World News

Pubs can open from 6am on 'Super Saturday' as lockdown restrictions ease

Pubs in England can open from 6am tomorrow morning as drinkers return for ‘Super Saturday’ after more than three months of lockdown.

Some landlords had planned to throw open their doors as the clock struck midnight on July 4, but new government regulations prohibit pub-goers from having their first pint until after sunrise.

All pubs still must adhere to licensing laws and it will depend on the licence that each pub has as to when they can serve alcohol.

Downing Street has confirmed the coronavirus regulations will not limit the amount of time people can spend in pubs and restaurants.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: ‘The regulations also keep in place a list of premises that must remain closed and that includes nightclubs, nail bars and salons, indoor play areas, gyms, conference centres and exhibition halls.

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‘Those regulations mostly come into force at 12.01am on Saturday July 4.

‘The reopening of pubs and bars specifically comes into force at 6am. That would just be in the event anybody would attempt to try to open at midnight.’

The full set of regulations is due to be published later this afternoon and is expected to place a 30-person limit on gatherings at home and in outdoor settings deemed unsafe.

The two-household rule for indoor or outdoor meetings will remain in place, with the 30-person limit designed to stop mass gatherings.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman added: ‘The reason for setting the figure for 30 is we do have to put a number into law and that is to provide police with the powers that they need to break up a rave or some other large gathering which is clearly irresponsible and in breach of the social distancing rules.’

Leicester, which became the first UK city to go into local lockdown this week, will be subject to a separate set of regulations also published later today.

Mr Johnson has urged the public not to ‘blow’ the progress the country has made in battling the pandemic, amid fears that the reopening of pubs and restaurants could spur a rise in cases.

While gyms remain closed, the Tory leader said today they should be able to reopen within ‘a couple of weeks’.

Speaking on LBC this morning, he added that he intends to get theatres open ‘as fast as we possibly can’.

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Top US spies brief Congress on Russia-Taliban intelligence

Congress eyes new sanctions as Trump downplays reports Russia offered Taliban affiliates cash to kill Americans.

CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone met with congressional leaders at the United States Capitol on Thursday to share US intelligence suggesting Russia offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan.

Amid rising calls for new sanctions on Russia, US intelligence officials are under pressure from members of both parties in Congress to provide explanations.

US media outlets have reported that intelligence agencies concluded the Russian military offered bounties to Taliban affiliates in Afghanistan to kill American troops and coalition forces. President Donald Trump has played down the reports and called the allegations a hoax. 

Members of Congress who were briefed behind closed doors on Thursday included top Republican and Democrat leaders from the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as chairs of the intelligence committees. The US’s top spy, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, also attended.

“I’m not going to say anything about the briefing, but I believe that the president is not close to tough enough on [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters as he left the briefing.

Going into the meeting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who has been harshly critical of Trump, calling him unfit for office – said she hoped to learn “the truth” about the Russian bounties.

After the closed briefing, Schumer and Pelosi issued a joint statement accusing Trump of being “soft” on Putin. 

The intelligence “was of a consequential level” and the president and Congress should have been briefed, Pelosi said at a news conference.

“The White House put on a con that if you don’t have 100 percent consensus on intelligence that it shouldn’t rise to a certain level,” Pelosi said.

Warmer relations

Pelosi said Congress should now impose financial sanctions on Russia’s intelligence and military sectors – penalties that were withheld at Trump’s request, she said, in a US sanctions law passed overwhelmingly by Congress in 2017.

Trump, a Republican, has worked to cultivate warmer relations with Moscow. Recently, the US president sought to invite Russia back into the Group of Seven meeting of industrialised nations, but was blocked by Germany and other allies. Russia was expelled by the group after annexing Crimea and invading eastern Ukraine.

Four US and European government sources, who are familiar with intelligence reporting and spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Reuters news agency that in recent weeks the US had acquired fresh reporting backing up the allegations that Russia had encouraged Taliban-affiliated militants to kill US and allied soldiers in Afghanistan.

US intelligence agencies are confident Russia encouraged the Taliban to kill US troops, but there is a disagreement between the CIA and the National Security Agency over whether Moscow had actually paid bounties, Reuters reported.

