Erica Osakwe speaks about why she started a petition to abolish time limit to report domestic abuse
Erica Osakwe speaks about why she started a petition to abolish time limit to report domestic abuse
‘Clear pattern’ between Covid vaccinations and antibody positivity across UK, says Office for National Statistics
One of Sweden's most populous regions has declared a "personal lockdown", as the country reported the highest daily rate of daily coronavirus cases in Europe, and more being treated in intensive care for the virus than at its second wave peak. In posters and an online campaign, the region centred on Uppsala, Sweden's fourth biggest city, called on everyone to "consider all human contacts as a potential risk" and avoid contact with anyone they do not live with, in the closest the country has come to a lockdown since the pandemic began. "We are reaching the point of the maximum capacity of what we can handle," Mikael Köhler, the region's health chief told Sweden's TT newswire. "It seems like the British variant has taken over and there's evidence that people are spreading the disease before they have any symptoms." Sweden on Tuesday had the highest rate of new coronavirus cases in Europe, with a seven-day average of 587 new infections per million people on Monday, more than France on 556 and Poland on 540, according to the latest figures on Our World in Data.
The hymn Eternal Father, Strong To Save will feature in the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral on Saturday, with the possible addition of a little-known extra verse at his request. Better known as "For Those in Peril on the Sea" after the last line, the usually four-verse hymn is considered especially poignant by military sailors. Rarely heard outside military circles, however, are two verses written specifically for aviators. They are inserted between the second and third verses. The additional words are understood to feature occasionally at Fleet Air Arm funerals, the aviation branch of the Royal Navy. One such was sung at the funeral of the man who taught the Duke to fly, while he was a Royal Navy officer. Unexpectedly turning up to the funeral many years ago, the Duke further surprised the congregation by singing, along with just a couple of other attendees, the unfamiliar words, which are not included in standard hymn books.
Greece is to throw open its borders from next week to visitors who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or who have tested negative, in promising signs for British tourists hoping to book a holiday. It is encouraging news for Britons yearning for an Aegean break, even though there is a ban on non-essential international travel until May 17 at the earliest. Whether British tourists have to quarantine on their return home will depend on how Greece is classified under the traffic light system that will be announced by the government at some point in early May. The government has said that Britons should not book holidays yet because of the uncertainty of which countries will be green, amber and red. Current regulations state that all foreigners arriving in Greece have to show negative tests and then quarantine for seven days. But the Greek government plans to lift quarantine restrictions for travelers from the UK and the European Union as well as the US, Israel, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates. It comes as the country aims to open up to tourism from mid-May. "We will gradually lift the restrictions at the beginning of next week ahead of the opening on May 14," a senior tourism ministry official told Reuters. Visitors from Britain and the other countries will be allowed to fly in to the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu. Travelers will not have to go into quarantine as long as they prove that they have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine or show a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to their arrival. On arrival, however, they will be subject to local lockdown rules – a resurgence in cases over the winter means that Greece has been under tight restrictions for months. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, has strongly pushed the idea of Covid certificates as a way of kick-starting international travel this summer. That is crucial for Greece, where tourism accounts for a fifth of the economy. Meanwhile, Malta is holding bilateral talks with the UK about a digital coronavirus certificate that would allow British tourists to visit this summer, the country’s tourism minister said.
European Commission chief says bloc must focus on technologies that have ‘proven their worth’
Nicola Sturgeon should thank Boris Johnson for ignoring SNP demands to sign up to the EU's disastrous vaccine programme when she gets her first Covid jab on Thursday, the Scottish Tory leader has said. Douglas Ross said the First Minister would have faced a much longer wait to be vaccinated if Mr Johnson had heeded her party's demands for the UK to join the European scheme last year. The SNP confirmed that Ms Sturgeon, 50, is scheduled to receive her first jab after she launches her party's election manifesto on Thursday morning. A spokesman said: "These remarks from Douglas Ross are utterly pathetic but entirely in keeping with his petulant, puerile tone." A series of Ms Sturgeon's ministers demanded that the UK sign up to the EU's vaccine procurement plan last year and expressed outrage when Mr Johnson refused. Mike Russell, the Constitution Secretary, warned at the time: "This idiotic refusal is all about Brexit and nothing to do with the pandemic. It will cost lives." The decision was publicly opposed by a series of SNP MPs.
The world’s biggest and most successful budget airlines, Ryanair and Southwest, fly 737s exclusively
Conservative MPs have voted down an attempt by Labour to force a parliamentary inquiry into the Greensill lobbying scandal. Labour has claimed the Greensill affair marks the return of “Tory sleaze” at the heart of government. The row erupted after it emerged the former Tory prime minister David Cameron had lobbied the chancellor Rishi Sunak, including by text, to include Greensill in the government’s Covid-19 loan scheme.
Around one in five local areas have recorded a week-on-week rise in rates.
Denmark became the first country in the world to permanently stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday, as the European Commission president hinted that Brussels would not renew its contract with the company next year. Danish health authorities said they would stop using the Oxford University jab because of a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a brain blood clot. Denmark was the first EU country to suspend the use of the shot on March 11. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said that the benefits of the vaccine, which is significantly cheaper than the others and easy to story, far outweigh the health risks. Some EU countries including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands have introduced age restrictions on the jab’s use; limiting it to the over 55s and 60s. The UK has restricted it to the over 30s. Portugal has called on all EU countries to adopt the same over 60s only restriction as part of a common European approach. The decision will delay Denmark's vaccination scheme to early August rather than July 25 but the country is easing its lockdown restrictions as infections drop.
"We're just getting on with it the best we can."
Exclusive: Black people are four times more likely to be reported as missing in England and Wales - campaigners demand that this disparity is addressed
In Burkina Faso, judges have ruled that exiled former president Blaise Compaoré must stand trial for his role in the assassination of Thomas Sankara, whom he overthrew in a coup d'état in 1987. Also, a Tuareg leader in Mali has been shot dead in the capital Bamako. Sidi Brahim Ould Sidati was a key figure in a 2015 peace accord. And in a major step forward for the protection of women and children in Gabon, customary marriages are finally recognised by the state.
In the words of one House Republican campaign operative, ‘It’s a nightmare’
A gold nose pin, boxes of eggs, or a tax rebate: Covid vaccine incentives around the worldMembers of the public are being offered gifts and discounts to encourage vaccine take-upSee all our coronavirus coverage A man receives a dose of Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Dhaka Photograph: Suvra Kanti Das/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock
Sienna is left unsettled by Summer's latest actions.
A jihadist who plotted a lone-wolf knife attack has been jailed for life after a judge said he ought to have turned his back on extremism when two of his brothers were killed fighting for Islamic State in Syria. Sahayb Abu, an aspiring rapper, bought an 18-inch sword, a knife and combat clothing as he prepared to strike last summer. The 27-year-old, who is the fifth member of his family to be linked to extremism, also used a rap song to boast about wanting to behead British soldiers. Abu’s half-brothers, Wail and Suleyman Aweys, were killed in Syria after leaving the UK to fight for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS). His half-sister, Asma Aweys, 32, was jailed in January 2019, alongside her partner Abdulaziz Abu Munye, 29, and half brother Ahmed Aweys, 34, after she called Ariana Grande 'the devil' in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack in a family WhatsApp chat. Asma was imprisoned for 19 months for collecting terrorist information, while her partner received 15 months for dissemination. Ahmed was jailed for 25 months for also disseminating terrorist material. Last month an Old Bailey jury found Abu guilty of preparing to engage in terrorist acts and on Tuesday he was jailed for life and told he would have to spend a minimum of 19-years behind bars.
The EU Commission has decided not to renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Italian daily La Stampa reported on Wednesday, citing a source from the Italian health ministry. "The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry," the newspaper reported. A spokesman for the EU Commission said it was keeping all options open to be prepared for the next stages of the pandemic, for 2022 and beyond.
‘The young people feel that violence has paid off for the republicans, so why shouldn’t it pay off for them?’ hears Kim Sengupta in Belfast
The UK jobless rate for young black people rose by more than a third to 35 per cent during the pandemic