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Testing fiasco threatens schools chaos: Teachers call for coronavirus screening

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testing fiasco threatens schools chaos teachers call for coronavirus screening
Robert Halfon has called for schools to have access to coronavirus tests within 48 hours

Robert Halfon has called for schools to have access to coronavirus tests within 48 hours

The testing fiasco threatens education chaos with nearly every school in the country suffering problems, it was claimed yesterday.

Leaders of teaching unions warned of ‘lockdown by default’ as thousands of pupils are being sent home from lessons.

They have called on the Government to prioritise the education sector for allocation of Covid tests as the crisis may make ‘staff- ing unsustainable’.

It was reported yesterday that at least 740 schools have shut or sent children home because of suspected outbreaks, with some sending whole year groups away.

Today the Government will try to wrest control of the crisis by publishing a ‘priority list’ spelling out which groups should be offered swabs first.

But this is only likely to cause further controversy because schools – and their staff – are lower in the rankings than hospitals, care homes and the inhabitants of virus hotspots.

Robert Halfon, Tory chairman of the Commons’ education select committee, called for schools to have access to coronavirus tests within 48 hours amid the threat of further closures.

But Boris Johnson yesterday insisted that groups of children should only be sent home if there has been a positive test, rather than someone just developing symptoms.

The Prime Minister said it was important for teachers and parents to examine the Public Health England guidance about testing.

Thousands of pupils are being sent home from school, sparking union fears of a 'lockdown by default'

Thousands of pupils are being sent home from school, sparking union fears of a ‘lockdown by default’  

Reiterating Government policy, he told MPs on the liaison committee: ‘The reasons for sending such a class home, or a bubble home, would be if somebody tests positive.’

Teaching unions hit back last night, warning that schools are in the ‘impossible position’ of being forced to make their own decisions about who to send home due to delays in getting official health advice.

Current guidance, endorsed by Public Health England, states that in the event of a positive case, schools must work with local health protection teams and ‘send home those people who have been in close contact with the person who has tested positive’.

This is defined as a face-to-face conversation within one metre of someone, contact for more than 15 minutes within one to two metres, or travelling in a car with an infected person. But Julie McCulloch, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘Schools are having to make what is essentially a public health decision.’

Mary Bousted, of the National Education Union, said: ‘Being able to acquire a test result – positive or otherwise – is a rather large assumption in the Prime Minister’s thinking.’

The Department for Education stepped in and launched a national helpline for schools to report positive virus cases. Schools have now been told that instead of contacting local public health teams, from today there will be a ‘dedicated’ advice service.

Earlier yesterday, three unions wrote to Mr Johnson, urging him to ‘personally take charge’ of the crisis.

Leaders of ASCL, the National Association of Head Teachers and the National Governance Association warned that nearly every school in the country is experiencing difficulties in getting tests – and they said they had a ‘deep sense of foreboding’ that this would get worse.

A survey of 6,700 teachers in England by the app Teacher Tapp found that 4 per cent were off for Covid-related reasons, according to The Guardian. That would equate to around 25,000 teachers nationally.

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Worchester kidnap gang: Boy, 14, is feared to be the latest victim

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worchester kidnap gang boy 14 is feared to be the latest victim

A schoolboy, 14, was approached by two men as he walked home from school last week in what could be the latest in a spate of attempted kidnappings, police revealed today.

Seven chilling incidents have taken place in the Arboretum area of Worchester since September 10 – with victims describing being told to ‘come’ by two large men. 

In the latest attempt, Xanda Chesworth saw two men standing ahead of him as he walked along a narrow road on his way home from Tudor Grange Academy on Friday, September 25.

He said: ‘I turned down the road and two men were standing there. The pavement is quite narrow with cars parked on the side and there was not any space. I could just get by.

