Vaccines "couldn't fail" to have some impact on the spread of coronavirus, according to England's deputy chief medical officer.
Vaccines "couldn't fail" to have some impact on the spread of coronavirus, according to England's deputy chief medical officer.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s autumn 2018 tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga was “stressful” for staff, with at least one aide visibly upset after a discussion with the Duchess. One engagement in particular has long been shrouded in mystery, with no credible explanation given as to why the Duchess was abruptly whisked from a market in Fiji’s capital Suva, cutting short the visit. At the time, even palace aides appeared confused about what had happened, with a succession of contradictory briefings. The engagement was organised to allow Meghan to learn more about a UN Women's project called Markets for Change, which promotes women's empowerment in marketplaces throughout the Pacific. Sources have now claimed that the Duchess was upset when she saw branding for UN Women, an organisation she had worked with before. Meghan had allegedly said she would only go to the market if there was no branding for the organisation, a source told the Times, although the reason behind it is unknown.
‘No interest in answers, only bringing down a political opponent,’ wrote Compston
He appeared on GMB to talk about his new Chernobyl documentary... so naturally Piers' first question was about Meghan.
Boris Johnson will act unilaterally to give supermarkets and their suppliers more time to adapt to post-Brexit trade arrangements in Northern Ireland in a major escalation of tensions with Brussels. The Prime Minister told the Commons: "The position of Northern Ireland within the UK internal market is rock solid and guaranteed... We leave nothing off the table in order to ensure we get this right." Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, confirmed that the UK is extending the grace period for supermarkets agreed with the EU last year by five months. The move sparked a fresh row with the EU, which is jointly responsible for the Northern Ireland Protocol governing trade and new border checks in the province. The European Commission said the EU had "strong concerns" over the unilateral move because "this amounts to a violation of the relevant substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement." "This is the second time that the UK government is set to breach international law," said Lord Frost's opposite number Maros Sefcovic, referring to earlier UK threats to override the Withdrawal Agreement. The commission threatened retaliation through enforcement measures in the Withdrawal Agreement and trade deal in response. The temporary relaxation for checks on supermarkets and their suppliers had been due to expire at the end of this month under the terms of Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the Withdrawal Agreement reached in 2019 and which came into force this year. However, in a written ministerial statement published on Wednesday, Mr Lewis said suppliers moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will now not be required to fill out the extra paperwork for agrifoods when the deadline expires. Instead, the UK will unilaterally extend the deadline until October while continuing to try to secure agreement with the European Commission for a longer extension as requested by Michael Gove.
The new subpoena replaces the one sent earlier that expired in January with the new administration
NHS staff: how would you feel if a Covid vaccine was compulsory for work?We would like to hear from NHS and care home staff about how they feel if a Covid vaccine was made compulsory A close-up of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in a fridge at a mass vaccination centre. Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Nicola Sturgeon today choked back tears and insisted "I would never have wanted to 'get' Alex Salmond" as she rejected as "absurd" his claims of a plot among senior SNP figures to destroy him. The First Minister told a Holyrood inquiry the "simple" truth was that several women made complaints about Mr Salmond's behaviour and "I refused to follow the usual pattern of allowing a powerful man to use his status and connections to get what he wants." In an appearance spanning more than eight hours, against the backdrop of calls for her resignation, Ms Sturgeon insisted she had seen "nothing that comes within a million miles" of backing Mr Salmond's conspiracy claims. Although she reiterated it was "beyond question" that Mr Salmond had been cleared of all criminal charges, she said his behaviour was still "deeply inappropriate" and "there was not a single word of regret" from him during his six hours of testimony last week. Ms Sturgeon appeared on the verge of tears, with her voice breaking, as she was invited to apologise to the Scottish people for arguing for years they could trust Mr Salmond to take them to independence. Murdo Fraser, a Tory MSP, pressed her when she had decided he "was no longer the Charles Stewart Parnell of Scotland, and was in fact a liar and a fantasist?’"
