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Boris Johnson rejects Covid criticism, then marries again

Wednesday June 09 2021
Boris pic

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson in the garden of 10 Downing Street, London after their wedding on May 29, 2021. PHOTO | AFP

By Gerry Loughran

Boris Johnson is our prime minister, so we can expect to see him in the headlines often, as when he was pilloried recently for perceived policy errors on the Covid-19 pandemic.

A senior official he had fired, Mr Dominic Cummings, accused Mr Johnson of taking the pandemic lightly, changing his mind 10 times a day and ultimately being responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people.

“This crisis was very much lions led by donkeys, over and over again,” Mr Cummings said, adding that the prime minister, in his opinion, was “unfit for office”.

Mr Johnson refused to reply in detail but said the government had faced “an incredibly difficult series of decisions, none of which had been taken lightly”. In the House of Commons, he said, “I think what the people of this country want to do is to get on with the delicate business of trying to reopen our economy and restore people’s freedoms.”

He then moved on, in his insouciant way, to the next item on his agenda, which happened to be getting married for the third time.

In a secret ceremony which took the nation by surprise, Mr Johnson married his fiancée, Ms Carrie Symonds, at Westminster Catholic Cathedral. Thirty guests were invited to a small party afterwards in the gardens at the PM’s residence, 10 Downing Street, where the couple live.

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Mr Johnson was baptised Catholic and confirmed Anglican and Ms Symonds is Catholic. But Johnson has been divorced twice.

A spokesman for the PM explained that the Catholic Church allows divorcees to remarry if their previous marriages were outside the Catholic Church, as were Mr Johnson’s, and thereby considered to be invalid.

Thus Johnson became the first prime minister in 200 years to marry while in office.

The spokesman said the prime minister had already returned to work and the couple would celebrate properly with family and friends next summer. The honeymoon would also be delayed until then, he said.

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Sniffer dogs that can find drugs in luggage and detect corpses underground could be used to diagnose Covid-19 in people.

In a unique experiment, six specialist dogs tested more than 3,500 odour samples, some coronavirus-free, donated by the public and medical staff, and achieved an accuracy rate of 94.3 per cent. When it came to positive samples, they were even able to identify the specific type of coronavirus.

Professor James Logan of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said, “This gives us real hope and suggests dogs are able to detect different variants.”

The next step could be trying out dogs in situations such as airports, where people gather in large numbers.

Professor Steve Lindsay of Durham University said, “Dogs could be a great way of screening a large number of people quickly and prevent Covid from being reintroduced in the UK.”

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Extreme weather and rising temperatures could change the taste of tea and threaten Kenya’s export industry, according to a report by Christian Aid.

Kenya, the world’s biggest exporter of black tea, faces increasingly erratic rainfall, resulting in more frequent droughts and floods. These changes, the experts say, could lead to leaves of inferior quality.

Research suggests climate change will slash optimal conditions for tea production in Kenya by 26 per cent by 2050 and areas with only average growing conditions by 39 per cent.