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Brief. Me Better Faster May 17, 2021 11:44 pm

LIVE NEWS TODAY

MAIN HEADLINES

Boris Johnson to be questioned by the Electoral Commission over funding for No 11 flat refurb

I news says Boris Johnson will be questioned by investigators over the renovation of his Downing Street flat after the Electoral Commission said there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect that an offence had been committed.

The launch of a formal inquiry heaps further pressure on the Prime Minister.

PM Boris Johnson has said that he will provide any evidence that is required as part of the inquiry.  

Read on 


PM needs independent standards adviser – Labour

BBC News says Labour has urged the PM to appoint a fully “independent” figure to oversee ministers’ conduct, including his own.

Lord Geidt – announced on Wednesday as Boris Johnson’s new standards adviser – will look into the funding of the recent Downing Street flat renovations.

Sir Keir Starmer said it was wrong that Lord Geidt needed to get the PM’s permission before carrying out this and other inquiries.

Read on


UK sends India oxygen concentrators and ventilators – but no Covid vaccines

The Guardian says the UK has been “first out of the blocks” with help for India, but will not send vaccines until Britain has a surplus of supplies, the Foreign Office minister has told MPs.

He said the UK was responding to the Indian government’s needs, and had been the first country to provide practical support “in the face of heartbreaking scenes that had shocked us all”.

Read on


China’s ‘space dream’: A Long March to the Moon and beyond

France24 says the launch of the first module of China’s new space station – “Heavenly Palace” – on Thursday underlined how far the country has come in achieving its space dream.

The Tianhe core module houses life support equipment and a living space for astronauts, and is another key step in Beijing’s grand plans to establish a permanent human presence in space.

Beijing has poured billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022 and eventually sending humans to the Moon.

Read on


Finance plea for cash-strapped Turks as virus lockdown looms

Arab News says Turkey is bracing itself for a full lockdown from Thursday evening until May 17 in a desperate bid to help curb skyrocketing COVID-19 cases.

Experts and politicians have urged the Turkish government to introduce emergency measures to provide monetary aid to struggling citizens, including small business and shop owners, and those who rely on daily wages.

Almost all workplaces are being forced to suspend their activities during the lockdown, sparking outrage among cash-strapped sections of society left with no financial support mechanisms.

Read on


India COVID cases cross 18m, US to send $100m supplies

Aljazeera says with 379,257 new cases and 3,645 new deaths on Thursday, India’s total number of cases and deaths are now at 18.38 million and 204,832 respectively, according to health ministry data.

The US is sending supplies worth more than $100m to India to help it fight the surge of COVID cases. The supplies include 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks, and one million rapid diagnostic tests, the statement said.

The US also redirected its own order of AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make more than 20 million doses, according to the White House.

Read on


Three white men charged with hate crimes in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder

TRT World says the US Justice Department has brought federal hate crimes charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, charging a father and son who armed themselves, chased and fatally shot the 25-year-old Black man after spotting him running in a Georgia neighborhood.

Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory, were charged along with a third man, William “Roddie” Bryan, with one count of interference with civil rights and attempted kidnapping. 

The McMichaels are also charged with using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Read on


Biden Proposes Large-scale Spending for Children, Families

VOA says President Joe Biden proposed a wide expansion of national government assistance for American children and families on Wednesday in his first address to a joint session of Congress.   

The $1.8 trillion proposal features two years of government-paid, pre-kindergarten education for the country’s children and two years of free community college for young adults.  It also calls for $225 billion in child-care assistance for U.S. families and monthly payments of at least $250 to parents, a heretofore unknown U.S. social safety net.

Read on

LIVE NEWS UPDATES

Live Updates

  • PM needs independent standards adviser – Labour
  • UK sends India oxygen concentrators and ventilators – but no Covid vaccines

  • Finance plea for cash-strapped Turks as virus lockdown looms

  • India COVID cases cross 18m, US to send $100m supplies

  • Three white men charged with hate crimes in Ahmaud Arbery’s murder

  • Biden Proposes Large-scale Spending for Children, Families

News Briefing

TODAY'S PAPERS

Boris Johnson flatgate scandal – inquiry launched 

Most of Thursday’s front pages focus on the Electoral Commission’s decision to investigate the funding of PM Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat renovations – and the angry exchanges about the scandal during PMQ. 

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The Metro headline says “interior resign” as it reports the “fiercest Commons clash yet” between the prime minister and Labour leader Keir Starmer. The paper says Starmer told the PM he must quit if he lied about Flatgate and the claims the PM said he would rather see “bodies pile high” than order another lockdown.  The front splash pictures show a visibly angry PM during PMQ’s – Boris Johnson has denied wrongdoing. – Metro 

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Daily Mail headline is the PM is “painted into a corner.” The paper says he and Carrie Symonds “may have to hand over personal emails and phone messages” to an official inquiry into how the flat renovations were funded. The Electoral Commission, leading the inquiry, “has sweeping powers to demand documents and interview witnesses” the Mail says.Daily Mail

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The i paper says the PM will give evidence to the Electoral Commission. It says the case could be passed to police for criminal investigation if it is suspected that failure to declare funding was intentional. The paper adds that Dominic Cummings could also be asked to give evidence. – i news

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The Times says there is concern in Downing Street over the “paper trail” regarding the PM’s flat renovations. The paper says there are claims the joint Tory Party chairman Ben Elliot warned the PM in February 2020 that plans to fund the renovation through donations were “madness”. Times 

News Briefing

NEWS ROUNDUP

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

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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