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Afghanistan 1) Mass airlift to evacuate 6,000 from Kabul chaos

“Britain will step up the mass evacuation of British and Afghan citizens from Afghanistan today under plans to fly up to 6,000 people out of the country this week. The Times has been told that the military has extended the deadline for the last RAF evacuation flight from tomorrow to Friday or Saturday in an attempt to help more people. The evacuation programme has also been significantly expanded as new cases come to light, with the total number of people eligible to enter Britain rising from 6,000 last week to more than 12,000. The list of people who qualify for evacuation was initially limited to British citizens and Afghans who have helped British forces. It now includes Afghan politicians, others from civic society and those who have supported humanitarian work, along with their families.” – The Times

  • Fears Isis suicide bombers may target soldiers at Kabul airport – The Times
  • Taliban vow to form a government quickly – The Times
  • Afghan UN staff ‘left to the mercy of Taliban’ – The Times
  • Britain tells Afghan refugees: Cross the border if you miss flights out – The Times

Afghanistan 2) Johnson will urge Biden to delay withdrawal of US forces as thousands try to escape Taliban

“BORIS Johnson will urge Joe Biden to delay the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan as thousands try to escape the Taliban. Mr Johnson will use a G7 meeting on Tuesday to ask the US President to keep American troops at Kabul airport beyond his August 31 deadline. Unless Mr Biden decides to keep troops in Afghanistan, then their UK counterparts will also withdraw from the airport within days, the Daily Telegraph reported. The UK government is preparing for thousands of Afghans to attempt to leave their home country after the Taliban’s takeover. Mr Johnson is also expected to meet with senior Cabinet ministers on Monday to discuss establishing “processing hubs” for refugees coming through Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Military commanders have identified August 25 as potentially the last day they can process refugees – including people who worked as British interpreters, the Daily Mail reported.” – The Sun

  • History will vindicate me over Afghanistan troop withdrawal, says Biden – The Times

Afghanistan 3) Nick Timothy: Debacle is just the latest blow to the Western alliance

“Great powers rise and fall, and apparently impregnable empires eventually turn to dust. Today China is on the rise, power is shifting from West to East, and the United States suffers from domestic division, strategic overreach and a crisis of confidence. The Afghan war ended in unmitigated defeat, the withdrawal was a humiliation and the evacuation a disgrace. Yet it is too soon to write off American power. The US remains the world’s greatest military force, its economic superpower and instigator of innovation and discovery. But America is supposed to lead the free world. And what we have come to call “the West” – the liberal democracies and open societies of North America, Europe and Australasia – is fragmenting. American leadership, mostly unquestioned since 1945, is now challenged in Europe and rejected as a burden by many in America itself. Afghanistan is the latest cause of division.” – Daily Telegraph

  • If the US doesn’t have the stomach to do what’s right in Afghanistan, who else will step up? – The Sun
  • The Afghan crisis is Boris’s chance to unite the good guys against an unholy alliance – it could be his finest hour, Trevor Kavanagh – The Sun
  • The unspoken truth is that Joe Biden is just too old, Tim Stanley – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 1) Get vaccine to avoid risk of long Covid, video tells young

“The government has launched a new attempt to persuade young people to get a coronavirus vaccine with a video starring those admitted to hospital with the disease or suffering from long Covid. Officials said that a target to invite all those aged 16 to 17 to come forward for vaccination by today had been met. However, vaccination rates among young people remain far lower than older age groups. Only 63.7 per cent of those between 18 and 24 have received a jab, 61.7 per cent of those aged 25 to 29, and 64.5 per cent of those aged 30 to 34. Among all age groups over 60, uptake is above 90 per cent. The highest Covid case rates at present are among those in their twenties, with 670.7 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 8. The latest figures show that people aged 18 to 34 now make up more than one in five of those admitted to hospital with the virus.” – The Times

  • Universities host events but teaching stays online – The Times

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Coronavirus 2) Nationwide antibodies search begins

“A national programme testing Britons for antibodies against the coronavirus could provide key information to guide a booster jabs programme, a leading scientist said yesterday. From tomorrow up to 8,000 people a day who test positive for coronavirus on a PCR test will be given the chance to opt in to the antibody surveillance testing. Daily government figures show that a further 32,253 people tested positive, with the weekly average up 13.5 per cent. There were 49 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, a weekly average rise of 8.2 per cent. Participants will be sent finger-prick kits to collect blood samples, the first as soon as possible and the second on day 28, to examine the level of protection provided by antibodies generated after both infection and vaccination.” – The Times

  • Flu jabs could fail this winter due to Covid emergency, experts warn – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 3) Caribbean set for red list as travel experts warn of scramble home

“Four Caribbean and African holiday destinations are at risk of UK travel bans being imposed this week, sparking a scramble by holidaymakers to return to avoid hotel quarantine, an analysis suggests. Jamaica, St Lucia, Dominica and Morocco have seen rising Covid rates that put them on course to be red-listed this week when Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, unveils the new traffic-light ratings for the final days of summer. The analysis by travel consultancy The PC Agency also indicates Covid rates in the Balearics and Spain are high enough to merit inclusion on a red list. But the researchers say they will not be added because of the travel chaos it would mean for tens of thousands of Britons forced to rush back and the lack of hotels in the UK in which to quarantine them. Israel’s fourth wave of Coronavirus has also put it on the cusp of the red list despite its current rating as green. But the researchers again expect ministers to steer clear of such a dramatic move taking a country from green to red and say they will instead opt for amber.” – Daily Telegraph

Households with gas boilers face green levy

“Households with gas boilers face levies to fund low-carbon alternatives to contribute towards meeting the government’s net-zero target, a landmark review has suggested. The Heat and Building Strategy will conclude that gas users could face higher bills and charges as part of the move towards low-carbon solutions, such as hydrogen boilers and heat pumps. The paper, due to be published next month, commits the government to addressing the fact that electricity is significantly more expensive than gas and that “price distortions” will need to be looked at in the mid-2020s to avoid consumers being penalised for moving to heat pumps and hydrogen boilers. The Committee on Climate Change has warned that they could end up paying £100 more a year.” – The Times

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France blocks British company from patrolling for migrants

“France is blocking a European Union move to use a British company to oversee the Channel, as an apparent record number of migrants made the crossing over the weekend. Post-Brexit hostility to Britain was blamed after President Macron’s government vetoed a decision by Frontex, the EU border policing agency, to grant a contract to a British company over European candidates, it was claimed. Le Journal du Dimanche said that DEA Aviation, based at Retford Airport, Nottinghamshire, was among two British companies in the running for the EU order. It was estimated on Saturday that more than 600 refugees made the 21-mile crossing, breaking the record of 592 arrivals set on August 12.” – The Times

Chief constables seek Home Office review of crime recording as ‘ludicrous’ rules distort figures

“Chief constables have called for a Home Office review of crime recording because the “ludicrous” rules would count a threat involving a potato peeler as a knife crime. Nick Adderley, the chief constable of Northamptonshire, said that police had to record incidents that were far below the prosecution threshold, distorting the crime figures. He said that if a child picked up a potato peeler during an argument with a parent this would be recorded as a knife-related crime even if they did not threaten to use the utensil. Name-calling disputes between adults were also being recorded as crimes, Adderley said as he appealed for a “sensible” new approach. The Times understands that other chief constables have similar concerns that people are getting the wrong impression about crime levels.” – The Times

Row over ‘bias’ of Jess Brammar, potential BBC news chief

“Tensions with the government deepened last night as BBC insiders accused politicians of trying to meddle with the appointment of a news executive. Jess Brammar, a former deputy editor of Newsnight and editor of HuffPost UK, is expected to be appointed to a new role overseeing the BBC’s domestic and international news channels. Critics have accused Brammar, 38, of airing left-wing views on social media. Sir Robbie Gibb, a BBC board member who was Theresa May’s director of communications, has tried to block the appointment. He raised concerns about Brammar’s impartiality and is reported to have warned that relations with the government would be damaged if she was appointed to the post, a stance that received backing from No 10.” – The Times

Ashes legend Sir Ian Botham ‘honoured’ to bat for Britain as our new trade envoy to Australia

“CRICKET legend Sir Ian Botham is to bat for Britain — as our new trade envoy to Australia. The Ashes-winning superstar is part of a crack team being assembled by the Government to bang the drum for British business. It comes just months after the UK inked its first post-Brexit trade deal with Australia, bringing cheaper barbecue food and wine to supermarkets. An ally of International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “The Aussies love Beefy and he knows the country and the business community as well as anyone. “It’s an inspired appointment by the PM and Liz.” Lord Botham is one of ten new trade tsars being appointed by No10 to boost UK plc in booming markets including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.” – The Sun

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