Published:

Afghanistan 1) Terror threat ‘worst in years’, Johnson warned

“Britain faces its biggest terrorist threat for many years, Boris Johnson was warned last night, as he offered the Taliban diplomatic recognition if they prevented attacks being launched from Afghanistan. Former army commanders, diplomats and MPs said that Britain was significantly less safe after the Taliban takeover of Kabul as the prime minister promised to use “every lever we have” to protect against terrorism. Johnson suggested that he could recognise the Taliban as a legitimate government if it helped to prevent the country becoming a base for Islamist terrorists to attack the West.” – The Times

  • Russia convinced Taliban will not expand influence – The Times
  • Afghans fleeing after August 31 will get safe passage to do so, Taliban ‘assures’ Britain – Daily Telegraph
  • Pen Farthing: veterans attack pet saviour’s Afghan ‘pantomime’ – The Times

>Yesterday:

Afghanistan 2) Drone strike hits Isis-K bombers planning another Kabul airport attack

“A US drone strike hit suicide bombers in a car packed with explosives and poised to attack Kabul airport yesterday as American forces prepared to finish evacuations from the Afghan capital. CNN, citing witnesses, said a nine-member family including six children were killed in the strike. With the US airlift entering its tense final hours, American officials said the strike had targeted militants of Isis-K, the Afghan branch of Islamic State, as they prepared a repeat of last week’s devastating suicide attack on the airport, which killed at least 170 Afghans and 13 American troops.” – The Times

  • Military families blame Biden as bodies return from Afghanistan – The Times

Afghanistan 3) Douglas Murray: The way operation has finished is a colossal, massive, generational screw-up

“IT turns out that the Taliban don’t take holidays. Despite the August weather it seems the extremists who just retook Afghanistan wouldn’t be taking a summer break. The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, by contrast, was on holiday in Crete as the 20-year operation in Afghanistan finished in disaster. Yesterday it turned out that top civil servants at the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have also been away on their holidays. And some of the results can be seen. A crucial call to get Afghan interpreters out was made by a junior minister. While the UK embassy in Kabul was abandoned so hastily that sensitive papers were left all over the floor.” – The Sun

Sunak 1) NHS bosses fear Chancellor will leave them billions short…

“NHS leaders fear that Rishi Sunak is offering them £5 billion less than they need to deal with the coronavirus next year and have warned of a “frighteningly large” shortfall. The chancellor is considering setting out a three-year spending deal for the NHS as soon as next week, but talks with health leaders are foundering over the scale of spending needed to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic. There are signs that infections in England may be starting to fall again after 33,196 new cases were reported across the UK. In England 22,501 cases were reported yesterday, down from 25,952 a week earlier, and the seven-day average has now fallen for five consecutive days.” – The Times

Sunak 2) … as he’s urged to ditch triple-lock pension pledge in autumn

“Rishi Sunak should drop the pensions triple lock in a painful spending review this autumn to save £4 billion a year, an influential think tank has argued. The chancellor’s desire to break a Conservative manifesto commitment has been boosted by the support of the Institute for Government, which argues that it would be reasonable this year to avoid a “perverse” pensions increase of about 9 per cent. The institute warns that the government cannot meet all of its manifesto commitments in the wake of the pandemic and that a multi-year spending review due in the autumn would “crystallise difficult choices” for the chancellor.” – The Times

Fears over metal flakes in Moderna vaccine after two deaths

“Two men with no pre-existing illnesses died days after receiving Moderna vaccines from a batch in Japan contaminated with tiny metal flakes. Thirty-nine vaccine vials were found to contain the fragments last week at eight centres in five prefectures, including Tokyo. They were part of three batches made for Moderna in Spain. At least 180,000 people are understood to have been injected from the batches. More than 1.6 million doses have been withdrawn. The men, aged 30 and 38, developed fevers shortly after receiving their second doses early this month and died within days.” – The Times

Sturgeon goes into self-isolation after close contact tests positive for Covid

“Nicola Sturgeon is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The First Minister last night revealed she had been ‘pinged’ by contact tracers and warned that she would have to quarantine. As she has been fully-vaccinated, Miss Sturgeon will now take a PCR test – and if negative she will not have to continue self-isolating. Nicola Sturgeon is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The First Minister last night revealed she had been ‘pinged’ by contact tracers and warned that she would have to quarantine.” – Daily Mail

Deferrals of university places reach highest level in a decade

“Almost 30,000 students are deferring their places at university this year — the highest figure in a decade. The overall number of students postponing their starts has risen by 12 per cent to 28,880 — enough to entirely fill Newcastle University. The biggest rise is among school-leavers. Universities have seen a 21 per cent increase in the number of 18-year-olds in England deferring their degrees, according to the latest figures from Ucas, the admissions service. Many selective institutions took far more undergraduates than anticipated last summer, after the exams grading fiasco, and are struggling with another year of grade inflation.” – The Times

Comment:

Extinction Rebellion targets Science Museum over link to Shell

“Extinction Rebellion protesters glued and locked themselves to railings at the Science Museum last night in protest at its collaboration with Shell. About 200 supporters had gathered outside the museum in west London, waving flags and banners and playing drums to oppose the oil company’s sponsorship of an exhibition about greenhouse gases. The activists, continuing two weeks of protests, were escorted by police and security guards after entering the ground floor of the museum. Some staged a “die-in” with dozens lying on half of the ramp which leads to the entrance of the museum. By the early evening five people had put their arms through the railings and glued their hands together so as not to damage the museum’s property, and six locked their necks against the railings.” – The Times

Put new drivers under curfew to cut road deaths, ministers urged

“Ministers have been urged to cut the urban speed limit and put a curfew on novice drivers to reduce the “horrific” toll of road crashes. A new coalition of road safety groups wants the government to take steps such as banning new drivers from the roads at night to “end the carnage” caused by speeding, bad driving and polluting vehicles while promoting more cycling and walking. In a report today the group criticises the lack of progress in the past decade in reducing fatalities and serious injury. In 2019, 1,808 road deaths were recorded; numbers are largely unchanged since 2010. An estimated 8,700 people suffered “catastrophic injury”, such as the loss of a limb, in the same year, it said.” – The Times

Gove spotted raving at Aberdeen nightclub

“Michael Gove stunned revellers at an Aberdeen nightclub by “raving” on a dancefloor into the early hours. The Cabinet Office minister, who was described as “merry” by eyewitnesses, was filmed in a suit flailing his arms, dancing wildly and hugging other clubbers in his home city. Those who also attended the club night, called Pipe, said that it appeared Mr Gove, who recently announced he is to divorce from wife Sarah Vine, had visited the venue alone. Friends of Mr Gove suggested he had been in Aberdeen to visit family and friends, and loved the city and its nightclub. They also said they did not recognise claims that he had attempted to avoid a £5 entry fee by citing his official title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. It is claimed that Mr Gove walked into O’Neill’s bar, in the city centre, at around 1:15am on Sunday morning.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief: