media

COVID-19: Calls for Monday’s lockdown easing to be delayed, as SAGE warns variant could pressure hospitals

The Telegraph

Ministers ‘stand ready’ to jail social media bosses if they fail to combat online harms, MPs told[1]

Ministers “stand ready” to jail social media bosses if they fail to clean up their act and protect children from online harms, Oliver Dowden said yesterday. The Culture Secretary told MPs he was taking powers to impose criminal sanctions – including jail sentences – because he was prepared to uaw them if the tech giants failed to comply with the Government’s new duty of care regime. The Government’s draft online harms bill proposes the regulator Ofcom should have powers to impose fines of up to 10 per cent of global turnover (£6 billion for Facebook) or £18 million, whichever is higher, if they breach the duty of care laws. But Mr Dowden said: “If it’s the case that fines don’t work, we stand ready to impose those criminal sanctions.” Under the “reserve” criminal powers being taken by ministers, social media giants would have to name a senior manager who would be responsible for ensuring that the company complied with its legal duty of care responsibilities. Failure to do so would lead to the executive facing criminal sanctions including jail sentences of up to two years. Mr Dowden told the culture select committee he hoped the tech giants would comply with fines but he added: “The final step which I am willing to take – and I am willing to take because we will legislate for that power but we won’t enforce it – is criminal sanctions. “I would rather we didn’t impose new criminal law and I think we should have a very high bar for the imposition of new criminal law but if it is the case that fines don’t work, we stand ready to impose criminal sanctions.” Andy Burrows, Head of Child Safety Online at the NSPCC, said: “If the threshold for enacting criminal sanctions is regulation failing, the reality will be further years of children facing grooming and abuse that could have been avoided. “This is a unique chance to move beyond the status quo that sees action taken only after serious harm has occurred, but deferring liability for senior managers misses the opportunity to finally put children first. “The Culture Secretary should learn from other regulated sectors that hold named managers responsible for the safety of their products, with the threat of fines, censure and, as a last resort, criminal sanctions leading to a culture of compliance.”

2 tornadoes kill at least 7 in China; over 200 injured

BEIJING (AP) — Two tornadoes killed at least seven people in central and eastern China and left more than 200 others injured, officials and state media reported Saturday.

The Wuhan government said that six people had died and 218 were injured in the inland Chinese city. The tornado hit about 8:40 p.m. with winds of 86 kilometers (53 miles) per hour, toppling construction site sheds and snapping several trees, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Caidian district government.

Wuhan is the city where COVID-19 was first detected in late 2019.

About 90 minutes earlier, another tornado struck the town of Shengze about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east in Jiangsu province, Xinhua reported. The Suzhou city government, which oversees the town, said that one person was killed and 21 injured, two seriously.

Xinhua said the tornado toppled factory buildings and damaged electricity facilities in Shengze, which is near the city of Shanghai on China’s east coast.

CDC’s new guidance for fully vaccinated people: Yahoo News Explains

The Telegraph

Ministers ‘stand ready’ to jail social media bosses if they fail to combat online harms, MPs told[1]

Ministers “stand ready” to jail social media bosses if they fail to clean up their act and protect children from online harms, Oliver Dowden said yesterday. The Culture Secretary told MPs he was taking powers to impose criminal sanctions – including jail sentences – because he was prepared to uaw them if the tech giants failed to comply with the Government’s new duty of care regime. The Government’s draft online harms bill proposes the regulator Ofcom should have powers to impose fines of up to 10 per cent of global turnover (£6 billion for Facebook) or £18 million, whichever is higher, if they breach the duty of care laws. But Mr Dowden said: “If it’s the case that fines don’t work, we stand ready to impose those criminal sanctions.” Under the “reserve” criminal powers being taken by ministers, social media giants would have to name a senior manager who would be responsible for ensuring that the company complied with its legal duty of care responsibilities. Failure to do so would lead to the executive facing criminal sanctions including jail sentences of up to two years. Mr Dowden told the culture select committee he hoped the tech giants would comply with fines but he added: “The final step which I am willing to take – and I am willing to take because we will legislate for that power but we won’t enforce it – is criminal sanctions. “I would rather we didn’t impose new criminal law and I think we should have a very high bar for the imposition of new criminal law but if it is the case that fines don’t work, we stand ready to impose criminal sanctions.” Andy Burrows, Head of Child Safety Online at the NSPCC, said: “If the threshold for enacting criminal sanctions is regulation failing, the reality will be further years of children facing grooming and abuse that could have been avoided. “This is a unique chance to move beyond the status quo that sees action taken only after serious harm has occurred, but deferring liability for senior managers misses the opportunity to finally put children first. “The Culture Secretary should learn from other regulated sectors that hold named managers responsible for the safety of their products, with the threat of fines, censure and, as a last resort, criminal sanctions leading to a culture of compliance.”

Britain launched two warships against French fishermen

Seventeen fishing boats ran aground on Britain and France, but the London government also sent two warships to the Channel at dawn on Thursday.

The conflict has been exacerbated by two interpretations of the Brexit rules. Since Britain left the EU, there have been a number of complex methods for calculating where and to what extent European fishermen have access to the British Ocean. Although fisheries provide a very small part of the economies of the countries concerned, they also play a key political role in France, Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom, along with their strong unions, spectacular demonstrations and symbolic industries.

One of the ships sent by the British to the scene was the HMS Severn.Photo: GLYN KIRK / AFP

Now the heated debate began with the management of the island of Jersey in the Channel, which is owned by Britain, but is closer to the French coast one by one, and which French fishing vessel has the right to fish off the island again this year? .

In order to obtain a license, French ships had to prove that they had a “historic right” to fish – their vessel had been fishing for at least ten days in a 12-month period over the past three years. Anyone who proves this will be given a beacon identification system to place on fishing vessels longer than 12 meters, after which the British will leave them alone.

Of the applicants, 41 vessels were licensed in the current season, but 17 vessels were rejected. According to Jersey officials, exactly, according to French fishermen, unfair.

Port of St. Helier, Jersey.Photo: OLI SCARFF / AFP

Since then, the situation has escalated:

French fishermen announced on Thursday that they would be marching a hundred boats from the port of Jersey in front of St. Helier.

The Jersey leadership fears the march will be a siege and fishermen want to isolate the island from the outside world, so the island’s prime minister, John Le Fondre, has warned the London government.

Aid arrived immediately, two small warships were sent to the island, and HMS. Severn and HMS Tamar has been guarding the Jersey coast since Thursday.

The French government’s Minister of Maritime Affairs also got into the debate: Annie Gordin said the island would be without electricity if Jersey fishermen were treated unfairly. They can do this because they get electricity from France via three submarine cables from Jersey.

In response, a local oil mill was placed on standby on the island of Jersey so that electricity would be available even if the French closed them down. It will be more expensive and polluting than the current system, but it will not darken the island, local leaders promise.

The independent Hungarian press had never done such hard work during epidemics.

The government does not allow journalists near health facilities and does not share the most basic information about the epidemic with the public. The public media and other propaganda channels do everything they can to cover up the real situation.

In 444 we can show how the epidemic is in Hungary and in the world, despite the obstacles in front of us.

Millions get information from our maps and infographics that provide accurate numbers and current trends.
[1]

Our epidemiological data page, which collects these, has in recent months accepted the role of public service media. By doing so, we not only inform our readers, but also help them stay healthy and keep their loved ones healthy.

“Amateur coffee fan. Travel guru. Subtly charming zombie maven. Incurable reader. Web fanatic.”

This week’s Bromsgrove and Droitwich Standard letters……

Jersey and Guernsey should be applauded for French fishermen stance

WE NEED shed no tears for the French fishermen claiming that they can’t survive under the proposed new regulations, and they will need to do what our fishermen were forced to do in the 1970s, when Edward Heath ceded the nation’s sovereignty to the EU/Common Market.

He personally agreed to our compliance with their CFP Common Fisheries Policy (never discussed by Parliament), wreaking economic havoc in Grimsby, Whitby, Lowestoft, Peterhead, Brixham, and dozens of smaller fishing communities.

