Categories
Bollywood

Varun Dhawan says three A-list stars warned him about working with Sara Ali Khan: ‘Bach ke rehna’


Varun Dhawan was told to beware of Sara Ali Khan by as many as three other actors. Varun and Sara will be seen together for the first time in the upcoming Coolie No 1 remake.

In a promo video for an episode of The Kapil Sharma Show, Varun revealed that Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal and Kartik Aaryan all had the same warning for him regarding Sara.

In the video, Varun said, “Inke saath kam kar raha tha toh mujhe Ayushmann, Kartik, Vicky Kaushal, sabne message kiya tha (Ayushmann, Kartik, Vicky Kaushal all warned me about working with her).” Sara asked, “Kya bola tha (What did they say)?” and Varun replied, “Ki bachke rehna (To beware of you).”

 

Sara, who made her debut with director Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath, opposite the late Sushant Singh Rajput, has also starred in Simmba and Love Aaj Kal. She is currently filming director Aanand L Rai’s Atrangi Re, opposite Akshay Kumar and Dhanush.

Coolie No 1 is a remake of David Dhawan’s 1995 hit of the same name. The original film starred Govinda and Karisma Kapoor in lead roles. Sara in a recent interview had defended the ‘problematic’ plot of the original, and said that the remake should be viewed with an ‘open mind’.

She told Mid-Day in an interview, “I’d urge people to watch the film with the honest intention with which it is told. There is a difference between what you say on Twitter, and what an entertaining comedy tries to say. If everybody [expects] everything to be politically correct, any scope of humour in our lives will be [lost]. Of course, you can’t be demeaning. Govinda sir duping Karisma to make her believe that he is not a coolie, is funny. It’s not about him cheating. Ultimately, he falls in love with her, and that’s what most of us look forward to in life.”

Also read: Despite fallout, Govinda responds to Varun Dhawan’s birthday post, says ‘thank you beta’

Directed by David Dhawan, the new Coolie No 1 also stars Paresh Rawal, Jaaved Jaaferi, Rajpal Yadav, and Johnny Lever. It’s slated for a Christmas release on Amazon Prime Video.

Follow @htshowbiz for more





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Football UK

Paul Pogba warned he is not bigger than Man Utd amid uncertainty over future

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned no player is bigger than Manchester United – including Paul Pogba.

Pogba is fit and firing with goals and assists despite his outspoken agent Mino Raiola claiming the French World Cup winner is “unhappy” at Old Trafford.

Raiola is once again agitating to move Pogba to Juventus or Real Madrid next summer.

But as United prepare to face Leeds in a cruch game for their top four hopes, Solskjaer insists the 27-year-old midfielder is showing he’s a team player.

“Paul was here as a kid in the under-18s, we signed him early on, he comes with the Man United DNA in him,” said Solskjaer.

Pogba was informed “absolutely no-one” is bigger than Manchester United

“He knows what we are about. Man United is about being in a team. I would not stand for anyone thinking he is bigger than Man United because no-one is.

“Absolutely no-one is and Paul knows this. It is not only Paul, it is for all of us.

“Paul has always been an ambitious boy who loves playing football. He trains well, he never refuses to train or play, he has got a good attitude.

“He’s been injured this season, he has had Covid. Now he is just about getting back to full fitness.

Solskjaer had a stern message for his wantaway midfielder

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“Of course he wants to do as well as he can when he is in the team, however many minutes he gets on the pitch.”

Raiola has been a continuing thorn in United’s side since Pogba rejoined in 2016 in a world-record £89million deal and has clashed with Solskjaer more than once over his client.

After missing out a year ago, United have been heavily linked with a move for striker Erling Haaland who reportedly has a £63million release clause in his Borussia Dortmund contract.

The German side dispute that but despite Raiola also looking after Haaland, Solskjaer doesn’t believe that would kill any potential deal.

“I leave the negotiations with agents to the club. I rarely speak to agents,” said Solskjaer.

“I speak to the players and that is the biggest thing for me. I need to see them eye to eye.

“That is my say on it really. I think it is important, the relationship between player and manager, it is like the old days.

“I want players who can handle life as well. You can’t just go through agents.”

Should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continue to hand Paul Pogba minutes or leave him out of the squad? Have your say here.

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Categories
Headlines UK

MPs warned they may have to work Christmas Eve if EU deal is reached

MPs have been warned they may have to work on Christmas Eve, raising hopes of a last-minute Brexit deal with Brussels.

Boris Johnson is reportedly preparing to push back the Christmas recess of Parliament if he can secure a late break-through with EU negotiators. 

Under plans being inspected by leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, MPs and Peers will be asked to sit on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday if a deal is reached by the weekend, the Telegraph reports.

Having Christmas Eve and Boxing Day as sitting days is also on the table, the paper adds, but Christmas Day has been ruled out. MPs have not sat in Parliament on Christmas Day for more than 350 years.

It comes as Mr Rees-Mogg last night insisted ‘there is no last moment’ to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union as he said talks could continue right up to the deadline on December 31. 

He suggested the UK would be willing to negotiate with Brussels ‘until Big Ben strikes 11 o’clock’ on New Year’s Eve – the point at which the ‘standstill’ transition period comes to an end.  

He said he believed it would take six days for a trade accord to be formally ratified by Parliament but that could be ‘squeezed’ if time is tight. 

His comments came after it emerged Michel Barnier told EU ambassadors the UK is willing to give ground on the crunch issue of the ‘level playing field’, with fishing rights now the major obstacle to a trade deal. 

The EU’s chief negotiator suggested a post-Brexit trade agreement between Britain and Brussels could be struck this week if the UK compromises on fish. 

However, the bloc’s insistence that fishing matters must be linked to trade could yet scupper the chances of an accord being reached. 

Meanwhile, Lord Hague said Boris Johnson had persuaded the EU he is ‘crazy enough’ to walk away from trade talks without a deal. 

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg today insisted ‘there is no last moment’ for the UK to strike a trade deal with the EU as he suggested talks could continue until the deadline on December 31

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, is said to have told ambassadors the UK is now willing to move on the crunch issue of the 'level playing field' on rules

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is said to have told ambassadors the UK is now willing to move on the crunch issue of the ‘level playing field’ on rules 

What are the sticking points in Brexit talks? 

FISHING

The UK has insisted that it will take back control of its coastal waters from the end of the transition period.

But the EU was demanding its fleets maintain previous levels of access – with Emmanuel Macron under particular pressure from the French fishing industry.   

Initially the UK said it wanted to reclaim 80 per cent of the EU quotas from January 1.

However, Brussels suggested that only 18 per cent should be restored.

The two sides are thought to be close to a ‘landing zone’ that includes a transition period, perhaps of five or seven years. However, there is no settlement yet.

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD 

The EU has insisted the UK commits to ‘level playing field’ provisions, guaranteeing it will not undercut businesses on the continent by rolling out lower environmental standards and regulations.

State aid has emerged as a particular issue, especially as coronavirus makes swathes of the economy unviable. 

But the UK says it must regain sovereign powers to decide on rules, even though it has no plans to lower standards or warp competition by subsidising the private sector. 

It appeared this area was close to resolution before France reportedly laid down a series of extra conditions including huge punishments in the form of tariffs for breaking the rules.

Although the UK is happy with ‘non-regression’ – meaning current standards are accepted as a baseline – it has dismissed demands to obey rules made by the bloc in future.

Michel Barnier told EU ambassadors this week the UK is now willing to accept the need for a ‘rebalancing mechanism’ on rules which could resolve the row. 

GOVERNANCE

The enforcement of any deal, and who decides whether rules are broken, has been one of the flashpoints from the start.

Breaking free of the European Court of Justice was among the biggest demands of Brexiteers at the EU referendum. 

But Brussels has been pushing to keep control of the governance, as well as insisting on tough fines and punitive tariffs for breaches.  

The governance issue is heavily linked to that of the ‘level playing field’ with a breakthrough on the latter likely to pave the way for a breakthrough on the former. 

Trade talks between the two sides remain ongoing amid hopes the path to a deal could now be coming into view. 

