President arrives on four-day visit … why England can be proud after their exit in Russia … and Obama gets the Sherlock Holmes treatment
Top story: President heads for unfriendly encounter
Hello from Warren Murray on a Thursday morning – and commiserations to fellow England football fans who are starting the day with the wrong kind of hangover.
The World Cup wash-up follows but let’s begin with Donald Trump’s imminent arrival in the UK. Air Force One is scheduled to touch down at lunchtime. A black-tie business dinner, talks with Theresa May at Chequers and tea with the Queen are on the official agenda for the four-day visit. Trump will naturally also be bunking off for a while at one of his golf courses in Scotland.
The president has a gaggle of British cheerleaders like Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins, but protests are aiming to shadow him wherever he goes. Big crowds are expected in London on Friday, when the giant “Trump baby” balloon caricaturing the president as a nappy-wearing, phone-clutching infant, will be hoisted above Westminster. On Wednesday activists from an anti-racism group staged a demonstration at his Turnberry course in South Ayrshire. Here is some of what’s happening, and where.
Martha Lane Fox, the founder of lastminute.com, has said she is boycotting a dinner with the president: “I understand why the government have to entertain Trump but I certainly don’t want to.” Owen Jones says people should protest not against Trump the vulgar, unpresidential, theatrical narcissist, but Trump the “chief representative of an extremely dangerous global movement” of far-right racism, Islamophobia, anti-migrant sentiment, oppression of LGBT people and curtailment of women’s reproductive rights.
England exits World cup – So there we have it. A 2-1 extra-time defeat to Croatia and the dream is dashed for another four years. But let’s not have any anguish this time. Harry Kane admitted the defeat “will hurt for a while” but immediate reaction to the result has been largely positive. Gareth Southgate praised his young side for surpassing expectations and can take credit for relighting the nation’s fire. So chin up, England – here are more reasons to be cheerful.
And while they failed to kill off Croatia in an enterprising start to the game in Moscow, the future appears to be bright and they will be stronger for the experience in Russia. Meanwhile, Croatia captain Luka Modrić has admitted his teammates used criticisms and a lack of respect from English pundits to motivate them to a victory which sparked jubilant scenes in Zagreb. Croatia will now play France in Sunday’s final, while England meet Belgium for a second time this tournament in Saturday’s third-place playoff.
War of the white papers – Brexiters have unveiled their latest weapon to foil Theresa May’s Chequers plan: an alternative document drawn up by David Davis before he resigned from the cabinet. May is due today to release her white paper based on a “common rulebook” and “facilitated customs arrangement” with the EU. Tory Eurosceptics plan to table a “humble address” in parliament demanding that Davis’s draft, described as a Canada-style trade deal, be made public. One source suggested the earlier draft was “locked in a safe” in the Department for Exiting the EU and the former Brexit secretary had not kept a copy before quitting. A Downing Street spokeswoman insisted: “There’s one version and it’s being published tomorrow [Thursday].”
Northern Ireland unrest – Cars and a bus have been torched after police moved to clear two loyalist bonfire sites in east Belfast for safety reasons. Hundreds of bonfires were set to be lit at midnight for the anniversary of King William’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne. Last night, masked men blocked roads with burning cars and tyres after a day of tension in which police and contractors backed by a court order moved to limit the size of bonfires at Bloomfield Walkway and Cluan Place. Police assistant chief constable Alan Todd said the service was responding last night to a threat from the East Belfast UVF “to orchestrate and participate in serious disorder in east Belfast”.
New antisemitism row – The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has threatened dispute proceedings against the broader party unless it accepts an international antisemitism definition in full. The Jewish activists claim a statement adopted by the party has been falsely presented as having the endorsement of JLM. Labour’s equalities committee adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition but failed to include some formal examples of antisemitism, such as claiming the existence of a state of Israel is racist, and comparing Israeli actions to the Nazis. Jennie Formby, the Labour general secretary, has argued Labour should not adopt wording that could exempt the Israeli state or Israeli policy from legitimate criticism. Labour’s full national executive is to meet on Tuesday.
Aid scandal fallout – The head of Save the Children, Kevin Watkins, has been forced to defend his position as chief executive of the charity amid accusations that he is part of a cosy boys’ club. The Charity Commission is investigating Save the Children’s mishandling of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour allegations against its former chief executive, Justin Forsyth, and former policy director, Brendan Cox. Speaking about the charity’s broader response to sexual exploitation and abuse of children in humanitarian settings, Watkins admitted to MPs that the charity had failed to dedicate adequate resources to safeguarding. Child aid expert Corinna Csáky, who has investigated sexual abuse in humanitarian settings, said there had been two decades of reports on the problem but a failure to act: “People feel they have no one to turn to.”
Claws are out – That and similar puns abound after the man with the world’s longest fingernails finally cut them off. Shridhar Chillal, 82, from Pune, India, had to have them removed with a power tool. When last measured they had a combined length of just over nine metres – about the same length as a London bus. They have been put on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Times Square, New York.
Lunchtime read: Obama as gumshoe
This is fun: the 44th president taking time out from kayaking with Justin Trudeau to dig into the death of Joe Biden’s favourite train conductor.
With the former vice-president playing the Watson to his Sherlock, Obama infiltrates a biker gang and searches crime scenes as they also dig into the sinister forces driving an opioid epidemic in the US. “It’s a tiny bit ridiculous,” admits publisher Jason Rekulak, “but is it any more ridiculous than the real-life political events of the past year? Hope Never Dies is by Andrew Shaffer, and published by Quirk Books.
Roger Federer’s spell over Wimbledon broke when he finally lost a set for the first time since 8 July 2016 and then went on to lose one of the great All England Club dogfights to Kevin Anderson. No one saw it coming. Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic broke Kei Nishikori’s resistance to book a date in the semis with Rafael Nadal, who showed his warrior spirit to beat Juan Martín Del Potro.
Tensions at the Tour de France around Chris Froome and his Sky teammates showed little sign of abating as the defending champion was booed once again at the start village for stage five. Alex Hales, who has been the driving force behind two world‑record totals at Trent Bridge but looks set to be dropped for England’s one-day series opener against India today. And Stephen Curry has brushed off suggestions that the Golden State Warriors’ dominance has negatively affected the NBA.
Asian stock markets have risen after Wall Street fell yesterday. Oil prices recovered some of the previous day’s steep losses. China has warned of “firm and forceful measures” if Donald Trump administration goes ahead $200bn more in tariffs. The pound has been trading at $1.320 and €1.130 overnight.
A million front pages could not mop up the tears of English football today. But we present them regardless – today in the form of a special round-up where you can see them for yourself, as well our usual summary which follows.
Most papers give over more or less their whole fronts, of course, to the England players coming to terms with their defeat. The Times produces a wraparound focusing solely on the match. “Pride of lions” says a small, boxed, white-on-black headline that lets a picture of Gareth Southgate consoling Harry Kane do most of the talking. The Telegraph has exactly the same headline. In the Guardian it’s “End of the dream – England out of the World Cup” with a full-page pic of a Southgate-Walker embrace.
“Heroes – we’re proud of you all …” says the Mirror, and the Express strikes a similar tone: “We lived the dream … thank you England”. “Yes, it all ended in tears …” starts the Mail headline, “but they gave us pride and brought the whole nation together” – an allusion, no doubt, to Brexit’s divisiveness. The Metro calls it a “Kick in the Balkans” which doesn’t really work when you think about it. Finally the FT tops them all with a real tearjerker – “May ditches hope of keeping City in tight tie-up with EU after Brexit” – and I am out of breath after that so goodbye.