McDonalds to expand reopening of restaurants

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McDonald's to expand reopening of restaurants McDonald’s says it is rapidly expanding its store openings to have more than 1,000 restaurants reopened for drive-thru or delivery by next Thursday, June 4th. Last week the fast food chain reopened 33 drive-thru sites but the company said it also decided to close some lanes where demand “impacted local communities or the safety of our people or customers” due to long queues. The company said every drive-thru in the UK and Ireland will be reopened between Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Published: 27/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

EDF submits plans for new Suffolk nuclear power station

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EDF submits plans for new Suffolk nuclear power station Energy giant EDF has submitted an application to build a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast. The planned 3.2-gigawatt Sizewell C nuclear plant would generate enough "always-on" low-carbon electricity to power six million homes and create 25,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships during construction, EDF said. It will also provide 900 skilled jobs over its operating lifetime and support UK energy resilience by reducing the need for imports, the company said. The application for a development consent order to the Planning Inspectorate was delayed for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. EDF said extra measures will be put in place to make it easier for local communities to scrutinise the proposals once they are published. Sizewell C will be a near replica of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, reducing construction costs and risks, according to EDF, which has partnered with China General Nuclear to build reactors in the UK. Hinkley Point C is under construction with a contract to receive a guaranteed price for its power, of £92.50 per megawatt of electricity it generates, which will drop to £89.50/MWh if Sizewell C goes ahead. But with the price of other power sources such as offshore wind falling to much lower levels, an alternative funding model for nuclear schemes could be used which it is hoped will attract investment and bring down costs. Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, managing director of the Sizewell C project, said: "Sizewell C is a net-zero infrastructure project ready to kick-start the economy following the coronavirus crisis. "It will offer thousands of high-quality job opportunities and long-term employment for people living in Suffolk and it will strengthen the nuclear supply chain across the country. "The project will play a key role in lowering emissions while helping the UK keep control of its low carbon future." He said the construction of Sizewell C will prevent nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere each year, compared to electricity generated by gas plants. The planning process is likely to take 18 months to complete and the Government will make the final decision on whether to give the green light to the scheme. The Stop Sizewell C campaign group which opposes the scheme warns it is costly, diverts investment from other green energy sources such as renewables and would damage tourism and nature in the area. Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, also criticised the move to submit the application during lockdown. "With restrictions set to last many months, there cannot be full public participation in the planning process - even the Planning Inspectorate does not yet know how it could work." And she said: "Sizewell C would be an expensive bridge to nowhere: it will suck vital funds away from the technologies and projects that are more capable of truly transforming our energy landscape." Published: 27/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Boris Johnson to face grilling over top aide Dominic Cummings

