Supporters of Britain First take part in the March Against Terrorism on April 01, 2017 in London. Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

More than 5,000 of the 7,500 members of the openly anti-Islam extremist group Britain First have joined the U.K.'s Conservative Party in the wake of Boris Johnson's landslide election victory this month, The Guardian reports.

The big picture: Johnson has faced criticism for his past writings comparing veiled Muslim women to "letterboxes" and "bank robbers," and was pressured during a leadership debate in June to agree to an independent investigation into widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.

  • Johnson has apologized for the "hurt and offense" caused by Islamophobia within his party, but said the independent inquiry would be focused on "every manner of prejudice and discrimination" rather than anti-Muslim bigotry in particular.
  • A spokesperson for Britain First, whose leaders were convicted last year for hate crimes against Muslims, said its members felt motivated to join the Conservatives due to the party's apparent willingness to take a "firm stance" against radical Islam."

Go deeper: Britain's chief rabbi warns of anti-Semitism within Labour Party

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The hard seltzer wars are heating up

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Competition in the hard seltzer market is heating up in the closing weeks of summer, as big companies like Constellation Brands, AB InBev and Molson Coors have entered the market and Coca-Cola is poised to join the fray in 2021.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has increased alcohol sales overall and hard seltzers are exploding in popularity and look to have staying power, boasting record high sales in recent weeks.

Why you should be skeptical of Russia's coronavirus vaccine claims

Photo: Alexey Druzhini/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that his country has registered a coronavirus vaccine and said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated, AP reports.

Why it matters: Scientists around the world are skeptical about Russia's claims. There is no published scientific data to back up Putin's claims that Russia has a viable vaccine — or that it produces any sort of immunity without significant side effects.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.