Foresight News rounds up the key events that need to be in your news diary this week…
Monday 2 August
Fully-vaccinated visitors from the US and EU amber list countries will no longer have to quarantine from today after the government agreed to recognise EMA- and FDA-approved vaccines that have been administered abroad. The move allows Brits living overseas to return home to visit friends and family without facing quarantine, and is also a bid to boost the economy with some much-needed tourism money. Unfortunately for visitors hoping to go the other way, the US has declined to lift a strict ban on non-citizens entering the country from the UK, and it seems unlikely restrictions will be lifted until September at the earliest.
An inquest opens into the death of Sudesh Amman, who was shot dead by police after stabbing two people in a terror attack on Streatham High Road in 2020. Amman was killed by police shortly after stealing a knife from a shop and attacking two passers-by. The inquest will focus on police actions during the operation, with representatives of the Metropolitan Police, Ministry of Justice and the IOPC all expected to give evidence. The hearing is due to conclude in mid-August.
Following on the heels of Canadian footballer Quinn, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard becomes the second transgender Olympian to compete in these games. The 43-year-old, who is ranked 7th in the super heavyweight 87kg-plus category for the competition, previously thought her career would be ended by an arm injury she suffered during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Her inclusion is likely to reignite the debate over whether transgender athletes have a competitive advantage over their cisgender counterparts.
Nicola Sturgeon gives an update on whether Scotland will move beyond “level 0” restrictions, potentially removing the one metre plus rule for social distancing and the requirement to wear facemasks indoors and on public transport. Sturgeon said on 13 July that she hoped it would be possible to move beyond level 0 by 9 August, by which time almost everyone over the age of 40 will have had their second vaccine dose at least two weeks prior.
Reclaim These Streets hold a vigil for Bibba Henry and Nicole Smallman, who were murdered in Wembley’s Fryent Country Park in June 2020. The sisters’ family members will join campaigners at the same park to pay tribute and raise awareness of violence against women. Their mother, Mina Smallman, has criticised the Met Police’s response to her daughters’ disappearance as “criminal”, saying they didn’t receive the same attention from police or media as Sarah Everard because they were Black women from a council estate.
London Underground drivers begin the first of four days of strike action this week against plans to abolish the Night Tube Train Drivers’ Grade, which the RMT union says will threaten 200 jobs and “destroy the work life balance” of 3,000 drivers. The union has warned of “severe disruption” across the Tube network if Acas talks don’t end in a resolution.
Today marks 10 years since 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police in Tottenham, based on intelligence that he possessed a handgun and was planning a possible attack. Duggan’s death sparked riots across the country and one of the most sweeping investigations into police conduct and racism since the handling of the Stephen Lawrence case in 1993. Though the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) ruled in 2015 that Duggan was killed lawfully, his family continue to reject that verdict, criticising the watchdog for refusing the reopen the investigation earlier this year.
A hearing takes place in the libel claim brought by Rebekah Vardy against Coleen Rooney in the infamous “Wagatha Christie” case. Rooney won the latest round of the legal battle, with Vardy ordered to pay over £10,000 towards Rooney’s legal costs, but the judge has also thrown out parts of Rooney’s defence, including a claim that Vardy’s “publicity-seeking behaviour” at a Euro 2016 match was relevant to the case. A full trial is expected in September.
The Department for Transport is due to update its green, amber and red lists, marking the last change that could have an impact on families’ summer holiday plans. Speculation is rife over which countries could be moved to the green list, with Italy, Germany, Austria and Canada seen as potential candidates. Debate continues over the “amber-plus” list, which has seen travellers from France forced to quarantine even if they’re vaccinated; there are rumours Spain could be moved to the stricter rules on this review, while France could move back to amber.
First Minister Mark Drakeford reviews Wales’ ongoing coronavirus restrictions and is expected to announce whether the country will proceed with plans to move into “alert level 0” on 7 August. Should the move be rubber-stamped, legal limits on the number of people who can meet indoors will be scrapped, with the two metre social distancing rule also being largely dropped. Despite the relaxations, Drakeford has signaled that face masks will still be required in certain settings, and people encouraged to continue working from home where possible. However, he has pipped Boris Johnson to the post on tackling the “pingdemic”, announcing that today will also mark the end of self-isolation for fully-vaccinated people who have been identified as close contacts of positive cases, nine days earlier than in England.
Ten years ago today, riots broke out across the country in response to the killing of Mark Duggan and subsequent allegations of police racism and misconduct. What began as a peaceful protest outside Tottenham police station in North London soon descended into five days of looting and arson, resulting in over 3,000 arrests and five deaths. Despite the conclusion of the government-commissioned report that institutional racism no longer exists in the UK, a decade after Duggan’s death, recent findings suggest that racism continues to be a significant issue within the police force.
With barely a moment to collect ourselves following the emotionally draining Euro 2020 finals, domestic football returns to England as The Championship, League One and League Two seasons get under way. Meanwhile further up the footballing pyramid, last season’s FA Cup winner’s Leicester City face Premier League Champions Manchester City at Wembley in the Community Shield. Although clubs can now operate at full capacity following the 19 July removal of coronavirus restrictions, there are fears over the government’s proposed COVID passport requirements for fans, slated for October. Football Supporters’ Association Chairman Malcolm Clarke has warned that the passports may cause some football fans to stop attending matches unless the situation is managed “very carefully”.
A dead rubber or a series decider awaits the British and Irish Lions as they take on South Africa in the third test at Cape Town. The Lions lead the three-match encounter 1-0 after victory in the opening test, leaving them on the brink of a first series win over the Springboks since 1997. Victory would also see Head Coach Warren Gatland enter the history books as the most successful Lions coach of all time, becoming the only man to lead multiple tours without losing a test series.
Sunday 8 August
The final day of the Olympics takes place with 13 medal events and the closing ceremony, which will mark the handover to Paris for the 2024 Summer Games. While the sometimes-sombre opening ceremony reflected the pandemic age the games are being held in, the closing ceremony – themed “Worlds We Share” – is expected to reflect a “brighter future”. Team GB got off to their best start in modern Olympic history, with 23 medals after six days of competition. In the UK, fans have expressed frustration over the pared-down BBC coverage due to an International Olympic Committee TV rights deal with broadcaster Discovery, with the Beeb only able to stream two sports at a time.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire