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World Covid cases hit 50 million mark
The coronavirus has hit another sobering milestone, with more than 50 million positive cases worldwide since the pandemic began. Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker reported more than 50.2 million Covid-19 cases globally as of Sunday.

More than 1.2 million people have died from the disease worldwide.

The US, with around 4% of the world’s population, represents almost a fifth of all reported cases.

The country has had more than 9.8 million cases and more than 237,000 deaths from the virus since the pandemic started, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Coronavirus cases and deaths also continue to soar in the US, as they are in many countries.

The US reported more than 126,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, according to the university.

It marked the fourth day in a row that new cases topped more than 100,000, as the country continued to break its own record for daily cases on nearly every day last week.

Amid the nationwide spikes, even the sparsely-populated state of Alaska on Saturday reported hitting a daily record in new coronavirus cases.

The state recorded 604 cases, the highest in a single day since October 25, when 526 cases were tallied, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The Department of Health and Social Services said there were no new deaths from the virus. The state has had 19,306 cases and 79 deaths since the coronavirus hit.

Published: 09/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Welsh firebreak lockdown ends as country adopts new national measures
Wales’s new national measures to combat coronavirus have come into force following the end of the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown. Groups of up to four people can now meet up in cafes, pubs and restaurants while shops, gyms, hairdressers and places of worship will also reopen.

Wales’s new national measures to combat coronavirus have come into force following the end of the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown.

Groups of up to four people can now meet up in cafes, pubs and restaurants while shops, gyms, hairdressers and places of worship will also reopen.

Supermarkets can again sell non-essential items while people will only be allowed to meet up inside homes with members of one other household if they have joined into a “bubble”.

A 10pm curfew on alcohol sales will carry over from before the firebreak, with people required to prove their home address in bars following concerns people in England could flout its own lockdown and travel to Wales for a drink.

There are no restrictions on travel within Wales, but people will not be allowed to travel outside of the country unless for a reasonable excuse such as work.

First Minister Mark Drakeford urged the Welsh public to reduce the number of people they see as well as time spent with them, warning that “we cannot go back to the way we were living our lives”.

Mr Drakeford said: “We all need to think about our own lives and what we can all do to keep our families safe. We need to stop thinking about the maximum limit of rules and regulations.

“Coronavirus is a highly infectious virus – it thrives on contact between people. To keep each other safe we need to reduce the number of people we have contact with and the amount of time we spend with them.

“There will be a new set of national measures from today, which will follow up all the hard work and sacrifices which have been made during the firebreak.

“We cannot go back to the way we were living our lives and throw away all that hard work.”

Mr Drakeford also said people’s behaviours and actions would be more important in controlling the spread of the virus than the new rules and regulations.

The Welsh Labour leader previously said the end of Wales’s firebreak just four days after England entered into a month-long lockdown would create the hardest border between the countries for “several centuries”.

The final week of Wales’s lockdown saw the number of Covid-19 hospital admissions surpass the levels of the previous peak of the virus in April.

The Welsh Government also faced calls to extend restrictions in areas of the south Wales valleys including Merthyr Tydfil – which became the worst-hit area of the UK last week with 741 cases per 100,000 people – as high levels of transmissions continue to rise.

Wales’s new national measures from Monday include:

– The need to maintain two-metre social distancing and wear face masks in enclosed public places, including on public transport and taxis.

– The requirement to work from home whenever possible will remain.

– People should only meet with their “bubble” in their own home and only two households will be able to form a “bubble”. If one person from either household develops symptoms, everyone should immediately self-isolate.

– People will be able to meet in groups of up to four people from separate households (not including any children aged under 11) in regulated indoor places, such as hospitality – bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

– Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoor activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other Covid-19 safety measures are followed.

– People should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. There will be no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, but international travel should be for essential reasons only.

Primary schools and years seven and eight in secondary schools remained open during the lockdown apart from the half-term break, but all schools and year groups will resume from Monday.

Universities will resume a combination of in-person teaching and blended learning.

Published: 09/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Joe Biden gets to work as defeated Donald Trump refuses to concede election
President Donald Trump has continued to shun the media over the US election results as his successor Joe Biden pushes forward with his White House plans. Mr Trump is yet to concede defeat in the presidential race despite broadcasters calling the result in favour of Mr Biden and Kamala Harris on Saturday.

