UK News and Discussions

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Time_Traveller
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BBC Olympics coverage misses events after loss of TV rights
Sun 25 Jul 2021

The BBC has faced a series of complaints about the lack of live Tokyo Olympics coverage on its channels, after viewers failed to realise the International Olympic Committee has sold the majority of UK television rights to pay-TV company Discovery.

During the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics the BBC was able to offer dozens of free livestreams of different sports, revolutionising how British viewers watched the games and providing much-needed publicity to niche events that would not normally have enjoyed their moment in the public eye.

This is no longer possible, however, after Olympics organisers decided to sell the European television rights for the games to the US company Discovery in a £920m deal. Discovery has in turn put the vast majority of the coverage behind a paywall, accessible only through their Eurosport channels or on the new £6.99-a-month streaming service Discovery+.

Although the deal with the BBC was announced in 2016, this is the first summer Olympics where it has come into effect, meaning much of the British public was not aware of the changes until now.

Under the deal with the International Olympic Committee, Discovery is still required to make some of the coverage available on a free-to-air channel. Discovery decided to stick with the BBC for this element in the UK, in part to avoid a public relations disaster, allowing the national broadcaster to buy a limited amount of coverage.
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/ ... -tv-rights
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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UK economy growing at the fastest pace in eighty years, forecasts major accountancy firm
July 26, 2021

The EY ITEM Club’s Summer Forecast predicts the economy to grow 7.6% this year, the fastest rate of economic growth since 1941, upgrading its forecast by 0.8 percentage points from Spring figures.

The UK economy is expected to now return to pre-pandemic level by the end of the year, three years earlier than appeared likely in forecasts made this time last year. Growth of 6.5% is now expected in 2022, an improvement from the 5% growth forecast in April. This will be followed by growth of 2.1% in 2023 and 1.6% in 2024.

The return to growth, according to EY, is being driven by consumer spending as the economy reopens, with confidence boosted by the UK’s rapid rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. Delays to the government’s reopening of the economy were not judged to have impacted recovery, however.
https://marketingstockport.co.uk/news/u ... ancy-firm/
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Philip Morris wants cigarettes banned in the UK by 2030
By Hanna Ziady, CNN Business

Philip Morris International says it will stop selling Marlboro cigarettes in Britain within a decade as it called on the UK government to ban the sale of its tobacco products.

The remarks come amid dwindling smoker numbers in the United Kingdom — where cigarettes have been sold in plain packaging since 2016 — and a broader push by the UK government to reduce the prevalence of smoking.
https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/26/business ... index.html
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I will leave it to Brits to decide how accurate this opinion piece is in its discussion of Boris Johnson, etc.

Boris Johnson is a Comic Operate Prime Minister, Whose Antics Have Killed Tens of Thousands
by Patrick Cockburn
July 27, 2021

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/07/27 ... thousands/

Introduction:
(Counterpunch) Boris Johnson turns out to have privately yearned to adopt the same approach as Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro who publicly favoured allowing Covid-19 to rip through his nation. “Stop all this fussing and whining,” Bolsonaro told Brazilians, some 543,000 of whom have died in the epidemic. “How long are you going to go on crying?”

With similar callousness, Johnson is reported by his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings to have rejected a second lockdown last October after learning that the median age of the dead exceeded average life expectancy. “So get Covid and live longer,” he joked.

On 23 July 2019, two years ago today, Boris Johnson was elected leader of the Conservative Party, defeating the former health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Had Hunt been chosen instead, or almost anybody other than Johnson for that matter, then tens of thousands of people in Britain would not have died and hundreds of thousands of others would have escaped severe illness and long Covid.

Down the centuries, Britain has generally been lucky in its leaders in times of crisis. In calmer periods, it may not matter much who is nominally in charge of the country. But during the last two years of permanent crisis over Brexit and Covid-19, Britain has been led by a man of such poor and wavering judgement that it is difficult to find a figure of comparable incompetence in British history.
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Covid: No quarantine for fully jabbed US and EU travellers to England
Source: BBC
People who are fully vaccinated from the EU and US will not need to quarantine when arriving in England, the BBC has been told. Currently, people who have been fully vaccinated in the UK do not have to isolate when travelling from countries on the amber list, except from France.

But that exemption did not apply to people vaccinated outside the UK. The government's Covid Operations committee met earlier and made the decision. More details will be released later on Wednesday. It is not yet known when the change will come in - and whether the other UK nations will adopt the rule change. Earlier, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said talks on travel were taking place between the four nations.

The travel industry had been pushing for the change in the rules so that people living abroad can more easily come to the UK for holidays or to visit loved ones. "At the moment we're in this slightly ridiculous situation where if I'm on a plane from Spain, because I'm lucky enough to have had two jabs, once we get to the UK I just wander off, no problem," said travel expert Simon Calder.

"But the person sitting next to me, who happens to have had their vaccinations in Spain, not in the UK, has to go and sit in a room for 10 days. Doesn't make sense."
Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-57999362
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UK cultural landmarks may lose world heritage status, says Unesco chief
Fri 30 Jul 2021

Image

UK cultural landmarks such as Stonehenge could be stripped of their coveted world heritage status unless the government curbs “ill-advised development” and protects historic sites for future generations, a Unesco chief has warned.

