Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 July 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1. Doctors call for masks to stay

Some Covid restrictions should be kept in place in England beyond 19 July, say leading doctors. Calling for a continued use of face masks and new ventilation standards, the British Medical Association said it was “crucial” to protect the NHS, health and education due to an “alarming” rise in cases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinted on Thursday that some “extra precautions” may still be needed are 19 July.

2. Fires follow Canada heat wave

More than 130 wildfires are burning across western Canada following a savage heat wave. The authorities are sending military aircraft to assist emergency services in British Columbia battling fires, which were fuelled by lightning strikes. The heat wave is being linked to an increase in deaths. The medical examiner’s office said extreme temperatures were likely to have contributed to 719 sudden deaths - a figure it said was “three times more” than the average for the time of year.

3. Greensill inquiry head was Tory hopeful

The man appointed by Boris Johnson to run an independent inquiry into the Greensill lobbying scandal is a former Conservative party member who stood as a council candidate, reports The Guardian. Nigel Boardman, a lawyer, tried to become a councillor for the party in Islington in 1986. Labour says the revelation is further proof that the inquiry should be dropped.

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4. UN warns of new Ethiopian famine

The UN says that fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has resulted in a famine that is now affecting more than 400,000 people. Officials said as many as 33,000 children are severely malnourished and a further 1.8m people are on the brink of famine as a result of the eight-month conflict. Clashes between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and government forces have left thousands dead and more than two million displaced.

5. Rich care firms claimed furlough

Leading UK care providers have claimed hundreds of thousands of pounds in furlough money despite having banked millions in profits. The Times reports that Runwood Homes claimed up to £250,000 a month in furlough money in the first three months of 2021 despite posting a £25.4m profit last year, and handing £3m to its best-paid director. A leading campaigner has accused the care giants of acting immorally.

6. Boeing jet crashes into sea

A Boeing 737 cargo plane with two people on board has ditched off the coast of Hawaii after engine problems. The jet went down in the water soon after taking off from Daniel K Inouye International Airport. The Coast Guard rescued both pilots from the sea. The BBC says the pilots were “remarkably calm” in recordings, in which one told air traffic control: “We've lost number one engine. We’re going to lose the other engine, too.” Both were saved.

7. Starmer praises ‘decent’ Leadbeater

Keir Starmer says Kim Leadbeater is the future of the Labour party and has contrasted her decency and spirit with a prime minister “who basks in his own dishonesty”. Writing for The Guardian, the Labour leader praised the new Batley and Spen MP for a by-election campaign based on “unity and decency”. The political novice won in the West Yorkshire constituency by just 323 votes.

8. Questions raised over Gove divorce

Michael Gove has become the second Cabinet minister in a week to split with his wife. Gove and the journalist Sarah Vine announced that they had “agreed to separate” and were finalising their divorce after almost 20 years of marriage. The Daily Telegraph says Downing Street has refused to confirm whether any social distancing rules had been broken. However, friends insisted nobody else was involved in the split and they had simply “drifted apart”.

9. US scouts group agrees abuse deal

The Boy Scouts of America has agreed an $850m settlement with sexual abuse victims. The deal, which CNN says is among the largest single settlements of sexual abuse claims in US history, will see the group pay up to $250m in value to a trust fund that will compensate survivors of abuse. The other $600m will come from local authorities. BSA filed for bankruptcy last year as hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits were filed across the country.

10. Murray and Evans out of Wimbledon

Andy Murray crashed out of Wimbledon after he was beaten by Canadian 10th seed Denis Shapovalov. Two-time champion Murray, 34, lost 6-4 6-2 6-2 against left-hander Shapovalov. “To play against a legend like Andy today, he’s been an inspiration to me,” said Shapovalov. “I told him at the net that he’s my hero.” Meanwhile, British number one Dan Evans saw his bid to reach the last 16 for the first time ended by American prodigy Sebastian Korda.

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