Boris Johnson has warned that the easing of Covid restrictions must be gradual
Boris Johnson has warned that the easing of Covid restrictions must be gradual
‘I’m just standing here today with soup for my family,’ the protester says, echoing an odd comment from Donald Trump last summer
He is said to have remarked to the Queen when discussing his desire for a frill-free funeral: "Just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor." During Saturday’s ceremony, the Duke of Edinburgh will get his wish. The custom-made Land Rover that will carry the Duke’s body to its final resting place in St George’s Chapel has been unveiled for the first time. For the past eighteen years, it can now be revealed, the Duke had been quietly modifying the Land Rover Defender TD5 130, requesting a repaint in military green and designing the open top rear and special "stops" to secure his coffin in place. He made the final adjustments in 2019, the year he turned 98. The Land Rover's original role would also have been to transport the Duke 22 miles from Wellington Arch in central London to Windsor, but the pandemic curtailed the long-held plans for military parades in honour of Prince Philip through the streets of both the capital and the Berkshire town. The Duke first began the long-lasting venture to create his own bespoke hearse in collaboration with Land Rover in 2003, the year he turned 82.
Downing Street says UK’s case data ‘speaks for itself’ as infections continue to fall
The former One Direction star is known for his androgynous style.
Experts have called for the government to take action after it emerged that a mutant COVID strain first found in India has already been detected in the UK.
Trump supporters called Ivanka a ‘disappointment’ for getting the jab
Sense, thankfully, seems to have prevailed and the royal family has decided collectively to ‘level down’ to lounge suits
Michel Barnier has warned that France could follow the UK out of the EU, as polls show growing support for the Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen. He said there was “social unrest and anger” over immigration and Europe’s failure to defend its borders and for the “red tape and complexity” of the EU. “We could draw some lessons from Brexit for ourselves. It's now too late for the UK but not for us," the former EU chief negotiator said. “We can find, not just in the UK, but here in France, in the northern regions […] citizens who want to leave the EU,” Mr Barnier, who has returned to domestic politics, said. He added, “It is our responsibility to understand why the British left [...] it's important for us to listen to the anger that was expressed in the UK, and to implement the kind of changes that are necessary to better understand and reassure the European citizens that remain.” Latest IFOP polling shows that Ms Le Pen, who leads the National Rally party, would beat the pro-EU Emmanuel Macron by two percentage points in the first round of next year’s presidential elections. Mr Macron is predicted to win in the second round by 54 percent to 46 percent but that is narrower than the 66.1 percent to 34.6 percent defeat she suffered four years ago. Ms Le Pen called for Frexit in that election but has since stopped campaigning for France to leave the bloc. Instead she wants to create a “Europe of nations”. Mr Barnier hopes to rebuild support for the centre-Right Républicains party ahead of the elections. He was speaking at an event on Brexit in Northern France, where fishermen are complaining they have not yet got fishing licences from the UK since Brexit. Clément Beaune, France’s Europe Minister, said the EU was accused of “being weak and slow”. He said that the bloc should take heart from its robust approach to the Brexit negotiations. “Back in 2016 people thought that this was the beginning of the end for Europe, but we have been able to show that we can be agile, that we can react, that we can be consistent in defending our interests in a firm way to defend the greatest European assets – the Single Market and our political unity.” He added: “These are lessons that we must all keep in mind as Europe is facing more difficulties.” The European Commission warned Britain that any further unilateral action over the Northern Ireland Protocol was unacceptable at a meeting on Thursday night. Maros Sefcovic, the commission vice-president, told Lord Frost that “solutions can only be found through joint actions and through joint bodies”. Britain insists that its unilateral actions in extending the grace periods on food products and parcels is lawful and made in good faith. The meeting over the implementation of new post-Brexit customs arrangements in Northern Ireland was said to be “constructive” by both sides.
Monty Python star previously condemned ‘woke jokes’
Charities and health organisations have warned the COVID-19 pandemic is having a "catastrophic" impact on NHS services - as the number of people in England waiting to start hospital treatment hits a new record high. A total of 4.7 million were waiting to begin treatment at the end of February 2021 - the largest figure since records began in August 2007, according to NHS England data. The number of people admitted for routine hospital treatment was down by 47% in February compared with a year earlier - with 152,642 admitted in February 2021 and 285,918 in February 2020, which had an extra day as it was a leap year.
When Prince Andrew suddenly re-appeared in public last weekend, giving an interview outside the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor, the public could understand his grief at losing a father. Yet his appearance also raised an unfortunate question mark. It was 512 days after having last spoken publicly, and it seemed that on Sunday the Duke of York had returned to the frontline of the monarchy – and was speaking on its behalf. Within a day an unceremonious controversy erupted. Prince Andrew had reportedly demanded to wear the uniform of an Admiral at his father’s funeral on Saturday and had gone so far as instructing his tailor to style it with the distinctive three rows of lace and four stars, crossed baton and sword of that rank. The prince was, like his father, tested in war – no doubt a unique bond and a source of pride for the Duke of Edinburgh. As the only one of the generation of royals younger than his father to serve in battle, Prince Andrew certainly deserved to wear a uniform, as Prince Philip did his as honorary Admiral of the Fleet, the navy’s highest rank. But his current rank is Vice-Admiral, not Admiral.
The European Commission warned Britain that any further unilateral action over the Northern Ireland Protocol was unacceptable at a meeting last night. Maros Sefcovic, the commission vice-president, told David Frost that “solutions can only be found through joint actions and through joint bodies”. Rather than the unilateral extension of grace periods on some customs checks in the Protocol, which Brussels says is a violation of international law, “mutually agreed paths towards compliance are key”, the commission said. The Protocol prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit by introducing a customs border in the Irish Sea. It means that Northern Ireland must continue following some EU rules in order to prevent extra checks. “The Vice-President stated clearly that the implementation of the Protocol is a joint endeavour, which leaves no space for unilateral action,” a commission statement said. “Only joint solutions, agreed in the joint bodies established by the Withdrawal Agreement, can provide the stability and predictability that is needed in Northern Ireland,” the commission said. Mr Sefcovic said that EU legal action against the UK for breaching the Protocol would continue but Brussels has granted a British request for an extension on a deadline to respond to a letter triggering the lawsuit. Last night’s meeting between Mr Sefcovic and Lord Frost came after a couple of weeks of technical work between officials on the implementation of the new customs arrangements for Northern Ireland. Good progress was made in that technical work, according to the commission, but both sides have stressed that significant differences remain and that any breakthrough is some way off. “The meeting took place in a constructive, solution-driven atmosphere. [...] both teams were given a political steer for the technical-level discussions that should further intensify over the coming weeks." Lord Frost was served asparagus soup with scallops, followed by grilled sea bass and mascarpone and vanilla ice cream, after arriving at the Berlaymont building at 7.30pm local time. The meeting lasted two and a half hours and Lord Frost flew back to the UK last night. A UK statement said that “some positive momentum had been established but a number of difficult issues remained.” Britain insists that its unilateral actions in extending the grace periods on food products and parcels is lawful and made in good faith. The UK argues that preventing some GB trade to NI would disrupt everyday life in Northern Ireland. “Lord Frost repeated the UK’s commitment to working through the joint bodies provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement. He underlined that any solutions had to be consistent with the overriding commitment to respecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions and to ensuring minimum disruption of everyday lives in Northern Ireland,” the statement said. The EU and Britain have identified 27 different issues in relation to Northern Ireland's contested post-Brexit trade arrangements, some of which are more difficult than others and require political solutions, Ireland's foreign minister Simon Coveney said on a visit to London on Thursday. Mr Sefcovic has suggested that aligning EU and UK animal health rules could remove the need for many border checks but Britain has rejected that. It wants its rules to be deemed equivalent, of a similar standard, to Brussels' rather than exactly the same and changing to match them over time.
Exclusive: Yvette Cooper warns not introducing register will result in a gap in resources for tackling violence against women and girls
Safeguarding failings meant suicidal individuals and potential trafficking victims remained in camp for weeks despite Home Office saying vulnerable people should not be there, previously unseen report shows
This is the heart-stopping moment an Audi A3 crashed into a skip lorry during an 80mph police chase - leaving a ten-year-old girl and her mum injured.Driver Jake Ilsley, 26, sped off after police tried to pull him over in connection with an unrelated incident. lsley, of Kersley in Coventry, admitted dangerous driving, exposing a child to unnecessary suffering/injury, failing to stop and driving without insurance. He was jailed for 14 months and banned from driving for four years and seven months this week. (SWNS)
Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday that the human rights ombudsman be removed from his post, drawing opposition accusations that the court was seeking to end the mandate of a staunch government critic. After the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party won power in 2015, Adam Bodnar emerged as a leading defender of liberal values such as women's and minority rights, as well as judicial independence, which critics say are under threat from PiS. His five-year term ended in September, but parliament could not agree on a replacement, with the lower and upper houses controlled, respectively, by the government and the opposition.