In the latest attempt, Xanda Chesworth saw two men standing ahead of him as he walked along a narrow road (pictured, Lower Chestnut Street) on his way home from Tudor Grange Academy on Friday, September 25

In the latest attempt, Xanda Chesworth saw two men standing ahead of him as he walked along a narrow road (pictured, Lower Chestnut Street) on his way home from Tudor Grange Academy on Friday, September 25

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Map showing the seven separate incidents of suspicious behaviour reported to police since September 10

‘They said: “Come through”. I started to go near them when a mixed-race guy grabbed the bottom of my blazer.

‘They said: “Come with us”. I thought they were going to take me away.’

In a panic Xanda dropped his bag and ran away. He said: ‘I started shouting and screaming. And they started walking towards me.’

After the attempted kidnapping, Xanda’s father Alex bought his son and daughter panic alarms to carry while they walk to and from school.

Alex wrote on Facebook: ‘My son was approached by two low life pieces of s**t trying to grab hold of him down near the park in the Arboretum today on his way home from school. 

‘Thank god there were two people playing with a dog who my son ran to for help. I wish I could find them to thank them in person.

‘Please parents be careful as these b*****ds don’t seem to be bothered about doing this in broad daylight.

Ellesse Robinson says she was approached on her way to the shops where she was getting sweets for her boyfriend's birthday

Victim Ellesse Robinson, 15, was left sobbing when she fled four men who tried to snatch her off the street on Sunday night in Worcester, one of six separate suspicious reports in the city

‘I do not know why these b*****s are not behind bars.’

He said the family had called police and were preparing to give a statement, adding: ‘This is crazy, kids are not safe going to school and coming home and I know that these b*****s are targeting women too.

‘Be aware and be safe.’

One of the men was mixed race, in his 40s and wearing a dark-coloured jumper. Xanda said he was skinny and about 6ft tall.

The other man was apparently black and in his late 30s or early 40s. He was around 6ft 1ins and wore a dark shirt.

The disturbing incident is the latest kidnapping attempt in Worcester.

On most of the occasions, young women or children were either approached, chased and even grabbed by men in a silver-coloured vehicle.

Ellesse Robinson, 15, was left sobbing when she fled four men who tried to snatch her off the street on September 20.

The schoolgirl was walking to a shop on Astwood Road in the Rainbow Hill area of the city at 7pm when a car pulled up next to her. 

She said: ‘I walked to Premier to buy my boyfriend some sweets and snacks because it was his birthday, which is the reason I was alone or I would’ve been with him.

Ellesse Robinson, 15, says she was chased down Astwood Road by men 'who sounded Turkish or Romanian' after she had gone to the Premier shop to get sweets for her boyfriend

Ellesse Robinson, 15, says she was chased down Astwood Road by men ‘who sounded Turkish or Romanian’ after she had gone to the Premier shop to get sweets for her boyfriend

‘As I walked out of the shop and was waiting at the traffic lights, a grey Peugeot pulled up very slowly towards me.

‘There were not many other cars around and as they pulled up I initially leaned in thinking they needed help but I saw them all laughing.

‘Two men in the back told me to “come”. I stepped back then the man in the front passenger side opened his car door and I genuinely thought he was going to grab me.

‘I felt so scared as they were all in their mid or early 30s and really big.

‘They sounded Turkish or Romanian, they were all tanned. After he opened his door I basically shouted “No! no! no!” repeatedly.     

Ellesse took to social media to warn others about what happened as she reported it to police

Ellesse took to social media to warn others about what happened as she reported it to police

‘I was edging backwards and then managed to run back into the Premier shop.

‘The manager Sarah was stocking the shelves and I ran up to her and said: ‘Sarah, some men just tried to pull me in their car.’

‘She shot up despite having back problems and ran to the door, then she came back up to me and gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever had in my life.

Multiple reports of men approaching women and children in the Worcester area 

September 10: Strange man seen loitering outside St Barnabas Church of England Primary School.

September 15: Man in a car seen following students walking to and from Bishop Perowne Church of England College.