The White House said Mr Trump had no public events scheduled for Monday, four days since he told the nation: “If you count the legal votes I easily won. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”

Mr Trump is yet to offer a concession or proof the election was stolen.

Meanwhile, the former vice president and now president-elect will continue work on his coronavirus working group on Monday, having named former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler and Huddersfield-born former surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy as co-chairmen.

The group was pledged in a victory speech given in Wilmington, Delaware, in the early hours of Sunday after projected victory in Pennsylvania saw him over the threshold of 270 electoral college votes.

In the speech, he called on Americans to “lower the temperature” and “listen to each other again” after a divisive campaign.

Mr Biden is also reported to be considering a series of orders to reverse controversial decisions by Mr Trump.

The Financial Times said Mr Biden will seek to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organisation, and end the travel ban on citizens of seven, largely Muslim, countries through executive orders which do not need congressional approval.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still waiting on a call with the president-elect as reports suggested the ex-senator would not treat a trade deal with the UK as a priority.

Mr Johnson, speaking on Sunday, congratulated Mr Biden, who he has not met, and vice president-elect Kamala Harris as he made the first advances to woo the new administration, which will be inaugurated in January.

The Prime Minister told broadcasters there was “far more that unites” than divides Britain and the US, saying: “The United States is our closest and most important ally, and that has been the case president after president, prime minister after prime minister – it won’t change.”

However, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said the UK could “struggle for relevance” under a Biden presidency.

Speaking to BBC’s Westminster Hour, Mr Clegg predicted that Mr Biden and the Prime Minister would be “able to strike up a personal relationship” but warned Mr Johnson about the way Brexit would be viewed through an Irish lens in future in the Oval Office.

“Joe Biden is immensely proud of his Irish roots – he did it publicly in his speech (after being announced president-elect), he does it privately as well, quotes Seamus Heaney at the drop of a hat,” he said.

Mr Trump has continued to protest at the way the election was handled, taking aim at how state-by-state results are declared by news outlets in the US.

“Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be? We have all learned a lot in the last two weeks!” he tweeted on Sunday.

But former president George W Bush, who issued a statement congratulating Mr Biden, said the election was “fundamentally fair”.

The Republican, who served two terms in the White House, said: “Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”

Published: 09/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

World leaders hope for fresh start after Biden win
World leaders welcomed Joe Biden’s election as US president as a chance to enhance co-operation on climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and other issues after four years of Donald Trump’s rejection of international alliances.
Western and Asian allies expressed hoped for a fresh start following his “America first” trade policies, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and attacks on Nato and the World Health Organisation.

In Asia, a region on edge about the strategic ambitions of China’s ruling Communist Party, the elected leaders of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan invoked “shared values” with Washington and expressed hope for close relations.

“I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the Japan-US Alliance and ensure peace, freedom, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” said Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga on Twitter.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea said he looked forward to working together “for our shared values”.

There was no immediate official reaction from Beijing, which is mired in conflicts with the Trump administration over trade, security and technology.

But Chinese social media users welcomed the change. A post on the Sina Weibo microblog service, signed Gong Teng Xin Yi, said: “Congratulating Biden, the old friend of Chinese people on winning the election.”

After Mr Trump said he won “by a lot,” the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily responded on Twitter, “HaHa”.

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing claims as part of its territory, expressed hope to “further our friendship”.

Mr Biden had congratulated Ms Tsai on her re-election in January, saying Taiwan is “stronger because of your free and open society”. Washington has no formal relations with Taiwan, but Mr Trump raised the profile of informal contacts by sending Cabinet officials to the island, an act that irritated Beijing.

There was also no immediate reaction from Russian president Vladimir Putin, who was friendly with Mr Trump. Other leaders who supported Mr Trump, including President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, congratulated Mr Biden, indicating they rejected Mr Trump’s claim the election wasn’t over.

Most Western allies welcomed a fresh start with Washington. Many have been dismayed at Mr Trump’s criticism of decades-old military and economic alliances.

