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Venice activists hold party to celebrate cruise lines pulling out

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venice activists hold party to celebrate cruise lines pulling out

Venice activists are celebrating the news that two major cruise operators are dropping the city from their itineraries for the rest of the year. 

MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises both announced this week that their first Mediterranean trips after a months-long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic would depart from Genoa and Trieste instead.

These are larger ports than Venice, meaning that new regulations like social distancing will be easier to enforce. 

On Friday evening the group No Grandi Navi will celebrate what organisers are calling a small step forward in its bitter an eight-year battle to ban the massive ships from Venice’s environmentally fragile waters.

They had warned earlier that they would resort to ‘sabotage’ if big ships returned during the August season. 

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen from San Maggiore's bell tower leaving in the Venice Lagoon in June 2019. Environmentalists say that massive waves generated from the hulking liners, which are often hundreds of metres long and several stories high, erode the foundations of the floating city

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen from San Maggiore's bell tower leaving in the Venice Lagoon in June 2019. Environmentalists say that massive waves generated from the hulking liners, which are often hundreds of metres long and several stories high, erode the foundations of the floating city

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen from San Maggiore’s bell tower leaving in the Venice Lagoon in June 2019. Environmentalists say that massive waves generated from the hulking liners, which are often hundreds of metres long and several stories high, erode the foundations of the floating city

Protesters gathered along Venice's picturesque waterfront to demonstrate against mass tourism in Italy's floating city

Protesters gathered along Venice's picturesque waterfront to demonstrate against mass tourism in Italy's floating city

Protesters gathered along Venice’s picturesque waterfront to demonstrate against mass tourism in Italy’s floating city

No departures from the UNESCO-listed city are planned for the rest of the year as the two companies trim back their schedules and itineraries, with many big cruise ships also planning to skip Venice as a port of call.

‘This isn’t the final victory. But it’s an important step and we believe it opens a new phase of negotiations in which the game has changed,’ Marta Sottoriva, No Grandi Navi committee member, said.

The port of Venice is a major economic driver for the city, bringing in hoards of day-trippers.

Tourists are estimated to inflate the number of annual visits to the city to over 30 million.

Environmentalists say that massive waves generated from the hulking liners, which are often hundreds of metres long and several stories high, erode the foundations of the floating city.  

In June demonstrators formed a ‘human chain’ along one of Venice’s most-popular promenades to highlight issues brought about by large cruise ships. 

The pandemic has laid bare the reality that Venice should not rely solely on tourism to sustain its economy, Sottoriva said.

The city sat largely empty for three months during lockdown with scenes of empty squares and alleys and gondoliers stranded on dry land. 

Protesters (pictured) also want to keep large ships outside Venice's lagoon and encourage permanent residents over tourism

Protesters (pictured) also want to keep large ships outside Venice's lagoon and encourage permanent residents over tourism

Protesters (pictured) also want to keep large ships outside Venice’s lagoon and encourage permanent residents over tourism

The group argues that the current crisis opens the door to a new, more balanced development model for the city, but political will is required.

But some have criticised the planned celebrations given that around 5,000 jobs maintained by the cruise industry are now at risk.  

On Monday, port employees who have not worked since March held a protest at Venice’s maritime terminal – usually home to 30 cruise operators. 

People held banners proclaiming that as many as four million cruise-related jobs, from baggage handlers and tug operators to hotel workers, were put at risk by the decision to use alternate ports.

But the situation is complicated for port employees, who have not worked since March. Pictured, the MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen leaving in the Venice Lagoon in June 2019

But the situation is complicated for port employees, who have not worked since March. Pictured, the MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen leaving in the Venice Lagoon in June 2019

But the situation is complicated for port employees, who have not worked since March. Pictured, the MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen leaving in the Venice Lagoon in June 2019

‘Calling into question cruises in Venice is not a simple environmental or image issue, you can’t play with the future of workers and families,’ they said in a statement, as reported by Venetoeconomia.it news portal.

Faced with no employment for the rest of the year, workers said they were launching ‘a cry of alarm and concern that does not exclude further demonstrations in coming weeks.’

Both the environmentalists and workers decry what they call silence from politicians, and long-stalled decisions on proposals to reroute cruise ships to bypass the lagoon in front of Saint Mark’s Square. 

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‘Stop being such Chicken Lickens’: Top economist says people need to stop ‘catastrophising’ Covid-19

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stop being such chicken lickens top economist says people need to stop catastrophising covid 19

The Bank of England’s chief economist blasted doom-mongers ‘catastrophising’ the impact of coronavirus today, saying that overly pessimistic view could hold back the recovery.

Andy Haldane cautioned against ‘the economics of Chicken Licken’, a reference to a folk tale about a chicken who worried the sky was falling down.

He said the central bank expects the economy to rebound with ‘vertiginous’ growth of 20 per cent in the third quarter and said the faster-than-expected recovery should not be overlooked.

It came as  revised figures showed that the UK’s economic plunge at the peak of coronavirus lockdown was not quite as bad as thought – but still the worst in modern history.

Official figures for the fall in GDP during the three months to June have been revised down from 20.4 per cent to 19.8 per cent. 

Speaking at an online event today, Mr Haldane said the economy faces an ‘unholy trinity of risks’ from rising Covid-19 cases, mounting job losses and the end-of-year Brexit deadline, but stressed there was a danger of exaggerating the threat they pose.

‘Encouraging news about the present needs not to be drowned out by fears for the future. Now is not the time for the economics of Chicken Licken,’ he said, adding that the speed and scale of the recovery has been ‘fairly remarkable’.