September 17: Asian man in BMW with private registration plate seen talking to a child near St Barnabas Church of England Primary School.

September 20: Ellesse Robinson, 15, chased by four men as she walked to the shop in Rainbow Hill at 7pm.

September 21: Keeley Austen-Marsden, 21, was followed by two men as she walked home from dropping off her brother at school in Astwood Road.

September 21: Three young girls followed by men who tried to persuade them to get into their car in Barker Street.

September 28: Schoolboy Xanda Chesworth, 14, was approached by two men who stood ahead of him as he walked along a narrow road on his way home from Tudor Grange Academy on Friday, September 25.

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‘I cried into her shoulder, my legs were shaking like crazy, it was like a really bad anxiety attack.

‘Sarah walked me home, which I am so grateful for. When we got home we phoned the police.’

Ellesse Robinson’s mum has told how her daughter was left ‘in shock’ after being targeted by the terrifying kidnap gang.

Katrina Spragg, 43, a housewife who has six other children and five grandchildren, said: ‘She’s gone in shock and is shaken by it.

‘She won’t go out and she’s not allowed to go out on her own. She used to come and go from the house but not anymore.

‘I’m not sure if it’s the same people.

‘Ellesse said these people were Turkish or Romanian.

‘The police have said it’s an ongoing investigation. They have been out in force with helicopters, police cars and everything.

‘She was vague on that [the description of the car], it all happened a bit fast.

‘But the police seem to know what they are looking for. Hopefully they will catch them.

‘I can’t say what I would like to happen to them. When she told me I was really, really shocked.

‘It’s disturbing that other incidents have happened within a mile of the house.’

The following day, Keeley Austen-Marsden, 21, was chased by two men as she walked along Astwood Road – a mile from where Ellesse was approached.

She said: ‘It was 9am and I was walking back from the Lyppard Grange Primary School after taking my little brother in and I noticed these two blokes were behind me.

‘I didn’t think anything of it to start with until they got closer to me.

‘They were within arms reach so I picked up my speed and so did they. I was terrified.

‘I ran to the top of the road and when I looked back they had gone.

‘I didn’t see where they went and I couldn’t see their faces as they had hoods on. They were about six foot and stocky.

‘I’m just glad I got my brother into school first. I don’t know what I would’ve done if he was still with me. He’s only nine.

‘I still feel shaken up now.’

Police were called to St Barnabas CofE primary school, pictured, after reports of a man behaving strangely outside the school's gates and headteacher Sarah Hanson confirmed several reports had been made to the school and staff had seen the man themselves

Police were called to St Barnabas CofE primary school, pictured, after reports of a man behaving strangely outside the school’s gates and headteacher Sarah Hanson confirmed several reports had been made to the school and staff had seen the man themselves

Later that evening three girls, including one aged just eight, were approached by men two miles away in Barker Street.

The girls were followed by the men before they ran into a Co-op shop where police were called.

An eyewitness wrote on Facebook: ‘Three young girls, one aged eight, have just been followed and told to get in a car of men.

‘They are safe, they ran in the Co-op and the police have taken them home and they have the car on CCTV.

‘Just be vigilant of what your kids are doing and who they are with because it only takes a split second for them to be grabbed and taken.’

The investigations follow three more incidents at two schools in the city this month.

On September 10 police were called to St Barnabas Church of England Primary School after reports of a men behaving strangely outside.

Headteacher Sarah Hanson said: ‘We did have several reports of a man behaving suspiciously outside our school.

‘Members of staff saw this person and so did two workmen who were working on the grounds opposite.

‘The man was approached and he moved on. He returned later and was witnessed again by members of staff.’

On September 15 Bishop Perowne Church of England College contacted parents with the message: ‘Please be aware we have had reports of a male approaching and following the students in a car close to the school.

‘Police have been notified and we are continuing to liaise with them as they follow this up.’

Two days later on September 17, an Asian man in his 30s, in a BMW with private plates, was seen talking to a child through the car window near Barnabas Primary School.

