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Headline USA New York Politics

New York cancels Trump contracts with one of his companies that in 2020 earned him $ 17 million dollars | The State

New York cancels Trump’s contracts with one of his companies that in 2020 earned him $ 17 million

Photo:
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

This Wednesday morning Bill de Blasio said in an interview for MSNBC that New York City is withdrawing all their contracts with the Trump Organization which is made up of hundreds of businesses owned by the president.

“New York City has cut all ties with the Trump Organization due to criminal activity,” de Blasio said.

The Trump Organization has contracts to run two ice skating rinks and the Central Park carousel and a golf course in the Bronx.

Those contracts could take a month or more to complete, they reported to the president’s company about $ 17 million in revenue last year, according to financial statements.

The cancellation of these contracts will affect some of the president’s oldest companies, created when Donald Trump had still been recognized as one of the top real estate developers in New York City.

“Inciting an insurrection against the United States government is clearly criminal activity,” De Blasio said. “New York City will no longer have anything to do with the Trump Organization.”

President Trump is facing the consequences for the violent attack on the Capitol last week although he denies any responsibility. Bloomberg reported that New York-based Signature Bank and Deutsche Bank, with whom Trump has done business at least since 2011, closed the president’s personal bank accounts and called for his resignation. The AP noted that the PGA canceled plans to hold the Championship in 2022 at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Related: One of the assailants he disrupted in Congress took a lectern and auctioned it on eBay for nearly $ 15,000.

Almost all social media platforms have suspended or banned the president’s accounts. Companies like Amazon, Best Buy and Disney have suspended political donations for Republicans who supported Trump’s proposal to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Congress.

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Headline USA New York Politics

New York City Cancels Contracts with Donald Trump Companies | The State

“The President incited a rebellion against the United States Government that killed five people and threatened derail the constitutional transfer of power. AND New York City will not associate with those unforgivable acts in any way or form, and we are taking immediate steps to terminate all contracts from Trump Organization“.

With these forceful words the Mayor Bill de Blasio described in a statement released this Wednesday, the decision of your Administration to cancel all contracts they have with Donald Trump’s companies in the Big Apple.

Specifically, the City currently has three contracts with the ‘Trump Organization’, which allow the President’s companies to operate the central park carousel, the ‘Wollman’ and ‘Lasker’ ice skating rinks, also located in Central Park, and the ‘Ferry Point Golf’, a golf course located in the Bronx.

The De Blasio Administration indicated that the next step is to officially notify the Trump Organization that the City will begin the process to cancel its agreements immediately.

“Trump’s incitement to violence on our Capitol was an abomination,” said the City’s lead attorney. James E. Johnson. The head of the Legal Department indicated that in light of last week’s attack on our Capitol and our democracy, “we have come to the conclusion that the best thing for New Yorkers is that the City begins the process of canceling these contracts and end its business ties with the Trump Organization. “

The completion process for each location is detailed in each of the City’s agreements. The carousel is currently closed and the termination will take effect 25 days after the City’s notice of termination is delivered. The agreement for the Wollman and Lasker tracks ends after 30 days of written notice. While the process to cancel the Ferry Point golf course is more detailed and is expected to take several months.

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Headlines UK Liverpool Manchester

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson arrested in building contracts probe

Labour Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson is arrested alongside four others over bribery and witness intimidation offences in building contracts probe

  • Joe Anderson was arrested by Merseyside Police alongside four other men 
  • Arrests are part of ongoing building contracts probe, local media reported
  • The other men arrested were aged 33, 72, 62 and 25 and have not been named

The Mayor of Liverpool has been arrested in connection with bribery and witness intimidation offences as part of a fraud probe, it was revealed today.

Joe Anderson, 62, was arrested by Merseyside Police alongside four other men as part of a police probe into building and development contracts in the city.

Anderson shot to prominence in October after slamming the Government’s old tiered lockdown system for offering little financial support to Northern businesses facing collapse under the harshest restrictions.

Police have not confirmed the Labour Mayor’s identity, but said a 62-year-old was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.

The 62-year-old is believed to be Anderson who has since been suspended from the Labour Party following the arrest, sources said.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson (pictured) has been arrested in connection with bribery offences and witness intimidation

Anderson, 62, (pictured with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace last month) was arrested by Merseyside Police alongside four other men as part of a police probe into building and development contracts in the city

Anderson, 62, (pictured with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace last month) was arrested by Merseyside Police alongside four other men as part of a police probe into building and development contracts in the city

Who is Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson? 

