Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
1. Some 181 high-rise buildings have failed safety tests carried out after a fire that killed at least 80 people in London last month. Officials are conducting tests on some 600 high-rise buildings across England after fire ravaged the Grenfell tower block in west London on June 14.
2. Saudi Arabia and its allies said early Monday they had decided to extend by 48 hours the deadline for Qatar to accept their list of demands to lift a de facto blockade. With the deadline expiring at midnight Sunday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed to give Doha an extension to respond positively to their demands.
3. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has ordered an over-enthusiastic columnist to be suspended from his job after he equated him with God. King Salman has frequently been lauded by columnists in local media, in traditional deference to authority, since the 81-year-old assumed office in 2015.
4. German discount grocery chain Aldi is planning to spend more than €5 billion euros ($US5.71 billion) to revamp its stores around the world, which would be its biggest investment project ever. Aldi and its German discounter rival Lidl have become giants in European retail, upending Britain’s grocery retail market, and are challenging US retailers as well.
5. Britain could abandon a cap on pay for public-sector workers such as teachers and nurses if review bodies said higher rises were needed to recruit and retain workers, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said. Prime Minister Theresa May is coming under increasing pressure to end a below-inflation 1% cap on pay rises that has been in place since 2013 as part of a drive to reduce government spending.
6. Manufacturing activity in Asia’s tech producing economies expanded in June, helped by growing global demand for electronics products, but headwinds in external markets could mean a moderation in growth in the second half of the year. Private sector surveys of manufacturers in Asia showed the factory sectors of China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan picked up in June, driven largely by a recovery in exports.
7. Britain said it is to withdraw from a 50-year-old agreement allowing some foreign countries to fish close to the UK coastline, fulfilling a key Brexit pledge. The deal pre-dates Britain’s EU membership and would therefore still have applied after the UK completes its divorce with the bloc, expected in March 2019.
8. China’s President Xi Jinping said Hong Kong was freer than ever before but warned against “impermissible” challenges to Beijing’s authority as the city marked 20 years since it was handed back by Britain. Xi spoke in a televised address after swearing in new Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as pro and anti-Beijing protesters clashed close to the ceremony.
9. Embattled Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative party was set for a major defeat in the Tokyo assembly election. Former TV anchorwoman Yuriko Koike, who was elected the city’s governor in a landslide last year, was expected to seize a comfortable majority of the 127-seat Tokyo assembly, which the ruling Liberal Democratic Party previously controlled but is now bracing for a historic defeat.
10. With an eye on anti-globalization protests brewing in Hamburg before this week’s G20 summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel said leaders will have to focus on sustainable and inclusive economic growth rather than their own prosperity. The German chancellor said this year’s G20 summit will delve into issues championed by protesters such as distribution of wealth and consumption of resources – alongside related issues like climate change, free markets, consumer protection and upholding social standards.