Buckingham Palace has confirmed who will be at the ceremony on Saturday, including one of the duke's close friends.
The European Parliament's committees on relations with Britain on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favour of the post-Brexit trade and cooperation agreement, clearing the path to its final ratification. They had suspended voting in March in protest over British changes to trading arrangements in Northern Ireland, which Brussels says breach the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. The United Kingdom left the European Union on Jan. 31 after years of tortuous negotiations over their future relations but many details remain unclear, leading to acrimony.
The ousted Myanmar ambassador to the UK has urged the British Government to help him as he faces being evicted from his residence by the country’s military regime. Kyaw Zwar Minn, who was last week forced out of the Myanmar embassy at the orders of the junta, was told to leave by Thursday the London house where he has lived with his family since his appointment in 2013 or face prosecution. The military regime – which seized power on Feb 1, paving the way for a bloody suppression of all civilian opposition – appears determined to extract revenge on the ambassador for daring to criticise the coup. Now he has urged Boris Johnson’s government to intervene and offer protection to him and his family. Speaking outside his residence in Hampstead he said: “I say to the British Government help me, help me, help me. I am hoping they will do so over the next few days.”
Several countries, including France, have suspended flights to and from Brazil due to fears over the more contagious coronavirus variant spreading there. The P1 mutation is more contagious than the initial strain of Sars-Cov-2, and it can re-infect people who have had the original. And the concerns are justified, according to researchers. The P1 variant, believed to have emerged in the northern Brazilian city of Manaus in November 2020, is fuelling fears the pandemic could flare anew."The fear is justified. P1 is a more contagious variant, and it has spread rapidly across Brazil, which is an enormous country. The pandemic is out of control in Brazil right now," said microbiologist Natalia Pasternak.Covid-19 claimed 66,500 lives in Brazil last month – more than double what had previously been the country's deadliest month in the pandemic, July 2020.With Brazil's total death toll now at 358,000 – second only to the United States – April is on track to be even worse.It is unclear to what extent P1 is causing the surging death toll. Experts suspect it is more virulent than the original strain but say more research is needed. France suspends flights from Brazil over coronavirus variant The hand-to-hand struggle to fight Covid in Brazil's Amazonas stateThough researchers say P1 emerged in or around Manaus, it was first identified as a new variant in Japan, where it was found in travellers returning from Brazil.It has now been detected in more than 35 countries, though many have managed to limit infections.Like the South Africa variant, P1 has a mutation known as E484K, dubbed an "escape mutation" because it helps the virus dodge our antibodies.The mutation alters the virus' "spike protein", helping it invade cells more easily."It's like a master key that can open various doors," said Jesem Orellana, a researcher at Brazilian public health institute Fiocruz.P1 has thrived in part because of limited capacity to contain the virus, including in Manaus, whose health system collapsed so badly in January its hospitals ran out of oxygen.Researchers have not definitively established whether P1 is more virulent.In preliminary studies, Orellana observed that the variant did not cause a significantly higher mortality rate among hospitalized patients in Manaus than during the first wave of the pandemic. He thinks Brazil's soaring death toll is more likely caused by hospitals being overwhelmed.Other studies, however, indicate P1 is in fact more lethal.Experts say more research is also needed on the extent to which different vaccines are effective against P1.One piece of good news: preliminary studies show Chinese-developed CoronaVac, the most widely used Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil, as well as the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, are at least partly effective against the variant - though definitive, real-world results are still needed.But there is bad news, too.The unchecked spread of the virus in Brazil has given rise to more mutations, including P2 -- notably detected in Rio de Janeiro - and P4, recently identified in neighbouring Minas Gerais state."Brazil has become an open-air variant laboratory," said Orellana.More may already be out there."Brazil is one of the worst countries in the world on genetic sequencing. It's no coincidence we discovered P1 some 60 days late - in Japan," he said.Microbiologist Pasternak said in an ideal world, Brazil should combine a lockdown with mass vaccination."Instead, we have neither," she said."We lack the political will for a lockdown, and the doses to vaccinate," she said, criticizing a "lack of coordination" at the national level under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has minimized the pandemic.(AFP)