‘The economy began its recovery from this dramatic fall earlier, and has since recovered far faster, than anyone expected,’ he said.

Mr Haldane has been one of the most optimistic over the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic and insisted in his speech that ‘policy authorities, including the Bank, have a public responsibility to avoid economic catastrophising’. 

Andy Haldane cautioned against 'the economics of Chicken Licken', a reference to a folk tale about a chicken who worried the sky was falling down

Andy Haldane cautioned against 'the economics of Chicken Licken', a reference to a folk tale about a chicken who worried the sky was falling down

Andy Haldane cautioned against ‘the economics of Chicken Licken’, a reference to a folk tale about a chicken who worried the sky was falling down

Official figures for the fall in GDP during the three months to June have been revised down from 20.4 per cent to 19.8 per cent. However, the scale of the drop still makes it the biggestin modern history

Official figures for the fall in GDP during the three months to June have been revised down from 20.4 per cent to 19.8 per cent. However, the scale of the drop still makes it the biggestin modern history

Official figures for the fall in GDP during the three months to June have been revised down from 20.4 per cent to 19.8 per cent. However, the scale of the drop still makes it the biggestin modern history

Furious Speaker Lindsay Hoyle blasts PM over Covid laws

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle today delivered a searing rebuke to Boris Johnson for treating the Commons with ‘contempt’ by ramming through coronavirus lockdown curbs.

Sir Lindsay said sweeping powers for ministers to deal with the public health crisis were being abused, with measures imposed without any proper scrutiny or a vote.

Reading the riot act to the PM as he sat silently in the chamber, Sir Lindsay made clear that he is ready to side with dozens of Tory rebels and opposition parties to ensure more scrutiny – warning that the government’s must act now to restore ‘trust’.

‘The Government must make greater efforts to prepare measures more quickly, so that this House can debate and decide upon the most significant measures at the earliest possible point,’ he said.

‘I am now looking to the Government to rebuild the trust with this House and not treat it with the contempt that it has shown.’

The Speaker did reject an amendment tabled by Tory rebels that would have forced votes before new measures are imposed, saying it would breach parliamentary procedure.

However, the intervention appeared to be enough to trigger an immediate climbdown from the government. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce concessions in the Commons shortly, with rebels confident they have secured guarantees of advance scrutiny for major changes.

The barrage – which Mr Johnson completely blanked as he started PMQs immediately afterwards – came just hours before the premier is due to address the nation at a press conference alongside Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.

But he has been urged to drop the scientists from such briefings, with complaints that they are being used as ‘propaganda’ to back up increasingly draconian restrictions.

MailOnline understands Cabinet hawks are increasingly frustrated by the dire warnings from the medical and science chiefs about a second wave.

Former Downing Street aides have been calling on the government to take the experts out of the limelight, warning they are not great communicators and it gave the impression decisions were clear cut rather than a matter of judgement for ministers.

Senior Conservative Sir Bernard Jenkin upped the ante today by swiping that the government is using ‘science as propaganda’.

 

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But the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also concluded that UK plc performed worse during the first quarter of the year than previously thought.

The economy contracted 2.5 per cent between January and March, compared to previous estimate of 2.2 per cent.  

Overall GDP is now 21.8 per cent smaller than at the end of 2019 – underlining the threat to millions of jobs as Boris Johnson struggles to balance getting the country back up and running with tackling a rise in cases. 

Separate figures published earlier this month showed GDP went up by 6.6 per cent in July. 

The ONS said: ‘While it is still true that these early estimates are prone to revision, we prefer to focus on the magnitude of the contraction that has taken place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

‘It is clear that the UK is in the largest recession on record.

‘The latest estimates show that the UK economy is now 21.8 per cent smaller than it was at the end of 2019, highlighting the unprecedented size of this contraction.’

It came as TSB said it will cut around 900 jobs as part of plans to close 164 of its high street bank branches.

The Edinburgh-based bank said it expects most of the redundancies to be voluntary but did not rule out forcing staff out.

TSB added that its branch network would be the seventh biggest in the UK after the closures reduce it by a third.

In comes in the context of a bloodbath on the high street, with 193,731 job losses now announced by major British employers since the start of the lockdown in March.

TSB also said that more than nine in ten customers will have less than 20 minutes travel to a branch, and that people are increasingly banking online.

The bank, part of Spain’s Sabadell, said the cuts were part of its three-year strategy to reduce costs to stay competitive. 

The company has previously said it intended to reduce the size of its branch network but has now accelerated plans amid the pandemic.

It will leave the bank with 290 branches, more than halving its store estate over the past seven years.

The announcement comes after a study by consumer group Which? in July found banks and building societies had closed, or scheduled the closure, of 3,588 branches since January 2015, at a rate of about 55 each month.

TSB chief executive Debbie Crosbie said: ‘Closing any of our branches is never an easy decision but our customers are banking differently – with a marked shift to digital banking.

‘We are reshaping our business to transform the customer experience and set us up for the future.

‘This means having the right balance between branches on the high street and our digital platforms, enabling us to offer the very best experience for our personal and business customers across the UK.

‘We remain committed to our branch network and will retain one of the largest in the UK.’

Employee unions Unite and TBU strongly criticised the cuts, with Unite calling it a ‘dark day for the finance sector’.

TBU General Secretary Mike Brown said: ‘To throw hardworking staff on the scrap heap in the middle of a pandemic and against the backdrop of the worst financial crisis in a generation is nothing short of scandalous.’

Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, added: ‘Unite has urged the bank to rethink these plans and protect these much-needed jobs during the current health pandemic.

Boris Johnson (pictured in Exeter yesterday) is struggling to balance getting the country back up and running with tackling a rise in cases

Boris Johnson (pictured in Exeter yesterday) is struggling to balance getting the country back up and running with tackling a rise in cases

Boris Johnson (pictured in Exeter yesterday) is struggling to balance getting the country back up and running with tackling a rise in cases

‘Premier League clubs can afford a few bob’: Tory MPs blast Government’s £20million bailout to struggling non-league sides after mega-rich teams splashed £1.1BILLION on transfers his summer

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is overseeing the Government bail-out to aid non-league clubs

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is overseeing the Government bail-out to aid non-league clubs

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is overseeing the Government bail-out to aid non-league clubs

Tory MPs today blasted the Government for handing a £20 million taxpayer-funded bailout to struggling National League football clubs as they said the Premier League should be picking up the tab and called on top players to donate a week’s wages. 

Ministers have decided to hand clubs in the National League, the National League North and the National League South a total of up to £3m a month so they can start their season this weekend. 

Many of the 67 clubs faced financial ruin without the match day revenue they rely on after the Government announced earlier this month that fans would not be allowed into stadiums from October 1 as had been planned.

The life support package is being put together by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and it will cover ‘essential lost revenue’ so that matches will be able to be played. 

But the handout has prompted fury among some Tory MPs who believe mega-rich Premier League teams should have provided the funding rather than the taxpayer – especially after top sides splashed out £1.1bn on transfers in the current transfer window. 

One senior Tory MP told MailOnline: ‘They should chip in. A lot of these major clubs have got traditional links with smaller Football League and non-league teams.

‘They can afford a few bob from their coffers to support these teams which are often the feeders for the big clubs.  

CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS

National League and many EFL clubs say the Covid-19 pandemic has left them on the brink of financial ruin. 

Yet Premier League clubs have once again spent big on new players, with Chelsea spending an eye-watering £89m to get German star Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

The 21-year-old is the most expensive transfer this summer with Manchester City’s £64m acquisition of Ruben Dias, a new club record for Pep Guardiola’s side, the second most expensive in the Premier League in this window.

Havertz’s Germany team-mate Timo Werner ranks third after his £54m move from RB Leipzig to Chelsea.

The other transfers with the biggest fees were:

4. Ben Chilwell Chelsea to Leicester £50m

5. Diogo Jota – Wolves – Liverpool £41m

6. Donny van de Beek Ajax – Manchester United £40m

7. Nathan Ake Bournemouth – Manchester City £40m

8. Ferran Torres Valencia – Manchester City £37m

9. Nelson Semedo Barcelona – Wolves £37m

10. Rodrigo Valencia – Leeds £35m 

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‘It is the case that the smaller clubs are really important to the game and the big clubs have got a duty to support them. They could afford a lot more than £20m.’

Tory MP Steve Brine, a member of the Commons Culture Committee and former minister told MailOnline taxpayer money could be better spent as he suggested the best paid players could ‘buddy up’ with lower league teams to keep them afloat. 

‘Players like Gareth Bale who are earning £600,000 a week should “buddy up” with a National League club and they should give them a grant of one week’s wages,’ he said. 

‘For many of the National League clubs one week’s wages from Gareth Bale would sustain them for a year.’

Mr Brine said there are ‘many other places where we could put Government money’ and ‘as much as the country loves the national game there is a limit to what we have got as taxpayers’. 

The handout was confirmed this afternoon in the House of Commons by the Minister for sport, Nigel Huddleston, who said local teams are the ‘heartbeats of their communities’. 

Football has been one of many sports begging the Government for financial aid in recent months. But many believe wealthier clubs should be stepping in to help smaller, struggling teams, rather than the taxpayer.

The handout for the National League comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week unveiled his latest business bailout which economists estimated could cost £5bn, potentially taking the total of the Government’s Covid-19 support to £200bn.

Meanwhile, official statistics published last week showed the UK’s public sector debt continues to climb above £2 trillion – a record high. 

There has been a deafening silence from the top clubs when lower level teams – both in the EFL and further down the football pyramid – have asked for financial help during the unprecedented crisis. 

While some clubs are sceptical about providing EFL clubs with a handout, others — primarily the smaller clubs — are far more sympathetic.

There is a growing acceptance that top-flight clubs will have to inject cash into the EFL to keep several teams afloat, knowing that not doing so will have grave consequences and will damage the Premier League’s image.

Some club officials want to avoid a scenario where it appears they are offering financial support under duress; or, even worse, not giving them any money at all.

There is a belief that the Government are reluctant to include the Premier League and EFL in a financial relief fund for UK sport after plans to reintroduce fans at stadiums were scrapped.

National League clubs are to receive government funding to allow their season to commence. But they will play in empty stadiums rather than in front of fans (above at Halifax)

National League clubs are to receive government funding to allow their season to commence. But they will play in empty stadiums rather than in front of fans (above at Halifax)

National League clubs are to receive government funding to allow their season to commence. But they will play in empty stadiums rather than in front of fans (above at Halifax)

While news of the bailout was welcomed by employees and supporters of non-league clubs, others felt it was not the duty of the British taxpayer to fit the bill to help these teams.

‘Its almost like the govt doesn’t expect to get any of this money back or repay their enormous borrowings back,’ one critical fan wrote on Twitter.

‘Think they’ve forgotten whose money they are giving away, it’s not govts money, it’s our money, the British taxpayers.’

Twitter account, The Away Section, which focuses on supporters at the grass-roots level, was equally scathing, insisting the £20m would be ‘paid back in the long term’.

They wrote: What a waste of money – nothing to celebrate really. On one hand its good clubs will get this crisis softened but there really is no sense in this??. Plus govt’s don’t give money away for free – don’t believe that. We will all pay in the long term.’

Another called on non-league fans to take a stand against the Premier League as it is the government, not the 20 top-flight teams, providing the cash to ease the financial worries of teams at step five and six in English football.

‘If the Premier League decide they can’t spare some change for the National League clubs, I hope all Non League fans respond by cancelling their TV subscriptions to the sports channels,’ he wrote.

Yet Brighton chief executive Paul Barber, speaking today on Radio 5 Live, said it was unreasonable to demand Premier League clubs riude to the rescue while they, too, were suffering from the absence of fans. 

‘We’re being asked to support the football pyramid, but what we’re asking for is to be able to sustain our own businesses to put us in a better position to be able to do that,’ he said.

One fan described how the Dias money could have funded the entire lower league for a year

One fan described how the Dias money could have funded the entire lower league for a year

One fan described how the Dias money could have funded the entire lower league for a year 

In a show of defiance, a non-league fan called on supporters to boycott sport TV subscriptions

In a show of defiance, a non-league fan called on supporters to boycott sport TV subscriptions

In a show of defiance, a non-league fan called on supporters to boycott sport TV subscriptions

The reaction to the news was not all positive as one user felt it was not the responsibility of the British taxpayer to step up and bail-out clubs operating in non-league

The reaction to the news was not all positive as one user felt it was not the responsibility of the British taxpayer to step up and bail-out clubs operating in non-league

The reaction to the news was not all positive as one user felt it was not the responsibility of the British taxpayer to step up and bail-out clubs operating in non-league

The Away Section described the Government bail-out as a 'waste of money' long term

The Away Section described the Government bail-out as a 'waste of money' long term

The Away Section described the Government bail-out as a ‘waste of money’ long term

Manchester City's £64m signing of Ruben Dias left non-league fans irritated that Premier League clubs have not offered money to help clubs lower down the football pyramid

Manchester City's £64m signing of Ruben Dias left non-league fans irritated that Premier League clubs have not offered money to help clubs lower down the football pyramid

Manchester City’s £64m signing of Ruben Dias left non-league fans irritated that Premier League clubs have not offered money to help clubs lower down the football pyramid

Earlier this week a letter co-signed by 17 individuals including former Football Association chairmen Greg Dyke and Lord Triesman and BBC and BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage and 10 MPs said help was urgently needed to ward off the threat of financial collapse. 

The letter, sent to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warned:  ‘Without any plans being made to rescue clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration,’ the letter warns.

Robbie Savage was one of 17 individuals to sign the ltter sent to Oliver Dowden

Robbie Savage was one of 17 individuals to sign the ltter sent to Oliver Dowden

Former FA chief Greg Dyke also supported the letter on behalf of struggling lower-league clubs

Former FA chief Greg Dyke also supported the letter on behalf of struggling lower-league clubs

BBC and BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage (left) and former FA chief Greg Dyke (right) both signed the letter with clubs in the EFL standing to lose £200m without crowds this season

The letter sent to Dowden in full

We wrote to you in May this year setting out the financial crisis facing football clubs, and particularly those in the English Football League (EFL), because of the loss of match-day revenue resulting from the government’s policies to combat COVID-19. We also detailed a game plan that could be put in place to prevent this. Since then clubs have been able to sustain themselves through advance season ticket sales, solidarity payments from the Premier League, and had agreed to start playing the new season in the belief that fans would be allowed to return to stadiums this autumn.

It’s now clear that spectators will not be back in EFL grounds, even in limited numbers, for the foreseeable future. As a consequence clubs will not only lose this budgeted-for income, but will also have to refund season tickets to fans who will now be prevented from attending matches.

There has been no agreement reached by the football authorities on a bailout for clubs that need it, many of whom were already heavily indebted before the coronavirus arrived. From the statements made by ministers at DCMS questions in the House of Commons on 24 September, it’s equally clear that the government has no current proposals to provide financial support, and nor is it prepared to offer any guarantees for the future.

Without any plans being made to rescue football clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration. This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs, but the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over one hundred years. These are decisions that will be made in the coming weeks, with many clubs unable to meet their payroll obligations for next month.

There is still time to act, but not long left. The government made £1.5billion available to rescue arts and cultural organisations across the country that faced closure because of the coronavirus. We believe that football, like other well-loved professional sports in this country, is also a cultural activity. We would ask that the government now make clear what financial support it’s prepared to give before it is too late. In particular, we believe that in order for clubs to sustain themselves over the winter and keep playing, they would need to be compensated for the loss of match ticket sales. The absence of this income is not a result of their actions, but the policies that have been put in place by the government in response to a public health emergency.

We understand that you had hoped that the Premier League clubs might make a significant additional contribution to support the EFL. Whilst this would be welcome those clubs too face swingeing losses from lost ticketing receipts and falling revenues from broadcasting matches. However, it cannot be the Premier League’s sole responsibility to sort out issues arising from government policy. The government itself needs to take responsibility, or many already-embattled towns – often in areas of the country which have suffered many hardships in recent decades – will lose their last focal point.

SIGNATORIES

Damian Collins MP, former Chairman of the DCMS select committee

Charlie Methven, co-owner Sunderland FC

Lord David Triesman, former Chairman of the FA

Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Vice-President The National League

Lord Goddard of Stockport

Malcolm Clarke, Chairman of the Football Supporters Association

Robbie Savage, former player and sports broadcaster

Greg Dyke, former Chairman of the FA

Karl McCartney MP for Lincoln and Chairman of the APPG for Football

Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead and Chairman of the APPG for Football Supporters

David Amess MP for Southend West

Rehman Chishti MP for Gillingham

Damian Green MP for Ashford and member of the DCMS Select Committee

Kevin Brennan MP for Cardiff West and member of the DCMS Select Committee

 

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Questions will now shift to whether clubs in the EFL will be granted a similar bail-out to off-set their losses without fans. 