Any agreement would have to be formally ratified by the UK and the EU before it can come into effect.  

With December 31 now just two weeks away, both Britain and the bloc will face a race against time to get a deal signed off and put into law before January 1. 

But Mr Rees-Mogg told the Moggcast hosted by the Conservative Home website that Parliament has shown in the past it can work quickly when it needs to.       

He said: ‘You can really, really truncate the parliamentary process if necessary and if there is a will to do it.

‘If there were an agreement today I think you would need six days in that you would have the text tomorrow, you would have 48 hours to write the Bill and you would have a day in the Commons, a day in the Lords and a day for royal assent.

‘But that can be squeezed. So six days is tight but six days at the moment is what I would expect the process to take.’  

He continued: ‘The six days can be squeezed. So I don’t want to say Christmas Day is the last day.

‘There is no last moment, until Big Ben strikes 11 o’clock [on December 31], which it won’t strike will it because it will strike midnight but not necessarily at 11 o’clock so I have misspoken.’ 

Mr Rees-Mogg suggested it would be possible for Parliament to ratify the deal retrospectively beyond the December 31 deadline but he said such an approach ‘certainly raises legal questions’.     

There is now growing optimism an accord could still be possible.  

Mr Barnier is said to have told a private meeting of ambassadors that a deal could be hammered out in the coming days but only if the UK gives ground on fishing.

He told the briefing that Britain had now accepted the need for a ‘rebalancing mechanism’ on rules which could resolve the ‘level playing field’ row. 

The mechanism would allow tariffs to be imposed on the UK if it departs too far from EU rules and regulations.

However, Lord Frost, his UK counterpart, is said to have demanded that the EU drop its insistence on linking fishing to trade in return for the concession, but Brussels turned him down. 

That means that while progress appears to have been made on the rules issue, the negotiators still appear to be some way from fully resolving it. 

The UK does not want fishing to be linked to trade because it fears the EU could use a fishing dispute to suspend parts of the trade deal.  

An EU diplomatic source told The Telegraph: ‘He was a lot less gloomy than I was expecting. If both sides can come out of their trenches on fish, Barnier said there could be a deal this week.’ 

Another diplomat said ‘there might now be a narrow path to an agreement’ if the ‘remaining hurdles’ can be cleared in the next few days.  

The two sides have been deadlocked on three sticking points for months: Fishing rights, the ‘level playing field’ and the governance of the deal.  

The EU wants the UK to stick to rules made in Brussels in the future to ensure there is fair competition between businesses in Britain and those on the continent. 

Any move away from EU rules by the UK would result in Brussels imposing tariffs.

Lord Hague said Boris Johnson had 'mounted an effective, thoroughly convincing and true demonstration of his own readiness' to accept a chaotic split from the bloc on December 31

Lord Hague said Boris Johnson had ‘mounted an effective, thoroughly convincing and true demonstration of his own readiness’ to accept a chaotic split from the bloc on December 31

The former foreign secretary said the PM's apparent willingness to accept a chaotic split from the EU on December 31 had led to an improvement in the state of the trade talks

The former foreign secretary said the PM’s apparent willingness to accept a chaotic split from the EU on December 31 had led to an improvement in the state of the trade talks

But the UK wants the freedom to do its own thing and is reluctant to sign up to anything which would bind its hands.  

The ‘level playing field’ issue is heavily linked to the issue of governance which relates to how the terms of the deal would be enforced, with the EU wanting the ability to impose tariffs should Britain break its commitments. 

A breakthrough on rules would likely pave the way for a breakthrough on governance, leaving fishing rights as the one remaining major bone of contention. 

Lord Hague today said there had been a ‘slight improvement in the atmosphere of the talks’ in recent days and that Mr Johnson is responsible. 

Writing in The Telegraph the Tory former foreign secretary argued the PM’s apparent willingness to end the ‘standstill’ transition period on December 31 without a deal had forced the EU to adopt a more realistic negotiating stance. 

‘It is time to acknowledge the crucial role played in producing that improvement by the convincing performance of the Prime Minister himself,’ Lord Hague wrote. 

‘That is not to say that the Government’s overall approach, which has included digging a hole of potentially breaking international law and then digging itself out of it, has always been convincing.

‘Nor that the state of preparations for all the consequences of no deal at ports is yet strong enough to be reassuring. But Boris has mounted an effective, thoroughly convincing and true demonstration of his own readiness, personally and politically, to walk away from an unsatisfactory deal.’

Lord Hague said he still believes a no deal split would be ‘disastrous’ for both the UK and the EU. 

But he insisted that in a ‘tricky negotiation, the other side has to know you are ready to ditch the whole thing’. 

Lord Hague said of Ms von der Leyen’s dinner with Mr Johnson last weekend that the President of the European Commission will have ‘looked into his eyes and seen that he is adamant that he is prepared to leave with no deal’. 

‘It is an advantage at such a moment if your counterpart believes you are crazy enough to cause a lot of damage rather than settle for a poor outcome,’ he said.

Mr Johnson has warned there is a ‘strong possibility’ of Britain and Brussels failing to agree a deal which would force the two sides to trade on basic World Trade Organisation terms from January 1 and see tariffs imposed on goods.      

Categories
UAE

Jobseekers warned as 12 Indian women duped by recruitment agents are rescued in UAE

The rescued women with Roop Sidhu (right) and Chaya Devi (second from right) of the Indian Association in Ajman
Image Credit: Supplied

Ajman: Authorities and social workers have worked together to rescue 12 Indian women who were duped by recruitment agents, prompting the Indian mission in Dubai to reiterate its warning against job-seekers flying into the UAE on visit visas. The women, who were brought to the UAE on visit visas, had initially pleaded for help through their families and a social worker — Amjad Ullah Khan — in India. One of them also informed the police about their plight, following which they were rescued.

The Indian Consulate in Dubai said the mission was initially informed about five women who got trapped after being brought to work in the UAE.

“When we enquired, initially we got to know there were three more. We took action and made more enquiries through the Indian Association in Ajman. Then we found out that there were actually 12 women. We have provided them temporary accommodation and they are being taken care of,” Neeraj Agrawal, Consul for Press, Information and Culture told Gulf News.

Roop Sidhu, general secretary of the Indian Association in Ajman, said all the women, except one from Karnataka, hail from Hyderabadin south India. Aged between 21 and 46, they were given false hopes of jobs as housemaids. “They were not given proper jobs and they complained of being ill-treated,” said Sidhu.

What the maids say

A 21-year-old woman from Hyderabad, the youngest in the group, told Gulf News she had come in September and had been requesting the agent to send her back from the very next day after her arrival because she was being treated badly.

A 38-year-old woman hailing from Bengaluru said that she decided to complain against the agent who had locked up seven women. “My issue was about not legalising my papers. The agent told me to work in different houses for which I was not ready. Then he kept me with the other six women. I saw them being treated very badly. They were not given proper food. He was taking their money and abusing them. So I complained,” she said.

Sidhu said Ajman Police had already arrested one agent, while rescuing the seven women who were locked up in an apartment. “We also managed to rescue another group of five women from another accommodation managed by the same agent over the weekend,” said Sidhu.

On the advice of the consulate, he said he had given an undertaking on behalf of the association to provide food and accommodation to the women and also taken the seven women to issue their statement related to the case to the Public Prosecutor, along with volunteer Chaya Devi who handles such cases. On being pressured, the maids’ India-based agent booked tickets for two women and one managed to fly back home on Sunday, he said.

Recruitment portal

Thanking Ajman Police for their timely intervention, Agrawal said the women would be assisted with repatriation once they get clearance from the local authorities. The official reiterated that expats should not come to the UAE on visit visas to seek jobs. “People should only come through proper channels and should not fall prey to the middlemen,” the diplomat pointed out.

The employment of Indian housemaids is done through the online recruitment portal e-Migrate to avoid middlemen and also to ensure the welfare of job applicants.

The woman, who had complained against the agent, however, said the maids were not aware of the e-Migrate system.

“I have worked in Saudi Arabia and Oman earlier. I went on visit visas to take up jobs there. We usually approach the agents who get us visit visas. They give us the visas and tickets upon reaching the airport. That is what usually happens. We get residence visa and labour contract done after reaching the Gulf country. Maybe they are getting more commission for the way they brought us here. That is why they are not telling us about the e-Migrate system,” she said, highlighting the need for better awareness among women like her back in India about the government-authorised recruitment channel.

Categories
Headlines UK London Manchester

MPs are warned coronavirus cases in London are ‘off the chart’ ahead of Tier 3 decision

Ministers could bring forward a decision to plunge millions of Londoners into Tier 3 to today as coronavirus cases in the capital soar ‘off the chart’.

In a move that could devastate businesses just days before Christmas, the city could see its hospitality and culture sectors closed down, with shoppers from Tier 2 zones outside the limits barred from shopping in its major retail hubs like Oxford Street. 

MPs were warned this morning that there was ‘exponential growth’ in cases in London’s boroughs and some of the major commuter areas like Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will update MPs on the latest developments in the fight against Covid-19 at 3.30pm today.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said it was ‘possible’ a decision, which was expected on Wednesday, could be brought forward to as early as today, with a key cabinet committee meeting this morning.

He warned Tier 3 would be ‘catastrophic’ without extra help for the city’s businesses, coming in what should be a ‘golden quarter’ of the year before Christmas.

He told Sky News is was ‘possible’ a decision on a tier change could be made today, adding: ‘If the government decides to do that they must provide additional support over and above what has been offered to make sure these businesses go bust,’ he told Sky News.

‘If they go bust not only will it lead to hundreds of thousands of Londoners being made unemployed, but our ability to recover from this pandemic will be made much harder. It is in nobody’s interest for these businesses to go bust, December is a crucial month for many of these business.’ 

It comes as:

  • The UK recorded 18,447 coronavirus cases on Sunday, 1,175 more than last Sunday, as well as 144 new deaths
  • Tens of thousands of residents in low-infection towns and villages had their hopes of ‘decoupling’ from the tiers of surrounding coronavirus hotspots dashed yesterday
  • In a letter to Tory MPs, Matt Hancock said that ‘narrow carve-outs’ of areas with lower rates of infection often leads to them ‘catching up’ or ‘overtaking’ areas with a higher prevalence of Covid 
  • Boris Johnson has called for restraint from families this Christmas, urging Brits to ‘to think hard about how you choose to enjoy that relaxation’
  • Oxford University vaccinology professor said chances of getting its jab by the end of 2020 are ‘pretty high’

 

Moving the city and its hinterland up from Tier 2 would be a body-blow for its vital hospitality and retail businesses which have been left at the top of a precipice by the pandemic since March.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said today that Tier 3 would be 'catastrophic' without extra help for the city's businesses, coming in what should be a 'golden quarter' of the year before Christmas

Mayor Sadiq Khan said today that Tier 3 would be ‘catastrophic’ without extra help for the city’s businesses, coming in what should be a ‘golden quarter’ of the year before Christmas

Greenwich's council leader Danny Thorpe has told all schools in the south-east London borough to close from Monday evening as he warned its Covid-19 situation was 'escalating extremely quickly'. The infection rate per 100,000 people in the capital stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week. Pictured: London infection rates by borough week to December 6

Greenwich’s council leader Danny Thorpe has told all schools in the south-east London borough to close from Monday evening as he warned its Covid-19 situation was ‘escalating extremely quickly’. The infection rate per 100,000 people in the capital stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week. Pictured: London infection rates by borough week to December 6

Boris Johnson (pictured today) is facing a backlash from London Tories who want the capital to avoid Tier  3, with some threatening to vote against extending pandemic restrictions the next time they need updating

Boris Johnson (pictured today) is facing a backlash from London Tories who want the capital to avoid Tier  3, with some threatening to vote against extending pandemic restrictions the next time they need updating

Rural areas CAN’T be ‘decoupled’ from neighbouring Covid hotspots go into a lower Tier even if they have much lower infection rates 

Tens of thousands of residents in low-infection towns and villages had their hopes of ‘decoupling’ from the tiers of surrounding coronavirus hotspots dashed yesterday.

In a letter to Tory MPs, Matt Hancock said that ‘narrow carve-outs’ of areas with lower rates of infection often leads to them ‘catching up’ or ‘overtaking’ areas with a higher prevalence of Covid.

It comes ahead of a review of the tier system on Wednesday. The Health Secretary’s comments are set to disappoint Tory MPs in areas that come under stringent Tier Two or Three restrictions because of high infection rates elsewhere in their county.

They will also dismay several London boroughs that were hoping to remain in Tier Two, with the whole of the capital now almost certain to enter Tier Three.

Boris Johnson had raised hopes that Wednesday’s review would be done on what he described as a more ‘granular’ basis than a fortnight ago, suggesting some areas could be spared.

But health leaders are continuing to pile on pressure against easing tier restrictions, warning of the ‘risk of a third wave’ when the NHS is at its busiest. Officials last night confirmed that London will be treated ‘as a whole’ rather than on a borough-by-borough basis, indicating its nine million residents will soon be plunged into the strictest measures.

Latest figures show the capital’s infection rates have climbed to an average of 224 new cases per 100,000 people, rising in 21 of the 32 boroughs. However, rates in Greater Manchester dropped below the UK average to 151.3 per 100,000 people, for the week ending December 8.

The turnaround has led Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to call for the two cities’ positions to be reversed, for the sake of ‘equal and fair treatment’.

He said: ‘If London and Manchester don’t move, it would tell me it’s not based on the evidence. I don’t wish anything on London, but we have to have equal and fair treatment here.’

Business leaders have warned shutting the capital down before Christmas will devastate its economy, forcing many pubs and restaurants to close.

It comes as the number of daily deaths from Covid fell to 144 yesterday, down from 231 a week ago.

Only a handful of areas are expected to move down the tiers during the first review since the second lockdown, including Lincolnshire and North Somerset. 

 

The mayor told Sky News: ‘My understanding is that Covid-O is meeting as we speak – that’s the sub-committee of the Cabinet that makes the recommendations.

‘We will have to wait and see what the Government decides – it’s a Government decision, not my decision or London leaders’ decision.’

He said ‘it’s possible’ that a decision will be made today ‘because we have seen over the last few days a big increase in the virus’.

But he added: ‘It’s worth looking where the virus is spreading faster and it’s worth looking at the areas where we have seen the biggest increase.

‘It’s worth them asking themself the question whether a move to Tier 3 is a blunt instrument that doesn’t really address in a laser-like fashion where we are seeing the biggest problems.’

It came as millions of London parents faced an anxious wait to see if schools are shut early after a Labour council backed by Sadiq Khan asked headteachers to shut their gates at the end of today because of rising coronavirus cases in the capital.

Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe has been accused of ‘an appalling lack of leadership’ after announcing his decision on Twitter last night amid fears London’s 20 other Labour councils could follow suit.

But Cllr Thorpe, a former teacher supported by Britain’s teaching unions, did not specify on what scientific basis officials had reached the decision, leading to accusations he was putting scoring political points above the education of children.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants all London secondary schools and colleges to shut before the end of term on Friday – in defiance of the government’s instruction to keep them open – blaming rising Covid-19 cases.  But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer came out against Mr Khan this morning and told LBC: ‘I am very reluctant to close our schools’.

London Tory MPs in the briefing this morning urged the PM to avoid a blanket Tier 3 move for the city.

Harrow East Tory Bob Blackman said that the only people who would benefit from the move would be Amazon and other online retailers, with shoppers from Tier 2 areas effectively barred from entering the capital. 

He and other Tory MPs wrote to Boris Johnson at the weekend urging him not to inflict ‘untold damage’ on the capital by moving it into Tier 3. 

They warned many London Tory MPs could vote against the Government’s Covid approach when it is reviewed next month if the city is plunged into tier 3. 

Mr Blackman told MailOnline today that the briefing today involved ‘lots of questions and not many answers’.

‘They are in the position I think of softening everyone up to say ”not only are you going to go into tier 3 but we are going to have to strengthen tier 3 and possibly have a tier 4 doing something else”, which none of us know yet,’ he said.