“We want to work in our co-operation for a new trans-Atlantic beginning, a New Deal,” said German foreign minister Heiko Maas on Twitter.

Others expressed hope Mr Biden might revive co-operation on health, climate and other issues following Mr Trump’s rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and pressure on Canada, Mexico, South Korea and other partners to renegotiate trade terms.

“I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together,” said Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who was the target of personal insults from Mr Trump.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia told reporters he looked forward to a “great partnership” with Washington. He cited challenges including the coronavirus and “ensuring a free and open” Indo-Pacific region, a reference to China’s disputes with its neighbours over control of vast tracts of ocean.

“American leadership is indispensable to meeting these challenges,” Mr Morrison said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan said he looked forward to working together to end illegal tax havens and on peace-making in Afghanistan.

Other leaders who sent congratulations included German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

Embattled Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his US-backed rival, Juan Guaido, both congratulated Mr Biden and Ms Harris. Mr Maduro said Venezuela, which is under crippling US sanctions aimed at forcing him out of office, was “ready for dialogue and understanding” with the United States.

The election outcome drew mixed reviews in Iraq, where Mr Biden is remembered as a champion of the US invasion in 2003. Still, Iraqi president Barham Salih described Mr Biden as a friend and trusted partner.

Congratulations also poured in from leaders who got along with Mr Trump but ignored his claims the election was not over.

The Philippines’ Mr Duterte, who had said Filipino-Americans would “get the best deal with Trump”, expressed hope for enhanced ties based on “shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law”.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, who was close to Mr Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, extended his best wishes to Mr Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris on Twitter.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, who has been known for public displays of bonhomie with Mr Trump, shared a photo of himself with Mr Biden and offered his congratulations “on your spectacular victory!”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, another Trump ally, said he looked forward to “working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security”.

Ms Harris’s election inspired calls in parts of Africa for more women in government.

“The time has also come to give our women the chance to occupy such a high office in our country and even the number one position,” said a Nigerian cabinet minister, Festus Keyamo, on Twitter.

Others expressed hope Mr Biden will help to heal divisions in American society and global politics.

“He seems open to accepting people’s different viewpoints and wants to move forward in a united manner,” said Mika Goto, a nursery school employee in Tokyo.

While outspoken disappointment was scarce, several prominent leaders who have maintained warm relations with Mr Trump’s administration kept silent.

That included President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would wait “until all the issues are resolved”.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Twitter profile photo shows him sitting beside Mr Trump, described Mr Biden as a friend of Israel and said he looked forward to working with him and Ms Harris to “strength the special alliance” between their countries. In a separate statement, he thanked Mr Trump for raising US-Israeli relations to “unprecedented heights”.

Many people, particularly in nations with turbulent politics, took Mr Biden’s win as improving the outlook for respect of democracy.

Among them was Tanzanian opposition leader Zitto Kabwe, who was arrested and charged with terrorism-related offences after his country’s bruising presidential election.

“This victory symbolises the hope for democracy at a time when many other parts of the world are seeing that light diminishing,” KMr abwe said.

The outcome inspired disbelief in Slovenia, the homeland of first lady Melania Trump. Prime Minister Janez Jansa was the only leader who congratulated Mr Trump even before all votes were counted and showed support after Mr Biden’s win was announced.

Published: 08/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Joe Biden: I’m seeking to restore the soul of America
Democrat Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to be a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify”.
Mr Biden’s victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed processing.

The democrat crossed the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania to take control of a nation gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.

“I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” said Mr Biden in a prime-time victory speech not far from his Delaware home, “and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home”.

Mr Trump refused to concede, threatening further legal action on ballot counting.

Mr Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanising a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Mr Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy.

The strategy proved effective, resulting in pivotal victories in Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania, former Democratic bastions that had flipped to Mr Trump in 2016.

Kamala Harris made history as the first black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the US faces a reckoning on racial justice.

The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government, four years after Mr Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Ms Harris introduced Mr Biden “as a president for all Americans” who would look to bridge a nation riven with partisanship and nodded to the historic nature of her ascension to the vice presidency.

“Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before,” she said.

“You chose hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, truth … you ushered in a new day for America.”

Mr Biden was on track to win the national popular vote by more than four million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted.

Nonetheless, Mr Trump was not giving up.

Departing from long-standing democratic tradition and signalling a potentially turbulent transfer of power, he issued a combative statement saying his campaign would take unspecified legal actions.

He followed up with a bombastic, all-caps tweet in which he falsely declared, “I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES.” Twitter immediately flagged it as misleading.

Mr Trump has pointed to delays in processing the vote in some states to allege with no evidence that there was fraud and to argue that his rival was trying to seize power – an extraordinary charge by a sitting president trying to sow doubt about a bedrock democratic process.

Mr Trump is the first incumbent president to lose re-election since Republican George HW Bush in 1992.

Published: 08/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Fight for Senate control awaits in Georgia after Biden’s win
Control of the US Senate is not likely to be decided until a January run-off in Georgia, even after Democrat Joe Biden won the White House on Saturday.
That post-election cliff-hanger will determine the balance of power in Washington, as neither party appears to have a lock on a Senate majority right now.

So far, the tally for the next Senate is 48 Republicans and 48 Democrats after Tuesday’s election. Two seats in Georgia are headed to run-offs on January 5. And seats in North Carolina and Alaska are still too early to call.

The stakes are high for a momentous political struggle in Georgia during President Donald Trump’s final days in office.

The state is closely divided, with Democrats making gains on Republicans, fuelled by a surge of new voters. But no Democrat has been elected senator in some 20 years. As much as 500 million dollars (£380 million) could be spent on the two races, one strategist said.

“Now we take Georgia, and then we change America,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told a crowd celebrating Mr Biden’s victory on the streets of Brooklyn.

With a Democratic majority in the Senate, the party that also controls the House would have a firm grasp on power in Washington.

Mr Biden would have latitude over nominees, including for his cabinet, and a chance to push major portions of his legislative agenda through Congress. If Democrats fall short, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, could wield the power to check Mr Biden’s ambitions.

“The Senate is the last line of defence,” tweeted the National Republican Senatorial Committee as soon as the presidential race was called for Mr Biden. It was a fundraising appeal.

Republicans have been working to retain their majority, but even if they secure the final two races where ballots are still being counted in North Carolina and Alaska, they would still fall short of the 51 seats needed.

In North Carolina, Senator Thom Tillis is trying to fend off Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham in a tight race that is too early to call. Alaska GOP Senator Dan Sullivan is favoured for another term against Al Gross, an independent running as a Democrat.

The political math problem for Republicans is that the vice president of the party holding the White House casts the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Next year that would be vice president-elect Kamala Harris. That means 50 seats for Democrats would result in control over the chamber. But Republicans would need 51 seats to cement their hold on power.

That would put Georgia centre stage, as many expect is about to happen.

Both Senate seats in the state are now held by Republican incumbents. They were forced into the January run-off contests after no candidate reached the 50% threshold needed to win outright in multi-candidate races.

GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler will face Rafael Warnock, a black pastor from the church where the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr preached. And Republican Senator David Perdue, a top Trump ally, will face Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.

“Now more than ever, we NEED to keep the Senate in Republican hands,” tweeted Ms Loeffler. She said on Saturday that she and Mr Perdue are “the last line of defence against the radical left”.

Mr Ossoff’s campaign aired a new ad, detailing a “path to recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout. He calls for following the advice of medical experts to deal with the virus and a massive infrastructure plan to create jobs.

“We need leaders who bring us together to get this done,” Mr Ossoff says in the ad.

Mr Biden had been quiet on the Senate balance as he awaited the results in his own election, but he offered a preview before Tuesday’s election.

“I can’t tell you how important it is that we flip the United States Senate. There’s no state more consequential than Georgia in that fight,” Mr Biden declared at an Atlanta rally on October 27, when he campaigned alongside Mr Ossoff and Mr Warnock.

Republicans agree. “It’s all on the line in Georgia,” said Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, the outside group aligned with Mr McConnell that spent big trying keep Senate control.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded her colleagues of the stakes for the entire party during the sprint ahead.

“How we conduct it in the next two months will affect how we do in Georgia,” Ms Pelosi told House Democrats, according to a source. She reminded colleagues to be “respectful”.