The EFL fear its 72 clubs stand to lose £200m this season without crowds, having already lost £50m last season. There is growing pressure on the Premier League to fund an emergency bail-out of the EFL but, as of today, nothing has been agreed.

It is anticipated that the Football League stands to lose £200m this season without supporters

It is anticipated that the Football League stands to lose £200m this season without supporters

It is anticipated that the Football League stands to lose £200m this season without supporters 

Pilot events for fans returning to stadiums had commenced but have since been stopped with an increase in Covid-19 cases and the Government pushing back plans for an October return date. 

That proved particularly damaging for clubs in the third, fourth, fifth and six tiers, who had been planning for a spike in revenue next month. 

Gillingham owner Paul Scally recently revealed to the Mirror that the League One club were losing £40,000 a month at the current rate and their existence was very much under threat. 

‘You cannot tell me that with Chelsea spending £200m in the transfer market there is no money in the Premier League to help out the EFL clubs,’ Scally said.

‘We should be a family in football. We’ve been a family for 125 years and now when a member of the family is struggling badly it’s time for wealthy big brother to step up and help the family. It’s as simple as that.’

The National League is set to start on Saturday, while National League North and South clubs are in FA Cup qualifying action. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Eight patients die of coronavirus at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Wales

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eight patients die of coronavirus at royal glamorgan hospital in wales

Eight patients have died of coronavirus in a hospital in South Wales after a major outbreak of the disease which saw 82 test positive.

Temporary restrictions to services have now been put in place at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, including suspending planned surgery, with the exception of a small number of urgent cancer cases.

The restrictions were brought in by Cwm Taf University Health Board at 2pm today in an effort to help manage the outbreak, which has been linked to transmission within the hospital site.

Six patients are currently in intensive care at the hospital, which is in Rhondda Cynon Taf – one of the areas of Wales subjected to local lockdown restrictions.

Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams today said the Welsh Government was working with the health board and Public Health Wales to address the ‘issues’ which have given rise to the outbreak.

She told the Welsh Government Covid-19 press briefing: ‘We understand that this is a serious situation and how upsetting it is for all those involved.

‘We are working with the local health authority’s senior management team and Public Health Wales to understand and, crucially, address the issues that have arisen at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital to bring that outbreak under control and learn the lessons of that so they can be applied in other healthcare settings.’

A major outbreak of coronavirus at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant has forced bosses to cut services to bring it under control as the trust says it is taking 'robust action'

A major outbreak of coronavirus at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant has forced bosses to cut services to bring it under control as the trust says it is taking 'robust action'

A major outbreak of coronavirus at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant has forced bosses to cut services to bring it under control as the trust says it is taking ‘robust action’

Area of Rhondda Cynon Taf, which the Royal Glamorgan Hospital serves, has the third-highest level of Covid cases in Wales

Area of Rhondda Cynon Taf, which the Royal Glamorgan Hospital serves, has the third-highest level of Covid cases in Wales

Latest figures and data shows that county of Rhondda Cynon Taf, which the Royal Glamorgan Hospital serves, has the third-highest level of Covid cases in Wales and is in local lockdown

She added: ‘The situation is a worrying one, and all steps are being taken to protect existing patients, staff, and to ensure that those residents that were due to leave the hospital are directed to appropriate care in other hospitals in the near vicinity.’

The rise in cases at the hospital come one week after the health board said 34 cases of Covid-19 had been recorded across two of its wards, linked mainly to transmission within the site.

In a statement on Wednesday, the health board said that despite teams working to manage the outbreak, ‘additional cases linked to transmission within the hospital’ had been confirmed in recent days.

ONE MILLION WOMEN ‘MISS VITAL BREAST SCREENING BECAUSE OF LOCKDOWN’

A million women have missed out on breast cancer screening as a result of lockdown.

The huge backlog means the killer disease may have gone undetected in around 8,600 of them.

The charity Breast Cancer Now estimates that 986,000 patients are waiting for life-saving mammograms because screening ground to a halt when the pandemic struck.

Early diagnosis hugely improves survival chances and doctors warned the delays mean young and otherwise healthy women will ‘die unnecessarily’.

The screening programme, which prevents around 1,300 deaths and detects 19,000 cases a year, was suspended for four months in March.

Today’s shocking figures highlight the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on millions of patients with conditions other than Covid-19. 

It will increase pressure on Boris Johnson to hold back on a second lockdown, with campaigners stressing that cancer care ‘cannot afford to be paused again’.

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Paul Mears, chief executive of the health board, said: ‘We recognise the concern that these temporary changes will cause and would like to assure our patients and communities that managing this outbreak is our key priority.

‘Our teams continue to work to take all necessary measures to achieve this and we have taken a range of swift and decisive actions to try to manage this outbreak, which include immediate closure of affected wards, risk assessments of affected and at-risk wards, reviews of infection prevention and control measures and their implementation, increased testing of healthcare staff and testing of all hospital admissions.

‘These decisions have not been taken lightly, and we understand that they will impact our patients, their families, our staff and partner organisations.

‘However, the safety of our patients and staff is of the utmost importance and we believe this is the right course of action, based on the professional advice given to us.’

Adult patients requiring an emergency admission following assessment will either be taken to the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, or the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

The emergency department at Royal Glamorgan Hospital will remain open for walk-in patients and those who can be treated within the department.

Welsh Ambulance Service patients, excluding children, will be diverted to the other hospitals.

The self-contained paediatric wards at the hospital will remain open, while the Tirion birthing centre is due to reopen on October 5.

A health board spokesman said it is working closely with Public Health Wales to increase the capacity and speed of testing and results for both patients and staff.

‘These changes will be reviewed on a daily basis and decisions to restart emergency admissions at Royal Glamorgan Hospital will be made in conjunction with Public Health Wales,’ he said.

Andrew RT Davies, shadow health minister for the Welsh Conservatives, called on the Welsh Government to explore using field hospitals and other health facilities to alleviate pressure on the Royal Glamorgan.

He added: ‘This is very concerning, particularly as many of the additional cases are linked to transmission within the hospital, and so questions over processes and protocols must be asked.’  

Restrictions on services will be in place at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital from 2pm today

Restrictions on services will be in place at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital from 2pm today

Restrictions on services will be in place at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital from 2pm today

It comes as MailOnline analysis revealed Covid-19 patients are currently occupying fewer than 2 per cent of all hospital beds in England. Even at the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all beds were occupied by virus patients, data shows.

In a drive to ‘protect the NHS’ in the spring, private hospitals were commandeered at the cost of millions of pounds per day. 

Hospitals also turfed out tens of thousands of patients to free up space for infected patients, while non-urgent surgeries and cancer treatments were cancelled. 

But charities have warned of a ‘ticking time-bomb’ of undiagnosed disease. 

Today it was claimed that one million women have missed out on breast cancer screening as a result of lockdown. The huge backlog means the disease may have gone undetected in around 8,600 of them.

A statement from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said: ‘Significant temporary service restrictions will be put in place at Royal Glamorgan Hospital from 14.00 Wednesday September 30 as increased action is taken to contain a COVID-19 outbreak within the hospital.

‘Teams have been working at pace to implement robust measures to manage the outbreak, however additional cases linked to transmission within the hospital have been confirmed in recent days with the number of cases currently standing at 82.

‘Given the extent of this outbreak, and on advice of Public Health Wales, the Health Board is taking a number of urgent and significant actions to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and communities.’

The health board has taken a number of measures in a bid to control the outbreak. 

All planned surgery at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, with the exception of a very small number of urgent cancer cases, have been suspended. 

Data shows there have been 491 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the North East in the past month, compared to 361 in the Midlands, 264 in London, 109 in the South East, 72 in the East and 52 in South West. Only the North West of England, with 552 admissions, has had more than the NE during that time. Graphs show how the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 in each different region of England has changed since the pandemic began

Data shows there have been 491 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the North East in the past month, compared to 361 in the Midlands, 264 in London, 109 in the South East, 72 in the East and 52 in South West. Only the North West of England, with 552 admissions, has had more than the NE during that time. Graphs show how the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 in each different region of England has changed since the pandemic began

Data shows there have been 491 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the North East in the past month, compared to 361 in the Midlands, 264 in London, 109 in the South East, 72 in the East and 52 in South West. Only the North West of England, with 552 admissions, has had more than the NE during that time. Graphs show how the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 in each different region of England has changed since the pandemic began

Even at the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all beds were occupied by virus patients. On April 7, 26.5 per cent of the 67,206 people in England's hospitals were being treated for coronavirus — the highest proportion on record

Even at the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all beds were occupied by virus patients. On April 7, 26.5 per cent of the 67,206 people in England's hospitals were being treated for coronavirus — the highest proportion on record

Even at the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all beds were occupied by virus patients. On April 7, 26.5 per cent of the 67,206 people in England’s hospitals were being treated for coronavirus — the highest proportion on record

33809680 8788549 image a 53 1601466775253

33809680 8788549 image a 53 1601466775253

Office for National Statistics figures show hundreds fewer people are dying from all causes in hospitals

Adult patient requiring an emergency admission following assessment who would normally be admitted to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital will be taken to either Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil, or the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

The Emergency Department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital will remain open for walk-in patients and those who can be treated in an area in the Emergency Department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

HOW BUSY IS THE NHS?

Covid-19 patients are currently occupying fewer than 2 per cent of all hospital beds in England, official data suggests.

The most NHS recent snapshot — released three weeks ago — shows just 478 out of 110,000 beds in use were by Covid-19 patients on September 3.

This has since risen to 1,883, according to Department of Health data. Health chiefs have yet to update the total beds occupied figure since but it barely changed over the summer.

Even at the peak of the crisis in Britain, only a quarter of all beds were occupied by virus patients. On April 7, 26.5 per cent of the 67,206 people in England’s hospitals were being treated for coronavirus — the highest proportion on record.

NHS England officials have not publicly revealed how many beds they have in total but it’s thought to be around the 110,000-mark. Capacity was bolstered by standby beds commandeered through a deal with private facilities, plus extra space at seven Nightingale hospitals purposely built to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed. 

Separate data also shows NHS hospitals across England and Wales are still recording hundreds of fewer deaths than expected every week since the outbreak began to tail off in May. But the number of patients dying from the coronavirus did rise slightly in the week ending September 20, in line with a national spike in cases, from 64 to 98. 

Deaths of people in their own homes from causes other than the virus continued to run at far above average rates. There were 2,962 such fatalities during the week, 711 more than the average for the time of year, and doctors noted Covid-19 symptoms in only eight of their cases.

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Welsh Ambulance Service (999) patients (excluding children) will be diverted temporarily to alternative sites, namely Princess of Wales Hospital Bridgend, Prince Charles Hospital Merthyr Tydfil and University Hospital of Wales Cardiff.

The health board says there will be no change to the self-contained paediatric wards at Royal Glamorgan Hospital which will remain open.

The Tirion Birthing Centre, which has been temporarily closed during the pandemic, is due to re-open on October 5.

The hospital says it is currently working with the clinical teams to review that this can go ahead in light of the current situation at Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

The statement from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board added: ‘We are working closely with Public Health Wales to increase the capacity and speed of testing and results for both patients and staff.

‘The changes will be reviewed on a daily basis and decisions to re-start emergency admissions at Royal Glamorgan Hospital will be made in conjunction with Public Health Wales.’

Paul Mears, CEO of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: ‘We recognise the concern that these temporary changes will cause and would like to assure our patients and communities that managing this outbreak is our key priority.

‘Our teams continue to work to take all necessary measures to achieve this and we have taken range of swift and decisive actions to try to manage this outbreak which include immediate closure of affected wards, risk assessments of affected and at-risk wards, reviews of infection prevention and control measures and their implementation, increased testing of healthcare staff and testing of all hospital admissions.

‘These decisions have not been taken lightly, and we understand that they will impact our patients, their families, our staff and partner organisations.

‘However, the safety of our patients and staff is of the utmost importance and we believe this is the right course of action, based on the professional advice given to us.

‘It’s important to state that Royal Glamorgan Hospital is still open for patients requiring emergency department services, although we would encourage everyone at this time to consider where alternative services can provide the care suitable for their needs such as the NHS 111 Wales website, minor injury units and GP services. Details can be found on our website.’ 

Rhondda Cynon Taf became the second area in Wales to be placed under a local lockdown following an increase of coronavirus cases, the Welsh Government has announced.

The county went into lockdown on September 17 which banned residents from meeting households indoors, travelling outside of the council area and face masks must be worn in shops. 

Rhondda Cynon Taf will be placed under a local lockdown from 6pm on Thursday following an increase of coronavirus cases, the Welsh Government has announced. Stanleytown is pictured

Rhondda Cynon Taf will be placed under a local lockdown from 6pm on Thursday following an increase of coronavirus cases, the Welsh Government has announced. Stanleytown is pictured

Rhondda Cynon Taf will be placed under a local lockdown from 6pm on Thursday following an increase of coronavirus cases, the Welsh Government has announced. Stanleytown is pictured

The cluster in cases was blamed on pubs – with the De Winton pub in Tonypandy and the Players Sports Bar in Pontypridd being closed by health officials.

Another cluster was reported at Penygraig rugby club and one more with a coach trip to Doncaster races stopping off at a series of pubs on the way. 

Meanwhile more than 500,000 people in North Wales will be plunged into a local lockdown amid a spike in infections, the country’s health minister announced tonight.

From 6pm on Thursday, residents of Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham will be banned from mixing indoors with other households.

People will also not be allowed to enter of leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as work or education.

However, travel will be permitted through the affected areas to avoid cutting off motorists from getting to or out of Gwynedd and Anglesey on the A55. 

The recent rise in coronavirus cases has been blamed on people socialising indoors.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Trailer for Bad President movie shows Devil coaching Donald Trump through his 2016 campaign

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trailer for bad president movie shows devil coaching donald trump through his 2016 campaign

The first trailer has dropped for Bad President, a satire film chronicling Donald Trump‘s rise to power in 2016 which features porn star Stormy Daniels herself. 

The movie directed by Param Gill is set to be released October 12 on video-on-demand, with Jeff Rector taking on the lead role of Trump opposite Eddie Griffin as Satan. 

In the trailer, which came out hours before the first 2020 presidential debate on Tuesday, Rector’s Trump is seen launching his 2016 campaign by making a deal with Griffin’s Devil, who coaches him on how to ‘take your powers of BS to a whole new level’.   

The film, inspired by real headlines, hits on some of the most memorable real moments of the unprecedented campaign, including Trump’s targeted attacks on ‘rapist’ Mexicans and ‘dangerous’ Muslims, bragging about his sexual exploits and of course, the hush money scheme with Daniels. 

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The first trailer has dropped for Bad President, a satire film chronicling Donald Trump's rise to power in 2016. Pictured: Jeff Rector in the lead role as Trump

The first trailer has dropped for Bad President, a satire film chronicling Donald Trump's rise to power in 2016. Pictured: Jeff Rector in the lead role as Trump

The first trailer has dropped for Bad President, a satire film chronicling Donald Trump’s rise to power in 2016. Pictured: Jeff Rector in the lead role as Trump

In the trailer Trump is seen launching his 2016 campaign by making a deal with the Devil (played by Eddie Griffin above), who coaches him on how to 'take your powers of BS to a whole new level'

In the trailer Trump is seen launching his 2016 campaign by making a deal with the Devil (played by Eddie Griffin above), who coaches him on how to 'take your powers of BS to a whole new level'

In the trailer Trump is seen launching his 2016 campaign by making a deal with the Devil (played by Eddie Griffin above), who coaches him on how to ‘take your powers of BS to a whole new level’

Porn star Stormy Daniels plays herself in the film, which hits on some of the most memorable real moments of Trump's unprecedented campaign

Porn star Stormy Daniels plays herself in the film, which hits on some of the most memorable real moments of Trump's unprecedented campaign

Porn star Stormy Daniels plays herself in the film, which hits on some of the most memorable real moments of Trump’s unprecedented campaign

The trailer opens with the Devil asking his minions who they should recruit to wreak havoc on Earth. 

‘We work with Charles Manson, Richard Nixon, Hitler…when was the last time you ran into a genuine dark triad? Minions, do we have anybody that’ll fit that bill?’ the Devil asks. 

