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Silent victims: the hidden Romanian women exploited in the UK sex trade

Sex traffickers can make profits of over £1m a year per brothel – and Covid lockdowns have only made it easier for them to operateThree weeks ago, police entered a brothel in south-east England after receiving intelligence about criminal activity there. Inside, they found eight Romanian women wearing face shields and masks, and laminated Covid-19 health and safety sheets on the wall. An industrial-size bottle of hand sanitiser stood by the front door.“On the surface, this did not look like a pla...
Tags: Europe, UK, England, Law, Police, Society, UK News, World news, Global development, Romania, Human Trafficking, Sex trade, Cristina Huddleston

Nearly a third of English hospital trusts exceed first peak of Covid patients

Scientists warn that scrapping or relaxing tier system too quickly could imperil NHSCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNearly a third of England’s hospital trusts have exceeded their first wave peak of Covid patients undergoing treatment, as scientists warned that relaxing or scrapping the three-tier system too quickly could further hamper the NHS.Hospital trusts in south Somerset and Devon last week treated more than twice as many Covid patients as they did at the peak ...
Tags: Health, England, Society, UK News, Hospitals, NHS, Health policy, Devon, Somerset, Coronavirus, NHS hospital

UK universities fine students £170,000 for Covid rule breaches

Exclusive: 28 institutions issued fines, with Nottingham University students alone hit for £58,865Universities fined students more than £170,000 for breaching coronavirus safety rules in the first weeks of the new academic year, a Guardian analysis has found, as students told of struggling to make friends without flouting restrictions.Twenty-eight institutions fined students for breaking university, local and national Covid rules, including on household mixing, mandatory face coverings and socia...
Tags: Health, UK, Students, Education, Society, UK News, Mental Health, Higher Education, Universities, Nottingham University, Coronavirus

Working in the NHS, it doesn't feel like any end to Covid is in sight

The news about a vaccine doesn’t feel real to stressed and exhausted hospital staff, says a consultantCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIt turns out that a pandemic really is a marathon, not a sprint to a finish line. I guess that was obvious really.It’s not all bad. We are no longer dealing with an unknown threat that we are having to discover as we go along. The disease is known, its presentation recognised, its complications understood. Continue reading...
Tags: Health, Society, UK News, NHS, Coronavirus

China hopes ‘vaccine diplomacy’ will restore its image and boost its influence

Trading allies such as Brazil are at the head of the queue for Beijing’s huge drug distribution programme Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThere was no VIP on board the plane from China that arrived in São Paulo airport earlier this month, but the state governor, João Doria, nonetheless led a high-level welcome delegation gathered on the tarmac.The masked dignitaries were there to mark the arrival of seven refrigerated containers of vaccines, posing for official photos...
Tags: Health, China, Americas, Society, World news, Beijing, Asia Pacific, Infectious Diseases, Brazil, Vaccines and immunisation, Sao Paulo, Doria, João Doria, Coronavirus

Long Covid: ‘Is this now me forever?’

Months after coming down with the virus, Eleanor Morgan is still struggling with ‘long Covid’. What is it and how can the burden be eased?Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOne night in early March, I had a fever that reminded me of being a child. My pyjama top stuck to me with sweat, my joints ached and, at some point, the walls looked like they were breathing. The next morning I started coughing and didn’t stop. It was pre-lockdown and, taking pity on me (I live alone ...
Tags: Health, Science, London, Biology, Society, World news, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, NHS, Microbiology, Eleanor Morgan, Paddington Station, Coronavirus

It's only fake-believe: how to deal with a conspiracy theorist

As the pandemic has taken a grip, so have the misinformation spreaders. Here are five ways to spot the holes in their logicUnless you’ve been on a silent retreat for the past year, you will have almost certainly heard the rumours – that the pandemic is an elaborate hoax, or that the virus was created as a Chinese weapon, or that dangerous elites are trying to kill off the elderly and to establish a new world order, or that the symptoms are caused by 5G.It is troubling enough to see these ideas o...
Tags: Science, Social Media, Society, World news, Infectious Diseases, Bill Gates, Vaccines and immunisation, 5g, Coronavirus

Life after Covid: will our world ever be the same?