He suggested that closing secondary schools – one of the main sources of growth in cases – may help to act as a fire-break before restrictions are lifted for five days across Christmas.

Labour’s Bermondsey MP Neil Coyle added: ‘Very grim figures. So angry at repeat failures to properly test and trace, a year after WHO sounded the pandemic alarm. People, especially children, and businesses have been let down so badly.’

In a letter to the Prime Minister, which was jointly signed by London Councils chairwoman Georgia Gould, Mr Khan said the seven-day case rate had risen in 32 local authority areas in the capital compared to the previous week.

There were also 17 boroughs where the seven-day rate exceeded 200 cases per 100,000 people.

According to the latest figures, the borough of Havering has the highest coronavirus rate in London, with 1,314 new cases recorded in the seven days to December 9 – the equivalent of 506.3 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from a rate of 321.3 in the seven days to December 2.

The figures have been calculated by the PA news agency, based on Public Health England data published on December 13 on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard. 

Chaos at the school gates as millions of London children head to classes with no idea when they will finish the week – as government and Keir Starmer go to war with Sadiq Khan over his call to shut ALL secondaries and colleges

Millions of London parents face an anxious wait to see if schools are shut early after a Labour council backed by Sadiq Khan asked headteachers to shut their gates at the end of today because of rising coronavirus cases in the capital.

Greenwich Council leader Danny Thorpe has been accused of ‘an appalling lack of leadership’ after announcing his decision on Twitter last night amid fears London’s 20 other Labour councils could follow suit.

But Cllr Thorpe, a former teacher supported by Britain’s teaching unions, did not specify on what scientific basis officials had reached the decision, leading to accusations he was putting scoring political points above the education of children.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wants all London secondary schools and colleges to shut before the end of term on Friday – in defiance of the government’s instruction to keep them open – blaming rising Covid-19 cases.  But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer came out against Mr Khan this morning and told LBC: ‘I am very reluctant to close our schools’.

One senior government source told MailOnline that the intervention from Sadiq Khan and the Greenwich Labour leader had more than a ‘whiff of political opportunism’. 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma today blasted the Labour-led calls and said: ‘We want to keep schools open’. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson warned yesterday that schools who do not stay open face legal action – but has not used the clause inserted in the Coronavirus Act that can compel schools to stay open. Instead London’s Regional Schools Commissioner has written to Greenwich Council urging them to reserve their decision.

Panicked parents scrambling to find childcare with just 24 hours notice amid growing concerns schools could remain closed in January. Some families said the decision had left their children in tears. 

It came as London looks certain to move into Tier 3 when Boris Johnson reviews the situation on Wednesday, with people hitting the shops and pubs over the weekend because most are likely to be shut by the end of the week.

Critics said Greenwich Council has no power to shut the borough’s more than 100 schools, but some headteachers in the area have already informed parents they will end the term early today.  Greenwich, which has 290,000 residents, has seen an average of one death per week since in March and 5,500 positive tests in total since the pandemic began nine months ago. 

It is possible that the Department for Education will compel Danny Thorpe to reverse his decision. One free school in the borough, Ark Greenwich Free School, said it had not had a case since October and would ignore the council’s request to shut early. Greenwich residents speculated others schools in the borough may follow suit.  

One school worker in the borough said: ‘This has created a huge amount of confusion for parents. Schools will have 100’s of emails & calls to deal with tomorrow morning, adding to their already high workload and pressure’. Another wrote: ‘This is a disaster for families in Royal Greenwich. Schools should be the last thing to close. Please could you provide the evidence you have used to come to this awful decision?’

Historic Greenwich is one of the busiest tourist spots in the capital, and is a magnet for shoppers and drinkers.

One critic said: ‘Massive double standards at play. The pubs have been open all w/e – zero social distancing in Greenwich town centre…… then a Sunday evening ‘tweet’ to shut schools early within 24hrs’. Another parent said: ‘Some of us cannot master magic childcare over night that is not what we normally use. Not all of us can use family right now either’. 

Despite London's growing Covid-19 rate, there are warnings not to put the capital under Tier 3 restrictions, amid fears it could be 'catastrophic' for businesses in the run up to Christmas

Despite London’s growing Covid-19 rate, there are warnings not to put the capital under Tier 3 restrictions, amid fears it could be ‘catastrophic’ for businesses in the run up to Christmas 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma today blasted the Labour-led calls and said: 'We want to keep schools open'

Business Secretary Alok Sharma today blasted the Labour-led calls, backed by Sadiq Khan, and said: 'We want to keep schools open'

Business Secretary Alok Sharma today blasted the Labour-led calls, backed by Sadiq Khan, and said: ‘We want to keep schools open’

Parents are up in arms over the last minute decision - and some said their children were left in tears because they won't finish the term

Parents are up in arms over the last minute decision – and some said their children were left in tears because they won’t finish the term

One senior government source told Mailonline that the intervention from Sadiq Khan and the Greenwich Labour leader had a ‘whiff of political opportunism’.

They insisted that the local authority does not have the power to act unilaterally, making clear the regional schools commissioner had already approached Greenwich. ‘We can stop them,’ the source said.

‘We have had 99 per cent of schools open every week since the start of term. There are measures to prevent the risk of transmission in schools,’ they added.

‘The fundamental point from the government’s point of view is that education remains an overriding priority. We have said all along that we will close other things to keep schools open.’

The source warned that shutting school now with almost no notice would cause chaos for parents, and suggested that if Mr Khan wanted to crack down on infections he should be looking at other measures.

‘If it is rates in the community then there are other things he could be doing,’ they said.

‘The fact it is a Labour council leader and a Labour mayor means there is a slight whiff of opportunism. The unions would clearly like to see this happen as well.’

The DfE/government source said Mr Williamson had powers under the Coronavirus Act to force schools to open, but pointed out that 99 per cent of schools had been open since the start of term, and those powers had not been needed during the second lockdown.

‘Usually, if schools have issues or concerns they get in touch and we discuss,’ the source said. ‘Any decision to close would be based on local health advice not a political decision.’

Shaun Bailey, Conservative London Mayoral Candidate said: ‘From the moment we entered Tier 2, the Mayor should have been working on a plan to get us into Tier 1. Instead, he did nothing.

‘As a result, London faces Tier 3 and a higher rate of infection. And I’m worried this will have a devastating effect on livelihoods as well as lives.

‘Since schools have contributed to the recent rise in infections, I’m calling on the government to let schools start one week later in January.

‘This move would help us break the cycle of transmission and avoid further restrictions — vital for a city that can only survive if it stays open’.

Sadiq Khan has called for all London to be closed from Monday in defiance of the government’s vow to keep them open, and despite warnings that shutting down the capital will deliver another economic hammer blow to Britain. 

Mr Khan’s demand follows a unilateral announcement by the Labour leader of Greenwich council that he would close all schools in his borough tomorrow – leaving parents dashing to find four days of child care before the term ends on Thursday. 

The move puts Greenwich on a collision course with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson who warned that schools who do not stay open face legal action by the government – and it will also fuel teaching unions who arguing that schools should be shut across the country. 

It adds to fears that a decision on Wednesday to plunge London into Tier 3 restrictions looks ‘inevitable’ despite reports Health Secretary Matt Hancock was considering splitting the capital to impose tough restriction on outer boroughs with high infection rates while keeping the West End open.   

But Khan also called that move impractical and a morning briefing today between MPs from London and its surrounding areas will address the city’s infection rate, which puts it ahead of regions such as the West Midlands, which are already in Tier 3.

Mr Khan’s spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: ‘The mayor is backing the early closure of schools and would like the Government to consider shutting schools from Tuesday. He wants Monday to be the last day at school.’  

London’s infection rate per 100,000 people stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week. A source said London being thrust into the Government’s highest tier of lockdown rules is ‘inevitable’.

Tier 3 rules would see all bars, pubs and restaurants close. Hotels would also have to shut under top-tier rules – but may be able to reopen between December 23 and 27 when families are able to form a ‘bubble’ with two other households.  

