Top story: ‘We are one people,’ says Trump
Good morning all. This is Martin Farrer bringing you all the stories you need to know about this Friday morning.
Donald Trump has given a tub-thumpingly jingoistic speech as the set-piece of his controversial “Salute to America” event to mark the 4th of July in Washington. Despite concerns that the US president might politicise the independence day celebrations with a partisan address, he steered clear of his usual campaign-rally style and instead chose to run through a litany of American achievements with a heavy bias towards military prowess. Trump was accompanied by martial music, flypasts to flout aerial power and the much-promised armoured vehicles in a ceremony costing the National Parks Service a reported $2.5m. “We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny,” he said in an appeal to national unity, which has been rare during his presidency. Code Pink, an antiwar protest group, staged a demonstration on the mall, complete with the “Trump baby blimp” balloon. But the large crowd gathered at the Lincoln memorial was supportive, many of them wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and chanting “USA! USA!” at any opportunity.
However, history buffs pointed out that in his description of the 1775 war of independence, Trump went a bit far in his claims of heroism by saying that the revolutionary army “took over the airports” from the British. You can also watch our video highlights where Trump promises that Americans will plant the stars and stripes on Mars.
Tanker standoff – Iran has reacted angrily after Royal Marines seized a tanker off the coast of Gibraltar which was believed to be on its way to deliver oil to Syria. Marines from 42 Commando were lowered on to the ship by helicopter as it slowed down in the narrow waters leading into the Mediterranean. The ship’s 28 mostly Indian crew were questioned on board by the Gibraltarian authorities. Amid heightened tensions between western powers and Iran, authorities in Tehran condemned the “illegal interception” of the 330m-long Grace 1 vessel. Iran summoned the British ambassador in protest but it is understood that Rob Macaire reiterated the government’s position that it was enforcing the EU’s sanctions regime against Syria.
Emergency landing – A Virgin Atlantic plane bound from New York to Heathrow was forced to make an emergency landing at Boston airport last night after a fire broke out on board. Everyone on the Airbus A330 flight was evacuated safely. Police said they suspected that a faulty battery charger had sparked a blaze between two seats.
‘Party of remain’ – Tom Watson is stepping up pressure on Jeremy Corbyn by urging grassroots members to sign a public declaration calling for Labour to be “the party of remain”. The Labour leader is being lobbied to adopt the anti-Brexit position his deputy believes is the only way the party can win the next election. “As the party of remain, we will not take every voter with us, but it’s the only way that Labour can win, and the only way to keep our country together,” Watson’s petition says. On the other side of the political ledger, Boris Johnson claimed at a Tory hustings event last night that his extravagant spending plans could be funded in the event of no deal by using the £39bn intended to be paid to the EU on completion of an amicable exit.
Drug warning – Primary school children are being targeted for grooming, violence and exploitation by drug gangs, enslaving them into criminality in the notorious “county lines” system. A report by the Children’s Society says the main age bracket for criminal exploitation of children is 14 to 17, but warns the age at which youngsters are being targeted for grooming is getting younger and can be as young as seven. The criminal exploitation of younger children can easily be overlooked by agencies, the report says, so opportunities to protect under-10s can be missed.
Trees for life – Planting billions of trees would be the most effective way to fight global warming, according to scientists who say the new trees could suck up nearly 750bn tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Excluding existing farmland and urban areas, there are 1.7bn hectares of treeless land across the world – roughly the size of the United States and China combined. Study co-author Thomas Crowther said it was the cheapest solution and the most effective. “It is available now, it is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved.”
Boom for bust – A sculpture of Tutankhamun has been sold at auction for £4.7m at Christie’s in London despite protests from Egypt. The 3,000-year-old bust of brown quartzite depicts the young king as the god Amen and was sold to an anonymous private collector. But a small group of Egyptians gathered outside the auction house last night to protest their national heritage being sold like “fruit and vegetables”. A former Egyptian antiquities minister has alleged the bust was stolen from the temple of Karnak in the 1970s.
Today in Focus podcast: Who owns England?
It is a simple question with an incredibly complex answer – not even the Land Registry knows the exact ownership of all parts of the country. Guy Shrubsole set out to solve the mystery.
Lunchtime read: I toke you to be my wife – the rise of weed weddings
As the legalisation of marijuana spreads across the Unites States – currently 10 states and counting – a new industry has popped up in its wake: the weed wedding. An expo in Las Vegas in March brought together two dozen vendors promoting such products as CBD bath bombs, vintage vases repurposed as bongs and the inevitable space cakes. Many couples are taking advantage of the opening up of the laws, including 28-year-old Londoner Serena Baleja who encouraged guests to get stoned at her wedding to Jeff in Los Angeles last year. “It should be normalized completely,” she says.
Nick Kyrgios discovered on Thursday evening that you provoke a champion at your peril as Rafael Nadal husbanded his controlled fury to win their second round encounter at Wimbledon. The controversial Australian admitted he aimed a shot at Nadal’s chest during the match, which came after some unusual preparations in the Fox & Duck pub. Elsewhere, it was just like old times as the Pimms flowed and cries of “Come on Andy” were heard on Murray Mound as Britain’s greatest tennis player teamed up with Pierre-Hugues Herbert to win their first-round doubles match. There were also wins for Dan Evans and Harriet Dart but it was the end of the road for defending champion Angelique Kerber. Frank Lampard, the former Chelsea midfielder, has returned as manager with the express aim of making the club more competitive in the league. Tammy Beaumont hit her maiden Ashes hundred in a gloriously confident display but it was not enough for England to beat Australia in the second ODI of the series. Chris Froome’s crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné has opened up the Tour de France, which starts this weekend, and given other riders reason to believe in their chances. And England have unveiled their official Rugby World Cup jersey but the debate continues over exactly who will wear the new shirt in Japan.
The Wolf of Wall Street producer Riza Aziz, who is the stepson of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, has been charged with embezzling millions of dollars from the Malaysian government’s 1MDB investment fund by a court overnight. He is the third member of the family to face charges relating to corruption at the notorious fund. Asian markets and FTSE100 futures were quiet ahead of US jobs figures later today. The pound is flat at $1.258 and €1.115.
Boris Johnson’s campaign pitch is splashed across the front page of the Telegraph, which employs him as a columnist: “‘This is the greatest place on Earth’”. The Mirror has a story about “Boris’ billionaire backer and the homes scandal” and the Express has comments from the EU exit secretary: “We will be ready for no-deal Brexit”.
The i leads with: “UK and Iran in stand-off over seized oil tanker” and the FT has the same top story: “Britain seizes tanker suspected of smuggling Iranian oil to Syria”.
The Guardian has: “Revealed: the asbestos risk at hundreds of schools”, the Times reports: “Public fear streets are lawless, say police chiefs” and the Mail has the story of: “Cannabis farm … in a police station”.
The Sun continues to keep us informed about the goings-on of footballers on holiday: “Del of a state” – as Dele Ali was pictured dazed while on holiday in Greece.
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