The UK’s medicine manufacturing industry is being given a £20m boost to help the response to future pandemics, the prime minister has announced.
NHS leaders and charities had been urging ministers to bring more drug manufacturing to the UK because of problems that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first wave, there had been a strain on supplies of intensive care medicine, over the counter drugs and oxygen.
The new Medicines and Diagnostic Manufacturing Transformation Fund, which is being launched on Monday, is aimed at improving medicine supply chains and creating potentially thousands of skilled jobs.
UK companies will be encouraged to build new factories and use new technology so they can get ahead of global competitors.
Boris Johnson said the fund, which will be available from next year, will “significantly increase the capacity and resilience of our medicines and diagnostics manufacturing supply chains and equip us to fight future health crises”.
The UK currently exports around 45 million packets to the EU each month and imports 37 million.
There have been fears that supplies of crucial medicines, including treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, could be disrupted if there is a no-deal Brexit.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) previously told Sky News that additional cost, red-tape and possible delays could happen if no deal is agreed.
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Vaccine could be hit by Brexit delays
It comes at a time when the pharmaceutical industry is preparing to roll out multiple COVID-19 vaccines, if they are approved by regulators – a huge logistical challenge with just over a month to go before the end of the Brexit transition period.
The government says the new fund will ensure the UK’s supply chains are “even more resilient in the future”.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “There are huge opportunities for innovation in medicines and diagnostics, and this new fund will put the UK head and shoulders above others, boosting the UK’s capabilities and generating significant economic opportunities across the country.”
And a number of AFL draft prospects have put in strong showings after a COVID-19 interrupted season.
While some prospects didn’t get on the park due to state restrictions, others flourished in a short period of time after the coronavirus crisis.
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In the end, 125 players took part in the combine, held in multiple locations due to COVID-19 stopping players descending on Victoria.
A large chunk of academy prospects from across the country took part, as well as three father-son prospects.
Underage Australia steeplechaser Harry Sharp smashed the 2km time trial record, running a time of 5 minutes 28 seconds.
Collingwood Next-Generation Academy member Reef McInnes took out the 20m sprint in Victoria, but the testing was undertaken with a strong tailwind.
“There were some outstanding performances including that of Harry Sharp who smashed the 2km record by 22 seconds with his time of 5 minutes 28 seconds,” AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan said.
“It may well give him a significant competitive advantage over an AFL opponent going forward in his preferred wing position. He’s a dual track athlete and aspiring AFL player at Caulfield Grammar via St Patrick’s College Ballarat and playing in the NAB League for the GWV Rebels. He’s also the current 2000 metres Australian steeplechase champion on the track.”
“Others to really catch the eye with their results include those who excel in both the speed and endurance tests with both Nathan O’Driscoll and Nik Cox adding to their already highly regarded playing potential.
“Cox at 200cm and with the versatility to play back or forward, recorded 2.98 seconds for the 20 metre sprint, just outside the top 10 but was ranked 4th in the 2km run with his outstanding 6 minutes and 5 seconds for a player of his size.”
“O’Driscoll finished in the top 10 for the 2km (6 minutes 23 seconds) and 8th in the 20 metres (2.93 seconds) increasing his potential to match it athletically with players at the AFL level,” Sheehan said.
Dunkley requests Dons trade
“Godfrey Okerenyang from Wagga Wagga in the Riverina of NSW has already represented his State at AFL Under 16 level in 2018. He’s relatively new to the code with Sudanese heritage but he’s in the GWS GIANTS Academy as a pursues an AFL dream. Okerenyang ran 2.86 seconds in the 20 metre sprint and recorded 92cm for his running Vertical Jump.”
“Like many aspiring AFL prospects, he’s already an elite talent in another sport being the Australian Under-18 100 metres Champion winning that title in 2019.”
The AFL Draft will be held in the week commencing Monday December 7.
Coun. Evan Woolley, who is behind the motion, said the move would better support the needs of Calgarians and mental health and addiction programs. He explained that the cuts will help the community in a significant way without dramatically hurting the police budget.
“We need to remember that one in three calls for policing have nothing to do with policing, and the police have acknowledged themselves that officers aren’t often trained to respond to the calls that they’re being asked to respond to,” he said. “My hope is that these reallocations will also give relief to the police so that they can focus on community policing.”
The motion is a response to documented police brutality incidents this year and systemic racism, Woolley said.
“Since the spring, we have had tens of thousands of people take the streets and engage us on the need for some significant reforms to our policing. We have seen a number of deeply disturbing cases in our city and across North America that are leaving Calgarians really worried,” he said.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi and councillors Gian-Carlo Carra and George Chahal have signed the motion.
Other councillors, like Sean Chu and Jeromy Farkas, say it sends a wrong message.
Chu called defunding the police a “misguided ideology.”
