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Huddersfield man, 36, admits manslaughter of gifted student, 21

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huddersfield man 36 admits manslaughter of gifted student 21

A 36-year-old man has admitted stabbing a ‘gifted’ university student to death in a ‘domestic incident’.

Paul Crowther denied murder but pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter of 21-year-old Bethany Fields last September.

Crowther, who appeared at Leeds Crown Court, spoke only to confirm his name and enter his pleas.

He is accused of killing Bethany, an environmental geography student, in what police described as a ‘domestic-related incident’ in Huddersfield town centre.

Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, told the court he expected the Crown Prosecution Service to make a decision whether to accept Crowther’s pleas within two weeks.

Bethany Fields, 21, was killed in what police have described as a 'domestic-related incident' in Huddersfield last year

Bethany Fields, 21, was killed in what police have described as a 'domestic-related incident' in Huddersfield last year

Bethany Fields, 21, was killed in what police have described as a ‘domestic-related incident’ in Huddersfield last year

A further court case has been scheduled for August 21 where Crowther will either stand trial or face sentencing.

Mr Sharp said: ‘This is a highly sensitive and emotional case.

‘The Crown has received its second report and I ask for 14 days for the crown to make clear its position.

‘At the moment, we have no intention to get any further reports.’

Judge Tom Bayliss QC extended Crowther’s custody and told him: ‘You will be brought back before the court on August 21.’

Bethany, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, was found seriously injured in Huddersfield, on September 12 last year.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but she was tragically pronounced dead by paramedics.

An inquest has heard she died after suffering numerous stab wounds.

Bethany’s relatives were in the public gallery during the brief hearing and told the judge they expected to be present when the case comes before the court again.

Paul Crowther has denied murder but has pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter over the death

Paul Crowther has denied murder but has pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter over the death

Paul Crowther has denied murder but has pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter over the death

A further court case has been scheduled for August 21 where Crowther will either stand trial or face sentencing

A further court case has been scheduled for August 21 where Crowther will either stand trial or face sentencing

A further court case has been scheduled for August 21 where Crowther will either stand trial or face sentencing

In a statement released via the police after her death, her heartbroken family said: ‘The life of Bethany, who was a beautiful, talented, ambitious, intelligent, kind, giving, and loving daughter, was tragically taken from her.

‘A daughter, who any parent would have been proud of, much loved and respected by all; family, friends, work colleagues and fellow students.

‘Bethany had a bright future ahead of her.

‘She was studying Environmental Geography at university, travelling to Iceland to study the effects of glacial melts on the environment and to the Canary Islands to study volcanoes.

‘She was musically gifted, starting on a music mentoring course and gradually during the holidays working at a studio.

‘More recently, she worked with a charitable organisation for people with physical and learning difficulties. Through this, she brought much joy and pleasure into other people’s lives.

‘Bethany had a wonderfully pleasant nature, with a love of nature, plants and animals.

‘She will be sadly missed, but never forgotten, forever in our hearts and thoughts.’

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Number 10 is forced to clarify you WILL be able to order at the counter at McDonald’s and Pret

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number 10 is forced to clarify you will be able to order at the counter at mcdonalds and pret

New lockdown rules at a glance 

  • Office workers who can work ‘normally’ from home should do so.
  • English pubs, bars and restaurants must close by 10pm from Thursday.
  • The hospitality sector will be restricted to table service only.
  • Face coverings must be worn in taxis and retail staff while at work.
  • Customers in indoor hospitality must wear face coverings, except while seated at a table to eat/drink.
  • Rule of Six exemptions reduced, banning indoor team sport.
  • The planned return of spectators to sports venues will now not go ahead from October 1.
  • Wedding ceremonies and receptions capped at 15 people from Monday
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McDonalds will be allowed to serve customers at the counter under new coronavirus rules, No 10 confirmed this afternoon, after a senior minister sparked chaos by suggesting it would need to bring in posh table service.

Downing Street said a new law demanding people order and eat while seated at a table only applied to bars, pubs and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol.

It means that burger joints, other fast food and high street cafes will still be allowed to serve people who queue up at tills – but unless they are taking away they will have to sit down to eat or drink. 

Mr Raab made his comments this morning after Boris Johnson announced last night a ‘table-service only’ policy to reduce the chance of people coming into close contact with others in queues. 

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on whether customers could queue for food and then sit down, Mr Raab said: ‘My understanding is that you need to be able to order from the tables.’ 

