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Britain drying under yet another heatwave

Guillaume came all the way from the South of France to escape the heat, expecting chilly winds and a milder summer, but was gravely disappointed…reports Asian Lite News

Another heatwave has engulfed Britain. Temperatures are expected to reach 35 degrees Celsius by Friday and Saturday, prompting an amber weather warning (the second-most severe after red) and a hosepipe ban in some areas.

The current heat wave is milder than the one in July, when temperatures hovered around 40 degrees Celsius, but a prolonged English summer with extreme heat and dryness is unprecedented in recent memory.

“I’ve never seen a summer like this before,” Ryan, a Whales resident, said while feeding the pigeons in Hyde Park.

Parks and Greek have suffered the most as water reserves have run dry. The stretches of green have turned brown, dry, and parched, making it an ideal breeding ground for wildfires.

However, measures such as the government’s hosepipe ban, which was implemented to limit water usage, can be counterproductive at times because they can cause fires. The emergency services are on standby.

Guillaume came all the way from the South of France to escape the heat, expecting chilly winds and a milder summer, but was gravely disappointed.

“I chose London because it’s usually chilly and milder than where I am from. So I usually use this [trip] to escape the heat wave, but not this time,” Guillaume said as he searched for a lawn chair in the shade in one of London’s parks.

While the warnings remain lower than those issued during last month’s record temperatures, the UKHSA’s Dr Agostinho Sousa emphasised it was important vulnerable people, like the elderly who live alone or anyone with underlying health conditions, were “prepared for coping during the hot weather”.

“The most important advice is to ensure they stay hydrated, keep cool and take steps to prevent their homes from overheating,” he added.

Disabled people could be particularly affected by heat, and may suffer fatigue, difficulty regulating their body temperatures, or problems moving to cooler spots in the home, Fazilet Hadi, from Disability Rights UK, said.

Meanwhile, a dairy farmer in Shropshire has said he might have to send some of his cows to slaughter if there is no rain in August as a result of the reduced amount of grass available.

According to the Met Office, temperatures are not set to be as extreme as those in July which smashed records when the mercury climbed to above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas in the UK for the first time.

The dry conditions, combined with last month’s record-breaking heatwave, have depleted rivers, reservoirs and aquifers and dried up soils, hitting agriculture, water supplies and wildlife and raising the risk of wildfires.

Meanwhile, there was no immediate sign of rain in the latest forecast from the Met Office.

Temperatures are likely to rise into the low to mid-30s in the next few days in the area covered by the Met Office amber warning.

Outside the warning area, heatwave thresholds, which are met at different temperatures in different parts of the country, are still likely to be met for much of the UK, with temperatures widely into the high 20s and a chance of a few spots seeing temperatures into the low 30s.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will also see temperatures into the high 20s and could reach official heatwave criteria by Friday.

The Met Office’s fire severity index, an assessment of how severe a fire could become if one were to start, is very high for most of England and Wales, and will reach “exceptional” for a swathe of England by the weekend.

ALSO READ-India, UK complete 5th round of FTA talks

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India, UK complete 5th round of FTA talks

For this round of negotiations, technical experts from both sides came together for detailed draft treaty text discussions in 85 separate sessions covering 15 policy areas…reports Asian Lite News

India and the United Kingdom concluded the fifth round of talks for an India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last month, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Thursday.

The ministry said that negotiation officials undertook these technical talks in a hybrid fashion – with some of the teams meeting in New Delhi, India, and the majority of officials joining virtually.

“On 29 July 2022, the Republic of India and the United Kingdom concluded the fifth round of talks for an India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA),” the Commerce Ministry said in a press release.

For this round of negotiations, technical experts from both sides came together for detailed draft treaty text discussions in 85 separate sessions covering 15 policy areas, the release said.

Indian and UK officials will continue to work intensively throughout the summer towards our target to conclude the majority of talks on a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement by the end of October 2022.

India and UK launched Free Trade Agreement negotiations in January this year. The two countries are exploring the possibility of an interim agreement to provide quick gains for benefitting businesses on both sides.