It required thousands to seek alternative employment.

It was a monumental betrayal, and even the ‘party of the working class’ has ignored their plight for nigh on 50 years.

Today the subject is studiously avoided by the media, remainers and Westminster, so we should applaud Jersey, Guernsey et al for putting it centre stage.

Peter McHugh

Alvechurch

Freedom passports for UK pubs and shops will countinue rights erosion

LAST year the Prime Minister introduced bills that would remove many people’s rights, freedoms and civil liberties.

Since then the economy has been on its knees, small businesses ruined, hospitality killed and billions of pounds spent.

We have had restrictions on hugging friends and family and loved ones who live in different houses.

Billions have been spent on test and trace and people told to wear masks and we have been locked down on several occasions.

Children have been told to wear masks in lessons and had to have tests shoved up their noses twice a week.

According to the figures there are now hardly any deaths in the UK yet the idea of freedom passports are still being mooted for people to get into pubs, shops and other venues.

Surely with so many of people’s rights, freedoms and civil liberties eroded, if we are going to get back to normal, those civil liberties need to be returned – and returned without the condition of so-called ‘freedom passports’.

Phil Haynes

Catshill

Appreciative and humbled by Droitwich electorate

WE ARE humbled and appreciative of all the generous support during the recent election.

Working together, we will fight for Droitwich and look to ensure we get investment and support.

We have a terrific heritage offer to champion and we must see the investment we need to support our growing population with suitable infrastructure.

Coun Richard Morris

Coun Bob Brookes

Worcestershire County Council

More help needed to stop children being exploited and abused

ACROSS the country, thousands of children and young people are subjected to horrific exploitation and abuse every year.

They are groomed by predators with offers of friendship, gifts, cash and status then coerced using terrifying threats and violence into crimes like trafficking drugs in ‘county lines’ operations. Children are also exploited for sex and some are forced to work in premises like car washes and nail bars.

In the West Midlands in 2019/20, gangs were identified as a risk 1,650 times in assessments of children referred to social services, while trafficking was deemed to be a factor on 460 occasions, both indicators of child criminal exploitation.

Risks of child sexual exploitation were highlighted in 2,040 assessments and in 1,990 instances, children going missing, also a sign of exploitation, was pinpointed as a factor.

Many children are too scared to tell adults what is happening.

That’s why we need your help. During the week from Monday, May 17, The Children’s Society is running a ‘Look Closer’ Awareness Week with the National County Lines Coordination Centre and police forces across the country including British Transport Police.

Our ongoing #Look Closer campaign urges everyone – from commuters and delivery drivers to hotel and shop staff – to look out for signs of child exploitation in public spaces and their neighbourhood and report any concerns.

Signs could include children carrying large amounts of cash, appearing under the control of others, looking lost, or travelling alone at night.

Trauma may lead to children appearing angry or aggressive rather than vulnerable or upset as people might expect – so look beyond the obvious.

Anyone worried about a child can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

If there is an immediate risk to a child dial 999. If you are on a train text British Transport Police on 61016

You may not be sure about your concerns, but trust your instincts.

Your phone call could be a crucial first step in helping a child escape a situation of terrible abuse and unimaginable trauma.

Mark Russell

Chief Executive

The Children’s Society

Will you be making Summer Vegan Pledge this June?

THIS June Animal Aid will once again be hosting our Summer Vegan Pledge.

The Summer Vegan Pledge is the perfect opportunity for those who are interested in trying a plant-based diet to do so.

The production of animal products, such as meat and dairy, is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution, land use and fresh water.

Those who sign up to the Summer Vegan Pledge will have access to all of the information they need to go vegan.

Sign up for free at: animalaid.org.uk/SVP21[1]

T Bradbury,

Animal Aid

ALTHOUGH many telephone boxes will probably have not been used for years, their ornate appearance – particularly traditional red kiosks – definitely adds something to the landscape which is why communities taking them over makes sense.