From cities, to science, to politics, six Observer writers assess how a post-pandemic world will emerge into a new normalCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageHere are some things that the pandemic changed. It accustomed some people – those whose jobs allowed it – to remote working. It highlighted the importance of adequate living space and access to the outdoors. It renewed, through their absence, an appreciation of social contact and large gatherings. It showed up mass da...
Tags: Health, Politics, Science, Society, UK News, Work & careers, Cities, Culture, Vaccines and immunisation, Ts Eliot, Coronavirus

London Bridge attack, one year on: ‘Jack's story jolted people – we have to keep that going'

Jack Merritt devoted his short working life to transforming the hopes of prisoners. On the anniversary of his death, family, friends and ex-offenders talk about continuing his legacyDave and Anne Merritt weren’t sure how to mark today’s anniversary of the murder of their beloved son Jack. Milestone days are always the hardest. Unlike the day that would have been his 26th birthday, at the beginning of October, when they and their younger son Joe and Jack’s girlfriend, Leanne O’Brien, went for a l...
Tags: Instagram, Law, Society, UK News, Dave, UK criminal justice, Prisons and probation, Sentencing, Jack, London Bridge, Suffolk, Joe, Jack Merritt, London Bridge terror attack 2019, Anne Merritt, Jack Milestone

Urgent change needed to stem femicides, says new domestic abuse tsar

The commissioner for England and Wales attacks ‘postcode’ lottery on response to killing of womenThe first commissioner for domestic abuse for England and Wales, who will have significant powers once the domestic abuse bill becomes law early next year, has committed to working closely with the campaign to tackle femicide – the killing of women at the hands of men.At a virtual event last Thursday, attended by more than 600 people, Nicole Jacobs expressed her “sheer frustration” at the “postcode l...
Tags: England, Crime, Wales, Women, Society, UK News, Domestic Violence, Men, Nicole Jacobs

Nadhim Zahawi appointed minister in charge of Covid-19 vaccine rollout

UK business minister to take on additional role as NHS prepares for mass deploymentCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNadhim Zahawi, the minister for business and industry, has been placed in charge of overseeing the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine, Downing Street has announced.No 10 said the Stratford-on-Avon MPwould take on the role until at least next summer. Continue reading...
Tags: Health, Politics, UK, Science, Society, UK News, Public services policy, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, NHS, Microbiology, Health policy, Vaccines and immunisation, Avon, Stratford, Nadhim Zahawi

'Place of love': Gibraltar becomes marriage hotspot in pandemic

Couples flock to tiny British territory, which requires minimum bureaucracy to tie knotCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageGibraltar was never on Bruno Miani’s list of places to visit. –But that all changed when the pandemic upended his plans to marry his girlfriend in Dublin, where they live.With government offices closed due to coronavirus restrictions, the 40-year-old photographer and his partner, Natalia Senna Alves de Lima, struggled to get the documents they needed ...
Tags: Europe, Society, World news, Weddings, Gibraltar, Dublin, Coronavirus, Bruno Miani, Natalia Senna Alves de Lima

Hospitals in England told to prepare for Covid vaccine rollout in 10 days' time

Exclusive: NHS could receive first deliveries of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as soon as 7 December Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageHospitals have been told to prepare for the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine in as little as 10 days’ time, with NHS workers expected to be at the front of the queue, the Guardian has learned.NHS bosses said hospitals in England could expect to receive their first deliveries of a vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech as soon as Monday 7 December...
Tags: Health, Politics, England, Society, UK News, Hospitals, NHS, Health policy, Pfizer, Coronavirus, Pfizer BioNTech

Different age groups may get different Covid vaccines, experts say

Oxford/AstraZeneca planning new trial of lower-dose jab to see how well it works in older peopleCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageConcerns around the efficacy of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab in older people could lead to different age groups being given different vaccines, experts have said.The partners announced last week that the vaccine had a 70% efficacy overall. For most trial participants – given two full doses, spaced a month apart – the effi...
Tags: Health, Business, Science, Education, Society, World news, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Higher Education, Astrazeneca, Pharmaceuticals industry, Vaccines and immunisation, University of Oxford, Coronavirus, Oxford University AstraZeneca, Oxford AstraZeneca

Climate ‘apocalypse’ fears stopping people having children – study

Survey of 600 people finds some parents regret having offspring for same reasonPeople worried about the climate crisis are deciding not to have children because of fears that their offspring would have to struggle through a climate apocalypse, according to the first academic study of the issue.The researchers surveyed 600 people aged 27 to 45 who were already factoring climate concerns into their reproductive choices and found 96% were very or extremely concerned about the wellbeing of their pot...
Tags: Family, Education, Children, Climate Change, Environment, Research, Life and style, Society, World news, Health & wellbeing, Higher Education, Parents and parenting, Childbirth

