Brief. Me Better Faster May 11, 2021 2:02 am



Boris Johnson faces MPs amid questions over Downing Street flat revamp

BBC News says Boris Johnson will face MPs in the Commons as he battles accusations from Labour that he lied over who paid for renovations to his Downing Street flat.

The PM will appear at Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time since his ex-adviser accused him of planning for donors to “secretly pay” for the work.

A No 10 spokesman has refused to say whether Mr Johnson initially received a loan to cover the costs.

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Lifting of last lockdown restrictions on 21 June should be in doubt

The Independent says ministers should consider a delay to the final easing of lockdown restrictions unless a slowdown in the coronavirus vaccination programme can be reversed, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBI) says.

Boris Johnson has said he wants to return the UK to as close to normality as possible on 21 June. 

But a new report says slowing down that timetable as part of a package of measures could save an estimated 15,000 lives.

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India’s Covid-19 death toll passes 200,000 as WHO says variant found in 17 countries

France24 says India’s coronavirus death toll passed 200,000 on Wednesday, with more than 3,000 fatalities reported in just 24 hours, as the WHO warned that a variant of Covid-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in over a dozen countries.

A total of 201,187 people have now died, 3,293 of them in the past day, according to health ministry data, although many experts suspect that the true toll is higher.

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Sri Lanka cabinet approves proposed ban on burqas in public

Aljazeera says Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved a proposed ban on wearing full-face veils including Muslim burqas in public, citing national security grounds, despite a United Nations expert’s comment that it would violate international law.

The cabinet approved the proposal by Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera at its weekly meeting on Tuesday, Weerasekera said on his Facebook page.

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Magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes India’s Assam

Arab News says an earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck Assam, India, on Wednesday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

The quake was at a depth of 10 km (6.21 miles), EMSC said.

Strong tremors were repeatedly felt in several northeastern parts of India forcing people to run out of their homes, according to a Reuters witness.

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US orders big drawdown at Kabul embassy as troops leave Afghanistan

TRT World says US has ordered a significant number of its remaining staff at its embassy in Kabul to leave Afghanistan as the military steps up the pullout of American troops from the country.

The US State Department department said on Tuesday it had instructed all personnel to depart unless their jobs require them to be physically located in Afghanistan. 

The order was not specific as to the number of people affected, but it went well beyond the usual curtailment of staffers for security and safety reasons. Such orders normally apply only to non-essential personnel.

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Biden’s Initial Steps to Repair Global Ties Receive Praise in Europe, Asia

VOA says European leaders and other American allies say President Joe Biden has done much in his first 100 days in the White House to start rebuilding confidence in U.S. leadership. 

Observers in Europe and Asia praise the U.S. leader for his emphasis on multilateral cooperation and the need for a coordinated global effort to tackle climate change. The fresh emphasis on the importance of alliances is a sharp break with Biden’s immediate predecessor, Donald Trump, they note.

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Live Updates

  • Boris Johnson faces MPs amid questions over Downing Street flat revamp
  • Lifting of last lockdown restrictions on 21 June should be in doubt
  • India’s Covid-19 death toll passes 200,000 as WHO says variant found in 17 countries
  • Magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes India’s Assam
News Briefing


Boris Johnson scandals – ‘Cash for curtains’ & Covid-19 comments

Most of Wednesday’s front pages lead with PM Boris Johnson’s multiple scandals including allegations he used party fundings to renovate his Downing Street flat and his alleged comments about Covid-19. 


The Guardian leads with the PM being “urged to come clean about cash for No 10 revamp” by senior Tories. The paper says there is a “growing disquiet” within the party over allegations surrounding a £58,000 loan from Conservative Party HQ. The paper notes No 10’s insistence that party funds are not being used to fund the renovations.The Guardian


The Daily Mail says there are “yet more searching questions” for Boris Johnson. It reports the PM shouted “I can’t afford it” to aides when discussing the costs of renovating his Downing Street flat. The paper says the PM is “facing [a] rap” for a “free” holiday on the Caribbean island of Mustique. Daily Mail


I paper reports the PM is accused of causing “untold hurt” to bereaved families. The paper says No 10 “refuses to deny” the PM’s alleged “let Covid rip” comments. Adding the mounting calls for a Covid-19 inquiry – amid separate claims around the renovations to Boris Johnson’s flat revamp. i news


Daily Mirror says “cash for curtains” as it reports PM Boris Johnson is “mired in scandal”. The paper accuses the PM of lying about who paid for the flat renovations and reports Labour as saying he is “spending more time covering up” the forore than dealing with Covid-19.Daily Mirror

News Briefing



A spat over Covid vaccine doses has erupted between the European Union and the UK threatens to have far reaching implications over coronavirus jab disruption.

Brussels demanded access to AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in UK plants to make up for a shortfall after the pharmaceutical giant said it would have to cut the amount of doses delivered to the bloc by the end of March.

What do we know about the dispute? And what potential implications could the rumbling dispute have on future Covid vaccine rollouts? – (ITV)

Recent and upcoming changes

Restrictions are easing across the UK.

In England

Step 1 of the roadmap out of lockdown has begun. Shielding ends on 31 March.

In Scotland

People will be asked to ‘Stay Local’ from 2 April. A timetable for further lockdown easing from 5 April is on GOV.SCOT.

In Wales

The stay at home restriction was lifted on 13 March. Read about the rules on GOV.WALES.

In Northern Ireland

The next review will happen on or before 15 April. You can read the guidance on current restrictions on nidirect.

latest Covid-19 news

For the latest Covid-19 news visit the UK governement website 

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