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Afghanistan 1) Biden faces pressure at G7 summit today to extend deadline…

“Joe Biden will come under pressure on Tuesday from western allies who want the US-led evacuation from Afghanistan extended beyond August 31, while facing the humiliating prospect that the Taliban may veto any delay. At an emergency G7 meeting, the US president will hear calls from allies including Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, to negotiate with the Taliban for an extension. But the proposal exposed the fragility of the west’s position in Afghanistan, as the world’s leading democracies in effect pleaded with the Taliban to allow them to carry on with their evacuation for a few more days. Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesperson, told the Financial Times that remaining US and other foreign troops at Kabul airport must withdraw in accord with the timeline set by the Biden administration. – FT

  • G7 leaders to seek unity – The Guardian
  • Taliban says delaying evacuation deadline would ‘cross red line’ – The Times
  • Security fears after Afghan on ‘no-fly’ list arrives in Britain – The Times
  • UK ‘could criminalise entering Afghanistan’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Grants for councils to help house big Afghan refugee families – The Times

Afghanistan 2) …as Johnson and President still can’t agree on departure date

“Hopes that Joe Biden would extend America’s August 31 deadline to leave Afghanistan appeared to be fading last night. And, in a further blow to the chances of airlifting more vulnerable Afghans to safety, the Taliban issued a chilling warning to the West not to stay longer. The Prime Minister spoke directly with the President last night. And today – at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders – he will join French president Emmanuel Macron in urging Mr Biden to push back his deadline for Americans soldiers to leave. Downing Street said Mr Johnson and Mr Biden had last night discussed the evacuation but gave no indication of any breakthrough. And the chances of an extension to the deadline appeared to be receding as Pentagon chiefs insisted they were ‘focused on getting this done by the end of the month’. – Daily Mail

  • A thousand evacuees risk being left behind by Britain – Daily Mail
>Today:

Afghanistan 3) Tom Tugendhat: This G7 is a turning point for the West

“The chaotic withdrawal from Kabul will be a turning point, but now it’s up to us to choose the direction of travel. We can turn this around. That’s why tomorrow’s G7 meeting matters. It will show the determination of the free world to work together. There will be some key early tells, as gamblers would say, that will give us a clue as to where we’re going. The first is easy: Who is at the table? Of course, it’s short notice but few nations are more affected than India by the inland tsunami in Asia, or more likely to be important to what happens next. Along with partners from G7 parliaments, I’m calling for India to attend. With Delhi holding the presidency of the UN Security Council, its presence at the meeting would show a commitment not just to bringing others in, but also to leveraging the institutions we have built to defend peace.” – Daily Telegraph

Robert Taylor: Could Blair become any more irrelevant?

“Who’d want to be Tony Blair? Alright, he’s fabulously wealthy and well-connected. But he’s also seeing his life’s work dismantled. It’s hard to know where to start. Britain has left the EU, despite Blair’s collusion with the EU to prevent it. The Labour Party has become a lefty, wokey, losing machine. Blair himself is Labour’s persona non grata. The US-UK relationship is souring and curdling. And now America is leaving Afghanistan in chaos. Blair must be wondering why he bothered with Downing Street, if this is how it ends. No wonder he’s lashing out, in strikingly undiplomatic language, referring to an American President, whose election he enthusiastically supported, as ‘imbecilic’.” – Daily Telegraph

Johnson’s private jet trip ‘broke rules’

“Boris Johnson has been accused of breaking the ministerial code after it emerged that he used a taxpayer-funded private jet to travel to Teesside to campaign in the Hartlepool by-election. The prime minister flew from London Stansted to Teesside airport on April 1. On arrival he was driven to Middlesbrough on official government business to promote an increase in the minimum wage. However, he then went to Hartlepool, where he campaigned with Jill Mortimer, the Tory candidate. He accompanied her on a visit to Hart Biologicals and went leafleting and door-knocking. He flew home that evening.” – The Times

  • Cummings took part in Brexit debate with restaurant staff while on holiday – The Times
  • Army barracks used to house migrants ‘will stay open for another four years’ – The Sun

Covid deaths now average 100 a day

“Deaths from Covid-19 are now averaging 100 a day across the UK, according to official data, and scientists have warned that case rates will jump again when millions of pupils return to schools next week. The seven-day average for deaths within 28 days of a positive test now stands at 100, figures released by Public Health England on Monday show, a number that was last exceeded on 18 March. Although the vaccination programme means deaths are far below the peaks of last winter – the highest daily total was 1,248, reported on 23 January – it is a notable rise from late May and early June, when they were consistently in single figures.” – The Guardian

  • Booster shot for most vulnerable within weeks – The Times
  • Anti-vaxxers storm ITV studios – The Times

Extinction Rebellion use court ruling to bring central London streets to standstill

“Hundreds of activists from the climate change group gathered in the capital at the start of two weeks of action aimed at persuading the Government to stop new investment in fossil fuels. Roads around Trafalgar Square were blocked by protesters, including one group who used a truck to position a 10ft tall pink table at a busy interchange. Fifty people were arrested but despite a huge police presence throughout the day, officers did little to address the disruption, with XR insisting a recent legal ruling enshrined its legal right to block roads. The Supreme Court ruling, known as the Ziegler Judgment, said the right to protest could under certain circumstances be a lawful excuse for obstructing highways.” – Daily Telegraph

  • West End in London blocked by Extinction Rebellion – The Times
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