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Daily Briefing

New data suggests that an estimated 82.5% of all UK adults have now received a first dose of a Covid vaccine, which has prevented 14,000 deaths and 44,500 hospitalisations according to estimates. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said, “the one thing you know, we know is that vaccines are making the real difference. The vaccines are our way out of this pandemic”. Mr Zahawi further praised the “Dunkirk spirit” shown by individuals who have received their jabs, and contributed to the UKs hugely successful vaccination programme.

The two renowned internet services Yahoo and AOL are being sold in the latest deal worth $5 billion, after the telecoms giant, Verizon has failed to restore their value. Verizon purchased both Yahoo and AOL for a combined amount of $9 billion. The web services were once the main providers for most internet users, but were overshadowed by the rapid advancement of Google and Facebook. Apollo Global Management has bought the company, with the futuristic hope it still resonates with users, and has potential even up against the saturated internet market.

In England, 143 local councils are up for election in what will be the largest election outside a general election. There is particular interest over Scotland’s elections, as it could have a substantial effect on the future of the Union. There are also 39 police and crime commissioners and 13 mayors to be elected.

Bill and Melinda Gates have declared their plans to divorce, after 27 years of marriage. They share 3 children together, and jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After meeting Melinda while working at Microsoft, Bill went on to become the world’s 4th wealthiest person, with an estimated worth of $124 billion. The couple said they are entering a new phase of their lives, after realising they could “no longer grow as a couple”.

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Daily Briefing

The EU has agreed to sanction Belarus by prohibiting Belarusian air travel over EU member states, and further economic sanctions are to be decided. The UK government has banned the Belarusian national airline to operate in the country. The country’s response so far has been to defend the action by arguing it was in compliance with strict aviation rules, and Russia has backed its ally over the situation.

Investigators have found that after a cable broke and an emergency brake was deficient, the cable car as a result crashed near Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, killing 14 people. The cable car had been sliding backwards on itself for hundreds of metres before it crashed. There is tragically one survivor, a 5-year-old boy. Where the area’s tourism has taken a hit from the pandemic, this devasting incident will scar the local community and future tourism.

The BBC Director General, Tim Davie, has indicated the broadcasting house may offer compensation to Matt Wiessler, a graphic designer who was asked to draw up the false documents for Martin Bashir to secure the interview with the Princess of Wales. Wiessler later raised concerns with senior BBC figures, and subsequently found himself being let go from the corporation. Wiessler described the situation, “they threw me under the train. I’m still lying on the tracks”.

The Office for National Statistics has said that as businesses started to reopen, tax receipts have improved from last year, and spending on the furlough scheme has fallen. Although, while the economy makes good progress in some areas, the level of spending during the pandemic meant the deficit was three times higher than it was in April 2019.