United Kingdom

Business • Economy
UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years
UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years
Credit: Franck V.

The UK economy suffered its biggest slump on record between April and June as coronavirus lockdown measures pushed the country officially into recession.

The economy shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

Politics • Asian
Multiple journalists have been arrested by Hong Kong police including journalist for UK's tv channel ITV
Multiple journalists have been arrested by Hong Kong police including journalist for UK's tv channel ITV
Credit: Wilson Li via LinkedIn

The Hong Kong Police Force has announced via their Twitter account that nine people have been arrested for alleged breaches of the national security law.

One of the arrested people is the freelance journalist Wilson Li who works for the UK-based television channel ITV. A spokesperson from ITV News has stated that: "We can confirm that Wilson Li works for ITV News in a freelance capacity. We are concerned to hear of his arrest and are urgently seeking clarification of the circumstances."

In addition to the arrests, the Hong Kong Police Force has raided and searched the office the media outlet Apple Daily.

Sports
Verstappen wins 70th Anniversary GP in Silverstone
Verstappen wins 70th Anniversary GP in Silverstone
Credit: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix to bring Mercedes' domination to an end. Verstappen's victory was founded on his car being nicer to its tyres than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton finished second, Bottas third, and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc fourth on a one-stop strategy.

Sports
Formula 1: Valtteri Bottas takes pole position of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, to pole position at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in Silverstone. Racing Point's Nico Hulkenberg, standing in for Sergio Perez who has coronavirus, took the third spot.

After the training session, Bottas said: "Feels good. I just love qualifying, especially when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. Our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there".

The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix will take place Sunday, in Silverstone, at 13:10 UTC.

Technology • Internet & Web
Google will prevent minors in the UK and EU from seeing ads for unhealthy food and drinks from October on
Google will prevent minors in the UK and EU from seeing ads for unhealthy food and drinks from October on
Credit: unsplash.com / Robin Stickel

Google has updated its "Other restricted businesses policy" and will start "to restrict the serving of High Fat Sugar Salt (HFSS) Food and/or Non-Alcoholic Beverages (F&B) advertising for minors in the United Kingdom and European Union".

The policy will be applied to the Google Display Network and YouTube and there apply to all people under the age of 18. Google stated that the new policy will be enforced from the 6th of October.

Some examples for the products that fall under these advertisement restrictions are sweetened beverages, cakes, pizza, salt, butter, pork and a number of other products.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
United Kingdom removes Andorra, Bahamas and Belgium from safe travel list
Grant Shapps
Grant Shapps Credit: Richard Townshend (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

British Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced Thursday that Andorra, the Bahamas and Belgium were removed from the Covid-19 Travel Corridors list. The decision means passengers arriving from those countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

On Twitter, Shapps said: "Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors in order to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days."

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Aberdeen under lockdown again after new COVID-19 outbreak
Empty streets in Aberdeen
Empty streets in Aberdeen Credit: Rab Lawrence from Aberdeen/Scotland / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Aberdeen has gone back into lockdown due to the city's growing COVID-19 outbreak. Restaurants and pubs had to close by 17:00 on Wednesday and further restrictions, including no-house-visits, have been imposed until at least next Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke of a "significant outbreak" after infections rose to 54 confirmed cases, all linked to the Hawthorn Bar. Patrons of the Hawthorn Bar who are linked to the cluster had visited a total of 28 other venues, possibly infected others there.

Technology • Internet & Web
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
Credit: WhatsApp

WhatsApp added a new feature that makes it easier for users to verify whether the assertions made in forwarded messages they have received on the app are true. The new feature, called "Search the Web" works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.

"Search the web" is being rolled out starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Mahatma Gandhi possibly to become first non-white person on British coins
Mahatma Gandhi possibly to become first non-white person on British coins
Credit: Elliott & Fry / Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has started supporting a campaign that is to help the recognition of black and minority ethnic (BAME) people in shaping modern Britain.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee has now started working on a coin that will feature Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the independence movement in India who was assassinated in August 1947 just five months after the end of the British rule.

Sunak has stated that "black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities have made a profound contribution to the shared history of the UK".

Sports
Lewis Hamilton wins the British Grand Prix after puncture during the last lap
Lewis Hamilton car, with a punctured tire
Lewis Hamilton car, with a punctured tire Credit: Twitter Reproduction

With drama on the last lap, Lewis Hamilton dominated the British Grand Prix and won at Silverstone, his third consecutive victory in the Formula One season. During the last lap, Hamilton's tire got a puncture, but the Mercedes' driver was able to control his car and complete the race.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished second, and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc third.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
Boris Johnson Halts Further Lockdown Easing
Boris Johnson Halts Further Lockdown Easing
Credit: U.K. Prime Minister / Wikimedia Commons (Open Government Licence v3.0)

PM Johnson halts lockdown easing in England for at least another two weeks to slow down rising coronavirus infections, saying it was time to "squeeze the brake pedal." This results in venues such as bowling allies, casinos and close-contact services having to remain closed until 15 August. Mandatory face masks will be extended to indoor venues, including cinemas, museums and places of worship.

