NEWS DIGEST 18.05.2020: Getting back to normal… and a bit of humour on the side

 

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It is the beginning of a new week, and we bring you this morning’s bulletin via Facebook. As the UK’s transport networks gear up for increased passenger numbers in light of the government’s easing of the lockdown, crowd control measures have been put in place, reports BBC News. Trains are now running more frequently, but to alleviate crowding and ensure passenger safety and social distancing, commuters may be prevented from entering packed trains and in some cases, may have to pre-book their journeys. Rail managers have expressed worries that social distancing will be impossible as millions begin returning to work after being kept at home during the lockdown – Coronavirus: Stations put crowd-control measures in place (BBC News)

British retail chain Argos has announced a massive clearance sale online-only to drum up sales and has significantly reduced prices on products such as technology, toys and home items, reported the Mirror newspaper. Some items have had as much as fifty per cent taken off their normal retail price – Argos launch massive clearance sale online and it includes Harry Potter items (Mirror)

The Guardian has spoken out against the policy of British courts requiring defendents at trials to state their nationality in paperwork. The nationality requirement, as stated in the Policing and Crime Act of 2017, has been slated for ‘racialising’ the judicial process, and a study said that 96 per cent of lawyers did not support the regulations. The rule was brought in by ex-prime minister Theresa May to aid in deporting foreign criminals as part of her controversial ‘hostile environment’ policy – Making defendants state nationality is ‘racialising’ UK courts – report (The Guardian)

Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat candidate for next year’s mayoral election in London, has urged the scrapping of a tunnel connection across the Thames river that will cost up to a billion pounds, as Transport for London struggles financially, the Newham Recorder reported. Benita said that ultimately it would be ordinary hard-working Londoners who will have to pay for both the Silvertown Tunnel and the TfL financial black hole. She said: “This (£1.5 billion) bailout (for TfL) was essential but it has come with expensive conditions. TfL’s finances were in a mess before this pandemic and that seems to have weakened the Mayor’s hand in negotiations with the government. But ultimately, it is hardworking Londoners who are going to foot the bill – with forced increases in fares, concessions scrapped and major improvement projects under threat,” “We now need radical action to secure the long-term financial sustainability of TfL, including scrapping the £1bn polluting Silvertown Tunnel project and spreading the revenue-raising burden from public transport passengers to drivers, by introducing smart road pricing in the capital.” – Scrap Silvertown Tunnel to save TfL, says Lib Dem mayoral candidate (Newham Recorder)

UK home secretary Priti Patel has said that NHS usage surcharges by foreign nationals residing in the country, include those working for the National Health Service itself, will remain in place despite the sacrifices made by foreign NHS doctors, nurses and other staff during the coronavirus crisis, the Independent said. The home secretary’s refusal to waive the fees for NHS employees has generated anger, particularly as Patel had promised a review of the compulsory £600+ yearly charges in light of public outpouring of support for medical and care staff – Anger as Priti Patel says NHS fees paid by foreign health staff must stay, just three weeks after announcing ‘review’ (Independent)

At the other end of the parliamentary political spectrum, the UK’s centre-left Labour party has said it will kickstart a ‘green economic recovery’ to ease the nation out of the COVID-19 epidemic’s fallout. Party member Ed Miliband has called for the creation of a ‘zero-carbon army’ to strengthen eco-friendly industries, and to retrain youth who have been made redundant in the crisis in working in the green sector, doing tasks such as planting trees, insulating buildings and working on green technologies – Labour to plan green economic rescue from coronavirus crisis (The Guardian)

A website named for Star Trek actor George Takei has promoted a post from last year on the most embarrassing reasons teachers had to contact the parents of their students for. One educator had to call in the authority figures after a pupil attempted to strangle a classmate in a playground fight, while another teacher had to apologise to a mother after refusing to let her child use the school bathroom, only for the student to throw up all over her desk – Teachers Share The Most Embarrassing Reasons They’ve Ever Had To Call A Student’s Parents (GeorgeTakei.com)

Also in the lighter side of funny news, website GreenLemon lists thirty people who experienced the ‘dumbest’ ways they injured themselves. One, Mark Summers, sprained his wrist after walking into a spider’s web and began flailing too wildly. Kat stepped on a rake and knocked herself out cold. Sezza recalled a time when her husband was demonstrating shadow puppetry to their pet cat, only to dislocate his thumb – 30 People Share The ‘Dumbest’ Ways They’ve Injured Themselves And It’s Hilarious (GreenLemon)

 

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