Friday Briefing: Ending Pantomime, Covid Mourned PM

Friday Briefing: Ending Pantomime, Covid Mourned PM

Headlines: Nurses join families to call for an investigation

Hello everybody. I’m Martin Farrer and these are the best stories of this morning.

Families of Covid-19 victims have demanded that Boris Johnson end the “political pantomime” around his handling of the pandemic and immediately call for an investigation. As the fallout continued over Dominic Cummings ‘explosive testimony to MPs this week, the nurses’ union, a former public service chief and prominent opposition politicians joined the clamor for an immediate investigation. “This political pantomime continues to show a lack of respect for our lost loved ones and does not bring us any closer to the answers we need to save lives,” said Matt Fowler, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice.

The government is also facing new questions about its current pandemic policy after Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has faced five damaging Cummings charges, said yesterday that 75% of Covid cases in the United Kingdom were of the Indian variant. Johnson said “we may have to wait” for all restrictions in England to be lifted, scheduled for June 21. Minister Michael Gove said the decision to use “Covid certificates” to open large venues was “finely balanced,” but a study claims that indoor concerts could be held without increasing the risk of Covid. It comes as GP office staff face unprecedented abuse and assault from patients amid a “collapse” in the appointment system, family doctors have revealed.

Victor Parade – Hungary’s right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will today only become the second EU leader to be greeted by Boris Johnson at No 10 since the UK left the bloc. Orbán, a fierce critic of Joe Biden and China’s ally, hopes to prove to Hungarian voters ahead of next year’s elections that he can forge influential alliances and that the departure of his ruling Fidesz party from the center-right grouping of the European People’s Party does not usher in an era of political isolation.

Tobacco time bomb – Smoking killed nearly 8 million people in 2019 and the number of smokers rose to 1.1 billion, the habit being taken up by young people around the world, according to a study published in The Lancet. Although smoking has declined in many developed countries, 10 countries account for two-thirds of the world’s smoking population: China, India, Indonesia, United States, Russia, Bangladesh, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and the Philippines. One in three tobacco smokers (341 million) lives in China.

Blockade of Great Britain – Thousands of other European citizens have been barred from entering the UK in the past three months, Home Office figures show. A total of 3,294 people have been turned away even though post-Brexit rules allow them to visit the country without a visa. This compares to 493 EU citizens in the first quarter of last year, when air traffic was 20 times higher.

Travel problem – Drivers will soon be able to help monitor Britain’s worrying insect population decline with a new app that helps gauge the number of bugs splashed into the front of cars. Citizen scientists will collect the data by cleaning their license plates before a trip and then using a grid to count the number of dead insects.

Photographie : Penguin Random House/PA

Presidential objective – Marcus Rashford spoke of his fear after having a Zoom conversation with Barack Obama about the power of young people to change society. The Manchester United and England footballer said he also found common ground in Penguin Books’ discussion with the former US president as both men were raised by single mothers. “When President Obama speaks, all you want to do is listen,” Rashford said.

Podcast Today in Focus: l’arrestation de Raman Pratasevich

Belarusian journalist Hanna Liubakova examines why Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko allegedly hijacked a Ryanair flight in order to arrest blogger Raman Pratasevich, 26. Guardian Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth discusses the fallout from Lukashenko’s action.

Today in brief

The arrest of Raman Pratasevich

Lunchtime Reading: How Murphy Played a Blinder

Photographie: Mark Sagliocco / Bafta / Rex / Shutterstock

Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy talks about his late colleague Helen McCrory (“one of the best actors I’ve ever worked opposite”), how he convinced producers to choose him over Jason Statham in the role of Tommy Shelby – and Returning to the Monster – genre of movie in A Quiet Place Part II.


Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka is one of the most engaging characters in tennis and her silence will be deeply felt at Roland Garros, after the Japanese player announced that she would not be speaking to the media at the tournament this year. year in Paris. Those who know Thomas Tuchel best have given their insight into what makes the Chelsea manager so successful. Tottenham have spoken to Mauricio Pochettino, sacked by Spurs 18 months ago, about a return as manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjær wants to strengthen Manchester United at center-back, midfielder, wide striker and No.9, with Pau Torres, Declan Rice, Jadon Sancho and Harry Kane among his favorite targets.

A former American football linebacker will take over wheelchair rugby from Great Britain, in what those in the sport hope will be a year of Paralympic success. Alberto Bettiol took a great stage victory after a breakaway while Egan Bernal had a more comfortable day in the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia. Tiger Woods spoke about the grueling recovery process from the car crash earlier this year that left him with serious leg injuries. And Israel Folau has called on lawyers to take action against the Queensland Rugby League, alleging he was discriminated against in his attempt to return to the sport.


More than £ 700,000 is lost every day to wire transfer scams, which means £ 491 is stolen every minute, according to Which? The consumer champion said the industry returned less than half of the losses to victims. Retail group JD Group has paid boss Peter Cowgill £ 6million in bonuses since last February, despite receiving more than £ 100million in government grants during the pandemic. The pound is near a three month high of around $ 1,420 today and will buy you € 1.165. The FTSE100 seems to open 0.5%.

The papers

Front page of The Guardian, Friday May 2021
Photograph: The Guardian

the Guardian leads on “The Pressure on Hancock Not to Protect Nursing Home Residents,” and the Telegraph a “Hancock feels heat during tests in a nursing home”. the Mirror also thinks this is the best story and has the headline: “You Told Them They Were Safe”. the Scottish lead is “A one week lockdown may have cost 30,000 lives.” the Time says “The Indian push leaves doubt on the restrictions” and the is “Fears of variants threaten to end the lockout on June 21”. the Express – “Boris: we may have to wait for our freedom” – and the Poster – “Don’t steal our summer” – are also both concerned about the possible extension of restrictions after June 21. the FT leads with “Moscow forces the cancellation of flights routed around Belarus”.

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