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Boris Johnson to face grilling over top aide Dominic Cummings Boris Johnson will be questioned by senior MPs over the coronavirus crisis as calls for his key adviser to resign over his travel continue to grow. The Prime Minister is set to face questions at a Commons committee meeting on the decision of his top aide, Dominic Cummings, to travel from London to Durham during the shutdown. It comes amid a growing revolt from within Mr Johnson's party, with at least 30 Tory MPs having now publicly called for Mr Cummings to be sacked or to resign. And a YouGov survey for The Times showed the Conservative lead over Labour dropped by nine points during the Cummings saga, as support for the Government fell four points to 44% with Labour rising five points in the week to Tuesday, to 38%. Senior ministers have expressed public support for the defiant adviser but there are reports a number of Cabinet members have privately called for him to be ousted from No 10. Mr Johnson's scheduled appearance via video link at Wednesday's Commons Liaison Committee hearing has been tinged with controversy over the fact the PM will only briefly be quizzed on the Cummings affair. It is understood MPs will have a maximum of 20 minutes in a 90-minute session to probe the situation when Mr Johnson appears before the committee. Other aspects of the coronavirus crisis will also be discussed in the 20-minute slot. In other developments: - Childline is holding one counselling session on average every five minutes for young people worried about their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic - A witness to an alleged lockdown breach by Mr Cummings said he has been interviewed by police - Mr Johnson said an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak needs to take place Asked about the situation regarding Mr Cummings, Liaison Committee chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin told the PA news agency: "I have got no intention of preventing any subject any member of the committee wants to raise." The comment follows controversy over Sir Bernard's appointment to the committee chairmanship, with some MPs saying he is too close to the Prime Minister. Sir Bernard insisted the format for the session has been agreed by the committee. The group includes William Wragg, who has said it was "humiliating and degrading" to see ministers put out agreed lines in defence of Mr Cummings, and Caroline Nokes, who has informed her party whips there could not be "wriggle room" for some people when it comes to lockdown rules. Also among those questioning the PM will be Labour chairwoman of the Home Affairs Committee Yvette Cooper, and Tory chairman of the Health Committee Jeremy Hunt. Mr Cummings said he had driven to Durham to isolate in a property on his father's farm because of concerns over care for his four-year-old son if both he and his wife were incapacitated by Covid-19. But a growing number of Conservative MPs have voiced their frustration over Mr Cummings after he expressed "no regrets" about his trip to Durham. On Tuesday, Douglas Ross, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, quit the Government, saying he could not "in good faith" defend Mr Cummings' actions. Tory grandee Sir Roger Gale said the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee should make it clear to the PM his adviser should go. "The time I think has come for Mr Cummings to resign or for the PM to dispense of his services," the North Thanet MP told the PA news agency. "There are people on the 1922 executive who are courageous, and that's their job. "They are elected to tell the PM what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear." Meanwhile, Barnard Castle resident Robin Lees has described having a "thorough" chat with police about his claim to have seen Mr Cummings and his family walking by the River Tees on Easter Sunday. The Guardian reported Mr Lees was interviewed on Monday evening, after Mr Cummings's extraordinary Downing Street press conference. The retired teacher told the newspaper: "They asked me a lot about my background. They wanted to know exactly what time it was. They wanted to know if it was a clear day and did I know what Cummings looked like." In his televised speech on Monday, Mr Cummings said he had driven for half an hour and ended up by a riverbank on the outskirts of Barnard Castle town on Easter Sunday in a trip to test his eyesight before making the long journey back to London the following day. The PM has also said an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak needs to take place. He made the comments in a telephone call to the director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday, Downing Street said. Published: 27/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Number of prison staff with coronavirus higher than first thought

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Number of prison staff with coronavirus higher than first thought The figures account for the total number of confirmed cases, including people who have recovered The number of prison staff who have tested positive for coronavirus is higher than first thought after officials found a “more robust way” of recording cases. A total of 873 prison staff had tested positive for coronavirus in 104 jails as of 1pm on Tuesday, as well as 24 prisoner escort and custody service staff. Some 445 prisoners have also contracted Covid-19 in 77 prisons. The last available figures, as of 5pm on Thursday, showed 575 prison staff were recorded as testing positive for coronavirus in 77 prisons. The Ministry of Justice said the trend of cases still remained the same and the number continues to fall. Published: 26/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Mark Selby hoping the return of snooker can attract new fans

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Mark Selby hoping the return of snooker can attract new fans Competitive snooker returns next week in the UK Three-time world champion Mark Selby hopes that the return of snooker next week could attract a brand new audience to the sport. The coronavirus pandemic forced a widespread sporting shutdown in the United Kingdom, but snooker is set to be among the first major sports to return with a 64-player event behind closed doors in Milton Keynes. The Championship League, featuring world champion Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan, will be on free-to-air television from June 1-11 and played under strict coronavirus testing measures. Selby believes the desperation among sports fans to witness live action could see some who do not tend to watch snooker turning to the table. Published: 26/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Schools should only have a quarter of year 10 and 12 pupils in at...

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Schools should only have a quarter of year 10 and 12 pupils ‘in at one time’ The guidance has come from the Department for Education Secondary schools should only have a quarter of year 10 and year 12 pupils in at any one time to reduce transmission risks, the Government’s new guidance says. The guidelines, from the Department for Education (DfE), advises schools to practise social distancing by keeping pupils two metres apart from each other where possible. Schools should ensure that the use of public transport for school travel is “minimised” and pupils are encouraged to walk or cycle to reduce the risk of the virus spreading, according to the advice. Staggered start and end times should be introduced to take into account the likelihood of pupils mixing with each other and coming into contact with other people on the journey to and from school. The guidelines, published by the DfE, says the Government “cannot return more pupils to secondary school at this time” – but this position “will be kept under review”. Published: 26/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Labours new general secretary will help restore trust with voters

