Top story: Group of six, or two households, outside
Good morning, Warren Murray helping you get a rolling start into the week.
Boris Johnson will stress the need for people to be cautious as England today takes its first significant step towards easing lockdown restrictions for adults. People will now be able to meet up legally outdoors, including in private gardens, in a group of six – from any number of households – or in a group of any size from up to two households, and organised outdoor sport can resume. Government advertising will show why indoor mixing with other households is still risky, while the health department is publicising a psychologist’s advice on resisting pressure from others to break the rules. Johnson said: “We must remain cautious … Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules.” As only two in five licensed premises have trading space outdoors, Birmingham, Manchester and London are preparing for road closures and pavement widening to help restaurants, bars and pubs when outdoor-only drinking and dining is allowed from 12 April.
Moderna’s Covid vaccine is joining the UK rollout from April, which is being dubbed “second dose month” after the UK passed the milestone of giving a first shot to 30 million people.
Suez that it then? The container ship that was blocking the Suez Canal appears to be floating freely again as of the past few hours. The Ever Given could be seen with its bow free and no longer at an unseamanlike angle to the bank. Backed-up traffic in the seaway may soon be able to start moving through again for the first time in almost a week.
‘Struggling’ – Small businesses have reported a marked drop in exports to the EU since Brexit. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said 35 of the 132 exporters it surveyed had temporarily suspended trading with the EU or stopped permanently. UK exports to the EU fell by 41% in January, according to government figures. Trade between the UK and the EU is dominated by larger companies but about one-fifth of smaller British businesses also exported in 2019. The British Business Bank has calculated that smaller businesses accounted for about one-third of UK exports in 2018, or £200bn of goods and services. Mike Cherry, the FSB’s national chairman, said smaller businesses faced “incredibly demanding, unfamiliar paperwork” and teething problems were a danger of becoming permanent and systemic. “Smaller traders are struggling and considering whether exports are worth the effort anymore.”
George Floyd policeman on trial – Opening arguments begin in Minneapolis today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the now-former police officer charged with murdering George Floyd in the city last May. Floyd’s death regalvanised the Black Lives Matter movement after video showed Chauvin kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin has denied the charges of murder and manslaughter against him and prosecutors are due to set out their case.
Education ‘rape culture’ alarm – Schools that fail to safeguard pupils could be forced to shut amid claims of a “rape culture” after more than 100 schools were named in anonymous testimonies online. By Sunday evening more than 7,000 anonymous testimonies had been posted on the Everyone’s Invited UK site. Simon Bailey, the national police lead for child protection, said he expected forces across the country to be involved in investigating the claims. A spokesperson said the government was “very concerned”. “The Department for Education, Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council are in contact with Everyone’s Invited to provide support, protection and advice to those who are reporting abuse, including on contacting professionals or the police if they wish,” the spokesperson said.
Crash after police chase – A young woman, 19, was left in a critical condition after a car being chased by police crashed into a lamppost. The collision happened early on Sunday morning in south London and left five women in hospital. The pursuit began near Streatham Common, ending when the car crashed on Greyhound Lane, the Met said. The Directorate of Professional Standards and the Independent Office for Police Conduct were informed.
Massacre in Mozambique – Dozens of people, mostly foreign citizens, are unaccounted for following a deadly ambush on their convoy by Islamist militants in northern Mozambique. It comes after a days-long rebel siege of Palma, where foreign contractors are employed on a natural gas project for the French company Total. The Guardian was told only seven vehicles in a convoy of 17 that tried to make it out got to safety on Friday. The Mozambican military was reported to be struggling with its own dead and wounded after being completely overrun, while South Africa was said to be considering sending troops to rescue its civilians.
‘Sewage at top of consciousness’ – The environment minister, Rebecca Pow, has promised to bring in legislation to reduce discharge of raw sewage into rivers. The Guardian revealed that in 2019, water companies discharged raw sewage from storm overflows for 1.5m hours in 204,000 incidents. These releases are permitted after extreme weather but the data revealed the frequent nature of the spills. None of England’s rivers meet quality tests for pollution, and just 14% are deemed to be of a good ecological standard. Hugo Tagholm, of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “For the first time since the 1990s, sewage pollution is back at the top of public and political consciousness … They must now manage and measure progress – and get as close to zero sewage emissions as possible.”
Today in Focus podcast: The Freshwater decision
The court of appeal upheld convictions of the Freshwater Five last week. In the final part of our miniseries, we hear how the judges reached their decision and what it means.
Lunchtime read: Sites with rights
From Magna Carta to Malcolm X: pay tribute to brave campaigners, the first trade unionists, gay rights protesters and suffragettes at landmark places around the UK where our civil rights took shape.
Gareth Southgate says England must do more if they are to fulfil their potential and hit the standards required to win major honours, following the side’s comfortable 2-0 win in Albania. Lewis Hamilton celebrated his victory against the odds at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix as he again proved that he can make the difference behind the wheel. England’s visit to India ended with series defeats in all three formats of cricket but only after a thrilling third one-day international in which the tourists fell agonisingly short in their pursuit of 330.
A 1-1 draw in Israel left Scotland with just two points from as many fixtures to open their World Cup qualification campaign, while a toothless England Under-21 side are on the brink of another early exit at the European Championship after a limp 2-0 defeat to Portugal. Emma Hayes, the Chelsea manager, paid tribute to the “dynamite” duo of Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby after they combined for both goals in the Women’s Super League win against Aston Villa. The European Club Association chief executive, Charlie Marshall, has talked up the prospect of a women’s Club World Cup starting “fairly soon” as the clubs’ body launches its first women’s football strategy. George Ford went some way towards putting his Six Nations blues behind him with an imperious kicking display to steer Leicester to victory against Newcastle. And Adam Yates won the Volta a Catalunya as Ineos took a clean sweep of the podium.
Sanjeev Gupta is scrambling to save Liberty Steel and its 3,000 UK workers after the government rejected its parent company’s plea for a £170m rescue loan. The company, which is part of the industrialist’s business empire, has been starved of cash since the collapse of a key financial backer, Greensill Capital. The price of oil fell 1.5% after news that the Ever Given has been partially refloated, while the FTSE100 looks set to open flat. The pound will buy you $1.377 and €1.169.
“Police chief admits ‘wicked’ race crisis hinders fight against crime” – the Guardian newspaper’s front-page lead this Monday morning. Martin Hewitt, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), has said he wants to change “generations of history” between police and black communities that have been strained by stop and search, and that decades of reports finding black people were treated differently to white people. Hewitt said it was not a matter of “wokeness” but an operational necessity to boost racial justice in policing, with everyday crime fighting being damaged as confidence in the police runs at a 20% deficit in black communities compared with the overall average. The “rape culture” story covered above is in on our front as well – it is also the splash in the Times, headlined “‘Cover-up’ of abuse by pupils”.
The i has Covid coverage: “Warning on variants as lockdown eases today”. The Metro leads with “Jabby Monday”, saying 30 million in the UK have had their first jab. “Boris cheated in his family home” – the Mirror reports on Jennifer Arcuri’s history with the prime minister. The Express has “PM’s new drive to help Britons live longer” – it says ill health and obesity contribute to a £100bn burden on the economy.
Boris Johnson again on the Telegraph front, which says he has been advised by a race board to “Scrap use of BAME label” as it is counter-productive. “Diana ‘showed Diana fake Tiggy abortion bill’” – the Mail reports this as an exclusive. The Financial Times leads on “Gupta launches last-ditch bid at raising cash to save GFG empire”.
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