West Mercia Police have ruled out the incident involving the three girls in Barker Street being related to the gang who approached Ellesse in Rainbow Hill but have stepped up patrols across the city.

Detective Inspector Ed Slough, CID lead investigator said: ‘We are aware of heightened concerns surrounding the reporting on social media and local news reports of a group of men in a silver/grey saloon vehicle approaching people in the Arboretum area of Worcester.

Staff from Bishop Perowne Church of England College contacted parents after reports suggested a man had been approaching and following students in a car close to the school

Staff from Bishop Perowne Church of England College contacted parents after reports suggested a man had been approaching and following students in a car close to the school

‘Some incidents are reported to have happened whilst children have been walking home from school or in the early evening or a vehicle has appeared to be driving slowly past schools or children. 

‘We would like to reassure people that incidents such as this are rare, and we have an increased number of our safer neighbourhood officers in the area who can answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. 

‘I want to assure you that we are looking into all individual reports made to us, and would like to update you that at this time we don’t believe all of the reports are linked and we are working to establish the nature and type of offences.

‘We are treating each report separately, visiting and speaking with those that have reported incidents and viewing any CCTV in the area that they have been approached or had vehicles slow near them and have shown concern.

‘We want to encourage the community to continue to be observant and report any suspicious activities to us as quickly as possible.

‘We are working with local schools to ensure updates are provided to the community in a timely manner. 

‘If you have seen anything suspicious in your area please report online at WestMercia.Police.UK or by calling police on 101. 

‘I hope this helps provides you with some reassurance. We will continue to work with the school and partners to address any concerns.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Eczema sufferer could not leave the house for four months after stopping topical steroids

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eczema sufferer could not leave the house for four months after stopping topical steroids

A woman with eczema has revealed how she has finally soothed her skin by coming off all medication. 

Thalia Daw, 27, from Marlborough, was diagnosed with eczema aged five but her condition worsened significantly two years ago and she was prescribed mild steroids.

When the treatment didn’t work, a dermatologist prescribed Thalia with the topical steroids, Betnovate and Dermovate, as well as an immunosuppressant called Protopic.  

However her body rejected the steroids and Thalia, a brand account manager, began experiencing a rash and a burning sensation that spread across her body. 

After persevering for 18 months, Thalia came off the steroids but was left in state of withdrawal that caused its own symptoms, including leg blisters so painful that she was left unable to walk.

Thalia has since started to self-treat her condition with natural remedies such as regulating her water intake and said it has finally helped her skin.  

Brand account manager, Thalia Daw, 27, from Marlborough, could not leave her house for four months due to the severe withdrawal symptoms she suffered after quitting her topical steroid treatment for eczema

Brand account manager, Thalia Daw, 27, from Marlborough, could not leave her house for four months due to the severe withdrawal symptoms she suffered after quitting her topical steroid treatment for eczema 

Thalia, pictured now after overcoming the Topical Steroid Syndrome, lived as a shut in for months due to the severity of her symptoms. She said she was still healing

Thalia, pictured now after overcoming the Topical Steroid Syndrome, lived as a shut in for months due to the severity of her symptoms. She said she was still healing 

The eczema sufferer could not walk unassisted, and had to use a walking stick or on occasion a wheelchair to get around, because the skin around her joints were so sore

The eczema sufferer could not walk unassisted, and had to use a walking stick or on occasion a wheelchair to get around, because the skin around her joints were so sore 

Thalia wants to speak out and raise awareness of topical steroid withdrawal and how dangerous it cam be. 

Speaking on the condition, she said: ‘Topical steroid withdrawal greatly affected my social life for four months. I couldn’t go anywhere and I didn’t want anyone to see me. I shut myself away during that time.

‘The recovery process took a long time and I’m still healing now. After two months, I quit using any form of moisturiser. I stopped showering and limited my water intake to one-litre a day. This all helped speed up the process but time was the key factor. 

‘I had to borrow my boyfriend’s mum’s wheelchair to get some fresh air outside because my legs were so raw and blistered that I couldn’t bend them fully to walk. 

The skin around the brand manager's joints (including her elbow, pictured) was so painful she could not get around after stopping her eczema treatment

The skin around the brand manager’s joints (including her elbow, pictured) was so painful she could not get around after stopping her eczema treatment 

Thalia documented how her skin evolved during the withdrawal process. After experiencing an eczema flare up after moving houses in 2018. Thalia's skin rejected the topical steroid treatment which that been prescribed to her and had to quit treatment altogether

Thalia documented how her skin evolved during the withdrawal process. After experiencing an eczema flare up after moving houses in 2018. Thalia’s skin rejected the topical steroid treatment which that been prescribed to her and had to quit treatment altogether 

Thalia now. The 27-year-old could not leave her house, which she said has left her with post-traumatic stress disorder

Thalia now. The 27-year-old could not leave her house, which she said has left her with post-traumatic stress disorder 

‘I used the walking stick daily for a month until I regained my strength.

‘My family and boyfriend have been an incredible support system through it all. I’m much healthier now but there are still days when I don’t want to get out of bed.

‘It’s left me with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Saying that, I feel more confident now and I don’t shy away from life. I’m excited for the future.’

After coming off the steroids, Thalia went too the doctor and tried to seek help for topical steroid withdrawal. 

‘I went to the doctors numerous times. They just kept trying to prescribe me more steroids,’ Thalia said.

‘You’re made to feel stupid for explaining how you’ve self-diagnosed yourself with topical steroid withdrawal. In one appointment I broke down crying because of how dismissive the doctor was.

Thalia (pictured before) said doctors kept prescribing her steroids in order to help with her eczema flare-ups, with her concerns about topical steroid withdrawal dismissed each time

Thalia (pictured before) said doctors kept prescribing her steroids in order to help with her eczema flare-ups, with her concerns about topical steroid withdrawal dismissed each time

Thalia pictured before when she was experiencing topical steroid withdrawal

Thalia now, her skin finally having recovered

Thalia, pictured before and after going through TSW, said the painful journey to recovery was worth it

Thalia said her family and boyfriend (pictured) were an incredible support system throughout her ordeal

Thalia said her family and boyfriend (pictured) were an incredible support system throughout her ordeal

‘I’ve never been offered any kind of help for the effects it’s had on my mental health.

‘In small doses and for minimal amounts of time, these steroids can work for minor skin conditions but we need to stop over prescribing them on repeat prescriptions.

‘There needs to be clear advice on where you can use it on your body and for how long. There are not enough studies into these side effects.

‘If you’re experiencing topical steroid withdrawal, you are so incredibly strong. Healing happens and the journey is worth it. There are certainly dark days but the light does come.

‘To anyone using topical steroid creams, please be careful and do your research. This illness is debilitating yet so completely preventable. 

The eczema sufferer (pictured) said she was never offered any help to deal with out her condition was affecting her mental health

The eczema sufferer (pictured) said she was never offered any help to deal with out her condition was affecting her mental health 

The 27-year-old was first diagnosed with eczema when she was five.She said she stopped moisterising her skin and limited her water intake to 1L a day to help with the healing process

The 27-year-old was first diagnosed with eczema when she was five.She said she stopped moisterising her skin and limited her water intake to 1L a day to help with the healing process

WHAT IS TOPICAL STEROID ADDICTION?

Topical steroid addiction arises from the use of such creams to treat conditions like eczema. 

First described in 1979 in the International Journal of Dermatology, the theory is, over time, the skin becomes ‘addicted’ to the steroids. But it is not widely accepted among the medical community. 

Many have called the ‘condition’ a fad, however, it has been recognised by the National Eczema Association since 2013. 

Also known as red skin syndrome, the disorder does not have many statistics to show how common it is. One 2003 study from Japan, found that 12 per cent of adults who were taking steroids to treat dermatitis developed RSS. 