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Labour’s new general secretary will help restore trust with voters That's according to the Labour Leader, Sir Kier Starmer Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the party’s new general secretary will help restore “trust” with the British people. David Evans, who worked for Labour under the leadership of Tony Blair, and was seen as the favourite of Sir Keir, was backed for the role by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday. Sir Keir said: “I look forward to working with David to build a team that can help us restore trust with the British people and build a team that can win the next election.” Former assistant general secretary Mr Evans said: “We face a defining period in the history of our great party, with a global pandemic, an imminent recession and a mountain to climb to win the next election.” Published: 26/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Man charged with murder following discovery of body in north Belfast

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Man charged with murder following discovery of body in north Belfast The man is due to appear in court on Wednesday A 34-year-old man has been charged with murder following the discovery of a body at a house in north Belfast. The man was found at a house on Oakley Street in the Ballysillan area shortly before 11pm on Saturday. The accused is due to appear before Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. Officers launched a murder inquiry earlier on Tuesday following the results of a post-mortem examination. The man was arrested at the weekend following the fatal incident. Published: 26/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Cricket West Indies poised to discuss England tour

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Cricket West Indies poised to discuss England tour It could go ahead on the 8th of July England’s Test series against the West Indies could move a significant step closer on Thursday, with a board meeting in the Caribbean set to consider plans for the tour. Hopes are high that the three-match series, originally scheduled for June but postponed as part of the wider coronavirus shutdown, can go ahead in July behind closed doors. The Cricket West Indies board is due to hold a teleconference to discuss the England and Wales Cricket Board’s ‘bio-security’ arrangements and other information regarding safe hosting of the matches with a view to approving the trip. If the green light is given the next stage of preparation could begin, with squad selection, medical screenings, Covid-19 testing and travel arrangements with various islands all on the agenda. Charter flights will be required given the complexities involved in the region and the ECB is ready to foot that bill. Published: 26/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Ryanair reveals plan to increase flights

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Ryanair reveals plan to increase flights Ryanair has confirmed its plan to ramp up flights to 40% of its normal schedule from July 1 It's after Spain announced it will welcome the return of tourists from the same date. The low-cost airline said it will operate flights to “key holiday airports” in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus. It has launched a sale for flights in July and August with one-way fares starting from 29.99 euro (£26.71) in a bid to kick-start demand for travel. Since mid-March, Ryanair has operated a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights per day between the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe. The Spanish government revealed on Monday that its requirement for overseas visitors to go into quarantine for 14 days will be lifted from July 1. This followed announcements by other popular tourist destinations that coronavirus restrictions will be eased in the coming weeks. Ryanair chief executive Eddie Wilson said: “After four months of lockdown, we welcome these moves by governments in Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus to open their borders, remove travel restrictions and scrap ineffective quarantines. “Irish and British families, who have been subject to lockdown for the last 10 weeks, can now look forward to booking their much-needed family holiday to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and other Mediterranean destinations for July and August before the schools return in September. “Ryanair will be offering up to 1,000 daily flights from July 1, and we have a range of low fare seat sales, perfect for that summer getaway, which we know many parents and their kids will be looking forward to as we move out of lockdown and into the school holidays.” He insisted that all Ryanair flights will operate with new hygiene guidelines in place. These include all passengers having to wear face masks in airports and on board aircraft, and having to ask cabin crew for permission to use the toilet facilities to avoid queues. Mr Wilson added: “We look forward to welcoming millions of Ryanair passengers and their families back on board, and flying them on holiday as Europe’s economies begin to recover from these difficult recent lockdowns, which have been so successful in reversing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.” Other airlines have also announced plans to boost flight numbers. EasyJet announced last week it will resume flights from June 15 with a mainly domestic schedule in the UK and France. British Airways is due to launch “a meaningful return to service in July”, while Jet2.com is to resume its flight programme at the beginning of that month. The UK is to impose a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone arriving in the country from June 8, but the rules will be reviewed every three weeks. Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously warned that foreign holidays for UK residents are unlikely this summer. Published: 26/05/2020 by Radio NewsHub