Joseph Anderson was born in 1958 in Liverpool to a cleaner and a Merchant Navy officer.

He joined the Merchant Navy after leaving school and then went onto work for P&O Ferries

He went to Liverpool John Moores University and got a post-grad diploma in social work. He went onto be a social worker in Crosby.

He became a councillor in 1998 and, in 2003, became the Leader of the Labour Group on Liverpool City Council.

He became council leader in 2010 and then was elected Mayor in 2012.

Last year he secured the Labour Party selection to run to be Mayor of the city for a third term at May’s delayed elections.

Anderson hit the headlines in October with his vocal criticism of the Government’s tiered lockdown system, which he branded a ‘shambles’. 

Liverpool was the first English region to be put into the top Tier Three – prior to the country’s second national lockdown – as cases surged in the city.

He accused the Government of railroading through its Tier Three measures for the city without local leaders agreeing to anything back in October. 

His pushback came alongside criticism from Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who also blasted the rules – with affected vast swathes of the North.

Alongside the 62-year-old, four others were also arrested, the Liverpool Echo reports.

A 72-year-old and a 25-year-old were arrested on suspicion of witness intimidation. 

Two other men – aged 46 and 33 – were accused of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation. 

Councillor Richard Kemp, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool, said if the arrest was confirmed Mr Anderson should stand down from official duties.

In a statement, he said: ‘Firstly, mayor Anderson must follow precedent and immediately stand down from all official duties until cleared or convicted. We all have deputies capable of carrying out our work.

‘Secondly, we must allow the police to carry out their enquiries. They have been working for 18 months now on a series of allegations relating to problems within the regeneration directorate in relation to the awarding of contracts and property disposals.

‘This is a complex matter and takes time.

‘Justice is best served by not speculating on any potential issues as these might compromise subsequent trials.’

The Labour Party politician has led the city since 2010 and has been Mayor since 2012.

Last year he secured the Labour Party selection to run to be Mayor of the city for a third term at May’s delayed elections.

A Liverpool City Council spokesperson said: ‘Liverpool City Council is co-operating with Merseyside Police in relation to its ongoing investigation. We do not comment on matters relating to individuals.’ 

Anderson (pictured) shot to prominence in October after slamming the Government's old tiered lockdown system for offering little financial support to Northern businesses facing collapse under the harshest restrictions

Anderson (pictured) shot to prominence in October after slamming the Government’s old tiered lockdown system for offering little financial support to Northern businesses facing collapse under the harshest restrictions

In October, Mr Anderson (pictured)  revealed that his eldest brother Bill died after being admitted to intensive care with coronavirus aged 70

Bill Anderson (pictured), brother of mayor Joe, has died from Covid

In October, Anderson (left) revealed that his eldest brother Bill (right) died after being admitted to intensive care with coronavirus aged 70 

In October, Mr Anderson revealed that his eldest brother Bill died after being admitted to intensive care with coronavirus aged 70.

Bill Anderson was a former chairman of the Merseyside Merchant Navy Association,. 

Condolences for Joe Anderson poured in, including from MP David Lammy, Everton FC star Yannick Bolasie and Liverpool City Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham.

Categories
Bollywood

Anjum Sharma: Insiders getting contracts, meetings easily have more pressure, as an outsider there are no expectations from you


Actor Anjum Sharma’s journey in showbiz involved a lot of changing jobs — while earlier he has assisted filmmaker Anand L Rai, and also handled the camera under the guidance of a veteran, acting happened much later in his career.

He is getting noticed for the portrayal of the scheming Sharad Shukla in Mirzapur season two, who actually changes the entire story in the last episode. He says, “I would get to know which character has more meat ever since I was a child and watched films. While growing up, I developed an interest in acting, and before that, I went into assistant direction. I happened to watch some plays once, starring Naseeruddin Shah and more people, and that’s when I started chasing acting as a career.” 

Doing theatre came next, and it’s when he was assisting Rai on a film, that he finally decided to take the plunge into acting, when he would do rehearsals for the main actors. But it wasn’t easy.

As an outsider, he says it has been a lot of struggle to reach here. “It is hard, there are a lot of hardships. The thing is you need to prove your mettle, and that goes in any field. In this field, art is so subjective, that one person for example might like your painting, but six others might not.,” he says.

But doesn’t someone with connections get those chances easily? Wasn’t it hard for him to get that chance to prove his mettle?

Sharma agrees. “There are plus and minuses. The counter point could be people who are getting contracts and meetings easily, they have more pressure and expectations. The audience sees them in a particular way. As a newbie, you don’t have that pressure, you can get accepted as your slate is clean, you don’t have any baggage,” he says.

And it finally happened with Mirzapur for him. The feedback, he says, has been overwhelming. “We all knew magnitude of the show was huge, especially with the way season one had turned out to be. For me, the major part of my character was going to unfold in this one after the post credits scene had in season one. All these things personally made me anxious,” he confesses.



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Delhi The Buzz

India plunges into technical recession as GDP contracts 7.5 per cent in July-Sept quarter


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27

The economy contracted by 7.5 per cent in the second quarter (July-September) of 2020-21 as against a fall of 23.9 per cent during the stringent lockdown months of the first quarter (April to June), according to government data released on Friday.

With the contraction in two successive quarters, India has entered into a technical recession but the Union Finance Ministry feels the latest data, especially the high frequency indicators, suggest a recovery is under way.

The government, however, was not willing to commit that the fourth quarter could see positive growth after it was clear that the third quarter GDP growth will also be negative. “Recovery provides optimism but we urge caution on the pandemic. Winter months must warrant caution and safety protocols must be followed stringently as service to the nation,’’ said the Ministry’s Chief Economic Advisor Kris Subramanian.

In a break from the past, the government used six new indicators in a total of 23 to project -7.5 per cent GDP growth. These include data of rice and fish, purchase of private vehicles, passenger traffic at airports and Centre’s revenue spending.

There was V-shaped recovery in use-based industries in consumer goods, especially consumer durables, and investment, capital and infrastructure goods which suggest strong revival of both consumption and investment that together account for about 90 per cent of India’s GDP, said the Finance Ministry.

The corporate sector seemed back on track in the second quarter after two quarters of contraction, with its level of operating profits similar to that in September 2018, said Subramanian. However, bank credit rose by a little over 5.2 per cent and gross fixed capital formation remained in the negative territory.

The government also released the index of industrial production (IIP) which showed that core sector growth has remained in the negative zone at minus -13.0 per cent. In October the decline was minus 2.5 per cent after raising hopes in September about returning to positive territory with a contraction of 0.1 per cent.

On the positive side, steel production and consumption gathered momentum, signalling revival of construction activity. Power consumption and e-way bills also registered double-digit growth in October, suggesting buoyancy in industrial and commercial activities

Analysts, however, pointed out that consumption remains low, industrial recovery is still weak and the traction seen in IIP growth lately is triggered largely by the festival demand which was also pointed out on Wednesday by the Reserve Bank chief Shaktikanta Das.

Recovery ignites optimism, but a cautious optimism. Sustainability of the recovery critically depends on keeping the pandemic in control. — Union Finance Ministry


We are certain this trend will continue. Private consumption is weak and increased Government spending would help the momentum for a more robust growth in the coming months. — Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII.

The growth in manufacturing, though very nominal, is something to cheer for. The real test would be in Q4 when the festive season gets to closure and sustaining the demand would be a challenger. — Divakar Vijayasarathy, DVS Advisors LLP

We believe personal safety and convenience is driving the demand in auto and durables in Q2. It is clear that the size of unaffected parts of the economy is far greater than stressed sectors. Momentum can be sustained by government spending, the vaccine, and monetary policy tailwinds. — Prithviraj Srinivas, Chief Economist, Axis Capital





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Canada

At 87, one of the oldest elected officials in the US Senate contracts COVID-19


One of the oldest US senators in the upper house announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, as the country has been experiencing a conflagration of new contaminations for several weeks.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

“I tested positive for the coronavirus,” Chuck Grassley, who at 87, is the second oldest elected to the Senate, posted on Twitter.

Elected pro tempore president of the Senate, Mr. Grassley is third in the order of succession in case of incapacity of the president, after the vice-president, Mike Pence, and the Democratic president of the House of representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

The Republican senator from Iowa clarified that he was feeling well and had for the moment “no symptoms”, but that he was going into quarantine in accordance with the recommendations of the doctors and those of the American Centers of fight against diseases.

Because of this sanitary isolation, Mr. Grassley, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1974 and then to the Senate in 1980, missed a voting session on Tuesday, the first in 27 years.

The last time Chuck Grassley was barred from voting was in 1993, the senator holding one of the highest attendance records in the Senate, with 8,927 consecutive sitting votes to his credit.

Other members of the upper house have recently tested positive for COVID-19, including the dean of Congress, Republican Don Young or been exposed to the virus, such as Florida Senator Rick Scott, who is also doing quarantine.

