The Crown has offered fans a a first glimpse of Emma Corrin as Diana, Princess of Wales in her iconic wedding dress. An image released by Netflix shows the actor wearing a new version of the gown, which was based on the original design by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. The post on the show’s official Twitter account said: “A first glimpse of Princess Diana’s wedding dress.“Emmy award-winning costume designer Amy Roberts wanted to capture the same spirit and style of David & Elizabeth Emanuel’s original design, without creating a replica for Emma Corrin.”A first glimpse of Princess Diana’s wedding dress. Emmy award-winning costume designer Amy Roberts wanted to capture the same spirit and style of David & Elizabeth Emanuel’s original design, without creating a replica for Emma Corrin. pic.twitter.com/iYXN66aFjh— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) October 3, 2020The original dress was famous for featuring a 25ft train, although the angle of the picture does not allow us a peek at its recreation. Emma, whose previous credits include Misbehaviour and Grantchester, will portray Diana during the early part of her relationship with Charles – played by Josh O’Connor – in the upcoming fourth series of the Netflix drama. Last week, Netflix gave fans the first proper look at Emma in character, as well as the first pictures of Gillian Anderson as former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. It’s time. Here’s your first look at @GillianA as Margaret Thatcher and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in Season 4 of @TheCrownNetflix. pic.twitter.com/3eg121ugPJ— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) September 29, 2020The upcoming fourth series will be Olivia Colman’s second in the lead role of the Queen, with production on the new episodes wrapping shortly before the UK went into lockdown earlier this year.For the fifth series of The Crown, Imelda Staunton will take over the throne from Olivia, while Jonathan Pryce will succeed Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip.Meanwhile, Lesley Manville and Elizabeth Debicki will be playing Princess Margaret and Princess Diana, although it’s yet to be confirmed who will be appearing opposite her as Prince Charles.The Crown’s fourth series will debut on Netflix on 15 November.READ MORE: Gillian Anderson's Margaret Thatcher Is Spookily Accurate In New Pics From The Crown Series 4 Olivia Colman Admits Her First Time Meeting The Queen Didn't Exactly Go Smoothly The Crown Creator Clears Up Speculation About Meghan Markle And Prince Andrew Being Depicted In Final Series
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Cineworld is closing all its cinemas in the UK, US and Ireland this week after studios pulled major releases such as the latest James Bond film.The closure of its 128 sites in Britain will put up to 5,500 jobs at risk.The world’s second-biggest cinema operator, which employs 37,482 people across 787 venues worldwide, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and last month posted losses of £1.3 billion.The release of the new James Bond movie, “No Time To Die”, was pushed into next year on Friday, crushing hopes for a 2020 industry rebound as rising rates of the coronavirus prompt new restrictions and keep viewers away.The Sunday Times said the London-listed company had written to prime minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to warn that the industry was becoming unviable.It warned investors on September 24 that it might need to raise more money if its sites were forced to shut again and its shares have fallen 82% this year.In July, the government promised a package of more than £1.5 billion to help the arts and culture industries forced to shut down earlier this year as a result of the pandemic.Cineworld had reopened most of its cinemas in July when lockdown measures were eased across the country.Daniel Craig’s final outing as spy James Bond will not hit big screens until next April, it was announced on Friday.No Time To Die was originally scheduled for release in April 2020, but was first pushed back to November as a result of the pandemic.A statement on the film’s official Twitter account said: “We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing NO TIME TO DIE next year.”Efforts to get audiences back into theatres have proved disappointing. While bigger chains like AMC Entertainment, Cineworld and others have reopened many locations, crowds have been thin.Small and mid-sized theatre companies have said they may not survive the impact of the pandemic.Cineworld had said viewers returned to watch “Tenet”, a Christopher Nolan spy thriller that became a test case for the wider industry when it became the biggest release to open in cinemas in late August since schedules were torn up in March.But the postponement of Bond, plus delays to other big releases such as superhero movie “Black Widow” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” give cinema lovers little reason to return.Cineworld declined to comment.Related... Massive Surge In Daily Reported Coronavirus Cases Due To 'Technical Issue' Questions Remain Over Donald Trump's Condition As He Releases Video From Hospital Opinion: Coronavirus Has Universities Edging Towards Extinction
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In What Works For Me – a series of articles considering how we can find balance in our lives – we talk to celebrities about wellbeing and self-care.Stacey Solomon’s house is not a quiet one, with her partner Joe Swash, three sons, a step-son and a dog to contend with. But the Loose Women star says she still claws back moments of me-time, for the sake of her mental health. “Self-care has to be a conscious effort, because I often think there’s a whole family tree of people who come before I do,” she tells HuffPost UK. “Sometimes, I have to make a point of saying to myself: ’You know what Stace, if you don’t have a bath one day this week, it’s not going to do you any favours. If you don’t turn your phone off for the day today and say ‘no’, you’re going to be impacted negatively.”The latter has been particularly hard in the pandemic, she says, because “no one is shutting off anymore” – and people seem to be getting in touch 24/7. “Sometimes you have to force yourself not to reply and say: ‘Sorry, I was asleep – I’m not a vampire!’” she jokes. READ MORE: Michelle Ackerley: Grief Reared Its Head Again In The Pandemic These tactics give Stacey “a moment to be still’ – but they don’t fix everything. “I don’t want to sit here and say it makes a dramatic difference to my life,” she says, “because sometimes I think there are ways you feel in life that you just can’t get out of, no matter what you do.”Stacey has experienced anxiety from early childhood and has tried everything to tackle it, from hypnosis to EMDR therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. “I don’t know life without it,” she says. “The only thing that has helped me over the years is just embracing that it’s a part of me. I genuinely don’t think at this point it will ever go away, no matter how much therapy I have. I’ve admitted to myself that it’s part of my personality.”Stacey’s anxiety is characterised by a fear of death. Hearing about death on the news, or that a distant acquaintance has died, can be a trigger. At times, it’s caused her to experience anxiety attacks.  “If I feel myself getting an anxiety attack now, I have to sit still and play it out through my mind logically,” she says. “I have to think: ‘This will come and this will be awful, but then it will go.’ The more I focus on the fact it will go and it’s not going to be there forever, the easier it is for me to ride though it.’”She still isn’t sure what caused her to question her mortality so often in childhood. She had some respite from anxiety in her teens, when she went through a stage of feeling “immortal and invincible”. But giving birth to Zach at 17 brought back her old concerns – and they’ve been with her ever since. “When I gave birth it was such a trauma and I realised how fickle life was, because I felt really out of control,” she says. “I thought I was going to die.” READ MORE: Edith Bowman: 'In Your 40s, You Have A 'Don't Give A F**k' Attitude' Part of the problem, says Stacey, is that women weren’t taught about the realities of birth 12 years ago, so everything came as a complete shock.  “When I had Zach, I didn’t even know I’d give birth to a placenta afterwards,” she says. “No one said: ‘You’ll probably shit yourself, your baby might poo inside you, you’re going to tear from your bum to your vagina and you won’t be able to wee for about three days afterwards.’” It’s why she’s so passionate about sharing the realities of pregnancy and birth on her Instagram, such as showing her blood-spattered t-shirt and towel after giving birth to her youngest, Rex. She also regularly posts pictures and captions relating to body image, showing her cellulite or loose skin after pregnancy. “Sometimes I sit there and question whether I should put something up because it doesn’t look like everyone else’s pictures,” she says. “But then I think: ‘Surely everyone looks like this, and what is it doing to people when they don’t see it?’” While Stacey’s posts come across as self-assured, she admits she’s still prone to a “crisis of confidence” over her intelligence – more than a decade after hitting our screens on the X Factor. “I’ve felt like my whole life, I’ve had to prove I’m not an idiot,” she says. “I still worry about if people think I’m dumb because of my accent. I’m not stupid – I’m just not from a privileged background and I’m not serious a lot of the time.”Self-doubt can also creep in when she’s honest about her mental health struggles online, because she feels like she’s “supposed to be the happy one” who’s known for smiling and joking. “You can’t just be one thing all of the time,” she says. “But you feel like you have to portray that, because that’s how people characterise you.”READ MORE: Davina McCall’s Life In Lockdown: ‘It Felt Like The World Was Collapsing’ Her tactic for boosting her self-esteem is to ignore all feedback about her – whether it’s good or bad. It’s something she regularly speaks to her boys about, teaching them to follow their passions, rather than be influenced by others. “For example, if I was going to make a unicorn pumpkin that I thought was the best thing since sliced bread, but 50,000 people thought it was ridiculous, the best thing I can do is just put it out there, make it and not even acknowledge anyone else’s opinion, whether it’s good or bad,” she explains.“Then, my opinion is protected in my brain and I can just walk around thinking I’ve done the best thing ever.” At 30, letting go of others’ judgements has helped Stacey feel free and totally herself, even embracing the parts of her personality she’d rather change. “You can’t win,” she says. “You’re either too perfect or not perfect enough, so you can only be you – and unapologetically you.” Ahead of the International Day of the Girl, Stacey Solomon has joined forces with the Dove Self-Esteem Project and body image expert Professor Phillippa Diedrichs to host a special IG Live about the importance of building positive self-esteem in young people at 9pm on 8th October. Tune in on Stacey’s and Professor Phillippa’s Instagrams and find out more  at Dove.com/selfesteem.More From What Works For Me: Rachel Khoo: 'The Pandemic Has Left Me Without Work' Jordan Stephens On Mental Health And Racism: 'Sometimes I Just Want To Burn Everything Down' Evanna Lynch: 'I Was Addicted To People Who Made Me Feel Bad'
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David Attenborough’s latest documentary A Life On Our Planet is yet another harrowing watch. We learn that if the 94-year-old was born in 2020, by the time he’d reach old age, the world would be struggling to grow crops due to the effects of a drastically warming planet.In the TV presenter’s lifetime, he’s had the opportunity to see animals living and thriving in their natural habitats – but as time has gone by, their numbers have dwindled and their habitats have been destroyed. Humans are largely to blame.A Life On Our Planet is his witness statement, and the show – on Netflix from October 4 – will undoubtedly leave people distressed by its revelations. But a climate psychologist argues why this could be – in some ways – a positive thing.In the past few years, therapists have noticed clients increasingly bringing concerns around climate change and the future of our planet into the therapy room. Some people dub the issue ‘eco anxiety’.Therapist and climate psychologist Steffi Bednarek noticed the rise in worries about the planet coincided with the rise in popularity of groups like Extinction Rebellion. We’ve also witnessed horrendous wildfires around the world, animal species disappearing, coral reefs dying out, more extreme weather events and glaciers melting rapidly. It’s impossible to ignore.Related... David Attenborough Reveals Five Sobering Facts About Planet Earth So-called eco anxiety, in very simple terms, is a concern or worry about ecological disasters and the risk to the natural environment. People might have concerns about their own mortality, the mortality of their loved ones, or how the environment will impact their future.It’s not a clinical diagnosis, rather a term used to describe a growing – and warranted – concern among the public for the natural world. This year’s British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) public perception survey included questions on the mental health impact of climate change for the first time.Results from the survey, shared with HuffPost UK, found prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, 8% of those surveyed said climate change and global warming had a negative effect on their mental health “to a great extent”, 18% said it impacts their mental health “somewhat”, and 29% said it impacts their mental health “a little”. On the contrary, 38% said it didn’t impact their mental health at all. Among those who said it impacted their mental health to some degree, which equated to just over half of respondents, 65% were concerned about the impact on the natural world; 63% about increased frequency of natural disasters; 58% were worried about what the world would be like for future generations; and 23% were worried about the collapse of civilisation.BACP’s survey of 5,500 people found those aged 16-34 were most impacted by negative mental health linked to climate change – “[It] makes everything seem a bit pointless doesn’t it?” one person wrote. “Why work until you die for a dying world?”. Fiona Ballantine Dykes, therapist and deputy chief executive of BACP, says this isn’t surprising, as “they’re the ones who’ve got the future to look forward to”. And this was before Covid-19 happened. The pandemic has meant people are even more disturbed, says Bednarek, while struggling to live with uncertainty about what the future brings. People often have many different worries on their plates – and concerns about the planet are just one part of the pie.“I don’t particularly like the phrase eco anxiety,” says Bednarek, “because people don’t just come with fear and anxiety – they come with depression, they come with sleeplessness. Some people feel so strongly, they don’t know what’s worth living for anymore because everything is going to get worse.”Bednarek, who prefers to use the terms ‘eco distress’ or ‘eco despair’, has been a therapist for 16 years. Among her clients experiencing it are often students, young people, lecturers and even journalists – people who research or study climate change and are seeing firsthand how it is impacting the planet. They feel overwhelmed by the thought of it – so they put it to one side, says Bednarek. But then it bubbles up.In her work, she’s come across people who have made drastic, and often heart-wrenching, decisions such as choosing not to have children because of climate change. They then have this “deep grief” for the child or children they won’t have as a result, says Bednarek.What can we do about it?Ultimately, the onus is on political leaders and businesses to make the kinds of changes that can have positive repercussions for the planet – for example, cutting carbon emissions and focusing on sustainable energy. If you have environmental concerns, write to your local MP who can put pressure on those in power to make changes, or pen a note to businesses you think aren’t pulling their weight when it comes to their eco responsibilities.Therapists believe shifts in policy and governments taking concrete action to tackle the problem could have a positive effect on people’s mental health. Ballantine Dykes says there’s a direct link between a lack of autonomy or agency and depression. When people have little control over their lives, they’re more susceptible to feeling low or depressed, she says.Related... 2020 Is Hell. Now The Gin Industry Is Under Threat From Invasive Plant Disease One of the impacts of the pandemic was that, briefly, some areas of the natural world saw some recovery – it’s shown people if there was sufficient will, maybe the issues our planet faces could be slowed. And A Life On Our Planet ends with such a message: we can act now and reverse the damage.If you find yourself overwhelmed mentally by the issues that face our planet, it’s important to remember this isn’t an issue individual to you – you are not alone, nor should you feel alienated by how you feel. It’s important to talk about your feelings with likeminded people. Fear can increase if not spoken about, says Ballantine Dykes. Some might think it’s controversial, but Bednarek doesn’t see ‘eco anxiety’ as a problem to be fixed, as such. She nods to the 38% of people in the survey who weren’t bothered about climate change. “You can ask the question: where does the dysfunction lie? Is the dysfunction with the people who feel the anxiety, or with the people who don’t?”We can’t bury our heads in the sand or try to meditate it away. “We need to treat this differently,” says Bednarek. It’s not so much about refusing the anxiety, but more sitting with it, she suggests. “It’s a sign of health for me. People get distressed when there’s danger because it helps us to mobilise,” she points out.She’ll often work with her clients on how to increase their capacity to feel – and deal – with these strong feelings and still function. Consuming our way out of it isn’t the answer either, she adds, highlighting that buying a bamboo toothbrush won’t do an awful lot. “Yes, of course you should make ethical choices ... but I think it needs to be way more than that.”People get distressed when there’s danger because it helps us to mobilise.Therapist and climate psychologist Steffi BednarekBuilding up, or seeking out, a community of people who feel the same way as you can help you feel less isolated, and also give you likeminded people to discuss your fears with. You can then mobilise – or take action – to help channel your energy into constructive change. Taking action on a local level is another good place to start – this could be raising awareness among your neighbours, joining forces with a local charity or organising a group to do litter-picking in your park (sites like Nextdoor can be a great tool for bringing neighbours together). It’s about asking – and then answering – the question: how can I feel more empowered? How can I use my mind to create solutions to the problems?“I feel that when people are really aligned with that, there’s something incredible that happens,” says Bednarek. As for A Life On Our Planet, the therapist says yes, it’s likely to make people more distressed. “I do think that’s potentially a good thing in order for people to wake up,” she says. “But what’s missing in that is: where do people go when they feel that distress? What’s next? I don’t think that people necessarily need to go to therapy for this. “My hope is that lots of people will watch more programmes like that and more people will allow themselves to feel unsettled, and allow themselves to stay with that feeling of distress long enough to want to take some action.”Related... Sir David Attenborough Meets With Royals To Share A Very Special Gift 5 Disastrous Things You Don't Realise You're Doing To The Environment Petrol Car Ban And Flight Tax: How The Public Think We Should Tackle Climate Change
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Twitter has been hit with accusations of double standards after it tweeted that threatening harm against another person was against its rules following Donald Trump’s positive Covid-19 test.The official Twitter Comms account posted a short statement on shortly after midnight on Saturday, which read: “Tweets that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against *anyone* are not allowed and will need to be removed. This does not automatically mean suspension.”The tweet was issued in response to tweets which appeared to celebrate the fact that Trump had been hospitalised with Covid-19 – but Twitter’s approach has since been fiercely criticised by users who have faced years of abuse and death threats via the platform. The platform has long been accused to failing to deal effectively with hateful messages shared both publicly and privately, with many users – particularly those from minority groups – repeatedly targeted. Author Malorie Blackman was among those to question Twitter’s message, writing: “Weeks of death threats and serious threats against my family when I was Children’s Laureate resulted in Twitter doing bugger all about it. *Side-eyes in Black woman*.”  Weeks of death threats and serious threats against my family when I was Children's Laureate resulted in Twitter doing bugger all about it. *side-eyes in Black woman* https://t.co/pKsvH1OVNu— Aunty Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) October 3, 2020Women’s rights activist and founder of UK-based charity Glitch, which works to tackle online abuse, Seyi Akiwowo tweeted: “Women, Black people, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people on Twitter are sent death threats everyday. Why didn’t you care then?“People have wished covid on Black and Asian communities. Why have you only released this statement after a white straight man in America has Covid?”Women, Black people, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people on Twitter are sent death threats everyday. Why didn't you care then? People have wished covid on Black and Asian communities. Why have you only released this statement after a white straight man in America has Covid? https://t.co/wjKfVvqBul— Seyi Akiwowo (@seyiakiwowo) October 3, 2020Food writer and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe described her legal fight to get hateful messages directed towards her in response to Twitter’s statement, writing: “I lugged six lever arch files to the High Court in 2017 that were almost entirely filled with printouts of tweets that wished or hoped for my death, serious bodily harm and fatal disease.“It took 18 months, £800k of lawyers, and winning a libel case to get some of them removed.”I lugged six lever arch files to the High Court in 2017 that were almost entirely filled with printouts of tweets that wished or hoped for my death, serious bodily harm and fatal disease. It took 18 months, £800k of lawyers, and winning a libel case to get some of them removed. https://t.co/gLj8wfmEDF— Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) October 3, 2020Other users also called out the frequent barrage of hateful comments directed toward minority groups from users on the site, with some sharing their personal experiences of Twitter failing to take action even after reporting messages as abusive. Do you know how many people on here are constantly calling for genocide against Jews or Muslims or Black people or LGBTQ people— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) October 3, 2020Does this also go for Black and Brown women who have long been and continue to be harassed and threatened with assault and death on this platform or nah? I think no. Because I see those same accounts still up. Still causing harm. Your *anyone* is disingenuous. https://t.co/NTFzc93ASs— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 3, 2020Has Twitter seen Twitter? I barely remember any of the barrage of tweets suggesting my sexual assault, violent death or execution being removed. https://t.co/Xp5iDzX4ag— Louisa Loveluck (@leloveluck) October 3, 2020This was your ruling 12 hours ago lol pic.twitter.com/67PI6kg6Mh— William Wilkinson (@willw) October 3, 2020The platform has taken decisive action against some Twitter users who were found to violate site guidelines in recent months, with Katie Hopkins, far-right blogger David Vance and musician Wiley all permanently suspended from the site. While Twitter has been praised for shutting down these accounts, users have urged the site to do much more to protect users – particularly Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people, LGBTQ people, disabled people and women – from abusive messages. HuffPost UK has contacted Twitter for comment. Related... White House Officials Still Aren't Wearing Masks, Even As They Address Trump's Coronavirus When Trump Went After Hunter Biden For His Addiction, He Went After Me Too The 7 Types Of Protester Who Attend An Anti-Lockdown Rally
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Rough sleepers could face a greater risk of violence and the “impossible decision” of catching coronavirus or freezing out on the streets if the government does not provide emergency accommodation in the winter months, a homelessness charity has warned.The number of people sleeping rough is expected to rise dramatically in the coming months, owing to a combination of factors caused or exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.In March, communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced £3.2 million in emergency funding to help rough sleepers to self-isolate, in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19 amongst homeless communities. In a matter of days, the government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme enabled local authorities to place 90% of rough sleepers in emergency accommodation such as hotels and empty apartment blocks.Although it was hailed as a success, the scheme was just temporary. And despite the government’s efforts, rough sleeping in London between April and June this year still increased by 33% compared to the same period last year, while the number of new rough sleepers rose by 77%.If the government does not provide emergency accommodation where people can self-isolate, the consequences of a second coronavirus wave could be deadly for the homeless population, says Matt Downie, director of policy at the homelessness charity Crisis.He described the ‘Everyone In’ scheme as a “unique event in the living memory of anyone who has worked in homelessness”. “It was amazing at the time but what we’ve subsequently learned is there hasn’t been a systematic next step,” he told HuffPost UK. “We’re now at the point where rough sleeping is back.”People are being murdered, people’s tents are being burnt down, people very commonly report having been urinated on in their sleep.Fears of a “tsunami” of homelessness across the country over the winter months have been compounded by the end of the eviction ban on Sep 20 and mass job cuts expected in the aftermath of the end of the furlough scheme at the end of October.Networks that people often rely on, such as spare bedrooms and sofas of friends or family, have also been closed off because of lockdown measures and social distancing restrictions.In communal dorm-style night shelters – which have almost all been shut since the start of the pandemic – it is almost impossible to ensure a Covid-safe environment. Even with infection control measures, these places could easily become centres of virus outbreaks.Rough sleepers could also be more exposed to “unbelievably horrific” violence on the street as a result of the pandemic, Downie added.“People who are sleeping rough often talk about there being safety in crowds and in numbers, that the risk of abuse and attacks is best mitigated if you can be around where the general public is, so there are people walking past or places where there are CCTV cameras.“When the full lockdown happened, the people who were still out on the street did report their environment being a lot more of a scary place to be. There was no one around in the city centre, no police or shopkeepers or the general public.”A report by Crisis has found that rough sleepers are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence. Almost eight out of 10 had suffered some sort of violence, abuse or anti-social behaviour in the past year – often at the hands of a member of the public.“It’s a disturbing element of how homelessness is treated in this country because you see enormous generosity from the general public, but from a particular minority of people really quite unbelievably horrific attacks happen on a regular basis,” says Downie. “People are being murdered, people’s tents are being burnt down, people very commonly report having been urinated on in their sleep.”And while 'Everyone In' did successfully house 15,000 people into emergency accommodation at the start of the pandemic, the scheme ultimately gave the false image that homelessness was an easily solvable issue, according to Jon Glackin, a co-founder of the grassroots group Streets Kitchen."It's bad messaging," he tells HuffPost UK. "People have the impression that all homeless people can get a place in a hotel, it's insane."The charity has called on the government to provide a clear legal requirement and funding for local councils to get people into self-contained accommodation.“We’re facing an impossible situation where either thousands of people are going to be freezing on the streets, or they face the risk of catching coronavirus in night shelters. That’s a false choice because we’ve seen through the ‘Everyone In’ initiative that you can provide safe, self-contained accommodation for people.”“We’re desperately pushing the government to act in the way that it did back in March.”Some campaigners have suggested using empty commercial buildings and office blocks in town and city centres as makeshift shelters this winter.A recent study by the University College London found the ‘Everyone In’ scheme prevented as many as 266 deaths and saved tens of thousands of some of the most vulnerable people from catching coronavirus.Professor Andrew Hayward, a senior author of the UCL study, said the government needed to ensure single-room accommodation stays available for vulnerable people.He said: “We urgently need alternative emergency single-room accommodation so that communal night-shelters are not forced to reopen.”Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst, said: “We took decisive action at the height of the pandemic to protect hundreds of lives by bringing nearly 15,000 of the most vulnerable into safe accommodation.“We are giving over half a billion pounds to tackle homelessness this year to provide longer-term accommodation – including 3,300 homes this year alone - and tailored support so as few people as possible return to life on the streets.“We are working with councils, charities and other partners to protect vulnerable rough sleepers this winter and also as part of our commitment to end rough sleeping for good.”Related... I Spent Three Years Homeless. In This Pandemic, No One Should Be Sleeping Rough Surviving On £7 A Day With Four Children: ‘How The Benefits Cap Is Penalising Single Parents Like Me’ How A 'Design Flaw' In The Universal Credit Algorithm Is Forcing People To Go Hungry
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This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.“I am sorry. When you’ve made a mistake you should apologise. But most important of all, you’ve got to learn from your mistakes…” Sound familiar? Yes, Nick Clegg’s words on tuition fees (apologies but it’s hard to get autotune in print) hang in the air these days as ministers try to show some kind of remorse for the failures on coronavirus.Ahead of the Tory party “conference” and a possibly grim winter, Boris Johnson seemed to be getting his excuses in first in a series of regional TV interviews today. Given that he’s treating Covid as a series of separate local incidents rather than a national crisis, that PR tactic was at least consistent. A cynic would point out that “divide and rule” isn’t quite the “levelling up” narrative he was elected on.Anyway, it was in his interview with BBC London that the PM finally came up with his very first apology for the state of the NHS Test and Trace service. Three long weeks since the public first started complaining in large numbers about delays, Johnson said: “I apologise for the bad experiences that people have had with NHS Test and Trace..”There was of course the inevitable “but”. “..but it is a fact that we are conducting more tests than any other European countries, 20 million people have been tested.” He may or may not have still be suffering from Covid, but the PM certainly has the Gordon Brown Disease of rattling out big numbers that have zero relevance to individual complaints.In his interview with ITV Granada, Johnson finally also gave some clue as to what would free local areas from lockdown, though it was not totally helpful. He said the R number would have to fall below 1, though it’s not entirely clear how that would work, given that R so far seems to be measured for a whole region rather than individual council areas. There was another hint of contrition too: “I totally understand people feel things are inconsistent.” Hmmm.Johnson’s clear fear that the public will hammer him if Christmas is cancelled is also still preoccupying him. Despite having said the Rule of Six is in place for six months, he today even denied to ITV Anglia that families of five would be banned from having two grandparents round for Xmas lunch. “We are not saying that at all. We will do everything we can to make sure that Christmas for everybody is as normal as possible.” More confusion seems to beckon, all because the PM loves to be loved.Perhaps aware of his backbenchers’ growing love for Rishi Sunak’s own line on Covid, the PM also talked about “people learning to live without fear, as the chancellor says”. As it happens, Sunak has had his own attempt at regret in recent days, telling the Daily Express/Blue Collar Conservative conference that he has “apologised to those people” who have “fallen through the cracks” of his policies.“We haven’t been able to help everyone in exactly the way they would have liked,” he said. But there was a “but”, again. “Sometimes it’s just practically very difficult to do. We need to make sure we also protect the taxpayer...What I would say is, even if you haven’t been helped in exactly the way you want, there’ll almost certainly something that we’ve done that could benefit you.” That may not be quite the comfort the self-employed or those losing furlough were looking for.Labour knows it needs to target Sunak as much as Johnson these days (hence those attack ads, and today Bridget Phillipson ridiculing his ‘ego’), not least because if the PM really mucks up the pandemic, the chancellor may be the guy that Keir Starmer faces at the next election.As for the big question of what Labour’s economic policies will look like in 2024, we at least got a bit more clarity today after my interview with Starmer. The Labour leader is famously hard to pin down (as Goggleboxers made plain last week) and on his tax policies there has been more than a bit of fog of late.His characteristic refusal to give a yes or no answer to a question initially seemed to be in evidence. I asked him whether Lisa Nandy was right to suggest last week that his leadership pledge to increase income tax for the top 5% had now been dropped because of the party’s wider opposition to any tax rises during the pandemic.His first answer made me think Nandy was right. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.”We don’t know the full impact on the economy. And the next general election is 2024, so I don’t think it’s prudent at this stage to set out tax arrangements for 2024..” Not exactly a denial of Nandy’s words. So far, so worrying for Labour leftwingers.I asked a second time, had that 5% pledge been overtaken by events? Again, he gave the impression it had. “I don’t think anybody could really say that the last six months hasn’t changed the nature of the challenge but if anything, it’s a bigger challenge now...so the nature and scale of the challenges we now face were not even contemplated in 2019.”It felt like nailing jelly to a wall. Now, I’m a fair journalist and naturally never want to misrepresent anyone (I know, old fashioned habit) so I asked a third time. “So just to be clear, those [Labour members] who voted for you because you pledged the top 5% would be taxed, that was your priority, you’re saying actually look, events change and my response to it needs to change too?” I said.His reply solidified the jelly. “No, they were important pledges, very important pledges in terms of the approach I would take and the priorities I would have as leader of the labour party, and they remain my priorities,” he said. “What I’m saying is, the work and the challenge now is so much more profound than we thought it was in 2019. Or even this year before the pandemic hit. It actually means we might have to be bolder than we might have imagined.”So, that income tax rise for the top 5% remains a priority and is “very important” “in terms of the approach I would take”. And his reference to being even “bolder” leaves open the door for possibly some kind of wealth tax that hits the super rich even harder.That whole policy direction may yet prove surprisingly popular or worryingly toxic. But on a day of half apologies and further obfuscation on Covid, I guess the public may welcome a bit more political clarity on tax.Related... Boris Johnson Finally Apologises For NHS Test And Trace Failings Starmer: Raising Taxes On Top 5% Earners Remains My 'Priority' UK Coronavirus R-Rate Jumps Again To Between 1.3 and 1.6
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US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife have tested negative for Covid-19.It comes days after he debated president Donald Trump, who announced early on Friday he had been diagnosed with coronavirus.Bidne tweeted: “I’m happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for Covid.“Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.” I’m happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for COVID. Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 2, 2020 The former vice president has made something of a lucky escape: on Tuesday night he was in a room with Trump during the first 2020 presidential debate in Cleveland.They were spaced more than six feet apart, but both yelled without face masks in an indoor space – factors that increase the risk of spreading the virus.Trump said on Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive, hours after top Trump aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed with the virus.Hicks had been part of the team travelling with the president for the debate and was seen stepping off Air Force One afterward without a mask. Members of Trump’s family flouted mask-wearing guidelines during the event.Prior to receiving his test result on Friday, Biden expressed his well wishes to the Trumps. Biden campaign officials said they had no prior notification from the Trump campaign about the president’s Covid-19 exposure, and learned about Trump’s diagnosis through news reports.Biden’s campaign has focused on Trump’s failure to protect Americans from the pandemic. The president has for months downplayed the severity of the virus – even as the US death toll topped 200,000, the highest in the world. Trump has pressured states and schools to reopen, spread falsehoods about treatments, held packed campaign rallies and mocked others for wearing face masks.During Tuesday night’s debate, Biden pointed out that Trump rarely wears a face mask in public. Trump responded by ridiculing Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says face masks greatly reduce the spread of Covid-19.This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.Related... The Trumps Have Coronavirus. Here’s What Happens Now Trump Is 'The Largest Driver' Of Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories, Study Finds Trump 'Begins Quarantine Process' After Aide Tests Positive For Coronavirus
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The news that Donald and Melania Trump have Covid-19 and must self-isolate has halved the time the sitting president has to campaign before the election –which is in just 32 days.The couple have been forced to cancel all of their upcoming engagements in order to self-isolate. There is also some question over whether he will be prevented from attending the second presidential debate, set to take place on October 15 in Miami, Florida.But that might not be a bad thing for Trump.While there is no precedent for how a US election could play out amid a pandemic where the president is infected, there is precedent for something else: how the polls have reacted to world leaders who caught and recovered from coronavirus.We took a look at what changed.Boris JohnsonOn March 27, the British prime minister became the first major world leader confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus. He was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on April 5 and discharged a week later, after spending three nights in intensive care.A YouGov poll on the PM’s approval ratings suggested a clear surge of support from the public after news broke of his condition. When asked: “Do you think that Boris Johnson is doing well or badly as PM?”, 46% of those surveyed said they believed he was doing well before he was infected. That number jumped 20 points to 66% by April 13 – an all-time high in approval ratings, even though he had not done a single day’s work since the previous poll.Quick note. Johnson did experience a surge in favourability when he was ill but it’s worth remembering he was very very ill. I’d avoid snap judgements on this one - sorry if that’s boring. pic.twitter.com/MG8k4EZuEj— Keiran Pedley (@keiranpedley) October 2, 2020A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI showed similar results, reinforcing the idea that the country “rallied” around the PM as his symptoms worsened. By mid-April, the majority (51%) of Britons had a favourable opinion of Johnson, up 17 points from early March.  The same study also suggested support for Johnson translated to an increase in support for his party: 39% of the public had a favourable view of the Conservative Party, up compared to 32% a month before.But pollsters have been quick to note that the Conservatives had already been enjoying a strong lead well before Johnson fell sick. Opinium/Observer polls taken in April showed 55% of the public would vote for the Conservatives – almost exactly the same (54%) as in March.  No, Boris Johnson catching coronavirus did not prompt a surge of support for the government. The surge had already taken place by 23 March - 4 days before the PM announced he had COVID-19 https://t.co/DHPyOsnm6fpic.twitter.com/BVkastVkET— YouGov (@YouGov) October 2, 2020Similarly a YouGov survey taken just before Johnson was taken to hospital showed the Conservatives (52%) were already far ahead of Labour (28%). Two weeks later, that number stayed roughly the same (Conservatives 53%; Labour 32%). Jair BolsonaroThe Brazilian president first announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 on July 8, after months of publicly flouting public health guidelines and dismissing the virus as a “little flu”.Brazil has suffered tragically since the start of the pandemic and is the second-worst Covid-hit country in the world, with almost 145,000 deaths to date. But the polls seem to indicate that public support for Bolsonaro has only increased since July. A Datafolha poll taken in August found 37% of those surveyed viewed his government as great or good, compared to 32% in June – making it his highest approval rating since he first took office at the beginning of last year.Very few world leaders have tested positive for coronavirus, but the ones who have – Brazilian Pres. Jair Bolsonaro and British PM Boris Johnson, both right-wing populists like Trump – saw their approval ratings rise dramatically after testing positive: pic.twitter.com/wEuwj6pRn6— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) October 2, 2020Recent polls show his popularity has not wavered in the months since he first contracted the illness. Political pundits say the rise in his political favourability could be due to Bolsonaro’s quick and full recovery from coronavirus, which appeared to bolster his dismissals of the virus and helped strengthen his image as a “superhuman messiah”.Donald TrumpSo will the surge of public support seen in the case of Bolsonaro and – to a lesser extent – Boris Johnson also apply in the case of Donald Trump? Only last week did Trump tell Americans not to worry about Covid-19 because “it affects virtually nobody”. If he recovers, could Covid-19 win Donald Trump a second term in the White House?The problem is there just is no comparison that can be made between Trump and Johnson or Bolsonaro, according to Joe Twyman, co-founder of Deltapoll.“We just don’t know,” he tells HuffPost UK. “And anyone who’s making any conjecture is simply speculating.”The crucial difference here is timing – we are right in the heart of an election cycle in the US – Twyman explains. “We all know from years of looking at the polls that people answer questions around voting intention very differently when there actually is an election coming up at the moment,” he said.“There are very good and clear arguments for why it might have an impact in one way or the other – or why it might not have an impact at all, but the point is we just don’t know. “Anyone who claims to know what’s happening is either ignorant of how public opinion works, or using that for political reasons – or probably both.”There is something else to consider, however: the impact of stopping Trump from putting his foot in his mouth.The only national poll on American voting intentions to be conducted fully after the debate – by Change Research for CNBC – had Biden leading by 13 points, compared with nine points two weeks previously from the same pollster.If that’s a result of Trump’s debate performance, which saw him criticised for repeatedly interrupting both Biden and the moderator, as well as casting doubt on the validity of the election itself, then forcing him to stay out of the public eye could be good for him.Related... 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Boris Johnson has apologised for the “bad experiences” people have had with NHS Test and Trace after weeks of failings in the service.The prime minister said he took “full responsibility” for the underperformance, which Labour blames for the government “losing control” of Covid-19 amid a spike in infections which has prompted new restrictions.Johnson has in recent weeks repeatedly attempted to defend NHS Test and Trace and its boss, the Tory peer Baroness Dido Harding, from “unseemly” attacks.But the service again saw a fall in its contact-tracing rate last week, which was for the 14th week running below (at 71.6%) the 80% figure the government’s scientific advisers have said is needed to make the entire policy viable. HuffPost UK has also heard stories of people being told to travel hundreds of miles for tests, including a Somerset mum who was told to go to Northern Ireland.The PM, who recently attempted to claim testing and tracing had “very little or nothing to do with the spread and transmission” of coronavirus, told BBC London: “Of course there are people who’ve had bad experiences and I apologise for the bad experiences that people have had with NHS Test and Trace but it is a fact that we are conducting more tests than any other European countries, 20 million people have been tested.“Yes, it is true that in London, it’s not been as fast as elsewhere but we are seeing a rise in cases now, alas.“Because we came together as a country, we got the numbers down and I’m afraid some of the muscle memory has faded.” He added: “I, of course, take full responsibility for everything the government has done.”The PM meanwhile suggested he might ease the rule of six to allow families to be together at Christmas.Asked by ITV Anglia whether he was telling families of five they could not have both grandparents over for Christmas lunch, Johnson said: “We are not saying that at all, we’ll do everything we can... to make sure that Christmas for everybody is as normal as possible.”  Meanwhile, Johnson told his father, Stanley Johnson, he should wear a face covering in confined spaces, after the 80 year-old was pictured shopping without a mask. Asked by BBC Points West what advice he would give Johnson senior, the PM said: “Well the same advice as I would give anybody in my family, anybody in this country – follow the guidance – hands, space, face, wear a mask if you’re in a confined space and get a test if you have symptoms; rule of six people do understand. “I do think that it will work and we will start to see progress but it does rely on people doing it together.”Related... NHS Test And Trace Contact Tracing Rate Drops Again It's Now Illegal Not To Self-Isolate If You Are Contacted By Test And Trace In England This Symptom Could Be The Most Reliable Sign You Have Covid-19 5 Fibs You Were Told This Week
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Donald Trump is in “good spirits” after testing positive for coronavirus, the White House has said.The president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told reporters on Friday that Trump has “mild symptoms” of Covid-19 after his positive test was confirmed in the early hours.Trump announced his diagnosis in a tweet following a positive test from one of his closest aides.Meadows said: “As all of you know, the president and the first lady tested positive for Covid-19. They remain in good spirits. The president does have mild symptoms.“And as, as we look to try to make sure that not only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the American people.“He continues to be not only in good spirits, but very energetic. We’ve talked to a number of times this morning. I got the five or six things that he had tasked me to do, like I do every single morning. And he he is certainly wanting to make sure that we stay engaged.”Hope Hicks returned a positive test on Thursday, with Trump later tweeting: “@FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”Trump, 74, is now experiencing “mild symptoms” of the virus which can notably cause fever, a cough and a loss of smell or taste.US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell also said that he spoke to the president by phone on Friday and found Trump to be in “good spirits”.“He’s in good spirits and we talked business,” McConnell said in a statement on Twitter, adding that the two discussed the Senate confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.“Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve,” McConnell added.UK prime minister Boris Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care following his own positive test, has expressed his best wishes to Trump and first lady Melania, who also tested positive.Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis is the latest among world leaders, with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier also falling ill.While waiting for the results of his test following Hicks’ diagnosis, Trump said he had found it difficult to socially distance while meeting members of the armed forces.He told Fox News: “It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with the marines, and with the police officers, I’m with them so much.“And when they come over to you it’s very hard to say: ‘Stay back, stay back’ you know, it’s a tough kind of a situation, it’s a terrible thing.”He added: “They come over to you and they want to hug you and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them and you get close and things happen.”This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Related... How Trump's Age And Weight Make Him Vulnerable To Coronavirus The Trumps Have Coronavirus. Here’s What Happens Now These Are The People Trump Has Been In Close Contact With This Week
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Keir Starmer has insisted that his priority at the next election will be to hike taxes for the top 5% of Britons and signalled that he may go even further in squeezing the very richest.In an interview with HuffPost UK, the Labour leader moved to quash suggestions that he had abandoned his leadership pledge to jack up income tax on anyone earning over £80,000.Although the party has a current policy of opposing government tax rises during the pandemic, Starmer said that if he became prime minister in 2024 he may have to “be bolder than we imagined” to rebalance the UK’s economy and invest in public services.In the interview, he also: responds to Gogglebox viewers’ criticism of him, saying Boris Johnson is “governing by hindsight”;says that, unlike the PM, he “won’t be complaining” about his salary, housekeepers and nannies if he gets into No.10;defends the BBC and says shadow ministers were wrong to say it played any part in Labour’s 2019 defeat;reveals he ‘passed’ unconscious bias training;admits his wife does more of the housework but says during lockdown he’s been “hoovering the stairs”.During his leadership campaign earlier this year, the first of Starmer’s 10 “pledges” to Labour members was “to increase income tax for the top 5% of earners, reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax and clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly of large corporations”.He was, however, careful to avoid committing himself to the last manifesto’s detailed promises, which were to create a 45p tax rate for earners over £80,000 and 50p for those over £150,000.Since the coronavirus crisis, Labour has developed a policy of opposing any tax rises, believing that they would harm any recovery and hit people on average incomes.Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy last week suggested Starmer’s first pledge had been scrapped as a result of the new opposition to any Tory tax hikes.But when asked directly by HuffPost UK if his leadership pledges had changed, Starmer replied: “No, they were important pledges – very important pledges – in terms of the approach I would take and the priorities I would have as leader of the Labour party, and they remain my priorities.“What I’m saying is, the work and the challenge now is so much more profound than we thought it was in 2019. Or even this year before the pandemic hit. It actually means we might have to be bolder than we might have imagined.”The reference to “bolder” solutions may spark fresh speculation that Labour is considering a “wealth tax” at the next election, which would target the assets rather than just the income of the very richest.A YouGov survey in May suggested that 61% of the public would approve of a wealth tax for those with assets of over £750,000.A new book by journalist Owen Jones revealed that the £80,000 salary target was set by John McDonnell in 2017 because internal polling showed that many people on lower incomes thought they might be earning £60,000 in five years’ time but no one thought they would hit the £80,000 limit.Starmer added: “The next general election is in 2024, so I don’t think it’s prudent at this stage to set out tax arrangements for 2024, when we don’t know the size of the debt, we don’t know the damage that has been done.“And we haven’t yet set out what the strategic priorities will be for the next Labour government. So that’s the kind of work that will necessarily have to be done closer to the election. We will then set it out in full detail and in a costed way.“We’re going to have to confront a completely different world, where the economy is going to take a massive hit. The fragility of our public services has been completely exposed.“One of the reasons I think that we have fared so badly in the UK is because of the effect of austerity and the fragility of our economy. We’ve got to face up to that. We’ve got to rebuild in a better way.”The Labour leader said that he didn’t have “any problem” with publishing his tax returns, as Jeremy Corbyn had done, and suggested that Boris Johnson should follow suit. The PM has failed to do so, despite having done so before he became a cabinet minister.Asked about reports in The Times recently that Johnson was “struggling” on his £150,000 salary and was worried about being able to afford a nanny and to live without a housekeeper, Starmer said he would not be “complaining” if he got into No.10.“I didn’t know whether any of that was true or whether it was spun by others. If it is true it doesn’t reflect well on the prime minister,” he said.“Look, my plan between now and 2024 is to make sure we are in No.10 and I won’t be complaining when I get there.”Gogglebox verdictGogglebox last night had Keir Starmer bang to rights. Watch every second of this. pic.twitter.com/bjfl0AiaLP— Ben (@BenJolly9) September 26, 2020Starmer also responded for the first time to Labour voters on Channel 4’s Gogglebox show, who last week ridiculed his position of supporting the government on coronavirus without having his own alternative plans. One family said he was “a lot of wind”, one that he had to stop being “Captain Hindsight”, while others were confused which party he stood for.Starmer said he had watched the show and insisted that he would not be changing his stance of supporting some government pandemic measures while challenging them where necessary.“You’ve got to take all this on the chin. Frankly if you can get through my household with my kids not taking anything I do seriously, then you can take Gogglebox. This is all part and parcel of being leader of a political party. It’s perfectly open to everybody to challenge, laugh, joke, cajole. All of my friends and family do it to me all of the time, so I’m pretty used to it.“Some people do think that if you’re the opposition you should oppose everything the government does. I don’t agree. I think in a crisis like this pandemic there are some issues where we need to support what the government is doing. That’s why we supported national lockdown, that’s why we supported restrictions. We also supported the furlough scheme.“Actually the government’s complaint against me is that we are doing too much challenging – they don’t like it. But we are challenging them in areas where they need to be challenged and where the challenge can actually bring around some change.”Asked about the advice from Gogglebox’s Sophie Sandiford that he should tell the prime minister: “Don’t call me Captain Hindsight, call me Bruce Foresight”, Starmer said: “Actually, if you look at what we’ve done over the past few months, we have flagged up in advance what the problem is going to be.“The prime minister has ignored it and walked into the problem, then when he’s realised where the problem is he’s blamed everyone else for hindsight. He’s governing by hindsight. He’s always looking back at the car crash and wondering how he got into the problem.”‘Structural inequalities’Starmer, who has been criticised by some Black members of the party for his handling of Black Lives Matter issues, said that he had learned more about himself after unconscious bias training this summer.Asked if he had “passed” the test, he said: “Yes that’s the way to describe it.” But he added: “On its own it’s obviously not enough because we have got structural inequalities baked into almost every part of the system and we need to be more understanding. Eradicating structural inequality has to be a defining cause of the next Labour government.”He also said that Labour would tackle the educational inequality that saw white working class boys rank lowest of any group in getting into university.“It’s not just university, it’s through schooling as well. Of course we have to address it. Wherever we see inequality we have to address it in terms,” he said.“Put your money into young people, put your money into zero-to-five SureStart, have adequate housing and facilities for people.“You can see it across the country. I have it in my constituency where inequality starts so young. If you don’t invest there, then trying to sort out the inequality 10, 20, 30 years down the line is so much more difficult.“You have to start at the very beginning. That’s why SureStart was such an important part of what the last Labour government did.”The BBCStarmer also defended the BBC, after Andrew Marr said this week that it was “in a dangerous place” given the speculation about the future of the licence fee. And he condemned Labour activists who booed Laura Kuenssberg during the election campaign.“I think the BBC is really important – has got incredible services and programmes on it, including the World Service. I don’t subscribe to this view, whether it’s the BBC or anyone else, of attacking journalists asking difficult questions. It’s a really important part of accountability.”Asked whether he agreed with shadow minister Andy McDonald who said that the BBC had “played a part” in Labour’s loss last December, Starmer replied: “No, I don’t. [...] You don’t turn around and start blaming the electorate or other people – you look in the mirror and ask yourself: ‘What did we do wrong?’ We need to learn that lesson as a party if we are going to get from where we are now to where we need to be in 2024.”Starmer also rejected suggestions that he was destined to become like Neil Kinnock, rebuilding the party after a shattering defeat but not managing to win an election. He said he would “own” the next four years, rather than referring to the past.“I don’t know how many times I have to say that I’m not a past Labour leader. People are forever trying to get me to hug a past Labour leader, or be that person. We can learn from all of them but I’m not any of them.“I’m deeply conscious, and this is really serious for me and for the party, that the next stage of the journey is for us. It’s for us in the circumstances as they confront us, the circumstances framed by the pandemic but obviously with the context of huge cuts to public services, austerity, baked-in injustice. That part of the journey is for us.“And this leadership team and this party has to own those next four years and therefore pointing back to what other people did is helpful where you can draw lessons from that – but actually this is for us. We have to accept that responsibility and what happens the next four years will reflect on us and not on anybody else.”Handling lockdownAsked about how he had handled lockdown this year, and whether he had done his fair share of household duties, Starmer replied: “I would say yes, but you need to double check that with my wife. She would say no.“But have I been the one hoovering the stairs? Yes, I have. And dealing with the bins and that sort of thing. But she does far more than I do.”Put to him that many men had failed to help their partners who had to cope with both extra childcare, housework and their own work, he said: “I think that varies from household to household. Everybody has their own set of arrangements but, as I say, I think I play my part, do my bit. But you’d have to check with my wife!”Related... 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Halloween trick or treating will be cancelled for children in local lockdowns that currently restrict the activities of 16.8m people, Downing Street has confirmed.No.10 said the rules were “clear” and that parents living under restrictions which state that households should not mix will not be allowed to send their kids door knocking on October 31.In areas which are not in local lockdown, children will have to abide by the rule of six.Parents face fines of at least £200 for breaking the rules, which are designed to stop the spread of coronavirus.This means that in practice a group of trick or treating children will have to number five or smaller, as the person answering the door would become part of their group while they hand sweets over or subject themselves to a trick.But Halloween has effectively been cancelled for many children living in local lockdowns in cities like Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester, with rules varying across the country.Asked about whether Halloween trick or treat could take place, a Downing Street spokesperson told reporters: “The rules are clear on household mixing, dependent on whether you are in a local lockdown area or not.“We are clear that everybody needs to follow the rule of six to ensure we can control and try and reduce the spread of the virus.“The rule of six will be asked of the public.”Asked if that meant no trick or treat at all in areas where household mixing is banned, the spokesperson said: “In local lockdown areas we have been clear that households should not mix.“Anywhere else where there isn’t a local lockdown, the rule of six applies.”In areas where households are allowed to mix but the rule of six applies, children should mitigate against the threat of coronavirus infection, the spokesperson suggested.They said: “The guidance is clear in terms of what we are asking the public to do in terms of making sure they abide by the rule of six, and making sure that they continue to wash their hands, making continue to try and socially distance where possible and use mitigations where that isn’t possible.”The spokesperson also confirmed: “It’s correct parents will be fined if children meet in more than groups of six children.”Related... Here's How To Keep Yourself Safe In Covid Hotspots Keir Starmer Talks To HuffPost UK About Lockdown, Covid And Taxes Nicola Sturgeon Calls For MP Margaret Ferrier To Resign Over 'Indefensible' Covid Breach Ministers Ignored Plea To Lock Down London Because It's A Labour City, Hints Sadiq Khan
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“Hello, Guru. I’m Sima, from Mumbai,” she said when we spoke for the first time, months before my date on the second episode of Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking. I was having my marriage consultation with Sima Taparia, who is touted as Mumbai’s top matchmaker. I connected with her after replying to an advertisement on Backstage.com, a casting site for film, television and entertainment jobs. Though I was a lawyer working at a firm in Manhattan, I took theatre classes for fun on the weekends, and visited Backstage.com occasionally to check out acting gigs in New York. The listing sought participants for a docuseries centred around singles paired by an elite Indian matchmaker. I applied and got cast, but the episode I eventually appeared in did not come close to covering what I experienced. As a single, American, millennial lawyer working at a white shoe firm in Manhattan, I never thought I’d use an Indian matchmaker to find a partner. American culture emphasises the importance of the individual and made me think that the primary responsibility of choosing a partner rested with me. Arranged marriages, which involve the family in the selection process, reflect Asian culture’s emphasis on the “we.” Hiring someone to help find me a spouse sounded like a personal failure ― it would mean I lacked the swag to do it on my own. My parents didn’t expect me to have an arranged marriage either. Even though my mom was from Guyana and my dad was from India, they met without a matchmaker. Seeing the listing challenged my views. It made me wonder whether using an elite matchmaker could be better than relying on the matching algorithms of dating apps. I remembered being resistant to yoga as a kid so that I could better assimilate into American culture, only to feel surprised when yoga ended up proliferating in America after being embraced by the dominant culture. I questioned whether my resistance to arranged marriages was similarly influenced by xenophobic views about Asian cultural practices and if I was ruling out something that could actually benefit me.I applied to be on the show and felt more confident about doing so after learning more about the production team and feeling those involved had legitimate experience in filmmaking. Smriti Mundhra, one of the lead producers, had directed a well-reviewed documentary called “A Suitable Girl,” which followed women preparing to participate in arranged marriages in India. Still, I didn’t tell anyone I was going through the process because I figured that most people would judge me negatively for applying to be on a reality dating show. Once I heard back from the producers, I underwent hours of interviews and a rigorous psychological screening. Then, after months of hearing nothing, I received a call to schedule a telephone meeting with Sima. I was excited to chat with her and genuinely curious to see what all the hype was about. I instantly became self-conscious as I wasn’t sure how my choices would be portrayed by the production company. I wondered if I’d come across as ageist if Sima excluded women of a certain age from my search or if I’d look like a jerk if I had a preference for my partner’s height.Our call started out warm and informal. It actually felt like a relief to have someone want to help me find a partner. But, as soon as we started to get into details about what I wanted, I struggled.Sima asked me if I had any age, height or educational preferences and whether I was okay with someone who was a vegetarian, drank alcohol or had kids. I instantly became self-conscious as I wasn’t sure how my choices would be portrayed by the production company. I wondered if I’d come across as ageist if Sima excluded women of a certain age from my search or if I’d look like a jerk if I had a preference for my partner’s height. I wondered if I’d be portrayed as elitist for preferring a partner who held a degree from a high-ranking university. I noticed that Sima did not include persons with disabilities.I found myself running into a wall as I tried to figure out if it was possible to take an intersectional approach to reviewing the dating profiles. I wanted to decentre norms around ethnic, religious, and economic statuses and make a holistic choice about my match, but the biodata ― or biographical information about my matches ― was flimsy and shorter than a resume.As we continued chatting, I could tell Sima was also asking questions to determine my suitability as a partner. We discussed whether my parents were still together, what their religions were, and their ethnicities. I had never encountered these kinds of questions on a dating app and I had mixed feelings about answering them. When I said my parents were divorced, I felt less-than for not being in an intact nuclear family, something that was totally out of my control. When I told Sima my father was Sikh and my mother was Hindu, I wondered why the faith of my parents mattered. Even though it may be easier to create a relationship between two people where both of their families are of the same or similar faiths, I was wary of having my personal views on God subsumed by the religious practices of my family and ancestors. Talking with Sima about my ethnic and caste preferences also forced me to consider whether wanting to marry someone of the same ethnicity was problematic. After my chat with Sima, the producers provided with me with the biodata of a woman who lived in California and they offered to fly me and my mom to meet her. One of the producers sent me a contract that I needed to sign in order to move forward. The contract would have required me to sign away the rights to my image, in perpetuity, without compensation. I spoke to a lawyer and a few lawyer friends, and they all advised me against moving forward. I contacted the producers and tried to back out the show. They wanted me to stay on. They insisted the show was a docuseries, not reality TV, and that I had nothing to worry about because the other single professionals on the show were comfortable participating. I didn’t think I’d be able to be as vulnerable about dating as I wanted and was concerned about how they’d portray my mom too. I declined to move forward and didn’t hear from the producers for months. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from a producer practically begging me to go on a date for the show. The producer told me I would be meeting Nadia, a Guyanese American, and promised that the date would be casual, that the team might not even use the footage, and that my portrayal would be handled well. The producer also said the contract I was concerned about was a formality and that I could trust the team. Ultimately, though I was still somewhat wary of what I was getting myself into, I agreed to go on the show. Little did I know I’d end up in the trailer for the show, be featured significantly in one of the episodes, and find myself in the middle of a controversy about a mimosa. Based on the biodata that I received, I learned that Nadia and I were similar ages and ethnic backgrounds, grew up in similar parts of the country and both went to graduate school. But I had never gone on a date with someone without communicating with them at all prior to us meeting. I don’t know whether Indian matchmakers intentionally block matches from talking before meeting, or whether we weren’t allowed to speak to build suspense for the show, but it felt strange. The benefit of online dating is that I could banter via text or have a phone call with someone to figure out whether we had a good rapport. But for my date with Nadia, we didn’t speak at all before we met to film our date. The producers asked me to arrive at the restaurant where the date was being held an hour before it was scheduled to begin. I chatted with the team when I got there but I was nervous and a big part of me just wanted to go home. But then Nadia arrived and the date began. There were cameras on both sides of our table and light reflectors shined in my eyes. Though the date was only a few minutes long on the show, in reality it lasted over 90 minutes. I tried to keep the conversation casual and really concentrated on trying to get to know Nadia. The way the date was edited made it seem like I judged her for ordering a mimosa and for wanting bacon mac and cheese, but, honestly, neither of those choices was a dealbreaker. The episode also made it seem like I was being vague about what I wanted in a partner. The truth is I didn’t want to get into a protracted conversation about my gripes with Sima’s services. At one point I told Nadia that she reminded me of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and she told me she didn’t know who that was, but I said that was OK, and noted that there were probably well-known people that she knew of that I didn’t know about. Still, that exchange, and several others like it, did highlight for me that it didn’t seem like we had a lot in common and we probably weren’t a match. When the date was over, we traded our contact information, but I didn’t move forward, largely because I did not want to give Hollywood producers the right to tell my love story without any of my input. It's hard to gauge whether the overall impression was negative or positive. I posted my reaction video and it generated tens of thousands of views. A mob of mimosa lovers attacked me for judging Nadia over having a drink. People on Twitter claimed I had 'Indian Dad Energy' and that I wore ill-fitting clothes.As the premiere of the show approached, I decided to record my reaction to the episode and taught myself how to use iMovie to do so. The night the show debuted, I set up some lighting equipment in my apartment. Then, when I finally saw the date ― or at least how it was portrayed on the show ― I almost broke down. My friends texted me things like, “Netflix played you” and “they made you look antisocial.” Some of my friends were happy for me, and it’s hard to gauge whether the overall impression was negative or positive. I posted my reaction video and it generated tens of thousands of views. A mob of mimosa lovers attacked me for judging Nadia over having a drink. People on Twitter claimed I had “Indian Dad Energy” and that I wore ill-fitting clothes. Though some friends told me to ignore the negative reactions, I couldn’t help but take the attacks personally. At first, I tried to respond to the negative comments, in hopes of getting my truth out. Though some people became fans, I realised that responding only made sense if it was strategically tied to a social media strategy or objective. For example, a brand can use negative comments to understand customer pain points, reply with a constructive message that drives sales or show responsiveness to customer needs. I’m not a company and on my personal social media profile, I don’t offer a product or a service. I had to think differently about how my replies further my mission and whether or not it was really worth it to respond to negative commenters. But for the most part, my inbox was overwhelmingly filled with support, and I even received messages from single women who said they loved me for not drinking or cutting back on meat. Still, in the period after the show came out, I experienced a flood of emotions, and I struggled to sleep or eat.I reached out to a South Asian therapist. Instead of having a private session with her, I suggested we record our session with a videographer and post it online. I wanted to use my new larger platform to reduce the stigma around therapy and mental health among cis, straight, South Asian men. I talked with her about my experiences with social media trolls, dating, marriage and identity. The video got thousands of views and I received messages from people all around the world thanking me and saying it was courageous of me to open up.As for Nadia and I, we exchanged a few texts before “Indian Matchmaking” premiered but nothing came of our interactions. Since the show aired, the cast has participated in private calls over Zoom, and we’ve all enjoyed getting to know each other. We also continue to chat in a Facebook group. Now that I know the kind of editing that takes place and other manipulations that go on behind the scenes on reality television, I would not audition for another show. I want to be seen and known as someone credible and authentic, and it’s difficult for me to trust anything or anyone I’ve seen on a reality TV show. What’s more, the “appearance release” each participant of “Indian Matchmaking” was forced to sign is non-negotiable and leaves almost no rights to us. The contract essentially assigns image rights to the company in perpetuity, bars the ability to terminate the contract, and gives the production company the right to alter a participant’s image in any way, regardless of how harmful the depiction may seem. I understand that this is common practice for reality TV series, but I personally am not comfortable with signing something like this again. Finally, I’m also disappointed that the producers did very little to help cast members prepare for a possible social media backlash.Sometimes I have regrets about going on the show and wish I had known more about how vulnerable I would be to editing and the producers’ desire to tell a good story. Other times, I wish I had done my date with Nadia differently and maybe even decided to go on a few more to see if anything was there. Once in a while I even daydream about what would have happened if I had been ― and created ― a completely outrageous character for the cameras. I thought the first few episodes of the show were entertaining, largely because of the novelty of seeing an Indian tradition and a South Asian cast represented on Netflix, but I feel the show’s energy waned later in the season. It’s hard for me to objectively talk about the show because I was on it, but I will say that the producers missed opportunities to discuss and explore casteism, homophobia, and ethnocentrism. I believe some of these tough issues could have been broached while keeping the series light and funny. Surprisingly, Indian Matchmaking made me realise my opposition to arranged marriages was based in Western biases. While there are valid criticisms of the practice ― the most significant one being that it’s a form of family control over a child’s choices ― Sima opened my eyes up to the benefit of having a person in your corner trying to find you a match. As I move forward, I’m leaving all options on the table with respect to finding a partner. I believe that a matchmaker who can provide a thorough consultation, involving substantive biodata, would be a strong alternative to online dating. Still, there are limitations to a matchmaker’s strengths. Online dating benefits from network effects, where the number of people participating increases the value of the service. In contrast, a matchmaker is only as good as his or her clientele.My life now is not much different than before, except that I get recognised on the street occasionally. New people I meet are surprised I’m not an awkward mimosa hater. As far as my love life goes, being on Netflix has provided me with a fun story to tell on dates. I now take a more methodical approach to dating and ask questions about marriage, finances, children, family and careers. I’m still excited at the possibility of getting married one day ― you just won’t see it on Netflix. Ravi Guru Singh is a writer and lawyer based in New York City. This article first appeared on HuffPost Personal.Have a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on [email protected] from HuffPost UK Personal Posting To OnlyFans Was The Unlikely Saviour Of My Self-Confidence At 61, I Am Coming To Terms With The Possibility That I Will Always Be Single I Found Love On Naked Attraction
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We’ve all heard of the ‘runny nose test’ – that if your child is sniffing and sneezing, the likelihood is that it’s just a cold and not coronavirus. And now that the weather has changed and autumn is drawing in – not to mention the return to school after six months of homeschooling – we’re likely to find ourselves drowning in a sea of snotty tissues. Grim. But how accurate is the ‘runny nose test’ and when should you worry about keeping your kids at home, self-isolating, or getting them tested for Covid-19?Related... Parents Are Worried That The Covid Lockdown Will Have Affected Their Child’s Development Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, who helped to developed the Covid Symptom Study App believes children with a runny nose and no other symptoms do not have coronavirus – and should not get tested. The government states: “Your child does not need a test if they have a runny nose, are sneezing or feeling unwell but do not have a temperature, cough or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste.”Spector said children under the age of 18 show different symptoms to adults – and even if they’re coughing, they’re far more likely to have a common cold. “Kids really don’t seem to lose that sense of smell and they also don’t seem to get the cough and shortness of breath as much either,” he told The Telegraph. “So it’s a different picture at different age groups.”He said over the next few weeks, while the system is stretched, parents should think carefully about whether it’s appropriate to burden the NHS by getting their child a test. “By all means keep your kid at home, but don’t rush around the country trying to get a test for something that is highly likely to be a cold and not Covid,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. So, a runny nose and a cold means your child doesn’t have coronavirus? Well, Margaret McCartney, a GP, told BBC Radio 4 it isn’t this simple – because a child can have both. She referenced a study published in the BMJ that looked at 651 children under 19 admitted to hospital with Covid-19. The most common symptom in kids was a fever, and then a cough – but there were lots of other symptoms too, one of which was a runny nose. Another study published from Belfast looked at the children of healthcare workers and found almost 7% of children had positive antibodies to Covid-19. Within them, half had no symptoms at all and a third had a fever.“They didn’t find that a runny nose was more likely with Covid,” said McCartney, “but a few children that had Covid-19 did have these symptoms at some point. So it wasn’t a good symptom to tell who had Covid-19 and who didn’t. You could get a runny nose both with Covid-19 and without.”This means having a runny nose doesn’t mean it can’t be coronavirus. “There are no absolutes in medicine,” said McCartney, adding that there are no symptoms that can distinguish clearly between a normal cold in children and coronavirus. In the previous study mentioned, she said 12% of kids who had a runny nose also had Covid-19. She added that the vast majority of kids with a runny nose won’t have Covid-19 because it’s so rare in children – but it’s not a good enough test to know between them, “so we can’t go on statistics alone”. McCartney encouraged parents to go by the government advice: get a test for your child if they’ve got one of the three symptoms: a fever; a new, continuous cough; or a change in their taste or sense of smell. Speaking to HuffPost UK, A&E doctor at King’s College Hospital, Dr Sarah Williams, agreed: “Parents only need to take their children for a Covid test if they have a cough, fever, loss of taste or smell. If they have a runny nose without any of those key symptoms, definitely not. A child may have a cold, but they could also have Covid-19, and therefore present with more symptoms. If you don’t test for it, there’s no way to rule it out.”Related... The Most Common Symptoms Of Covid-19 Reported In Kids McCartney added that parents should avoid sending their children to school or nursery anyway if they’re ill and it’s understandable that parents want to be cautious about sending them back until they’re properly recovered. What are the most common symptoms of Covid-19 in kids?According to the Covid Symptom Study app, more than half (52%) of school-aged children who tested positive for Covid-19 don’t report any of the classic ‘adult’ symptoms we’re used to looking out for – such as a cough, fever, or loss of smell or taste – in the week before and after the test.A third (33%) of children who tested positive for Covid-19 never experienced any of the 20 symptoms listed in the app, which suggests that many children are asymptomatic.   Related... You Can Get Covid-19 And Flu At The Same Time – And It Can Be Deadly Here are the most common signs of Covid-19 in children, according to the Covid Symptom Study app:Signs of coronavirus in childrenFatigue (55%)Headache (53%)Fever (49%)Sore throat (38%)Loss of appetite (35%)Skin rash (15%).And here’s how they compare to the symptoms experienced by adults who tested positive for coronavirus. Signs of coronavirus in adultsFatigue (87%)Headache (72%)Loss of smell (60%)Persistent cough (54%)Sore throat (49%).Related... NHS Test And Trace Contact Tracing Rate Drops Again Your Intense Pandemic Dreams Might Be Helping You – Here's Why Long Covid Isn't Just Leaving People Sick – It's Taking Everything They've Got
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Donald Trump is to start quarantining after close aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus.The US president said he and first lady Melania Trump will begin the “quarantine process” as they await coronavirus test results.Trump tweeted: “Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!“The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!” Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020 Hicks, one of Trump’s closest and most trusted aides, travelled on Air Force One with the president to Cleveland for Tuesday’s presidential debate and to Minnesota for a rally on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.She was photographed leaving Air Force One in Cleveland while not wearing a mask. Hicks, a former model and public relations consultant who previously worked for the Trump Organisation, returned to the White House as Trump’s counsellor in February after resigning in March 2018 from her role as White House communications director. Several White House employees have tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began, including national security adviser Robert O’Brien, vice president Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller and one of Trump’s personal valets.This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Related... Trump Aide Hope Hicks Tests Positive For Coronavirus After Traveling With President: Reports Mike Pompeo Denied Audience With Pope Francis Trump Is 'The Largest Driver' Of Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories, Study Finds
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Keir Starmer has called for council chiefs and mayors in England to be urgently given new powers over both local lockdowns and NHS Test and Trace.Amid a growing revolt among local leaders at fresh restrictions imposed by the Tory government, the Labour leader told HuffPost UK that it was now time for them to be “put in the driver’s seat” in the battle against coronavirus.Starmer said that health secretary Matt Hancock should share decision making with council leaders and metro Mayors, offer cash packages for businesses locked down and end the confusing public health messages.In an exclusive interview, he also demanded a radical overhaul of NHS Test and Trace to prevent it from damaging the reputation of the NHS itself, with local public health teams leading the service rather than Tory peer Dido Harding or private firms like Serco and Deloitte.On Thursday, Hancock unveiled a new ban on different households mixing in pubs or homes in Liverpool City region, Warrington, Teesside and Hartlepool from Saturday.Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said he would “defy the government and we do not accept these measures”, and he was backed up by Hartlepool council leader Shane Moore.Some 57 different areas of the UK, making up a third of the population, are now under tougher restrictions than the rest of the country.Starmer said: “The message to the government is: involve local local leaders, whether it’s council leaders or mayors, much more intensely, and much earlier. Because what’s going on is sometimes consultation, sometimes not.“There’s a massive frustration if you talk to the mayors in Manchester or Liverpool, they’ve not been properly brought into the process and listened to. The same in the northeast with the leader of Newcastle Council, a sense that the decision is being made centrally in London, when they should be in the room as part of the process.“And this isn’t just about another layer of bureaucracy, bringing someone else in. These are people who know their communities. And not only do they know their communities, they’re in very regular contact with the police, with the hospitals and their community groups, and they can put messages across their communities. So they need to be in the driver’s seat, much more central to the process.”He added: “The other part of this is that there’s a huge mismatch now between local restrictions and economic support. So instead of saying, here’s the package of restrictions, here’s the support that goes with it, the second bit isn’t there. Local leaders are a mess of tearing their hair out about what’s going to happen to jobs and businesses on their own patch.“It should be shared decision making. I don’t think local mayors and leaders should have a veto. I don’t think they should make decisions on their own. But they should be a proper part of the process.”On Thursday, NHS Test and Trace again posted worsening contact rates for those who have been close to people who tested positive for Covid.Just 64.3% of contacts were reached in cases handled either online or by private sector outsourced call centres. But the figure was 97.6% for cases handled by council-run local health protection teams.In one of his biggest breaks with government policy since he became leader, Starmer called for the first time for a complete overhaul of the system and that he agreed with Manchester metro Mayor Andy Burnham that it had to now be “locally led”.Labour wants the English system to resemble that in Wales, where the Welsh government meets with council chiefs, shares evidence on cases and positivity rates and where test and trace is not run as a “privatised enterprise”.“I completely understand the concerns that the NHS brand is being associated with test and trace when in fact, it’s been parcelled out, often with contracts to Serco and other companies,” Starmer said.“What the government should have done is to put it locally, months and months ago. Local authority leaders were saying to the government ’they should let us lead on test, trace and isolate.“‘We can do it, we can do it locally, we know our communities, and we’re up for the responsibility’. The government nearly went down that track and did start bringing them in a bit, but still insists on putting the big contracts elsewhere. Big mistake. Compare that with Germany, where they have done it from the local up and you’ve got a much better system.”Asked if that meant the end of a role for firms like Serco and Deloitte, Starmer said: “It should be locally led. I’m not going to say that you should be no involvement of others, but nobody could look at the test, trace and isolate arrangements and think that they’re working, let alone effective, let alone world class.“In a Zoom summit with Labour council chiefs, Starmer was later told by Burnham that the government had just a couple of weeks to give local leaders to put “contact tracing in hands of local authorities” or face a winter of rising ill-health and joblessness.Burnham said “local restrictions must have local support”, adding that “local control of test and trace” was essential. “This is a tough time for any government but to have made mistakes and keep on making them, that is arrogant,” he said.He pointed out that northern areas had been ignored when the “London-centric” decision was made to lift the national lockdown this summer.“We were in a different position and yet they lifted it. From our point of view we’ve never been in a position to keep cases low, they were too high and then we were already in a difficult position, then people were being encouraged to eat out to help out and god knows what.”Newcastle council leader Nick Forbes added that NHS Test and Trace, which this week announced it was replacing an NHS official with a former head of Sainsbury’s, was “privatised and centralised”.Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed agreed that the system now needed “to be local by default” because “the centralised Serco system hasn’t worked”.Welsh government health minister Vaughan Gething said that because its test and trace service was focused on the public sector, it was achieving a high level of contacts, with 91% of cases reached and 83% of their close contacts.Related... 'An Absolute Joke': Somerset Mum Told Only Covid-19 Test Was In Northern Ireland Or Aberdeen NHS Test And Trace Contact Tracing Rate Drops Again Scottish MP With Coronavirus Got Train To London And Back
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London mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested the government ignored his pleas for stricter coronavirus measures in the capital because of party politics.Khan also said ministers lack the humility to change their approach to tackling the outbreak despite it clearly being unsuccessful.When asked why the government had not placed London into lockdown despite his calls for stricter measures, Khan told HuffPost UK: “What the government needs to realise is we’re all on the same side; it’s not a Tory government versus a Labour mayor.“It’s actually all of us on the same side fighting this virus and what I’m saying to the government is: ‘Let’s work together to take preemptive action to avoid the need for a national lockdown.’ I do not want that and it’s really important we do what we can to avoid it.“I think the government has been slow throughout this pandemic. They were slow in February and March – and they tend to be slow now. It’s inexcusable.Khan’s comments come as local leaders in the north of England hit out at the government over lockdown restrictions set to come in on Saturday.Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston has vowed to “defy the government” over the restrictions in his town, accusing ministers of “monstrous ignorance”. His stance was backed by Hartlepool Council leader Shane Moore.Last week, Khan spoke with prime minister Boris Johnson to seek approval of new local lockdown measures in the capital.  That did not happen but London was placed on the government’s coronavirus local lockdown watchlist following a surge in cases – meaning stricter restrictions could be imposed if cases continue to rise.“The government doesn’t appear to be nimble and quick at responding to this virus or have the humility to realise when they’ve got things wrong and change course,” Khan continued.“I’ll continue to engage with the government and work with the government when I can. But the government needs to work with regional and local government across the country to make sure we get a grip on this virus.”Khan wants to break rank and exercise the freedom to impose restrictions in the capital as he sees fit – including a review of the 10pm pub curfew. He added: “What I’m saying to the government is we, the city, want to go as one. So I’m meeting councillors and Public Health England later on. We want to take preemptive action so, for example, so I think the 10pm curfew isn’t working.“It’s counterproductive when I see the numbers of people outside bars, restaurants and nightclubs after 10pm – not only is the increase not being decelerated it actually could be getting worse.”Khan was speaking on Thursday as an independent report he commissioned was published, revealing the stark inequalities that have led to a disproportionate impact of the virus.It found that Black people are at almost twice the risk of dying from Covid-19 than White people and mortality rates from the virus are three times higher for men in lower-paid, manual roles.As campaigners urge the government to ramp up measures to protect Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities who are being disproportionately affected by the virus, ministers stand accused of not caring about marginalised groups.Khan said he understands the concerns.“I think the government’s got to walk the walk. Sometimes they talk the talk,” he said. “The reality is Black people in our country tend to work more in manual jobs than office or managerial jobs so what we’ve seen over the last few months is even though the government were forewarned about the potential disproportionate impact of Covid-19, no action was taken.“So I understand why Black Londoners and Black people across the country think the government doesn’t care about them. “The reason why I published the report today is we now know we’re into a second wave. It’s possible to give the government the benefit of the doubt about not realising the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 in the first wave. This report being published today with recommendations that I’ve sent to the government means there can be no excuse if we see, over the next few weeks and months, a disproportionate impact on Black people.”Since the first wave, the ethnicities of hospital deaths are being recorded and occupational risk assessments are being undertaken so frontline workers with underlying health conditions are placed at risk in their line of duty.But there’s a lot more that needs to be done.“The issues that affect the structural racism that exists haven’t been addressed and the government seems to be hesitant to accept there’s a problem and if you can’t accept there’s a problem, you can’t take action,” the mayor said.“My fear is amplified by the fact that we know we’ve entered a recession but also if we’re not careful this recession will be extremely deep and having lived through the 1980s where Black people suffered disproportionately with mass unemployment I worry about another generation being written off in the 2020s like they were in the 1980s.”The report also revealed that the pandemic has negatively impacted disabled Londoners who reported increased difficulties performing practical tasks such as shopping for groceries, as well as accessing up-to-date health information about the virus.Concerns were also raised around the lack of guidance available in accessible formats, including in the government’s daily press briefings which did not always feature British sign language interpreters.Almost four in five (79 per cent) of LGBTQ+ people said their mental health had been negatively impacted by the lockdown, and many young LGBTQ+ people have reported feeling unsafe in their current housing conditions.The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester and co-authored with the University of Sussex and The Ubele Initiative, the London based social enterprise. Reflecting on the past seven months, Khan added: “Londoners have made monumental sacrifices over the last few months and I’m very grateful for them doing so. But we’ve also suffered more than 8,000 deaths and a number of people losing their businesses and jobs. So, the health and economic crisis are linked.” Related... This Is The Sheer Chaos Unleashed By Last-Minute Local Lockdowns Middlesbrough Mayor Vows To ‘Defy’ Matt Hancock’s New Lockdown Measures Merseyside Placed Under Stricter Lockdown Rules, Announces Matt Hancock London Should Face Fresh Lockdown By Monday, Khan Says
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Boris Johnson’s test-and-trace service has seen another fall in its contact-tracing rate as the number of people testing positive soared across England.The figures for the week of September 17 to September 23 showed that just 71.6% of “close contacts” of Covid cases were reached by the system.For the 14th week running, the figure is below the 80% figure that the government’s scientific advisers have said is needed to make the entire policy viable.In line with the September surge in cases, NHS Test and Trace reported 31,373 people testing positive for the first time – a 61% week-on-week increase and four times as high as the number at the end of August.But the service’s performance has gone backwards on the percentage of people it reached, dropping to 71.3% from 80.8% the week before.And on the key proportion of the “close contacts” of those fed into the system – defined as someone who was less than two metres from someone with Covid for more than 15 minutes – just 71.6% were reached, down from 76.3% the previous week.The news came as it emerged that Deloitte, a private firm used by NHS Test and Trace, was trying to sell its services to local councils. Testing turnaround times did improve, although they remain well short of the 100% target set by the PM for the end of June.In the week to September 23, 38.1% of in-person tests – from local test sites, mobile testing units and regional test sites – were received within 24 hours compared to 28.2% in the previous week.That still means that only four in 10 of such tests get results within the timeframe set by Johnson.For all routes combined, 16.9% of tests from all test sites were received within 24 hours of a test being taken compared to the record low of 10.3% in the previous week.Figures for home testing kits continue to be low, with just 2.9% of people in England receiving their result within 24 hours, up slightly from 1.8% in the previous week.The stark difference in public sector and private sector contact tracing rates was once again highlighted.For cases handled by local health protection teams, 97.6% of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate, whereas the figure was 64.3% for cases handled either online or by private sector outsourced call centres.Government insiders say that the low contact trace figures are explained partly by the shift from hospital and care home cases – termed “complex cases” – towards community transmission, where it is more difficult to identify and trace people.The latest figures don’t take into account the launch of the NHS Covid-19 App, which aims to improve contact rates among people who don’t know each other.Ministers prefer to use a different definition for contact tracing than Sage (the scientific advisory group for emergencies), highlighting those cases “where communication details were available”. On this measure, 83.7% were reached and asked to self-isolate up to September 23.Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “For the proportion of people being contacted to drop by nearly 10% in a week is appalling and really should not be happening at this point.“Whilst some areas have improved, we are still a million miles away from the promise made by Boris Johnston back in June that the majority of people would have their test results back within 24 hours.“And on the day it is revealed Deloitte, who are contracted by the Government to run test and trace, are trying to sell their contact tracing services to local councils, it is clearer than ever that their time would be better spent improving the huge issues in the existing system.”However, health secretary Matt Hancock defended Deloitte, saying they “have done an incredible job in helping us to put together the contact tracing and the backward contact tracing that we have”. “Of course they should offer their services to local councils too,” he said.29,037 people were transferred to the contact tracing system betweenSeptember 17 and September 23, a notable increase of 37% compared to the previous week.The Department of Health and Social Care said the number of people transferred has been “notably increasing” since the beginning of August with over six times as many people being transferred in the most recent week compared to the beginning of August.NHS Test and Trace boss Dido Harding revealed this week that former Sainsbury’s supermarket chief executive Mike Coupe is to take over as director of testing at the service from late October.Sarah-Jane Marsh, an NHS official who apologised for delays to the public earlier this month, will step aside to make way for Coupe.Related... NHS Test And Trace Appoints Sainsbury’s Boss To Run Testing, Leaked Email Reveals More Than 170 People Test Positive For Coronavirus At Cornwall Meat Packing Plant Long Covid Isn't Just Leaving People Sick – It's Taking Everything They've Got This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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As Pres. Trump repeatedly interrupts Joe Biden, Biden says, "Will you shut up, man?""That was really a productive segment, wasn't it?" Biden says sarcastically. "Keep yappin', man." https://t.co/5Bl4Ob3O2t#Debates2020pic.twitter.com/XvNahLC1Rm— ABC News (@ABC) September 30, 2020“Would you shut up, man?” Biden asked Trump after the president repeatedly interrupted Biden’s response to a question about expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court. Wallace asked the president at least 25 times to stop interrupting and obey the debate rules. Eventually, though, Wallace effectively paused the debate and begged the candidates to stop interrupting each other. (Clearly, his shouts of “Gentlemen, please!” in the midst of the melee were pointless.) “The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions,” Wallace said before directly asking Trump to keep things civil. “I’m appealing to you, sir, to do it.”The rapid-fire interruptions throughout the night even got etiquette experts talking. “Look, I know the realm of politics isn’t known for its politeness, but the incessant interruptions by the president ― both of the moderator and of his opponent ― was a disturbing spectacle to witness,” said Thomas P. Farley, an etiquette expert and host of the podcast “What Manners Most.”“I think the president’s steadfast refusal to await his turn or to resist voicing a complaint was probably a turn-off for any viewer who had tuned in eager for a substantive debate over the very real issues facing the United States,” Farley told HuffPost. People interrupt either as a classic bullying technique, combined here with Trump with low-impulse control, or an inability to cognitively follow the other person’s train of thought, thereby using interruption to mask this lack of comprehension.Jodi R.R. Smith, owner of an etiquette consulting firmJodi R.R. Smith, owner of an etiquette consulting firm, couldn’t help gaming out how Biden’s camp should handle the next debate to keep things more civil. “If I was asked to advise the Biden team, I would recommend a [pre-debate meeting] with the moderator that has specific ‘if-then’ arrangements,” she mused. “If he interrupts during my responses, then his microphone will be turned off.” If he interrupts repeatedly, the other person should be given additional time to respond, starting when the opponent is silent, she said. We asked etiquette experts like Smith and Farley ― and one family psychologist, for good measure ― to share how to talk to a chronic interrupter without losing your mind. If you know you’re dealing with a repeat interrupter, plan for the worst. Whether you’re dealing with an angry client, your partner, a snooty friend of a friend or your know-it-all college-aged son, if you’ve gotten into it with the person before, you know what to expect: more impossible conversation and lots of interruptions.With your experiences in mind, stage as much as possible in advance and prepare yourself, said Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas.“Going into the conversation, find a neutral place to talk, speak for short bursts rather than monopolising the conversation and avoid an aggressive tone of voice,” she said. “Be open to listening to their point of view and watch your body language so you don’t send the message that you are closed to hearing their message.” Recognise why they’re interrupting so often and don’t fall into the same trap. Consider this the “know thy enemy” pointer: Generally speaking, motives for interrupting can be classified into two categories, Smith said.“People interrupt either as a classic bullying technique, combined here with Trump with low-impulse control, or an inability to cognitively follow the other person’s train of thought, thereby using interruption to mask this lack of comprehension,” she said. We all want to be of a calm, steady mind and express our thoughts and feelings coherently, but sometimes the excitement involved in the conversation gets the best of us. That’s when interruptions happen, said Ryan Kelly, a psychologist in Charlotte, North Carolina.“Someone who is interrupting you is likely coming from an emotional state, whether it be through something harmless like excitement (e.g., someone with ADHD finishing your sentences) or something harmful like disrespect or emotional reactivity (e.g., pride, anger),” he said.What’s important for you in these moments is “to not allow their interruptions to force you into an emotional mind, too,” he said.Think about being effective versus being right. What should you do in the heat of the moment if you’re being interrupted? Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and think about being effective versus being right.  According to Kelly, there’s a big difference: Of course you think your perspective is right, but if you’re having a healthy debate with a friend or family member with differing views, the goal is to hear each other’s side. That’s an effective dialogue.If the other person continues to interrupt or make snide comments under their breath, try to reason with them.The psychologist recommended saying something along the lines of: “I can tell you’re very passionate about this topic, and I very much appreciate that. And I’m really enjoying exchanging opinions and trying to understand yours, but when you interrupt like you’ve been doing ― which I don’t think you’re doing to be disrespectful, by the way ― I can’t address your points or express my points, which I personally need to have a conversation like this.”You’re not perfect, so while you’re at it, admit that you’ve probably made some annoying interruptions along the way, too ― and that you want the other person to call you out if you do again.Ideally, you set these baseline ground rules before you get into the thick of an argument, but if not, there’s nothing wrong with establishing them in the middle of a testy conversation, Kelly said.Use your hands when you need to. Sadly, like Wallace, you don’t have a mic cut function, either, but you can use your hands to act as a sort of pause button, Gottsman said. That doesn’t mean you coil your hands into a confrontational, tightfisted gesture, though. “Instead, if you can’t get the other person’s attention any other way, put your hand up and palm out with fingers showing the number five,” Gottsman said. “Then calmly say, ‘Let me finish.’ Pause, look at them, and if they continue to speak, look away. Sometimes you just need to disengage until they’ve stopped talking.” Stay calm and use humour to diffuse the situation.Though Biden had his outbursts (“Would you shut up, man?” among them), for the most part, he stayed relatively calm when Trump tried to get a rise out of him. As Michael Barbaro on The New York Times “The Daily” podcast pointed out, at times Biden closed his eyes, almost like he was meditating (and certainly like he’d been trained by someone not to lose his cool). Calmness is obviously an effective strategy for heated, interruption-heavy conversations, Farley said. So is humour. “If you’re dealing with an interrupter, smile, laugh and don’t get defensive during the interruptions,” the etiquette expert said. “If the other person sees that you are not going to play this game but rather that you are finding the constant protestations amusing ― whether that’s true or not ― you may actually succeed in shutting down the interruptions altogether.”If you’re looking for an example, Farley thinks Biden wielded humour effectively, too. “He offered softly uttered interjections and light sarcasm,” he said. “For instance, after the Supreme Court judge back-and-forth, he said, ‘That was really a productive segment, wasn’t it?’ It showed he could have a sense of humour despite the chaos being wrought on the other side of the stage.”  Remember: It’s also okay to walk away from an emotionally overreactive person. Biden (or Trump) probably wouldn’t have scored any points (or undecided voters) if he had simply walked off the stage, but there’s no reason you can’t leave a conversation when someone is steamrolling you.“There is no reason even the most patient and considerate among us should ever feel stuck in a situation where someone in our midst is disrespecting us and interrupting us to the point of badgering,” he said. “If any civilian ever encountered the kind of behaviour we saw at the debate,” Farley said, his advice would be this: “Do not dignify the other person with even one more moment of your presence.” Look the person directly in the eye, Farley said, and simply say, “It’s a been a pleasure,” and confidently exit the scene. Related... 13 Tips For Staying Covid-Safe As We Start Socialising More Indoors 'I'm Getting Panic Attacks': How Shielders Feel About Returning To Work How To Choose Your Precious 30 Wedding Guests – And Uninvite Everyone Else
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