Dr Mechtild Rössler, the director of Unesco’s World Heritage Centre, urged ministers to “do everything” they could to conserve the UK’s treasures after Liverpool became only the third place in nearly 50 years to lose its revered title.

Rössler said developers should be made more aware of the international value of places such as Stonehenge before proposing potentially harmful projects. She said: “These are the most outstanding places we have on Earth. If we are not capable of protecting these, for me the question is what will be left on this planet?”
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The intervention came before a crucial high court judgment on whether a two-mile tunnel can be built underneath Stonehenge. Should the development get the green light, Wiltshire’s famous stone circle is expected to be placed on Unesco’s “in danger” list – a precursor to being stripped of world heritage status – in what would be another humiliating blow for Britain.

Rössler, a world-renowned expert in cultural heritage and the history of planning, said the UK government “should take into account the beneficial provisions of the world heritage convention and do everything to protect this heritage for generations to come because we are not protecting this heritage for us today.
https://www.theguardian.com/culture/202 ... stonehenge
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Stonehenge: Campaigners win legal battle over plans for road tunnel near prehistoric monument
Friday 30 July 2021

Campaigners have won a High Court battle over the Transport Secretary's decision to approve a controversial road project which includes a tunnel near Stonehenge.

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS) challenged Grant Shapps' decision to back the £1.7bn scheme to overhaul eight miles of the A303, including the two-mile tunnel.

The go-ahead was given in November last year, despite advice from Planning Inspectorate officials that it would cause "permanent, irreversible harm" to the Unesco World Heritage Site in Wiltshire.

In a ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Holgate found the decision was "unlawful" on two grounds.
https://news.sky.com/story/stonehenge-c ... t-12368278
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Depleted and unwanted, HS2 hurtles on as Johnson’s £100bn vanity project
Fri 30 Jul 2021

Britain’s new high-speed railway will not – repeat: not – get to the north of England. It will go back and forth from London to the Midlands and its chief beneficiaries will be London commuters. All else is political spin.

This became certain last week as the government’s internal major projects authority declared phase two of the HS2 project, to Manchester and Leeds, effectively dead. While the already-started London-to-Birmingham stretch is still marked at “amber/red” for “successful delivery in doubt”, anything north of Crewe has been designated “unachievable”. Its multitudinous issues “do not appear to be manageable or resolvable”. This comes not from the arms-length National Infrastructure Commission or last winter’s Oakervee report, both agreeing that going beyond Birmingham should be “reviewed”. This was the verdict of an arm of the Treasury and Cabinet Office.

Since HS2 has always been politics-driven – no rail strategy ever gave it priority – it has raced past every red light for a decade. By far Europe’s biggest infrastructure scheme, it has finally been overtaken by its own extravagance. The pandemic has sent commuter numbers plummeting and wrecked any remotely plausible rate of return.

The only way of conveying the scale of Johnson’s vanity in this vanity project is to convey its opportunity cost, a projected £106bn (and rising) over 20 years. That is the price of hundreds of new NHS hospitals or thousands of new secondary schools. It is seven times the cost of the education Covid recovery project proposed last spring but rejected by Johnson as too costly. It is the same additional annual cost to 2040 as the projected new social care scheme – still considered too expensive. HS2 is in that spending league. These are real choices.

This one train line will consume the equivalent of Britain’s entire projected railway investment budget during its two decades of construction. Even the initial phase to Birmingham, at roughly £70bn, is twice the £40bn cost of the “northern powerhouse” rail system, which every infrastructure pundit agrees should be built first. Yet that system is now in serious danger of being delayed or never completed. HS2 is a glaring “levelling-down” of the north.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... 0VK4QTjDq4
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Welcome to 21st century Britain...

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Johnson faces rebellion over ‘intolerable’ hunger and poverty in home counties

Sun 1 Aug 2021 20.32 BST

Boris Johnson faces another backbench rebellion over the Treasury’s spending this autumn, as a high-profile Tory MP hit out at “intolerable” levels of hunger and poverty in his affluent home counties constituency, and urged ministers to abandon plans to cut universal credit.

Steve Baker, a leading Brexiter and MP for Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, called on ministers not to ignore the cost of living crisis faced by people “in real trouble” in constituencies like his who had been “tipped over the edge” financially by the pandemic.

Work and pensions minister, Thérèse Coffey, has confirmed that the pandemic universal credit uplift of £20 a week will be withdrawn as planned at the end of September.

Coffey was known to have been uneasy about the end of the uplift and lobbied for its extension to September, but is now believed to be resigned that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are opposed to any extension.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... e-counties
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Svetlana Tikhanovskaya: Belarus opposition leader hopeful after Boris Johnson meeting
2 hours ago

The exiled Belarus opposition leader says she is sure the UK will offer further help to the country's people, amid a crackdown on dissent.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said Boris Johnson had assured her the UK would put pressure on the Belarus government, at a meeting in Downing Street.

It comes amid mass arrests following the disputed re-election of President Lukashenko in August 2020.

The prime minister said the UK was "very much" on Ms Tikhanovskaya's side.

The exiled opposition leader claimed victory in last year's Belarusian presidential election, after standing in place of her politician husband, who was detained in March 2020.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-58073145
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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