MPs are urging the Prime Minister to spare the capital because shutting it down would hurt not just Londoners, but ‘people across the nation’ who depend on the ‘wealth and prosperity generated by our great city’.

A decision on whether to plunge London into the highest lockdown before Christmas was going to the wire this weekend, with a row brewing with Ministers after police and local councils objected to plans to divide London into different tiers.

With the capital’s businesses saying tier 3 would deliver a £3 billion hit to the economy, Ministers including Michael Gove have suggested that only the outer London boroughs with the highest infection rates should go in to the top tier.

In a pre-emptive strike ahead of a review of the capital’s restrictions, six senior Conservatives signed the letter, organised by Harrow East MP Bob Blackman, which warned that many London Tory MPs could vote against the Government’s Covid approach when it is reviewed next month if the city is plunged into tier 3.

The MPs’ letter highlighted the Government’s own estimate last month that 550,000 jobs would have been at risk if London had been put in tier 3 last month. 

They warned: ‘It would be a false choice to pit lives against livelihoods when it comes to deciding which Covid restrictions should apply in London.

‘We believe the Government can both protect lives and livelihoods with a more measured approach of keeping our capital open while also bearing down on this terrible virus.’

Parents have reacted with fury over Greenwich's call for schools to close with 24 hours notice

Parents have reacted with fury over Greenwich's call for schools to close with 24 hours notice

Parents have reacted with fury over Greenwich’s call for schools to close with 24 hours notice

Yesterday, Greenwich council leader Danny Thorpe told all schools in the south-east London borough to close four days before the Christmas break, warning the local Covid-19 situation was ‘escalating extremely quickly’. 

All schools will close this evening, with Cllr Thorpe’s open letter failing to explain whether the closure would continue when pupils return in the New Year.

It states: ‘Although London is currently in Tier 2, this is being reviewed by the Government who will advise us shortly about the decisions they make.’ 

No other London borough has followed suit as yet, but some councils are urging pupils and their families to get tested – while Islington said it would announce a ‘range of extra measures’ later today.

Sunday’s announcement came after it was revealed the Government could force schools to remain open in the run-up to Christmas by applying for a High Court injunction.

Cllr Thorpe’s statement on Sunday read: ‘I have today been briefed by colleagues from Public Health England that the pandemic in Greenwich is now showing signs that we are in a period of exponential growth that demands immediate action. 

‘We now have the highest rates of infection in Greenwich than at any time since March, and for these reasons I have therefore asked all schools in Greenwich to close their premises from Monday evening and move to online learning for the duration of the term, with the exception of key worker children and those with specific needs (exactly the same as in the first lockdown).

Greenwich council leader Danny Thorpe published an open letter yesterday warning the south-east London borough's Covid crisis 'demands immediate action'

Greenwich council leader Danny Thorpe published an open letter yesterday warning the south-east London borough’s Covid crisis ‘demands immediate action’

‘It is absolutely essential that everyone understands this is NOT an opportunity to extend Christmas celebrations in any way, and I’m asking for this to happen to reduce the risk of transmission.’

The latest data shows there were 715 new coronavirus cases recorded in Greenwich in the seven days to December 9 – the equivalent of 248.3 cases per 100,000 people.

This is up from a rate of 158.0 in the seven days to December 2.

Cllr Thorpe apologised for the closure, but warned families to get tested for Covid-19 as he said they face an ‘extreme risk,’ due to climbing cases.  

Other boroughs have stopped short of closing schools, but Labour-run Islington council leader Richard Watts said the local authority will be announcing ‘a range of extra measures’ to support residents later today. 

Havering has the worst Covid-19 infection rate in the capital, with 470.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Yesterday the local council ran out of tests at one of three new testing centres. 

Conservative leader of the council Damian White told the BBC on Sunday: ‘Whilst we’re in Tier 2, we’re being treated as if we were in Tier 3, so we’re being given additional resources from the Government and support from across London and the region to make sure we can lower the amount of transmissions.’

Cllr White has urged all non-symptomatic secondary school staff, pupils and their families to get tested. 

Speaking on Friday, he said: ‘We are aware that rates in young people have been increasing particularly quickly.

‘I urge those groups who do not have symptoms to step forward and get a test this weekend.’

New powers introduced through the Coronavirus Act allow the Government to issue ‘directions’ to headteachers around education provision during the pandemic.

Should schools fail to comply after being directed to remain open, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson can apply for a High Court injunction forcing them to do so.

It is understood that directions under the act would only be used as a last resort, while a court order would be sought if they were not followed.

The powers came to light after a headteacher in Ware, Hertfordshire, was sent a ‘minded to direct’ letter from schools minister Nick Gibb warning that the emergency powers could be used.

Presdales School had planned to switch to online learning for the final week of term to ensure staff and pupils did not have to self-isolate on Christmas Day, Schools Week reported.

But it was said to have scrapped the plans after receiving the letter.

Speaking about the decision to close Greenwich schools, Cllr Thorpe said: ‘This is honestly one of the most difficult questions I have wrestled with during all my time as leader.

‘The Department for Education are clear this isn’t their position and indeed have issued directives to some schools.

‘However, I cannot in all good conscience stand by whilst the numbers are doubling so quickly.

‘If the numbers are indeed doubling every 4 days, they would do so again by this Thursday, exposing more people to risk.’

The Government has powers to issue a High Court injunction to keep schools open, but Greenwich has gone ahead and closed classrooms for the last four days of term amid 'exponential growth,' in Covid-19 cases. The closure comes as shoppers continued to flock to Oxford Street in London on Sunday, with little room for social distancing

The Government has powers to issue a High Court injunction to keep schools open, but Greenwich has gone ahead and closed classrooms for the last four days of term amid ‘exponential growth,’ in Covid-19 cases. The closure comes as shoppers continued to flock to Oxford Street in London on Sunday, with little room for social distancing 

London already has a higher case rate than other parts of England living under Tier 3 restrictions. The case rate per 100,000 people in the capital stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week

London already has a higher case rate than other parts of England living under Tier 3 restrictions. The case rate per 100,000 people in the capital stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week

 

With London teetering on the edge of Tier 3 restrictions, local authorities have urged families to get tested for Covid-19, while Islington Council said it was going to announce a 'range of extra measures' to protect residents on Monday

With London teetering on the edge of Tier 3 restrictions, local authorities have urged families to get tested for Covid-19, while Islington Council said it was going to announce a ‘range of extra measures’ to protect residents on Monday  

Teaching unions have previously called for remote learning in parts of the south east.

The National Association of Head Teachers and Association of School and College Leaders urged the government to consider ‘immediately moving secondary schools and colleges to remote learning,’ while a mass testing programme is carried out in parts of London, Kent and Essex.

A Department for Education spokesman said yesterday: ‘It is a national priority to keep education settings open full time and it is vital that children remain in school until the end of the term.

‘Schools, colleges and early years settings across the country have worked tremendously hard to put protective measures in place that are helping reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted and our regional school commissioner teams continue to support local authorities and school trusts to remain open and help resolve any operational issues.’

The DfE did not confirm whether or not it planned to send a ‘minded to direct,’ letter to the council. 

The announcement comes after MPs and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned Tier 3 restrictions would be ‘catastropic’ for the capital, causing ‘untold damage’. 

He tweeted: ‘This weekend we’ve increased testing capacity in the worst hit areas – we now need Govt to support this across the capital too.’ 

In a letter seen by The Mail on Sunday, the MPs urge the Prime Minister to spare the capital because shutting it down would hurt not just Londoners, but ‘people across the nation’ who depend on the ‘wealth and prosperity generated by our great city’.

A decision on whether to plunge London into the highest lockdown before Christmas was going to the wire this weekend, with a row brewing with Ministers after police and local councils objected to plans to divide London into different tiers.

With the capital’s businesses saying tier 3 would deliver a £3 billion hit to the economy, Ministers including Michael Gove have suggested that only the outer London boroughs with the highest infection rates should go in to the top tier.  

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said yesterday: ‘Londoners have made monumental sacrifices this year in order to keep each other safe and protect our NHS. While the rollout of the vaccine this week may feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel, my message is clear – we still have a long winter ahead of us and we must all continue to play our part to keep ourselves and others safe.

