Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 24 Jul 2020

1. Supermarkets and police not keen on enforcing new mask laws

Leading chains say they will not enforce new rules requiring customers to wear face coverings. Sainsburys, Asda, Co-op and Costa Coffee are among retailers saying they have no intention of policing the laws, which come into effect today. The Police Federation of England and Wales says it is “unrealistic and unfair” to expect its officers to patrol the aisles looking for people breaking the coronavirus regulations.

2. Government to offer flu jabs to 30 million Britons

The government intends to give flu vaccinations to 30 million people in England this year, adding jabs for 11-year-olds and those aged over 50. Ministers hope that doubling the reach of the programme will mitigate the impact of Covid-19 during the winter months. GPs are concerned that some surgeries will not have enough fridge space to accept the number of doses they will need.

3. Is Sports Direct paying less than the minimum wage?

Warehouse workers at Sports Direct appear to be receiving pay below the national minimum wage, according to The Guardian. An undercover reporter at the Shirebrook, Derbyshire warehouse said workers were unable to leave the building during their 30-minute unpaid breaks – a practice some employment experts say would push Shirebrook’s effective hourly wage rates below the legal minimum of £8.72 to about £8.20.

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4. Trump cancels Florida convention as coronavirus cases rise

Donald Trump has cancelled a Republican party convention in Florida, saying: “It's not the right time for that.” The US president blamed the coronavirus "flare-up" as US cases passed four million. He said: “We didn't want to take any chances. We have to be vigilant. We have to be careful and we have to set an example.”

5. Nicola Sturgeon says Boris Johnson is ‘celebrating’ pandemic

Nicola Sturgeon says Boris Johnson is using the coronavirus pandemic “as some kind of political weapon”. Scotland’s first minister accused the prime minister of “celebrating” the pandemic after Johnson claimed coronavirus would have spelled economic disaster for Scotland had it not been able to turn to the UK Treasury for help. Polling shows a sustained majority in favour of Scottish independence for the first time.

6. Experts measure global wave of silence during lockdown

Seismologists say an unprecedented wave of silence spread around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. Records from seismic stations all over the planet show that high frequency noise caused by industrial plants, traffic and other activities fell as much as 50%. “You can almost see it as a wave,” said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist who worked on the study at Imperial College, London.

7. Tehran warning after US fighter jets come near Iranian plane

Two US fighter jets came close to an Iranian passenger plane over Syrian airspace, causing the pilot to change altitude quickly to avoid collision. Several passengers were injured, according to Iran’s official IRIB news agency. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said legal and political action would be taken in response to the incident.

8. Blow for cinemas as Disney postpones release of Star Wars

Cinemas have been dealt a fresh blow as Walt Disney postponed the release of major blockbusters. The new Avatar and Star Wars films have been delayed a year, while Mulan has been removed from schedules completely. “It's become clear that nothing can be set in stone when it comes to how we release films during this global health crisis,” said a Disney spokesman.

9. Court says sensitive Ghislaine Maxwell documents can be unsealed

A Manhattan court has ordered that an extensive collection of “extremely personal” documents relating to civil litigation against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell can be unsealed. The Daily Mail says the documents will include depositions from Maxwell, which could explain her alleged role in Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking operation. Maxwell was arrested earlier this month and charged over her alleged involvement with Epstein’s sex trafficking of minors.

10. Government to suggest restrictions on junk food advertising

Boris Johnson is to propose a ban on junk food advertising online and before the watershed at 9pm. The prime minister will unveil his strategy after he recently announced that he had abandoned his “libertarian stance on obesity” after his battle with coronavirus, in which he was admitted to intensive care. However, there are fears that some of his measures could be costly for smaller retailers as they struggle following the lockdown.

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