Published: 08/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

I may be the first, I won’t be the last: Kamala Harris reflects on historic win
Kamala Harris has reflected on the journey which will see her make history as the first female vice-president of the United States.
The 56-year-old is also the first black and Indian-American person to be elected to the role – an achievement she pledged would pave the way for others like her in the future.

Urging children to “dream with ambition” as she delivered her victory speech on Saturday night, Ms Harris said: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.”

Paying tribute to her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who left India for America at the age of 19, Ms Harris pondered: “Maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment.”

She added: “But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible.

“So, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women – black women, Asian, white, Latina, and native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight.

“Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.”

Ms Harris took to the stage before President-elect Joe Biden at the event in Wilmington, Delaware, just hours after they had clinched victory in a closely-fought election by winning the key battleground of Pennsylvania.

Commencing the proceedings by reflecting on civil rights leader John Lewis, she said: “Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act’. And what he meant, was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed.

“It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. To guard it and never take it for granted.”

She added: “Protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice. But there is joy in it. And there is progress.

“Because we the people have the power to build a better future. And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, the very soul of America at stake, the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.”

Ms Harris said she would take inspiration from Mr Biden, who was vice-president to Barack Obama between 2009 to 2017, vowing to be “loyal, honest, and prepared”.

“Now is when the real work begins,” she said.

Published: 08/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Nation to fall silent for Remembrance Sunday
People across the UK will be privately paying their respects as they mark Remembrance Sunday at home this year.
It comes as the coronavirus pandemic forces many commemorations to be scaled back.

The annual service at the Cenotaph in London will go ahead on Sunday, with the ceremony being held outdoors and invited guests required to observe social distancing.

Although the public are unable to attend, the event will be broadcast live on multiple channels, with people encouraged to take part in the two-minute silence at home.

Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid his respects to the war dead at Uxbridge War Memorial in west London at a low-key event on Saturday.

He said: “We come together every November to commemorate the servicemen and women from Britain and the Commonwealth who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

“In this time of adversity, no virus can stop us from honouring their memory, particularly when we have just celebrated the 75th anniversary of victory in the Second World War.

“And in times of trial, our tributes matter even more. So let’s come together once again and remember those to whom we owe so much.”

In a video message ahead of his attendance at the Remembrance Sunday service, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “2020 has been a year of struggle and sacrifice, and we know many challenges lie ahead.

“But in these difficult times whenever we are in need of inspiration we can always look with pride, not only to our wartime generations or those who are currently serving our nation at home and abroad, but to all our servicemen and women who throughout this pandemic have stood side by side with our key workers in the battle against this virus.

“So on this special Remembrance Sunday where we mark 80 years since the Battle of Britain and 75 years since the end of the Second World War, let us say thanks to all those who have served and all those who continue to serve this great country.”

The Queen and members of the royal family are expected to join the country in commemorating the nation’s war dead at the Cenotaph.

Among those who are expected are the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Duke of Sussex stepped down as a working member of the royal family and now lives in California.

But in a podcast to mark Remembrance Sunday the former Army officer said: “Being able to wear my uniform, being able to stand up in service of one’s country, these are amongst the greatest honours there are in life.

“To me, the uniform is a symbol of something much bigger, it’s symbolic of our commitment to protecting our country, as well as protecting our values.

“These values are put in action through service, and service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos.”

In a brief ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, the Queen commemorated the 100th anniversary of the interment of the Unknown Warrior, who represents the First World War soldiers whose place of death is not known or whose remains are unidentified.

The 94-year-old monarch had requested the service – her first public engagement in London since March – after she was advised not to attend an abbey service marking the warrior’s centenary next week, which the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are expected to join on November 11, Armistice Day.

People are being encouraged to join commemorations on Sunday by sharing family histories, personal stories and messages of remembrance using the hashtag #WeWillRememberThem online.

Meanwhile, genealogy company Ancestry has made more than one billion UK wartime records free to access over the weekend for people to discover the roles their family played in the First and Second World Wars.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “While this year’s service is a little different to normal, I want to encourage everyone to get involved from their own homes – watch on your TV, research your family history – but most importantly, keep safe.”