“The reality is Calgary Police Service has a very high number of — high 80s — approval rating as city council has low 30,” he said Sunday, referencing the recent citizen satisfaction survey where 85 per cent of Calgarians said they trust the CPS.
“So do you want to listen to whoever has a low 30 percentage of approval against 80-something per cent? So it is wrong to me and this is the wrong time of doing it. Any other time I would entertain to listen to [the motion].
Farkas said he has heard from Calgarians that they want “stable investment in their police service.”
“That doesn’t mean giving our police a blank cheque; it means holding them accountable, ensuring that, just like every other department, they are bringing forward their cost-saving ideas,” he said.
“It’s important to remember that city council has been defunding our police for years now. City police budget has held flat in recent years. It’s actually been reduced last year,” he said, noting that this happened while the population was growing.
The city should not cut the police budget first, Farkas said.
“I think that council needs to find the money upfront for these social support organizations, and then gradually, as the need for policing diminishes, then we can talk about right-sizing the police budget,” he said.
“But otherwise, council’s clumsy and dangerous moves to try to court the abolish police movement — I think that it’s playing with fire and it’s only Calgarians that are going to get burned.”
The challenges facing the A-League next season have been laid bare by a $20 million exodus of talent – compounded by the prospect of replacing them under a reduced salary cap.
As negotiations drag on between the players association and the A-League clubs over a new collective bargaining agreement that can ensure next season can get underway, teams are dealing with a departure of talent that is expected to worsen in the coming weeks.
Off-season turnover is not a foreign concept in the A-League, a competition where one-year deals are all too common.
However, there are growing concerns about the league’s ability to replace the recent exodus of talent, while operating under a reduced salary cap that is expected to be slashed from $3.1 to $2.1m.
Negotiations between the players’ union – the PFA – and the clubs are ongoing, with lengthy discussions on Monday failing to bring the parties much closer together.
And while those talks are taking place, teams continue to bid farewell to their players.
Already, close to $20 million worth of talent have left Australian and New Zealand shores since June 1, according to transfer website TransferMarkt – including the likes of Western Sydney Wanderers’ captain Mitchell Duke and Wellington Phoenix starlet Liberato Cacace in the past fortnight.
There are fears Perth Glory star Diego Castro, who sat out the season resumption to be with his family, will follow after being left frustrated by mooted pay cuts, and Sydney FC striker Adam le Fondre has been strongly linked to a move to the Indian Super League.
Adelaide United player of the season Riley McGree is also on the radar of several European clubs.
A move to Belgian club Sint-Truiden, where he’ll play under former Melbourne Victory captain and manager Kevin Muscat, was an opportunity that couldn’t be ignored by 19-year-old Cacace as he takes the next steps in his international development.
But replacing one of the bright spots of the 2020 season will be a tough ask, as will Duke’s 14 goals for the Wanderers.
Speaking in the wake of Sydney FC’s historic grand final victory last week, Sky Blues skipper Alex Wilkinson said it was important to keep a high standard of play in the upcoming season – though he didn’t begrudge anyone who opted to take their careers overseas.
“That’s not only in a pandemic situation, that’s just in football in general,” Wilkinson told reporters.
“Our careers are short and you’ve got to do everything to maximise your career, and if that means looking at opportunities elsewhere then so be it.”
The importance of selling the game to new broadcasters next season, with the Fox Sports’ deal set to expire in July, is also an important factor in keeping a quality product on the field, according to Wilkinson.
“It’s an interesting one. I think with the Fox deal expiring next year, we want to put on a good product for whoever is going to come in and bid for the new broadcast rights,” he said.
“It’s important that the standard on the pitch is high and we’ve got quality players.
“If the standard on the pitch is high and we’ve got people watching the games, hopefully we get more interest (from) potential broadcasters.”
Newcastle United have had a £20m bid accepted for Bournemouth’s England striker Callum Wilson.
Aston Villa have withdrawn a higher bid of £21m, with Wilson preferring a move to St James’ Park.
The 28-year-old, who has won four England caps, made 184 appearances for the Cherries and scored 67 goals, having joined from Coventry in 2014.
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce wants to reunite Wilson with his former Cherries team-mate Ryan Fraser.
Scotland winger Fraser is close to completing a free transfer to St James’ Park.
Wilson has one England goal to his name – scored on his debut against the United States in November 2018 – and won his most recent international cap in the 6-0 win over Bulgaria in Sofia in October 2019.
The striker is set to be the latest high-profile departure from Bournemouth following their relegation from the Premier League in July, with Nathan Ake moving to Manchester City in a £41m deal and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale signed by Sheffield United for £18.5m.
Bournemouth remain very keen to bring their former winger Matt Ritchie back south from Newcastle, with finances the big hurdle to overcome.
For Bournemouth, it was a case of where – rather than if – Callum Wilson would go.