By far the country most bereaved by the pandemic with 248,000 dead, the United States has experienced a surge in the number of infections since the end of October, particularly in the north of the country and the Midwest.





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Canada

Transparency required in contracts related to the pandemic


Opposition parties in the Commons are unanimous: the Trudeau government is singularly lacking in transparency by refusing to disclose the details of a $ 371.3 million non-tender mega-contract awarded to a small business in Ottawa to import blouses medical services from China.

• Read also: The COVID jackpot: $ 371 million from the federal government for medical gowns

Both the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party believe that the unit price of the gowns ordered should be made public, which the federal government refuses to do.

“What was the price of each of the blouses? Was it competitively priced in the market or not? It’s incredible that we don’t have this information, when we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, ”said New Democrat MP Alexandre Boulerice yesterday.

Our Bureau of Investigation revealed yesterday that a small company virtually unknown to Ottawa, Proline Advantage, landed the largest federal contract ever on its medical equipment purchases related to COVID-19 in the spring.

The government refused to disclose the unit cost of the gowns on the grounds of the need to protect “sensitive pricing information.”

Incomprehensible

For Conservative MP and public contract critic Pierre Paul-Hus, this is nothing to understand.

“We are not talking about equipment related to national security, electronic chips, we are talking about medical gowns,” he said.

“It is conceivable that when we negotiate, he continued, we keep the terms secret to get the best possible price and avoid overbidding. But now, as the contracts were awarded several months ago, it would be normal to be transparent. “

“Not peanuts”

We must not lose sight of the immense size of this contract, according to Bloc Québécois MP Julie Vignola.

“We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s not peanuts, and it’s taxpayer money,” she said.

“During this time I have people in my constituency [Beauport–Limoilou] that call out to me and wonder how they are going to eat tonight. “

Do you have information about federal contracts related to the COVID-19 pandemic? Contact me confidentially: [email protected]



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Headlines UK London

Brexit: Government gives £180m contracts to management consultants


Brexit bonanza for management consultants as the government hands out contracts worth £180million to six multi-nationals despite pleas from ministers to cut reliance on outside help

  • More than £88million has been spent over the past two years on Brexit contracts
  • Now six £30m contracts have gone to large consultancy and accountancy firms
  • McKinsey, Bain and Company, KPMG, Accenture, Deloitte, and PwC will get cash
  • They will help ‘successful delivery of UK’s economic and political independence’ 

Ministers have dished out contracts worth £180million to management consultants for work on Brexit, it was revealed today.

The Government has spent more than £88million over the past two years but has increased its spending with little more than two months to go until the end of the transition period.

But now it has signed six £30million deals with some of the world’s largest consultancy and accountancy firms, McKinsey, Bain and Company, KPMG, Accenture, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The tender for the contracts, which started in September and run to October next year, state: ‘Over the next 12 – 24 months, Government departments anticipate a significant increase in demand for strategic programme management expertise from the consultancy market, to support the successful delivery of the UK’s economic and political independence including, future relationships with the EU and the rest of the world.’

But their discover by the Byline Times comes amid fury at the rate of spending on private consultants.

PWC offices in London

The Government has signed six £30million deals with some of the world’s largest consultancy and accountancy firms, McKinsey, Bain and Company, KPMG, Accenture, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee, told The Times today : 'Consultancy work on very specialist technical issues can have a place but we have a tendency to pass work over to highly paid consultants as a first choice too often'

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee, told The Times today : ‘Consultancy work on very specialist technical issues can have a place but we have a tendency to pass work over to highly paid consultants as a first choice too often’

Lord Agnew, a Cabinet Office and Treasury minister, said in a leaked letter last month the amount of work being farmed out to the private sector was ‘unacceptable’ and that it ‘infantilises’ the civil service.  

He said too often private consultants provided ‘poor value for money’ as he called for Government departments to keep more of their work in-house. 

The shot across the bows comes after Whitehall spending on consultants has surged in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum, hitting more than £1.5billion in 2017/18. 

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons public accounts committee, told The Times today: ‘Consultancy work on very specialist technical issues can have a place but we have a tendency to pass work over to highly paid consultants as a first choice too often.’

There has been a massive spike in Government spending on private consultants in recent years. 

New controls introduced in 2010 saw spending dramatically curtailed from £1.9bn in 2009/10 to £651m in 2010/11. 

Annual expenditure then stayed between about £400m and £700m for the next six years. 

But between 2015/16 and 2017/18 spending on consultants trebled in real terms, according to the National Audit Office, from £513m to more than £1.5bn.