As well as ‘providing the best of both worlds’, Farrah McNutt’s vision for the ‘Digital Safety Pods’ – which will be piloted in Rubery – could also be life-saving.

So anyone out there who can support this project, please come forward and help make a difference.

What pressing issues do you feel need addressing in Droitwich and Bromsgrove? Send us your views to [email protected][2]

References

  1. ^ animalaid.org.uk/SVP21 (animalaid.org.uk)
  2. ^ [email protected] (droitwichstandard.co.uk)

Parents of an autistic woman who died on the A1 publish book to ‘prevent mistakes being repeated’

The parents of an autistic woman who died after being hit by a lorry are publishing a book of her writing to ‘prevent the mistakes’ being repeated.

Colette McCulloch, 35, who suffered from multiple mental health issues, was killed in July 2016 when she was hit by a lorry on the A1.

Her parents, who live in New Cross, Lewisham, have said their new book is not just in remembrance of their daughter but also for “all the other young people who feel different.”

Collette McCulloch

Throughout her life Ms McCulloch had suffered from dyslexia, anorexia, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic attacks.

In 2014 she was also diagnosed with High Functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

At the time of her death, she was a voluntary patient at a care home in Bedfordshire.

Following an inquest nearly three years after her death, a coroner described the incident as an “avoidable tragedy” and found the home should have kept her safe.

Assistant coroner Martin Oldham said that Ms McCulloch “was failed by a lack of a mental health assessment and by an inadequate regime of care”.

He said that she had “died as a result of failures for which no person directly is at fault nor any single or combination of organisations”

But added “this causes me considerable distress.”

Ms McCulloch’s parents are publishing their new book, called Why Can’t You Hear Me?, to raise awareness about autism and came up with an idea because of their daughter’s love for writing.

Her father Andy McCulloch, 76, said his daughter was a “very talented, very interesting, extraordinary child, but clearly with a number of problems”.

The book includes extracts from her diaries, poetry and letters, put together by her mother Amanda.

Andy and Amanda McCulloch

Mrs McCulloch said: “This girl can write sonnets to break your heart but can have a meltdown in Sainsbury’s over whether to choose cauliflower or broccoli.”

“Our book is a testament to our daughter but also a testament to all the other young, autistic people on the spectrum – and especially the girls.

“Collette is a tip of an iceberg. There are hundreds of other young people who have died in care without recognition.

“Our children are special and they have amazing minds.

“They are imagineers and they are extraordinary, but they are vulnerable.

“We must listen to them and we must try to understand them so that they can have the best possible life.”

[embedded content]

Mr McCulloch said: “Like all bereaved families, we’re not looking for anything other than to stop this ever happening again if that’s possible.”

“If we can prevent the mistakes that happened to Colette happening to other people then we will have got somewhere.”

“She expresses it better than I ever could – it was important to get that out there so people understand that autism isn’t something you cure, you learn to manage it but they have insights that non-autistic people don’t, they’re incredibly useful insights.”

Caroline Spray was a friend of Ms McCulloch for nearly sixteen years after meeting as in-patients at the Royal Bethlam eating disorder unit in Croydon in 2001.

Caroline Spray, speaking at the book launch

Speaking at the book launch, Ms Spray said: “Our connection grew as the other girls on the unit preferred to watch TV during the rest periods – whilst Collette and I preferred to shut ourselves away together to read books, draw, paint and write letters to friends and family.”

Ms Spray described how Ms McCulloch struggled to make friends at University and sometimes turned to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

She added that despite their own friendship being ‘difficult’ at times, she ‘never gave up’.

“If you knew Collette, warts and all, and knew her in the way we did then you would know she was special,” she said.

“Not special because she had special needs. Special because she really was.

“On a good day she could light up a room with that beautiful smile.

“She could mesmerise you with her charisma, amaze you with her artistic flair, and make you giggle just by hearing her cheeky little laugh.

“Collette possessed a specialness that just couldn’t and wouldn’t ever be given up on. Not by me, not by her parents or anybody else who dearly loved her.

“We could all see she had the potential to shine so bright in life, but she just needed the support to do so.”


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