Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 2 Jul 2020

1. US prepares new sanctions against China

The US is preparing new Hong Kong-related sanctions, after China imposed a security law that was condemned by countries around the world. The measure, which was passed unanimously in the House of Representatives, will punish banks that do business with Chinese officials. Critics say Beijing’s legislation ends freedoms that were guaranteed for 50 years when British rule ended in 1997.

2. New local lockdowns could be imposed as cases rise

There are fears of further local lockdowns as coronavirus cases rise in towns and cities including Barnsley and Rochdale. Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London said the UK should be braced for regional flare-ups. He told the BBC: “It’s inevitable we will (have further local outbreaks), we are relaxing lockdown rules and that means that contacts in the population are going up and that’s a very variable process.”

3. Thousands of retail jobs lost as furlough winds down

More than 6,000 retail jobs were lost on the UK high street yesterday as the government furlough scheme began to wind down. John Lewis will close up to 19 stores and axe one of its main offices. The number of shops that have collapsed into administration in the first six months of 2020 is already more than the number that failed in the whole of 2019.

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4. NY court lifts restraining order against tell-all Trump book

A court in New York has lifted the temporary restraining order against the publisher of a tell-all book by Donald Trump’s niece. Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough, How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, is due for publication on 28 July. The book claims to reveal “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse”.

5. House prices have fallen for first time since 2012

House prices have suffered their first annual fall in eight years. Property prices fell by 0.1% in the year to June after the coronavirus lockdown measures put the market on hold. Prices over the month fell by 1.4%, taking the average house price to £216,403, the Nationwide building society’s June survey reported.

6. Troops deployed to deal with unrest in Ethiopia

Ethiopian troops have been deployed to deal with unrest sparked by the assassination of the popular musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa. The violence following the death saw a statue of royal prince Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael torn down in the eastern city of Harar. Meanwhile, a statue of former Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie has been destroyed in a park in Wimbledon, south-west London.

7. IMF says British government should prioritise green spending

The economic counsellor of the International Monetary Fund says the British government should prioritise spending on green projects to create jobs and kickstart the economic recovery. Gita Gopinath said: “For many countries we can see a very good argument for them to undertake public investment spending, because this is going to be a crisis where people are going to hold back spending for a while.”

8. Home Office supports plans for votes for police chiefs

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary is backing plans for a US Congress-style voting system for police chiefs that will nationalise key policies and priorities. Sir Tom Winsor wants a new system in which strategies would be voted on before the decisions became binding for every police force, reports The Times. Chief constables are currently autonomous and cannot be told how to implement their powers.

9. Prince Harry says institutional racism is ‘endemic’

Prince Harry has apologised to young people for previous generations’ lack of progress in making “right the wrongs of the past”, adding that institutional racism is “endemic”, and “has no place in our societies”. Speaking to an audience of young people, the Duke of Sussex said that the “ability to heal the world” is in their hands. “Now is the time and we know that you can do it,” he told them.

10. Australia ups military spending for ‘more dangerous’ future

The Australian government will spend $186 billion on its military in the next decade amid rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region and fears of an increasingly dangerous world. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “We need to... prepare for a post-Covid world that is poorer, that is more dangerous and that is more disorderly.” He added that the “risk of miscalculation and even conflict” was growing.

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