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Peloton launches on Roku

Some relief for Airbnb; Peloton’s live classes are going dark

Fox Business Briefs: Airbnb raises money from private equity giant Silver Lake and the investment firm Sixth Street Partners who will now own part of the struggling home-sharing company; Peloton will suspend live classes after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.

Peloton users can now access workouts on Roku.

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The fitness company’s app is available on digital media player service Roku, the company announced Wednesday, making Peloton’s fitness content more accessible to consumers across all major streaming platforms.

Peloton is now available for streaming on Roku. 

Customers don't need one of the company's spin bikes or treadmills to break a sweat at home. Users can choose from thousands of mat-based workouts like HIIT, dance cardio, meditation and yoga and stream them on the big screen, according to Roku.


Users with a Peloton account and access to Roku sign into the channel. Those who are new to Peloton can stream the workout for free for 30-days. The app's membership is $12.99 per month.

With gyms closed in some parts of the country and COVID-19 outbreaks reported at facilities that have reopened, many Americans are opting to continue workout out at home.


And streaming services are reporting record growth. The health and fitness category experienced the largest growth in streaming on Roku devices year-over-year when compared to other genres on the platform, growing by more than 130% in May.


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World News

US states hit pause on coronavirus reopening: Live updates

Bars, beaches, cinemas closed again in some US states as spike in cases underlines challenge of containing virus.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

  • World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned the pandemic is “not even close to being over” and that while there had been some progress initially, the pandemic was “actually speeding up”. 
  • States in the US are pausing reopening plans amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations. Among the states stepping back is California, which reported a record surge in COVID-19. 
  • More than 10.2 million people around the world have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus and more than 504,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Here are the latest updates.

Tuesday, June 30

02:45 GMT – Los Angeles officials warn hospitals could be overwhelmed

Los Angeles is becoming the new coronavirus hotspot in the US.

California announced a record jump of 7,418 new cases on Monday with the number in LA, the second-biggest city in the US, exceeding more than 100,000 despite strict curbs on nightlife and a requirement to wear masks in all public areas.

“The alarming increase in cases, positivity rates and hospitalisations signals that we, as a community, need to take immediate action to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for Los Angeles County, said in a statement.

“Otherwise, we are quickly moving toward overwhelming our healthcare system and seeing even more devastating illness and death.”

02:30 GMT – South Australia cancels plan to reopen domestic borders

The state of South Australia has cancelled plans to reopen its borders to interstate travellers from neighbouring Victoria after a spike in coronavirus cases there.

Restrictions were supposed to be removed on July 20.

Victoria reported 75 new cases of coronavirus on Monday. It has yet to release numbers for Tuesday.

02:00 GMT – India’s first COVID-19 vaccine approved for human trials

Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine has secured regulatory approval for human trials.

Phase I and II clinical trials for Covaxin, India’s first domestic candidate for a vaccine, will begin in July.  

00:55 GMT – Los Angeles to close beaches for July 4 holiday weekend

Los Angeles is to close its beaches for the July 4 holiday weekend after reporting a record one-day rise in cases.

People usually flock to the seaside during the holiday, which marks US Independence Day.

Officials said it was too much of a risk allowing the beaches to remain open. 

23:30 GMT – Researchers find new swine flu with pandemic potential 

Researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu that has the potential to cause a pandemic, according to a study published in the US science journal PNAS.

The G4 flu is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that was behind the pandemic in 2009.

G4 has “all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans,” the researchers wrote.

They added that the G4 type was already predominant in pigs and that control of the infection in pigs and close monitoring of people working with the animals should be “urgently implemented”.

The peer-reviewed study was authored by academics at the China Agricultural University, Shandong Agricultural University, Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Nottingham. 

Read more on their findings here. 

Source: Al Jazeera 


Read the updates from yesterday (June 29) here.

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Vera Wang Just Casually Flaunted Her Toned Abs On Her 71st Birthday

  • Fashion designer Vera Wang turned 71 over the weekend on June 27.
  • She celebrated her birthday and LGBTQ+ Pride with an Instagram showing off her toned abs and butt.
  • She also showed off her Pride Month-themed manicure and captioned the post “PRIDE Workout.”

There are women like Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry who are probably the most fit they’ve ever been in their 50s. And then there’s Vera Wang, who is out here looking all ridiculously toned in her 70s.