Last month, Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talk between India and the United Kingdom is on track and the negotiations are likely to be completed by end of August.

Speaking to the media after signing two MoUs and a framework agreement with the UK, Subrahmanyam said that the India-UK FTA negotiations would be concluded by August 31 and after internal approvals on both sides, the agreement would be ready to be signed as per the convenience of leaders of the two countries.

On the impact of the change in government in the UK on the proposed FTA, Subrahmanyam said, “Irrespective of the party in power in the UK, the logic of FTA with India is irreversible.” (ANI)

ALSO READ: UAE, UK join forces to back major project in Senegal

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UAE, UK join forces to back major project in Senegal

Etihad Credit Insurance, in partnership with the UKEF, has provided guarantees for the loan obtained by the Senegal Ministry of Economy, Planning and Cooperation…reports Asian Lite News

Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE Federal export credit company, and UK Export Finance (UKEF) announced that they have jointly supported a major project in the Republic of Senegal to strengthen its national emergency response infrastructure.

This national emergency response project, called the Redco Project Senegal, will see the supply and building up of emergency services from fire fighting vehicles, airport firefighting and rescue vehicles, ambulances and medical vehicles, rescue boats, water trailers, cranes with cargo trucks and other safety equipment in Senegal.

The project, worth AED540 million, is funded by Standard Chartered Bank along with partial direct lending by the UKEF and is backed by the ECI and UKEF under a reinsurance arrangement with the ECI’s participation worth AED334 million.

Etihad Credit Insurance, in partnership with the UKEF, has provided guarantees for the loan obtained by the Senegal Ministry of Economy, Planning and Cooperation.

The emergency services equipment will be provided by NAFFCO, a UAE-based manufacturer and exporter of firefighting products and fire protection engineering.

This trade finance support is in line with Etihad Credit Insurance’s goals to boost the exports of Made in the UAE products and services as part of the “Operation 300bn” strategy, which aims to develop the UAE’s industrial sector and enhance its role in stimulating the national economy.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Deputy Chairman of ECI’s Board of Directors, said, “The long-standing bilateral relationship between the UAE and the United Kingdom (UK) is built on the shared vision of both countries to promote sustainable development and economic prosperity across the globe. The UAE has been keen on engaging in such remarkable projects that can transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

This new agreement between our export credit agencies is part of the UAE’s relentless commitment to advance key segments such as emergency services, healthcare, environment, and technology. This collaboration is based on an effective public-private partnership framework that will also bring about substantial investment opportunities for the UAE companies around sustainability, which is becoming the norm for the next generation developmental strategies.”

Meanwhile, Mike Freer, UK Minister for Exports, said, “The UK can provide a leading role when it comes to exporting fire safety equipment. This deal demonstrates how British ingenuity coupled with the UAE’s proactiveness can better protect communities abroad and shows how joint government initiatives can help businesses export their best-in-class equipment and services.”

The Federal Export Credit Company’s trade finance support is a response to the UAE’s Africa initiative and Senegal’s call for aid to enhance and strengthen its firefighting and emergency response capabilities.

Recently, the UAE sent an aircraft with emergency medical supplies to Senegal to mitigate the damage after the neonatal department at the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in the city of Tifwani, north of the capital Dakar, caught on fire, killing 11 new-borns.

The UAE’s response, both on humanitarian and trade finance fronts, reflects the long-standing relations between the UAE and Senegal, which date back to the mid-seventies, across several economic and development fields.

Sir Massimo Falcioni, CEO of Etihad Credit Insurance, said, “Our collaboration with the British export credit agency, UKEF, to support the emergency service sector in Senegal signifies the UAE’s strategic vision and leadership mission for sustainable development in the world. This kind of partnership opens up numerous opportunities for the UAE, the UK, and Senegal to explore joint projects that will help domestic entrepreneurs and exporters secure access to international markets while safely securing their receivables. It will further solidify UAE companies’ presence in the global arena and reinforce its position as one of the most conducive global hubs for trade and business.”

