' idea of interrogating every historical figure by contemporary standards.Here, people often welcome the social moves against name-calling and slurs against ethnic minorities, while remaining sceptical about arguments over Easter Eggs, nativity plays and symbols like the proms.Individual views of the Last Night of the Proms will, of course, differ. But the general view of ethnic minority Britons could be summed up as one of frustration that these polarising culture wars misrepresent and trivialise ethnic minority concerns about race equality.In other words: Have your silly season media culture war over the Proms if you really must. But not in our name, thank you very much.
Bolton Council has asked the Government to keep Covid-19 restrictions in place in the borough following a “sudden and unforeseeable rise” in the local infection rate.The infection rate in the area, not limited to a single area, community or place of work, soared to 56.4 per 100,000 people — nearly three times the UK's quarantine threshold for foreign countries of 20 cases per 100,000 people.
On July 21, two U.S Air Force B-1B bombers took off from Guam and headed west over the Pacific Ocean to the hotly contested South China Sea. The sleek jets made a low-level pass over the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its escorting fleet, which was exercising nearby in the Philippines Sea, according to images released by the U.S. military. The operation was part of the Trump administration's intensifying challenge to China's ruling Communist Party and its sweeping territorial claims over one of the world's most important strategic waterways.