The wedding dress designer—who just turned 71 over the weekend—shared photos of her “PRIDE Workout” look on Instagram, acting like looking the way she does in her 70s is NBD. In the pics, Vera can be seen showing off her Pride Month-themed mani, while working her own Simply Vera sunglasses for Kohl’s, rings from her Vera Wang LOVE Collection, an Adidas sports bra, and Balenciaga leggings.

While Vera was low-key showing off her toned abs and butt in the pics, plenty of people noticed. “Simply FABULOUS!!!! Thank you for making women feel and look great! At all ages!!❤️” one fan wrote. “I refuse to believe that you’re 70,” another said.

Vera recently told Harper’s Bazaar that she’s been quarantined in her Miami home with her “workday fashion family,” and they’ve pushed her to exercise and get out of her fashion box more than usual. “All of them are extremely fit, which pushed me to ‘work out’ most days,” she said. “[My quarantine group] being a hardcore fashion group, and me having my lifelong obsession with leggings, I had the opportunity to actually ‘play’ with clothes, something even a fashion designer rarely has the luxury of doing.”

FWIW, Vera actually trained as a competitive figure skater for most of her childhood in New York City. She told InStyle in 2016 that she’s “not a huge exercise person,” but loves to play golf. “I’m terrible but enthusiastic,” she said.

Vera has even joked on Instagram about her love-hate relationship with working out. “Serious procrastination. Lycra/poly in heels,” she captioned this shot of herself sitting on her treadmill in workout leggings and heels.

Whatever she’s doing, it’s clearly working for her!

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41 tonnes of rubbish left on Bournemouth coast 'including poo in takeaway boxes'

Forty-one tonnes of rubbish has been dumped on the Bournemouth coastline over the past two days, with disgusted locals even claiming to have found ‘poo in takeaway boxes’ on beaches.

A major incident was declared in Dorset on Thursday after 500,000 people flocked to beauty spots and widespread anti-social behaviour took place on the hottest day of the year.

Thirty-three tonnes of waste were collected yesterday, in addition to eight tonnes picked up between the piers on Wednesday, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council said.

Shocking images show plastic bags, bottles and picnic leftovers scattered across the beaches, with volunteers left to clean up the mess.

Locals have condemned tourists’ ‘unacceptable’ behaviour, with one claiming some had ‘s*** in takeaway boxes and left it in the sand’.

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Clark Griswold, from Bournemouth, tweeted saying: ‘I live in Bournemouth, these people came from outside the area, couldn’t give a s*** so just left their rubbish, even did things like s*** in their takeaway boxes and leave it on the sand’.

Another Twitter user from the area said she was in tears at the scene, writing: ‘I live in Bournemouth, we drove down last night to have a look at it. I actually cried.

‘Human waste everywhere, mountains of filth left on sand. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.’

One Bournemouth mum said she was saddened by the images and planned to take her son to help with the clean-up mission.

She tweeted: ‘Tomorrow I’m taking my son, who is 13 to the beach at 7am with gloves and rubbish bags to do a beach clean. It’s sad that we have to do this but it’s sadder seeing all these images.’

Health officials described scenes in Dorset yesterday as ‘appalling’, as services were completely overstretched, workers received abuse and a number of altercations involving excessive alcohol took place.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has threatened to close beaches if large crowds ignoring social distancing advice continue to flock.

He told Talk Radio: ‘We do have that power. I am reluctant to use it because people have had a pretty tough lockdown and I want everybody to be able to enjoy the sunshine.

‘But the key is to do it with respect for the rules – stay with your household, stay a good distance from other households. ‘But we do have those powers and if we see a spike in the number of cases then we will take action.’

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council Leader Vikki Slade said: ‘We are absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches, particularly at Bournemouth and Sandbanks, in the last 24-48 hours.

‘The irresponsible behaviour and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe. We have had no choice now but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response.’

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Two teenagers arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after pensioner died at Lullingstone Castle in Kent

Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after an elderly man died in the grounds of a medieval castle in Kent, police have said.

An 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were detained at 6.35am today at a house in Keston, southeast London, Kent Police said.

They were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after Charles Hilder, 66, died of a heart attack following a confrontation at Lullingstone Castle in Eynsford, Kent on 28 May.