About 150 personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force will be on parade at the Cenotaph, with musicians from all three services to play traditional music for the service, including the Last Post played by Buglers of the Royal Marines.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Many of the men and women on parade today have already taken part in efforts to fight coronavirus and many more will do so in the weeks to come.

“I applaud their selflessness.”

Published: 08/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Rashford hails ‘power of kindness’ after Government U-turn on free school meals
England footballer Marcus Rashford has hailed the power of “kindness and compassion” after the Government U-turned over providing free meals to disadvantaged children during the Christmas holidays.
The Prime Minister personally phoned the Manchester United star on Saturday to alert him to the decision to lay on £170 million of extra funding for the measure.

The money will pay for the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support families over the season while the Holiday Activities and Food programme will be extended to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks in 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced.

Rashford said he was “so proud” of those who had united behind his campaign and that he was “overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and understanding”, promising his supporters to “fight for the rest of my life” to end child hunger in the UK.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday morning, Rashford said he wanted to reflect on what had happened over the past few weeks.

“I am so proud of ‘us’ as a collective. ‘Us’ being the local businesses, charity workers, volunteers, teachers, social workers, carers and key workers.

“Together we have demonstrated the power of kindness and compassion. We have shown that when it comes down to the wire, we will always have each other.

“Seeing the role everyone has played in supporting our most vulnerable children has been the greatest moment of my life.

“I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of empathy and understanding.

“I am fully committed to this cause, and I will fight for the rest of my life for it, because in my mind, no child should ever go hungry in the United Kingdom.

“I don’t want any child to go through what I went through, and any parent to experience what my mother experienced,” he said.

The star also tweeted: “Kindness is power.”

As part of the package, Healthy Start payments, which help expectant mothers and those with young children on low incomes and in receipt of benefits to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, are set to rise from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021.

Rashford said he had a “good conversation” with the Prime Minister following his team’s Premier League clash against Everton on Saturday.

“There is still so much more to do, and my immediate concern is the approximate 1.7 million children who miss out on free school meals, holiday provision and Healthy Start vouchers because their family income isn’t quite low enough, but the intent the Government have shown today is nothing but positive and they should be recognised for that.

“The steps made today will improve the lives of near 1.7 million children in the UK over the next 12 months, and that can only be celebrated,” Rashford said.

The U-turn comes after the Government last month whipped Conservative MPs to vote against a Labour motion in the House of Commons calling for the extension of free school meal provision following Rashford’s campaign.

Businesses and councils across the country stepped into the breach following the result, announcing they would fund meals during the October half-term for those who needed them.

The striker’s petition for pupils in disadvantaged families to have their meals paid for during the holidays went on to attract more than one million signatures – mass backing which piled pressure on Downing Street to commit to more support.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green accused the Government of “incompetence and intransigence” in waiting until after the autumn half-term to make the announcement, and said ministers had “created needless and avoidable hardship for families across the country”.

The DWP confirmed the £170 million worth of winter grants would be administered by councils in England rather than schools.

The funding will be ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to support with food and bills, and will cover until the end of March.

Local authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December.

The Government also said up to £220 million is being invested in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, with disadvantaged children able to get healthy food and take part in activities over summer, Christmas and Easter in 2021.

England’s children’s commissioner Anne Longfield welcomed the announcement but called on ministers to “go further” with its Universal Credit support – a move backed by the Child Poverty Action Group.

Published: 08/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Joe Biden wins US election and will become 46th president
Democrat Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States.
Mr Biden’s victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of postal votes that delayed the processing of some ballots. Mr Biden crossed 270 electoral college votes with a win in Pennsylvania.

Mr Trump refused to concede, threatening further legal action on ballot counting.

Mr Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanising a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Mr Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy.

Mr Biden, in a statement, said he was humbled by the victory and it was time for the battered nation to set aside its differences.

“It’s time for America to unite. And to heal,” he said.

“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Mr Biden said. “There’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together.”

Mr Biden was on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted.

Mr Trump, however, is not giving up.

Departing from long-standing democratic tradition and signalling a potentially turbulent transfer of power, he issued a combative statement while he was on his Virginia golf course. It said his campaign would take unspecified legal actions and he would “not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands”.