‘Nobody wants the capital to face Tier 3 restrictions – it would be catastrophic for our pubs, bars, restaurants and culture venues – but with cases rising we are now at a tipping point, which is why we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to get on top of the virus by following the rules.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned Tier 3 restrictions in the run-up to Christmas would be 'catastrophic,' amid claims Health Secretary Matt Hancock could split the worst-hit parts of the capital off into Tier 3 but leave the majority in Tier 2

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned Tier 3 restrictions in the run-up to Christmas would be ‘catastrophic,’ amid claims Health Secretary Matt Hancock could split the worst-hit parts of the capital off into Tier 3 but leave the majority in Tier 2

Britain recorded 18,447 Covid cases on Sunday, with Boris Johnson warning the country to 'err on the side of caution,' rather than have a 'big blow-out with multiple households'

Britain recorded 18,447 Covid cases on Sunday, with Boris Johnson warning the country to ‘err on the side of caution,’ rather than have a ‘big blow-out with multiple households’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is also understood to be considering splitting the worst-hit parts of the capital off into Tier 3 but leaving the majority of the city in Tier 2. 

It would mean restaurants and other hospitality businesses in London’s West End could stay open, while those in suburban areas would close.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson admitted in a virtual fund-raising event for Conservative party members that people needed to be cautious over the festive period.

In messages revealed on Sunday, he said: ‘My message to everybody is we do have this period of relaxation of measures at Christmas, but I really urge people to think hard about how you choose to enjoy that relaxation. I really would urge people to err on the side of caution rather than, I’m afraid, have a big blow-out with multiple households.

‘I know the rules say three households, but there is ample scope alas for further increases in this disease during tough winter months.’

NHS executive Chris Hopson has urged Mr Johnson to exercise ‘extreme caution’ before putting any region into a lower tier as any relaxing of rules ‘will trigger a third wave’.

There were 144 new Covid-19 deaths recorded on Sunday, but there was added hope as an Oxford University professor said the chances of its vaccine being rolled out by the end of the year are 'pretty high'

There were 144 new Covid-19 deaths recorded on Sunday, but there was added hope as an Oxford University professor said the chances of its vaccine being rolled out by the end of the year are ‘pretty high’

He instead insisted that areas such as London – which sees 211 cases per 10,000 people each week – should be moved up to Tier Three to get numbers under control. He also said Essex, Kent and Lincolnshire have shown worrying figures.

Mr Hopson – the chief executive of NHS Providers which represents trusts across the country – said the current rise in cases is ‘worrying’, especially as it came towards the end of the England’s second nation-wide lockdown.  

Mr Johnson’s warning came despite the welcome news that the chances of Oxford University’s vaccine being being rolled out by the end of this year are ‘pretty high’.

The vaccine from Oxford and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is yet to be approved for use in the UK –  with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) still reviewing trial data.

The Government has secured 100 million doses of the vaccine, with four million ready for key workers once approval is given.

Oxford University vaccinology professor Sarah Gilbert said the chances of getting the jab – which is 90 per cent effective and costs just £2 per dose – before the end of 2020 ‘are pretty high’.

Rural areas CAN’T be ‘decoupled’ from neighbouring Covid hotspots go into a lower Tier even if they have much lower infection rates

Tens of thousands of residents in low-infection towns and villages had their hopes of ‘decoupling’ from the tiers of surrounding coronavirus hotspots dashed yesterday.

In a letter to Tory MPs, Matt Hancock said that ‘narrow carve-outs’ of areas with lower rates of infection often leads to them ‘catching up’ or ‘overtaking’ areas with a higher prevalence of Covid.

It comes ahead of a review of the tier system on Wednesday. The Health Secretary’s comments are set to disappoint Tory MPs in areas that come under stringent Tier Two or Three restrictions because of high infection rates elsewhere in their county.

They will also dismay several London boroughs that were hoping to remain in Tier Two, with the whole of the capital now almost certain to enter Tier Three.

Boris Johnson had raised hopes that Wednesday’s review would be done on what he described as a more ‘granular’ basis than a fortnight ago, suggesting some areas could be spared.

But health leaders are continuing to pile on pressure against easing tier restrictions, warning of the ‘risk of a third wave’ when the NHS is at its busiest. Officials last night confirmed that London will be treated ‘as a whole’ rather than on a borough-by-borough basis, indicating its nine million residents will soon be plunged into the strictest measures.

Latest figures show the capital’s infection rates have climbed to an average of 224 new cases per 100,000 people, rising in 21 of the 32 boroughs. However, rates in Greater Manchester dropped below the UK average to 151.3 per 100,000 people, for the week ending December 8.

The turnaround has led Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to call for the two cities’ positions to be reversed, for the sake of ‘equal and fair treatment’.

He said: ‘If London and Manchester don’t move, it would tell me it’s not based on the evidence. I don’t wish anything on London, but we have to have equal and fair treatment here.’

Business leaders have warned shutting the capital down before Christmas will devastate its economy, forcing many pubs and restaurants to close.

It comes as the number of daily deaths from Covid fell to 144 yesterday, down from 231 a week ago.

Only a handful of areas are expected to move down the tiers during the first review since the second lockdown, including Lincolnshire and North Somerset. 

 

Of the 315 local areas in England, 179 have experienced a rise in case rates, 135 have seen a fall, and one is unchanged.

Swale in Kent has the highest rate in England, with the equivalent of 630.3 cases per 100,000 people, followed by Medway, at a rate of 599.5.

Basildon in Essex also has some of the highest rates, having increased from 333.9 to 508.5 cases per 100,000.

Local leaders have argued that there are strong cases for splitting counties, with widespread variations in case numbers.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, Tory MP for Harwich and North Essex, said it would be ‘ludicrous’ to place his constituency in Tier Three when it had far fewer cases than other parts of the county bordering London. He argued that the city of Leicester had been successfully locked down while Leicestershire remained free of restrictions, proving it ‘is possible’.

He told Times radio: ‘Schools are going to close next week because it’s the school holidays – by far the biggest spreaders of the virus are the education settings. Hospitality is a relatively low risk.

‘The one thing that really, really isn’t Tier Three is hospitality. I don’t think this is sensible, not in the run-up to Christmas.’ Any new restrictions imposed this week will only last six days before they are then relaxed over the Christmas period.

Between December 23 and 27, the rules will pause to allow families to form ‘Christmas bubbles’ with up to three households.

This has stoked fears among experts of a third wave, heaping more pressure on the NHS at its busiest time of year.

Yesterday NHS Providers, which represents the 216 NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health trusts in England, wrote a message of warning to the Prime Minister. While stopping short of backing calling off Christmas celebrations, it said it was ‘vital’ the public understood the risks of extra social contact during the festive period.

Sarah Gilbert, leader of the Oxford University vaccine team, also warned it could prompt a surge similar to that seen in the US following Thanksgiving celebrations, with deaths there totalling more than 3,000 a day.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, she said: ‘If we have that kind of thing happening over the Christmas holidays in this country, with very high transmission rates possible in January, it’s going to take so much longer to get things back to normal.

‘Because partly, all the vaccination clinics will be disrupted. It’s not possible to run vaccination clinics when staff are off sick, and there’s a very high transmission rate affecting people’s ability to come to be vaccinated.

‘I think what we do over the next few weeks is really going to have a big impact on how long it’s going to take to get back to normal.’

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Headlines UK

Royal Mail warned of possible delays in receiving orders

The number of parcels has increased sharply amid the pandemic

The Royal Mail has warned its customers about possible delays in receiving orders, writes Metro. The reason is the increased volume of postage. This year, due to the transition to online shopping, Royal Mail employees received 200 million more packages than in 2019.

“Despite careful planning and additional manpower, some customers may experience a slight delay in receiving packages. We will try to get back to our usual level of service as soon as possible. “, – said the company.

The UK postal and courier services were forced to urgently hire staff to cope with the volume of work. Royal Mail received 33 thousand people, Amazon UK – 20 thousand, Hermes – 13 thousand, and Yodel – 3 thousand.

