Foresight News rounds up the key events that need to be in your news diary this week…
Monday 7 June
Scotland continues to lift its coronavirus restrictions with most of the north and south of the country entering Level 1. Despite Health Minister Hamza Yousef warning that Scotland is at the “foothills” of third COVID-19 wave, many Scots will be able to mix indoors from up to three different households, and hospitality venues can stay open until 11pm. However, most in the central belt, including Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow will remain in Level 2, following Nicola Sturgeon’s 1 June announcement that a “slight slowdown” was required to allow more people in those areas to be fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Wales begins a phased entry into alert Level 1, with an increase in the number of people allowed to mix outdoors, extended households increased to cover three households, and the return of large outdoor events.
- June 25, 2021
- June 18, 2021
- June 11, 2021
E-scooters are available to rent in London as a trial gets underway in four boroughs, the City and Canary Wharf. Three operators are involved in the scheme, which is managed by TfL and London Councils and will assess whether e-scooters are suitable – and safe – for use on the capital’s streets. Trials in other parts of the country, in operation since late last year, have been met with mixed reviews.
Tuesday 8 June
The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee meets to finalise its preparations for the imminent Tokyo Games. The beleaguered event has already been delayed by a full year, and organisers say they are “100% certain” the Games will proceed despite swathes of Japan being under a state of emergency as the country battles a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. IOC President Thomas Bach generated anger in Japan last month after he called for “sacrifices” to ensure its delivery.
The World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council meets for further discussions on a proposed waiver on Covid-related patents and other intellectual property rights. The UK remains opposed to the Indian- and South African-sponsored proposal, along with other WTO heavyweights including Japan, South Korea, Australia and the EU, though the European bloc’s position could change after its parliament votes on the issue on Monday. India warned last week that failing to progress with the waiver would harm the WTO’s credibility.
Six months ago, Margaret Keenan became the first person in the UK to receive a dose of a coronavirus vaccine outside of a clinical trial. The vaccine rollout has been one of the undeniable success stories of the fight against coronavirus, with all vaccination targets comfortably achieved. Last week the Department of Health and Social Care announced that three quarters of all adults had received a first dose and more than half had been fully vaccinated.
Wednesday 9 June
The Police Federation of England and Wales opens its two-day annual conference following a challenging year for policing. Since the beginning of the pandemic, forces have been accused of heavy-handedness in dealing with protests, faced an uptick in assaults on officers, and endured criticisms from MPs who found coronavirus laws had been routinely misinterpreted. The opening day’s highlights include keynote addresses from Kit Malthouse and a “senior Cabinet Minister” (widely expected to be Home Secretary Priti Patel), as well as an appearance by Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.
France enters the next stage of its lockdown re-opening, with indoor dining, gyms and public events all back in business and the curfew extended to 11pm. More controversial, however, is today’s introduction of the country’s “health pass”, which will give residents a physical or digital way of proving they’ve received their COVID-19 vaccine, recently tested negative, or recovered from the illness. The pass will allow the French to travel internationally but will also be used for large domestic events with over 1,000 attendees, despite fears that such a programme would infringe on civil liberties and discriminate against those who haven’t yet been vaccinated.
The European Court of Justice rules in another challenge brought by low-cost carrier Ryanair, which has been arguing that bailouts for national airlines during the pandemic have been in breach of the European Union’s rules on state aid. Ryanair has brought 16 different cases against what it has called the EU’s “spineless” approach to countries propping up airlines to maintain “faded national prestige”. Results have been mixed so far, with the court ruling against Ryanair on subsidies for Finnair and SAS but upholding its complaint on KLM and TAP; today’s challenge concerns German airline Condor.
Thursday 10 June
Health Secretary Matt Hancock faces scrutiny from MPs as part of the joint Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee inquiry into lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hancock will mount a defence of his actions during the first wave of the pandemic following former Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings’ explosive allegations during his own session, when he accused Hancock of “lying to everybody on multiple occasions” and said he “should have been sacked on 15 to 20 occasions”.
Today would have marked the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday, and while the palace has so far been quiet about plans for the occasion, they reportedly include an exhibition at Windsor Castle to celebrate his life. Prince Philip died on 9 April, but was said to be reluctant to make a big fuss on par with the Queen Mother’s centenary, and the family’s commemorations are likely to be appropriately low-key.
Friday 11 June
Boris Johnson hosts his G7 counterparts on the Cornish coast for the group’s first meeting in more than a year. The UK’s priorities for the summit are coronavirus recovery and climate, with a focus on the COP26 summit later this year, while invitations to leaders from Australia, India and South Korea are a nod to the government’s post-Brexit trading ambitions. However, a lack of agreement over Joe Biden’s proposed global business tax and a potential Parliamentary rebellion over foreign aid in the build-up to the summit have threatened to overshadow those ambitions.
The winners of the 2021 Pulitzer Prizes are announced. Following a year in which the news has been inescapably dominated by the pandemic, reporting on the handling of the virus and its impact on individuals and communities is likely to feature. Reporting on the death of George Floyd, the attack on the US Capitol and the presidential election may also be recognised, alongside noteworthy international events such as the coup in Myanmar and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.
Saturday 12 June
Roland Garros plays host to the women’s final of the French Open, in a tournament which has proved controversial from the off. World number two Naomi Osaka, heavily favoured heading into the event, withdrew from the competition after opting out of media obligations on mental health grounds. Osaka was fined $15,000 for skipping press duties after her opening round win, though organisers of all four grand slam events have since pledged “meaningful improvements” to help support players.
A digital-first London Fashion Week sees men’s and women’s collections presented in tandem over three days of online presentations and Covid-secure physical shows. The event is expected to see a greater focus on sustainability and the fashion industry’s environmental impact, and the presentation by Auroboros of the first entirely digital collection at a major international event.
Sunday 13 June
After months of speculation, new 24-hour news channel GB News launches at 8pm. With segments such as “Wokewatch” and former Brexit Party candidate Michelle Dewberry included on its presenting roster, there have been concerns that the channel will be something of a UK Fox News, but the channel’s director of news John McAndrew, formerly of Sky News, ITN and BBC News, has said GB News will “free, fair and impartial”, while chairman Andrew Neil (pictured) has promised it won’t be “shouty, angry television”.
The Queen hosts President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle following the conclusion of the G7 summit. The meeting is one of the Queen’s first major events since the death of Prince Philip, and one of only a handful of public engagements since the pandemic began. Biden will be the 12th serving US president the Queen has met during her 69-year reign.
After a 12-month delay, England kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Croatia as Gareth Southgate’s side look to end a 55-year wait for international silverware. Though the heartbreak of the 2018 World Cup semi-final is still fresh in the memory, England will be buoyed by the knowledge that they have never lost to Croatia in a European Championship. Southgate, though, continues to sweat on the fitness of key players ahead of kick-off, with Jordan Henderson, Harry Maguire, and Trent Alexander-Arnold all on the treatment table.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: GB News