Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 July 2021

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

1. New Covid cases fall in UK

The UK recorded 29,173 new cases of Covid on Sunday – down from 48,161 a week earlier. This marks the first time since February that the number of new positives has fallen for five days in a row. However, the number of people taking Covid tests has also fallen, though by a smaller margin, and the figures will not yet reflect the impact of last Monday’s lifting of restrictions.

2. Tunisia PM sacked after violence

Tunisia’s president has sacked his prime minister and suspended parliament, following violent protests across the country. President Kais Saied announced he would take charge with help from a new prime minister after thousands of protesters, angry at the government’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, took to the streets and clashed with police on Sunday. “This is the happiest moment since the revolution,” said one demonstrator.

3. Growth forecast raised to 7.6%

The economy is growing at the fastest pace in 80 years and is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, according to the latest EY Item Club forecast. The influential survey says that the economy is now expected to grow by 7.6% this year - the fastest rate since 1941 - and higher than the 6.8% predicted in April. The UK economy is highly dependent on recreation and leisure activities, which are benefiting from the unlocking.

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4. House prices offset crash losses

House prices have nearly tripled in the past 20 years, according to research from Zoopla. The average home in Britain is now worth £163,700 more than it was in 2001. Although buyers who bought their home before the financial crash saw a dip in its value between 2008 and 2012, these losses have been offset by strong price growth since 2013, says The Times.

UK house prices near record high

5. Hospitals and rail station flooded

Two London hospitals have asked patients to stay away after their emergency departments were flooded after heavy rain yesterday. Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals urged patients to use other A&Es for urgent care, and ambulances are being redirected. On the Docklands Light Railway, in east London, Pudding Mill Lane station was also inundated. The torrential downpours in the capital came after a heatwave earlier this week brought days of record-breaking temperatures.

6. Peaty grabs GB’s first gold

Adam Peaty has won Great Britain’s first gold of the Tokyo Olympics. The swimmer took 100m breaststroke gold to become the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title. “From start to finish it was a perfectly executed swim,” said the BBC, after Peaty finished in a time of 57.37 seconds, six tenths clear of the field. “It means the world to be me,” he said.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: a guide to the games

7. Nuremberg rally remarks investigated

Police are investigating comments made at an anti-lockdown rally about the hanging of medical staff after the Nuremberg Trials, comparing NHS staff to Nazis. Speaking at a protest in Trafalgar Square, Kate Shemirani, a former nurse, asked for details of NHS workers to be collected and sent to her. “Get their names. Email them to me,” she said. “At the Nuremberg Trials, the doctors and nurses stood trial and they hung.” An ICU doctor wrote on Twitter: “This makes me want to cry.”

8. Hundreds of sex abuse offences in Scouts

The Guardian has found that more than 250 people in the UK and Ireland have been convicted of child sexual abuse offences committed while they were Scout leaders or in other positions of responsibility within the Scout movement. The cases, dating from the 1950s, include convictions for rape, indecent assault, voyeurism and the possession, creation and distribution of indecent or pornographic images. A lawyer said: “The Scout Association must do much more to protect the safety of its scouts from sexual predators.”

9. Data shows Covid shifting to young

Doctors have warned that increasing numbers of young people with Covid are being admitted to hospital, including to intensive care wards. Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, senior intensive care registrar, said the patients they were seeing were “getting younger and younger”. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that coronavirus in England is now largely an infection among young adults, with overall cases in 16- to 24-year-olds almost six times more common than in 50- to 69-year-olds, who are much more likely to be vaccinated.

10. Tributes as Jackie Mason dies

The comedian and actor Jackie Mason has died at the age of 93. Mason, who was ordained as a rabbi before moving into the entertainment industry in the 1950s, died at a New York hospital, his long-time friend and collaborator Raoul Felder has announced. CNN says Mason was known for his “rapid-fire befuddled observations”, while The Guardian says he was a “compellingly blunt joke-teller who was part of stand-up history”.

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