But this afternoon the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the rules on table service applied to ‘licensed premises’ 

Asked if this meant that you could ‘walk into McDonalds, order your Big Mac, pick it up and then sit down’ he replied: ‘Correct. ‘You have to sit down in order to eat it in order for that to follow the rules, but yes, the rules on table service apply to licensed premises (only).’

Ministers were met with a deluge of furious business owners for whom introducing table service would mean employing more staff and serving less customers. And the clarification prompted more anger over the mixed messages being put out. 

Trade association UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said policy changes ‘on a daily basis’ and inconsistencies between devolved governments are leading to confusion for hospitality bosses, adding that they ‘deserve better’. 

She said: ‘Our understanding is that quick-service restaurants will be exempt from the new rules, but there is certainly a degree of confusion.

‘Businesses have been given next to no time to implement rules that have been introduced with no consultation from the industry and we are rushing around to try to interpret them. These restrictions are going to have a huge impact.’ 

Pret A Manger boss Julian Metcalfe blasted Mr Johnson’s Tuesday night address, telling Radio 4 today:  ‘This man sitting down with his Union Jack talking utter nonsense … to turn to an entire nation and say, stay at home for six months, and then to spout off some Churchillian nonsense that we’ll make it through, it’s terribly unhelpful.’ 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suggested that fast food chains like McDonalds and coffee shops like Pret a Manger would have to rip up their systems and become table service only to stay open

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suggested that fast food chains like McDonalds and coffee shops like Pret a Manger would have to rip up their systems and become table service only to stay open

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suggested that fast food chains like McDonalds and coffee shops like Pret a Manger would have to rip up their systems and become table service only to stay open

High Street businesses are under huge pressure after Boris Johnson reintroduced working from home

High Street businesses are under huge pressure after Boris Johnson reintroduced working from home

High Street businesses are under huge pressure after Boris Johnson reintroduced working from home

Ministers last night released official documents online outlining how Boris Johnson's (pictured today) new lockdown measures would work. But there was confusion over their implementation this morning

Ministers last night released official documents online outlining how Boris Johnson's (pictured today) new lockdown measures would work. But there was confusion over their implementation this morning

Ministers last night released official documents online outlining how Boris Johnson’s (pictured today) new lockdown measures would work. But there was confusion over their implementation this morning

Malek Den, from the Regis Snack Bar in London’s Leadenhall Market, blasted the government’s advice as ‘confusing’. 

He told MailOnline: ‘They’re giving out opposites all the time. We’re trying to build the business again but we’re being told all these confusing things. 

‘I don’t understand. I thought the rules was just about six people being inside and you can still serve people in a queue for takeaway.’  

The guidance also raises questions for businesses including gyms and hairdressers, which are popular and often-used services by millions of Britons but which are not mentioned specifically in any of the new guidance. 

Many will wonder if they will have to adhere to a new tightening of the Rule of Six law, which would have a dramatic impact on their operations and could potentially force some to close.

Tory MPs said the Government’s handling of the crisis has been a ‘total shambles’ and that repeated shifts in official guidance had left many people across the country confused as to what the rules actually are. 

Pubs and other leisure and hospitality businesses like restaurants will face a 10pm curfew from tomorrow.

People working in retail, those travelling in taxis, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality will also have to wear face coverings – except while seated at a table to eat or drink.

And in a dramatic reversal of the Government’s recent drive to get people back to workplaces, all office workers will be advised to work from home where they can as soon as possible.    

PUBS AND RESTAURANTS

ENGLAND

From this Thursday, businesses selling food or drink (including, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, and adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls will be required to closed between 10pm and 5am. Some exemptions apply, including cinemas, theatres and concert halls which have started shows before 10pm, however they will not be permitted to serve food or drink to customers after 10pm. 

Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service or drive-thru.  Self-collected takeaways are banned after 10pm.

Customers will not be allowed to order drinks at the bar. All pubs and bars must become table service only. 

And Mr Raab claimed this morning this is also true of fast food establishments like McDonalds. 

‘In all of the restaurants and hospitality you can go in and order from the tables, but what you can’t do without a mask is just sit around and mill around,’ Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Asked if customers could queue to order food and then sit down, Mr Raab said: ‘My understanding is that you need to be able to order from the tables.’

While McDonald’s remote ordering allows customers to order food to be delivered to tables, it is not set up for orders to be taken at tables as well. 

