Coronavirus could deepen Britains North South divide warns Sir Keir Starmer

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Coronavirus could deepen Britain's North-South divide, warns Sir Keir Starmer The coronavirus crisis could deepen Britain's North-South divide, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer fears. But he says it is an issue which could be helped by proper investment in the regions. In an article for the Yorkshire Post, Sir Keir states: "The North-South divide is continuing to grow. That gulf is even starker in coalfield communities like Doncaster. "Without Government action, there is a real risk the coronavirus deepens the existing injustices and inequalities." After Labour was soundly beaten in its traditional heartlands by the Conservatives at last year's general election, Sir Keir says his party has "a mountain to climb" to regain public trust. He went on a virtual visit to speak with Doncaster residents, and he found a pressing concern is to repay the service of key workers. He wrote: "The past few months have shown us so clearly who the key workers really are. Our NHS staff, carer workers, ambulance drivers, porters, shop keepers, police and emergency services. "It is because of their dedication and sense of public service that Yorkshire has kept moving. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude." There has been public outrage after allegations that Dominic Cummings, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior adviser, broke lockdown rules by travelling from his London home to Durham with his family. Sir Keir wrote: "Dominic Cummings broke the lockdown rules. It is as simple as that. His actions were an insult to the millions of people across Yorkshire and the United Kingdom who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic." Mr Johnson has ruled out an inquiry into Mr Cummings' actions at the height of the lockdown, and has insisted he acted reasonably and it is time to "move on" from the row. Published: 30/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Kylie Jenner Forbes removes reality star from billionaire list

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Kylie Jenner: Forbes removes reality star from billionaire list Forbes has removed Kylie Jenner from its list of billionaires and accused the reality star of inflating the value of her cosmetics business. The magazine published an article based on an examination of financial filings after the beauty mogul sold a majority share in her cosmetics company. She sold 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics company to Coty in a deal valued at 1.2 billion dollars (£1 billion) early this year. The article said: "Kylie's business is significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe. "Forbes now thinks that Kylie Jenner, even after pocketing an estimated 340 million dollars (£275 million) after taxes from the sale, is not a billionaire." Jenner responded in a series of tweets, saying: "what am i even waking up to. i thought this was a reputable site.. all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. i've never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period." The spat between Jenner and Forbes spilled over to Wall Street, where shares of New York-based Coty Inc fell more than 13% on Friday. She later tweeted: "but okay, i am blessed beyond my years, i have a beautiful daughter, and a successful business and i'm doing perfectly fine. i can name a list of 100 things more important right now than fixating on how much money i have." Jenner's business and social media prominence have made her stand out even in the exceedingly famous family behind Keeping Up With the Kardashians. She is the younger daughter of Kris and Caitlyn Jenner, sister to Kendall Jenner and half-sister to Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian. In March 2019, Forbes featured Jenner along with the headline "At 21, Kylie Jenner Becomes The Youngest Self-Made Billionaire Ever". On Friday, Forbes offered a starkly different headline "Inside Kylie Jenner's Web of Lies - And Why She's No Longer a Billionaire". The story acknowledged that the coronavirus crisis and its effect on the cosmetics industry has hurt her net worth. But it said it is "likely" that the "business was never that big to begin with, and the Jenners have lied about it every year since 2016 - including having their accountant draft tax returns with false numbers - to help juice Forbes' estimates of Kylie's earnings and net worth". The magazine said it cannot prove the documents were forged, and Jenner's lawyer said the story is "filled with outright lies". Michael Kump said: "Forbes' accusation that Kylie and her accountants 'forged tax returns' is unequivocally false and we are demanding that Forbes immediately and publicly retract that and other statements. "We would not expect that from a supermarket tabloid, much less from Forbes." Forbes spokesman Matthew Hutchison said the magazine's "extensively-reported investigation was triggered by newly-filed documents that revealed glaring discrepancies between information privately supplied to journalists and information publicly supplied to shareholders". He added: "Our reporters spotted the inaccuracies and spent months uncovering the facts. We encourage her attorney to re-read the article." Published: 30/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Military police out on alert as unrest spreads following George Floyd death

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Military police out on alert as unrest spreads following George Floyd death The Army has been asked to put military police units on standby after widespread protests struck Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd. Soldiers from North Carolina and New York have been told to be ready to deploy within four hours as authorities look to quell disorder across a number of US cities. Protests over the death of Mr Lloyd, who had a knee pressed into his neck while being detained, have descended into looting and arson in some areas. The get-ready orders were sent verbally on Friday, after US president Donald Trump asked defence secretary Mark Esper for military options to help quell the unrest in Minneapolis. Police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after the death of Mr Floyd who begged for air while being arrested on Monday. A source said the military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial. Brad Moss, a Washington DC-based lawyer who specialises in national security, said: "If this is where the president is headed response-wise, it would represent a significant escalation and a determination that the various state and local authorities are not up to the task of responding to the growing unrest." Members of the army's police units were on a 30-minute recall alert early on Saturday, meaning they would have to return to their bases inside that time limit in preparation for deployment to Minneapolis inside of four hours. Units at Fort Drum are slated to head to Minneapolis first, according to the three people, including two Defence Department officials who wished to remain anonymous, and roughly 800 US soldiers would deploy to the city if called. Rioters set fire to the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct near where Mr Floyd was arrested on Thursday and Mayor Jacob Frey ordered a citywide curfew at 8pm beginning on Friday. The unrest has since spread across the country with protests, some violent, erupting in cities including Washington DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver and Los Angeles. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz ordered 500 of his National Guard troops into Minneapolis, St Paul, and surrounding communities. But a Pentagon spokesman said Mr Walz did not ask for the Army to be deployed to his state. He said: "The Department has been in touch with the Governor and there is no request for Title 10 forces to support the Minnesota National Guard or state law enforcement." Title 10 is the US law that governs the armed forces, and would authorise active duty military to operate within the US. Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, said the deployment of active-duty military police is untrue. "False: off the record - title 10 not under discussion," Ms Farah in an email response. Published: 30/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

FA Cup final date confirmed

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FA Cup final date confirmed The 2019-20 FA Cup final has been rescheduled for August 1st The Football Association announced the dates for the final three rounds of the competition on Friday morning, following on from the Premier League confirming its intention to return on June 17 subject to Government clearance. The competition had reached the quarter-final stage before professional football in England was suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The four matches in the last eight will be played over the weekend of June 27 and 28, with no decision reached yet on whether these will be played on a home-and-away basis as normal or at neutral venues. The semi-finals will be played on July 18 and 19, with the intention being for those matches and the final to be played at Wembley as usual. All the ties will be behind closed doors. The news will be a boost to the FA from a financial perspective, with its chief executive Mark Bullingham warning in April of the governing body suffering losses of up to £150million as a result of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. He said on Friday: “We are pleased to agree the provisional restart date for the 2019/20 Emirates FA Cup. The competition has been an integral part of the English football calendar for nearly 150 years, and we’d like to thank the Premier League executive and clubs for their support in scheduling the remaining matches during this unprecedented time. “This has been a difficult period for many people and while this is a positive step, the restart date is dependent on all safety measures being met. The health and well-being of players, staff and supporters remains our priority.” The arrangements for broadcasting the matches are yet to be confirmed, with BT Sport and BBC holding the UK rights. The split for the quarter-finals had been announced in March prior to the competition being suspended, but it remains to be seen whether the same split will still apply. Published: 29/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Labour supports changes to England lockdown rules

