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'The scientists have done it': Boris Johnson hails Covid vaccine

PM says news brings ‘sure and certain knowledge’ that people can reclaim their livesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBoris Johnson has declared that the nation is no longer resting on the hope of a return to normality by spring but instead has the “certain knowledge” that people can reclaim their lives, as he hailed the arrival of the newly approved Covid-19 vaccine.The prime minister told a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday that “the scientists have done it...
Tags: Health, Politics, Science, Society, UK News, Medical Research, Boris Johnson, Vaccines and immunisation, Johnson, Coronavirus


Female trafficking survivors in UK forced into unsafe housing, report finds

Large proportion of victims not placed in specialist safe housing, leaving them vulnerable to further exploitation, says charityFemale trafficking survivors in the UK who have the legal right to be placed in safe housing are being forced to live in “inappropriate and insecure” accommodation where they risk being re-trafficked and exploited, according to a new report.Anti-trafficking charity Hibiscus Initiatives says that 98% of modern slavery victims referred to it in the past two years were not...
Tags: UK, Housing, Women, Society, UK News, Home Office, Refugees, Social Care, Anti


UK put speed before public confidence in vaccine, says EU agency

European Medicines Agency defends its approach after British claims of Brexit success storyThe European Medicines Agency has suggested British regulators prioritised speed over winning public confidence to enable the UK to become the first western country to license a coronavirus vaccine.After it was announced that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had been authorised for emergency use by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), the EU agency issued a statement backing i...
Tags: Health, Europe, Politics, UK, Eu, European Union, Society, UK News, World news, Foreign Policy, Vaccines and immunisation, Brexit, European Medicines Agency, Medicines and Healthcare, Coronavirus, Regulatory Authority MHRA


A Girl from Mogadishu review – tragedy and joy in a daring escape

This based-on-fact story of a teenager who flees war in Somalia to become a crusading activist against FGM is earnest but effective dramaInspired by real events, this earnest but effective drama depicts how Ifrah Ahmed (played as a teenager by Malaika Herrador, and as an adult by Aja Naomi King) escaped Somalia during a war in 2006, made it to Ireland where she was eventually granted asylum, and then went on to become a crusading activist against female genital mutilation. It’s certainly a remar...
Tags: Health, Film, Africa, Society, World news, Culture, Ireland, Middle East and North Africa, Somalia, Fgm, Ahmed, Mogadishu, Aja Naomi King, Ifrah Ahmed, Female genital mutilation (FGM, Drama films


Beware fake coronavirus vaccines, says Interpol

Agency warns police forces to prepare for criminal gangs to try to sell illicit vaccinesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageInterpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies around the world warning them that organised crime networks may try to sell fake Covid-19 vaccines or steal real .The global police coordination agency, based in France, said on Wednesday it had issued an orange alert to police forces in its 194 member states warning them to prepare for o...
Tags: Health, Science, France, Society, World news, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Vaccines and immunisation, Interpol, Coronavirus


Are you sad or depressed? Experts explain the difference

The upset and worry of Covid are making many of us anxious. So how can you tell if you are just feeling down, or if it’s something more serious? Here are the signs to look out forIt was last week that Halina Rifai resigned from her job. It was a short-term contract she’d taken on about a month ago, working for a call centre, but it was stressful, and meant working long hours at home, leaving her unable to get outside much during the day. Last week, she woke in the middle of the night and had a p...
Tags: Health, Society, Work & careers, Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety, Glasgow, Rifai, Halina Rifai


Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine approved for use in UK to be rolled out next week

‘Historic moment’ opens way for mass immunisation with first doses to arrive in coming daysHow does the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine work and who will get it?Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe UK has become the first western country to license a vaccine against Covid, opening the way for mass immunisation with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to begin in those most at risk next week.The vaccine has been authorised for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regu...
Tags: Health, Europe, UK, Science, Biology, US, Society, UK News, World news, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Vaccines and immunisation, Pfizer, MHRA, Coronavirus


UK approves Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine for rollout next week

‘Historic moment’ allows mass immunisation, with 800,000 doses expected to be available next weekHow does the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine work and who will get it?Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe UK has become the first western country to license a vaccine against Covid, opening the way for mass immunisation with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to begin next week for those most at risk.The vaccine has been authorised for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare produc...
Tags: Health, Europe, UK, Science, Biology, US, Society, UK News, World news, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Vaccines and immunisation, Pfizer, MHRA, Medicines and Healthcare


Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine wins licence for use in the UK

‘Historic moment’ opens way for mass immunisation with vaccine to target those most at riskHow does the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine work and who will get it?Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe UK has become the first western country to license a vaccine against Covid, opening the way for mass immunisation with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to begin in those most at risk.The vaccine has been authorised for emergency use by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Aut...
Tags: Health, Europe, UK, Science, Biology, US, Society, UK News, World news, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Vaccines and immunisation, Pfizer, MHRA, Coronavirus