He was swift corrected by No10 this afternoon. As well as the exemption for ‘quick service’ restaurants, there is also one for ‘ancillary services’ – where they sell alcohol but it is not their main function. One example is cinemas, which will still allow customers to buy drinks and take them in to screenings.

The curfew also applies to takeaway services, many of which sustained businesses through the worst of the original lockdown.

But food (and drink) deliveries are allowed to continue after 10pm because it is easier to limit human contact.

It is mandatory for certain businesses, including the hospitality and tourism and leisure sectors, close contact services, local authority run services and places of worship, to have a system to collect NHS Track and Trace data, and to ask customers to provide these details. Businesses will be required to retain these details for 21 days, and will need to ensure that the Rule of Six is not flouted. 

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said many landlords feel it is ‘no longer viable to stay open without further support’ because of the new rule.

Ms McClarkin said: ‘Restricting pubs to table service only will have a severe impact on their revenue at a time when many of them were already struggling to break even.

‘Our pubs have already invested lots of time and money to ensure they are safe – including Perspex screens and enhanced cleaning regimes, among others, to make them safe.

‘With takeaway restaurants still able to serve their customers at the counter, the decision by the Government is a particularly difficult one for landlords to swallow.’

Boris Johnson called on the British public to 'get through this winter together' and said the people need to 'summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through'

Boris Johnson called on the British public to 'get through this winter together' and said the people need to 'summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through'

Boris Johnson called on the British public to ‘get through this winter together’ and said the people need to ‘summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through’ 

WALES, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND

The same rules for England are expected to apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The devolved administrations will announce their plans this week.

IS THE 10PM CURFEW ECONOMICALLY DAMAGING?

The Prime Minister told the Commons ‘the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more alcohol has been consumed’.

In reply to Meg Hillier, Labour chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee he said: ‘These are not easy decisions, nobody wants to be curtailing the right of restaurants and other businesses to go about their lawful business.

‘What we have seen from the evidence is that alas the spread of the disease does tend to happen later at night after more alcohol has been consumed.

‘This is one way that we see of driving down the R without doing excessive economic damage and that’s the balance we have to strike.’

Ministers have been warned that a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for many businesses still treading water after the first wave of Covid-19.

Exasperated hospitality bosses are fuming that they are bearing the brunt of Boris Johnson’s coronavirus crackdown when Government figures show a comparably low spread of the disease in food and drink outlets.

Public Health England data reveals that of the 729 outbreaks in the week to September 13, only five per cent occurred in food outlets such as restaurants and pubs – 45 per cent were in care homes, 21 per cent in schools and 18 per cent in places of work.

People sit in a restaurant in Covent Garden in London today as the PM clobbered civil liberties

People sit in a restaurant in Covent Garden in London today as the PM clobbered civil liberties

People sit in a restaurant in Covent Garden in London today as the PM clobbered civil liberties

Pubs like the French House in Soho, central London, will have to close at 10pm. That is not last orders at 10pm, that is close at 10pm.

Pubs like the French House in Soho, central London, will have to close at 10pm. That is not last orders at 10pm, that is close at 10pm.

Pubs like the French House in Soho, central London, will have to close at 10pm. That is not last orders at 10pm, that is close at 10pm.

Officer workers have been told to work from home 'if possible' although those in 'key public services and in all professions' where this is not possible, such as construction and retail, should continue to go in

Officer workers have been told to work from home 'if possible' although those in 'key public services and in all professions' where this is not possible, such as construction and retail, should continue to go in

Officer workers have been told to work from home ‘if possible’ although those in ‘key public services and in all professions’ where this is not possible, such as construction and retail, should continue to go in

33435694 8759983 image a 25 1600797572669

33435694 8759983 image a 25 1600797572669

33435696 8759983 image a 27 1600797572694

33435696 8759983 image a 27 1600797572694

RULE OF SIX AND MASKS

Last night’s announcement saw a dramatic tightening of the Rule of Six and laws governing facemasks 

In England, a maximum of six people from multiple households can meet up both indoors and outdoors — in private homes, pubs, restaurants and parks. 

All ages are included in the headcount. There are some exceptions — for example, when a single household has more than six occupants.

The Rule of Six has been extended to take in ‘leisure, entertainment, tourism and close contact’ sectors’. 

So it means that currently hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons can still operate, but they will need to cut still further the number of people they can serve at any one time. 

Anyone who breaks the rules on social gatherings in England will be fined £200 with the penalty doubling on each further repeat offence up to £3,200.