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Labour supports changes to England lockdown rules Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the party supports the easing of some lockdown restrictions if safe. He said: “We support the gradual easing of restrictions on lockdown, it’s got to be safe and we need clear guidance from public health and we also need to see the scientific evidence actually published. “We also need a clear test and trace, effective, clear test and trace monitor operation in place but we support the gradual easing of these restrictions.” When asked whether the Government had been slow to recognise the impact of social restrictions on the public, Sir Keir continued: “We’ve asked a lot of the public and it’s largely thanks to what they’ve done that we’re in this position, so we do support the gradual easing of these restrictions. “It’s got to be done safely and we do need clear guidance. The public’s given a huge amount in this.” Published: 29/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Sunak to make changes to furlough scheme

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Sunak to make changes to furlough scheme The Chancellor is set to tell employers they will need to contribute to their furloughed workers’ salaries from August. It's as the Government admitted the scheme cannot run “indefinitely”. Rishi Sunak will use the daily Downing Street press conference to outline changes to the job retention scheme, which has so far covered the wages of 8.4 million staff unable to work during lockdown – costing £15 billion. Ministers have said they will extend the scheme covering 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 per month until the end of October, with employers expected to make a contribution. Treasury sources did not deny reports that the Chancellor will ask employers to contribute around 20% of wages, as well as National Insurance and pension contributions from August. Meanwhile Mr Sunak is facing calls, including from a cross-party group of 113 MPs, to extend the scheme supporting self-employed workers past Sunday or risk leaving many “without work and without support”. Published: 29/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Premier League to return on June 17th

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Premier League to return on June 17th The Premier League will restart on June 17, according to reports. Executives from the 20 top-flight clubs gathered for a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday, and it was reported that agreement was reached over the remaining rounds of games to be played. Two rearranged matches – Aston Villa v Sheffield United and Manchester City v Arsenal – will be played first, before the first full round of games on the weekend of June 20 and 21, reports said. The last action in the Premier League was on March 9, before the competition was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 13. Clubs voted unanimously on protocols for contact training on Wednesday, another step along the road to resumption. Four individuals connected to three clubs tested positive for coronavirus in the league’s third round of testing, with 1,008 staff from Premier League clubs tested. The picture is equally encouraging in the Championship, where only three positive results were returned from 1,030 tests. Published: 28/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Police to take no further action against Cummings

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Police to take no further action against Cummings Dominic Cummings may have committed “a minor breach” of lockdown rules when he drove to Barnard Castle but will face no further action. Durham police issued a statement on the Prime Minister’s top aide’s decision to travel to the county days after lockdown had been imposed, saying it did not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises he committed an offence. But it said: “Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle – including ANPR (automatic number plate recognition), witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020 – and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the regulations that would have warranted police intervention. “Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing. “Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis. “Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.” The force added: “In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public.” Responding to the statement, a Number 10 spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.” But opposition MPs said the fact police believe Mr Cummings may have breached the rules showed that members of the public were right to be outraged at his behaviour. Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones tweeted: “Durham Police just confirming what we all already knew. Cummings broke the rules whilst we were dutifully obeying for the common good. “He broke the rules he helped write. Actions have consequences. Your move Prime Minister.” The police statement came as contact tracers began tracking down people who have come into close contact with coronavirus sufferers, amid reports of major problems with the NHS Test and Trace system. Published: 28/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Scottish Government announces an easing of lockdown measures