One minion raises his hand and says: ‘I’ve got one,’ as the screen cuts to Griffin as Trump – complete with a jarring fake tan and yellow quaff – strutting through a mansion.  

‘He’s a narcissist, he’s Machiavellian, a psychopath,’ the minion says before another exclaims: ‘A dark triad!’ 

Trump is then seen looking in a mirror and telling himself: ‘If a guy from Kenya not even born in the US can become president, you can too.’ 

That statement was in reference to the real Trump’s repeated promotion of the birther conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama. 

The next scene shows the Devil arriving at Trump’s mansion to meet with him. 

‘I can make you president. I guarantee you,’ the Devil tells Trump. 

The trailer opens with the Devil asking his minions who they should recruit to wreak havoc on Earth - before one of them mentions Trump as the perfect candidate

The trailer opens with the Devil asking his minions who they should recruit to wreak havoc on Earth - before one of them mentions Trump as the perfect candidate

The trailer opens with the Devil asking his minions who they should recruit to wreak havoc on Earth – before one of them mentions Trump as the perfect candidate

'Besides running my global empire, besides being the biggest celebrity on TB, besides being the most handsome man in the world, a billionaire, and banging some of the hottest women in the world, I'm going to run for president,' Trump says

'Besides running my global empire, besides being the biggest celebrity on TB, besides being the most handsome man in the world, a billionaire, and banging some of the hottest women in the world, I'm going to run for president,' Trump says

‘Besides running my global empire, besides being the biggest celebrity on TB, besides being the most handsome man in the world, a billionaire, and banging some of the hottest women in the world, I’m going to run for president,’ Trump says 

Throughout the trailer the Devil is seen praising Trump for his unlikely rise to the top of the Republican presidential ticket

Throughout the trailer the Devil is seen praising Trump for his unlikely rise to the top of the Republican presidential ticket

Throughout the trailer the Devil is seen praising Trump for his unlikely rise to the top of the Republican presidential ticket 

‘Besides running my global empire, besides being the biggest celebrity on TB, besides being the most handsome man in the world, a billionaire, and banging some of the hottest women in the world, I’m going to run for president,’ Trump says into a speakerphone, prompting the person on the other end of the line to cackle uncontrollably.  

The Devil is then seen asking his minions: ‘What psycho would vote for this son of a b—,’ before a news clip shows an anchor saying: ‘Donald Trump now leads the Republican field of presidential candidates.’ 

The following shots show Trump promoting his campaign with the Devil by his side – before Daniels shows up at his door. 

Trump calls his personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and tells him: ‘We have a problem.’

In real life, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed that she had sex with Trump in 2006 while he was married to first lady Melania (a claim the White House denies). 

Cohen admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep her from telling her story publicly in 2016. Cohen said he arranged the payment at Trump’s direction. 

The trailer ends with the Devil handing Trump his campaign slogan. 

‘I’m counting on you to Make America Great Again,’ the Devil says to Trump lounging in a bathtub.

Stormy Daniels arrives at Trump's door, kicking off the real-life hush money scandal

Stormy Daniels arrives at Trump's door, kicking off the real-life hush money scandal

Stormy Daniels arrives at Trump’s door, kicking off the real-life hush money scandal 

Trump calls his personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen (played by Mark McClain Wilson - above) and tells him: 'We have a problem'

Trump calls his personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen (played by Mark McClain Wilson - above) and tells him: 'We have a problem'

Trump calls his personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen (played by Mark McClain Wilson – above) and tells him: ‘We have a problem’

In real life, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed that she had sex with Trump in 2006 while he was married to first lady Melania (a claim the White House denies)

In real life, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed that she had sex with Trump in 2006 while he was married to first lady Melania (a claim the White House denies)

Cohen (pictured in real life) admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep her from telling her story publicly in 2016

Cohen (pictured in real life) admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep her from telling her story publicly in 2016

In real life, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed that she had sex with Trump in 2006 while he was married to first lady Melania (a claim the White House denies). Cohen (right in real life) admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 in hush money to keep her from telling her story publicly in 2016

VMI Worldwide picked up the global rights to Bad President back in June and shopped the movie at the Cannes virtual Marche. 

The film is scripted by Gill, the director, and John Buchanan, who are best known for their work on the 2014 comedy Going to America, which also starred Griffin.   

‘Bad President is a film we all need to see especially before the 2020 election to remind us of the incidents that took place five years ago,’ Gill said over the summer.

‘I enjoyed taking Trump’s true statements and unforgettable moments and turning them into something we could all laugh at.’ 

VMI founder Andre Relis added: ‘The world is laughing at Trump not with him – this film really nails it. 

‘I am proud to be working with the very talented director and writer, Param Gill and happy to have the opportunity for VMI to premiere this film in Virtual Cannes.’    

The movie poster for Bad President - set for release October 12 - is shown above

The movie poster for Bad President - set for release October 12 - is shown above

The movie poster for Bad President – set for release October 12 – is shown above

Param Gill (pictured) directed and scripted Bad President with John Buchanan

Param Gill (pictured) directed and scripted Bad President with John Buchanan

Param Gill (pictured) directed and scripted Bad President with John Buchanan

Eddie Griffin in real life

Eddie Griffin in real life

Griffin as the Devil in Bad President

Griffin as the Devil in Bad President

Eddie Griffin is pictured left in real life and right as the Devil in Bad President

Jeff Rector in real life

Jeff Rector in real life

Rector donned a jarring fake tan and yellow quaff to play Trump

Rector donned a jarring fake tan and yellow quaff to play Trump

Jeff Rector (left in real life) donned a jarring fake tan and yellow quaff to play Trump (right)

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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