Socks are becoming an area of diplomacy and wake-signaling -the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might be the highest-profile to use socks in this way, preferring explicitly themed ones for publishing for public events.Or a telling glimpse into a political vision: Boris Johnson was recently blamed for not cleaning his fortunate socks, adorned with King Ashurbanipal, a monarch of the Neo-Assyrian empire, frequently enough.For a few years, classic statement socks have indeed been quite huge in style.There is a good sock choice for everyone, considering the abundance of styles.Also do not dump your old socks out but instead wash them in a guppy pouch to ensure that you do not leach microplastics when you wash them.It is not always important to cover your ankles in the post-Victorian era, but the continuing love of fashion with athletic shoes means that socks are still the key, if you do not need an uncomfortable waft.
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With more countries planning to loosen restrictions imposed due to coronavirus but the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, concerned about the potential for a resurgence or second wave, here is what we know from the rest of the world about the risk of Covid-19 coming back.Will there be a second wave?Epidemics of infectious diseases behave in different ways but the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed more than 50 million people is regarded as a key example of a pandemic that occurred in multiple waves, with the latter more severe than the first.It has been replicated – albeit more mildly – in subsequent flu pandemics.Other flu pandemics – including in 1957 and 1968 – all had multiple waves.The 2009 H1N1 influenza A pandemic started in April and was followed, in the US and varied northern hemisphere, by a second wave in the autumn.How and why multiple-wave outbreaks occur, and how subsequent waves of infection can be prevented, has become a staple of epidemiological modeling studies and pandemic preparation, which have looked at everything from social behavior and health policy to vaccination and the buildup of community immunity, also known as herd immunity.While second waves and secondary peaks within the period of a pandemic are technically different, the concern is essentially the same: the disease coming back in force.
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The Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has cast doubt on the prospects of a trade agreement with the US under the president-elect, Joe Biden.He said a deal will not be a pushover.Read more at: https://bit.ly/2JF7OHV 
No, it’s not even Halloween yet – though you’d be forgiven for thinking it was given the week of shocks we’ve had.However, two kids are already vying for best dress-up of 2020 with their scarily accurate takes on two of our political leaders.Jacob Ferguson, seven, from Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, nailed such a spot-on impression of Nicola Sturgeon at one of her coronavirus press conferences that even the Scottish first minister was singing his praises.“Ye were telt, stay in the hoose, nai parties, save lives,” Jacob as mini-Sturgeon says, in a video that has since gone viral – before hobbling off camera, complaining: “Och, my feet are killing me, where’s my clicky pen? Frank, get the door. I want a haggis supper, and make sure it’s deep fried.”Our 7 year old son asked to be Nicola for hallowe’en. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all @[email protected]#nicolasturgeonpic.twitter.com/Kbhp8z3yDB— Alyson Welsh (@welsh_alyson) October 30, 2020Jacob’s mum, doctor Alyson Welsh, posted the video of her son on Friday – dolled up in a blond wig and the kind of snappy look we’ve come to expect from Sturgeon in her regular Coronavirus briefings. “It’s all gone a bit crazy and we’re a bit overwhelmed!” Welsh told HuffPost UK.Jacob has clearly been putting his classes at Glasgow’s UKTheatreSchool to good use. “The wig was the only item we had to buy. The dress is mine and the shoes belong to his cousin,” she added of his costume.The Scottish first minister was quick to Tweet that the “wee star” had made her day, even suggesting they could “draft him in for the daily briefings”, while Scottish comic Janey Godley reshared the video, saying: “This is the best ever.”Thank you @welsh_alyson - this has made me smile and given me a much needed laugh this morning. What a wee star - I think we might draft him in for the daily briefings! https://t.co/P4jvd3CGAZ— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 30, 2020A blond wig was also a key costume component for 10-year-old Milo’s Halloween look below – only, in his case, as he was dressing up as prime minister Boris Johnson, there was no need for a hairbrush.Mum Jayne Cherrington-Cook, who lives in Kent, posted his picture on Instagram, along with her son’s pointed comments. “Most kids when asked to dress up in a terrifying Halloween costume for school: I want to be a witch/zombie/werewolf. My son: I want to be Boris Johnson – I mean is there anything scarier than that fool?“Commenters suggested Milo also had Johnson’s trademark hand gestures down to a tee. “All his teachers asked for selfies with him,” his mum added. “He did think of being Trump but didn’t want to have to wear orange face paint!!!”What is your kid dressing up at this Halloween? Email us at [email protected] to share your story and pictures. Related... Jeremy Clarkson Attacks Nicola Sturgeon In Rant About Covid Restrictions During Grand Tour Filming These Babies In Tiny Halloween Costumes Make 2020 Feel Less Scary 3 Spooky Bakes To Make With Kids That Are – Shhh! – Actually Healthy
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Over 100 Black writers are calling on the government to rein in its ministers following Olukemi Badenoch’s implication that author Reni Eddo-Lodge’s work supports racial segregation.The collective – known as the Black Writers’ Guild – is urging Whitehall to ensure that ministers are responsible with their language and “avoid spreading misinformation”. It comes after The Spectator printed comments from Badenoch on Saturday that suggested guild member Eddo-Lodge, author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, advocates for racial segregation.The open letter which includes signatures from Afua Hirsch, Nels Abbey and Malorie Blackman states: “The allegation here is not only clearly false but dangerous. It risks endangering the personal safety of anti-racist writers. “In recent years progressive writers, politicians and activists across Europe and the United Kingdom have been physically attacked and killed by far-right extremists.”“It is in this climate that we ask the government to ensure ministers are responsible with their language, avoid spreading misinformation and apply better judgement in order to protect the lives and freedom of minorities,” the letter adds.The Spectator article stated that Badenoch was “particularly incensed by the boom in sales of texts such as White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race”.“Many of these books — and, in fact, some of the authors and proponents of critical race theory — actually want a segregated society,” the minister said.Writing on Twitter on Wednesday, Eddo-Lodge announced that she had contacted the Spectator for a correction to its piece, which ran under the headline “Kemi Badenoch: The problem with critical race theory”.I've written to both @spectator and @Independent, asking them to correct the false claims about my politics published in both publications last weekend. pic.twitter.com/9Img0PFoVe— Reni Eddo-Lodge (@renireni) October 28, 2020The guild was formed following the death of George Floyd.Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher at Dialogue Books, told HuffPost UK: “I fully co-sign the letter from the BWG as I am deeply concerned by principles of free speech and representation being eroded by this government.“By vilifying cultural experts we are in danger of suggesting there is only one narrative and that totally undermines progression and equality within our society.”Paul Mendez, author of best-selling book Rainbow Milk, said: “The ignorance and recklessness displayed by Badenoch, as a Black woman, is unforgivable. I wish to include my name in support of Reni and other anti-racist authors.”Jendella Benson, head of editorial at Black Ballad, told HuffPost UK: “It’s completely insulting the way that Reni’s work is being distorted. One of the most important additions to our literary landscape and the only way they can discredit her is to lie. We cannot let it stand at all; it’s an insult to our collective intelligence.”The equalities minister also told the commons, during a general debate on Black History Month last week, that teachers who present the idea of white privilege as a fact to their students are breaking the law.Speaking passionately at the despatch box, she described critical race theory as “an ideology that sees my Blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression”.This sparked widespread backlash with many criticising the minister as being “sad”, “inaccurate” and “disappointing”.HuffPost UK has contacted Badenoch and The Spectator for comment.Related... Opinion: A Covid Inquiry Won't Save Black Lives – Not With Kemi Badenoch At The Helm How Boris Johnson's Vow To Tackle Race Inequality Stands A Year On 'Detrimental' Changes To GCSE English Literature Exams Risk Teaching 'White Is Right'
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A large majority of swing voters said Boris Johnson being the leader of their country was a persuasive argument for independence.
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Labour has jumped to a five-point lead over the Conservatives, according to a poll published on Friday.The Ipsos MORI survey put Labour on 42% with the Conservatives on 37%. The Lib Dems trail in third with 8% while the Green Party was fourth on 5%.It is the first time Labour has been ahead of the Tories in poll conducted by the firm since Boris Johnson became prime minister in July 2019.Johnson also scored the worst rating as PM he has received, with 33% satisfied, 59% dissatisfied, a net satisfaction rating of -26%.Keir Starmer meanwhile has held onto a net positive satisfaction rating of +15, with 45% satisfied and 30% dissatisfied.According to Ipsos MORI, of opposition leaders going back to Michael Foot, who led Labour between 1980 and 1983, only Tony Blair had better net satisfaction ratings at this stage of his leadership (+26).The poll, for the Evening Standard, was conducted between October 22 and October 28 as Boris Johnson faced a huge backlash over his refusal to fund more free school meals for hungry children.It also comes as the death toll from the coronavirus second wave started to mount, with experts warning the UK is now at a “critical stage” with infections doubling every nine days. This week, the daily death figures topped 350, meaning the UK has shot past an earlier warning by chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance that the country could see 200 coronavirus deaths a day by mid-November.Almost a fifth of England’s population will soon be living under the country’s toughest Covid-19 rules.Starmer’s political director, Jenny Chapman, said the poll was “encouraging” for Labour.But the results were gathered before the Labour was plunged into a new civil war following the publication of an Equality and Human Rights Commission report into anti-Semitism in the party.It found Labour has been responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.Jeremy Corbyn was dramatically suspended from Labour on Thursday, after he rejected some of the equality watchdog’s findings and claimed the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his critics.This put him at odds with Starmer, who had warned that any suggestion allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour while Corbyn had been leader were exaggerated would not be tolerated. And speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Friday, Starmer said it was possible Corbyn’s suspension from the party could be escalated to an expulsion.“I’m deeply disappointed in that response from Jeremy Corbyn yesterday” the Labour leader said. “I don’t want a civil war in the Labour Party, I don’t think there is any need for one.”Allies of Corbyn have rallied to his defence. Unite union boss Len McCluskey called the suspension an “act of grave injustice” which could “create chaos within the party” and put any chance of election success in jeopardy.Ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the suspension as “profoundly wrong”.Ipsos MORI conducted 1,007 interviews by telephone October 22 and October 28.Related... How Labour's Day Of Reckoning On Anti-Semitism Unfolded Keir Starmer Says He Does Not Want A Labour 'Civil War' The Key Reactions To The Labour Anti-Semitism Report Jeremy Corbyn Suspended From Labour Party Over Anti-Semitism Comments
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Analytics solution from Oleeo will help to track progress of the United Kingdom’s uplift of 20,000 police officers, including diversity of candidates and new hiresNEW YORK  – October 28, 2020 – Oleeo, the pioneer in Recruiting Enablement, announced that Oleeo Insights is being used by the United Kingdom to track the process of the Government’s campaign to hire an additional 20,000 officers nationally.A new analytics solution offered by Oleeo, Oleeo Insights answers important recruitment questions, helping employers understand the state of their recruiting pipeline and monitor key success metrics.In September 2019, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a campaign to recruit an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales by March 31, 2023.Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the Government, which is providing £750m to support forces to recruit 6,000 additional officers by March 2021, the first stage in this new uplift.All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplift are additional both to those hired to fill existing vacancies, as well as to those being recruited as a result of the £1 billion increase in police funding from 2019 to 2020, which includes money from council tax.Charles Hipps, Founder and CEO of Oleeo, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting the UK’s National Uplift Programme.The Oleeo Insights solution will ensure that the Government’s investments into the police workforce is supported by insights that help to enhance its diversity to mirror the diverse communities across the nation.”Oleeo is working with the Police Uplift Programme, through the National Police Chiefs’ Council, to deliver an insights solution that will provide instant access to key recruitment activity metrics across 18 forces, allowing them to track uplift performances against annual recruitment targets.Using Oleeo Insights, the Police Uplift Programme will be able to access key recruitment metrics and analytics for the 18 participating forces such as:Diversity of applications by stage: the number of current applications in the recruitment funnel by stage for police officer roles including attrition rates, but split by protected characteristics – Ethnicity, Gender, Religion or Belief, Age and Sexual Orientation for Police Officer rolesCandidate time in stage: the average time applicants take to complete each stage of the recruitment process for police officer rolesApplication by stage: the number of current applications in the recruitment funnel by stage for police officer roles including attrition rates (defined as applicants who were unsuccessful at an application stage).Statistics on progress towards the recruitment of an additional 20,000 police officers in England and Wales are reported by the Government on a quarterly basis.
The precautionary move is common during heightened market volatility. This year's election is expected to be particularly turbulent.
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The number of daily coronavirus infections in England could be almost four times higher than is currently being reported, according to the latest major study.Over 85,000 volunteers were tested in England between October 16 and 25 as part of the REACT survey run by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI.Their report, published on Thursday, suggests there are 96,000 new infections per day – significantly higher than the 23,065 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the wider UK confirmed by the Department of Health on the same day, suggesting the government’s much-criticised test and trace system is only detecting around a quarter of people catching the virus. The report also showed the coronavirus R rate in England has jumped to 1.6 and the number of infections is doubling every nine days.The findings further show infections continue to rise across all age groups and all regions in England, with the biggest increase in those aged 55 to 64.According to the survey, an average 1.28% of people during the 10 days of the study tested positive, up from 60 per 10,000 in the previous study. Taking into account the predicted 75% sensitivity of the tests, the authors estimate that at any time that means 960,000 people – 1.71% – in England are infected.The highest number of infections, according to the report, remain in the north-west, Yorkshire and The Humber.Professor Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial from the School of Public Health, said the results “paint a concerning picture of the situation in England”.“We’re seeing a nationwide increase in infection prevalence, which we know will lead to more hospitalisations and loss of life,” he said.“We’re also detecting early signs that areas which previously had low rates of infection are following trends observed in the country’s worst-affected areas.”The study states that 1.28% of the population is likely to test positive, which translates to 960,000 people on the basis that 75% of tests are likely to pick up a true positive.Assum the virus on average can be detected for 10 days after initial infection, this corresponds to 96,000 new infections per day.On Friday, the government estimated the R-rate to be between 1.2 and 1.4. But the REACT study, commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care, found it was at 1.6.The percentage of people infected aged 55 to 64 increased more than threefold from 0.37% to 1.2%, but infections remain highest in those aged 18 to 24 (2.2%).It came as the government said a further 310 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday.The government’s former chief scientific adviser, Professor Mark Walport, has also warned some 25,000 people could be in hospital with coronavirus by the end of next month if cases continue to rise.Related... Opinion: Paying For A Boots Covid Test Is Morally Indefensible Boris Johnson Urged To Impose Stricter Lockdown After Worst Death Toll Since May Bristol Says It's Now In Tier 1+ And Things Are Getting Complicated
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The UK government believes a coronavirus vaccine could be ready to be rolled out before Christmas, according to a Times of London report.
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The family who drowned after the sinking of a refugee boat in the English Channel have been pictured – as a search for their missing 15-month-old baby continues.The bodies of Kurdish-Iranian Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six, have been found and identified, the BBC reports.Their 15-month-old son, Artin, is believed to be still missing. The family is believed to be from the city of Sardasht in western Iran, close to the border with Iraq.Rasoul’s brother told the channel he had sold all of his belongings and paid more than £20,000 to smugglers in a bid to secure a better future for his family.Pictures of the family have been shared publicly by a human rights organisation. تصاویری از اعضای خانوادە سردشتی کە در آبهای فرانسە غرق شدەاند https://t.co/KrHDJrFBLOpic.twitter.com/d4VN376ejb— Hengaw Human Rights Organization (@HengawO) October 28, 2020The tragedy is believed to be the single biggest loss of life during the current migrant crisis.More than a dozen people from the boat have been taken to hospitals in Calais and Dunkirk, according to the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea.Charities say there is “no excuse for failing to act now” and called on the UK Government to create a legal route for refugees. Refugees charity Care4Calais said it was “utterly devastated”.Bertrand Ringot, the mayor of Gravelines, south-west of Dunkirk, described the deaths as “tragic”.He added that as the end of the Brexit transition period approaches, he will call for more security resources in the area around the port.Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, said: “News that a child has died at sea while trying to reach safety in the UK is the horror that we dreaded would come.“Where is the decency and common humanity of the UK government?“How can they allow our children to perish in this way? It would be easy to create a legal route for refugees who reach northern France to seek asylum in the UK; there is no excuse for failing to act now.”Home secretary Priti Patel was strongly criticised earlier this year for suggesting sending in the Navy to stop refugees crossing the Channel, despite the fact the UK’s resettlement scheme has been closed since March – meaning there is no safe, legal route for refugees to reach the UK by other means.Mariam Kemple Hardy, head of campaigns at Refugee Action, said the incident was “absolutely heartbreaking”.She added: “Our thoughts are with the people caught up in this horrible tragedy, their families, and the rescuers.“No one wants to see people make dangerous crossings but the government’s hostile rhetoric does nothing to help.“It must stop trying to look tough and urgently create more safe and legal routes for people to seek sanctuary in the UK.”Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds tweeted: “This is an absolute tragedy. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and people who have been injured.“It is a heartbreaking reminder of the human cost of this crisis.”Yvette Cooper MP, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “This is truly awful news – and it is even more distressing that children should be involved in this tragedy.“The thought of children ending up in the cold waves is terrible.“These boats are incredibly dangerous. The criminal gangs who organise journeys in these precarious dinghies are profiting from putting lives at risk and from other people’s desperation.“The Home Affairs Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into Channel crossings and into the work that is urgently needed to prevent more lives being lost.”Related... Two Young Children And Two Adults Die After Refugee Boat Sinks Off French Coast Opinion: Priti Patel Has Blood On Her Hands. Her Condolences Mean Nothing Exclusive: Child Refugee Resettlement Plummeted After Boris Johnson Became PM
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The UK’s coronavirus death toll has exceeded 300 for the second day in a row as the country battles another surge in infections. On Wednesday, the deaths of 310 more people were recorded, bringing the UK’s total death toll to 45,675. Of those, 236 were reported in England, while Scotland accounted for 28 of the fatalities. In Northern Ireland, the deaths of nine more people were recorded, while 37 were also reported in Wales. It comes just a day after the daily death count topped 350 for the first time since May, with the Covid-19 deaths of 367 people added to the government’s coronavirus dashboard. The grim milestone prompted calls for Boris Johnson to impose a stricter lockdown, with the government’s own scientific advisors warning that the coronavirus death toll could remain high throughout winter. Sir Mark Walport, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told the BBC on Wednesday it was “certainly not unrealistic” to think of 25,000 people being in hospital with Covid-19 by the end of November. The PM has so far resisted calls for a “circuit breaker” lockdown in England, preferring to stick to regional restrictions. However, cases across the UK continue to rise, with 24,701 new infections reported on Wednesday. It means that 942,275 people have now tested positive for the virus in the UK. Related... Boris Johnson Urged To Impose Stricter Lockdown After Worst Death Toll Since May UK Coronavirus Daily Death Toll Tops 350 For First Time Since May
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A British-Iranian mother who has been held in Iran since 2016 has been ordered to pack a bag for prison so she can appear before a judge on Monday – just days after a fresh trial was postponed.Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, was convicted of plotting to overthrow the government in 2016 – an accusation she completely denies.Her husband Richard Ratcliffe, who lives in north London, said the new trial would hear charges of spreading anti-government propaganda. It had been due to take place on November 3 has now been postponed until after the end of her current sentence.Having been moved to house arrest in March, when thousands of prisoners were granted clemency and freed from Iranian jails amid the Covid-19 outbreak, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was returned to court last week only months away from her expected release date, and told she would face a second trial.Meanwhile Labour’s Tulip Siddiq – who is Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s MP – said: “She is being treated with contempt.”Siddiq urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to step up the efforts to bring her back to the UK.Richard Ratcliffe has called on foreign secretary Dominic Raab to assert Britain’s right to attend the trial and visit his wife.In a statement, Ratcliffe said Raab had reassured him that “the UK’s diplomatic push is ongoing and despite recent events, the government still does not judge it time to change strategy.“We disagreed on this. Seclusion of the victim, with bouts of conspicuous cruelty in the face of decisions to wait, are key pillars of hostage taking. Both must be challenged robustly if British citizens are going to be protected from hostage diplomacy by Iran or others.“As Nazanin’s husband, I do think that if she’s not home for Christmas, there’s every chance this could run for years. So I really hope there’s something we’re not being told, as on the face of it the government’s response seems disastrous, just extraordinary that they won’t change course.”Zahari-Ratcliffe will appear before Judge Salavati on Monday where she will learn more about her latest summons.Related... Fresh Trial Faced By Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe In Iran Postponed At Short Notice Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Faces Fresh Charge, Iran State Media Reports Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's Temporary Release From Prison Extended
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Bristol Council has unveiled new measures to control the local rise in Covid-19 cases – and created a whole new sub-tier of lockdown for itself in the process.England is currently under a three-tier system, with alert levels set at medium, high and very high – translating to tier 1, 2 and 3 of restrictions. But that wasn’t enough for Bristol, where there are currently 340.7 new cases per 100,000. Home to around half a million people, the city declared it is now under “tier 1+”, an entirely new sub-tier altogether. "We regard ourselves now as being in Tier 1+" Ms Gray said— Amanda Cameron LDR (@AmandaSCameron) October 28, 2020The government’s tiered system, announced on October 12, was intended to improve the functioning of test and trace (which isn’t exactly going brilliantly) and clear up some of the confusing public health messaging.But with Bristol City Council going rogue by putting itself in a new tier all of its own, we’re not sure things are getting any simpler. So let me get this right: Tier 0 (Scotland only)Tier 1 (UK)Tier 1+ (Bristol only)Tier 2 (UK)Tier 3 (UK)Tier 4 (Scotland only)Tears (Me)— Conrad Quilty-Harper (@Coneee) October 28, 2020Inventing a whole new subtier for Bristol is very Bristol. https://t.co/GkTd5unhRu— Rachael Krishna (@RachaelKrishna) October 28, 2020Tier 1 plus you know. Business class Covid. https://t.co/VRHa5TBCmy— TransJamaican (@Whitb_xx) October 28, 2020explaining how Tier 1 Plus fits into the system pic.twitter.com/OcfAB9M6Gk— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) October 28, 2020What does tier 1+ actually mean? It’s important to note that tier 1+ isn’t a national strategy – it was created locally by leaders in the South West but implemented first by Bristol City Council, explained the city’s director of public health Christina Gray. Ms Gray said the Tier1+ concept was a local one, and not a national one. She said it had been discussed by local authorities throughout the South West but Bristol was the first one to try it— Amanda Cameron LDR (@AmandaSCameron) October 28, 2020She added: “The tier 1+ is because we recognise the importance of maintaining people’s livelihoods, and the hospitality sector is the most difficult to manage safely.“In order to keep open, we need to drive down infections.” Tier 1+ doesn’t actually mean there will be any new restrictions for members of the public to follow – up to six members of different households will still be able to meet indoors, unlike in tier 2 where this is forbidden. What it does mean, however, is that the council will enforce the current rules more effectively, with eight Covid marshals targeting busy areas of the city especially in the evenings and at weekends. Bristol Live reported that tier 1+ boiled down to three main components – “using data to provide messages on how to safely use public spaces, taking on parts of Test and Trace, and ensuring compliance.” Bristol City Council is also using £3 million in funding from government to boost local resources for test and trace, which Rees said was “failing” on a national scale, as well as concentrating on more targeted approaches to reducing transmission – particularly amongst 30- to 60-year-olds, where case numbers are on the rise.The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has clarified that it is not introducing a plus system.“There are three local Covid alert levels which are enshrined in law and we are not considering the introduction of a ‘plus’ system,” a spokesperson said. “Bristol is currently at medium and local leaders have the authority to bring in some additional measures for their area, and we welcome local efforts to break chains of transmission.”So... what happened to the three-tier system? When Boris Johnson announced the three-tier system it was billed as a way of simplifying the local lockdowns and boosting the effectiveness of test and trace. Millions of people across some of England’s biggest cities are now living under heightened restrictions under tier 2 and 3, with the government already facing significant backlash from Manchester’s leaders over “disgraceful” financial support.Inconsistencies between different cities have also been pointed out, with Liverpool told gyms had to shut under tier 3 while they stayed open in Lancashire under exactly the same tier – a move Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson described as an “inconsistent mess”.But with cases and deaths rising, there is some concern that even tier 3 doesn’t go far enough – with calls reportedly being made for tier 4, or tier 3+. Leicestershire Live reported on Tuesday that Whitehall officials were discussing a fourth tier of restrictions, and local circuit breaker lockdowns, in regions where tier 3 restrictions hadn’t brought the virus under control. Under tier 4, or tier 3+, restaurants and non-essential retail such as clothes shops could also be forced to close – similar to the current “firebreaker” lockdown across the whole of Wales. The three-tier system only applies in England, but Nicola Sturgeon was met with some accusations of complication Westminster’s public health messaging after introducing a five-tier system in Scotland earlier in October. The Scottish first minister said the additional two steps, 0 and 4, “sensibly add” to the English system – with 0 being the “closest to normality we think we can safely get to”. Tier 4 is stricter than the English tier 3, and is closer to a full lockdown involving the closure of non-essential shops. Schools would remain open under all tiers, even under the toughest restrictions.Related... Boris Johnson Urged To Impose Stricter Lockdown After Worst Death Toll Since May Opinion: Paying For A Boots Covid Test Is Morally Indefensible Victoria Derbyshire Apologises After Saying She Would Break Rule Of Six At Christmas
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Picture the scene: It’s a Friday night in 2020, which means just one thing – you’re staying in with a takeaway pizza and a boxset yet again. But when you go to the door to greet the delivery man (who you are now on first-name terms with), you notice a stream of booze-laden groups going into your neighbour’s house. They’re having an illegal lockdown party. What do you do? Do you turn a blind eye and retreat to the sofa with your margherita to rewatch Normal People for the third time? Or do you indignantly get on the phone to the police to report your neighbours? After all, don’t they know there’s a pandemic going on? According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, just a tiny proportion of us would actually report it if we spotted someone breaking coronavirus restrictions. The ONS found that between June and August, around half of adults in England and Wales had spotted someone breaching restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19. But only 6% to 7% of these people had gone on to report this rule-breaking to the police, with most people saying they hadn’t done so because they felt it was “too trivial”. The debate over whether to dob in your neighbours has been raging for months now. Back in September, policing minister Kit Malthouse encouraged the public to report their neighbours if they spotted them breaking the “rule of six”.Meanwhile, home secretary Priti Patel said she would “call the police” about rule-breakers on her street. But just days later, Boris Johnson said he wasn’t a fan of “sneak culture”, saying he would only report his neighbours if they were having “some huge kind of Animal House party” with “hot tubs and so forth”. So that’s nice, clear advice from the government on that one, then. More Coronavirus News... Boris Johnson Urged To Impose Stricter Lockdown After Worst Death Toll Since May Heathrow CEO Slams Lack Of Airport Testing As Losses Hit £1.5 Billion
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Yesterday evening saw the single biggest loss of life in the English Channel in recent years – the death of two children – aged five and eight, along with two adults, after a migrant boat sank off the coast of northern France.Sadly, this story and the subsequent response from our government has become all too routine. Asylum-seekers desperately seeking safety in England are deprived of safe and legal routes to safety, are treated without humanity, and without any other plausible options on offer from the callous British government, are driven in desperation to such drastic measures. Related... Two Young Children And Two Adults Die After Refugee Boat Sinks Off French Coast Following the reports of these deaths, politicians offer up their sympathies. Indeed, both Priti Patel and Boris Johnson have expressed their condolences, making sure that both of their apologies refer to the “ruthless criminals” or “callous criminals” who they attribute to be at the helm of these tragic losses. In both cases, they abdicate culpability from a situation that the British government bears responsibility for. Their apologies have become as rehearsed as the faux compassion that they show. These words ring incredibly hollow given the government’s barbaric stance on asylum seekers and those seeking refugee. Words mean nothing without actions to back them up. Rather than pinning the blame on traffickers or migrants themselves, Patel should accept responsibility for the actions of her government, or rather lack thereof. Speaking to the Conservative Party conference earlier this year Patel said: “Those defending the broken [asylum] system – the traffickers, the do-gooders, the lefty lawyers, the Labour Party – they are defending the indefensible”. Is it indefensible to want a system that doesn’t force children to row in a boat across the Channel and die in the process? Related... Exclusive: Child Refugee Resettlement Plummeted After Boris Johnson Became PM Priti Patel Slams 'Do Gooders And Leftie Lawyers' Amid Criticism Of Asylum Plans Rather than implement punitive deterrents, the government should allow for safe legal access to prevent what are such preventable tragedies, at a time when the world does not need any more needless death. Last week, Lord Dubs, a former child refugee himself,  proposed for the fourth time an amendment to an immigration bill that would ensure that lone child refugees had the legal right to family reunion after the UK leaves the EU on 31 December. But, as the government, with a majority of 80, has thrown out the amendment three times before, it is likely they will do so again, leaving no safe alternates in its place.The one successful bid that Lord Dubs had previously secured – that the Home Office were obliged to accept at least 3,000 child refugees for resettlement – was compromised by ministers who placed a cap on the numbers. Last week, it was reported that those children – some as young as 12 – who have been able to make the journey across the Channel on small boats are being sent to adult detention centres where their safety and conditions are questionable.Time and time again this government has thwarted measures which offer basic humanity to some of the most vulnerable people which has lead to the death and endangerment of children. Rather than proposing draconian measures such as transferring asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea or Ascension Island, the government need to take responsibility for those who are attempting to travel to Britain with substantial measures rather than letting innocent children die. Related... Opinion: Marcus Rashford’s Campaign Isn’t An Inspiration – It’s A Tragedy In 2019, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which Patel was on, warned that “a policy that focuses exclusively on closing borders will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands of criminal groups”.   She was warned this would be the outcome, yet Patel only thinks of the cost of asylum. She told the Conservative Party conference that asylum seekers costs the UK £1bn a year – is that a humane way of thinking about the value of someone seeking safety’s life?Surely it is a waste of more time and money to order Parliamentary inquiries and reports if advice that does not fit the government agenda is so brazenly disregarded.Charities have said these deaths should serve as a “wake-up call” to those in power to realise that rigid borders and the current approach is not working for anyone.  We do not need more of the same – we need secure routes for those seeking asylum. The facts are that in the past decade more than 10,000 unaccompanied children have risked their lives to enter Britain, with more than 4,900 people entering the UK via small boats. We continue to hear of more cruel and tragic unnecessary deaths, and we repeatedly see the government voting against protections for child refugees.  The government needs to wake up and recognise that there is no safety in empty condolences – but there is reassurance in safe legal routes. Maighna Nanu is a freelance journalist. More in Opinion... Opinion: Paying For A Boots Covid Test Is Morally Indefensible Opinion: I'm An NHS Doctor. What I've Seen In The Second Wave Would Shock You Opinion: I’m Sick To Death Of Your Middle Class Stupidity About Food Poverty Opinion: Black History Doesn't Have To Be About Black Trauma
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It’s a horrendous reality that millions of children are going hungry in the UK.These children are having to eat less and make food last longer, because their families don’t have enough money to buy more. The issue isn’t just impacting children – parents, or older siblings, will often go without food in order to cushion the youngest members, giving them what little they have to eat.The cracks were already showing before the pandemic, following years of austerity, but Covid-19 has thrown more families into destitution. People are losing their jobs, homes – it’s impacting every aspect of their lives. “This is an important and growing problem,” says Dr Ingrid Wolfe, a children’s doctor and director of the Institute for Women and Children’s Health. “The pandemic has worsened things for families who were already vulnerable. Parents have lost jobs, money is even tighter. Children are increasingly going without food, eating cheap unhealthy food, and skipping meals.”Related... More Than 10,000 Free Meals Given To Hungry Children On First Day Of Half-Term The Food Foundation reported that more than 200,000 children had to skip meals because their families couldn’t access sufficient food during lockdown.Footballer Marcus Rashford, 22, has worked hard campaigning to expand the free school meals programme over the school holidays. A petition he launched to end food poverty has so far garnered over 940,000 signatures (and counting).While the UK government has refused to provide free meals for children in England over the holidays – which has led to a growing backlash from the public, Labour party and even members of the Conservative party – Rashford’s campaign has seen businesses, local authorities and community groups join forces to provide tens of thousands of free meals to kids who need them.Of course, some argue that we shouldn’t have to rely on the kindness of strangers to feed children. Rather, we need support systems put in place by the government that bring people out of poverty.Finding a solution to an issue that affects so many – and will affect future generations too – has never been more important.Related... How Marcus Rashford Exposed The Fault Lines In Boris Johnson’s Government The impact of hunger on children‘Food insecurity’ is where someone doesn’t have adequate physical, social or economic access to food for an active and healthy life. Tiredness and lethargy are some of the immediate effects of this. A paper published in the journal Sustainability suggests food insecure children also have a higher prevalence of dental decay, anaemia and asthma. They’re prone to more frequent headaches and stomach aches; and are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses.Some studies suggest hungry children are more susceptible to weight gain due to having limited access to healthy foods. Being overweight or obese then comes with its own list of health problems later on in life – issues like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer. “Food poverty affects children in complex ways,” says Dr Wolfe, who is also co-chair of the British Association for Child and Adolescent Health. “There can be co-existence of nutritional deficiencies and obesity. This is known as the double burden of malnutrition. In the UK, a high-income country, food insecurity caused by poverty means families with low incomes tend to eat inexpensive food that is high in energy – fat, sugar, and salt. “Excessive intake leads to overweight and obesity and to diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, joint problems and more.”There can be co-existence of nutritional deficiencies and obesity.Dr WolfeSuch diets tend to be low in essential micronutrients, she adds, such as iron, calcium, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C and D – all of which are crucial for growth and good health.With physical and mental health being intrinsically linked, it’s no surprise, then, there is also a huge mental burden. Food insecurity has been associated with increased anxiety, depression, and other forms of psychiatric distress.Lack of food, calories and inadequate nutrients can affect brain development of young children and impede older children’s ability to concentrate and learn – studies have found hungry children can end up falling behind academically.There are social implications, too. Food insecurity in childhood has been linked to problems such as a decline in social skills, irritability, aggression, and oppositional behaviours.Related... Opinion: I’m Sick To Death Of Your Middle Class Stupidity About Food Poverty A cycle of povertyFor young girls who grow up to have families of their own, studies have also found long-lasting impacts of food insecurity on their children’s health, too. If the issue isn’t tackled, it becomes a vicious cycle.Research from the University of Southampton shows that environmental factors can affect the development of the next generation even before conception, and can continue throughout pregnancy and into early childhood.“What is really serious is when young women from puberty onwards are poorly nourished, this sets up the way they then become pregnant and how their foetus grows,” says Professor Barrie Margetts, emeritus professor in public health nutrition at the University of Southampton. ″[It] makes that foetus far more susceptible to adverse health outcomes in their own life – almost irrespective of what they do.”The effects can be seen in ultrasound scans, he says. The foetuses have shorter bone length and smaller head circumference – “they’re not just smaller, they’re actually functionally not growing to their optimal.”“The studies clearly show if a mother was poorly nourished, or a young woman was poorly nourished before she became pregnant, this carries on through to lead to poor outcomes for her infant, which then leads to higher risk of things like diabetes and heart disease in later life. The consequences are profound.”Related... This Is What It's Like Taking A Pregnancy Test When You're Blind “There is a golden window for child development where the most rapid growth in skills and abilities happens, up to around a year,” adds Dr Wolfe. After that, the window gradually closes. Learning becomes harder and skills are acquired more slowly. “So, to ensure good brain development it’s vital that pregnant women and young children have good nutrition and adequate food,” she says. Professor Valerie Tarasuk, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, points out that studies have shown food insecure mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding earlier, and are more likely to experience postpartum mental disorders than those deemed ‘food secure’.What’s the solution? Rashford’s call for free meals has been met with government push-back. Boris Johnson said the “best way of tackling holiday hunger” is to increase the funds available for Universal Credit and give local councils extra money.But experts believe more can – and should – be done. The Food Foundation is part of a Child Food Poverty Task Force and, along with 20 charities and key names in the food industry, is calling on the government to urgently allocate sufficient budget for three National Food Strategy recommendations.In addition to calling for free school meals to be extended to vulnerable kids in the school holidays, it’s asking that eligibility for free school meals is expanded to include every child (up to 16 years old) from a household where the parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefits.The third recommendation is for an increase to the value of Healthy Start vouchers and also an expansion of the scheme to every pregnant woman and to all households with children under four, where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefits.Prof Margetts, who is also a Labour councillor for Southampton City Council, would like to see the UK adopt a more “Swedish or French model where every child gets a really good nutritious lunch”. Under this plan, he’d want to see the school day modified so there’s enough time to ensure every child has a hearty lunch. “That means if they don’t eat so well at home, we know they’re getting pretty much everything they need to be healthy and well,” he explains.It’s not the responsibility of schools to do this – rather, the responsibility of society to ensure it happens, he adds. When children aren’t at school, there “needs to be government-led initiatives to ensure children on school meals or who are vulnerable are catered for in a systematic, organised way and that it’s not dependent on charity and handouts and restaurants having to step up”.Dr Wolfe wants to see social safety nets including cash and food transfers, subsidies and vouchers (linked to healthy food retailers); an improved food environment to promote healthy food choices; and a focus on making the right food choices affordable and easy. School food programmes should also comprise healthy food, freely available, year round, she adds.Perhaps the most important factor is tackling the issue of poverty directly by boosting family income. “This is effective at improving children’s outcomes including cognitive development and school achievement. It’s an impressively effective thing to do. If it were a pill, it would be called a miracle cure,” she says.It’s something Professor Tarasuk wants to see change. In her view, the only solution to tackling food insecurity is income.“In Canada we’ve got several studies that show if we improve benefits for families with children, we can see decreases in the severity of food insecurity amongst those families – it’s unbelievable how quickly the change happens,” she says. The increase in food insecurity during Covid is further evidence this is an income problem, she adds. “This problem has spikes because of job loss, cuts to people’s hours and the inability to compensate for that because the people who are most vulnerable have no savings, they were barely managing before and they have no family support,” she says.“In some ways the Covid story, for me, is just more evidence of the fact that this thing is rooted in household economics.”Help and supportIf you cannot afford food, please contact your local food bank – you can find your nearest here.If you are in financial crisis and live in England or Wales, call 0808 2082138 for free (open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) to talk confidentially to a trained Citizens Advice adviser.Use the benefits calculator on the Turn2Us website to calculate what support you can get.Council Tax Help has a postcode search function to help families identify the support available to help them pay Council Tax in their local area.If you’re experiencing housing issues, Shelter operates a free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 (open 365 days of the year from 8am-8pm on weekdays and 8am-5pm on weekends).Turn2Us has a directory that lets you search for monetary grants you might be entitled to.Get free debt advice and support via the National Debtline: 0808 808 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm and Saturday, 9.30am-1pm). Or the Money Advice Service: call free on 0800 138 7777 (or typetalk: 18001 0800 915 4622) open Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm.Related... How Marcus Rashford Exposed The Fault Lines In Boris Johnson’s Government Exclusive: School Laptop Cuts 'Will Hit Northern Children Hardest' Government's Own Social Mobility Office Tells Boris Johnson To Extend Free School Meals
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You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.It’s been another day and another 24 hours of damage for Boris Johnson over free school meals as he considers how to get away with a climbdown without it being branded as another U-turn.The prime minister’s strategy is understandable given the situation he has got himself in, having made a whopping 13 policy U-turns since the coronavirus pandemic.Johnson is said to be considering giving extra cash to councils to set up holiday clubs, which could feed hungry children in England, in a bid to defuse the row.But with the Marcus Rashford-inspired petition set to hit 1m signatures, the damage has already been done.The PM will also have to ensure the plan actually works, with Kirsty McHugh of the Mayor’s Fund for London, which is involved in holiday club trials, telling PA that many of the voluntary groups and public sector organisations that run the clubs are likely to be closed at Christmas.Of course many Tory MPs are bemoaning how Johnson got himself into this mess, as my colleague Paul highlighted with this essential piece yesterday.And it may just be down to a seemingly misguided belief among some Tories that universal credit (UC) should be enough to solve the problem.I have been passed a voter’s Facebook post which was doing the rounds among Tory MPs on Tuesday.In it, a voter insists that there is “absolutely no reason that any child out there being paid this amount should be going hungry”. Attached is a UC statement showing the person in question is eligible for £281 monthly support for their one child for October.But even George Osborne – yes the Tory deficit hawk former chancellor who slashed welfare budgets and was the architect of austerity – acknowledges that explaining away the free school meals problem with UC is “tin eared”.Osborne explains in his Evening Standard newspaper of his time as an MP: “When I visited the food bank in my Cheshire constituency it confirmed two contradictory realities.“First, the people I met there were receiving the same welfare payments as lots of others who were managing without the food bank. In other words, Whitehall would argue that they didn’t need handouts. “Second, however, the people I met were in real need of help. Life had dealt them very hard blows. Many struggled (as so many of us would) to manage very tight budgets.“A few had chaotic lives and simply couldn’t cope. It was no good telling them to manage their money better. If the food bank wasn’t there, their children would go hungry.”Osborne now believes a government U-turn is “inevitable”.And it is hard to argue when Rishi Sunak made a similar case that UC would cover the hit to incomes caused by replacing furlough (80% state wage subsidy) with his job support scheme (67% of wages covered), before U-turning and making the latter scheme more generous.Rashford’s bigger goal is believed to be increased eligibility for school meals for all on UC, and Johnson may be wise not to pick another fight.Related... UK Coronavirus Daily Death Toll Tops 350 For First Time Since May Why Boris Johnson’s Excuses About Free School Meals Don’t Add Up Covid Infection Rates Should Be Reported On TV Like The Weather, MPs Say
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Spitting Image creator Roger Law has spoken out about US broadcaster NBC’s decision to back out of airing the reboot of the satirical puppet show.While Spitting Image is available to watch on the streaming platform BritBox in the UK, it was supposed to air weekly in America, with specially-created scenes for audiences across the pond.However, earlier this month, it was reported that NBC had backed out of showing Spitting Image just weeks before it was due to air, because of “nervousness” surrounding some of its content.Speaking about the decision to Radio Times, Roger Law – who co-created Spitting Image in the 1980s – admitted he was “not in the least bit surprised” about NBC’s decision to reverse plans to air the show.The 79-year-old said: “If it was going to be on regular NBC television I’m not in the least bit surprised that it was dropped.”He continued:  “In America there’s a superficial politeness to this country of people who’ve all got guns.“You’ve someone like Trump running the country yet [Americans] call him ‘sir’. That wouldn’t happen here.“People here are rude to one another and there’s a taste for cruel humour.  People went out and voted for Boris, we make him look like a shambles and yet they’re still very happy to laugh at it.” Roger also spoke about the impending US election, admitting that while he hopes Joe Biden succeeds Donald Trump as president, it will mean big changes for Spitting Image.“Donald Trump is an absolute gift to a satirical show but on the other hand I would like to see him go, I really would,” he said.“If Biden wins I think we might have to remake him. The current puppet hasn’t got a blink; he’s got no eyes. The mouth is good but he wears a mask with, ‘Shut up, man!’ written on it.”Two new episodes of Spitting Image inspired by the lead-up to the US election will be available to watch from Saturday 31 October, with a recently-announced second series coming to BritBox in 2021.Read Roger Law’s full interview in this week’s Radio Times.READ MORE: Boris And Trump Will Not Want To See The Very NSFW Spitting Image Trailer Spitting Image Comic Reveals The Politician He's Struggling The Most To Get Right Gary Lineker's Verdict On Piers Morgan's Spitting Image Puppet Is Suitably Savage
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