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Scottish Government announces an easing of lockdown measures People in Scotland will be able to meet one other household at a time outdoors from Friday It's as lockdown measures ease, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The change is one of a series of restrictions being relaxed as the country moves into phase one of the Scottish Government’s four-phase plan for gradually lifting lockdown. Speaking at a coronavirus briefing at the Scottish Government headquarters in Edinburgh, the First Minister said changes can now be made as a downward trend in the spread of the virus is “sustained and unmistakable”. Ms Sturgeon stressed people should continue to socially distance when meeting another household outdoors and said the maximum number in the group should be eight. The Scottish Government strongly recommends people do not meet more than one other household a day, although this will not be legally enforceable. Other changes announced, which come into effect from Friday, allow people to travel from their home for leisure such as sunbathing and sports including fishing, golf and tennis, and will enable garden centres to reopen and construction sites to prepare for resuming work. A legal limit will not be put on how far people will be allowed to travel for recreation but the First Minister said the “strong advice” of the Scottish Government was to stay within five miles. “We simply don’t want, in this phase, large numbers of people at tourist hotspots or beauty spots,” Ms Sturgeon said. “Crowds of people, even if they’re trying to social distance, bring more risk than we judge is acceptable at this point.” From Monday, teachers will be able to go into schools for preparation ahead of the planned opening on August 11. The transmission rate of the virus, known as the R number, remains between 0.7 and 1, although the First Minister said she could not be clear how low. Ms Sturgeon said there were 19,000 infectious cases of the virus as of last week. She thanked people in Scotland for good compliance with lockdown measures to date, saying this enabled changes to be made. The First Minister said she feels “a bit nervous” as she is worried the limited changes announced would lead to “much greater change in reality”. Ms Sturgeon appealed for Scots to “respect the parameters we are setting out”, adding people should “ensure things still feel different from normal”. She said the changes are “important first steps back to some kind of normality” but warned no changes are “risk-free”. The First Minister said her confidence in the move to phase one was boosted by the initiation of the Test and Protect scheme in Scotland, which is aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. Under the new system, Scots will be expected to be tested for Covid-19 if they show symptoms of the disease – and if they test positive they will be asked to supply details of anyone they could have passed it on to. Those people will then be contacted by the team of tracers and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Published: 28/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Thousands of easyJet staff to lose jobs as airline cuts workforce by up to...

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Thousands of easyJet staff to lose jobs as airline cuts workforce by up to 30% Up to 4,500 easyJet staff could lose their jobs under plans announced by the airline. The Luton-based carrier said it intends to reduce its workforce by up to 30% as it cuts the size of its fleet due to the coronavirus pandemic. This follows similar moves by other airlines such as British Airways and Ryanair. EasyJet has around 15,000 full-time employees - including 8,000 based in the UK - meaning a maximum of 4,500 jobs are at risk. The low-cost airline's chief executive, Johan Lundgren, told reporters: "It's a horrible thing. EasyJet is built on absolutely fantastic people, and clearly this is going to have an impact on some of those. "But we do it to make sure that easyJet not only survives through this period, but also comes out of this as a strong and competitive company." He added: "This is still the worst crisis that this industry has ever been faced with. There's a huge amount of uncertainty going forward." EasyJet will restart flying on June 15 but does not expect demand to return to 2019 levels until 2023. The airline is planning for its capacity between July and September to be 30% of what it was during the same period last year. By the end of September next year it expects to have reduced its fleet size by around 51 aircraft to approximately 302. This will be achieved through measures such as deferring new aircraft arrivals. Bookings for winter are "well ahead of the equivalent point last year", partly due to some customers rebooking flights which were cancelled due to the pandemic. Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, said easyJet staff will be "shocked at the scale of this announcement". "Given easyJet is a British company, the UK is its strongest market and it has had hundreds of millions in support from the UK taxpayer, I can safely say that we will need a lot of convincing that easyJet needs to make such dramatic cuts," he said. "Indeed, easyJet's own projections, though on the pessimistic side, point to recovery by 2023 so this is a temporary problem that doesn't need this ill-considered knee-jerk reaction." Mr Lundgren raised concerns about the UK's 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals which comes into force on June 8, stating that the scientific evidence to support the measure "is still not clear to me". He said: "While you see restrictions and the few examples of quarantine that exist around Europe today are being lifted and relaxed, the UK is going the other way." He added: "How do you explain to British people that we'll see Germans and other European nationalities going to holidays in Greece and parts of Spain where there's less risk of being infected than in places in the UK? "Why would they need quarantine? What's the rationale behind that?" Published: 28/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub