By Cole Delbyck
Gwyneth Paltrow Gets 14-Year-Old Son Moses A ‘Boob Puzzle’ To Pass The Time In Lockdown
Gwyneth Paltrow Is Now Selling An Orgasm Scented Candle. Yes, Really
By Cole Delbyck
President Donald Trump declined to say if he would accept the election results in November.
Asked at a press conference Wednesday if he would “commit to a peaceful transferal of power” if he lost the election, Trump said: “Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens.”
The president then tried, again, to delegitimise mail-in voting, saying: “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster … Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful … there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”
As millions of Americans are set to vote by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has repeatedly spread disinformation suggesting that mail-in voting is “fraudulent” — it is not.
JUST IN: Asked if he’d “commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferral of power after the election,” Pres. Trump says, “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.” https://t.co/JsAo4rBy2epic.twitter.com/8haEyDVsdx
— ABC News (@ABC) September 23, 2020
In July, Trump similarly said in an interview that he’ll “have to see” when asked if he’d accept the election results.
The president has been laying the groundwork to declare the election illegitimate, including by undermining the US Postal Service — the agency tasked with processing mailed ballots — and by claiming that the only way Democrats can win “is to cheat” — which is false.
Trump has also suggested he is pushing through a Supreme Court nominee before the election to position the court to vote in his favour if it is tasked with deciding the election results.
After liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last week, Trump said he would name his replacement pick this Saturday, against her final wishes. Republican senators have indicated that they will vote to approve Trump’s nominee — which could give the court a firm conservative majority for years to come.
By Bill Bradley
When it comes to HBO’s
Tormund From Game Of Thrones Doesn’t Look Like This Anymore
If you’re trying to juggle working from home, teaching from home or just being at home for what feels like 100 years during the pandemic, you may be suffering from cooking burnout. It’s likely you can’t muster the time, resources or energy to make a meal from scratch when it’s so much easier to just rip open a bag of Doritos and collapse on the couch.
But it’d be a shame to miss out on all the home-cooked food that autumn has to offer, because now’s the perfect time to turn on the oven and fill your house with all kinds of aromas: roasting chicken, sizzling potatoes, bubbling cheese.
If you don’t think you have the energy for that, you need the 16 sheet pan recipes we’ve gathered below. The idea behind sheet pan meals is that you chop up your ingredients, toss them onto the sheet pan and pop them in the oven. When it comes out, dinner is ready and you only have to wash that one sheet pan.
Check out some of our favourites below. There are even soups you can make on a sheet pan (you just toss the ingredients into a blender after they’ve been cooked). We promise, they don’t require that much more work than ordering takeout (and waiting for it, which is truly the hardest part).
By Matt Bagwell
‘We’re Very Excited’: Gigi Hadid Finally Speaks Out Over Rumours She And Zayn Malik Are Expecting
Gigi Hadid And Zayn Malik Are Reportedly Expecting Their First Child
Zayn Malik’s Manager Confirms She’s Dropped Singer ‘To Effect Positive Change For Everyone’
By Paul Waugh
At least seven million people will need to download the new NHS Test and Trace Covid app for it to start reducing the spread of the virus, according to government estimates.
The new smartphone app was finally launched on Thursday, after months of setbacks, to allow users to find out quickly if they have been within close proximity of anyone with coronavirus and whether they need to get a test.
It will also allow the public in England and Wales to scan for QR codes in specific locations such as pubs and restaurants, to make it easier if they need to be traced following any outbreaks.
Developers of the app are working on the assumptions in Oxford University research which suggests that a minimum of 15% take-up is needed in a population in order to have any “meaningful impact” on the reproduction or ‘R’ number of the virus.
With 49 million people over the age of 16 eligible to use the app in England and Wales, that means roughly seven million users will be required in order to affect the spread of the disease.
The ‘R’ has risen above 1 in recent weeks, meaning the virus is now spreading rather than shrinking. Latest estimates are that cases are doubling every seven days.
Other similar apps in Germany and elsewhere have seen take-up rates of between 10% and 30% and the UK’s pilot schemes in Newham and the Isle Of Wight have seen results within that range.
However, earlier this year an Oxford University team had estimated that 56% of the general population must use an app to halt the outbreak – equivalent to 80% of all existing smartphone owners.
The launch of the new technology will be accompanied by a primetime TV advert on Thursday night, with the slogan “Protect your loved ones. Get the app”.
Most shops and restaurants will be required by law to display the official NHS QR codes in their premises. So far, more than 160,000 businesses have already downloaded the codes to help customers “check in” through their phones.
The app’s contact tracing feature works by using low-energy Bluetooth to log the amount of time users spend near other app users, and measures the distance between them.
Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes less than two metres from someone else who later tests positive for Covid will then be alerted – even if they don’t know each other.
The app will then advise on 10 or 14-day self-isolation and allow users to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get their test results. Once a user is told to self-isolate, a timer feature will help count down the days left in quarantine and give access to relevant advice.
New cash payments to the low paid are designed to remove fears the public may have about losing wages from self-isolation.
In a bid to protect personal data, the app does not hold names, addresses or dates of birth, and only requires the first half of a user’s postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed. No personal data is shared with the government or the NHS.
The app will be available in nine languages initially: English, Welsh, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Romanian, Arabic and Turkish.
The app uses an Apple and Google-developed system, using Bluetooth to keep an anonymous log of people a user has been close to.
The UK’s major network operators – including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, giffgaff, Tesco Mobile, Sky Mobile and Virgin Mobile – have agreed to “zero-rate” data charges incurred by all in-app activity, meaning they will not be charged for using it.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are at a tipping point in our efforts to control the spread of this virus. With infection rates rising we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology.
“Today’s launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
Dido Harding, the head of NHS Test and Trace, added: “The features of this app, including QR code check-in at venues, work alongside our traditional contact tracing service and will help us to reach more people quickly in their communities to prevent further spread of the virus.”
Insiders said that the trials in east London and the Isle of Wight showed that word-of-mouth recommendation was a powerful driver in take-up of the technology.
By Paul Waugh
In years gone by, if a government couldn’t get its Budget through parliament, the failure was seen as an effective vote of no confidence. In true 2020 fashion, as the coronavirus surges a second time, we now have a government pulling its own Budget, a dramatic move that suggests it lacks confidence in its own ability to make its sums add up.
Instead we get chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Winter Economy Plan’. Just as ‘Winterval’ festivals are Christmases that dare not speak their names, the Winter Economy Plan sounds like a euphemism for ‘a bloody great Treasury panic over ending furlough’.
The fact is that for months Sunak has trotted out the mantra that his incredibly effective furlough scheme could not last “indefinitely”, even though no one has ever suggested it should. As Keir Starmer pointed out in PMQs, the list of organisations calling for a rethink of the cliff-edge end of furlough include the CBI, the TUC, the Federation of Small Businesses, the British Chambers of Commerce and now even the Governor of the Bank of England.
Pulling the plug so suddenly at the end of October was always going to be a huge political and economic gamble. But as soon as the PM decided to impose six months’ worth of new Covid restrictions, including a reversal of the ‘go to the office’ advice and curfews that could hit hospitality hard, that cliff-edge became unsustainable. The new curfews start on Thursday night, so Sunak’s Commons statement will be just hours beforehand.
Pret a Manger founder Julian Metcalfe led the business backlash at the new restrictions today, with a withering verdict: “This man sitting down with his Union Jack talking utter nonsense…to spout off some Churchillian nonsense that we’ll make it through, it’s terribly unhelpful.” Add in all the big firms (the 40,000 staff of HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds, PWC) that have today suddenly stopped their return-to-office plans and you can see the need to act quickly.
Phasing in new restrictions on workplaces while simultaneously phasing out financial support for workers was never going to be a good look. The question has always been just what kind of continued support Sunak was going to provide, and how much cash he was prepared to spend on it. A new Institute for Government report estimates the cost of Covid as already hitting £317bn for 2020/21.
Labour have long called for a “targeted” furlough (Anneliese Dodds did so on May 7) and their strategy may well pay off. The party was timid in specifying which precise sectors should be targeted, for how long and how it would pay for them. It took Starmer himself during his LBC show to finally say he wanted a ‘bridge’ to next ‘spring’ for the tourist industry, for example. He has talked about targeted help for aviation, retail, hospitality and theatres but again there has been no huge detail.
But the Treasury has until recently failed to take even vague targeting seriously. A major milestone was passed last week, namely the 45 day legal notice period for announcing more than 100 redundancies by October 31. Some Treasury officials tried to get tomorrow’s package ready for that deadline but failed. It now looks like they may hit the 30-day notice period for less than 100 redundancies (a deadline due next week), but it’s a darned close run thing.
Labour and the TUC have advocated a German-style short-working support scheme, with subsidies for wages when a worker is kept on part-time. We will find out on Thursday whether that has proved too impractical for the Treasury, and whether it has a more “creative” alternative. It may well ditch the term ‘furlough’ to avoid the charge of U-turning again, but the new jobs support, whatever it’s called, will have to be as effective.
For Boris Johnson, the impending jobs crisis always carried the danger of being seen to be tone deaf. Starmer’s words today on test-and-trace could easily be applied to the PM’s attitude to the furlough cliff-edge: pretending that there isn’t a problem is part of the problem. It may be however that the raw politics of the Red Wall seats has once more ensured this is no Thatcherite let-the-market-rip government.
As we reported earlier this month, Tory MPs representing 107 seats won from Labour in the 2019 election in the north and midlands had just over 650,000 people still fully furloughed by their employer in the middle of August. That’s a heck of a lot of families hoping that voting Tory wasn’t a huge mistake. Sunak doesn’t want to be constantly seen as Santa dishing out cash, but neither does he want to be Scrooge, especially when the chill winter wind of Covid cases looms.
People in Louisville, Kentucky, cried out upon hearing there would be no murder charges for the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor — and then they marched.
Early Wednesday afternoon, a Kentucky judge read out the charges in the Taylor case: Det. Brett Hankison, one of three officers involved, was charged with “wanton endangerment” — notably, for shots fired into neighbouring apartments, not Taylor’s. None of the three was charged with murder.
As people who were gathered in Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park heard the announcement, some cried out “what the hell” and one woman burst into tears, saying, “They murdered her.” Dozens began marching in the downtown streets, with the crowd soon growing to hundreds. Some chanted: “If we didn’t get it, burn it down.”
Within hours of demonstrations starting, videos showed police arresting protesters. Police also appeared to be firing munitions at protesters, which one reporter at the scene described as “pepper balls.”
In March, Louisville police executed a warrant at the apartment of 26-year-old Taylor, who was Black, where she and her boyfriend were asleep. The warrant was for a narcotics investigation not involving Taylor or her boyfriend. Three officers, who were white, fired more than 20 gunshots, several of which hit Taylor, killing her. Her boyfriend, who said he didn’t hear police announce their presence before breaking into the apartment, shot one of the officers once in the leg.
On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron spoke about the indictment, saying the other two officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were “justified in their use of force.”
Taylor’s family attorney Ben Crump called the lack of charges “outrageous and offensive,” adding that Hankison’s charge “should have been ruled wanton murder.”
“It’s yet another example of no accountability for the genocide of persons of colour by white police officers,” he said in a statement.
— Shay McAlister (@ShayMcAlisterTV) September 23, 2020
Reactions in Downtown Louisville after the grand jury announced charges against just one of three officers involved in killing Breonna Taylor. pic.twitter.com/pNvNEphIjE
— Charlie Gile (@CharlieGileNBC) September 23, 2020
Huge crowd on the move in Louisville right now, several hundred taking to the streets in the wake of the Kentucky Attorney General’s announcement in the Breonna Taylor case #BreonnaTaylor#Louisvillepic.twitter.com/69W0HtrpoS
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) September 23, 2020
— Rae Hodge (@RaeHodge) September 23, 2020
Two of the officers, Mattingly and Cosgrove, were placed on paid administrative leave, and Hankison was fired more than three months after the killing, following widespread protests.
On Tuesday, Louisville’s mayor declared a state of emergency and blocked off part of downtown, and on Wednesday set a curfew and called in the National Guard, in anticipation of the announcement and the public unrest that was expected to follow.
After another Black person, George Floyd, was killed by police in Minneapolis in May, protests spread nationwide against racism and police violence. Many activists swiftly called for renewed attention on Taylor’s death, noting Black women often don’t get the same level of public outrage as men. People have been protesting in Louisville for months calling for justice for Taylor, including murder charges for the officers involved.
A Maryland judge on Wednesday sentenced white supremacist Brandon Higgs to four decades behind bars for charges related to the 2018 shooting and wounding of a Black man, with part of the sentence suspended.
John Magee, the prosecutor for the Baltimore County state’s attorney’s office, told HuffPost that the judge in the case suspended 15 years of the sentence during the ruling, meaning Higgs will likely serve 25 years behind bars, plus five years probation.
The 26-year-old former Navy cryptologist was found guilty in January of first-degree assault, attempted voluntary manslaughter, hate crimes and related firearms charges stemming from the 2018 shooting in Reisterstown, a suburb of Baltimore.
“He’s got a long time to think about the shit he did,” Elvis Smith, the man Higgs shot, told HuffPost after leaving the sentencing hearing Wednesday morning. “So I’m happy.”
The shooting received national attention because of the heinous nature of the crime, and because private online chat logs obtained by anti-fascists showed Higgs was active in organised white supremacist groups and had expressed a murderous hatred for Black people, particularly those in the Baltimore area.
On Dec. 20, 2018, 60-year-old Smith and 48-year-old Robert Peete were at work laying concrete on a driveway outside a house in Reisterstown. A dog belonging to Higgs, who lived nearby, got loose and ran through the wet concrete. The three men exchanged some angry words before Higgs returned home.
Higgs re-emerged outside minutes later carrying a loaded gun and made racist remarks to Smith and Peete. “This is my hood,” he said, using a racial slur. He added: “Black motherfuckers, go back to Africa!”
A shoving match broke out between Smith and Higgs, before Smith hit Higgs with a small rake used for smoothing concrete.
Higgs then drew his gun and a tussle over the weapon ensued. Peete told HuffPost he remembers Higgs pointing the gun directly in his face. Peete said he managed to get out of the way of the weapon.
At some point during the struggle, the gun went off, the bullet ripping through Smith’s leg and obliterating his tibia. (At Higgs’ trial later, it was never established whether he fired the gun or it went off accidentally.)
Smith and Peete then managed to disarm and restrain Higgs until police arrived.
As Higgs awaited trial, where he pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges, anti-fascists uncovered comments Higgs had made in private neo-Nazi chat groups, including a group for people planning to attend the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The comments, some of which are quoted below, included racial slurs.
“I decided I’m going to create my own group called Baltimore Animal Control and buy those dog patrol poles with the snare at the end and wrangle niggers with it,” Higgs wrote in one post.
“Also want to leave bear traps in Baltimore city with buckets of KFC chicken,” he wrote in another.
Higgs also referred to Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who in 2015 massacred Black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, as “St. Roof” on the message boards.
Court records show that since being found guilty in January, Higgs has also been charged with multiple misdemeanours he allegedly committed while incarcerated, including one charge of possession of narcotics with the intent to distribute.
Magee, the prosecutor in the hate crime case, said these drug-related charges are still pending and did not affect the sentencing on Wednesday.
Smith received a metal implant in his leg as a result of his injuries, the pain from which makes it hard to work as a concrete mason. He told HuffPost on Wednesday that he’s looking forward to taking a long vacation now that this case is behind him.
By Arj Singh
The Labour leader used a televised address to the nation on Wednesday to say “it makes no sense to bring in new restrictions at the same time as phasing out support for jobs and businesses”.
“We need a ‘plan B’ for the economy,” he stressed.
It came as chancellor Rishi Sunak scrapped the autumn Budget and prepared to make an emergency economic statement on Thursday.
Sunak has faced widespread calls to replace the furlough scheme that runs out in October given the impact the new restrictions, including advice to work from home and 10pm closing times for hospitality, are likely to have on businesses.
The Treasury said work on a scheme to replace furlough had been taking place in parallel with Budget preparations.
Its focus will be on saving jobs to avoid the expected three million unemployed.
The Treasury said: “We will always be honest with people about the difficult trade-offs that are involved here.
“Not between health and the economy, but between keeping people in jobs and helping them find new ones. And between help in the here and now and rebuilding in the future. That’s what people deserve.”
The chancellor initially announced his move via Twitter, with a graphic titled “Winter Economy Plan”.
As our response to coronavirus adapts, tomorrow afternoon I will update the House of Commons on our plans to continue protecting jobs through the winter. pic.twitter.com/eP6aqcocxd
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) September 23, 2020
No further details were provided and it came as the government confirmed more than 6,000 new coronavirus cases by 9am on Wednesday – the highest daily number since May 1.
A Treasury source said: “No-one wanted to be in this situation but we need to respond to it.
“The chancellor has shown he has been creative in the past and we hope that people will trust us to continue in that vein.
“Giving people reassurance and businesses the help they need to get through this is uppermost in his mind.”
The move followed comments by prime minister Boris Johnson about a “creative and imaginative” action plan to protect jobs, with unions and business leaders pointing to schemes used in other European countries.
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said on Tuesday it was time to “stop and rethink” the furlough scheme in favour of a targeted approach.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which outlined its furlough replacement proposal last month, said the government must “fast-track a new plan” to protect jobs.
The mooted plans would reportedly see the government and firms share the cost of topping up wages for employees only able to work part-time due to the pandemic.
One option reportedly being considered to replace the furlough scheme is Germany’s Kurzarbeit, or shorter work-time policy, under which firms can cut working hours in economic downturns with the state replacing part of their lost income.
Another proposal put forward by the CBI business group would see subsidies for firms that can offer staff at last 50% of their normal hours, with the cost for non-working hours shared equally by the company, the Treasury and the employee.
A grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, has indicted Detective Brett Hankison in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, charging him with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
No charges were filed against Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove, the other two police officers who were at the scene the night Taylor was fatally shot. Notably, no murder charges were filed against any of the men.
First-degree wanton endangerment is a felony that comes with a sentence of one to five years in prison under Kentucky law. Jefferson County Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell issued a warrant for Hankison’s arrest in a Wednesday hearing and set his bail at $15,000.
The charges were tied to shots fired into neighbouring apartments, not those shot inside Taylor’s. O’Connell read the charges aloud, linking each to the occupants of the three apartments that Hankison “wantonly” shot into by listing their initials.
She did not say BT for “Breonna Taylor,” suggesting that the grand jury did not deem the shots fired into her apartment as meeting the bar for “wanton endangerment.”
Mattingly and Cosgrove have been on paid administrative leave since the March incident; Hankison was fired in June after a review found the detective “wantonly and blindly” fired 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment.
The city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement with the 26-year-old’s family last week, and also agreed to undertake police reforms like establishing a housing credit program for officers to live in certain low-income areas.
At 1:00 a.m. on the morning of March 13, the plainclothes officers shot Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, to death in her own apartment. The officers, who used a battering ram to enter Taylor’s home, had a “no-knock” warrant because they believed a suspect in a drug ring ― who did not live there ― was having packages delivered to Taylor’s home. The individual allegedly involved in the ring had actually been arrested earlier that day, which police acknowledged after the fact.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, called 911 when the officers burst in and shot at them in self-defence, striking one officer in the femoral artery. The officers responded by firing at least eight bullets, killing Taylor in the hallway.
“I don’t know what is happening,” Walker can be heard saying in his frantic 911 call. “Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
Lt. Ted Eidem of the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit claimed afterwards that the officers had knocked several times and identified themselves as police before they entered. Taylor’s family, including Walker, disputed this in a wrongful death suit filed in May. None of the officers were wearing body cameras.
Walker later told police that he and Taylor heard loud banging at the door around midnight but that nobody identified themselves. The two were concerned it was Taylor’s ex-boyfriend.
“First thing [Taylor] said was, ‘Who is it?’ No response. ‘Who is it?’ loud, at the top of her lungs, no response,” Walker told police. “So I’m like what the heck? So I grab my gun, it’s legal, I have a license to carry, I’ve never even fired my gun outside of a range. There’s another knock at the door, she’s yelling at the top of her lungs, and I am too, at this point, ‘Who is it?’”
A subsequent search of the apartment found none of the drugs or paraphernalia enumerated in the warrant. Charges against Walker for firing at the police officers were dropped in May.
In addition to the Public Integrity Unit’s internal investigation into the police shooting, the FBI confirmed in May that it had also opened an inquiry.
Taylor’s death sparked a national outcry that boiled over in May when a white police officer in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, a Black man, by kneeling on his neck, prompting massive, sustained civil unrest and calls for change across the country.
Speaking to Sky News’ Beth Rigby, the Labour leader was pressed repeatedly on whether he backed another vote on independence north of the border.
After refusing several times to give his outright support, Starmer conceded that victory for the SNP – which most polls forecast – in next May’s Scottish elections would mean it was “for Scotland” to decide.
It comes after an interview with STV in January, in which Starmer said he would “absolutely accept this is a question for Scotland”.
The SNP is likely to place a second plebiscite at the centre of its manifesto for May’s elections.
Starmer told Sky News “the last thing we need is another divisive referendum”, but when his previous comments were repeatedly read back to him, and Rigby asked him whether he backed the “principle” of a mandate, he said: “These issues are questions for Scotland. I do stand by that.”
Scottish Labour will make the case for greater federalism while the Scottish Conservatives are expected to strongly oppose another independence vote.
Several reports have suggested the UK government would be forced to accept a second vote should the SNP win, however.
Responding, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove said: “Sir Keir Starmer has a problem accepting referendum results.
“He tried to block Brexit, and now he wants to work with Nicola Sturgeon to renege on the Scottish referendum result and break up the UK.”
Starmer also used the interview to accuse Boris Johnson and his government of “serial incompetence” over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.
He said: “I don’t think he has led us well during this pandemic and I’m not alone in that. I think the vast majority of people think that he hasn’t.
“We have got one of the highest death rates in the world and we are heading, on current forecasts, for one of the deepest recessions.
“Our country is better than that.”
Highlighting a number of Government U-turns, Sir Keir said: “I’m quite prepared to accept that a government will make mistakes in a pandemic like this and one or two U-turns is probably a sign of a government listening and then changing.
“But when you have got 12 in a row, the only conclusion is serial incompetence.”
By Arj Singh
HuffPost UK understands that Michel Barnier told UK negotiators last week that it would have no issue getting the so-called “third country listing” that gives it the right to automatically export food to the EU after the transition ends on December 31.
Earlier on Wednesday, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove also confirmed there had been “progress” on the issue.
The topic was the subject of an extraordinary Twitter spat between Barnier and his opposite number, Lord David Frost, earlier this month.
1/7 I would like to make a few comments and state a few facts, in my capacity as the PM’s negotiator in the current and last autumn’s talks. https://t.co/qJ2hGUf5RM
— David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) September 13, 2020
It came after Barnier demanded “more clarity” from the UK about its biosecurity controls if it wants to get the automatic right to export animal products into the EU when the transition ends and Britain stops following Brussels’ rules.
The EU’s reluctance to grant a listing sparked fears in No.10 that mainland Britain could be blocked from sending animal products to Northern Ireland – because the province will follow EU rules in this area to maintain an invisible border with the Republic, under the terms of the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson.
The prime minister had accused the EU of attempting to impose a food “blockade” against Northern Ireland, as the row over the law-breaking Internal Market Bill raged last week.
Brussels insisted it was “not threatening food supply to Northern Ireland” and some EU figures felt the UK had manufactured a row on the issue.
HuffPost UK also understands the EU is waiting to legislation on standards promised by the UK in October before granting the listing.
The 🇪🇺 is not threatening food supply to Northern Ireland. We are committed to the faithful implementation of the Protocol.
— Daniel Ferrie (@DanielFerrie) September 17, 2020
But UK negotiators feel the EU was refusing to even begin the process of third-country listing as a way to get leverage in talks on a long-term trade deal.
Now, Barnier has agreed to begin the process towards third-country listing for the UK.
A Whitehall source told HuffPost UK: “It’s welcome that the EU have come to their senses and backed down on their threats which would have amounted to a blockade on British food.
“Withholding listing for the UK would have been an extraordinary step when they allow exports from dozens of countries around the world.
“It shows that the EU’s threats didn’t stem from a genuine policy concern, but were simply a politicisation of the process.”
By Bill Bradley
Mr. President, this isn’t rocket science — which is probably good considering your thoughts on missiles.
On Monday, President
James Corden Notices A Weird Pattern With Trump’s Photos
By Arj Singh
The Cabinet Office minister confirmed truck drivers will need a “Kent access permit” to go on designated roads leading to the port of Dover and Eurotunnel in a bid to prevent huge traffic jams.
Government documents suggest the police or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will be able to fine drivers heading to those destinations without one.
It came after Gove published a reasonable worst case scenario which warned there could be queues of 7,000 lorries in the county if not enough businesses prepare for border checks and requirements following the end of the transition period on December 31.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: “It is incredible that ministers are only now admitting to their plans to arrest British truckers for entering Kent without new travel passports.
“With just over three months to go, how are businesses meant to prepare amid this Conservative carnival of incompetence?”
The plans were mooted in a government document published in August and confirmed by Gove in the Commons on Wednesday.
He said: “We want to make sure that people use a relatively simple process in order to get what will become known as a ‘Kent-access permit’, which means that they can then proceed smoothly through Kent.”
Hauliers using designated roads in Kent leading to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel will need digitally-issued access permits, with drivers receiving either a “green” or “amber” certification from the government’s “smart freight” service.
Green would certify that the haulier has all the necessary documents needed to cross the border and can proceed to the port.
Amber would mean the haulier first has to go to an HMRC departure office or a “third party authorised consignor” to complete customs checks and obtain a special customs barcode.
Each permit will be valid for 24 hours to cover a single trip.
Receiving a red result would mean drivers are missing some or all their documentation and should not go to the port.
Any hauliers still travelling to the port with a red notification, or if they have not used the smart freight service at all, would face a fine from police or the DVSA.
Lorries travelling to destinations in Kent will not need any permits.
By Ash Percival
TV presenter EJ Osborne has died at the age of 45.
He was best known for co-hosting the BBC upcycling series Money For Nothing.
News of EJ’s death was confirmed by his wife Anne-Marie on his professional Instagram account.
She said that EJ died on Monday after spending the last three weeks of his life at the Dorothy House Hospice near Bath.
Sharing a series of pictures of him, Anne-Marie said that “an inexpressible loss envelopes us”.
Paying tribute to the hospice staff, she continued: “I was with him every day and was blown away by their compassion, resilience and kindness. I know he felt so cared for and safe.”
EJ’s former Money For Nothing co-host Sarah Moore was among those who shared tributes online.
Posting a photo of them together on Instagram, she called him “fantastic, inspiring, chuckling and talented”.
“I join with all of the team, our artisans, production crew, directors, executives, viewers and friends in sending our love and respect to his family,” she said.
“He touched us deeply with his obvious lust for life, energy and commitment.
“Rest in peace and purple sequins my friend. See you on the other side.”
Australian EJ was a woodworker who found fame as part of the team on the BBC series, which turns items other people have disposed of into desirable products.
As well as wife Anne-Marie, EJ is survived by young daughter Orla.
By Jasmin Gray
The UK has recorded more than 6,000 new cases of coronavirus for the first time since the start of May.
Government data published on Wednesday showed an increase of 6,178 cases over the previous 24 hours.
The last time more than 6,000 cases were reported was on May 6.
Wednesday’s figures represent the biggest jump in Covid-19 cases since May 1, when the UK recorded 6,201 new infections.
The landmark number of cases comes the day after Boris Johnson warned Brits that the UK “could still be forced into a new national lockdown”.
The prime minister announced a series of new rules for England on Tuesday, including a 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants and higher fines for failing to wear a face mask.
The military could also be deployed to help the police enforce coronavirus restrictions, Johnson told the Commons.
The Covid-19 deaths of another 37 people were also recorded on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, figures show that the number of coronavirus patients on ventilators has crept above 200 for the first time since the start of July, with 211 people in mechanical ventilation beds on Tuesday.
The overall number of coronavirus patients is also on the increase, with the figure reaching 1,469 on Monday.
By Chris York
Dominic Raab has claimed the four UK nations have overwhelmingly taken a “consistent” approach to making decisions on how to tackle coronavirus, despite each country making… very different decisions.
His comments came less than 24 hours after Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland would be going further than England with its new restrictions by imposing a ban on household visits.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Raab said: “There’s always an evidence basis which we all look at, it’s slightly different in the four parts of the UK, although actually overwhelmingly we’ve taken a consistent and common approach.
“We recognise that the devolved administrations have the authority to decide things in a slightly different way.”
And just a few hours later, Raab’s comments were blown apart by Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford.
Asked by Sky News about the different decisions taken by Wales, he said: “Of course, we have done things differently in Wales, more cautiously, more slowly and answered many questions over the last few months about whether we should have done things more quickly.
“I think we’re glad now that we didn’t because in Wales I don’t need to take a number of the measures the PM had to announce for England yesterday because we’ve never been in that position.
“We’ve always had a policy of encouraging people to work from home wherever they can and we don’t need to go into reverse because that’s always been our policy.”
The four nations have been out of step on a number of other major decisions:
The new strategy for England – announced six months after the lockdown was introduced in March – will see office staff once again working from home, the wider use of face masks and a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.
Businesses will face £10,000 fines or closure for failing to comply with regulations, and people risk £200 penalties is they do not wear masks or breach the “rule of six”.
The military could be used to free up police officers to tackle coronavirus rule-breakers, and Johnson said the measures may need to be in place for a further six months.
By Rachel Moss
Charlotte Neary, 27, and Chris Haynes, 33, are due to get married in just over one months’ time. They’d already cut their guest list from 80 guests to 30 to abide by the government’s Covid-19 restrictions. Now, they’ll have to halve it again.
The fact pubs and restaurants can still take bookings, but the wedding industry is under strict guidance, is frustrating for brides-to-be like Charlotte.
“I understand the economy has to keep going, but it feels like the government is targeting weddings,” the bride-to-be, from Swindon, tells HuffPost UK. “They should leave the life-changing events and focus on the day-to-day.
“They worry about mental health, but what about ours? We’ve saved 30k of our hard-earned money, waited patiently, followed the rules and now we’re being stuffed because of everyone else.”
Chloe Metzger and Ali Miller, both 26 and based in Hampshire, are also disappointed by the latest announcement. They’re considering postponing their January wedding until later in 2021.
The couple are expecting 55 day guests and another 20-30 in the evening. They have four groomsmen and four bridesmaids. A smaller wedding wouldn’t be possible, they say, as there isn’t enough space for friends and family members.
“We were getting married at a local hotel, we’ve been together since we were teenagers so I feel like I’ve waited a lifetime for it,” says Chloe. “I was just really, really sad when I heard the announcement. I didn’t think it would go ahead, but coming down to 15 cemented it for us.”
The announcement also didn’t come as a surprise to Cathie Swan, 23, who’s been doubtful about her wedding plans for a while. Cathie is due to marry her partner, Beth Addison, 26, in Northumberland with 60 guests in March.