After a couple of cheeky water-testing low bids from Newcastle and Aston Villa, £20m seems a fair price for the player, given his age – 29 in February – and the fact that last season wasn’t a spectacular success for Wilson personally, albeit in a struggling team, with just nine goal involvements, compared with 23 during the previous Premier League campaign.
He’ll certainly suit the way Newcastle like to play; he has a great engine when utilised as a lone striker, but does need to regain the confidence and form that brought him his England caps, having just lost his place in the international set-up.
One of South Australia’s largest independent retail groups has been accused of wage theft that could amount to $20 million in total underpayments to at least 500 employees.
Romeo’s is accused of expecting employees to work “excessive” hours
One claimant alleges he was offered a gift card instead of wages for a day’s work
Romeo’s chief executive said the allegations were “not relevant”, and declined further comment
Current and former employees of Romeo’s Retail Group have launched a class action in the Federal Court over allegations dating back to 2014.
The firm representing the workers, Adero Law, has accused the company of failing to pay overtime, penalty rates, allowances and leave loading on annual leave, and of engaging in tactics to minimise wages.
The group has about 50 stores across South Australia and New South Wales.
The law firm estimates more current and former employees are eligible to join the class action, and alleges Romeo’s could be liable to pay back nearly $20 million in unpaid wages and entitlements.
‘One of the darkest times’
Nic Butler, who worked at three different Romeo’s stores between 2016 and 2018, is one of the lead claimants.
Mr Butler started work at the Fairview Park store in Adelaide and described the workload as “intense”, making him feel consistently “overworked and underappreciated”.
He alleges when he started, he was told he would be working a 45-hour week as a full-time employee, but said that, in reality, it often turned into 60 hours a week, “with minimal assistance from other staff”.
“When I was in a managerial position at Erindale, it was a one-man show,” Mr Butler said.
“I ran the store by myself.”
Mr Butler said there was no time to stop because there was no-one else to assist him, and he could not leave until everything was done.
He said the stress of the job was overwhelming.
When he finally gave his notice in 2018, he worked his last Monday to Friday shifts at the Mawson Lakes store.
He said when he finished his last shift, the manager told him they did not have anyone to manage the store that Saturday, and asked if he could work one last shift before he left.
Because he had already completed his rostered hours and Romeo’s didn’t pay overtime, Mr Butler said they asked whether he would work for a $150 store card.
Mr Butler said he worked that Saturday, as a courtesy to his employers, completing a 5:00am to 5:00pm shift.
He claims he was never given the $150 store card, or any form of pay.
He said by the end, working for the retail group had a major impact on his mental health.
“I was putting pressure on my family, I was home late, I was bad-tempered and tired,” he said.
“I wasn’t my usual self when I was working there.”
Mr Butler hopes that by taking part in the class action, he can help make things better for other employees who might be in a similar situation.
$60k underpayment allegation for one worker
Another employee who is part of the class action worked at Romeo’s from 2009 to 2014.
He alleges his contract stipulated he would work 38 hours a week, but he was working between 55 and 60 hours per week.
Adero Law calculates he was underpaid $60,000 by Romeo’s during the time he worked for the company.
Lawyer Ashley Cutchie alleges the wage minimisation tactics were part of a larger issue.
“Romeo’s Retail Group has harboured a culture where excessive hours were expected of all salaried staff, which flowed from the very top of the Romeo’s management,” Ms Cutchie said.
“Salaried employees were consistently rostered hours in excess of their contract terms and were then expected to work beyond those rostered hours.”
He says allegations of wage theft are far from uncommon.
“Unfortunately the last 18 months has seen countless large corporate retailers make announcements of underpayments.”
Romeo’s Retail Group has been contacted by the ABC for comment.
The NT Government is offering Lhere Artepe (LAAC) a $20m “package of benefits over a 10 year period” if it will extinguish native title over five areas in Alice Springs to be used as residential and industrial land.
Based on an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) this will include:-
• Housing throughout the town for “particularly vulnerable groups” and the Akangkentye hostel worth $3.5m in South Terrace.
• $8.5m “employment and enterprise development” including government contracts for Arrernte businesses – improve existing ones and set up new ones.
• $2.5m for education and training.
• $1.6m for land and infrastructure intended to support youth engagement programs, including to “practice cultural skills, learn from elders and develop skills to live off the land”.
The amounts are contained in a fact sheet obtained by the Alice Sprigs News and relate to areas identified by Chief Minister Michael Gunner in Alice Springs in March but at the time without putting a dollar figure on the deal.
The objective, says the fact sheet, is to “materially closing the gap … through provision of practical benefits” and to building the true commercial capability of LAAC.
Meanwhile sources say the Alice Springs native title organisation has moved its office to Darwin.
The News is seeking information about this.
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Posted: July 11, 2020 at 12:16 pm ⋅ ⋅
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