Louis Taylor, CEO of UK Export Finance, said, “Senegal is a unique market for UK exporters to tap into. I have seen how the UK and Senegal can work together to unlock projects in the country with our financing and open new trade routes for UK companies. We are grateful to the UAE federal export credit company for their support for this project that will pave the way for similar collaborations benefitting the exporters of both countries.”

ALSO READ: UAE calls for active engagement with African partners

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UK summons Chinese envoy over Taiwan drills

China responded to Pelosi’s visit, which it saw as a provocation by the US, with a series of missile launches and incursions into Taiwanese waters and air space by its military….reports Asian Lite News

The UK Foreign Office has summoned Chinas ambassador to Britain over Beijings “aggressive and wide-ranging escalation” against Taiwan in recent days.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she had ordered officials to call in ambassador Zheng Zeguang to explain his country’s actions after Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island last week, reports dpa news agency.

China responded to the visit, which it saw as a provocation by the US, with a series of missile launches and incursions into Taiwanese waters and air space by its military.

In a statement on Wednesday, Truss said : “The UK and partners have condemned in the strongest terms China’s escalation in the region around Taiwan, as seen through our recent G7 statement.

“I instructed officials to summon the Chinese ambassador to explain his country’s actions.

“We have seen increasingly aggressive behaviour and rhetoric from Beijing in recent months, which threaten peace and stability in the region.

“The UK urges China to resolve any differences by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force or coercion.”

Taiwan has been self-governing since nationalist forces fled there in 1949 after the communists took control of China, and is considered to be a rebel province by Beijing.

China’s military exercises, which began on August 4, have caused extensive disruption to flights and shipping in one of the busiest regions for world trade.

A statement issued by Beijing’s Taiwan affairs office said China would continue to work “with the greatest sincerity” to achieve peaceful reunification.

It went on: “But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities.

“We will always be ready to respond with the use of force or other necessary means to interference by external forces or radical action by separatist elements.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure the prospects of China’s peaceful reunification and advance this process.”

ALSO READ: Moscow must return Ukraine nuke plant, says G7

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Europe UK News

UK submits argument in Scottish independence poll case

It is understood that the UK government has asked for the court’s permission to publish the submission…reports Asian Lite News

The government has submitted its argument in a case that could allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for another independence referendum.

Scottish Advocate Dorothy Bain referred a prospective referendum bill to the Supreme Court last month to ascertain if it was within the powers of the Scottish Parliament, reports dpa news agency.

Oral arguments are due to be heard in the case in October, but the Advocate General for Scotland Lord Stewart submitted the case against the bill being within the legislative competence of Parliament at Holyrood on Tuesday.

It is understood that the UK government has asked for the court’s permission to publish the submission.

A spokeswoman for the UK government said: “People across Scotland want both their governments to be working together on the issues that matter to them and their families, not talking about another independence referendum.

“We have today submitted our written case to the Supreme Court, in accordance with its timetable.

“On the question of legislative competence, the UK government’s clear view remains that a bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

In its submission to the court, submitted last month, the Scottish government leaned heavily on any future referendum not being “self-executing”, meaning it would be purely advisory and only meant as a way to ascertain the views of the Scottish people.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has also made an attempt to intervene in the case, arguing that, as a public body, it would be “fair, just and reasonable” for it to make arguments to the court.

ALSO READ-COP26 sources 80% of food from Scotland for sustainable menus

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Britain braces for blackouts

Under the government’s latest “reasonable worst-case scenario,” Britain could face an electricity capacity shortfall totaling about a sixth of peak demand, even after emergency coal plants have been fired up, according to people familiar with the government’s planning…reports Asian Lite News

Britain is planning for several days over the winter when cold weather may combine with gas shortages, leading to organized blackouts for industry and even households.

Under the government’s latest “reasonable worst-case scenario,” Britain could face an electricity capacity shortfall totaling about a sixth of peak demand, even after emergency coal plants have been fired up, according to people familiar with the government’s planning. Under that outlook, below-average temperatures and reduced electricity imports from Norway and France could expose four days in January when the UK may need to trigger emergency measures to conserve gas, they said.

