Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines
‘Beyond imagination’ | Officials reaching remote villages destroyed by the Afghanistan earthquake have reported whole families being largely wiped out and survivors including children sitting in shock in piles of rubble. The scale of the devastation emerged slowly as rain, poor roads and lack of communication hampered relief efforts in the provinces of Khost and Paktika. Video shows villagers digging mass graves.
Stephen Port | Police watchdog to investigate Met’s handling of caseLord Frost | PM accused of making ‘factually incorrect statements’Intimate images | Sending nude photos is ‘new flirting’ for teenagersMartin Lewis | Campaigner turned down for peerage for second timeBlacked out | Incredible moment coach dives in to save swimmer’s life
The big story: British Airways workers vote to strike
British Airways’ check-in staff and ground crew at Heathrow have voted to go on strike with walkouts timed for the start of the summer holidays.
Holidaymakers now face a “gruelling summer of travel chaos,” said GMB, the union behind the strikes.
About 700 employees at the airport balloted for industrial action in results announced this afternoon.
The dispute centres around a ten per cent cut to wages imposed by BA on employees at Heathrow during the pandemic which the union wants reinstated.
Costs of essential travel, energy and food have already taken off — starting to cripple the wallets of millions.
Read how experts warn the worst is yet to come.
The news comes on the second day of three days of walkouts by rail workers with the RMT union.
The strikes have triggered a surge in breakdowns on Britain’s roads as commuters battle their way into work in unfit cars.
The RAC said it was expecting seven thousand breakdowns today, 10 per cent above normal.
Tom Harris warns that RMT boss Mick Lynch’s admirers don’t remember the 1970s.
The disruption comes as voters go to the polls in two by-elections.
Boris Johnson sounded a cautious tone about the Conservative candidates’ prospects of victory in the Wakefield, and Tiverton and Honiton votes, the results of which are expected between 4am and 6am and will be in tomorrow morning’s Front Page.
Pressed on whether he would quit as Prime Minister if he fails to win either seat, he replied: “Are you crazy?”
He spoke on Wednesday night just before boarding a plane to Rwanda where he will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Johnson to discuss Rwanda policy with Prince Charles
Mr Johnson is due to meet the Prince of Wales tomorrow in Kigali, the capital of the east African nation, which is hosting this year’s summit.
He plans to tell the future king that he should “keep an open mind” about the Rwanda asylum policy during a private conversation.
Sources close to the Prince insisted that it was “unlikely” the subject would be discussed. So why are there concerns about the deportations?
After spending five years in Kigali, Anjam Sundaram reveals what it is really like to live there and says the president’s facade hides a country where discussing politics could kill you.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall today echoed a speech given by the Queen 75 years ago as she appealed to the Commonwealth to use its “power” to end gender-based violence.
Addressing a violence against women event in Kigali, she said the Commonwealth gathering had “one purpose – to find solutions”.
Cambridges unveil their first official portrait together
No one would pretend the Commonwealth is perfect but artists hope they have struck just the right balance after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed for their first official joint portrait, incorporating nods to the Queen and Princess Diana in a vision intended to balance “their public and private lives”.
The painting, described by the artists as “relaxed and approachable” and “elegant and dignified”, is intended to celebrate the couple’s ties to Cambridgeshire and was commissioned at the time of their 10th wedding anniversary.
Alastair Sooke suggests that Prince William and Kate have never looked so conventional.
Comment and analysis
Christopher Hope | It’s time Tories learned to love John Major againBen Marlow | This time the crypto crash is realMichael Deacon | A digital-only world will leave a generation behindTom Stevenson | How to cash in on the great inflation squeezeShane Watson | The six new rules for Glastonbury midlifers
Around the world: Russia ‘destroys rocket launchers’
Russia’s defence ministry has said it used high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian army fuel tanks and military equipment near the southern city of Mykolaiv. In a video statement, Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that Russia’s air forces had destroyed “up to 50 multiple launch rocket systems located in combat vehicle hangars, including foreign-made ones” and 49 Ukrainian military fuel tanks in the Mykolaiv region yesterday. Elsewhere, the sound of distant outgoing artillery rumbles daily through the deserted streets of the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, not far from the fierce fighting around Severodonetsk. Yet read why many Ukrainians are refusing to leave despite living in constant fear of invasion. Meanwhile, Germany has triggered the second phase of its emergency gas plan as it accused Putin of launching an “economic attack” over energy supplies.
‘I never want to play it safe’
As she launches her new collection Victoria Beckham describes why age has given her more confidence than ever
Credit: Getty Images
Victoria Beckham is all about power dressing in midlife. The fashion designer talks to Lisa Armstrong about going braless and wearing a miniskirt at 48
Sport briefing: Stewart thinks Hamilton should retire
Sir Jackie Stewart has urged Lewis Hamilton to retire from Formula 1 to protect his legacy, adding it was “a pity” the seven-time world champion did not go out at the top and suggesting Hamilton wished to focus instead on fashion. Stewart, 83, has been critical of Hamilton in the past and his latest comments are likely to irritate the 37-year-old. In cricket, England’s bowlers have got off to a decent start against New Zealand in the third Test at Headingley. Here is how the first day has played out. Meanwhile, German transgender footballers have been granted new regulations allowing them to “independently” decide whether they should be granted the right to play for a women’s or men’s team.
Taking a bite | How your favourite brands hide the impact of inflationAncient capital | The uncrowded Italian city with culture, unbeatable food – and a beachLithium-ion batteries | Everything you need to know – which car makers forgot to tell you
Business briefing: ‘Buy-to-let profits are disappearing’
Landlords stuck on variable rate mortgages are seeing their profits vanish as lenders increase their bills as much as five times in six months. Rising interest rates mean buy-to-let investors with standard variable rate mortgages are already at “the tipping point” of having loss-making properties, as their costs soar. Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak borrowed another £14bn last month as debt interest payments hit £7.6bn, the highest for any May on record. The debt servicing cost is 50pc more than the £5.1bn forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), as runaway inflation drives up the cost of servicing the national debt.
Tonight starts now
Podcast | To his millions of fans, he was Avicii – music producer and DJ extraordinaire who created some of the most anthemic dance music of recent years. But behind the global superstar DJ was Tim Bergling, an anxious boy from Sweden who first saw a therapist at the age of 14 and was happiest in his room playing World of Warcraft with his mates. Måns Mosesson, author of ‘Tim: The Official Biography of Avicii’, joins Bryony Gordon on this week’s Mad World podcast to talk about the real Tim.
Three things for you
And finally… for this evening’s downtime
Glastonbury 2022 in photos | Thousands have headed to Somerset as Glastonbury Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary after three years off. See the best pictures as music fans – and their houseplants – return for the post-pandemic festival with the sun shining.