Mr Hilder had visited the 15th century manor house to go fishing, but collapsed after “rocks were thrown” in the grounds, the force said.

Kent Police Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Beasley appealed to anyone who visited the beauty spot on the day of the incident to come forward.

He said: “It remains important we speak to anyone else who may have attended Lullingstone Castle around this time, who have yet to contact the police.

“This includes visitors who may have taken photographs on their phones, or who may have video footage recorded on vehicle dashcams. If you haven’t already done so, please check any devices which may hold crucial information.”

The medieval castle overlooks a 15-acre lake, where forensic investigators were seen looking for evidence after Mr Hilder’s death.

It has been featured in several TV series and has been home to the same family since it was built, with past visitors including King Henry VII and Queen Anne.

The building has been closed to visitors because of the coronavirus lockdown, but is due to reopen on 3 July.

Anyone with information that may assist the investigation is asked to call Kent Police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 28-1127. Anybody with video footage can make a report through the Kent Police section of the Major Incident Public Reporting Site at

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Russians vote on Putin’s reforms to constitution

Russia has begun voting on constitutional reforms that could allow President Vladimir Putin to serve another two terms in office.

The official vote is scheduled for 1 July, but authorities said they were opening polling stations a week early to stop overcrowding amid the pandemic.

Opposition activist Alexei Navalny has said the changes will allow Mr Putin to be “president for life”.

Mr Putin, however, has said they will ensure Russia’s stability.

Although the president has not publicly said he would run again in 2024 when his current term ends, he has said it is vital he has the option.

“Otherwise I know that in two years, instead of working normally at all levels of the state, all eyes will be on the search for potential successors,” he said in an interview earlier this week.

What are people voting on?

The big changes would limit a president’s rule to two six-year terms in total, rather than two consecutive terms, and reset the clock so Mr Putin could continue in office after 2024.

Aside from potentially allowing him to lead Russia until 2036 – the reforms would give the president power to nominate top judges and prosecutors for approval by Russia’s upper house of parliament.

They would also entrench conservative measures in the constitution, including an effective ban on gay marriage and an affirmation of Russia’s “faith in God”.

And economic changes would also be enshrined, including on the minimum wage and adjusting the state pension in line with inflation.

Roughly 110 million voters from Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast to Kamchatka on the Pacific are eligible to vote. Officials are providing masks and hand sanitiser at polling stations across the country.

The BBC’s Sarah Rainsford in Moscow says a big turnout is vital for the Kremlin.

Officials have confirmed that people with Russian passports in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine will also be allowed to take part. Last year, President Putin made it easier for residents to get Russian passports and officials estimate some 150,000 people in the rebel-held areas of Luhansk and Donetsk could take part.

What do critics say?

Mr Navalny, a figurehead of Russia’s opposition, has called the vote a “coup” and a “violation of the constitution”. Some argue Mr Putin is trying to cling to power, or give himself an option to stay on if he cannot find a suitable successor.

The 67-year-old former KGB agent has led Russia for 20 years, both as president and prime minister. But his popularity levels have dropped in recent years thanks to economic struggles and deeply controversial reforms to the pension system.

Mr Putin introduced the reforms to Russia’s 1993 constitution in January, and they have already been adopted in both the houses of parliament in Moscow. But the president said a public vote would give the changes legitimacy, and initially scheduled the poll for April before delaying it due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Activists organised marches to oppose the vote the same month but authorities banned them, citing rules about public gatherings amid the coronavirus lockdown. A website set up to collect signatures of people opposed to the vote was shut down by the courts.

Senior politicians around the country have come out in favour of the changes, and observers believe there is little doubt the measure will pass. Copies of the new constitution are already on sale in Russian bookshops.

Many have questioned the timing of Russia’s World War Two Victory Parade. Tens of thousands of troops marched through Moscow on Wednesday – despite a ban on mass gatherings under lockdown rules – just a day before voting began.

What about the coronavirus?

The pandemic has further dented Mr Putin’s standing.

Russia has the third-highest number of recorded infections worldwide, with 613,994 confirmed cases and 8,605 deaths – although critics believe the true death toll is far higher.

Latest figures released on Thursday showed there were 7,113 new cases reported over the last 24 hours. In May, Russia reported more than 10,000 new cases a day for more than a week.

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