Tuesday briefing: The Queen, the viceroy, her PM and the letters – The Guardian
‘Better for Her Majesty not to know’ before 1975 dismissal of Australian leader … England shoppers will have to wear masks … Ghislaine Maxwell in court
Top story: Palace letters detail sacking of Gough Whitlam
Hello, Warren Murray breaking the seal on todays big stories.
The Queens representative in Australia discussed with Prince Charles the possibility of a showdown in which the countrys democratically appointed prime minister might be dismissed, letters released by the national archives in Canberra show.
Gough Whitlam, the PM, was sacked by the governor general, Sir John Kerr, on 11 November 1975. In the Palace letters, released today after a long legal battle, Kerr in the immediate aftermath writes to the Queens private secretary, Martin Charteris, that he deliberately did not tell the palace in advance about his ultimate decision to sack Whitlam because under the Constitution, the responsibility is mine, and I was of the opinion it was better for Her Majesty not to know in advance, though it is, of course, my duty to tell her immediately. But Kerr had spoken with Prince Charles beforehand about a situation in which either the viceroy or the PM could ask the Queen to dismiss the other, the letters reveal.
The Guardian Australia team is still analysing the trove of 211 letters, stretching to 1,200 pages here are some of the key points so far, and we are covering the revelations and reaction live. Predictably, the release temporarily brought down the Australian national archives website.
Masks in shops or fines Face masks will become mandatory in shops across England a week from Friday, ministers are set to announce today. A fine of £100 will be enforceable by police. The decision is understood to have been rushed forward after Michael Gove on Sunday said they should not be mandatory, contradicting indications from the PM last week. The delay until 24 July, though, raises concerns over the risk of coronavirus spreading in the meantime.
Britain must start intense preparations for a second wave of coronavirus that could kill as many as 120,000 hospital patients, senior doctors and scientists have warned. Their report for Sir Patrick Vallance, the governments chief scientific adviser, stresses the worst-case scenario is not a prediction but a description of how the outbreak may evolve if infections are allowed to surge and little is done to prepare the NHS and social care services.
Coverage of the coronavirus pandemic continues at our live blog. In our latest global round-up: Hong Kong is to impose strict new social distancing measures from midnight, while global infections have passed 13 million and the World Health Organization has warned there are no shortcuts out of the pandemic. In our science podcast today: with antibodies having implications for coronavirus detection and immunity, Nicola Davis asks Prof Eleanor Riley about how best to test for them and whether they are the only thing we should be looking for.
Cost of Irish Sea Brexit border Northern Irish businesses must be compensated for the millions of pounds extra it will cost them to trade with firms on the island of Great Britain after Brexit is completed, a group of MPs have said. Checks and controls on all goods coming from the rest of the UK will be required, to avoid a border on the island on Ireland. Business leaders have warned some firms could collapse under the weight of costs that will not be faced by counterparts in Scotland, Wales or England. The Northern Ireland affairs select committee has recommended the government reimburses business for any new costs incurred and urgently clarifies any new administrative requirements. The government has said it will unveil what new controls will be mandatory in the coming weeks, but a leaked HM Revenue and Customs presentation to Northern Ireland businesses showed at least three layers of red tape would be imposed from January.
Labour: end Russia report stalling The long-delayed report into Russian infiltration in the UK should be published next week, before parliament goes into recess, Labour MPs have insisted. Nine months ago its release was blocked by Boris Johnson ahead of the general election. Downing Street wants Chris Grayling, the former transport and justice secretary, to chair a Tory-dominated intelligence and security committee that will decide whether to release the report, as written and cleared by intelligence agencies and, belatedly, by Downing Street. Its members could also withhold the document or rewrite it.
Epstein victims to address court Ghislaine Maxwell is due to appear today in Manhattan federal court via video feed over her alleged participation in Jeffrey Epsteins sex trafficking of minor girls. Prosecutors have revealed in court filings that they expect one or more victims will exercise their right to be heard at Maxwells arraignment, and will urge the court not to grant bail. Maxwell, 58, is requesting bail, while prosecutors are fighting her release before trial. Maxwell has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and her lawyers have said she is entitled to the presumption of innocence. In court papers, prosecutors have insisted she is an extreme risk of flight owing to her wealth and background.
Today in Focus podcast: End of golden era?
China and the UK have clashed in recent months over a draconian new security law in Hong Kong and the tech company Huawei. The Guardians Tania Branigan examines whether a much-promoted golden era between the two countries is at an end.
Lunchtime read: Breaking from the pod
Nestlés sleek, chic capsule system changed the way we drink coffee. But in an age when everyones a coffee snob and waste is wickedness, can it survive, asks Ed Cumming.
Illustration: Guardian Design
Ole Gunnar Solskjær conceded Manchester United were below their best as Southamptons equaliser in the sixth minute of added time cost them the chance to leapfrog Chelsea and Leicester into third place in the Premier League. Barney Ronay writes that overturning Manchester Citys Champions League ban should not be seen as a reason for celebrating in the streets, but this is football so it probably will be. One year on, Eoin Morgan has looked back on Englands stirring ICC World Cup win and declared it actually bigger than cricket.
Lewis Hamilton has demanded Ferrari take action in supporting Formula Ones anti-racist stance, saying every team must be held accountable in promoting the fight. Katie Swan, sixth in the country and 254 in the world when the WTA list was frozen in March, is the topranked player in the Progress Tour championship intended to kickstart the disrupted season for British women on Tuesday. And Washingtons NFL team will soon no longer be called the Redskins, a name long described as racist. Will the host of other teams that use language associated with Native Americans follow suit?
