Foresight News rounds-up the key events that need to be in your news diary this week…
The Government’s controversial new rules requiring travellers arriving in the UK to be quarantined come into force despite mounting opposition from both the travel industry and a growing number of Tory MPs.
- April 16, 2021
- April 9, 2021
- April 2, 2021
Home Secretary Priti Patel has described the measures as “essential” in preventing a second wave of coronavirus infections – a position not seemingly shared by leading scientists on the government’s SAGE committee. Revelling in her role as a backbench MP, Theresa May has been leading the Tory revolt and accused her successor at Number 10 of “closing Britain off from the rest of the world”.
Derek Chauvin appears in court charged with the murder of George Floyd. A video of the former Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes quickly went viral, sparking national and international protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Floyd’s final words, “I can’t breathe”, have served as a tragic reminder of the death of Eric Garner six years ago, highlighting the systemic nature of police brutality and urgent need for reform.
Lawyers representing Manchester City appear before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland as they attempt to overturn the club’s two-year ban from European football. UEFA handed down the penalty earlier this year in response to alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations, though City have maintained their innocence throughout and argue the decision is “politically motivated”. The hearing is expected to run until 10 June.
A private funeral service is held for George Floyd in his hometown of Houston, with presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden expected to be in attendance. Biden, whose response to tragedy often highlights empathy and personal understanding of grief, has been keen to offer the leadership and commitment to reform that many feel Donald Trump has failed to provide. The private ceremony follows public memorials and vigils held nationwide in memory of Floyd.
The Office for National Statistics publishes weekly mortality statistics from Covid-19 in England and Wales for the week ending 29 May. The most recent figures showed that the 2,872 deaths in the previous week were at their lowest level since March, leading to speculation that today’s figures could show that the excess mortality rate has returned to normal. Scientists still highlight the need for caution, however, as the UK death toll surpassed 50,000 last week.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam chairs her weekly cabinet meeting and press conference, the first since lawmakers passed a controversial bill last week making it illegal to insult China’s national anthem. The move coincided with the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, which saw residents defy a ban on the traditional mass vigil to gather in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to protest a national security law announced by China’s NPC last month.
Lam’s remarks also come ahead of the 35th anniversary of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Friday, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invoked to promise British National Overseas passports and one-year visas for nearly 3m Hong Kong citizens if the national security law goes ahead.
The OECD releases its biannual economic outlook, which analyses trends and prospects for member nations over the coming two years. The monitoring group’s recent output has unsurprisingly focused on the disruptive economic potential of Covid-19, with an interim outlook concluding in March that the virus was the gravest threat to the global economy since the financial crisis.
Secretary General Angel Gurria’s warning last month of slower recovery and the dangers of debt burdens suggests that today’s report is unlikely to be any more optimistic.
The Duke of Edinburgh turns 99, following The Queen and great-grandchildren Charlotte, Louis and Archie in celebrating a birthday during lockdown. Prince Philip’s milestone is reportedly set to be a low-key affair involving lunch at Windsor Castle and Zoom calls with the family.
Ofcom publishes its annual report detailing news consumption across TV, radio, print and online in the UK and within each nation. Last year’s report showed that half of the population now use social media as a news source, underlining the importance of a recent push for social media giants to do more to counter misleading or false information.
According to a recent report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, misinformation about Covid-19 has been rife since the pandemic began, particularly with regards to conspiracy theories about 5G technology.
Rakeem Malik is scheduled to be sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court after admitting charges of threatening to kill Boris Johnson and MPs Jess Phillips and Rosie Winterton.
Malik, who is currently serving a sentence at HMP Birmingham, entered guilty pleas at a 29 May hearing where the court heard he’d also sent threatening letters to Theresa May during her administration.
Last month’s quarterly GDP figures, which showed a record-breaking fall in growth for the first three months of this year, came just days after the Bank of England had suggested that worse was to come for the UK. Today’s monthly estimate from the ONS, covering the peak lockdown month of April, should give a sense of the accuracy of the Bank’s predicted 25% contraction.
Former Treasury Minister Jim O’Neill recently suggested that Rishi Sunak replace the Bank’s inflation target with a nominal GDP target to improve the chances of a V-shaped recovery from what the Chancellor said is likely to be a significant recession in the UK.
The ONS also releases two sets of statistics today on deaths involving Covid-19. The first looks at mortality broken down by area and socioeconomic deprivation; the last set of figures published in May suggested that death rates from the virus in deprived areas of England were more than twice those found in wealthier areas, with Newham, Brent and Hackney in London the worst-affected parts of the country.
The second, a provisional count of the total number of deaths across the whole of the UK between 1 March and 30 April, comes amid reports of growing discontent among Conservative MPs about the government’s performance over that crucial period.
An online London Fashion Week kicks off, although the shows only continue until Sunday and have been combined with the Fashion Week Men’s to create a sole, gender-neutral, digital-only event.
GQ editor-in-chief and British Fashion Council board member Dylan Jones speculated recently that the pandemic and the closure of physical stores will have a dramatic impact on the fashion industry and consumer habits, predicting that few of the stylists at Fashion Week will be debuting entire collections. In May, the British Fashion Council launched a £1m grant to help the fledging industry cope with the pandemic restrictions.
All eyes will be on President Trump when he addresses graduates at West Point Military Academy. Several high-profile former military leaders have openly criticised the US leader’s repeated threats to use troops to quell protests, and even his defence secretary Mark Esper appeared to feel queasy about the prospect when he held an impromptu press conference last week.
Adding to Trump’s woes are reports of a coronavirus outbreak among cadets ordered to return to attend the event in person. Trump also holds an in-person fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club, reportedly charging $250,000 per person, amid accusations about his continued disregard for the severity of the ongoing pandemic.
Sunday marks the third anniversary of the fire at Grenfell Tower which killed 72 people. Grenfell has been repeatedly invoked as an example of institutional racism in the UK, with London’s first George Floyd protest ending at the base of the tower, meaning more demonstrations could go ahead today to mark the anniversary.
The public inquiry into the fire has been held up over recent weeks due to the pandemic, though in an update to inquiry chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick last week the Prime Minister said that the Government remained committed to implementing recommendations from his first report, with a new consultation on fire-safety regulations imminent.
While Los Angeles (like most large cities) had previously cancelled all in-person pride events, organisers have called for a solidarity protest with the black community at the site of the city’s first-ever pride parade 50 years ago.
Tensions between pride organisers and the Black Lives Matter movement have flared in the past, with BLM insisting that corporate-heavy pride parades which include police presence – both as security and in the parades themselves – ignore the effects police discrimination and brutality have on black members of the LGBTIQ+ community. While the LAPD was included in last year’s pride parade, activists have already begun to question whether there will be police presence at today’s march.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire