In the 16 years it’s been on air, the BBC celebrity ancestry series Who Do You Think You Are? has delivered surprise after surprise, as famous faces discover mind-blowing facts about their distant relatives.Who could forget when Sir Matthew Pinsent found out he was technically related to Adam and Eve, or – perhaps the show’s most famous revelation – when Danny Dyer worked out he is actually descended from royalty. Before filming begins, a team of researchers spend hours and hours looking into a whole host of stars’ family backgrounds before deciding whose are the most compelling to feature. Unfortunately, not everyone’s family history is quite TV-worthy, and that means there’s a whole lot of celebrities who haven’t made the cut for the show. Here are 10 of the stars who have spoken publicly about having their Who Do You Think They Are? stories rejected...Dermot O’Leary The X Factor presenter joked that he didn’t think the production team tried hard enough when researching his family history, as he is adamant there are plenty of interesting details to be found.  He told parenting podcast Sweat, Snot And Tears: “They actually researched my family for about three months. They came back and said: ‘There’s just not enough interesting stuff about your family’.“Wexford is a port town, and my family are all seafaring folk. I have it on good authority that two of them went to America. One of them was a police officer and the other was a judge and they both got killed by the Mafia in the 30s.“They couldn’t find any record of this. I was like, ‘What are you on about? We’ve been everywhere, we’re a family of sailors’. I just don’t think they were trying hard enough. It’s awful, isn’t it? Absolutely awful.”Steph McGovernThe Packed Lunch presenter said she “never heard” from Who Do You Think You Are? producers again after an initial meeting with them, leaving her to assume her family were not interesting enough. Speaking on her Channel 4 chat show, she said: “A few of my friends have said that too, and we all think our families must be boring.”Michael PortilloThe former politician was approached by the show about taking part, only to then be rejected.Recalling a meeting with bosses during an appearance on The Steph Show, he said: “I told this story about my father. So, they said, ‘you’ve told that story already’.”Sir Tom JonesThe music legend said his show wasn’t commissioned as there was no “controversy” in his family. He told the Daily Star: “I think they looked at my family tree and they said, ‘Well they were all farmers’. I said, ‘Yeah I suppose they were’.“There’s no controversy in it. They were all workers, apparently. They were all normal people.”Richard OsmanThe Pointless quiz expert wrote on Twitter: “I was researched for Who Do You Think They Are? but they found nothing exciting.”Richard admitted he didn’t have high expectations about what might be uncovered, but joked he was hoping he may be related to a pirate.He tweeted: “I wasn’t expecting royalty but I was hoping there might at least be a pirate or two.”Michael Parkinson The former chat show host admitted he was “gutted” when he was dropped from the show. He told Radio Times in 2009: “When Who Do You Think You Are? called and asked if I was interested, I said I would be delighted, but warned that my own research had unearthed nothing of note. ’Oh, they all say that, but we always find something,’ they said.“Six weeks later, they phoned to apologise. My story was so boring they had to cancel the entire project. I was gutted.”Eamonn Holmes Following Danny Dyer’s revelations about his royal ancestry, Eamonn shared his failed bid to appear on the show during a discussion with wife Ruth Langsford on This Morning. He explained: “They interviewed me for two days and got all this documentation from me. But they never, ever got back to me.” Eamon saw the funny side, though, joking that he comes from “a very boring family” to which Ruth agreed: “Very dull.”Stephen Mangan According to a Mail On Sunday report in 2018 (via the Independent), the Extras actor was rejected after the production team discovered that his family all hail from the same place in Ireland, meaning that there was little to explore on the show. Cherie BlairThe barrister and author, who is married to the former prime minister Tony Blair, was “thrilled” when she was approached to take part on Who Do You Think You Are?, but she was left needing to do her own research into her ancestry when her story was not commissioned. She told the Daily Mail in 2014: “After some investigation, they decided not to go ahead because my ancestors weren’t very interesting. I guess I’ll just have to do the research myself one day.”Christopher Eccleston The former Doctor Who star was a lot more scathing about the show when they rejected his family story for the show. He told the Sunday Mirror in 2019: “It says everything that the project went nowhere. They tugged aside the leaves on those branches and concluded, ‘Nothing to see here’. “Generations of working-class people dismissed. Individuals with their own hopes, dreams and stories. Not army generals, industrialists, vaudeville singers, but factory workers, farm labourers, cleaners, nothing in any way ‘sexy’ enough for TV.”READ MORE:Ruth Jones Surprised To Discover Her Grandfather's Pivotal Role In The Creation Of The NHSShirley Ballas Details ‘Heartbreaking’ ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ DiscoveryAnita Rani Reveals How 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Empowered Her And 'Changed Her Life'
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You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.When I wrote back in January that Labour anticipated a “vaccine bounce” would benefit Boris Johnson, some dismissed it as a crude bit of expectation management ahead of May’s local elections. Well, it turns out that bounce is more real than imagined, and getting stronger. Even if YouGov’s 13 point polling lead for the Tories is an outlier, the direction of travel is clear.Keir Starmer addressed the poll directly today, saying: “Of course we’ve got a lot of work to do – I accept that – but I think in the middle of a pandemic, particularly with the vaccine rollout, people do want the government to succeed.” He’s right, of course. For most people politics is often low on their list of priorities, and even less so in a pandemic. They just want things to get back to normal, or as normal as is possible.Indeed the dramatic fall in Covid deaths and hospitalisations has been matched by an equally dramatic rise in the number of people who think things will get better by the summer. A new ONS survey today found that around a third (32%) of adults felt “life will return to normal” in six months or less compared, with 22% last week. That’s a pretty big jump.It’s worth saying that