Some retailers have pushed the date of the last orders to an earlier date so that the post office can deliver gifts on time. Companies John Lewis, Boots and HMV have already accused Royal Mail of large delays: parcels, which were supposed to arrive in a couple of days, were delayed by more than a week.

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Entertainment UK

Linda Nolan warned she’ll ‘die’ if she catches Covid amid cancer battle

Linda Nolan has revealed she will die if she catches coronavirus, according to her doctors.

The Nolans singer, 61, opened up about the tragic news and informed fans she and her sister Anne, 70, are both high-risk after they were diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic.

The sisters were diagnosed with the illness within days of each other back in March.

Linda is battling incurable liver cancer, while Anne is suffering from breast cancer.

And Linda says she and her sister have been warned by doctors to keep safe, with professionals telling her she “will die” if she contracts Covid and the flu at the same time.

The star, who is sister to Loose Women’s Coleen Nolan, told The Express : “If I get the flu and then Covid I will die.

Linda Nolan says she ‘will die’ if she catches coronavirus

“That’s what me and my sister Anne were told, we will die because we have nothing to fight it with, because chemotherapy depletes your immune system.”

Linda revealed how important it is for her followers to get the free flu jab if they are entitled to it, like herself.

She added: “So it is vitally important that you get it [the jab] and the thing is it’s so easy, it takes 10 minutes out of your day.”

The singer and her sister are battling cancer

Her older sister Denise, 68, joined in with the chat, adding that Linda has been telling people in shops to put their face masks on if they aren’t wearing one.

Denise revealed her sister has said to people: “It’s alright for you, but if you give Covid to me I will die”.

Linda has been living with Denise following her diagnosis.

The actress and her sister Anne told the world about their cancer battles over the summer

She has finished her chemotherapy and is awaiting the results from her scans.

The star has her “fingers crossed” for the test results as she and Anne want to receive “good news”.

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Entertainment UK

I’m A Celeb stars warned of feeling depression in inevitable post-show comedown

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! stars are being warned of feeling depression and shame during an “inevitable” post-down comedown.

The hit ITV series wrapped last week, with Giovanna Fletcher being crowned Queen of the Castle following three weeks in north Wales.

And although she might be feeling elated about the win, the same can’t be said for her celebrity campmates.

“Winning this competition will feel like a real victory because the challenges themselves are hard work,” psychotherapist Noel McDermott told the Mirror.

“Getting through them alone is quite a victory so the runners up shouldn’t and hopefully don’t feel like they have failed.”

Giovanna Fletcher was crowned Queen of the Castle

He added: “Being able to remain part of a functioning team effort to win food for your campmates and also shine as an individual for the home audience is quite a feat to pull off and Giovanna should feel very proud.

“She will no doubt be feeling happy but also relieved that it’s all over.”

Mr McDermott adds that while most – if not all – will experience a sense of relief that their time in the castle is over, they need to be ready for the “comedown” that comes after the show.

Jordan North narrowly missed out on the top spot to Giovanna

“We can’t stay at the level of intensity the show generates and going back to normal life may feel pretty dull after this,” he added.

“There may be a period of mild depressive symptoms to follow and in some cases it’s possible that the exposure of the show leaves feelings of possible shame.”

Celebrities are told to “ease themselves back into life” following their stint on the show in a bid to make their comedown easier to deal with.

Celebrities are warned of the inevitable comedown that follows

“It’s a unique experience and the contestants should be kind to themselves during this period and ease themselves back into life a bit at a time,” Nr McDermott adds.

“Any feelings of exposure should be dealt with by gently understanding that the unique environment produces unique responses.”

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Georgia Headline USA Politics

General Flynn claims that Obama is SCARED of him and why he warned Trump off hiring him in 2016

Former national security advisor General Mike Flynn has claimed former President Barack Obama was ‘scared of him’ and was one of the reasons why Obama warned Donald Trump not to hire him in 2016. 

Flynn took direct aim at Obama, who reportedly warned Trump about him during a 90-minute conversation after the 2016 election Politico states. 

Speaking on Fox News to Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night, in his first television interviews since receiving a presidential pardon from President Trump, Flynn, 61, would not reveal what it was exactly Obama warned Trump about. 

According to the report, Obama and other officials believed Flynn was ‘problematic’ and had concerns regarding his management of the Defense Intelligence Agency. 

Michael Flynn, 61, said he ‘put the fear of God into Barack Obama and still do’

‘I must have put the fear of God into Barack Obama and still do because of this long four-year saga they put me through, and frankly the entire country. One of these days I will lay it out. But it’s pretty amazing for the transition in the United States of America from one president to another,’ Flynn said.

When pushed by Pirro over exactly what it was Obama wanted to keep secret, Flynn suggested that the Obama administration had been spying on the Trump campaign during the run-up to the 2016 election and may well have wanted to continue to do so during his time in office. 

‘When he chose me to be the national security advisor they knew that their little plan of spying on Donald Trump would fall apart and many other foreign policy blunders they got our country into, whether it was the Iran deal, issues going on in the Asian-pacific theater, trade, all sorts of issues that were in play that the last administration did to frankly run this country right into the ground,’ Flynn said.

‘They knew those were the types of things I was aware of. Let’s face it. Barack Obama appointed me twice. I was Senate confirmed twice during the time I was in the military. So it’s amazing that would be what he would focus on during the transition for the United States of America. It’s outrageous, actually.’

Flynn said he believes Obama and other officials thought he was 'problematic' and had concerns regarding his management of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Flynn said he believes Obama and other officials thought he was ‘problematic’ and had concerns regarding his management of the Defense Intelligence Agency

The conversation quickly moved on to Sydney Powell, the conspiracy theory pushing lawyer who formerly represented Donald Trump’s legal challenge to the 2020 election results before being fired by the campaign.

Pirrome asked Flynn flatly, ‘Do you think she is onto something?’   

‘Yes, absolutely,’ came Flynn’s direct reply. ‘I call Sidney Powell America’s guardian angel of justice. Sidney Powell’s clients are the people of the United States of America. That’s who she is fighting for right now,’ Flynn said as he lavished praise on her. 

Powell has pushed numerous conspiracy theories without evidence that massive voter fraud occurred and that Mr Trump is the winner of the 2020 election. 

‘She has her teeth into Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and the stuff that she has laid out in her various filings, it’s going to play out here. 

‘As the president just said tonight, he mentioned some of the issues that we know are just a complete disaster and embarrassment for our country in this latest fraudulent election where there was in fact massive fraud. It’s just incredible,’ Flynn continued.

Flynn spoke highly of Sydney Powell, pictured, the conspiracy theory pushing lawyer who formerly represented Donald Trump's legal challenge to the 2020 election

Flynn spoke highly of Sydney Powell, pictured, the conspiracy theory pushing lawyer who formerly represented Donald Trump’s legal challenge to the 2020 election

Flynn finished his appearance on Saturday night’s show by calling on state governors to challenge the current election standing. 

‘We have to stop all engines right now. All these governors and quote-unquote leaders of the their states, they have to take responsibility and do something to stop what they are doing. 

‘Do not certify these elections and go back and do a far more detailed technical mail ballot and signature audit instead of just saying to the American people, hey, nothing to see here. We are just going to continue to move on to an inauguration. That’s not what the American people want and they won’t stand for it.

Flynn’s remark about the inauguration comes after he suggested Trump suspend the Constitution. 

Flynn also echoed the Trump campaign's repeated allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election

Flynn also echoed the Trump campaign’s repeated allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election 

Donald Trump (left) joked with retired Gen. Michael Flynn (right) as they spoke at a rally at Grand Junction Regional Airport on October 18, 2016 in Grand Junction, Colorado

Donald Trump (left) joked with retired Gen. Michael Flynn (right) as they spoke at a rally at Grand Junction Regional Airport on October 18, 2016 in Grand Junction, Colorado

Flynn blasted out an advertisement that the group We the People Convention printed in the Washington Times. 

It urges Trump, who has called the election ‘rigged,’ to declare a ‘limited form of martial law’ and have the military – who reports to him directly as commander in chief – conduct the revote.    