Businesses that break the Rule of Six will be fined £10,000 or closed down.

Hairdressers will also be legally required to wear face coverings while crimping from tomorrow, a step up on the voluntary guidance issued back in May.

But there are question marks over whether gyms will have to adhere to mask or the Rule of Six.

The guidance says: ‘Organised indoor sport or exercise classes can take place in larger numbers, provided groups of more than six do not mix.’

This is likely to prove tricky for classes run at locations where there is not the space for this to be followed, like village halls. 

But gyms are not mentioned specifically in any of the documents, in terms of Rule of Six or masks – which would be very unwelcome for people working out.    

Face masks must be worn on public transport and in many indoor spaces, including shops, shopping centres, indoor transport hubs, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries. 

From tomorrow it will be law for passengers to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles, and from Thursday, face coverings must also be worn in hospitality venues, like restaurants and bars, other than when you are eating and drinking. Staff in retail and hospitality settings will also be legally required to wear face coverings. 

If necessary, the police and Transport for London (TfL) officers have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £200 (halving to £100 if paid within 14 days). 

It comes after the World Health Organisation and numerous studies suggested they are beneficial.

As announced, the Government will bring forward changes to mean that for repeat offenders these fines would double at each offence up to a maximum value of £6,400.  

The Prime Minister has also announced tougher enforcement measures, with businesses facing fines or closure for failing to comply with coronavirus rules, meaning there will be consequences for pubs that try to serve you at the bar.

WORKING FROM HOME

Already a controversial subject, the guidance on the return to working from home could be seen as having massive weaknesses.

It says: ‘Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so … anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work.’

But this raises the question of who makes the final decision. Can a worker refuse to come into the office? Who decides what is a ‘normal duty’? Can the employer force them to come into work against their wishes? 

It raises the possibility of a raft of possible legal claims by employees who feel they are being forced back to work and potential complaints from managers unable to get their offices up and running again.

The new message brings England into line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have all advised people to work from home wherever possible throughout the pandemic.

If businesses are not Covid-secure, flout the mask regulations or break the Rule of Six, they will be fined £10,000 or closed down.

If people prevent others from self-isolating – such as bosses threatening redundancy – they can also be fined. 

Commuters walk across the London Bridge during the morning rush hour in September

Commuters walk across the London Bridge during the morning rush hour in September

Commuters walk across the London Bridge during the morning rush hour in September

A man enjoys a a drink at The Kings Ford pub in Chingford, East London, as the PM made his announcement in the Commons this afternoon

A man enjoys a a drink at The Kings Ford pub in Chingford, East London, as the PM made his announcement in the Commons this afternoon

A man enjoys a a drink at The Kings Ford pub in Chingford, East London, as the PM made his announcement in the Commons this afternoon

Many Tory MPs are increasingly exasperated at the Government’s handling of the crisis.

One Conservative figure told the FT: ‘We told people to eat out, now we’re telling them to eat in. We told people to go back to the office, now we’re telling them to work from home.

‘It’s a total shambles and I can’t see how people are going to understand it.’

Responding to the PM’s grim address, Telford MP Lucy Allan questioned on Twitter whether the UK’s ‘collective health’ was really at risk: ‘Measures to tackle #covid must be proportionate to the risk. The virus is a serious threat to certain vulnerable groups.

‘We must protect these groups with targeted measures. Shutting down society causes massive damage to health, lives, and livelihoods of the whole population.’

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage accused Mr Johnson of adopting an ‘authoritarian’ response to the coronavirus crisis. 

Tens of thousands of Britons appeared to defy the PM’s call to return to working from home this morning as London Underground and train services in the capital remained busy.

Some of the county’s biggest firms declared ‘nothing has changed’ despite Mr Johnson now urging people to stay at home to work where they are able to.

An industry source told MailOnline: ‘Most businesses have covid-secure settings and need people in offices to be able to help their customers.

‘Nothing has changed after the Prime Minister’s speech.’

SCHOOLS

Schools will remain unaffected by the new restrictions. Along with protecting the economy, one of the main thrusts of today’s announcements is the Government’s desire to prioritise keeping schools open.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I want to stress that this is by no means a return to the full lockdown of March. We are not issuing a general instruction to stay at home.

‘We will ensure that schools, colleges and universities stay open – because nothing is more important than the education, health and well-being of our young people. We will ensure that businesses can stay open in a Covid-compliant way.’

WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS

From next Monday, wedding ceremonies and receptions in England have to be capped at 15 people — down from 30 people.