Mr Trump has pointed to delays in processing the vote in some states to allege with no evidence that there was voter fraud and to argue that his rival was trying to seize power – an extraordinary charge by a sitting president trying to sow doubt about a bedrock democratic process.

Kamala Harris also made history as the first black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the US faces a reckoning on racial justice. The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government, four years after Mr Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump is the first incumbent president to lose re-election since Republican George HW Bush in 1992. It was unclear whether Mr Trump would publicly concede.

Americans showed deep interest in the presidential race. A record 103 million voted early this year, opting to avoid waiting in long queues at polling locations during a pandemic. With counting continuing in some states, Mr Biden had already received more than 74 million votes, more than any presidential candidate before him.

Mr Trump’s refusal to concede has no legal implications. But it could add to the incoming administration’s challenge of bringing the country together after a bitter election.

Throughout the campaign, Mr Trump repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, arguing without evidence that the election could be marred by fraud. The nation has a long history of presidential candidates peacefully accepting the outcome of elections, dating back to 1800, when John Adams conceded to his rival Thomas Jefferson.

It was Mr Biden’s native Pennsylvania that put him over the top, the state he invoked throughout the campaign to connect with working class voters. He also won Nevada pushing his total to 290 Electoral College votes.

More than 236,000 Americans have died during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 10 million have been infected and millions of jobs have been lost. The final days of the campaign played out against the backdrop of a surge in confirmed cases in nearly every state, including battlegrounds such as Wisconsin that swung to Mr Biden.

The pandemic will soon be Mr Biden’s to tame, and he campaigned pledging a big government response, akin to what Franklin D Roosevelt oversaw with the New Deal during the Depression of the 1930s. But Senate Republicans fought back several Democratic challengers and looked to retain a fragile majority that could serve as a check on such ambition from Mr Biden.

The 2020 campaign was a referendum on Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which has closed schools across the nation, disrupted businesses and raised questions about the feasibility of family gatherings heading into the holidays.

The fast spread of coronavirus transformed political rallies from standard campaign fare to gatherings that were potential public health emergencies. It also contributed to an unprecedented shift to voting early and by mail and prompted Mr Biden to dramatically scale back his travel and events to comply with restrictions.

Mr Trump defied calls for caution and ultimately contracted the disease himself. He was saddled throughout the year by negative assessments from the public of his handling of the pandemic.

Mr Biden also drew a sharp contrast to Mr Trump through a summer of unrest over the police killings of black Americans including Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minneapolis. Their deaths sparked the largest racial protest movement since the civil rights era. Mr Biden responded by acknowledging the racism that pervades American life, while Mr Trump emphasised his support of police and pivoted to a “law and order” message that resonated with his largely white base.

The president’s most ardent backers never wavered and may remain loyal to him and his supporters in Congress after Mr Trump has departed the White House.

The third president to be impeached, though acquitted in the Senate, Mr Trump will leave office having left an indelible imprint in a tenure defined by the shattering of White House norms and a day-to-day whirlwind of turnover, partisan divide and the ever-present threat via his Twitter account.

Mr Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Delaware, was one of the youngest candidates ever elected to the Senate. Before he took office, his wife and daughter were killed, and his two sons badly injured in a 1972 car crash.

Commuting every night on a train from Washington back to Wilmington, Mr Biden fashioned an everyman political persona to go along with powerful Senate positions, including chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees. Some aspects of his record drew critical scrutiny from fellow Democrats, including his support for the 1994 crime bill, his vote for the 2003 Iraq War and his management of Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court hearings.

Mr Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign was done in by plagiarism allegations, and his next bid in 2008 ended quietly. But later that year, he was tapped to be Barack Obama’s running mate and he became an influential vice president.

While his reputation was burnished by his time in office and his deep friendship with Mr Obama, Mr Biden stood aside for Mrs Clinton and opted not to run in 2016 after his adult son Beau died of brain cancer the year before.

Mr Trump’s tenure pushed Mr Biden to make one more run as he declared that “the very soul of the nation is at stake”.

Published: 07/11/2020 by Radio NewsHub


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