News diary 26 July-1 August: Chris Whitty assault accused in court and full capacity Proms return to Royal Albert Hall - Press Gazette

News diary 26 July-1 August: Chris Whitty assault accused in court and full capacity Proms return to Royal Albert Hall

Foresight News rounds up the key events that need to be in your news diary this week…

Monday 26 July

The UK’s COP26 President Alok Sharma wraps up a two-day ministerial meeting for discussions on outcomes at the UN climate summit in Glasgow this November. Against the backdrop of soaring summer heatwaves across the globe, most recently in North America, the November meeting is the most important political conference on climate change since the Paris agreement was inked in 2015. Last week, more than 100 developing countries set out their negotiating demands, saying COP26 “needs to be a summit where we see action, not words”, and that major economies need “to start delivering on their promises.”

A pre-inquest review hearing takes place as part of the investigation into the 2015 Shoreham Airshow disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 people. A hearing last month ruled that the full inquest will now be delayed until February next year, pending a High Court decision on access to certain materials. The inquest was initially scheduled to take place this October, having already been delayed for 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Olympic highlights: Swimming dominates the day with the finals of the women’s 100m butterfly, men’s 100m breaststroke (Adam Peaty may race), and the men’s and women’s freestyle.

Tuesday

Former Health Secretary Ken Clarke appears before the Infected Blood Inquiry on the opening day of a week-long evidence session. Clarke’s evidence presents something of a landmark moment for the inquiry; previous hearings have seen him accused of “deliberately peddling false information” relating to the scandal during his time in charge of the Department for Health. Questions will further explore allegations of a government cover-up of the scandal, which saw thousands of NHS patients receiving contaminated blood treatments throughout the 70s and 80s.

The US House of Representatives’ Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol holds its first hearing, featuring testimony from law enforcement officials on duty that day. Though intended to be bipartisan, the committee features just one Republican, Trump critic Liz Cheney. All other Republicans are boycotting the investigation after Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the participation of two Congressmen who supported efforts to undermine the results of the election.

Olympic highlights: Medals are awarded in the team dressage, men’s and women’s rowing, and women’s softball.

Wednesday

Boris Johnson and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta co-host an international high-level summit on access to education around the globe. The summit comes as evidence suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the global education crisis, with 1.7 billion children experiencing disruption at the peak of school closures. Ahead of the summit, Johnson pledged £430m for girls’ education as part of the UK’s contribution to the Global Partnership for Education, for which the host nations hope to raise £5bn over the two days in London.

Olympic highlights: Finals of the men’s and women’s individual time trial cycling, the individual dressage, and the men’s and women’s butterfly swimming.

Thursday

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher is due to issue a decision by today on the planning application for the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, following the submission of a planning inspector’s report into the project on 29 April. The application was called in after being rejected by the local council amid opposition to its location at Victoria Tower Gardens and fears that it could become a target for terrorism. The memorial is due to open in 2024 if planning permission is granted.

A week after the UK saw roads “melt like chocolate” during the stifling heatwave that swept across the country, The Met Office publishes its annual report into the UK climate. Last year’s report identified 2019 as the 12th warmest year on record in the UK, including a new all-time high when temperatures reached 38.7 degrees that July. While 2020 didn’t set any records for heat, the Met Office says it does feature in the Top 10 for the warmest, sunniest and wettest years on record, something they attribute to human-caused climate change.

Olympic highlights: Men’s and women’s pairs take to the water in rowing finals, and Simon Biles likely competes in the final of the women’s all-round individual gymnastics.

Friday

Two men are due before magistrates in Westminster charged with common assault over an incident involving England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty (pictured). Lewis Hughes and Jonathan Chew are accused of accosting Whitty as he walked through St James’ Park on 27 June. Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the incident as “despicable”, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Priti Patel also lending their support to Whitty soon after.

Classical music lovers descend on the Royal Albert Hall for the start of the Proms season. Despite the spike in coronavirus cases, this year’s festival takes place at full capacity, a stark contrast to the 14 concerts performed to an empty hall last year. The sense of normality extends to the programme, which features the return of Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory sung in full on the final night.

Olympic highlights: First major athletics event comes with the running of the men’s 10,000m, and medals are also awarded in BMX racing and eights rowing.

Saturday

NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens steps down after seven years in the role. The organisation’s new boss, to be chosen by the NHS board and new Health Secretary Sajid Javid, will assume the role at a pivotal time for the health service; the backlog of operations and appointments stands at around five million, with that number expected to double in the next few months. The new chief executive is also likely to have their independence curbed due to health legislation placing greater power in the hands of ministers as well as having to contend with the government’s decision to fund a three per cent staff pay rise from within the NHS budget.

Pensioners face the prospect of enforcement for not paying their TV licence fee as the grace period for non-payment comes to an end. The transition period began after the free licences for over-75s were scrapped in in August 2020, with more than a quarter of a million pensioners having failed to pay for their licence as of last month.

The hotly anticipated Olympic women’s 100-metre final sees Team GB’s Dina Asher-Smith attempt to beat Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who recently became the world’s second-fastest woman of all time. The race has drawn an unusual amount of attention, in part due to the controversial suspension of 21-year-old American Sha’Carri Richardson. A favourite to win gold, Richardson was banned for a month following a positive marijuana test.

Sunday 1 August

The cost to employers of keeping staff on furlough increases from today as the government grant in the Job Retention Scheme is reduced to 60 per cent of wages. The furlough scheme has been one of the pillars of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s economic support packages since the pandemic began, with over £65bn spent on the scheme to the end of May this year. The Labour Party and unions have warned that many businesses could struggle to meet the additional costs, with employers expected to pay national insurance and pension contributions from this month on top of the wage top-ups.

The men’s 100-metre final takes centre stage at Tokyo on Sunday as a crowded field jostles to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion. As athletics looks for its newest sprint sensation, American duo Noah Lyles and Trayvon Bromell seem best placed to clinch the gold – fans hoping for a fairy-tale win though need look no further than Canada’s Andre De Grasse.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

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