Sudan says it will stamp out child marriage and enforce ban on FGM

Police told to enforce law against cutting girls passed in July as country says it will adhere to African charter on child rightsSudanese authorities have announced they will end child marriage and enforce the country’s ban on female genital mutilation (FGM), in a major step forward for the rights of women and girls.Police officers were told on Wednesday they must inform local communities that FGM is illegal following new laws passed in July that make it punishable by up to three years in jail. ...
Tags: Health, Africa, Society, World news, Middle East and North Africa, Global development, Sudan, Fgm, Child marriage, Female genital mutilation (FGM, Women's rights and gender equality

Dominic Raab says legislation is needed to cut UK aid spending

Foreign secretary says due to uncertainty it is not known when target will be restoredFollow all the day’s political developments – liveThe foreign secretary has decided legislation is required to cut the aid budget since the current fiscal uncertainty means the government may feel obliged to miss the commitment to spend 0.7% on gross national income on overseas aid for longer than a year.Legislation would be laid, Dominic Raab told MPs in an oral statement, but did not give a date for doing so....
Tags: Politics, UK, Law, Economics, Conservatives, Society, UK News, Foreign Policy, House Of Commons, Aid, Dominic Raab, Economic growth (GDP, Rishi Sunak, Spending review 2020

No new legislation needed to cut UK aid budget, says Rishi Sunak

Stance could deprive Tory rebels of chance to stop overseas aid cut in parliamentThe chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said ministers do not need to pass new laws in order for Britain to miss the target to spend 0.7% of gross national income on overseas aid because the existing legislation allows them to do this.The government interpretation of the law may deprive Tory rebels of an effective parliamentary opportunity to try to stop the aid cut. Continue reading...
Tags: Politics, UK, Law, Conservatives, Society, UK News, Britain, House Of Commons, Aid, Tory, Rishi Sunak, Spending review 2020

School uniform banks in Scotland report rising need for warm clothes

With schools told to keep windows open, and more parents out of work, the need for help with clothing growsSchool uniform banks across Scotland are reporting a surge in demand for warm coats, jackets and warm PE kit as Covid guidelines on increased classroom ventilation and outdoor learning leaves children more exposed to plummeting temperatures.Sandra Douglas, founder of East Renfrewshire’s Back to School Bank – believed to be the first uniform bank – says volunteers have already noted the chan...
Tags: Education, Children, Scotland, Society, UK News, Poverty, Schools, East Renfrewshire, Sandra Douglas, Coronavirus, School Bank

Baby loss charities call for cultural shift to break silence around miscarriage

Charities praise Meghan, Duchess of Sussex for speaking openly about her experience Baby loss charities have called for a cultural shift to empower couples to talk more openly about pregnancy before their 12-week scan, in an effort to break the silence around miscarriage.Baby loss experts praised the Duchess of Sussex for speaking openly about having had a miscarriage and said that too often women and their partners still felt stifled and silenced by outdated cultural norms. Continue reading...
Tags: Family, Children, Pregnancy, Society, UK News, World news, Health & wellbeing, Parents and parenting, Prince Harry, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Duchess of Sussex, The Duchess of Sussex

Most of England to enter two toughest tiers when lockdown is lifted

Signs of growing parliamentary rebellion amid fears measures could stay in place until springCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe majority of England will enter the two toughest tiers of Covid restrictions from next week, ministers are set to announce, amid signs of a growing parliamentary rebellion and fears that the measures could remain unchanged until spring.On Thursday Matt Hancock, the health secretary, is expected to say that most of the country will be placed i...
Tags: Health, Politics, England, Society, UK News, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Health policy, North Of England, Matt Hancock, Coronavirus

Empty post-Grenfell promises have left leaseholders stuck in flammable flats | Letters

Freeholders and developers shirk any financial responsibility, writes Lynne HamshawWhile I agree with Owen Jones’s view on the appalling revelations in the Grenfell Tower inquiry (The Grenfell Tower disaster is political. Look at the evidence of the fire test ‘fraud’, 19 November), he misses one key point. Tens of thousands of mostly young leaseholders are stuck in flammable buildings right now, having saved up to buy a flat in order to get on the first rung of the housing ladder. There are thou...
Tags: Housing, Conservatives, Communities, Society, UK News, Owen Jones, Grenfell, Grenfell Tower, Grenfell Tower fire, Grenfell tower inquiry, Lynne HamshawWhile