The scenario is “not something we expect to happen,” the government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said in a statement. “Households, businesses and industry can be confident they will get the electricity and gas they need.”

While the UK doesn’t envisage such shortfalls under its base case, the analysis lays bare the difficult winter potentially in store for Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak when they succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister next month. If they materialize, the power cuts would come even as Britons face up to average annual energy bills possibly rising above £4,200 ($5,086) in January from just under £2,000 currently, stoking already soaring inflation.

If the winter is particularly cold, Britain may have to rely increasingly on pipeline shipments of gas from mainland Europe — where supplies are already thin as Moscow curbs flows. That presents a dilemma for the UK, which has very little domestic storage capacity. The nation has been shipping record amounts of gas to the continent and will want the favor returned when temperatures plunge.

The pound hit its weakest in two weeks against the euro following the report. It erased earlier gains against the US dollar to trade around $1.2080.

BEIS in its statement said that the UK isn’t dependent on Russian energy imports, has its own North Sea gas reserves and “steady imports from reliable partners.” It also pointed to the UK hosting the second largest LNG port infrastructure in Europe and “a gas supply underpinned by robust legal contracts.”

The UK’s main fall-back option was to restore Britain’s biggest natural gas storage site, Rough. Owner Centrica Plc says its initial return to service this winter would equate to 10 LNG cargoes, not really enough to make a significant difference. The nation will also face stiff international competition for cargoes of liquefied natural gas, reported Bloomberg.

The first stage of the UK’s emergency plan involves the network operator directing flows of gas on the system, temporarily overriding commercial agreements, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The second stage involves halting supplies to gas-fired power stations, triggering planned power cuts for industry and domestic users.

Life could get more difficult for Britain if supply of electricity is curtailed along huge cables connecting to France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands. Norway said on Monday it’s looking at ways to limit power exports in winter to prevent domestic shortages.

The UK has higher power prices than Norway and relies on imports, so any limitations would raise costs further and may force National Grid to utilize its strategic reserve of coal, Aurora Energy Research said.

There is also a looming threat from the unavailability of Electricite de France SA’s nuclear fleet, National Grid said. Usually a power exporter, less than half of France’s reactors are running now with maintenance and repairs taking longer than expected.

National Grid has warned of sky-rocketing prices this winter putting even more strain on consumer bills. There’s mounting pressure on the government to do more beyond the £400 discount on household tariffs already announced earlier this year by Sunak when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Johnson’s spokesman said this week that any further help for ordinary Britons would be for his successor to decide. The prime minister on Tuesday told guests at a Downing Street reception that he was “absolutely certain” whoever succeeds him will want to announce further assistance for householders, and that Britain has the “fiscal firepower” to do so, according to a readout from his office.

Truss, the front-runner in the leadership contest, has promised immediate tax cuts and the removal of the green levy from energy bills, saving households £153 a year. Sunak has said he’d build on the existing government package once the level of a new price cap on energy bills is known.

At a leadership hustings in Darlington on Tuesday evening, Sunak suggested that if he becomes prime minister he would focus additional support on the poorest households. Truss refused to be drawn out on whether she would offer new handouts.

That’s due to be announced by the regulator, Of gem, at the end of August, and effect in October. Thereafter, the regulator will adjust the cap quarterly rather than half-yearly, meaning bills are likely to rise again in January.

ALSO READ-As heat wave sweeps US, people told to cut power use

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UK News

Fertility rate rises for 1st time since 2012 in UK

The ONS figures are based on birth registrations, and delays mean some births in 2021 may not be covered…reports Asian Lite News

The fertility rate in England and Wales has increased for the first time since 2012, official figures have confirmed.

There were 624,828 live births registered in England and Wales in 2021, up 1.8 per cent from 2020, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday.

It is the first annual increase in live births since 2015, although this remains below the number of births registered in 2019.

