Women receiving a pension of as little as £1 a week could be owed sums equivalent to lottery wins, according to a former pensions minister.
Women receiving a pension of as little as £1 a week could be owed sums equivalent to lottery wins, according to a former pensions minister.
How Texas’s zombie oil wells are creating an environmental disaster zone. Thousands of abandoned oil wells dot the Permian Basin in west Texas and New Mexico, endangering humans and wildlife. With oil costs plummeting, they’re likely to proliferate. Who is going to cover the cleanup costs?
Britain’s hand in negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol has been strengthened by the European Parliament’s refusal to set a date to ratify the Brexit trade deal, EU governments have warned. Lord Frost is in Brussels for talks over the implementation of new customs arrangements in Northern Ireland with his European Commission opposite number Maros Sefcovic. Brussels has begun legal action against the UK, which it accuses of breaking international law by unilaterally extending grace periods on some customs checks in the Withdrawal Agreement. Britain argues the measures are lawful and in good faith. MEPs refused to name the date for the plenary vote on the trade deal for a second time on Tuesday in a bid to heap pressure on Britain over the agreement that introduced a customs border in the Irish Sea to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. The threat infuriated European capitals, which are worried it could backfire and believe it weakens the EU’s negotiating position in the talks over Northern Ireland. “There is serious incredulity around the table,” an EU diplomat said, “The irresponsible actions by the UK government have been bemoaned by MEPs for months only for them to act exactly the same way.” “It will impact the EU’s negotiations over Northern Ireland and call into question certainty for citizens and companies on both sides of the Channel.“ The UK-EU trade deal, which is separate from the Withdrawal Agreement, was provisionally applied at the end of last year. If the European Parliament does not ratify the deal by the end of April the EU would have to ask the UK for an extension or face a damaging no deal because the provisional deal would fall away.
Professor Johns Edmunds believes the government may have to enforce tougher restrictions in south London.
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.
Downing Street says UK’s case data ‘speaks for itself’ as infections continue to fall
Trump supporters called Ivanka a ‘disappointment’ for getting the jab
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.
Anas Sarwar has accused an SNP-run council of dispatching cleaners to tidy the streets of Nicola Sturgeon's constituency shortly before an election photocall he held on Thursday to highlight their dirty condition. The Scottish Labour leader claimed that cleansing workers in Glasgow Southside, which is the First Minister’s constituency, told him they were ordered to do a clean up operation ahead of his visit to the Govanhill area. The Daily Telegraph photographed three bin lorries and street cleaners that turned up shortly before Mr Sarwar's election stop. Local residents said it was not the normal day for the refuse collections to occur. Ms Sturgeon has faced repeated accusations throughout the Holyrood election campaign of dropping the ball in her own backyard, with cleansing, poverty and housing being huge issues in Glasgow Southside. “I met cleansing workers there who were telling me about the huge cuts they’ve seen, not just in terms of staff but also in terms of the investment they’ve had,” he said.
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.
A care worker has told Sky News his treatment at the hands of his employer, when he said he didn't want to take the COVID-19 vaccine, made him feel "worthless".
The risk of developing a blood clot from Covid is far higher than the it is from being vaccinated, a study suggests. Scientists from the University of Oxford have said the risk of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) is around eight to 10 times higher after catching the virus than getting vaccinated with BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna or Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 jabs. The researchers said this type of blood clot is more common after Covid-19 than in any of the comparison groups, with 30 per cent of these cases occurring in the under-30s.
Locking down entire streets could be an important way of keeping outbreaks of new Covid variants under control, an expert has suggested. Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said using interventions to minimise asymptomatic transmission could be crucial. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Dr Barrett said it was important to deploy “the most effective measures possible” to contain these outbreaks. When questioned if shutting down entire streets would have a medical impact on clusters of cases, he responded: “Well it certainly could, because one of the trickiest parts of this virus overall is, of course, some individuals who are infected don't have symptoms and so they can transmit. “Trying to use interventions that might stop asymptomatic transmission may well be an important part of keeping outbreaks of these new variants to be as absolutely small as possible." He added there could be a “chance” new variants will be “less well neutralised” by vaccines, so “it's really important to be able to try to keep that number as close to zero as possible”. Restrictions have so far kept the number of new variants “very small”, he said, adding: “And as the restrictions are lifted the key thing to watch will be, does that number ever go up sort of week by week, and if so it's really important to deploy the most effective measures possible to contain those outbreaks." One effective measure to contain outbreaks is deploying surge testing, he added. Surge testing has now been expanded in south London boroughs after cases of the South African variant, B.1.351, were discovered. Three boroughs have set up additional testing facilities to process thousands of residents who are eligible for tests. More than half a million adults living in south London boroughs have been offered tests, including 264,000 in Lambeth, 265,000 in Wandsworth, and 14,800 in the Rotherhithe ward of Southwark. A case of the variant was also detected in Barnet, north London, and home testing kits were delivered door-to-door in the N3 postcode on Thursday. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed the case in Barnet was unrelated to other clusters, but it had been isolated and the person's contacts traced. The extra testing comes as new analysis revealed that Covid-19 rates dropped below 100 cases per 100,000 people in all local areas of the UK for the first time since September. A total of 19,196 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England at least once in the week to April 7, according to the latest Test and Trace figures. This is down 34 per cent on the previous week and is the lowest number since the week to September 2, 2020.
Miranda Wayland said the character didn’t ‘feel authentic’ because he didn’t have Black friends or eat Caribbean food
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."
Sense, thankfully, seems to have prevailed and the royal family has decided collectively to ‘level down’ to lounge suits
A long-time suspect in the disappearance of California student Kristin Smart almost 25 years ago has been charged with her murder, while his father is accused of helping to conceal her body. Paul Flores, 44, was the last person seen with Ms Smart when she vanished on 25 May 1996. Flores has spent years refusing to comment under his right not to incriminate himself.
Can you answer these questions about the nation's most well-established programmes?
Nicola Sturgeon’s party plans bond scheme to stop rural depopulation
Dr Hans Kluge, the regional director of WHO Europe, set out stark figures as he referred to the ongoing third wave of infections on the continent.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s modified Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab vehicle has been unveiled for the first time, two days before his final farewell in St George’s Chapel.