Foreign Office minister resigns as Sunak cuts aid budget

Lady Sugg hands in resignation after overseas aid cut by a third‘We made a promise’: fallout from UK’s cut in overseas aid remains to be seenBoris Johnson was struggling to contain a Conservative revolt as a Foreign Office minister resigned after the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced he was breaking a manifesto promise by cutting the overseas aid budget by a third and ending the Tory commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on aid.Lady Sugg, whose brief includes sustainable development...
Tags: Politics, UK, Conservatives, Society, UK News, Foreign Policy, Aid, Global development, Johnson, Foreign, Foreign Office, Sugg, Rishi Sunak, Commonwealth and Development Office

UK’s foreign aid budget to be reduced to 0.5% of gross national income

Chancellor announces £4bn cut in spending, breaking Tory pledge to keep to 0.7% targetBritain’s overseas aid budget is to be cut from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%, slicing more than £4bn from the annual package and breaking a Tory manifesto commitment made only a year ago.The cut was announced in the spending review by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, which also saw a large three-year increase for the defence budget. Sunak clearly decided to brush aside warnings from across the political sp...
Tags: Politics, UK, Society, UK News, Britain, Foreign Policy, Aid, Global development, Tory, Foreign, Rishi Sunak, Sunak, Commonwealth and Development Office

UK scientists warn of third wave of Covid after Christmas

Fears easing restrictions over festive period will lead to rise in cases and overwhelm NHSCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageGovernment scientists have warned the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas could lead to a third wave of the pandemic, with increased transmission and unnecessary deaths.Families across the UK will be able to gather in three-household groups of any size over Christmas, the government has announced, prompting warnings from scientist...
Tags: Health, Politics, UK, Science, Wales, Scotland, Christmas, Society, UK News, Public services policy, Infectious Diseases, NHS, Northern Ireland, Health policy, Coronavirus

Families bereaved by Covid say UK plan to allow Christmas mixing is ‘sheer madness’

Support group warns that large gatherings are too risky and calls for low-key festive period Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coveragePeople bereaved by Covid-19 have warned that allowing families in the UK to get together over Christmas is “sheer madness” and urged the public to have a low-key festive period rather than risk the grief they have endured.Members of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group told the Guardian that large family gatherings were too high-risk...
Tags: Health, UK, Science, Biology, Society, UK News, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Health policy, Coronavirus, COVID, Bereaved Families for Justice

Test and trace fails to contact 110,000 in English Covid hot spots

Exclusive: Private firms reach 58% of close contacts in 20 worst-hit areas in second waveThe government’s £22bn test-and-trace system has failed to reach more than 100,000 people exposed to coronavirus in England’s worst-hit areas since the second wave began, official figures show, with four in 10 not asked to self-isolate.A Guardian analysis found that the privately run arm of the test-and-trace programme had reached 58% of the close contacts of infected people in the country’s 20 worst-hit are...
Tags: Health, England, Society, UK News, Coronavirus

Vaccine results bring us a step closer to ending Covid, says Oxford scientist

Latest breakthrough comes as PM says he hopes most at-risk could be immunised by EasterCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe world is moving a step closer to ending the coronavirus pandemic, the scientist behind Britain’s first vaccine has declared, as Boris Johnson said he hoped the majority of those most at-risk could be immunised by Easter.Successful trial results for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, suggesting it could protect up to 90% of people, are the ...
Tags: Health, Politics, Science, Society, UK News, Medical Research, Britain, Oxford, Health policy, Astrazeneca, Pharmaceuticals industry, Boris Johnson, Vaccines and immunisation, University of Oxford, Coronavirus, COVID

Boris Johnson sets out new three-tier system of Covid restrictions for England

PM gives details of Covid Winter Plan to MPs, setting out post-lockdown rules Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBoris Johnson has set out a three-tier system of Covid restrictions for England to run until spring, saying that rules in many areas will be tougher than before the lockdown but imploring the public to make what he called “one final push” before the expected arrival of vaccines and mass testing.Announcing the Covid Winter Plan to parliament, the prime minister...
Tags: Health, Politics, England, Society, UK News, Public services policy, Health policy, Boris Johnson, Johnson, Coronavirus

Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will be sold to developing countries at cost price

Jab that is part of global initiative to distribute doses will remain at low price ‘in perpetuity’Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe coronavirus vaccine produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca will be available at cost – not for profit – “in perpetuity” to low and middle income countries in the developing world.The details of arrangements to supply poorer countries came as AstraZeneca revealed the interim results of phase 3 trial of a vaccine that is being hera...
Tags: Health, Science, Society, World news, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Global development, Astrazeneca, Pharmaceuticals industry, Vaccines and immunisation, University of Oxford, Oxford University, Coronavirus, Oxford AstraZeneca

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