Sports
F1: Sergio Perez tests positive for Covid-19
Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez Credit: Racing Point

The Mexican Sergio Perez has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not race on the British Grand Prix. Perez, the first driver to test positive, has gone into self-quarantine.

Racing Point team tweeted: "Sergio is physically well and in good spirits, but he will continue to self-isolate under the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for the team and the sport.".

Politics • European • United Kingdom
UK Government Secures 60m More Doses of COVID-19 vaccine
Glaxo Smith Kline Offices on the Great West Road at Brentford
Glaxo Smith Kline Offices on the Great West Road at Brentford Credit: Maxwell Hamilton / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The UK government signed a deal with drug giants GSK and Sanofi for 60 million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. This is the country's fourth COVID-19 vaccination deal. The UK previously secured 100m doses from AstraZeneca and 90m doses from the alliance between Valneva, BioNtech and Pfizer.

Sports • Soccer
Real Madrid to have a quarantine exemption to face Manchester City on August 7
Etihad Stadium
Etihad Stadium Credit: cleria.santos (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Despite the 14-day quarantine rule imposed on travellers from Spain to the UK, the Champions League match between Manchester City and Real Madrid will be played on August 7 at the Etihad Stadium.

The British Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden announced an exemption for sports teams and film crews that will allow the game to take place in Manchester as planned.

The quarantine regulation was imposed by the UK following a dramatic increase in the virus in Spain.

Business • Real Estate, Housing & Infrastructure
Google announces new internet subsea cable connecting United States and Europe
Google announces new internet subsea cable connecting United States and Europe
Credit: Google

Google has announced that it'll build a new subsea internet cable to connect the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain. The so-called "Grace Hopper" cable will be used to "better resilience for the network that underpins Google’s consumer and enterprise products" according to the press announcement.

The new cable connection will be the first private one for Google between the United States and the United Kingdom as well as Google's first one to Spain. The latter one will be connected to the planned "Google Cloud region in Madrid" and used to integrate it into the global infrastructure. Google has signed the contract with the subsea cable provider SubCom and expects the project to be completed in 2022.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
UK government implements two week quarantine for returners from Spain
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport
Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport Credit: unsplash.com/Roberto Arias

The government of the United Kingdom has announced that a mandatory two-week quarantine will be implemented for all returners and travellers from Spain following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Health Minister Robin Swann has stated that "the advice from the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser is that a negative Covid-19 test immediately on return from Spain would not exclude infection - so a period of self-isolation would still be required" and that "public health considerations must take priority".

Lifestyle • Food
UK sees an increased demand for vegan food products
UK sees an increased demand for vegan food products
Credit: unsplash.com/Creatv Eight

According to a research by trademark law firm EMW, there has been a significant increase of trademarks for vegan and plant-based food products in recent months. Magnum, Ben & Jerry's and Unilever are among the brands who filed trademarks for vegan products.

The Vegan Society has released a study that found that many British consumers reduced their meat and dairy consumption during the Covid-19 lockdown, either due to a lack of other products or for health reasons.

Health
Study suggests that one million people in the United Kingdom have quit smoking since start of pandemic
Study suggests that one million people in the United Kingdom have quit smoking since start of pandemic
(Public Domain)

The charity organisation Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) has surveyed 10,000 people in the United Kingdom between mid-April and mid-June about their smoking habits and calculated that an estimated amount of one million people have quit smoking since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the surveying started over a decade ago quitting numbers have never been so high with 7,6% of the surveyed people giving up smoking in until June 2020.

Politics • Asian
Extraditions and arms exports from United Kingdom to Hong Kong suspended over security law
Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab Credit: Richard Townshend (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The United Kingdoms foreign secretary Dominic Raab has stated in an address to the parliament that the newly passed and enacted national security law is "a clear and serious violation of the UK-China joint declaration" and adding that the United Kingdom "will hold China to its international obligations".

The suspension of the extradition deal with Hong Kong is indefinitely and the arms embargo against China has been extended to include Hong Kong.

Health
Study: Oxford Covid-19 vaccine triggers immune response

Researchers from Oxford have published new results from their ongoing trails of a possible Covid-19 vaccine. During the last trial that involved 1,077 people, it showed that the experimental vaccine not only leads the patients to develop antibodies but also T-cells that are able to fight the virus.

The United Kingdom has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine. Further trials are still underway to determine if patients develop a long term immunitiy.