The surge in spending came as the UK wrestled with its divorce from the European Union. 

Official figures for 2018/19 and beyond are yet to be released but the advent of the coronavirus crisis is expected to have had a considerable impact on spending on consultants this year. 

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman told the paper: ‘As a responsible government we have, and will continue to, draw on the expert advice of a range of specialists to prepare for the changes and opportunities that will come from the end of the transition period.’



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Headlines UK

£1.3bn High Court challenge over lucrative Test and Trace contracts is launched


Ministers are facing a High Court challenge over the awarding of lucrative contracts under the Operation Moonshot mass testing programme – which was hailed by Boris Johnson as the way to return to normal life.

The Good Law Project, which seeks to enforce government accountability, is seeking a judicial review, claiming the contracts were unlawful because there was inadequate scrutiny before they were awarded. It is due to launch its action imminently.

Government documents reveal that seven contracts worth more than £1.3 billion have been signed with six separate firms. 

They are for coronavirus tests using new forms of technology, with the aim to deliver results in minutes, rather than hours or days, and without having to use laboratories.

The Prime Minister last month said the aim of Operation Moonshot was to harness the latest development and vastly increase Britain’s testing capacity. 

There were initial suggestions the programme had a £100 billion budget with the aim of delivering 10 million tests a day.

Some of the contracts awarded are with well-established medical diagnostic giants, but one deal – worth £387 million – is with a firm based in Horsham, West Sussex, called OptiGene. Its 2019 accounts state it had assets of just £1.6 million.

Some of the contracts awarded are with well-established medical diagnostic giants, but one deal – worth £387 million – is with a firm based in Horsham, West Sussex, called OptiGene. Its 2019 accounts state it had assets of just £1.6 million

OptiGene was so small that under company law it was exempt from having to disclose full accounts when it filed them last year.

OptiGene is now contracted to deliver 600 of its newly developed Genie HT machines and 90 million testing kits and chemicals. Each machine is capable of delivering 200 tests an hour.

Chief executive Michael Andreou said he delivered the first of the new machines to a firm in Canada just before the pandemic hit.

He added: ‘I actually said, if we sell ten of those this year, I think that’s doing really well and anything above that is a bonus.’ He declined to disclose how much profit he hoped to make, but said he wasn’t in it for the money.

Other companies at the centre of the legal controversy are:

  • Innova Tried & Tested, part of a US multinational group, awarded two deals worth £625 million for pregnancy-style tests;
  • Oxford Nanopore, a leading UK biotech firm, with a £127.5 million contract for test machines and accessories;
  • Origin, a San Francisco-based company founded by former Google and Apple employees, which has a £73.7 million contract for collection kits and fast antigen tests;
  • Abbott Panbio, one of the world’s largest diagnostics firms, based in Illinois, which was awarded a £52.8 million contract for lateral flow tests;
  • Lumira, a US multinational, has a £36.6 million contract for lateral flow test machines and kits.
The Prime Minister, pictured, last month said the aim of Operation Moonshot was to harness the latest development and vastly increase Britain's testing capacity

The Prime Minister, pictured, last month said the aim of Operation Moonshot was to harness the latest development and vastly increase Britain’s testing capacity

‘As luck would have it, a pandemic began’ 

OptiGene is a small medical diagnostic firm based in a single-storey industrial unit in Horsham, West Sussex.

But now, the Mail reveals today, it has hit the big time: a £387million contract with the Government to build and supply 600 Genie HT coronavirus testing machines, together with enough chemicals and kits for 90 million tests.

‘We launched our new machine in January,’ chief executive Michael Andreou said. ‘And then, as luck would have it, a global pandemic began.’

He added: ‘This is a massive challenge for us. It needs everyone to pull together, and components from all over to get these instruments delivered. But we are doing everything possible to get this to happen.’

The company’s machine tells whether someone is positive or negative in 20 minutes, and relies on software to analyse its results. This means that, unlike most lab-based tests, it does not need to be operated by an expert virologist.

Mr Andreou, 59, said that when the pandemic began to spread, he had no intention of getting involved. But then China released the virus’s genome, and he realised he could adapt the Genie to identify Covid.

OptiGene – which operates from the same base as sister company OptiSense, a specialist in sensor systems – tested the machine at Basingstoke hospital. ‘The record for a patient with Covid symptoms turning up at A&E, getting tested and then being admitted to a Covid ward was 20 minutes,’ he said.