But funeral services are exempt from the new restrictions, with the maximum number of mourners remaining at 30.

Celebrations held this weekend will narrowly avoid the new restrictions.

Setting out the measures in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: ‘Fifth, now is the time to tighten up the Rule of Six.

‘I’m afraid that from Monday a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, though up to 30 can still attend a funeral as now.’

From next Monday, wedding ceremonies and receptions in England have to be capped at 15 people — down from 30 people. But funeral services are exempt from the new restrictions, with the maximum number of mourners remaining at 30

From next Monday, wedding ceremonies and receptions in England have to be capped at 15 people — down from 30 people. But funeral services are exempt from the new restrictions, with the maximum number of mourners remaining at 30

From next Monday, wedding ceremonies and receptions in England have to be capped at 15 people — down from 30 people. But funeral services are exempt from the new restrictions, with the maximum number of mourners remaining at 30

Current guidance states that up to 30 attendees are permitted in Wales, while in Scotland, ceremonies and receptions are limited to 20 people, and numbers are dependent on the venue in Northern Ireland.

One bride, due to get married on December 12 after being engaged for five years, who had originally planned a wedding with 100 people in Norfolk, said she felt ‘gutted’ following the announcement.

‘We are then seeing people say online that it doesn’t matter, it’s not important and at least we don’t have Covid and then we feel like our feelings are not valid,’ 40-year-old Laura Brown told the PA news agency.

‘It’s a day but it’s so much more than a day, because of all the emotions that go into it.’

Meanwhile, self-employed wedding celebrant Chris Gray, from Glasgow, called the restrictions around weddings ‘nonsensical’, such as couples being required to wear coverings during the ceremony.

The 29-year-old added: ‘That’s led so many people having to cancel or rearrange weddings and in the short-term it’s been an absolute hammer blow for cash flow for me.’

OTHER PUBLIC SPACES

TRAVELLING

People can spend time outdoors, including for exercise, as often as they wish. At all times, they should follow the guidance on group sizes, meeting in groups of no more than six unless there is an exception set out in law.  

They should aim to walk or cycle if you can, but where that is not possible they can use public transport or drive. 

It is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context. 

So people should avoid travelling with someone from outside their household or their support bubble unless they can practise social distancing.

SPORTS MATCHES

In England, a maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports. However, large sports events and conferences will not take place from October 1, as previously planned.

Mr Johnson announced that the planned return of spectators to sports venues in England could be on hold for six months, raising the prospect of months more of games behind closed doors.

A number of pilot test events, in which capacities have been capped at 1,000, have taken place and it was hoped venues would be allowed to welcome more spectators from the start of October.

In England, a maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports. However, large sports events and conferences will not take place from October 1, as previously planned

In England, a maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports. However, large sports events and conferences will not take place from October 1, as previously planned

In England, a maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports. However, large sports events and conferences will not take place from October 1, as previously planned

In England, a maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports. However, large sports events and conferences will not take place from October 1, as previously planned

In England, a maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports. However, large sports events and conferences will not take place from October 1, as previously planned

In England, a maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports. However, large sports events and conferences will not take place from October 1, as previously planned

But the PM set out a range of tough new restrictions for England designed to limit the spread of Covid-19.

‘We have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events,’ he told the House of Commons.

‘So we will not be able to do this from October 1 and I recognise the implications for our sports clubs which are the life and soul of our communities, and… the Chancellor and the Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them.’

He said the measures being announced on Tuesday would remain in place for ‘perhaps six months’.

It is a devastating blow to sporting organisations, many of whom rely heavily on match-day revenue for survival, and there have already been calls from governing bodies for the government to provide emergency funding.

Professional sport, including the Premier League and Test cricket, has largely been played behind closed doors since it returned following the coronavirus shutdown earlier this year.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport confirmed all pilot events scheduled for September had now been cancelled. They will now take place with no fans.

In a statement this afternoon, the Premier League said fans would be ‘as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted’.

‘The Premier League notes the Government’s announcement today and while the health of the nation must remain everyone’s priority, we are disappointed that the safe return of supporters to matches has been postponed,’ it said.

‘The Premier League is certain that, through League-wide guidelines and a code of conduct developed with scientific experts and agreed by the Government’s Sports Ground Safety Authority, fans in stadiums will be as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted. This is already evident in other European leagues.’ 

How long will the new restrictions be in place for? 