Elliot Page: star of X-Men and Juno announces he is transgender

Actor takes aim at transphobic politicians and ‘those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility’, saying they ‘have blood on [their] hands’Elliot Page, who rose to fame as the lead in teen pregnancy comedy Juno as Ellen Page, has announced he is transgender.“Hi friends,” he wrote on a variety of social media platforms, “I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot.” Continue reading...
Tags: Gender, Celebrity, Film, Life and style, Society, World news, US news, Transgender, Culture, Sexuality, LGBT rights, Ellen Page, Juno, Elliot, Elliot Page


UK likely to be first western country to license a Covid vaccine

Regulator expected to authorise Pfizer/BioNTech jab for emergency use within daysCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBritain is expected to become the first western country to authorise a coronavirus vaccine, raising the prospect of immunisations beginning weeks ahead of the rest of Europe.The UK medicines regulator is set to license the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use within days, and possibly as soon as Wednesday. Britain has ordered 40m doses, of which 10m ar...
Tags: Health, Europe, Politics, UK, Society, UK News, Britain, NHS, Health policy, Vaccines and immunisation, Pfizer, Coronavirus


Elliot Page: star of Juno and X-Men announces he is transgender

Actor takes aim at transphobic politicians and ‘those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility’, saying they ‘have blood on [their] hands’Elliot Page, who rose to fame as the lead in teen pregnancy comedy Juno as Ellen Page, has announced he is transgender.“Hi friends,” he wrote on a variety of social media platforms, “I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot.” Continue reading...
Tags: Gender, Celebrity, Film, Life and style, Society, World news, US news, Transgender, Culture, Sexuality, LGBT rights, Ellen Page, Juno, Elliot, Elliot Page


Home Office faces legal challenge over asylum seeker payments during Covid

Those in emergency accommodation struggling to meet basic needs as government fails to pay agreed increase in supportThe Home Office is still failing to provide thousands of asylum seekers in emergency hotel accommodation with basic cash support and essentials more than a month after being instructed by the high court to fulfil their legal requirements to do so.In October, law firm Duncan Lewis challenged the government’s failure to provide adequate asylum support in the high court. The judge, S...
Tags: Society, UK News, Immigration and asylum, Poverty, Home Office, Global development, Duncan Lewis, Duncan Ouseley


A brief history of human dignity

Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and ed...
Tags: Google, John Lewis, Relationships, Race, Society, War, Peace, Pennsylvania, United States, New York Times, Innovation, Humanity, Self, James Baldwin, Lewis, Rutgers University


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


Protecting others and record of vaccines main reasons to get Covid jab, poll shows

Survey suggests almost one in two British people expect life to return to normal in a year Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coveragePreventing others from catching coronavirus and immunisation’s proven success against disease are the main reasons people see for taking the new vaccine, research has shown.In a survey of 1,049 Britons, the top two reasons for having it – each cited by 77% – were to protect others from the virus and because vaccines have a long track record of wor...
Tags: Health, Society, UK News, Medical Research, Infectious Diseases, Vaccines and immunisation, Coronavirus


Desperately seeking headbangers: the lonely hearts who found love in the back pages

It was tough being a punk or metal obsessive in a small town. Seven fans who sought love or friendship via music mag ‘lonely hearts’ ads tell us if they found what they were looking forFrom headbangers in Hastings to new romantics in Norwich, pen pals and lonely hearts columns were a staple of music magazines from the 1970s to the 1990s. Hopeful, passionate and bored fans sent in their photos, names, addresses and obsessions for publication and crossed their fingers, hoping for a big response. D...
Tags: Music, Media, Relationships, Life and style, Society, Newspapers & magazines, Culture, Pop and rock, Magazines, Punk, Yorkshire, Young People, Social history, Norwich, Southend, Hastings


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


Coding the future: the tech kids solving life’s problems

They’re too young to vote or drive. But meet the children writing computer programs to track our health and wellbeing, choose a new school… and even how to cheat at online gamesI started getting interested in coding when I was about 11. I joined a local community lab where biologists and computer scientists come together and conduct experiments. I wanted to join the lab because my brother was really into biology and at the time I wanted to be exactly like him. I was too young to participate in t...
Tags: Technology, Children, Society


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


Camilla Pang: 'You have to acknowledge the hilarity of what it is to be human'

Prize-winning author Camilla Pang talks about her autism and ADHD diagnoses and her desire to challenge myths about neurodiversityThis month Camilla Pang won the Royal Society book prize for her debut, Explaining Humans: What Science Can Teach Us about Life, Love and Relationships. She has a PhD in bioinformatics from UCL and works as a postdoctoral researcher. Dr Pang was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of eight and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at 26.Why did you d...
Tags: Health, Books, Science, Neuroscience, Society, Autism, Culture, Ucl, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Pang, Science and nature books, Mind And Body Books, Camilla Pang


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


'I was at war with my body': my year as a day patient on an eating disorders ward

At 32, I was given a choice: go to hospital every day – or risk a long wait to become an inpatient. Could I face down the demons that had stalked me since I was a child?I throw the bread. It misses the nurse and lands in the metal sink with a pathetic thud. I run out of the kitchen, through a door labelled “quiet room” and kick a beanbag. I kick it again and again, until all I can see is the red fabric and white wall blurring into pink. I want to smash something, I want to break things until I c...
Tags: Health, Society, Mental Health, Eating Disorders, Anorexia, Homelessness, Social exclusion, NHS