Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 19 Jun 2020

1. Review says Labour has ‘mountain to climb’ to win back power

Even a new leader and the resolution of Brexit will not be enough for Labour to win back power, according to a damning review of the party's 2019 defeat. The Labour Together project says the party has a “mountain to climb” after it fell to its lowest number of seats since 1935 in December’s poll. It describes dysfunctionality and toxicity during the campaign.

2. Government scraps its contact-tracing app

The government has scrapped a centralised coronavirus contact-tracing app after spending three months and millions of pounds on technology that experts warned would not work. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the NHS would switch to an alternative designed by the US tech companies Apple and Google, which may not be ready until the winter. The Guardian says it is an “embarrassing U-turn”.

3. Tributes paid to ‘magical’ Dame Vera Lynn

Tributes have been paid to Dame Vera Lynn, who has died at the age of 103. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Dame Vera’s “charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours”. Sir Paul McCartney described her as “strong and inspiring”. Historian Max Hastings says that Britain’s wartime Forces’ Sweetheart was “everybody’s sister” and a “consoling voice of a lonely war”.

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4. Supreme Court rules against Donald Trump again

The Supreme Court has blocked Donald Trump’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The 5-4 ruling blocked the White House from closing the Obama-era Daca program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation. On Monday, the Supreme Court also ruled against Trump, stating that LGBTQ Americans are protected under the Civil Rights Act.

5. Johnson tells Macron he wants to progress Brexit talks

Boris Johnson has told Emmanuel Macron that it “makes no sense” to extend post-Brexit trade talks beyond the end of the summer. The PM is reportedly keen to seal agreement on a future trade and security partnership with Brussels swiftly, but the French president is understood to be reluctant to discuss the trade deal one-to-one, insisting that UK negotiations must be with the 27-nation bloc as a whole.

6. China releases Indian soldiers seized during border clashes

China has released 10 Indian soldiers seized in the border clash in the Himalayas earlier this week. There have been several rounds of talks between the two sides in a bid to ease tensions after the battle on Monday, which left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead. The Indian military said: “It is clarified that there are no Indian troops missing in action”.

7. Rugby chiefs to review the Swing Low anthem

England rugby bosses are reviewing the anthem Swing Low, Sweet Chariot because of its associations with slavery. The Rugby Football Union said that it wanted to educate supporters who were unaware of its “origins or sensitivities” so that they could make an “informed decision”. In 2017 Josephine Wright, a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster, Ohio, criticised “cross-cultural appropriations of US slave songs” in the sport.

8. Police officer dies during shooting incident in New Zealand

A police officer was killed and another sustained serious injuries after a shooting during a routine traffic stop in Auckland, New Zealand. The officer is the first to be killed in the line of duty in New Zealand since 2009. Explaining that the suspect is still at large, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the death of the officer was “absolutely devastating”.

9. Study finds UK is lonely and desperate due to lockdown

Two in five adults in the UK feel lonelier under lockdown, new research has revealed. The study by the British Red Cross found that 28% worried that no one would notice if something happened to them while 33% said they feared that their feelings of loneliness would get worse in the years ahead. Some 31% felt they have no one to turn to when they are confronting a problem.

10. South Asian people most likely to die in UK hospitals

South Asian people are the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to British hospitals, according to a new study. Twenty-seven institutions across the UK, including universities and public health bodies, as well as 260 hospitals, were involved in the study, which found that South Asians are the only ethnic group to have a raised risk of death in hospital, partly due to high levels of diabetes.

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