The new restrictions brought in today could last for six months – but Mr Johnson has insisted they are not a return to the national lockdown seen in March. 

He said: ‘For the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives and I must tell the House and the country that our fight against it will continue. 

‘We will not listen to those who say let the virus rip, nor those who urge a permanent lockdown. We are taking decisive and appropriate steps to balance saving lives with protecting jobs and livelihoods.’ 

Many families will be anxious for Christmas after hearing the new rules – but ministers have insisted they do not want to ruin the holiday season. 

The five days of panic which paved the way for Boris Johnson to impose a curfew on pubs

Thursday: The latest official data presented to ministers showed that coronavirus cases were on the rise in all age groups while hospitalisations were also increasing across the board. The numbers are said to have prompted Michael Gove to call for decisive action to be taken. 

By the end of the day a ‘consensus’ had reportedly emerged around a plan for a total shutdown of the hospitality and leisure sectors, with Mr Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said to be the leading advocates. 

Advisers on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies also backed the plans on the grounds that it was not possible to predict the impact of a less severe curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants. 

Mr Johnson was reportedly initially in favour of the total shutdown. 

Friday: The prospect of a total shutdown spooked ministers and officials in the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who were afraid of the damage such a move would do to the economy. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to have asked to see the Prime Minister and the pair then met on Friday afternoon. Mr Sunak spelled out his fears in person and Mr Johnson was apparently sympathetic to the message from the Chancellor, asking officials to look at other options. 

Saturday and Sunday: Mr Johnson held further talks with senior ministers as well as with Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty as the premier tried to hammer out an agreed way forward. Mr Johnson eventually decided to go ahead with a curfew plan instead of a total shutdown as the ‘hawks’ in the Cabinet appeared to win the battle with the ‘doves’.

Monday: The PM’s latest lockdown plans were formally decided upon by senior ministers ahead of a formal announcement today.

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Upper Crust owner SSP unveils 86% slump in sales

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upper crust owner ssp unveils 86 slump in sales

Former high-flying railway station and airport cafe and food operator SSP has unveiled a £1.3billion hit to revenues and confirmed ‘considerable’ job losses as lockdown and a slump in travel wiped out sales.

The Upper Crust owner, which also runs travel sites for chains such as M&S Simply Food, Starbucks and Burger King, said nearly two-thirds of its sites are still closed as demand remains low due to the coronavirus crisis. 

However, it reopened more sites since the easing of lockdown than it previously forecast. And it said weekly sales are slowly improving thanks to a slight improvement in passenger demand, mostly across continental Europe. 

Despite a sharp fall in sales, investors reacted positively to the update, with SSP shares shooting up 14 per cent to 206p on Wednesday.  They remain 70 per cent down on their mid-January peak, however.

SSP, which owns Upper Crust, said nearly two-thirds of its sites are still closed as demand remains low due to the coronavirus crisis

SSP, which owns Upper Crust, said nearly two-thirds of its sites are still closed as demand remains low due to the coronavirus crisis

SSP, which owns Upper Crust, said nearly two-thirds of its sites are still closed as demand remains low due to the coronavirus crisis

SSP, which in July unveiled plans to axe up to 5,000 UK jobs, has around 570 sites across 130 airport and railway stations in the UK and Ireland as well as outlets in 35 countries around the world.

Its airport outlets in the UK suffered the impact of ever-changing quarantine restrictions during the summer, SSP said, but performance did improve a bit, mostly thanks to holidaymakers who defied Covid fears and still went travelling. 

Its outlets at UK rail stations have seen a ‘slow recovery’ only recently – after a ‘very weak’ third quarter – thanks to a gradual return in commuter travel as people return to the office.  

SSP expects group sales to have slumped by 86 per cent in the second half to the end of September, which equates to a reduction in revenue of around £1.3billion compared to the same period last year.

A slight improvement in passenger demand has seen weekly sales declines narrow to around 76 per cent from 95 per cent in its third quarter, it said. 

This improvement has been driven by continental Europe, where weekly sales are 66 per cent lower than a year before, while in the UK, North America and Rest of the World, sales remain around 80 per cent to 85 per cent down. 

SSP has now re-opened just over a third of its approximately 1,100 sites, which is  ahead of the June forecast of just 20 per cent.

