Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 24 Jun 2020

1. Pubs and restaurants to re-open as UK lockdown is eased

Boris Johnson has announced significant changes to England’s lockdown. The prime minister says pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers will be allowed to re-open from 4 July. The two-metre social-distancing rule will be replaced with a “one-metre plus” rule. Johnson said: “Our great national hibernation is coming to an end”.

2. Health chiefs warn UK may not be ready for second wave

Health leaders fear that the UK is not properly prepared for the “real risk” of a second wave of Covid-19. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs have signed an open letter published in the British Medical Journal. Health leaders have called for a “rapid and forward-looking assessment” of how prepared the UK is.

3. US is witnessing a ‘disturbing surge’ of Covid-19

America’s leading infectious disease expert has told lawmakers that the US is seeing a “disturbing surge” in Covid-19 infections in some states. With cases climbing rapidly, a panel of health officials, including Dr Anthony Fauci, said the next few days will be crucial in the fight against the pandemic. About 2.3 million Americans have been infected and at least 120,000 have died.

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4. European politicians criticise Israel’s annexation plans

More than 1,000 MPs from across Europe have added their names to a letter strongly opposing plans by Israel to annex parts of the West Bank. In the letter, they express “serious concerns” and call for “commensurate consequences”. Under a power-sharing deal which led to the formation of the current Israeli government, annexation can be put to a vote from 1 July.

5. North Korea pauses plans for military action against South

North Korea has shelved plans for “military action” against South Korea, according to state media. Following weeks of angry rhetoric from the North over plans to send leaflets with anti-North Korean messages over the border, the Central Military Commission said it made its decision after taking what it called the “prevailing situation” into consideration.

6. Police say White Lives Matter banner did not break law

Police say that a football fan who paid a pilot to fly a banner reading White Lives Matter over a Premier League match did not break the law. The stunt was was widely condemned. Jake Hepple, a Burnley supporter, has claimed responsibility, writing on Facebook: “I’d like to take this time to apologise… to absolutely f***ing nobody!”

7. MPs vote down Rees-Mogg’s bullying investigation plan

MPs have voted against proposals introduced by the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, that would have allowed them to debate complaints about bullying and harassment. Critics of the plan said it would undermine a new independent system designed to prevent bullying and sexual harassment in parliament, by allowing MPs to debate serious sanctions made by a new independent expert panel.

8. Barack Obama helps Joe Biden raise more than $11m

Barack Obama made his first campaign appearance alongside Joe Biden, helping raise more than $11m. The former president warned Democrats against being “complacent or smug” about the presidential race during the virtual fundraiser. The Trump campaign has so far been ahead in overall fundraising, with $265m in cash at the end of May.

9. Earthquake in Mexico kills at leave five people

A 7.5-magnitude earthquake has hit large areas of southern and central Mexico, killing at least five people. The deaths were near the quake’s epicentre in the mountainous state, Oaxaca - known for its coffee, mescal and Spanish colonial architecture. It set off a tsunami warning for a radius of 621 miles on the Pacific coasts of Mexico and Central America.

10. Police search Thames after man goes missing in Cookham

Police are searching a stretch of the River Thames after a man went missing after entering the water. Thames Valley Police attended the incident in Cookham, Berkshire last night along with ambulance and fire crews. “It was reported that a man had entered the water,” said the force. “Officers are working to locate the man, who was not seen to get out of the water.”

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