As experts call ‘urgently’ for online teaching, students demand tuition and accommodation refund

Some 40 universities have reported coronavirus (Covid-19) cases since term began, while thousands of students all over the country have found themselves paying for the privilege of self-isolating. Scientists have now released urgent guidelines following the increasing outbreaks. Independent SAGE experts argue that there is an “urgent need” to “act quickly and pragmatically”. They stress that all teaching should immediately be transferred online. They also argue that where online teaching isn’t possible, there should be regular coronavirus-testing for both staff and students. Accommodation fees should be refunded The scientists also recommend that universities: Offer students the choice whether to live on campus / in their university accommodation or…

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Boris Johnson apologises for not understanding his government’s own coronavirus restrictions

The prime minister has apologised after he failed to clarify the new local lockdown measures for large parts of the North East.Ignorance is thisBoris Johnson said he “misspoke” when he was asked to explain the new rules, which were announced on Monday and will come into effect from midnight.Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner claimed Johnson did not understand the new regulations, set to put a ban on households mixing in private and also social settings, in Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland, and County Durham.When asked by reporters to clarify whether people could meet in a pub garden, an issue one of his ministers admitted she…

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Former Sainsbury’s boss to take on key Test and Trace role

The former chief executive of Sainsbury’s is to take over as testing director at Test and Trace.Mike Coupe, who retired as chief executive officer of Sainsbury’s at the end of May, is set to replace Sarah-Jane Marsh who is returning to her post as chief executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.Dido Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace and is interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, said in an email to staff that Mr Coupe “will bring a wealth of experience in large scale supply chains, logistics and digital transformation”. Baroness Dido Harding (Dominic Lipinski/PA)It is understood he will be in…

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‘Let us out’: Isolating students hang window protest signs

Students isolating in their university halls of residence have been communicating with the outside world via signs in their windows saying “Let us out” and “Send beer”.UnrestThousands of students have been forced to self-isolate following a surge in cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) at universities including Manchester Metropolitan, Glasgow, and Edinburgh Napier.1,700 people were told to stay in their rooms at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Birley Campus and Cambridge Halls for 14 days after 127 tested positive for the virus. The signs have called on people to send help and food (Peter Byrne/PA)Students have resorted to using sticky notes and signs in their windows, including some which asked for a…

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Liz Truss says the UK should be ‘kinder’ to trans people. But her government’s actions don’t match this message

On 22 September, Liz Truss released a statement outlining the government’s response to the Gender Recognition Act consultation. In the statement, she openly admits that the experience of trans people in this country needs to be made “kinder and more straightforward”. But the government’s actions don’t reflect this message. Because its opted to make very few changes to the “bureaucratic” and lengthy process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). To be eligible for a GRC, you may have to pay your GP for a report indicating you have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. And you must have lived as your preferred gender for two years. It…

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Yet another government U-Turn as parliament drinking hours spark public backlash

UK businesses have criticised Boris Johnson’s new strict curfew for England’s pubs and bars during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. They’ve raised concerns that it may do more harm than good by forcing crowds into the streets at the same time. But the law caused even more protests when it emerged that MPs, lords and parliamentary staff would be able to continue drinking past the deadline in the Palace of Westminster. This was because its establishments are classed as workplace canteens. As a result, parliament has now said it won’t serve alcohol after the 10pm curfew. Yet another U-turn Johnson announced new regulations last week. They include exemptions that:…

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Artist Ai Weiwei stages silent protest against Julian Assange extradition

Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has staged a silent protest against the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because “all the words we want to say are already there”.Assange’s case has attracted the support of high-profile figures including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, actor Pamela Anderson, and rapper MIA, who have spoken out in various forms for the Free Assange campaign.The former journalist is fighting being sent to the US on charges relating to leaks of classified documents exposing war crimes and abuse.Outside the Old Bailey in London, where his ongoing trial is taking place, Weiwei told the PA news agency Assange represents “a core value of why we…

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Concerns grow for the welfare of a Palestinian activist on hunger strike in a Belfast prison

As reported by The Canary, republican prisoners went on hunger strike inside Maghaberry prison in Belfast on 16 September. This was to show solidarity with fellow prisoner and Palestinian activist Dr Issam Hijjawi-Bassalat, who began his hunger strike on the same date. Now the political activist group Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) says it: is becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of Dr Issam Hijjawi Bassalat. Hunger strike support On 26 September, the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA) marched to the gates of Maghaberry. The march followed a whiteline picket in west Belfast in support of the prisoners’ hunger strike. At the gates of the prison at…

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Marr’s whitewashing of coronavirus just reached extreme levels

The Andrew Marr Show went a bit Covid-conspiratorial on Sunday 27 September. Because the host managed to dismiss the serious nature of coronavirus (Covid-19) in one fell swoop. And he whitewashed everyone who has been sick or died from the virus, too. Channelling Covid-conspiracy? Much like 20 September’s show, Marr didn’t take long to cause controversy. His opening speech would have been quite at home at the anti-masker rally in London on 26 September. He talked about the “extraordinary sacrifices” people are making. But then Marr went a bit Covid-conspiratorial to say the least. He posed the question: Is there another way forward? Is it possible to protect…

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‘Communities, not capitalism’ as activists demand action on second homes in Wales

On 26 September, campaigners in Wales marched from Nefyn to Gwynedd county council headquarters in Caernarfon. The march is part of the campaign to demand: the Welsh Government acts to solve the second home crisis that threatens the Welsh language in Pen Llŷn and rural Wales The Welsh language society Cymdeithas yr Iaith wants a new property act to deal with second home purchases. It also wants the Senedd to devolve the land transaction tax to local authorities. Cymdeithas yr Iaith took part in the march, as part of its ‘Nid yw Cymru ar Werth’ (Wales is not for sale) campaign. It calls on the Welsh government to…

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