It occurs when steroids have been abruptly discontinued after a prolonged or inappropriate length of administration. Women who blush easily are thought to be most at risk. 

Topical steroid addiction has not been reported with correct drug use.

Symptoms include:

  • Redness, particularly on the face, genitals and area where the steroids were applied
  • Thickened skin
  • Swelling and puffiness  
  • Burning or stinging 
  • Dryness and cracked skin
  • Excessive wrinkling  
  • Skin sensitivity and intolerance to moisturisers 
  • Frequent skin infections  

Excessive sweating and itching is a sign of recovery.  Many sufferers also develop insomnia. 

Treatment focuses on anxiety support, sleep aids, itch management, infection prevention and immunosuppressants.

Doctors should advise patients to avoid long term or high dose steroid use. Long term is considered to be one-to-two years of regular use.

Patients are also advised to cut down on steroids slowly but using a lower dose and gradually cutting back to, for example, every other day or a few times a week. 

Source: DermNet NZ

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‘Can you believe how f***ing stupid the IRS is?’ Trump mocked $10m tax refund, Michael Cohen claims

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can you believe how fing stupid the irs is trump mocked 10m tax refund michael cohen claims

Donald Trump‘s disgraced former attorney Michael Cohen claimed last night that the president once brandished a $10 million tax refund check and yelled, ‘Can you believe how f***ing stupid the IRS is?’

Cohen tweeted that his new tell-all book ‘Disloyal’ had ‘been proven 100% TRUE’ after the New York Times reported that the president paid just $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017.

Cohen, who is still serving the last two years of a prison sentence from ‘home confinement’ for lying to Congress, retweeted an excerpt from his book which described how he’d been with the president when he received a colossal tax rebate at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

‘He held the check up for me to see, flabbergasted but also delighted.’ Cohen wrote. ‘”Can you believe how f***ing stupid the IRS is?” Trump asked. “Who would give me a refund for ten f***ing million dollars? They are so stupid!”‘

Michael Cohen leaves Federal court, in New York, in August 2018

US President Donald J. Trump holds a news briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 27 September 2020

Cohen tweeted that his new tell-all book ‘Disloyal’ had ‘been proven 100% TRUE’ after the New York Times reported that the president had paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and the same sum in 2017 (pictured: Michael Cohen, left, leaves Federal court, in New York, in August 2018; and Donald Trump speaks at the White House yesterday)

The foul-mouthed excerpt was tweeted by Trump's disgraced former personal lawyer Michael Cohen last night

The foul-mouthed excerpt was tweeted by Trump’s disgraced former personal lawyer Michael Cohen last night

Trump yesterday labelled the Times’ report ‘phony and fake’ after it printed documents showing the president paid no income tax in the 11 of the 18 years studied.

He was able to minimize this tax bill by reporting heavy losses across his business empire, including his golf courses and make claims for deductions, such as $70,000 spent on his hair stylist for The Apprentice. 

That’s despite receiving $427.4 million through 2018 from his reality television program and other endorsement deals. The president could also face mounting financial pressure in the years ahead. The tax records show he’s carrying a total of $421 million in loans and debt that are primarily due within four years. 

Cohen tweeted last night: ‘Everything I have stated about @potus @realDonaldTrump has been proven100% #TRUE! On page 94 of my #1 book #Disloyal @nytbestsellers_ , #Trump showed me a 10 million dollar #IRS “refund” check and exclaimed, “Can you believe how f***ing stupid the IRS is?’…they are so stupid!”

Cohen, 54 – who is serving the remainder of his sentence on ‘home confinement’ in Manhattan – has only been sighted a few times since he was released from custody in July.

However, he’s remained very much in the public eye as he promotes his bombshell book about his time working for Trump and his podcast, Mea Culpa.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives with his personal attorney Michael Cohen during a campaign stop at the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, U.S. September 21, 2016. Picture taken September 21, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives with his personal attorney Michael Cohen during a campaign stop at the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, U.S. September 21, 2016. Picture taken September 21, 2016

Responding to the report Sunday evening Trump told reporters: ‘It’s totally fake news. Made up. Totally fake news.’ The president, who campaigned for office as a billionaire real estate mogul and successful businessman, said he has paid taxes, though he gave no specifics. 

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT ON TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS

TRUMP PAID JUST $750 IN TAXES IN BOTH 2016 and 2017.

The newspaper said Trump initially paid $95 million in taxes over the 18 years it studied. But he managed to recover most of that money by claiming — and receiving — a stunning $72.9 million federal tax refund. According to the Times, Trump also pocketed $21.2 million in state and local refunds, which are typically based on federal filings.

Trump’s outsize refund became the subject of a now-long-standing Internal Revenue Service audit of his finances. The audit was widely known. Trump has claimed it was the very reason why he cannot release his returns. But the Times report is the first to identify the issue that was mainly in dispute.

As a result of the refund, Trump paid an average $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2000 to 2017, the Times reported. By contrast, the average U.S. taxpayer in the top .001% of earners paid about $25 million annually over the same timeframe.

TRUMP HAS FINANCED AN EXTRAVAGANT LIFESTYLE WITH THE USE OF BUSINESS EXPENSES

From his homes, his aircraft — and $70,000 on hair styling during his television show “The Apprentice” — Trump has capitalized on cost incurred from his businesses to finance a luxurious lifestyle.

The Times noted that Trump’s homes, planes and golf courses are part of the Trump family business and, as such, Trump classified them as business expenses as well. Because companies can write off business expenses as deductions, all such expenses have helped reduce Trump’s tax liability.

MANY OF HIS BEST-KNOWN BUSINESSES ARE MONEY-LOSERS

The president has frequently pointed to his far-flung hotels, golf courses and resorts as evidence of his success as a developer and businessman. Yet these properties have been been draining money.

The Times reported that Trump has claimed $315 million in losses since 2000 on his golf courses, including the Trump National Doral near Miami, which Trump has portrayed as a crown jewel in his business empire. Likewise, his Trump International Hotel in Washington has lost $55 million, the Times reported.

FOREIGN VISITORS HAVE HELPED SUPPORT TRUMP’S PROPERTIES

Since Trump began his presidential run, lobbyists, foreign governments and politicians have lavished significant sums of money on his properties, a spending spree that raised questions about its propriety and legality.

The Times report illustrates just how much that spending has been: Since 2015, his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida has taken in $5 million more a year from a surge in membership. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association spent at least $397,602 in 2017 at Trump’s Washington hotel. Overseas projects have produced millions more for Trump — $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey.

TRUMP WILL FACE FINANCIAL PRESSURE AS DEBTS COME DUE

Trump seems sure to face heavy financial pressures from the enormous pile of debt he has absorbed. The Times said the president appears to be responsible for $421 million in loans, most of which will come due within four years. On top of that, a $100 million mortgage on Trump Tower in New York will come due in 2022.

Reporting by the Associated Press

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The Times reported Trump claimed $47.4 million in losses in 2018, despite claiming income of at least $434.9 million in a financial disclosure that year. The Times emphasized the documents reveal only what Trump told the government about his businesses, and did not disclose his true wealth.

Trump has previously blasted the long-running quest for his financial records as a ‘continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country’. The businessman is the only modern president who has refused to release his tax returns. Before he was elected, he had promised to do so.  

Trump’s lawyer Alan Garten, said that ‘most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate’. He added: ‘Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.’ 

The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday, and weeks before a divisive election.

The investigation, published Sunday, reveals tax deductions on expenses including $70,000 on styling Trump’s hair for The Apprentice.

Losses in the property businesses solely owned and managed by Trump appear to have offset income from his stake in The Apprentice and other entities with multiple owners. 

