United Kingdom

Thursday evening news briefing: Nicola Sturgeon 'blamed for air bridges delay' by Grant Shapps

The leagues below the Championship are historically healthy, but its clubs are in serious danger unless crowds return. Sam Dean heads to Portsmouth FC to see the reality for clubs, many of which have faced financial mismanagement as well as the disruption caused by Covid-19.

Read the full story

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Preparing for 'Super Saturday'

  1. Rules explained | What you can, can't, and shouldn't do from July 4
  2. Drink al fresco | The UK's best pubs with beer gardens opening on Saturday
  3. Hairdressers reopen | What getting a haircut will look like from this weekend - video

Business and money briefing

Venezuelan gold | The Government has "unequivocally recognised" opposition leader Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela, the High Court has ruled, in a battle over $1bn (£800m) of gold bullion held in the vaults of the Bank of England. Banco Central de Venezuela took legal action to release the gold held on its behalf, which it wants to sell to help tackle the country's coronavirus crisis. Yet the Bank of England said it is "caught in the middle" of rival claims to the gold. Read on for details.

Sport briefing

Black Lives Matter | Crystal Palace have become the second Premier League club to hit out at Black Lives Matter's "political agendas" amid a growing row over football's support of the movement. Read the club's statement on their use of banners at Selhurst Park.

Tonight's TV  

The Supervet: Puppy Special, Channel 4, 8pm | Hankies at the ready everyone, tonight's special episode of The Supervet is all about puppies. Read on for more.

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Mel Gibson's war atrocity | Just five years after Braveheart had lifted its (historically inaccurate) kilt in the face of true history, Mel Gibson was at it again with The Patriot. The Revolutionary War epic depicted British redcoats as cartoonish sadists. But the truth was more complicated. Read how the film whitewashes history.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.

SNP blamed for delaying list of no-quarantine holidays

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has pointed the finger of blame at Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for the delay in announcing the list of some 75 countries and holiday destinations to be exempted from the UK's quarantine restrictions. It is understood Ms Sturgeon is opposed to the planned "air bridges" with the 75 countries because of concerns over the risk of importing Covid-19 and the alleged failure of ministers to consult with Scotland. The SNP claimed Mr Shapps' suggestion they were responsible for the delay was "completely unfounded". Some of the destinations on the list, to be published today or tomorrow, have already been revealed. Meanwhile, the Government has been accused of misleading the public and the beleaguered travel industry over its faltering air bridge negotiations. Our travel liveblog has the latest on the fiasco. Telegraph readers seem to be exasperated with the situation.

The other major hold up the Government is facing is on schools. Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, said the return of all children back to schools is "critical for this generation" and "critical to our national recovery too", as he unveiled plans to reintroduce mandatory attendance next term. Outlining the Government's plans to have every school reopen fully in September, he confirmed that whole year groups in schools and colleges will be kept separate "as a minimum". Here is your guide to the sweeping changes to the curriculum, break times and classrooms pupils will face when they return in September. Clearly unimpressed is Angela Epstein, who thinks our schools' return has been disastrous and asks: what is the point of Gavin Williamson?

Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested by the FBI officers investigating the late disgraced financier's sex crimes. Ms Maxwell, 58, was arrested in New Hampshire this morning and is expected to make a virtual courthouse appearance later today. Federal prosecutors said in court papers she had "enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein's residence in different states" and that Maxwell would assist in their "grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse." Among the most sensational accusations by Epstein’s victims was a claim by Virginia Roberts Giuffre that Ms Maxwell arranged for her to have sex with Prince Andrew at her London townhouse. The Duke of York denies he has ever met Ms Giuffre. Click here for the latest on Ms Maxwell's court appearance today.

Police swoop in 'biggest ever blow' to crime kingpins

Hundreds of Britain's most dangerous drug dealers, gangsters and gun runners have been arrested after EncroChat, a private messaging platform used by criminals to communicate, was secretly penetrated by law enforcement agencies. In what is being heralded by the National Crime Agency as one of the biggest ever blows to serious organised crime, entire underworld networks have been dismantled and vital evidence gathered against previously untouchable kingpin figures. More than 740 suspects have been arrested, millions of pounds in illicit cash, tonnes of class A drugs and vast caches of deadly firearms have been seized. Read on to find out how two months of operations unfolded.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Brexit talks break up early | Michel Barnier accused British trade negotiators of a lack of respect after Brexit talks ended a day early today amid "serious divergences" between the UK and the EU. Mr Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, blamed British intransigence and a refusal to engage in negotiations for the lack of progress in this week's round of talks. Read on about the key issues dividing the two sides.

Around the world: Who will be Biden's running mate?

The next major event in the US 2020 presidential campaign cycle will be when Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, announces his running mate, expected around August 1. Given Mr Biden's age - he turns 78 in November - his choice could be more significant than ever before. If elected, Mr Biden will be the oldest ever US president to enter office and there has been speculation he may commit himself to a one-term presidency. Therefore, his Vice President would be his most natural successor to fight the next election. Read the runners and riders.

Thursday long-read

The future of lower-league professional football

Football news:

Aubameyang is close to extending his contract with Arsenal until 2023
Rodri: Hazard is one of the best players in the world
We hit the Manchester United check for Alexis Sanchez: one goal – 11 million euros, a minute of playing time-20 thousand
Pep Guardiola: if Manchester City want to win the Champions League, they need to improve their defensive performance
The Premier League clubs voted against 5 substitutions next season
City has fought back from UEFA and is ready to update: Pep has 300 million on transfers, Ferran Torres and ake have already been taken, and Coulibaly is on the way
I love Fulham. I'm sure it's going to hurt, but it's permanent