In April, Mr Andreou was contacted by the Cabinet Office. ‘I was the world’s worst salesman,’ he said. ‘We never went looking for this contract. You’ve seen from our accounts our normal level of business.’

The Good Law Project, a non-profit group that uses the courts to campaign for public accountability, launched a similar action over the awarding of huge contracts for personal protective equipment. Also joining the action are green energy tycoon and Ecotricity chief executive Dale Vince and medical group EveryDoctor.

They say the Moonshot contracts should have been advertised and subject to open competition. Instead, they claim, they were awarded ‘directly’, with no opportunity for scrutiny – despite the fact they involve new technology untried on a mass scale.

This, say letters setting out their legal claim, breaches the 2015 Public Contracts Regulations, which are supposed to ensure transparency in government procurement.

The claim adds that Operation Moonshot and the contracts have ‘avoided parliamentary oversight’. And it says the National Screening Committee – the official expert body supposed to provide scientific and technological advice to ministers – was not consulted.

In their written response, government lawyers say advertising and consultation were impossible because ‘decision makers were required to make decisions in circumstances of extreme urgency arising from the pandemic’.

The Prime Minister and Health Secretary Matt Hancock launched Operation Moonshot last month. Mr Hancock promised that rapid testing of millions every week ‘will allow people to lead more normal lives and reduce the need for social distancing’. He said it would allow sports venues to reopen with big crowds, and travellers from abroad to avoid quarantine.

Briefing documents published in September suggested the Government was ready to spend £100 billion on Moonshot. But its lawyers say its aims are now more modest. Documents state the new rapid tests come under the existing NHS Test and Trace scheme, led by Baroness Dido Harding, whose total current budget is £12.1 billion.

Good Law Project director Jolyon Maugham insists the group is not seeking to hold up the introduction of faster tests. Its claim says that, although the pandemic does require urgency, the need for faster, mass testing has been discussed since July – allowing plenty of time for advertising the contracts and consulting both Parliament and the National Screening Committee.

There were initial suggestions the Moonshot programme had a £100 billion budget with the aim of delivering 10 million tests a day

There were initial suggestions the Moonshot programme had a £100 billion budget with the aim of delivering 10 million tests a day

Mr Maugham said: ‘The problems here are universal to everything Government does on procurement, and are around transparency and accountability. The Government is treating the taxpayer as its foe – not entitled to know why and with whom these vast sums are being spent – whereas I think these things are absolutely at the heart of the taxpayer’s compact with Government.’ 

Dr Julia Patterson, founder of EveryDoctor, said: ‘The Government is failing to listen to experts, failing to provide transparency in their decision-making, and failing to responsibly handle taxpayers’ money. We must learn mistakes from the first wave in order to save lives. This means we must have closer scrutiny of the Government’s spending.’

Mr Vince added: ‘We’ve already seen vast amounts of uncontrolled spending – not least £12 billion for the failed Test and Trace app and countless big PPE contracts to companies with no track record in supplying it. We’ll be paying this money back for decades – it’s real money and needs to be spent in a proper controlled way with transparency and open competition.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said it could not comment on the pending case.

He said: ‘We continue to work tirelessly to make sure everyone who needs a test can get one, including by introducing new, highly reliable technology to allow us to test more people and deliver rapid results.

‘NHS Test and Trace is the biggest testing system per head of population of all the major countries in Europe. Due diligence is carried out for all government contracts and we take these checks extremely seriously.’



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UAE

Sharjah residents can now renew their tenancy contracts online


Sharjah Municipality has started to paperless renewal of tenancy contract.
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Sharjah: Sharjah Municipality announced stopping all transactions of paper document for registration and renewal of lease contracts for properties and replacing them with electronic leases issued through its website.

Thabit Salim Al Turaifi, Director General of Sharjah City Municipality, said that the aim of new initiative was to reduce the time and efforts for availing services and to ensure highest levels of satisfaction.

Al Turaifi pointed out that the municipality expedited the paperless transformation due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety and health of its customers.

He pointed out that this step comes in line with the municipality’s strategy in its transformation into becoming a paperless department by the end of this year, relying on entirely on smart programs and digital technologies

Khalid bin Falah Al Suwaidi, Assistant Director General of Customer Service at Sharjah Municipality, said the municipality launched the contract attestation service on its website. “The move will help the municipality to complete a greater number of transaction ensuing safety of customers and staff.”

Al Suwaidi indicated that the customer can download the lease contract from the municipality’s website and then complete the necessary procedures for renewal or certification in electronic form or through service centres or the rental regulation department in its various branches.



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