Top story: ‘American dream’ v ‘socialist agenda’
Good morning, Warren Murray here to get you out of the gate.
Echoing many of the Republican convention speakers so far, Donald Trump has painted a dark picture about the dangers of electing Joe Biden as president. “This election will decide whether we save the American dream, or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny. Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens … This is the most important election in the history of our country. At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies, or two agendas.”
Trump’s remarks were the capstone of a night where speakers focused on national security and safety, depicting the country as rife with chaos and lawlessness in the streets. Speakers also cast Trump as a longstanding friend of the African American community and minorities. Few mentioned the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 180,000 Americans dead. Trump himself delivered his speech in front of an audience of around 1,500 officials and supporters at the White House, sitting packed together, few wearing masks.
Japan PM likely to quit – In breaking news the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is expected shortly to announce he will resign for health reasons, according to reports. Abe has been to hospital twice within a week and he is known to suffer from ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that was partly responsible for forcing him out of office after just a year during his previous term as prime minister in 2007. Abe recently became Japan’s longest-serving prime minister – he came to office for the second time in late 2012.
Coronavirus latest – Up to 97% of primary schools expect to fully reopen to all pupils at the start of the new term next week in England and Wales, though a third have no extra handwashing provision and no PPE for staff, according to a survey by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). Most of the children returning will have been out of school for five months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The NAHT general secretary, Paul Whiteman, appealed to parents: “Please do not let the very public political difficulties and arguments cloud your confidence in schools. School leaders and their teams have continued to do all that has been asked of them. With cooperation and understanding between home and school we can achieve the very best return possible despite the political noise.”
The risk of severe illness and death to children from Covid-19 is vanishingly small, according to the biggest study yet of those admitted to hospital, which researchers say should reassure parents as they return to school.
Covid-19 death tolls at individual care homes are being kept secret from the public by regulators in part to protect their commercial operators upon whom UK aged care is reliant, the Guardian can reveal. England’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Care Inspectorate in Scotland are refusing to make public which homes or providers recorded the most fatalities. The UK has recorded 1,522 new positive cases in a day, the highest number since 12 June. Hospitalisations as a result of the virus remain low: just 767 people were in hospital due to Covid on 25 August, the lowest number since 27 March. Follow further developments at our live blog.
Homicide charges in Kenosha – Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged with two counts of first-degree homicide over the shootings of three protesters in Wisconsin. Two men were killed and a third injured when an alleged “militia” member opened fire at protests over the shooting by police on Sunday of Jacob Blake, 29. The streets in the small Wisconsin city, 40 miles south of Milwaukee, were calm on Thursday following a night of peaceful protests and no widespread unrest for the first time since Blake’s shooting over the weekend.
Covid ‘cover for Maduro crackdown’ – Venezuelan security forces are using the coronavirus pandemic as cover for a “full force” campaign against dissenters, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. It says dozens of journalists, health professionals, human rights lawyers and government opponents have been arbitrarily detained and prosecuted. The HRW report says a bioanalyst was forced to resign and interrogated after messaging colleagues with information about a Covid-19 patient. Venezuela’s official Covid-19 death toll is 351 compared with nearly 120,000 in neighbouring Brazil – many fear the real situation is much worse than President Nicolás Maduro’s government is admitting.
‘British fear of failure’ – Children in the UK have the lowest levels of life satisfaction across Europe, with “a particularly British fear of failure” partly to blame, according to a major report into childhood happiness. More than a third of UK 15-year-olds scored low on life satisfaction, the annual Good Childhood Report from the Children’s Society found. The rise in UK child poverty and school pressures were cited alongside the fear of failure as reasons why only 64% of UK children experienced high life satisfaction – the lowest figure of 24 countries surveyed by the OECD. Children in Romania had the highest levels of life satisfaction (85%), just ahead of Finland (84%), while the UK fared worse than Spain (82%) and France (80%).
Chill for bank holiday – Forecasters predict Monday could be the coldest August bank holiday on record for some parts of the UK as temperatures are expected to be well below average for the time of year. Top temperatures on Monday could reach 19C in London while parts of Scotland will be chillier with highs of 11C, well below the average of 16C usually seen in the country, according to the Met Office. Last year’s late-August bank holiday Monday was the hottest on record with 33.2C recorded at Heathrow. A yellow warning for heavy rain over north-east England is expected to last until 10am today, while thunderstorms are forecast in parts of southern England and south Wales between 11am and 8pm, with skies clearing through the weekend.
Today in Focus podcast: Why Windrush isn’t over
Hubert Howard, a prominent Windrush victim, died without receiving compensation or a personal apology. Amelia Gentleman discusses his case.
Today in Focus is revisiting episodes examining race and racism after a worldwide summer of protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd in the US.
Lunchtime read: ‘In real life people aren’t heroic’
Annette Bening and Bill Nighy talk about their new film, Hope Gap, and along with co-star Josh O’Connor and director William Nicholson share their thoughts on honesty, fidelity and the perils of talking at breakfast with Catherine Shoard.
The 2020 Tour de France, scheduled to start in Nice on Saturday, is edging closer to collapse after the Alpes-Maritimes region, site of the opening stages of the race, was placed on red alert owing to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. A visibly shaken Harry Maguire has claimed he was “scared for his life” and believed he was being kidnapped during an incident outside a bar in Mykonos. Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has offered to resign if it means keeping Lionel Messi at the club. NBA legend Michael Jordan is said to have played a key role in the league moving back from the brink after speculation had mounted that players would boycott the season over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Lewis Hamilton will compete at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend after speculation he could withdraw and Naomi Osaka has decided that she will take to the court to compete in her semi-final at the Western & Southern Open on Friday after she joined the widespread boycott by stars from various American sports. Andy Murray will face Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round of the US Open next week, a reasonable opener for the former world No 1. And Garry Kasparov will make a rare cameo appearance when the chess legend, now aged 57, takes on the reigning champion, Magnus Carlsen, in the 10-player Champions Showdown invitation in September.
Asian markets have been mostly higher after the Federal Reserve said it might keep interest rates low even if inflation rises, in a major overhaul to its strategy. Shares have risen in Japan, South Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong but fallen in Sydney. In London the FTSE is forecast to open higher. The pound is worth $1.327 and €1.117 at time of writing.
The Guardian print edition leads with: “Covid-19 death tolls kept secret ‘to protect care home providers’”. The i covers that as well with a similar headline. The Metro splashes with “Tracked and traced on to a holiday jet” – the story of a man removed by a Hazmat crew from a Ryanair flight due to depart to Italy after he tested positive for coronavirus.
Conservative anxieties are on show in the Times – “Get Britain back to work, senior Tories tell Johnson” – and the Telegraph, which says “Go back to work or risk losing your job”. Here’s the Guardian version.
The Mail fumes at “£465,000 legal aid for PC Harper’s killers”. The Express says “Brexit talks ‘at end of the road’” – its take is that EU leaders are begging Britain for a Brexit settlement (which might be seen to jar with the EU presidency having cancelled next week’s talks as pointless citing British obduracy). The Mirror has “Maguire: I was scared for my life” and the FT leads with “Fed adjusts monetary policy with move to tolerate higher inflation” – read about it right here.
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