Starmer’s problem is shared by other opposition leaders across the world. A study last year by the LSE found that incumbent governments across the globe had benefited from imposing lockdowns, with trust in government and their leaders rising. Add in an incredibly successful vaccine rollout and Labour was always going to struggle this spring.But the idea that people have decided to “cling to nurse, for fear of something worse” has taken a bitterly ironic twist in the UK, thanks to that heavily-criticised decision to offer NHS nurses a mere 1% pay rise. As I wrote last night, the political ineptitude of failing to reward the very people who have been delivering the vaccine – and who spent exhausting, PTSD-inducing hours in ICU this winter – is quite shocking.No.10 stuck firmly to the line that the 1% was “what is affordable”, and points to current inflation of 0.6% (while ignoring that the OBR forecasts inflation to go above 1% this year). Health minister Nadine Dorries actually dared to venture this morning that she was “pleasantly surprised” that any increase had been proposed at all, given the wider public sector pay freeze.In his No.10 press conference, Matt Hancock stuck to the line, saying “we do have issues of affordability”.Dorries said “this is what the chancellor thinks we can afford”, so it’s really a Treasury decision. With a 2% pay rise for nurses costing roughly £200m a year on some estimates, many will feel that’s a small price compared to other spending.It’s possible that the independent pay review body will come up with a higher figure (not least given the threat of losing older nurses and midwives) but ministers will then look like they were forced into it. Don’t forget that Johnson’s central 2019 manifesto pledge of “50,000 more nurses” was a sleight of hand that relied on 18,500 current older nurses not leaving the health service. How many will now?One simple solution could be for the Treasury to dip into the £55bn “Covid reserve” it has sensibly set aside for the coming year. Roughly £36bn of this reserve has been earmarked for Test and Trace (which gets another £15bn) and other contingencies, but that means Sunak has given himself £14bn wriggle room.As with the Iraq and Afghanistan war ‘reserves’ in the 2000s, the Covid reserve is an invaluable way of providing a spare pot of cash. Given the medical trench warfare fought by nurses against the virus, why not use it to fund a decent pay reward? Yet in his press conference Hancock didn’t even attempt to give himself wriggle room. I may be wrong but, as with Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign, it feels like the government could needlessly burn up political capital before agreeing the inevitable U-turn.It remains to be seen just how much if at all this NHS pay row eats into that healthy poll lead. But it could break the link between the government and the vaccine rollout, forcing the public to believe instead that it is NHS staff who deserve the credit for its success, not ministers. Many Tory MPs are also acutely aware that the “vaccine bounce” could be replaced by a “jobless dip” in the polls as unemployment grows later this year after furlough is withdrawn.Which brings us back to Labour. It has the problem that the next general election (in 2023 or 2024) may or may not be fought directly on the government’s covid response. But shadow Treasury Pat McFadden was surely right when he told us on our podcast this week: “Anybody turning up to the next election with a pre-Covid manifesto would be like turning up to D-day on a horse.”The fallout from the pandemic of how the state works and how the economy recovers is both an opportunity and a challenge for the Opposition. From catch-up schooling and online learning to working from home and the fate of city centres, from long-term public health and social care resilience to post-Covid growth rates (projected to be sluggish from 2023), it’s all up for grabs. McFadden points out that “levelling up” could ring hollow if shiny new rail stations or bridges are not matched by people thinking their family’s life chances have got better, if their wages remain stagnant or their kids are part of a youth unemployment epidemic.The next election will be won by a party that has a sufficiently forward-looking vision, a credible plan to carry it out and a leader who is seen as competent enough to deliver it. That could be Boris Johnson, it could be Rishi Sunak, it could yet be Keir Starmer. The image of a Tory government reverting to type on the NHS will help the Labour leader, but he knows he needs a lot more than that.Related...UK's Missing Case Of The Brazil Covid Variant Has Been Found After 5 Day SearchTest And Trace Spending Will Top £37bn, Budget Small Print RevealsYoung People 'On The Brink Of Revolution' As Older Generations Book Holidays Abroad
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Prince Philip has left St Bartholomew’s Hospital and been moved back to King Edward VII’s Hospital after his heart surgery, Buckingham Palace said.The Palace said in a statement: “Following The Duke of Edinburgh’s successful procedure at St Bartholomew’s Hospital on Wednesday, His Royal Highness has been transferred to King Edward VII’s Hospital this morning.“The Duke is expected to remain in hospital for continuing treatment for a number of days.”The Duke, 99, has been in hospital for more than two weeks, and underwent surgery on Wednesday. The duke was transferred by ambulance to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in central London on Monday, after spending more than a week a King Edward VII’s hospital, where he was visited by his son Prince Charles. The 99-year-old was seen walking into the hospital unaided on February 17, with the palace describing his stay as a “precautionary measure”. Philip, who received a Covid-19 jab in January, has suffered a number of ailments over the years, including being treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire in December 2011.He spent four nights at King Edward Hospital in December 2019, where he was treated for a “pre-existing condition” and was later discharged on Christmas Eve. Related...Prince Philip Recovering From Surgery For Heart Condition, Palace SaysPrince Philip Transferred By Ambulance To St Bartholomew's Hospital
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Pinch, punch, first day of the month Code automation stalwarts have endured a frustrating start to the week after GitHub Action began tottering this morning, taking a number of carefully crafted workflows down with it.…
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Nigel Farage has been called out by the Home Office over a tweet in which he claimed 12 migrants arriving in Dover on Saturday had tested positive for coronavirus.The Reform UK leader detailed what he described as a “Covid crisis” and called on home secretary Priti Patel to “get a grip”.Covid crisis in Dover this morning. One migrant boat with 12 on board and they all tested positive for the virus. Get a grip @pritipatel.— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 27, 2021But hours later the Home Office refuted the claim, saying none of the people referred to by Farage had tested positive.“This is incorrect,” it said in a tweet. “None of these 12 people tested positive for Covid-19. All adults who arrived today have been tested for Covid-19.”@nigel_farage This is incorrect. None of these 12 people tested positive for Covid-19. All adults who arrived today have been tested for Covid-19— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) February 27, 2021Four small boats in total carrying 87 people including children made the dangerous Channel crossing into the UK on Saturday.The Home Office has said all adults who arrived in Dover were tested for Covid-19, and only one person tested positive.It is not known how Farage obtained the false information and his tweet is yet to be deleted.HuffPost UK has contacted Reform UK for comment.Elsewhere, a new study last week found those who support Reform UK are the least likely to take up the offer of a coronavirus jab.Only 53.7% of those planning to vote for Reform UK favour taking the vaccine, a two-wave study by Oxford University found.This contrasts dramatically to over 90% for supporters of the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, at 94.8%, 91.4% and 92.1% respectively, and 100% for those who intend to vote for the SNP.People who did not know who they would vote for were less likely to take the vaccine at 82.6%, as were supporters of the Green Party at 77.4%.The study found strong relationships between political attitudes and intention to accept the jab, with whether you voted for Brexit also appearing related to vaccine acceptance, according to Oxford researchers.Related...Rishi Sunak Says It's 'Odd' To Blame Eat Out To Help Out For Covid SurgeRishi Sunak Says 'More' Financial Support To Come In Budget
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Former Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs has died at the age of 85. He was best known for playing factory boss Mike Baldwin in the ITV soap from 1976 to 2006. Johnny’s family confirmed he had died on Sunday after a long illness. They said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father, Johnny Briggs.“He passed away peacefully this morning after a long illness, with family by his side. He was 85.“We politely ask for privacy at this time, so that we can quietly grieve as a family and remember the wonderful times we had with him. Thank you.”Johnny joined Coronation Street as businessman Mike Baldwin in 1976. The character was involved in one of the ITV soap’s most famous storylines ever in the 1980s, when Mike embarked on an affair with Dierdre Barlow, who was played by the late Anne Kirkbride. Their affair was revealed to Deirdre’s husband Ken in 1983, setting up a long-running rivalry between Mike and Ken. Johnny left Coronation Street after 30 years on the cobbles in 2006. Mike was killed off while living with Alzheimer’s Disease, suffering a heart attack and collapsing in the street, where he died in Ken’s arms. Johnny also appeared on stage and in films, alongside the likes of Norman Wisdom, Dirk Bogarde and Tommy Steele.The London-born actor was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours in December 2006.Johnny was father to six children and was married twice – to Caroline Sinclair from 1961 to 1975 and Christine Allsop from 1977 to 2006. 
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Prisoners will not be given priority status in the Covid vaccination programme, Downing Street has declared.No.10 moved to dismiss speculation that “jabs for lags” would take place ahead of the wider population.It is expected that key workers will also not be fast-tracked once the over-18s phase of the vaccine rollout begins in April.Phase one of the programme covers all those over 50, health and social care workers, care home residents, and those with underlying health conditions.Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI), revealed to MPs on Wednesday that it had now completed its recommendations for the second phase that will run from April to the end of July.The Times reported on Thursday that the JCVI had suggested prisoners should be jabbed “en masse” in individual jails.But a No.10 spokesperson said: “One report I read this morning which suggested that we’ll be vaccinating prisoners before other groups within wider society, that’s obviously not the case and is not true.“Prisoners won’t be prioritised for vaccines. They are vaccinated as the same time as the general public, in line with the JCVI prioritisation group groups. No quicker than that.”The Times had reported that, although there will not be any formal exemption from the age-based list for prisons, the JCVI wanted local areas free to carry out mass vaccination in institutional settings such as prisons, after complaints that it was impractical to separate out prisoners by age.Vaccinators in some areas will “just go in and vaccinate everybody there – do all the prisoners and the staff, everybody on the site in one go,” a source had told the newspaper.“By this point you’re not taking vaccine away from granny to give to offenders. It’s just pragmatic.”Harnden signalled that key workers like teachers and police would not be given priority status either, as the science didn’t justify any special treatment.Related...Why Teachers Won’t Get Fast-Tracked In Boris Johnson’s Covid Vaccine RolloutHere's Who Could Get The Vaccine After The Over-50s5 Things You Might Have Missed In The Small Print Of Boris Johnson's Roadmap
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China’s Mars mission, called Tianwen-1, is going very well so far. This week the spacecraft successfully completed its third braking maneuver and entered a parking orbit around Mars on Wednesday at about 6:29 AM BJT. The announcement was made this morning by the China National Space Administration. The probe will orbit Mars for three months conducting scientific explorations using cameras … Continue reading
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Caroline Quentin has called out the “humiliation” that she says some celebs on Strictly Come Dancing are subjected to by their professional dance partners.The Men Behaving Badly star, who competed on last year’s series of the BBC dance show, said some of the pros “don’t care what they put their guests through”.Speaking on the My Time Capsule podcast with Michael Fenton Stevens, Caroline noted: “Some of those people are so ambitious to do well that they don’t care what they put their guest through. They really don’t. There’s all manner of humiliations that go on.”Caroline added that she and her professional dancer partner Johannes Radebe would likely be “friends forever” and that she “values him so hugely”.Because of the pandemic, the actor also discussed how being isolated from the other celebs on last year’s show had affected her.“We built a different kind of community,” she said.“But I do think the isolation was one of the harder things about it, actually. Because you never had that opportunity to meet up and go for a pint...”She continued: “I’m an outdoor person and I struggled very much with living in a bedsit. And I lived on my own, I found that difficult, I know Bill [Bailey] did as well, not being in touch with nature was hard for that period of time.”Caroline also hinted that the show may have been affected by Covid-19 more than was let on.“We only had one dancer go down with it,” she said. “I think there were probably other things going on, not that I know this, but I imagine there were other things with the wider crew and stuff.“I’m sure people were not well and things but that was kept very much in its own bubble and dealt with and we were all sent back with a different pair of shoes on the next day and learnt another dance.”While she was still on Strictly, Caroline revealed that her and Johannes had once come to blows during training.During an appearance on This Morning, Johannes was full of praise for his celebrity partner, telling hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield that she was “a fantastic student” who takes directions so well”. Laughing, Caroline appeared surprised, saying: “It’s very nice of [him] to say that when we had our first barney yesterday.“We’re both still slightly ‘ouchie’ from it, because I got a bit – OK, it’s quite hard sometimes to be told all the time by someone that is always genuinely right, it’s quite frustrating.“I offered an opinion about a dance step, and I was entirely wrong but rather than back down gracefully, I just banged on about it.“He just got really annoyed with me [laughs]. I was like, ‘Well I know I’m right about this’. And then about 10 minutes later I suddenly realised I was entirely wrong.”READ MORE:Alan Carr Lays Out What It Will Take To Get Him To Finally Sign Up For Strictly Come DancingJonathan Van-Tam’s Self-Deprecating Answer About Doing Strictly Is Classic JVTStrictly's Gorka Marquez And Gemma Atkinson Had An Extra Special Reason To Celebrate This Valentine's
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Margaret Qualley has spoken out for the first time since abuse allegations against her ex-boyfriend, Shia LaBeouf, emerged at the end of last year.Posting on Instagram over the weekend, she sent a short message of support to singer FKA Twigs, who also dated the actor.Twigs – whose legal name is Tahliah Barnett – filed a lawsuit in December 2020 accusing LaBeouf of abusing her “physically, mentally and emotionally” during their relationship, which she later described as the “worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life”.On Saturday, Qualley posted a photo of Twigs on the cover of Elle magazine’s March issue, simply writing “thank you” in the caption, after months of silence on the matter.  View this post on InstagramA post shared by Margaret Qualley (@margaretqualley)Qualley’s post was quickly flooded with comments, including from her mother, actor Andie MacDowell, who wrote: “Precious girls. Beloved.”When news of the lawsuit first broke, Qualley and LaBeouf had reportedly been dating for several months, after first sparking romance rumours when they appeared together in the NSFW music video for Rainsford’s Love Me Like You Hate Me.The two were spotted kissing in the weeks following Twigs’ lawsuit, which also included details of alleged abuse suffered by Karolyn Pho, a stylist and former girlfriend of LaBeouf.Qualley and LaBeouf’s relationship didn’t last long, though.The two seemingly called it quits in January, as others came forward about their troubling brushes with actor, who has since parted ways with his talent agency, CAA, and reportedly started receiving inpatient treatment.Twigs, who has yet to publicly acknowledge Qualley’s post, said that by sharing her story she hopes to “help people through my experience”.In her Elle interview, the Cellophane singer further elaborated on LaBeouf’s alleged abuse, discussing the “calculated, systematic, tricky, and mazelike” tactics she said the actor used to control her.“It’s a miracle I came out alive,” she said, adding that recovering from their relationship has “been the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do”.“I honestly wish I could say that I found some strength and I saw this light. I wish I could say, ‘[It is] a testament to my strong character,’ or ‘It’s the way my mother raised me.’ It’s none of that,” she continued.“It’s pure luck that I’m not in that situation anymore.”In her first TV intv, @FKATwigs is opening up about her former relationship with Shia LaBeouf.She accuses him of sexual battery, assault & inflicting emotional distress — allegations he denies.Twigs told @GayleKing she's sharing her story to let others know they're not alone. pic.twitter.com/1LKx4oUiAQ— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 18, 2021LaBeouf initially seemed to take responsibility for his actions, writing in a statement to The New York Times that he wasn’t in “any position to tell anyone how my behaviour made them feel” and had no excuses for what he called his “alcoholism or aggression”.But LaBeouf’s legal team has since hit back at the singer’s claims in a response to her suit, stating that the actor “denies, generally and specifically, each and every allegation” made against him. “It just reminds me of some of the gaslighting that I experienced when I was with him,” Twigs said of LaBeouf’s response in an interview with Gayle King last week.“The sort of taking some of the blame, but not all of it, and then denying it.”If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are not in immediate danger, you can contact:The Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Refuge: 0808 2000 247In Scotland, contact Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234In Northern Ireland, contact the 24 hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414In Wales, contact the 24 hour Life Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327Respect helpline (for anyone worried about their own behaviour): 0808 802 0321READ MORE:Olivia Wilde And Shia LaBeouf Clashed Over Music Video After Film FiringSia Says 'Pathological Liar' Shia LaBeouf Conned Her Into 'Adulterous Relationship'
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Boris Johnson is preparing to roll out his long-awaited roadmap out of lockdown, with schools to be the first thing to reopen on March 8.But determining each phase of the easing process will be four criteria.The prime minister’s “cautious” plan, due to be revealed today in the House of Commons, will spell out what the country needs to be achieving as the nation emerges from its third national lockdown.The government will take into account the success of the vaccines rollout, whether there is evidence they are reducing hospital admissions and deaths, the level of infection rates and the presence of any new Covid variants.Such data will be examined ahead of each step along the road map before measures are unlocked any further.These are the four tests, and what we know about how they are being met so far. Successful deployment of the vaccination programmeMore than 17.2 million people have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while more than 600,000 people have received their second, the government said.Last week, the prime minister pledged to offer all adults in the UK a jab by the end of July. Ministers had set a target to offer vaccines to all adults by September, with an aim to reach all those aged 50 and over in the first nine JCVI priority groups by May.The new targets will be seen as a sign of increasing confidence within the government that the vaccine supply will remain steady over the coming months.An ambition to offer jabs to all those in the top four priority groups – adults aged 70 and over, frontline health and social care workers and the most clinically vulnerable – was met by February 15.Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said “everything’s moving in the right direction” when it comes to how jabs are working.Vaccines shown to be effective in reducing deaths and hospitalisationsThe second test Downing St will be looking at in weeks to come will be evidence that vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said Boris Johnson would unveil data on the effect of coronavirus jabs on hospital admissions and deaths when announcing the road map later on Monday.“Suffice to say the evidence looks good,” he told Sky News.“The Oxford team demonstrated their own evidence of cutting transmission by two thirds.“We wouldn’t be in this place this morning to be able to say that we’re going to reopen schools on March 8, and of course, as the school holidays begin on March 29, we will look at the rule of six and two families being (able) to see each other outdoors, if we’re not confident that actually the vaccine programme is beginning to really bear fruit.”The number of patients in hospital in England with Covid-19 has fallen sharply in recent weeks.A total of 15,633 patients were in hospital as of 8am on February 18, down 54% from a record 34,336 patients exactly one month earlier.But while this is a sizeable drop, numbers at both a national and regional level are still higher than when England came out of its second lockdown on December 2.All regions also continue to report patient numbers well above those seen last May, when Boris Johnson announced the initial easing of the first lockdown.A further 533 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, bringing the UK total to 119,920, and there had been another 12,027 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus, increasing the UK total to 4,095,269. Infection ratesThe third test will be infection rates, and making sure they do not risk a surge in hospitalisations, which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.Currently, coronavirus infections are dropping across the UK. Around one in 115 people in private households in England had Covid-19 between February 6 and 12, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, down from around one in 80 people from January 31 to February 6.Meanwhile, in Wales, around one in 125 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 between February 6 and 12, down from one in 85 previously.In Northern Ireland, the figure is around one in 105 people, down from one in 75, while in Scotland it is around one in 180 people, down from one in 150.The data, which does not cover care homes and hospitals, is based on swab tests from thousands of people regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.Figures show a continued decline since Christmas in the number of new cases of coronavirus, although rates vary according to region.Overall, 74,961 new cases were recorded in England in the seven days to February 14, the equivalent of 133.2 per 100,000 people.This is down sharply from a peak of 680.8 cases per 100,000 people on January 4. It is also the lowest seven-day rate since October 4.The reproduction number, or R rate, of coronavirus transmission across the UK is now below 1 for the first time since July.According the Government Science Office it is estimated to be between 0.7 and 0.9.R measures the number of people, on average, that each sick person will infect. If R is greater than 1, the epidemic is generally seen to be growing; if R is less than 1 the epidemic is shrinking.Variants of concernThe final test will be that the assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.Scientists have identified various new variants of coronavirus which have potentially concerning mutations. The latest, known as B.1.525, contains a genetic change called E484K, also found in the Brazilian and South African variants.Public Health England (PHE) has said there is no evidence that the mutations in the new variant make the virus more transmissible or cause severe disease.It said B.1.525 has been classed as a variant under investigation (VUI) and as of Tuesday, 38 cases had been identified in the UK.The variant has also been seen in other countries, including Australia, Denmark, Nigeria, Canada and the US.Laboratory studies have shown that viruses with the E484K mutation can escape human defences, making them more efficient at evading natural and vaccine-triggered immunity.Other new variants of concern in the UK include the South African variant, with 202 cases, and the Bristol variant, with 22 cases. The Kent variant is the dominant virus in the UK. A variant first identified in Liverpool, which has been dubbed by the PHE as VUI, currently has 56 cases.Scientists are already working on new vaccines to target coronavirus variants, some of which may become available during autumn.Surge testing has now been deployed in specific locations across numerous areas in England in a bid to control and suppress the potential spread of virus variants.Related...Yes, Covid Affects People Differently, Even In The Same HouseholdBoris Johnson To Set Out 'Cautious' Roadmap For Easing Covid RestrictionsMatt Hancock Refuses To Apologise For Unlawfully Failing To Publish Covid ContractsCovid Surge Testing To Be Deployed In Area Of Brentwood, Essex
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Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.Probably more than any of her competitors, Tia Kofi has had a rollercoaster journey during her time on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.From the moment she first set foot on the runway, Tia inspired the series’ first huge meme with her homage to Alan Turing, later dazzling in Rats: The Rusical and taking serious heat from RuPaul about her seaside-inspired look.Having made it through to Snatch Game, Tia has now left the competition, after failing to impress the judges with her impersonation of Mel B.Speaking to HuffPost UK the morning after her exit, Tia has reflected on her Snatch Game performance and shared an important message for her online detractors...How are you feeling this morning after your elimination has finally aired?It’s actually quite a freeing feeling, because obviously this is something that’s been kept under my wig for a little while. And it’s lovely that people have seen it now and the reaction has just been like the most gorgeous thing in the world, honestly… I’m getting really emotional again, it’s been absolutely wonderful, I couldn’t have dreamt of a better response.Are you disappointed that Snatch Game was the challenge you ended up going home after, or are you just happy to have made it as far as you did?I’m really proud to have made it to the Snatch Game, it’s the most iconic moment every season. Everyone waits for the Snatch Game and looks forward to it.And do you know what you remember from Snatch Game? You remember the good ones… but you also remember the terrible ones. So I’m pleased that at least it was memorable. Not in the way that I wanted it to be memorable, but memorable nonetheless.You’d originally planned to play Shirley Bassey, and then RuPaul talked you into Mel B. Do you think things might have gone differently had you stuck to your guns?I feel like a lot of it was me getting into my head. Mel B was actually, realistically, a character that I was more comfortable with, I just hadn’t sort of prepared it too much for that moment. So, I think either way, I might have been in trouble. But I think at least a moment of having Dame Shirley Bassey on the Snatch Game of RuPaul’s Drag Race would have been quite camp.How do you think you did in the Snatch Game?I definitely thought it could have gone better. You watched it, I think we were all thinking, “I thought she’d do better than that”. This is the thing – usually if you’re a comedy queen or a performing queen, you’re ready, and you can launch into the moment and do the improv and all of that. But Lawrence and I had a full seven months of lockdown to focus on the one thing that we were both preparing to be really good at… so I think maybe it’s a case of overthinking.I did think there was a chance that I might have been safe. The whole Snatch Game, it’s a lot longer than it appears on the show, so I was sort of fighting for a space. But it wasn’t to be, and I think the judgement was pretty fair that episode.Were there any big moments in the Snatch Game that ended up being cut for time?Yeah! Ru actually performed an erotic socially distanced lapdance for me… no that didn’t happen. Nothing like that, what you see is just a condensed version of the true reality of the situation. Watching it back were you surprised at how anyone else performed?I knew Bimini had the absolute power talent and wit to crack out a stunning Snatch Game performance, but it was Tayce that surprised me at the time – Tayce was funny, who saw that coming?Do you have any regrets about how the Snatch Game played out?I don’t think there’s much point in living your life with regret. I’m just really genuinely happy to have been on the Snatch Game. And I hope Mel B doesn’t hate me… I have a signed copy of her autobiography, true story.Going back to the very first week, you inspired this series’ first big meme with your Alan Turing runway. How did that feel?That was such an interesting moment, because for the first few days, everyone was mad about it. Everyone was like, “she did not look like Alan, she has failed”, and then it became a whole moment, and people started to switch and be like, “actually this Alan guy seems pretty cool”. And also the meme was hilarious, so that was good.I’m just glad I was able to highlight an absolute queer historical legend that I kind of thought more people would know about? I really thought everyone knew who Alan Turing was, but it turns out, not so much. And that’s the reasoning behind doing someone like that, to be able to highlight someone who’s had those kinds of achievements and things, and get people talking about him.Also – the brief was not cosplay as your favourite gay icon. The brief was a look inspired by them. So… I did the job.At the time you tweeted about how you’d taken some of the criticism about that runway on social media to heart. Is that something you’ve learned to deal with and rise above, or are online comments still a struggle?I think the key thing that I don’t think a lot of tweet-happy 14-year-olds realise is that the better thing to do is go and uplift the person you are supporting. Like, no one needs the energy of “rah, you should have gone home”, “your ice cream cone was terrible”. It’s an item of clothing, if you feel that passionately about it you need to calm down and go and revise for your GCSE Maths.That’s really not the mood that we’re about right now. Go and tell Bimini she looked gorgeous, go and compliment someone else if you’re feeling that passionately about it. Use that energy to uplift people, rather than tear people down. It’s really that easy.We’re still in the midst of a global panettone – as I’ve started calling it, because it sounds more delicious. And while this is all happening, everyone really is underestimating the sheer weight and toll that all of these things are taking on people, especially in terms of mental health and things like that. So I think now is the time for people to be a little kinder and more considerate about maybe how they might make other people feel.On the other hand, people did end up living for that Alan Turing runway, and that kind of sums up your Drag Race journey. You’ve ended up being such a fan favourite, why do you think that is?That’s actually really nice to hear. It’s probably down to the whole thing that Veronica said, when she confronted the cast and said, “if you’re still going on about this, look a little deeper”. And I think the audience had that opportunity to really see people for who they are. And that was gorgeous for me, because maybe my aesthetics weren’t as polished as some other people’s, but it was just lovely to sort of have those moments in the confessionals to chat away and be myself.And to hear people enjoy that… that’s just me saying shit that’s come into my head, there’s nothing planned or prepared or anything about those moments, it was just genuine and heartfelt, and that’s the best thing about the show, it really does have that heart. So I’m glad people have got on board the Tia train. Choo choo.We have to talk about last week, when yourself and Joe Black faced a lot of criticism from RuPaul. For many viewers, it was the most shocking things to ever happen on Drag Race… that can’t have been easy to stand there and take?Mmm… no it wasn’t. It was kind of like getting told off by a teacher. It was very that kind of vibe, but as Ru said, it came from a place of being very passionate about making sure that we’re hitting the level and being our best. I totally get it, and I was really trying to push through and delivery my best on the runway.But do you want to know a fun fact? The next day, it was quite cold, so I was wearing my green jacket. And only now have I realised – because someone pointed it out on Twitter – that was an H&M jacket. So after that rant about “no H&M”, I fully sat and spoke about Shirley Bassey and Mel B wither, while wearing H&M. Why didn’t I think it through?! It’s classic me to do something like that completely by accident.When RuPaul was doing that speech, did it go on any longer than we saw on TV? Was anything else said?I think it was about three years. She’s still doing it now, actually. She’s on speakerphone in the other room. No – what you see is pretty much how things went down. But reliving it was quite camp, I watched it as like an out-of-body experience, like, “this is so good”, and then I was like, “wait, that’s me, this isn’t good”. But wasn’t it camp? Everyone’s going to go back and watch that one.You were criticised a few times for your aesthetic, do you think those comments were fair?Erm! Erm… I mean. Erm! Erm! Erm! Yeah?? Hmmm. Can those noises be my response to this question? In the context of what the other contestants were delivering, with their high-fashion runway aesthetics, then I totally get it. In the context that I watched the first series, and Baga Chipz was safe for hot-gluing Brillo pads onto a corset… I was confused that we’d suddenly stepped up to such an extent.I mean, the step-up in terms of the looks and stuff from season one to season two is crazy. But if you edited my runways into the first season, they would not look awful, in the context of people having incredibly expensive outfits and all that kind of thing, mine wasn’t quite there. I do see it. So in answer to your question: yes.Was any part of you relieved when you were told to sashay away?Oh god, 100%, yes, absolutely. Obviously I wanted to fight my way to the final and be there and do all of that kind of thing. And in your mind, hearing “sashay away” is the worst possible thing that could happen, and when you hear Ru say it, and you haven’t been unplugged from the Matrix and everything’s still fine, it’s such a sense of relief. It’s like, “I thought this was the worst thing that could possibly happen, and actually, the world is still turning, and I’m fine”. So it’s OK!I think for anyone who’s going on the show in the future, I hope they can take that with them. Because I get quite distressed when watching people who are really disappointed in themselves. You shouldn’t be, because you got on the show! You did it! That’s already incredible. Nothing has changed, you have not ended the world, everything’s fine.What was your proudest moment of being on Drag Race?I think honestly, this is such a boring answer, but casting the Rusical. Because I think I pretty much couldn’t imagine a better way to cast it – me tooting my own horn, “I’m so good at casting” – but I think I gave everyone exactly the right roles for them. Cherry Valentine might disagree with that statement… but I just don’t think it would have worked any other way. And I honestly can’t wait for the West End run of Rats: The Rusical. Sheridan Smith as Specimen One.Was there anything you were disappointed not to be able to do on the show?I think my aim for that roly-poly in my lip sync was to land it in a squat, and then jump up again. But due to the oncoming collision of Joe Black, I was unable to do so. And I regret not being able to achieve the full fantasy of the forward roll you learn to do when you’re five years old in PE.Who are you rooting for now there are just six queens left?For me, it’s a toss-up between Graham Norton and Sister Sister’s new teeth. Those are the two frontrunners at this point.RuPaul’s Drag Race UK continues on Thursday at 7pm on BBC Three.MORE DRAG RACE:Bimini Bon Boulash's Katie Price Impression Was So Good Even Bafta Has Endorsed ItBing Bang Bong! Drag Race UK's United Kingdolls Are On Course To Break The Top 40 This WeekDrag Race UK Viewers Moved To Tears By Contestants' Heartfelt Discussion About Gender Identity
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NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully touched down on Mars this morning, and has already begun beaming back images. Hello, world. My first look at my forever home. #CountdownToMars pic.twitter.com/dkM9jE9I6X — NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) February 18, 2021 But people might be surprised to learn there have been another 48 missions to the red planet so far. Of these, more than half failed at stages from take-off to deployment — including the 1999 Mars Climate Orbiter, destroyed on Mars entry after someone failed to convert imperial measurements to metric. Successful missions include Mars Insight, which is studying the interior via measurement… This story continues at The Next Web
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Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge This morning, Nvidia announced that it would artificially reduce the performance of its upcoming $329 GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card when it comes to one specific task: Ethereum cryptocurrency mining. As weird as that news might sound, it was music to the ears of some gamers — who have been trying and failing to get their hands on graphics cards for months due to the great GPU shortage, and blaming miners for part of that. You might be wondering: what does this mean for other GPUs? Nvidia isn’t talking about its plans for future graphics card just yet, but the company tells The Verge (in no uncertain terms) that it won’t nerf existing GPUs. “We are not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold,” says a spokesperson. I was also a bit... Continue reading…
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I am so tired, and there are so many things happening. Days like today have become the norm over this last, lost year; there is a tragedy happening every second of every day, and if you’re lucky enough to be outside of the blast radius you’re only able to perceive what’s happening through a screen. Just last night, Texas Senator Ted Cruz decided to take a family trip to Cancún as large swaths of his state are without power or potable drinking water in the midst of a historic deep freeze. He’s now on his way back, after being shamed online for his bafflingly cruel choice. That was the first thing I saw this morning. This was the second. This funky little robot’s name is Nicobo, and it was created by Panasonic for companionship. It’s... Continue reading…
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Kate Garraway and Dominic Raab found themselves in the middle of a heated exchange during a discussion on Good Morning Britain.During Monday’s live show, Kate interviewed the foreign secretary about his plea for a ceasefire in warring countries, in order to allow more people to be vaccinated against Covid-19.However, she suggested viewers might feel there were more pressing issues they could be discussing, branding the situation in the UK “shambolic”.“I think it’s rather cynical what you have suggested, I don’t think it’s fair at all,” he told the host. “This debate has been set well in advance.”‘Who is checking that quarantining is actually happening?’ - @kategarrawayForeign Secretary Dominic Raab tells GMB that mandatory hotel quarantining is a challenge and is difficult to enforce. Kate challenges the Minister that the scheme is not fit for purpose. pic.twitter.com/sHYVPLED0a— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 17, 2021She then hit back: “Hang on, I wasn’t saying anything cynical... we were told you wanted to talk about that this morning, and it’s an important thing to talk about.“But I am just thinking, everybody watching at home will be asking, ‘Why does he want to talk about that? When we have got this chaos at home?’. And it’s my job to put their thoughts to you.”Raab then insisted he was happy to talk about both issues, but reiterated his belief that Kate’s approach had been “cynical”.Things didn’t get any less tense as the interview went on, with Raab discussing how “enforcement is difficult in a country where we don’t have the control over the law enforcement authorities”.“I’m talking about [the UK],” Kate interjected. “Where we do have control.”“Can you let me answer the question?” Raab then said, to which Kate responded: “Yes, but you’re saying things I haven’t said so I’ve got to clarify otherwise you’re not going to have a chance to answer the question, if you haven’t understood it.”A rattled Raab then responded: “Well, why don’t you pause and let me explain, it and then you can pick holes in afterwards?“I think people get fed up with the media not allowing us to try and give at least honest answers, even if you don’t accept them.”‘You’re saying things I haven’t said.’ @kategarraway‘Why don’t you pause and let me explain it. People get fed up with the media not allowing us to give honest answers.’ - Dominic RaabKate Garraway and Raab clash over the government’s mandatory hotel quarantine policy. pic.twitter.com/3Gm36OZ5w2— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 17, 2021Kate later clarified: “The question I’m trying to ask is about policing. If I’m someone that’s declared that I’ve come from [another] country and I’ve been honest, I’ve taken the fact I’ve got to pay… and go into quarantine, I’m going to feel pretty bitter if the idea – that you argue is a good one, to have this system – isn’t enforced.“We’ve seen all the way through [the pandemic] good ideas from the government… not being enforced. So if you’ve put something into place like this, how can people be sure that you’re enforcing it and making it happen? Where are the numbers? Where’s the money for the numbers? Where’s the support for that?”After co-host Ben Shephard wrapped things up, Kate suggested she still hadn’t received an answer to her question from Raab.“I’m not sure,” Ben responded.“I don’t know whether we did,” Kate added, urging viewers to get in touch if they felt her question hadn’t been answered sufficiently.Last week, Kate made headlines when she interviewed health secretary Matt Hancock for the first time since her husband, Derek Draper, was hospitalised due to coronavirus.Derek has been in hospital for almost a year now, with Kate grilling Hancock over the government’s decision to only list three key Covid-19 symptoms in their official advice.Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am on ITV.READ MORE:Kate Garraway Leaves Her Good Morning Britain Co-Stars In Stitches With Hilarious Innuendo'It Isn't Helpful': Kate Garraway Grills Matt Hancock Over Covid Symptoms AdviceKate Garraway Admits She's 'Physically At The End Of Her Tether' As She Gives Update On Husband
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OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei’s company Nothing Tech revealed a new sort of concept this morning. Before releasing any products to the public, they’ve raised millions in investor funds from groups like Alphabet’s GV (formerly Google Ventures). Now they want the average person to invest money for a part of the company – sorta like… an IPO… but not. Per the … Continue reading
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In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion, turning it into the way you’d buy and get paid for items you sell on the ginormous auction site. But the once-happy couple has been breaking up for years — and on Valentine’s Day, some sellers may no longer be able to sell items on eBay at all without connecting an old-school bank account instead. This morning, I received a final warning that I would need to add a bank account by February 14th or else “your ability to revise or relist existing listings, or create new listings will be disabled.” eBay tells The Verge this isn’t the deadline for every seller — it’s rolling out in phases, and a quick scan of the web shows it’s been going on for at least a couple years. This isn’t... Continue reading…
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This shows what Notion looks like when it is working | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales Online organization app Notion was experiencing technical difficulties this morning and students, project managers, and other users — like me — who rely on it to organize our calendars are having minor freak-outs. The company said in a tweet around 8:30AM ET that it was “experiencing a DNS issue, causing the site to not resolve for many users.” The company didn’t provide much additional detail, but some speculated that it may have to do with Notion’s web address: notion.so. The “so” suffix is the domain for the country of Somalia, and a deleted tweet from Notion asked if anyone knew people in Somalia. We're experiencing a DNS issue, causing the site to not resolve for many users. We are actively looking into this issue.— Notion... Continue reading…
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