Top story: ‘He is not liked or well thought of’
Good morning and welcome to the Tuesday briefing with Alison Rourke.
Donald Trump is very unhappy, to put it mildly. Angered by leaked memos that described his administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”, he again hit out at the UK’s man in Washington, Sir Kim Darroch: “I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him,” Trump tweeted. He also criticised Theresa May, whose spokesperson has defended Darroch’s right to make an “honest and unvarnished” assessment of the White House. Trump said May had made a “mess” of Brexit and didn’t listen to his advice: “I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way,” he said, adding “the good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new prime minister”.
Trump’s anger has escalated the row to new heights, which will no doubt create a problem for the next PM, who will have to decide whether or not to recall Darroch. If Trump cuts him off, he will be redundant, but if he is recalled before the end of his tenure this winter, it could risk looking like Downing Street has kowtowed to Washington and handed a victory to whoever leaked the cables. You can read John Crace’s take on the diplomatic spat: “Trump would be bound to prove Darroch’s judgement right soon enough by sticking his nose in, and then the shit would really hit the fan.” Cue Twitter.
‘Crisis of childhood’ – Young people are struggling to achieve at school, fit in with their peers and cope with wider anxieties over issues such as Brexit, poverty and the climate crisis, a new survey shows. Action for Children charity’s survey of 5,000 children, parents and grandparents found a strong shared perception that modern childhoods were getting worse under what it called unprecedented social pressures. Roughly half of those surveyed said they were anxious about poverty and homelessness, terrorism, inequality and the environment, while about 40% worried about Brexit, sexism and racism. Children from low-income families were strikingly more pessimistic about their childhoods: 39% thought childhood was getting worse, compared to 25% from higher income backgrounds.
Hong Kong – Carrie Lam says the extradition bill that prompted millions to join street protests is “dead”, but the city’s leader stopped short of saying it had been withdrawn. Lam instead used a Cantonese phrase to describe the proposal as “reaching the end of its life”. She said she felt “heartbroken” over the conflict caused by the proposed law, which she described as a “total failure”. Her remarks were her strongest yet since the government suspended progress on the bill after mass protests but critics say she has not fully met the demands of demonstrators.
Jeffrey Epstein – The billionaire Wall Street financier and sex offender has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking. Some of the victims were just 14 years old, prosecutors alleged. Epstein, who was arrested on Saturday in New Jersey, allegedly “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls” from 2002 to 2005 at homes in Manhattan and Florida. The indictment alleged Epstein “enticed and recruited, and caused to be enticed and recruited, minor girls” to “engage in sex acts with him, after which he would give the victims hundreds of dollars in cash”. Epstein’s lawyer said the allegations were “ancient stuff”, dealt with in prior proceedings.
‘Abolish Eton’ – Labour activists are aiming to capitalise on Boris Johnson’s likely election as Conservative leader with an aggressive campaign against his old school, Eton, and other elite private schools in England. The group, Labour Against Private Schools, is circulating a motion for the party’s conference in September that would commit a Labour government to stripping fee-paying schools of their privileges and integrating them into the state system. The campaign, being launched today using the @AbolishEton Twitter handle, is backed by a number of Labour MPs including the former party leader Ed Miliband.
HPV vaccine – The NHS will expand the vaccination programme to include all boys in school year 8 in England from September, safeguarding them and girls from a range of cancers. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is sexually transmitted, so vaccinating boys will help protect their partners, but reducing the circulation of the virus, which is linked to 5% of cancers, will also help prevent penile, anal and genital cancers and some cancers of the head and neck.
Today in Focus podcast: The sea captain facing jail after saving the lives of refugees
Carola Rackete defied Italy’s ban on migrant rescue ships by forcing her way into the port of Lampedusa last week. She tells the Guardian’s Lorenzo Tondo she would do it all again, even though she faces a lengthy trial and a possible jail sentence. Plus: Simon Jenkins on the leaked diplomatic cables of the UK’s Washington ambassador, which were highly critical of Donald Trump.
Lunchtime read: The big scoop
You can learn a lot about Britain by spending a day in an ice-cream van, writes Sirin Kale. Ice Cream Tony has been an icon in parts of Eastbourne for 40 years, selling soft, sweet treats to a dwindling number of customers. Supermarkets have cut into his trade, selling cheap ice-cream, he says, but competition isn’t the only reason for his declining trade. Children don’t play outdoors as much as they used to, he says – you can’t hear the chimes of an approaching ice-cream van over the whirrs of iPads. From his vantage point in quiet cul-de-sacs, he sees social change up close: austerity which limits what parents can spend. People don’t carry cash any more.
Tony is also an expert on Britain’s changing palates. Recently, people have started asking for vegan ice-cream. He doesn’t have any, but he does have dog ice-cream – not because dogs are more deserving than vegans, but because he did a dog show last week. But Tony, whose father was in ice-cream man before him, has observed more worrying trends, too, such as the climate emergency. “We’re having different weather than we had 20 years ago,” he says darkly. “The weather’s changing … we get very hot spells and then very wet spells.” Tony knows he is at the heart of a dying trade, and a rapidly melting community.
Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal dropped only 18 games between them and needed less than five hours to book their places in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon yet again. The British No 1, Johanna Konta, recovered from a set down to beat the No 6 seed, Petra Kvitova, and set up a quarter-final against Barbora Strycova in the women’s singles, but it was the end of the road for Coco Gauff, the American 15-year-old who came of age at this year’s tournament. Australia’s Cricket World Cup squad have “poured their hearts out” in a barefoot team-building session before the semi-final against England, said Peter Handscomb, who may come in for Usman Khajawa for the game at Edgbaston. And Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has confirmed he wants to succeed Steve Hansen as All Blacks mentor after this year’s Rugby World Cup and is buoyant about his chances.
Donald Trump’s trade war with China and fears over rising interest rates triggered stock market losses worth $2tn (£1.6tn) for the world’s super-rich last year. According to the annual world wealth report from the consultancy firm Capgemini, which surveys the global elite, the number of “high net worth individuals” (HNWI are those with at least $1m, or £641,000, in “investable assets” ) dropped by about 100,000 to stand at 18 million. Asia was hardest hit, with with China accounting for more than a quarter of the fall in total HNWI wealth against a backdrop of plunging Chinese stock markets.
The pound is buying €1.116 and $1.251.
The diplomatic row over leaked cables continues on some front pages. The Guardian has: “Trump turns on May as row over memos sours US ties”, the Times says: “I won’t deal with British ambassador, says Trump” and the i reports: “What a mess you made – Trump lashes out at May”.
The Express leads with “Dementia care delays costing elderly £15bn”, as does the Daily Mail: “£15 billion tax on dementia”. The FT reports “Deutsche Bank shares fall 5% as global cull of 18,000 staff begins”, the Mirror has a story of meat products containing some ingredients not listed on labels: “Scandal of meat label lies”. The Telegraph once again features a story outlining its columnist’s sales pitch to become PM: “I will fix NHS pension cap chaos, says Johnson” and the Sun has a story about a Love Island contestant quitting: “Hart break”.
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