And the latest year “remains in line” with the long-term trend of falling live births since before the Covid-19 pandemic, the ONS said.

The total fertility rate increased to 1.61 children per woman in 2021 from 1.58 in 2020 –the first time it has risen since 2012.

This is the average number of live children that a woman would bear if they experienced the age-specific fertility rates of 2021 throughout their childbearing years. The 2021 total fertility rate still remained below the rate observed in 2019.

The ONS figures are based on birth registrations, and delays mean some births in 2021 may not be covered.

It follows provisional data, based on NHS births notifications data, published by the ONS in March.

Within the overall increase in fertility, rates fell among younger groups and rose in older women.

The largest decrease was among women and girls under 20 years old (16%), while women aged 35 to 39 saw fertility rates increase by 5 per cent.

Fertility rates increased across all regions of England in 2021, except for London and the West Midlands.

The figures also show there were 2,597 stillbirths in 2021, an increase of 226 from 2020.

Of the total number of live births in 2021, 445,055 were to UK-born women, 179,726 were to non-UK-born women, and in 47 births the country of the mother was not stated.

The percentage of live births to non-UK-born women decreased to 28.8 per cent in 2021 from 29.3 per cent in 2020.

This was similar to the percentage in 2019 and the result of a higher number of UK-born women giving birth.

Romania became the most common country of birth for non-UK-born mothers in 2021, while Pakistan remained the most common country of birth for non-UK-born fathers.

ALSO READ-India’s total fertility rate drops from 2.2 to 2.0, reveals NFHS-5 report

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Dubai Europe UK News

UK & Ireland team celebrate victory at 2022 Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup

Winning trainer William Haggas set the tone for the afternoon. “I like this event because it is global,” he said. “That’s why it is so successful.”…reports Asian Lite News

The international flavour of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup was more evident than ever at the 2022 renewal of the world’s premier international jockeys’ competition at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday, 6 August, despite a home win for the Great Britain & Ireland team who finished with 132 points.

The Ladies, captained by the competition’s all-time most successful rider Hayley Turner, put down an early marker when Joanna Mason took the opener aboard the William Haggas-trained Amanzoe with a ride that earned her the Dubai Duty Free Ride of the Day award and initiated a treble for the Newmarket trainer.  However, last year’s winners could finish only second in the overall competition with 81 points ahead of Rest of the World with 72 points and Europe in fourth place with 51 points.

Winning trainer William Haggas set the tone for the afternoon. “I like this event because it is global,” he said. “That’s why it is so successful.”

Haggas is challenging for the British Champion Trainers’ title this year. “My late father-in-law Lester Piggott was one of the breeders of Amanzoe and we’ll have to look for black type now that she has won this competitive Stakes.”

Haggas’s observation about the meeting’s global reputation was underlined in the next race, the seven furlongs Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Stakes. Neil Callan, recently returned from ten successful years in Hong Kong, and who had ridden a Newmarket treble the night before, drove home Orbaan who had made his way down to Ascot from the northern stable of David O’Meara.

“I’ve ridden against such as Christophe Lemaire and Kerrin McEvoy (of the Rest of the World Team)  and Frankie Dettori (Europe team captain) around the world,” said Callan. “It’s great to renew old friendships, though out on the track we’re as competitive for our teams as we are as individuals.”

The first two races on the eight-race card were worth £50,000 which stepped up to £75,000 for the remaining six bringing total prize money for the Dubai Duty Free-sponsored event to £550,000. The third event, the Dubai Duty Free Dash over the minimum trip of five furlongs, was won by Manaccan, the only three-year-old in the race and a horse with a bright future.

Manaccan had the inestimable services of Hayley Turner.  Hayley’s father was there to greet her returning to the winner’s circle with which she is so familiar. When Hayley won the Holyrood House sprint at Royal Ascot she had Manaccan back in fifth. “Adam Kirby rode him then and he advised me on the best tactics to win today,” said a grateful Turner.

Grateful too was Jamie Spencer for his first ride on moody The Maxwecan in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Stayers run over two miles. Though hardly sighted this year, The Maxwecan was a winner over Ascot’s course and distance three years ago.

There was a bunch finish for the minor placings and even with the introduction of different coloured caps for the runners at the meeting a couple of the runners could not be separated. That complicated the scoring but left the Great Britain & Ireland team with a healthy lead.

After the fourth race, halfway through the card, the scoreboard was beginning to take shape with Great Britain and Ireland stretching into an 18-point lead over the Rest of the World who in turn led the Ladies with Europe trailing.

That lead was extended by the victory of Pride Of Priory, a second on the day for trainer William Haggas and first for jockey Kieren Shoemark in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge over the classic distance of a mile and a half. It extended the Great Britain and Ireland team’s lead to a 31-point gap over the Rest of the World.

“We love to support this event,” said Haggas. “We had the German jockey Rene Piechulek riding for us in an earlier race and though he didn’t win, he came in and gave us a proper run down on the horse. If we have runners in Germany I will be on the phone to him.”

The Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Mile featured the highest rated horses of the day and was won by Canadian star Emma-Jayne Wilson on Jungle Cove for Irish trainer Jessica Harrington who also owns the five-year-old and who flew over for the event, giving the Ladies some hope of challenging Great Britain & Ireland.

Mrs Harrington had a similar sort of runner, Supagirl in the seventh race, the mile and a half Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Classic – but this was William Haggas’s day – and Great Britain & Ireland’s too.  In a tight finish Haggas’s Hamaki outlasted Supagirl to make it a treble for the trainer and a double for Jamie Spencer.

Adaay In Asia trained by Harry Dunlop for the Great Britain & Ireland team proved a decisive winner of the day’s finale, the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Sprint, and secured the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle awarded to the day’s leading points scorer, for Neil Callan.

“I was ten years in Hong Kong where the racing is intense all the time,” said Callan. “It’s great to be back home to this lovely atmosphere and doing what I love – riding winners!”

Callan was joined on the podium for the closing ceremony by the rest of the Great Britain & Ireland team, Jamie Spencer, Kieran Shoemark and Daniel Tudhope to receive the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup trophy from Colm McLoughlin, Dubai Duty Free’s Executive Vice Chairman & CEO, Salah Tahlak, Joint Chief Operating Officer, Sinead El Sibai, Senior Vice President – Marketing and Bernard Aquino, Supervisor – PR & Media.

Mr McLoughlin said, “This year’s renewal of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup has again delivered highly competitive racing and a terrific atmosphere.

“We congratulate all the winners and thank all the participants who continue to support this truly global occasion.”

ALSO READ-Dubai tourist flow close to pre-pandemic levels

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UK News

Health agency issues new heat alert warning  

Green areas throughout the nation have develop into tinder-dry whereas Odiham, a village in Hampshire, had no rain final month, in keeping with the Met Office…reports Asian Lite News

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a second warning of the summer as England has been positioned on a degree 3 heat health alert.

The alert comes as south-east England goes 144 days with little to no rain, the longest in half a century, in keeping with Met Office statistics. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-30s C for the period of the warning, from noon Tuesday to 6pm on Saturday 13 August.

While temperatures usually are not predicted to achieve these of the extent 4 alert issued final month, Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of utmost occasions and health safety on the UKHSA, warned: “Temperatures will feel very warm again this week, particularly in southern and central parts of the country.

“We want everyone to enjoy the warm weather safely when it arrives but remember that heat can have a fast impact on health. It’s important to ensure that people who are more vulnerable – elderly people who live alone and people with underlying health conditions – are prepared for coping during the hot weather.”

As England experiences its driest eight months from November to June since 1976, the warning comes with suggestions to keep away from barbecues attributable to dry circumstances and factors to a heightened danger of wildfires like these seen in last month’s heatwave.

Green areas throughout the nation have develop into tinder-dry whereas Odiham, a village in Hampshire, had no rain final month, in keeping with the Met Office. The Met Office has additionally recognized 10 places which have skilled lower than 250mm of rain since November 2021, and George Eustice, the surroundings secretary, has called for hosepipe bans to be introduced with some probably lasting till October within the worst-affected areas.

