Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 July 2021

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

1. ‘Pingdemic’ could cause weeks of chaos

Companies and local councils say England is facing weeks of disruption to bin collection, transport and food supply due to staff self-isolating. Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and business leaders have urged Boris Johnson to end self-isolation for contacts of Covid cases if they are fully vaccinated. The PM is also facing calls from senior members of his own backbenches for a change to the system.

2. Airports’ busiest weekend since Covid

Airports are enjoying their busiest weekend since the coronavirus pandemic began as schools close and family summer holidays begin. Heathrow Airport expects 60,000 passengers to depart daily, while Gatwick says it expects 250 flights a day - up from a low of just 15. However, the BBC points out that the numbers are still far below pre-pandemic levels. Spain and Greece are the top two destinations for UK travellers.

3. Bosnia outlaws genocide denial

Bosnia has outlawed denial of genocide in the Balkan country to counter attempts by Serbs to deny the scope of the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica. Valentin Inzko said there will be prison sentences of up to five years for genocide denial and for the glorification of war criminals, including naming of streets or public institutions after them. Bosnian Serb officials and neighbouring Serbia have refused to accept the massacre was genocide.

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4. Harry’s publishing deal for four books

Prince Harry has signed a four-book deal – with the second due out only after the Queen has died, reports the Daily Mail. Publishing insiders say the “tell-all” book announced by Harry earlier this week is just the “tip of the iceberg”. Meghan will write a wellness guide as part of the contract with Penguin Random House but the subject and author of the fourth tome is unknown. The final figure for the deal is reportedly as high as £29m.

5. Dozens die in Indian floods

At least 112 people have died in the Indian state of Maharashtra after torrential monsoon rains caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas. Parts of India’s west coast received up to 23 inches of rainfall over 24 hours, forcing authorities to evacuate people before releasing water from dams that were threatening to overflow. CNN says seasonal monsoon rains from June to September cause deaths and mass displacement across South Asia every year.

6. Rewards app to battle obesity

Boris Johnson will launch a rewards programme for families switching to healthier food and exercising. Under the latest plans to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis, an app will monitor family supermarket spending, rewarding those who reduce their calorie intake and buy more fruit and vegetables. It will also log people’s exercise. The “loyalty points” accumulated would be exchanged for discounts, free tickets or other incentives.

7. Brangelina judge replaced

An appeals court in California has disqualified a private judge being used by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in their divorce case. In a victory for Jolie, the second district court of appeal agreed with her that Judge John W Ouderkirk didn’t sufficiently disclose business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys. Pitt and Jolie opted to hire their own judge to increase their privacy in the divorce proceedings, a practice common among US celebrities.

8. US rules that Bezos is no astronaut

Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson are not yet astronauts, according to a new ruling in the US. New Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules say astronauts must be part of the flight crew and make contributions to space flight safety, which means the two entrepreneurs are not yet astronauts in the eyes of the US government. The FAA said the definition was updated to protect public safety during commercial space flights.

9. Giggs ‘kicked girlfriend in back’

Former Manchester United and Wales football star Ryan Giggs kicked his ex-girlfriend in the back and threw her naked out of their hotel bedroom, a court has been told. The claims form part of what is said to be a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour against Kate Greville, between August 2017 and November 2020. Giggs appeared has entered a not guilty plea to the charge at Manchester Crown Court.

10. Schools inspector gave teachers laxative

The new chief inspector for schools in Wales was expelled for spiking his teachers’ cornflake cakes with laxatives. Owen Evans, the new head of Estyn, the Welsh equivalent to Ofsted, says the “chocolate-related incident” led to 23 out of 40 teachers missing lessons the next day. However, he adds, the “look of disappointment in my mother’s eyes” was a catalyst for him deciding to turn his life around.

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