It can be hard to keep up with the news. Even for those of us who do manage to pick our way through the endless headlines, it can be even harder to figure out what the important bits are. That’s why The Record is starting a new weekly initiative – For The Record. Each Sunday we’ll break down the news of the week into one simple recap – read on to find out what happened this week.
In local news, we started out on Monday with an announcement from the University of St Andrews that in-person teaching would be ‘phased in’, rather than starting out all at once in Week One as originally intended. The u-turn was made after an underestimate of the number of students returning to town was corrected in the aftermath of the A Levels crisis.
Mid-week, MSPs called for the leader of Scottish Labour, Richard Leonard, to quit. Despite mounting pressure from his colleagues, two of whom resigned from their positions as party spokespeople, Leonard refused to go. He claimed such criticism amounted to an “act of sabotage”. Labour leader Keir Starmer refused to weigh in, saying the issue was for Scottish Labour to decide.
Also in Scotland, visiting restrictions were reintroduced around Glasgow due to a spike in cases of COVID-19, a mandatory quarantine period was reintroduced for travellers returning from Greece and Portugal, and Amazon promised to create hundreds of jobs in Fife and Dundee from the 7000 incoming across the UK.
We ended the week with the happy news that St Andrews has triumphed over the other half of Oxbridge this year. In the Guardian’s university rankings, St Andrews took second place over Cambridge, which swapped first place for third with Oxford.
The big story in national news this week has been the return to school of millions of children across the UK. The issue dominated the exchange between Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson at PMQ’s, after Labour started the week by calling for a delay to next year’s GCSE and A Level exams. A decision on that particular issue is expected within weeks. Although both parties have signalled their desire for schools to remain open, the return is not without risk.
In a continuing trend, rules relating to the coronavirus pandemic – and breaches of said rules – made headlines multiple times this week. Inconsistency across the four nations of the UK was criticised, as were house party hosts and ‘covidiots’ on a Tui flight from Zante which led to an outbreak. Love Island stars came out on top, though, as it was revealed that taxpayer money was spent to advertise Track and Trace via social media.
Interesting one-offs included:
Extinction Rebellion continued its string of controversial protests by blocking access to three printing presses owned by Rupert Murdoch. Boris Johnson called it ‘unacceptable.
US President Donald Trump dominated headlines in America this week, largely for his response to a number of shootings. After an alleged member of a rightwing group was shot at a protest for the BlackLivesMatter movement in Portland, Trump was accused of provoking violence. He was also shunned by the father of African-American Jacob Blake, who was shot multiple times by police officers as he tried to get into a car containing his three children. Blake is now paralysed from the waist down, and his shooting sparked a fresh wave of protests. Trump was warned not to visit Blake’s town, Kenosha, by local Democrats, but he refused to back down.
Trump has also been criticised this week for telling voters to vote twice in North Carolina, for the US decision not to take part in a global vaccine search because of the involvement of the WHO, reports that he mocked the US military and called fallen soldiers ‘losers’, and his refusal to condemn Russia over the alleged poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent. Germany has claimed it has “unequivocal proof”; the Kremlin denies this. Also in Russia, a developing vaccine against coronavirus has shown early signs of success.
Other notable headlines:
India accused China of a ‘border violation’ after military movements in Ladakh.
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Lebanon to form a new government following the chemical explosion in Beirut.
Riots continued in Belarus in protest against ‘the last dictator in Europe’, President Alexander Lukashenko.