An NFT created by digital artist Beeple recently took in more than $69 million at the centuries-old auction house, Christie's
An NFT created by digital artist Beeple recently took in more than $69 million at the centuries-old auction house, Christie's
Downing Street says UK’s case data ‘speaks for itself’ as infections continue to fall
It is high time there was an official monument to Indigenous victims of the frontier wars. A statue of Lachlan Macquarie calls him a ‘perfect gentleman’ but 205 years ago he ordered the massacre of Dharawal men, women and children
Monty Python star previously condemned ‘woke jokes’
The BBC's Huw Edwards will lead six hours of coverage of Prince Philip's funeral across three channels – despite record complaints to the broadcaster about its coverage of his death.
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.
Experts have called for the government to take action after it emerged that a concerning COVID variant first found in India has already been detected in the UK.
Manufacturer of single-dose vaccine reached out to rivals in wake of findings
The government’s updated face covering guidance now advises the 'wider public' against wearing transparent masks.
Congressional Democrats introduce legislation to expand the US Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices, arguing it is necessary after the Senate confirmed former president Donald Trump's nominee just eight days before the 2020 election to give the bench a firm conservative majority. The move has drawn angry protests from Republicans accusing their rivals of attempting a power grab to enact President Joe Biden's agenda.
Peter Phillips is the ideal peacemaker to stand between his cousins Prince William and Prince Harry at Prince Philip’s funeral. However badly the brothers have fallen out, they remain extremely fond of their first cousin. Ever since they were born, Peter Phillips has been the cousin they most look up to. As the oldest grandchild of the Queen and Prince Philip, he occupies a powerful role among the next generation of royals. At 43, he is 30 years older than his youngest royal first cousin, Viscount Severn, Prince Edward’s younger child. Five years older than William, and seven years older than Harry, Peter was the tough, strong, no-nonsense boy they admired when they were children. Now they’re grown-up, you can see how close they remain to him, joshing each other and laughing away. Prince Philip latest news and funeral updates
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.
Professor Paul Hunter, of UEA, said the B.1.617 variant features two ‘escape mutations’ which ‘are causing people to be concerned’.
The pictures were unearthed from a private collection and show Philip looking after a 13-year-old Elizabeth.
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.”
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.
Nicola Sturgeon's "transformational" increase in Scottish NHS spending is less than the rise planned by the Tories in England and may not be enough to keep up with demand, an impartial analysis of her election manifesto has concluded. The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the SNP's promise to increase front-line health spending by £2.5 billion over the next five years would lead to an annual rise of 2.1 per cent above inflation. But the analysis said this was less than the 3.4 per cent increase planned by Boris Johnson's government for the English NHS and slower than what may be needed to keep up with cost and demographic pressures – even before the Covid pandemic. The IFS also warned that the array of spending pledges unveiled by Ms Sturgeon had a "significant net cost" and questioned how they will be paid for given her promise not to increase income tax rates over the next parliament. With a "tight fiscal environment" expected to pay for the huge borrowing during the Covid pandemic, the IFS said "tricky trade-offs" will be required, including "as yet, unspoken" tax rises and cuts in other areas of public spending. David Phillips, an economist who co-authored the analysis, concluded: "The tougher fiscal situation an independent Scotland would face in at least its first few years would make the challenge of delivering these commitments even harder." The analysis was deeply embarrassing for Ms Sturgeon, who claimed the NHS was at the "heart" of the manifesto with a "transformational increase in frontline health spending". She said the pandemic required an "exceptional response" as she unveiled a 20 per cent rise in health spending over the next parliament. But Mr Phillips, an associate director with the IFS, said the health spending plans "look rather low" and the increases were the same that have been implemented over the last five years. He tweeted it was also "less than 3.4 per cent promised to NHS England in its long-term funding plan, and what's needed to keep pace with costs and demands. Top ups likely!" Paul Johnson, the IFS director, tweeted: "Traditional sort of manifesto from the SNP. Promises of lots more spending with not much indication of how it will be paid for." The IFS said it was "disappointing" the manifesto does did not provide information on how much the various pledges would cost altogether. But it said the document continued the SNP's "trend of making services free for everyone" rather than targeting those on the lowest incomes, with Ms Sturgeon also promising to abolish NHS dentistry charges. "This will benefit mainly middle and higher-income working age individuals who don’t already qualify for free dentistry though receipt of certain benefits," the IFS said. The SNP also plans to extend free school meals to all children in the first year of primary school but the IFS noted that the poorest youngsters already get this benefit, so the pledge will mostly benefit wealthier families. It warned that the "main effect" of a pledge to reduce business rates on the highest value commercial properties will be rent increases, "primarily benefiting landlords rather than making premises more affordable for the businesses that occupy them." But Mr Phillips said that the proposals would mean "substantial gains for certain groups of households", including the elderly thanks to a pledge to abolish charges for all social-care services received at home. Maurice Golden, the Scottish Tories' economy spokesman, said: "These respected independent analysts have immediately picked giant holes in the SNP manifesto and exposed Nicola Sturgeon's pledges as brazen pre-election bribes. "We know that if implemented, many of these headline-grabbing spending announcements would only be possible due to additional funding from the UK Government." Kate Forbes, the SNP Finance Secretary, said: "The long-term funding for NHS England revenue is only until 2023/24, our commitment runs for a further 3 years. "As we have throughout the last parliament, the SNP will continue to pass on all Barnett consequentials from health spending. It’s worth noting our plans comfortably exceed those already announced by the Scottish Tories."
Analysis of a pilot in Liverpool found ‘poor’ adherence from care home staff and no impact on Covid-19 outbreaks.
One of the inevitable results of Prince Philip’s sad death is a shake-up in the House of Windsor. And Prince Edward, who will in time become the Duke of Edinburgh, is bound to take on a more prominent role in supporting the Queen and, in time, her successor, Prince Charles. Prince Philip may not have been in the royal line of succession. But his importance to the monarchy was paramount – and his death leaves a huge gap to be filled. The title of Duke of Edinburgh has now been automatically inherited by Prince Charles. But, in a sign of the affection of the Queen and Prince Philip for their youngest son, it will be passed on to Prince Edward on the sad day of the Queen’s death. This was made clear by the Queen in 1999, when Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999 and was made Earl of Wessex. When Prince Charles becomes king, the title of Duke of Edinburgh will ‘merge in the Crown’, meaning the title no longer exists. But Charles III will bestow on his youngest brother a new ‘creation’ of the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ – the fourth creation of the title since it was first bestowed in 1726. It makes perfect sense. Of Prince Philip’s four children, Prince Edward has always been most closely associated with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, created by Prince Philip in 1956. Prince Philip funeral news and royal family updates
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
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.