Trump himself has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, although he told reporters in a combative session last weekend he would leave the White House if the Electoral College certifies the election for Joe Biden. 

President Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who received a pardon last week, blasted out an article calling on Trump to declare martial law

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who received a pardon last week, blasted out an article calling on Trump to declare martial law

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts during the Trump administration’s transition 

Trump’s pardon appeared to put an end to Flynn’s drawn-out court proceedings, in which his legal team attempted to convince District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan to drop its prosecution against him at the Justice Department’s request.  

Powell, who also represents Flynn as his attorney, had previously asked Trump not to pardon her client amid her efforts to get the case dismissed.  

Federal prosecutors also at first sought leniency, but ultimately sought up to six months in jail time after Flynn asserted prosecutorial misconduct and later sought to reverse his plea.

President Trump continues to say that the election was 'rigged'

President Trump continues to say that the election was ‘rigged’

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Headline USA Politics Utah

Jewel warned ex-Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh about drug use prior to his death

Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, 46, died of smoke inhalation as a result of a Connecticut house fire last month

Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh received a letter from his friend Jewel three months before he died in which she told him he was in trouble and that he was taking too many drugs. 

The 46-year-old entrepreneur, who had an estimated net worth of $840 million, died of smoke inhalation as a result of a Connecticut house fire last month.

His family say he did not have a will or an estate plan prior to his death. 

Since his shock death, those close to Hsieh have painted a dark picture of his heavy drug use, which they say escalated after he quit as CEO of the online shoe giant Zappos in August.

They say he lost contact with some who were close to him, he’d embarked on a digital detox and had considerably increased his use of the laughing gas nitrous oxide. 

Jewel, a singer and longtime friend of Hsieh, wrote him a letter raising her concerns after visiting him at one of his homes in Park City, Utah, back in August. 

The letter, which was obtained by Forbes, warned that Hsieh was at risk of being remembered as drug addict and not the tech visionary he was. 

She wrote that his current lifestyle choices were putting him in danger of crossing from ‘eccentric to madness’.   

Jewel had gone to visit Hsieh, who she initially met on Richard Branson’s Necker Island, in Park City where he was trying to build a community of entrepreneurs and artists. 

Hsieh received a letter from his friend Jewel three months before he died in which she told him he was in trouble and that he was taking too many drugs. She is pictured above during a tribute song she posted online for him on Wednesday

Hsieh received a letter from his friend Jewel three months before he died in which she told him he was in trouble and that he was taking too many drugs. She is pictured above during a tribute song she posted online for him on Wednesday

The singer, who posted a song tribute to Hsieh online this week, was meant to spend the week but left abruptly after just one day. She wrote the letter to him soon after.

‘I am going to be blunt,’ she wrote. ‘I need to tell you that I don’t think you are well and in your right mind. I think you are taking too many drugs that cause you to disassociate.

‘The people you are surrounding yourself with are either ignorant or willing to be complicit in you killing yourself.

‘When you look around and realize that every single person around you is on your payroll, then you are in trouble. You are in trouble, Tony.

‘If the world could see how you are living, they would not see you as a tech visionary, they would see you as a drug addicted man who is a cliche. And that’s not how you should go down or be known.

‘Your body cannot take not sleeping. And the amount of N2O you are doing is not natural. You will not hack sleep and you will not outsmart nature.’

The references to his drug taking in her letter are in line with interviews DailyMail.com conducted this week with some of his friends and colleagues.  

They said that Hsieh’s drug abuse was growing fast at the time of his death and that it escalated after he quit as CEO. 

One colleague said Hsieh surrounded himself with people who ‘enabled’ his addictions. 

Hsieh, 46, was pulled unconscious from a burning shed (pictured) attached to a waterfront home in New London, Connecticut, shortly after 3.30am on November 18. He died in hospital nine days later

Hsieh, 46, was pulled unconscious from a burning shed (pictured) attached to a waterfront home in New London, Connecticut, shortly after 3.30am on November 18. He died in hospital nine days later

Hsieh died in hospital nine days after he was pulled unconscious from a burning shed attached to a $1.3 million home in New London, Connecticut, back on November 18

Hsieh died in hospital nine days after he was pulled unconscious from a burning shed attached to a $1.3 million home in New London, Connecticut, back on November 18

‘There was always people around, people living in his homes. He lived to bring people together and even wrote a book about bringing happiness. So it’s sad that he was all alone in a storage area when he was injured,’ the colleague said. 

‘His heavy alcohol and drug use was known by everyone around him,’ a colleague said. ‘Anyone that challenged him about it was cast aside.

‘The talk among his former colleagues at Zappos is that Tony was likely in the shed blacked out drunk and on drugs. He was a major alcoholic and a drug addict. He was hardcore.’

Some friends said they feared that his use of the laughing gas nitrous oxide and his love of candles could have caused the fire that killed him. 

‘In recent months the nitrous oxide had become as important to Tony as his alcohol,’ one close colleague said. ‘And Grey Goose vodka was his best friend.’ 

He would take it in the form of whippets – straight from the cartridge of a whipped cream dispenser.  

‘He would take dozens of them a day,’ the colleague said.

‘He lived a crazy, eccentric life. The drugs often made him hallucinate, he became paranoid – that could explain why he barricaded himself in,’ he added.

‘Tony was very fond of candles. He liked to set the atmosphere.’

‘The guess is that he managed to ignite one of the nitrous oxide canisters which caused a small explosion that killed him.’ 

The fire broke out around 3:30 am on November 18 at a $1.3 million waterfront home in New London, Connecticut, where Hsieh, former CEO of the giant Zappos empire and his brother had been staying

The fire broke out around 3:30 am on November 18 at a $1.3 million waterfront home in New London, Connecticut, where Hsieh, former CEO of the giant Zappos empire and his brother had been staying 

While nitrous oxide isn’t flammable, it does accelerate the burning of combustible material that is already alight.  

Hsieh died in hospital nine days after he was pulled unconscious from a burning shed attached to a $1.3 million home in New London, Connecticut, back on November 18.  

A 911 dispatch tape obtained by DailyMail.com this week revealed that he was ‘barricaded’ inside the shed at the time. 

‘The male is barricaded inside and not answering the door,’ the dispatcher says. ‘Everyone else is outside the house. They are trying to get him to open up.’

Firefighters broke their way in shortly after 3.30am and pulled an unresponsive Hsieh from the property. 

He was pronounced dead in hospital on November 27. 

His family say they are unaware of any will or ‘fully executed estate plan’, according to court documents filed and obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week. 

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos was among those to pay tribute to him, saying: 'The world lost you way too soon. Your curiosity, vision, and relentless focus on customers leave an indelible mark. You will be missed by so many, Tony. Rest In Peace'

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos was among those to pay tribute to him, saying: ‘The world lost you way too soon. Your curiosity, vision, and relentless focus on customers leave an indelible mark. You will be missed by so many, Tony. Rest In Peace’

Ivanka Trump, who previously had a shoe line sold on Zappos, was also among those paying tribute to Hsieh (pictured together), who she worked with through her fashion business

Ivanka Trump, who previously had a shoe line sold on Zappos, was also among those paying tribute to Hsieh (pictured together), who she worked with through her fashion business 

Hsieh’s mother Judy and brother David are listed as his next of kin in the court documents. 

His family are seeking permission to investigate whether he does in fact have an estate plan by gaining access to his safe deposit boxes and accounts, as well as speak to his lawyers and associates. 

The court filings says his family ‘need to gain access to (Hsieh’s) personal papers that may be in a safe deposit box or in the possession of legal counsel. The inability to readily locate any such fully executed estate planning documents has created a delay in the ability to file to have letters of administration or letters testamentary issued.’

Medical examiners determined on Monday that he died of complications from smoke inhalation.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled his death an accident but a death certificate attached to his family court documents say an official cause is pending further investigation. 

A spokeswoman for the office said the ruling was made before toxicology reports, which are not due till after the New Year, have been completed. She said that wouldn’t change the cause of death unless the medical examiner deemed the tests relevant.