The report also suggests ‘consulting fees’ were given to the president’s eldest daughter Ivanka, which appear to have helped lowered the family’s tax bill. 

A nearly $100,000 payment to Ivanka’s favorite hair and makeup stylist was also listed as a business expense. 

The Miss Universe pageant is said to have generated $2.3 million for Trump during his time as a co-owner, according to the report.   

Data obtained by The Times does not include his his 2018 and 2019 personal returns. Trump has consistently refused to release his taxes, departing from standard practice for presidential candidates, saying they are under audit.

On Sunday he said the IRS ‘treat me very badly, they treat me like the Tea Party’, adding of his returns: ‘It’s under audit. It’s been under audit for a long time.’

He said: ‘They’re doing anything they can. The stories I read, they are so fake, they are so phony.’ 

The Times said it had obtained tax-return data covering over two decades for Trump and companies within his business organization. 

The Times also reported that Trump is currently embroiled in a decade-long Internal Revenue Service audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed after declaring large losses. If the IRS rules against him in that audit, he could have to pay over $100 million, according to the newspaper. 

The president vowed that information about his taxes ‘will all be revealed.’ 

But he offered no timeline for the disclosure and made similar promises during the 2016 campaign on which he never followed through. 

In fact, the president has fielded court challenges against those seeking access to his returns, including the U.S. House, which is suing for access to Trump’s tax returns as part of congressional oversight. 

During his first general election debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton said that perhaps Trump wasn’t releasing his tax returns because he had paid nothing in federal taxes.

Trump interrupted her to say, ‘That makes me smart.’   

During the first two years of his presidency, Trump relied on business tax credits to reduce his tax obligations. The Times said $9.7 million worth of business investment credits that were submitted after Trump requested an extension to file his taxes allowed him to reduce his income and pay just $750 each in 2016 and 2017.

Income tax payments help finance the military and domestic programs. 

Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee who has tried unsuccessfully to obtain Trump’s tax records, said the Times report makes it even more essential for his committee to get the documents.

‘It appears that the President has gamed the tax code to his advantage and used legal fights to delay or avoid paying what he owes,’ Neal wrote in a statement. ‘Now, Donald Trump is the boss of the agency he considers an adversary. It is essential that the IRS’s presidential audit program remain free of interference.’ 

Trump’s Washington hotel, pictured, is said to be struggling financially

Trump’s Washington hotel, pictured, is said to be struggling financially

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In a Sunday report, dismissed by the president as ‘fake news,’ The New York Times said most of that debt comes from the Doral golf resort in Florida, pictured – $125 million – and Trump’s Washington hotel – $160 million

The New York Times said it declined to provide Trump’s lawyer Garten with the tax filings in order to protect its sources.  

Democrats were quick to seize on the report to paint Trump as a tax dodger and raise questions about his carefully groomed image as a savvy businessman.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer took to Twitter to ask Americans to raise their hands if they paid more in federal income tax than Trump. 

Trump’s consistent refusal to release his taxes has been a departure from standard practice for presidential candidates. 

He is currently in a legal battle with New York City prosecutors and congressional Democrats who are seeking to obtain his returns.

A federal appeals court on Friday tested the waters on a potential compromise after arguments in Trump’s long-running fight to prevent a top New York prosecutor from getting his tax returns. 

Trump’s lawyer, William Consovoy, signaled they will be satisfied only if Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is barred from getting all of the requested records. 

His lawyers maintain that the subpoena seeking eight years of the president’s corporate and personal tax returns amounts to a ‘fishing expedition’ and that Trump should be afforded the same protections as ordinary citizens in the same situation. 

They argued that aside from acknowledging an inquiry into money paid to two women who alleged affairs with Trump, Vance’s office hasn’t specified why it needs such a vast collection of his financial records. 

Vance, a Democrat, began seeking the Republican president’s tax returns from his longtime accounting firm over a year ago, after Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that the president had misled tax officials, insurers and business associates about the value of his assets. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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