High-flying SSP's shares have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown

High-flying SSP's shares have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown

High-flying SSP’s shares have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown

SSP, which also runs travel sites for the likes of Starbucks, said its airport outlets in the UK suffered the impact of ever-changing quarantine restrictions during the summer

SSP, which also runs travel sites for the likes of Starbucks, said its airport outlets in the UK suffered the impact of ever-changing quarantine restrictions during the summer

SSP, which also runs travel sites for the likes of Starbucks, said its airport outlets in the UK suffered the impact of ever-changing quarantine restrictions during the summer

It also said operating losses will be in the middle of its predicted £180million to £250million range. 

However, the latest restrictions announced by Boris Johnson yesterday, including instructions for office staff to work from home where they can, are likely to deal SSP another blow. 

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said it was now a case of ‘two steps forward, one step back’, at least for SSP’s UK operations.

‘Sentiment is going to remain fragile towards getting on a train or going on a plane, and so SSP’s outlets in rail stations and airports could have greatly reduced footfall,’ he added. 

SSP cautioned that demand ‘may well remain subdued’ over the winter months.

Simon Smith, chief executive of SSP Group, said: ‘We have seen some improvement in passenger demand since the start of the crisis and we have reopened units swiftly and profitably in response to this, with over one-third of our units now trading.

‘Our model is flexible and we will continue to align unit openings with demand, meeting the needs of our customers whilst managing operating costs and cash flow tightly.

‘In the medium term we expect to see the gradual return of passenger travel to more normalised levels.

‘The actions we are taking to rebuild the business will enable us to emerge fitter and stronger.’  

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Coldest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere was -93.3°F

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coldest temperature ever recorded in the northern hemisphere was 93 3f

Experts have verified a 29-year-old weather reading from Greenland which sets a new record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. 

An automated weather station positioned more than 10,000 ft above sea level and atop the Greenland ice sheet took the measurement on 22 December 1991. 

The temperature sunk as low as -69.6°C (-93.3°F) at the site, located in a frigid place called Klinck, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says.  

The temperature sunk as low as -69.6°C (-93.3°F) at an automated weather system, located in a frigid place called Klinck atop the Greenland ice sheet

The temperature sunk as low as -69.6°C (-93.3°F) at an automated weather system, located in a frigid place called Klinck atop the Greenland ice sheet

The temperature sunk as low as -69.6°C (-93.3°F) at an automated weather system, located in a frigid place called Klinck atop the Greenland ice sheet 

This left picture shows the weather system and was taken in 1994. The annotated picture on the right shows the equipment on the device,which is built to survive in ultra-cold environments. a) air temperature probe  (b) 2m above snow level at time of record cold temperature (c) snow level in July 1992 (d) estimated snow level on 22 December 1991 (e) temp probe installed 0.9 m above snow surface at installation (buried in September 1991)

This left picture shows the weather system and was taken in 1994. The annotated picture on the right shows the equipment on the device,which is built to survive in ultra-cold environments. a) air temperature probe  (b) 2m above snow level at time of record cold temperature (c) snow level in July 1992 (d) estimated snow level on 22 December 1991 (e) temp probe installed 0.9 m above snow surface at installation (buried in September 1991)

This left picture shows the weather system and was taken in 1994. The annotated picture on the right shows the equipment on the device,which is built to survive in ultra-cold environments. a) air temperature probe  (b) 2m above snow level at time of record cold temperature (c) snow level in July 1992 (d) estimated snow level on 22 December 1991 (e) temp probe installed 0.9 m above snow surface at installation (buried in September 1991)

Pictured, a boat steers slowly through floating ice, and around icebergs, all shed from the Greenland ice sheet, outside Ilulissat, Greenland

Pictured, a boat steers slowly through floating ice, and around icebergs, all shed from the Greenland ice sheet, outside Ilulissat, Greenland

Pictured, a boat steers slowly through floating ice, and around icebergs, all shed from the Greenland ice sheet, outside Ilulissat, Greenland

The temperature tally surpasses the previous record of -67.8°C (-90°F), detected twice before at the Siberian sites of Oimekon in 1933 and Verkhoyanksk in 1892. 

The latter Russian site made headlines in recent months for recording a new record-high temperature north of the Arctic Circle during a heatwave in the region.

On June 19 2020 it is believed to have reached 100.4F (38C) in Siberia, an astonishing 32F (18C) above the normal level for this time of year.

The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was -89.2°C (-128.6°F) recorded in 1983 at the high-altitude Vostok weather station in Antarctica. 

‘In the era of climate change, much attention focuses on new heat records,’ said WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas in a statement

‘This newly recognised cold record is an important reminder about the stark contrasts that exist on this planet.’

The automated weather site at Klinck was set up in the early 90s and operated for two years. 

It was designed to form part of a network to record the meteorological conditions around the Greenland Crest during the Greenland Ice Sheet Project. 

As a result, it was deliberately installed as close to the summit of the desolate ice sheet as possible.  

In 1994 it was returned to the laboratory for testing and then sent for use in the Antarctic. 

The new temperature record surpasses the -67.8°C recorded twice at Siberian sites of Oimekon in 1933 and Verkhoyanksk in 1892. The latter Russian site recorded a new record-high temperature north of the Arctic Circle in June (pictured)

The new temperature record surpasses the -67.8°C recorded twice at Siberian sites of Oimekon in 1933 and Verkhoyanksk in 1892. The latter Russian site recorded a new record-high temperature north of the Arctic Circle in June (pictured)

The new temperature record surpasses the -67.8°C recorded twice at Siberian sites of Oimekon in 1933 and Verkhoyanksk in 1892. The latter Russian site recorded a new record-high temperature north of the Arctic Circle in June (pictured)

Northern Hemisphere endured its hottest summer ever in 2020

June, July and August of 2020 created the hottest summer ever recorded in the Northern hemisphere, according to official data. 

When accounting for the Southern hemisphere as well, 2020 ranks as the world’s third-warmest summer since records began in 1880.

From the start of June to the end of August, the average temperature north of the equator was 2.11°F (1.17°C) above the pre-industrial average. 

This tops the previous hottest summers of 2016 and 2019, which were tied in top spot. 

The figures come on the back of the second-hottest August on record for the top half of the globe. 

Last month, the temperature was, on average, 2.14°F (1.19° C) higher than the average August temperature of the 20th century, before the Industrial Revolution.  

However, some regions suffered more than others in the August heat.

North America endured its hottest August on record, driving record-breaking wildfires, while Europe sweltered through its third-hottest recorded summer. 

South America and Oceania experienced their fourth-hottest August on record, according to NOAA data.  

August 2020 also marks the 44th consecutive August where temperatures have been above the 20th-century average.

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All components of the Automatic Weather Station were chosen because they are able to function in extremely cold conditions, according to George Weidner, who helped design the station. 

‘On Greenland, all of the sites were installed by snowmobile. So the Automatic Weather Station had to be packed to survive a traverse over very rough snow surfaces,’ he said.

‘Years of packing experience in Antarctica helped us keep our Automatic Weather Station safe and snug on the sleds being pulled by the snowmobiles,’ he said. 

But the readings from the station went under the radar, as the body which tracks heat records, the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes, only formed in 2007.   

The new low was discovered by so-called ‘climate detectives’ working with the WMO’s Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes in Geneva.

They pored over reams of historic data in search of records like high and low temperatures, greatest rainfall, and even ‘heaviest hailstone’ and ‘longest lightning flash.’

After spotting the extremely cold temperature, the team tracked down the scientists who initially installed and operated the station, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Independent experts assessed the data, which was said to have been immaculately recorded and kept, the weather of 1991 and the panel unanimously recommended acceptance of the observation as valid.

‘This investigation highlights the ability of today’s climate scientists to not only identify modern climate records but to play ‘climate detective’ and uncover important past climate records—thereby creating a high-quality long-term record of climate for climate-sensitive regions of the world,’ said Professor Randall Cerveny, Rapporteur of Climate and Weather Extremes for WMO. 

The full findings are published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Greenland’s ice sheet melted more in 2019 than during any other year on record 

Melting from Greenland’s ice sheet broke records last year — losing a total of 532 gigatonnes of mass overall, analysis of satellite data has revealed.

Experts led from Germany found that the ice loss in 2019 was 15 per cent higher than the previous worst year on record — which was 2012.

However, they also noted that favourable conditions in 2017–2018 meant that melting was lower than in any other two-year period between 2003–2019. 

Researchers can assess how fast ice mass is lost by tracking changes in gravity as recorded by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) missions. 

Melt from the Greenland Ice Sheet is one of the largest contributors to sea level rise and presently contributes an increase of around 0.03 inches (0.76 mm) annually.

In total, sea levels rose by around 0.14 inches (3.5 mm) each year from 2005 to 2017, researchers have calculated.

The findings come a week after a study revealed that Greenland’s glaciers have already passed what researchers have called the ‘point of no return‘.

This, experts warned, means that the ice would now continue to melt away even if global warming could be completely stopped.

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