Shares have been falling in Asia so far today, with one indicator of how bad regional damage could get from the coronavirus pandemic coming from the advance estimate of Singapores GDP for the second quarter. It showed a 12.6% year-on-year contraction, confirming Singapores worst recession ever. A White House decision to reject nearly all Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea has added to jitters.
Boris Johnson is due to chair a national security meeting today that is expected to ban Huawei from future 5G contracts in Britain and phase out its existing equipment. Huawei on Monday reported a sharp slowdown in revenue growth. The pound has been trading around $1.255 and 1.106 while the FTSE is trending around 1.4% lower ahead of the open.
There is comprehensive coverage (geddit) of the new rule for shoppers in England: Wear a mask or pay a fine says the Guardian front page. Face it! You have to put on a mask thats the Metro.
Guardian front page, Tuesday 14 July 2020.
The Mail says police will hand out on-the-spot penalties from 24 July. The Telegraph points out that the decision follows days of government confusion. The Express covers similar ground and uses for its main picture the same scene as the Telegraph, of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, meeting families to launch a BBC website for children. The Times has that pic too its splash is Britain set to confront China with new carrier, an aircraft carrier, that is, which would be stationed in what the paper somewhat quaintly calls the Far East.
Masks are the story in the Mirror too but like several others it gives space to the death of the actor Kelly Preston, who had breast cancer. The FT has Business faces £7bn a year Brexit red tape bill in Gove border plan.
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For more news: www.theguardian.com
Hong Kong primaries: China declares pro-democracy polls ‘illegal’ – The Guardian
City’s leader announces investigation into vote that has been seen as an act of opposition to new security laws
China has declared primaries held by Hong Kongs pro-democratic parties on the weekend illegal and the citys leader has announced an investigation, saying that the candidates intention to vote against government legislation could break national security laws.
The primary polls, while not a formal part of Hong Kongs election process, drew an estimated 600,000 people out to vote for democracy candidates ahead of the legislative council elections scheduled for September.
The extraordinary turnout in the face of warnings by authorities was interpreted by observers as an act of opposition to the national security laws imposed by Beijing on 30 June.
As the pro-democracy protest movement continued throughout 2019 and an unprecedented number of pro-democracy candidates were voted in at district council elections, there has been growing confidence that the pro-Beijing members in the legislative council (LegCo) could be sent into minority. With the primaries, organisers sought to determine a shortlist of candidates to avoid splitting the votes.
Late on Monday Beijings top representatives in Hong Kong labelled the primaries illegal and accused organisers of colluding with foreign powers in a serious provocation of Hong Kongs electoral system and to seize the private data of voters.
The goal of organiser Benny Tai and the opposition camp is to seize the ruling power of Hong Kong and … carry out a Hong Kong version of colour revolution, said a spokesman for the Liaison Office, whose chief is also in charge of implementing the national security laws.
The statement came in support of Hong Kongs chief executive, Carrie Lam, who said that democrats coordinating to win a majority and veto the governments budget could be against the anti-sedition laws, and would be be investigated.
If this so-called primary elections purpose is to achieve the ultimate goal of delivering what they call a 35+
Second Covid wave could see twice as many deaths and would require reorganisation of NHS hospitals – The Telegraph
In a new report, scientists from the Academy of Medical Sciences warn of a severe winter outbreak
A second wave of coronavirus could bring twice as many deaths as the first, experts have warned, in a report commissioned by the Chief Scientific Advisor.
A group of 37 scientists, from the Academy of Medical Sciences, was asked by Sir Patrick Vallance to model a reasonable worst case scenario for the upcoming winter, and advise the government on how to prevent it.
The experts warn that 119,000 people may die in hospital if a second wave hits while the NHS is dealing with a bad winter flu season.
Under such a doomsday scenario, the reproduction R rate would rise to 1.7 by September, with infections peaking in January and February.
The overall number of deaths may even be higher, as the report does not factor in deaths in care homes.
The authors say it is critical to reorganise NHS and social care so that coronavirus patients are kept away from others. Many people caught the virus in hospital, or in care homes after patients were discharged without being tested.
Widespread testing, ramped up contact tracing and nationwide surveillance is also vital to stay on top of the disease, the experts say, and they have called for wider uptake of the flu vaccine to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.
The window for action is now, said report author Dame Anne Johnson Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at University College London.
Infection rates are low and weve got time to think, breathe, and get on top of things.
Every winter we see an increase in the number of people admitted to hospital and in the number of people dying in the UK.
We need to minimise coronavirus and flu transmission everywhere, and especially in hospitals and care homes. We need to get our health and social care, and the track, trace and isolate programme ready for winter. This can be done, but it must be done now.
The team consisted of experts in infectious diseases, public health, statistics, meteorology and primary care.
The report warns that a new wave, combined with the NHS treatment backlog and the possibility of a flu epidemic, could pose a serious risk to health in the UK.
Winter is always difficult for the NHS, because infectious diseases are more common and conditions such as asthma, heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke tend to worsen.
The worst case scenario assumes that the government will not respond to rising cases with another widespread lockdown.
However the new projections have not factored in recent results from the dexamethasone trial, which could substantially reduce mortality, the authors admit.
The team also modelled two other scenarios where the R number was held at 1.1 and 1.5 and found deaths would be between 1,300 and 74,800 respectively.
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