Medical experts expose critical flaws in UK government’s flagship coronavirus operations

In recent weeks, a number of articles and papers have been published in prestigious medical journals warning of flaws in the UK government’s coronavirus (Covid-19) flagship testing and vaccination operations. Some of the warnings coincided with news that UK coronavirus cases per capita are higher than anywhere else in the world. Also that UK daily coronavirus death rates per million, when compared to US and EU rates, are approaching a new high. Second dosage questions Medical experts in the British Medical Journal have raised questions about the time gap between the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and the second dose. They commented: “[the] decision to delay the…

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Survivors of fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region face threat of starvation

Starvation is threatening the survivors of more than two months of fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Authorities say more than 4.5 million people there need emergency food.“The population is dying”The first humanitarian workers to arrive, after pleading with the Ethiopian government for access, describe weakened children dying from diarrhea, empty shops and refugees begging for something to eat. One new report says parts of Tigray are likely a step below famine.Mari Carmen Vinoles is the head of the emergency unit for Doctors Without Borders. She said “There is an extreme urgent need” to scale up the humanitarian response.“The population is dying every day as we speak,” she added.…

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Customers are taking legal action against BT for alleged overcharging

A law firm is launching action on behalf of BT customers claiming the company overcharged them for landlines. Mishcon de Reya has filed claims at the Competition Appeal Tribunal. The firm says these claims could result in payments of up to £500 each for 2.3 million BT customers. Compensation The claim is being made on behalf of Justin Le Patourel, the Claimant Representative. Patourle is also founder of Call (Collective Action on Land Lines). He said: Ofcom made it very clear that BT had spent years overcharging landline customers but did not order it to repay the money it made from this. We think millions of BT’s most…

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The divisive nature of Tory rhetoric about the ‘left behind white working-class’ The Canary

In recent months, we’ve seen a return to right-wing rhetoric that suggests white working-class boys are being left behind. This is allegedly because the nation is “preoccupied” with issues around race and gender. When asked to confront the very real evidence of structural racism in Britain during a House of Commons questions session on 13 January, equalities minister Liz Truss dismissively framed inequality in individualistic terms. In another response, she pitted disadvantaged white pupils against BAME pupils from low-income backgrounds. This came after a speech in December in which she said the current equality debate is led by “fashion”, not by “facts”. In the context of disproportionate BAME coronavirus (Covid-19)…

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Public warned over coronavirus cons amid rising vaccine fraud reports

Doctors and police are warning the public not to fall for fraudsters trying to sell fake coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines, affirming that the jab will always be free. Scams rising Reports to Action Fraud have been rising in the last two months, particularly around scam text messages, as con artists seek to gain from the pandemic. City of London Police are investigating one case in which a man knocked on the door of a 92-year-old woman and administered a fake vaccine before charging £160 and claiming it would be reimbursed by the NHS. Suspicious text messages reported by members of the public urge people to click a link to…

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Assaults on democracy come in many forms – not just storming the Capitol

The storming of the Capitol in the US by a white supremacist mob, egged on by the white supremacist-in-chief Donald J. Trump, has rightly seen calls for concern around the state of US democracy. However, some of these concerns also have legitimacy closer to home in the UK. Some threats to democracy are far more subtle and insidious than recent events in Washington, D.C. As part of our #factofthematter series, The Canary has been monitoring policy reviews and changes of electoral processes in the UK. As we’ve already covered, the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) is currently reviewing the financial regulation capabilities of the Electoral Commission. The…

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UK to face short-term delay in delivery of the Pfizer vaccine

The UK is set to face short-term delays in delivery of the Pfizer coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine as the pharmaceutical company upgrades its production capacity.DelaysPfizer is upscaling production at its plant in Puurs, Belgium. This is in an to produce more doses than originally planned for 2021 – temporarily reducing deliveries to all European countries. Shipments of the vaccine, produced in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, to the UK are set to be affected during January. But the overall number of doses due to be delivered between January and March will remain the same, according to the US firm.(PA Graphics)In response, a spokesperson for the government said that it’s still…

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Medics call for temporary laws to protect health workers from coronavirus legal action

Emergency legislation is needed to protect doctors and nurses from “inappropriate” legal action over coronavirus (Covid-19) treatment decisions made amid the pressures of the pandemic, health organisations have argued.A coalition of health bodies has written to the government urging it to update the law. This would be to ensure medical workers don’t feel “vulnerable to the risk of prosecution for unlawful killing” when treating coronavirus patients “in circumstances beyond their control”.“Very substantial” risk of ICUs being overwhelmedHealth groups argued that there’s no legal protection for coronavirus-related issues. Such as when there are “surges in demand for resources that temporarily exceed supply”.The letter, addressed to health secretary Matt Hancock,…

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Academics and police tied together with a £10m fund

A £10m fund from 2015 brought together 39 police forces and 30 academic institutions from across the UK. 14 different projects covered a wide range of topics. This funding highlights a number of problems for academics collaborating with the police. As part of our #ResistBigBrother series, we’re keeping a close eye on the links between academics and police forces. There’s nothing inherently wrong with research on police strategy – that’s not the issue here. The issue is where the funding for the research comes from. The Police Knowledge Fund that we’re looking at was: supported by the College of Policing with funding from the Higher Education Funding Council…

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The DWP boss just stuck two fingers up at the poorest kids

In a letter, work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey may as well have stuck two fingers up at the poorest children in the UK. Because her dismissal of the concerns of an influential parliamentary committee was staggering.Another day, another inquiry into the ToriesThe Work and Pensions Select Committee has launched an inquiry into child poverty. It states that:A new wide-ranging inquiry from the Work and Pensions Committee is to examine what steps the Government could take to reduce the numbers of children who grow up in poverty in the UK. Official figures show that even before the coronavirus pandemic child poverty was a growing issue, affecting more than…

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