An explosives team visited the site in the town of Bovenkarspel, 55 km (35 miles) from the capital, where police said a metal cylinder involved in the explosion had been recovered. It "must have been placed" there, police spokesman Menno Hartenberg told Reuters. A security guard in the testing centre alerted police to a "loud blast" that broke several windows shortly before 7 a.m., a police statement said.
‘It’s good policy, and it’s good politics,’ president says of Covid relief plan
The Duchess of Cornwall was recorded saying the Duke of Edinburgh's treatment 'hurts at moments', but that his condition was 'slightly improving'. She was visiting a vaccination centre in Croydon.
The UK will receive 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine from a manufacturer in India, amid criticism that wealthier nations are stockpiling doses. The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccinations by volume, is mass producing the AstraZeneca vaccine at its facility in the Indian city of Pune so that doses can be sold for as little as $3 (£2.20) to some of the world’s poorest nations through the Covax vaccine-sharing programme. India, known as the pharmacy of the developing world, supplies more than 50 per cent of global vaccines and 25 per cent of the NHS’s generic drugs. A Department of Health spokesperson said the government had been assured that its deal with SII would not hit countries in the developing world, which are also expecting vaccines from the Indian manufacturer. The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca in total. “The Serum Institute is one part of our supply chain for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which also includes production in parts of the EU as well as here in the UK,” the Department of Health spokesperson added. “We are confident in our vaccine supplies and remain on track to offer a first vaccine to all adults by 31 July.”
After Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' adaptation, what other lyrics could encourage Covid vaccination?We would like to hear your song lyric adaptations on why people should be vaccinated
Key sections of legal advice received by ministers about Alex Salmond’s court challenge were hidden from MSPs ahead of Nicola Sturgeon’s witness session, it has emerged. John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, finally agreed to release the advice on Tuesday evening, as MSPs prepared to pass a vote of no confidence in him for ignoring repeated demands to publish it. However, it was alleged that important sections had not appeared, with the Scottish Tories refusing to withdraw their plan for a no confidence vote in the First Minister’s most trusted lieutenant as a result. Jackie Baillie, the Labour deputy leader, said that in more than two decades sitting on Holyrood committees, she had never felt “so frustrated” as she had been trying to extract documents from the Scottish Government.
PM’s response ‘extremely unedifying’ given Britain’s role in long-running war, says Amnesty
Repetition of ‘big lie’ of voter fraud riles up social media users
Boris Johnson has grown increasingly frustrated with the EU’s interpretation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and is determined to force an urgent reset of the discussions with Brussels. Lord Frost’s ability to get under the skin of his opponents and get results that will have persuaded the prime minister to promote his chief negotiator to his new key role in charge of relations with the EU. “Frosty the no-man” is seen as the ideal replacement for Michael Gove, who was suspected of not being “punchy” enough with Brussels. The new tougher approach is believed to be backed by Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis. The new Cabinet minister has wasted no time in testing both the Protocol, and the patience of his EU interlocutors, to the limits with what amounts to a hand grenade thrown into the ongoing talks over the implementation of the treaty The announcement that the UK would unilaterally extend grace periods in the treaty to protect supermarkets infuriated Brussels. EU officials were quick to point out that the UK was not legally able to extend temporary relaxations for supermarkets to ensure continued supplies from Great Britain. When news of Lord Frost’s promotion was announced, EU diplomats warned him to drop his confrontational style. Yesterday those sources accused him of reverting to type by threatening to violate the treaty just one day after he held surprisingly warm talks with Clement Beaune, France’s Europe Minister and a staunch Brexit critic. This will not bother Lord Frost, who only began his new role as minister for relations with the EU on Monday, one jot. It is an open secret that he is no fan of the Northern Ireland Protocol and he has form when it comes to ruffling feathers in Brussels during his spell as the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator. In his view, the Protocol was a necessary evil forced upon the UK by the flawed negotiations under Theresa May’s government. He negotiated it as a replacement for the Irish border backstop to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland in 2019. That paved the way for the Withdrawal Agreement to finally be ratified by the House of Parliament and for the trade talks in 2020 that ultimately ensured the UK left the EU with a trade deal on January 31. Lord Frost was determined that the same mistakes made by his predecessor would not be repeated during the trade talks. He adopted an uncompromising strategy that prioritised UK sovereignty over all else, in an ultimately successful tilt to knock Brussels off its stride and reset the relationship. The disruptive tactics infuriated Brussels but brought results, albeit at the cost of greatly increased friction in UK-EU trade. In the end, even Michel Barnier was talking about the need to respect “EU sovereignty”; a clear sign that the prevailing narrative of the negotiations was successfully altered. This was no easy task, especially when negotiating with a much larger bloc that is confident its superior heft makes it inevitable that it will win concessions. It requires tenacity and patience to convince the immovable object of the EU to reconsider and move closer to the British position. Lord Frost has now plucked the same page out of his negotiating playbook to try and shake Brussels out of its complacency over the Northern Ireland Protocol. It is a calculated gamble but one that will inevitably redraw the dynamics of the UK-EU negotiations; for better or worse.
Amazon Prime has issued a rare apology after its new web mini-series came under investigation for insulting Hinduism in a landmark case for India, one of the world’s fastest-growing streaming markets. Ten separate cases have been filed against a senior Amazon Prime executive and the makers of Tandav after a scene showed an actor dressed as Hindu deity Lord Shiva in a play using the politically-charged Urdu-language word azaadi, which has been adopted by protesters demonstrating against India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Manoj Kotak, a BJP parliamentarian, accused the directors of “deliberately mocking Hindu gods and disrespect[ing] Hindu sentiments,” after the scene also showed the actor playing Lord Shiva complaining of having fewer social media followers than other deities. A second BJP parliamentarian, Ram Kadam, filed a complaint against the series with one of the other objections coming from a right-wing Hindu group. “After watching the series, it was found that in the 17th minute of the first episode, characters playing Hindu gods and goddesses have been shown in an uncharitable way and using objectionable language, which can incite religious tension,” read a police statement from India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Around 5,200 soldiers are still deployed in Washington, DC
Members of Spain’s government have criticised the Spanish royal family after it emerged that King Felipe’s two sisters received Covid vaccinations during a visit to UAE instead of waiting their turn in Spain. “Their privileges come before the people they claim to represent,” the Left-wing Podemos party, the junior member of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s coalition government, said in a tweet. Pablo Iglesias, Podemos’s leader and deputy prime minister, said society “won’t accept that royal family members have vaccinations in Abu Dhabi when the rest of the Spanish people are queueing up with discipline for their turn”. The online newspaper El Confidencial revealed on Tuesday evening that princesses Elena and Cristina, both in their fifties, had been vaccinated when visiting exiled father Juan Carlos in Abu Dhabi a month ago. They would still have to wait months for jabs in Spain due to their age. According to Spain’s vaccination programme, the elderly in care homes and many key workers have been vaccinated, with the over-80s the current focus of the campaign. The Royal Household said that King Felipe “is not responsible for his sisters’ behaviour”. Felipe stripped his sister Cristina of her title of Duchess of Palma of Mallorca after she and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, were put on trial on charges of fraud and corruption in 2016. Cristina was acquitted but Urdangarin is serving a six-year jail sentence. Princess Elena, who like her sister no longer receives state funding, admitted that she and Cristina had been vaccinated while visiting former king Juan Carlos in UAE, “with the idea of having a healthcare passport that would allow us to do so more regularly”. Juan Carlos has lived in Abu Dhabi since last August, when he left Spain after the country’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into alleged financial impropriety. Last week the former king, who abdicated in 2014 after a series of scandals, made a payment of 4.4 million euros to Spain’s tax agency in a bid to ward off a possible accusation of tax fraud. The 83-year-old is also reported to have had the Sinopharm vaccine in UAE.
The Chancellor gave away another £65bn in lifelines including extending furlough and stamp duty holiday - but it will be funded with eye-watering borrowing