The 10 areas are Hartpury College, Gloucestershire; Bognor Regis, West Sussex; Wisley, Surrey; Wallingford, Oxfordshire; Botanic Garden, Cambridge; Shoeburyness, Essex; Manston, Kent; Writtle, Essex; Oxford; and Kew Gardens, London.

Currently, most of England is underneath a protracted dry climate standing and officers are anticipated to announce an official drought after a gathering happening between water corporations, authorities ministers and farmers this week.

The Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, Tony Wardle, mentioned: “Heatwave criteria look likely to be met for large areas of the UK later this week, with the hottest areas expected in central and southern England and Wales on Friday and Saturday.

“Coupled with the high daytime temperatures will be continued warm nights, with the mercury expected to drop to only around low 20s Celsius for some areas in the south.”

ALSO READ-National public health panel gets UAE cabinet nod

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Johnson allies accuse MPs of ‘witch hunt’

The probe is being led by a cross-party committee with a Conservative majority that chose veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman to lead it…reports Asian Lite News

Conservative allies of outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson have accused a committee of MPs investigating whether he misled Parliament of conducting a “vengeful and vindictive” “witch hunt”.

Although he is due to leave Downing Street in less than a month, the Commons Privileges Committee is going ahead with its inquiry into whether the Prime Minister committed a contempt of Parliament by misleading MPs with his Partygate denials.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, one of Johnson’s staunchest supporters, on Sunday tweeted: “If this witch hunt continues, it will be the most egregious abuse of power witnessed in Westminster.

“It will cast serious doubt not only on the reputation of individual MPs sitting on the committee, but on the processes of Parliament and democracy itself.”

Lord Goldsmith, who was given a life peerage and a ministerial job by Johnson in the wake of voters dumping him as the MP for Richmond Park in 2019, tweeted: “The Partygate probe is clearly rigged. It is a jury comprised of highly partisan, vengeful & vindictive MPs, nearly all of whom are already on the record viciously attacking the person they are judging. It is an obscene abuse of power.”

In response to Dorries’s comment, Labour MP Chris Bryant said: “Let’s talk about abuse of power such as illegally suspending parliament or doling out peerages to donors or tearing up the rules to protect Owen Paterson.

“The real abuse of power would be suspending an inquiry to protect your mate.”

Bryant refused himself from chairing the inquiry after publicly criticising Johnson.

The probe is being led by a cross-party committee with a Conservative majority that chose veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman to lead it.

Dorries and Lord Goldsmith shared a Mail on Sunday article that claimed the committee’s original investigation was to establish whether Johnson had intended to mislead MPs, but that it was broadened to find out whether he did so intentionally or unintentionally, after he said he had inadvertently done so.

However, a spokesman for the Privileges Committee said: “There has been no change to the rules or to terms of reference. The initial report published by the committee is about process.

“The background paper on contempt was prepared by a senior clerk of the House of Commons. All clerks are strictly politically impartial.

“The report also publishes the advice from distinguished former Court of Appeal judge Sir Ernest Ryder. The committee has published this material as part of its commitment to transparency.”

They added that the inquiry will set out to answer whether the House was misled; if so, whether that was a contempt; and if so, how serious that contempt was.

The issue of whether MPs were deliberately misled could arise under the latter two steps of the investigation.

The Covid law-breaking parties in Downing Street were among the scandals that forced Johnson’s resignation as the Conservative Party leader, and his successor will become the next Prime Minister in September.

But the committee’s investigation threatens to further tarnish his legacy and could impact his future as the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

If he is found to have lied to Parliament, Johnson could face a suspension from the Commons for 10 or more sitting days and a recall petition, which, if signed by 10 per cent of his constituents, would trigger a by-election.

The MPs on the committee intend to call Johnson to give oral evidence in public in the autumn, under oath.

The Prime Minister has also been ordered to hand over a cache of documents to them.

ALSO READ-Truss ready to speed up tax cut plan