Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 22 Jun 2020

1. Suspect quizzed as Reading prepares minute’s silence for victims

A minute’s silence will be held today for the three victims of the Reading stabbing attack. The commemoration comes after the first victim was named. Teacher James Furlong, described as a “kind and gentle” man, was head of history, government and politics at The Holt School in Wokingham. Police are continuing to question the suspect in Saturday’s attack, Khairi Saadallah, who has been arrested under the Terrorism Act.

2. Concern as Germany’s R number soars again

Germany’s coronavirus R number has risen again - from 1.79 on Saturday to 2.88 on Sunday. Health officials say outbreaks had been reported in a variety of locations including hospitals and nursing homes. The R number refers to the reproductive rate of the virus. Amid spikes in several countries, the World Health Organization has recorded the biggest one-day increase in coronavirus cases.

3. Boris Johnson to announce further lockdown loosening

Boris Johnson is to announce an expansion of household “bubbles” that could mean millions more grandparents are reunited with their grandchildren. The prime minister is also expected to announce tomorrow if the hospitality sector can reopen on 4 July and if the 2m distancing rule in England can be relaxed. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says England is “clearly on track” to ease more lockdown restrictions.

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4. Austerity targeted cuts at poorer areas more than rich ones

Poorer areas were hit the hardest by austerity cuts, according to an analysis by The Guardian. The research found that local authorities in poorer areas of England had their funding slashed on average by at least a third, while more affluent, largely Conservative areas received greater protection. “It was very clear right from the beginning that Labour areas were being hit harder,” said Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association resources board.

5. Ghislaine Maxwell is ‘hiding in a Paris bolthole’

The British socialite wanted for questioning about her relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, is living in Paris, out of reach of US investigators, reports The Times. Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, who is sought by the FBI over allegations that she supplied under-age girls to the financier and his friends, is living in a “bolthole” on Avenue Matignon, an expensive street close to the Champs Elysees.

6. Windrush scandal could be repeated warns report author

A report into the Windrush scandal has warned there is a “grave risk” of similar failures happening again if the government does not implement its recommendations. The report’s author, Wendy Williams, said the Home Office still needed to “make good on its commitment to learn the lessons”. Today, National Windrush Day will commemorate the day 72 years ago when the ship HMT Empire Windrush arrived, carrying migrants to help fill jobs in the UK.

7. White House disputes that Trump asked Xi for election help

The White House has disputed the allegation that Donald Trump asked Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, for help in winning re-election. “I never heard that,” said trade adviser Peter Navarro, echoing remarks by US trade representative Robert Lighthizer. The claim came in a book written by John Bolton, a former national security adviser.

8. Lower-income households increasing debt during pandemic

Less well-off households are using savings and borrowing more during the coronavirus pandemic, while better-off families are saving more as eating out and holidays abroad are off the table. The Resolution Foundation found that lower-income households are twice as likely as richer ones to have increased their debts during the past three months. A spokesman said “wealth divides have been exposed by the crisis”.

9. Archaeologists make exciting new Stonehenge discovery

Academics have discovered a ring of prehistoric shafts, dug thousands of years ago near Stonehenge. The archaeologists found evidence of a 1.2 mile (2km) wide circle of large shafts measuring more than 10m in diameter and 5m in depth, which surround the ancient settlement of Durrington Walls, two miles (3km) from Stonehenge. They believe they may have served as a boundary to a sacred area connected to the henge.

10. US museum to remove statue of Theodore Roosevelt

The American Museum of Natural History will remove a statue of former president Theodore Roosevelt from outside its main entrance. Across the US, statues of Confederate leaders and other historical figures linked to slavery have been forcibly removed or destroyed. However, Donald Trump has spoken out against the planned removal of the Roosevelt statue, tweeting: “Ridiculous, don’t do it!”

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