“The announcement just solidified our concerns more than anything else,” she says. “We’ve spent all summer brushing it aside and saying everything will probably be fine by the time the wedding comes around, but once we hit the six-month-mark – both six months since it all started to get bad here, and six months until our wedding – it hit us both that we almost definitely won’t be able to have our wedding in the capacity we wanted to.”
The couple plan to still get married on the same date if their venue allows them to have a smaller-scale event with just parents and siblings.
“We’re in the process of telling friends and family they may not get an invite, but it’s tricky,” says Cathie. “We can’t really book anything if we don’t know for sure how many people we can have, so we feel stuck at the minute because we’ve seen how much the situation can change in waves.”
Other couples we spoke to said the excitement has been taken out of wedding planning. Mickeal Denis, 49, is due to marry his partner Antonio, 48, in London in November, with a reception held on a boat on the Thames. They’d originally planned for 130 guests, but have had to drastically rethink their plans, with the help of their wedding planner Bianca Gardner from Bumble Events. After Tuesday’s announcement, they still haven’t decided what to do.
“The thing I keep saying is it’s not about what we want anymore, it’s about what we’re allowed to do now,” says Mickeal. “The charm of the wedding has gone.”
Mickeal is originally from France and Antonio is from Columbia, so while monitoring the situation in the UK they’ve also had to consider travel arrangements for their international guests.
“We’ve been changing plans since March,” he says. “We’ve had plan A, plan B, plan C – I think we’re at plan Z now. I still want to go ahead, even if it’s in a mask. Love is love and we both really love each other, of course. It looks like we’ll go for it.”
Others got in touch to day the new guidelines are unfair, considering the rules regarding some workplaces and entertainment venues. Fiona, a 32-year-old teacher from Northampton, is due to marry her partner Russel in October and is frustrated by the inconsistencies.
“I can teach 180 kids a day, and by extension this means a connection with their families. My bubble isn’t a bubble, it’s a whole ocean,” says Fiona, who chose not to share her surname. “I can regularly sit in our staff room with 20 other people, but yet I can’t have 30 at my wedding.”
We’ve had plan A, plan B, plan C – I think we’re at plan Z now.Mickeal Denis, 49
Fiona believes it would be much easier for her guests to socially distance than it is to stay apart in school, as the venue is much larger than her workplace. “Yet the classroom is in theory – government theory – safer,” she adds. “This makes little sense. To say I’m livid is an understatement.”
Safina Ahmed, 26, from Manchester, has had a small Islamic ceremony with 20 people to mark her marriage to her partner Ali Marks, also 26, but the pair are still not legally married. They postponed their big wedding and legal registry from September this year until March 2021 – and now, they’re preparing to postpone again.
“It’s made me feel really hopeless and a bit forgotten about as a couple hoping to get married,” says Safina. “Due to my cultural background, the wedding was supposed to have 400 guests and be spread across the course of two weeks with lots of celebratory events leading up to it.”
Having a religious ceremony without all their friends and family present was “heartbreaking”, Safina adds. “This was done in the hope of having a bigger event next year so they could at least witness the legal registry. But the thought of doing it again without everyone really isn’t even an option.”
Couples due to get married beyond March 2021 are also worried. Katy Shroff, 40, from Cambridgeshire, said the announcement has “devastated” her and her partner, Adam Chapman, 31.
The couple were originally due to marry in May 2020 with 150 guests but postponed until May 2021. They’re now doubtful weddings will be back to normal next year and are considering moving their plans to 2022.
“It was such a hard decision to make postponing this year, we had been planning it for two years and everything was ready to go,” says Katy. “It was hard enough spending my 40th birthday in lockdown in March, [and then] losing our stag and hen parties was equally as hard.”
While the couple is hoping to arrange a new date with their church and reception venue, Katy says money will inevitably be lost.
The couple have two daughters and several nieces, who will be flower girls on the day. Katy is doubtful their dresses will fit come 2022, but says a smaller wedding isn’t an option. “I have paid a lot for my dress and I don’t see the point in just 15 people being there in a church we have paid £900 for,” she says. “My fiancé has four brothers, we both have huge families.”
So, what are your options if you’re affected by the latest announcement?
“If your wedding date is coming up, speak to your venue and suppliers ASAP – they are professionals and in the best possible position to advise you on your options,” advises Hitched editor Sarah Allard.
“If you plan to go ahead with a smaller day, have an honest conversation with your guests – they will appreciate how difficult it’s going to be for you to cut down your guest list. For those you’d still like to join you, make sure they’re aware of health and safety measures you’d like them to adhere to on the day.
“For those that are no longer able to attend, consider ways to still ensure they can still feel involved – whether it’s live streaming elements like the vows or speeches, or seeing them separately to celebrate.”
By Ash Percival