Brexit: Boris Johnson promises compensation to firms experiencing issues exporting to EU | Politics News


Businesses experiencing problems exporting to the EU “through no fault of their own” will receive compensation, the prime minister has said.

Boris Johnson said he “understands the frustrations” of businesses exporting to the continent who have run into issues since new post-Brexit UK-EU trading rules came into effect.

He was speaking after angry seafood hauliers stacked their lorries outside Downing Street in protest.

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Police said 14 people had been given fines after Monday’s protest

They have complained of being “tied in knots with paperwork” and about new checks, resulting in delays exporting fresh fish and seafood to the EU since the start of the year.

“I sympathise very much and understand their frustrations and things have been exacerbated by COVID and the demand hasn’t been what it was before the pandemic and that’s one of the problems we’re trying to deal with. That’s driven in large part by the pandemic,” the prime minister said.

“Where businesses, through no fault of their own, have faced difficulties exporting where there is a genuine willing buyer, there’s a £23m fund to help out.”

Despite their difficulties, Mr Johnson said there would be “great opportunities” for fishermen UK-wide to “to take advantage of the spectacular marine wealth of the United Kingdom”.

He added: “In just five-and-a-half years’ time, we will have access to all the fish in all our waters.

“And just now, we have access to 25% more than we did just a month ago. That means there is scope for fishing communities across the UK to take advantage of the increase in quota.

“What we’re going to do is give people a helping hand and that’s why we’ve set up the £100m fund to help people with boats, to help with the fish processing industry, the opportunity is massive.”

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Fisherman’s rant over Brexit red tape

Fourteen people had been given fines after Monday morning’s protest, the Metropolitan Police confirmed.

“The industry is being tied in knots with paperwork requirements which would be easy enough to navigate, given that companies have put in the time and training in order to have all the relevant procedures in place for 1st January 2021,” said a spokesperson for D R Collin & Son, a Berwickshire-based firm that took part in the London demonstration.

“However, all the training is going to waste as the technology is outdated and cannot cope with the demands being placed on it – which in turn is resulting in no produce being able to leave the UK.

“These are not ‘teething issues’ as reported by the government and the consequences of these problems will be catastrophic on the lives of fishermen, fishing towns and the shellfish industry as a whole.”

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Brexit issues not just ‘teething problems’ – Justin King

Alasdair Hughson, chairman of the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, said the industry wanted to “make its voice heard loud and clear”.

“If this debacle does not improve very soon we are looking at many established businesses coming to the end of the line,” he said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said ministers were “trying to blame the fishing communities rather than accepting it’s their failure to prepare”.

He said: “They are beyond frustrated, they are pretty angry about what’s gone on because the government has known there would be a problem with fishing and particularly the sale of fish into the EU for years.”

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s rural economy secretary, said the new trading rules were having a “catastrophic impact on Scotland’s food and drink export industry” and any compensation may be “too little too late” for some businesses.

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6 EU countries urge bloc to address Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine delays, as Canada also flags supply issues — RT World News



Six EU governments have written to the bloc’s executive to call for action as deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech are being delayed, while supply issues have also been reported in Canada.

The health ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia called on the EU Commission to ensure the “stability and transparency of timely deliveries” of the Pfizer jab in a letter on Friday.

“This situation is unacceptable. Not only does it impact the planned vaccination schedules, it also decreases the credibility of the vaccination process,” the letter reads, according to Reuters.

Pfizer will also temporarily reduce shipments of the vaccine to Canada while the company expands production at its manufacturing facility in the Puurs area of Belgium, Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday.

Speaking during a news briefing, the minister added that Pfizer’s production strategy was “reducing deliveries to all countries” and that Canada’s vaccination targets should be back on track by March, without going into further detail.



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Pfizer reducing Covid-19 vaccine deliveries to Europe while it steps up production, Norway says


Earlier on Friday, Norwegian health authorities issued a similar statement, explaining that their expected shipment of 43,875 Pfizer vaccine doses next week would be cut to 36,075.

Ireland will also experience delays of three to four weeks due to Pfizer’s plans, the chief of the country’s Covid-19 vaccine taskforce, Brian MacCraith, said on Friday, adding that authorities had “planned for this sort of eventuality.

A Pfizer spokesperson said that the company was “working hard to deliver more doses than originally forecasted this year,” while stating its goal is to increase capacity from 1.3 billion doses to two billion in 2021.

MEPs are to debate the “need for more clarity and transparency concerning vaccine contracts” at the EU’s first plenary session of the year on Tuesday.

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Victoria issues urgent quarantine advice in wake of Brisbane Grand Chancellor hotel coronavirus cluster


Victorian health authorities have ordered anyone in the state who completed their 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine in Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor hotel on or after December 30 to immediately isolate and contact the coronavirus hotline.

The advice comes as Queensland battles a cluster of six UK strain COVID-19 cases linked to the hotel, including a cleaner, her partner and four guests.

“Anyone currently in Victoria who has completed 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine in Brisbane at the Grand Chancellor hotel on or after 30 December is asked to isolate and contact the coronavirus hotline immediately,” the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) statement said.

“The Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan, Ipswich will continue to remain in the red zone and travel to Victoria will not be permitted without an exemption, exception or permitted worker permit.

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“Anyone who has arrived into Victoria from 30 December must get tested and quarantine at home until they receive a negative result.

“They should call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 immediately.

“Previously we had asked travellers to test if they had been in these QLD areas on or after 2 January 2021, however this public health advice has changed based on new information from QLD Health authorities regarding the B.1.1.7 lineage cluster in their hotel quarantine program.”

The DHHS said authorities were working through 11,095 applications from people in designated red zones seeking to enter Victoria.

Since the start of the Victorian-NSW border restrictions around New Year’s Eve, 1,320 exemptions have been granted and four applications have been rejected.

Almost 5,000 applications had been received from people in the Greater Brisbane red zone.

Authorities conclude case from Melbourne childcare centre a false positive

Victoria has recorded its seventh day in a row with zero new locally acquired coronavirus cases, with 17,908 tests processed on Tuesday.

There were three cases recorded in the state’s hotel quarantine program.

Authorities have also concluded a child who was at a Melbourne early learning centre shortly before testing positive to coronavirus upon arrival in Israel was a false positive.

The centre was cleaned and contact tracing work was underway to manage the potential spread of the virus, despite authorities believing it was likely the rapid point of care test had produced an inaccurate result.

“The child has been tested again in Israel and has now recorded a negative result,” the DHHS statement said.

“Given a high uptake of tests from the Armadale early learning centre — all negative — and no obvious source of infection in Victoria, the department has now determined that this child’s original test is a false positive and all close contacts can be released from quarantine.”

No answers yet on infection source for Black Rock or mystery case

Contact tracers and epidemiologists are still working to identify the exact source of acquisition for the earliest cases in the Black Rock cluster.

While genomic sequencing tests confirmed the strain of the virus involved came from Sydney’s northern beaches, the case linking the restaurant infections to Sydney has not been identified.

The cluster, which has so far been traced back to a December 21 dinner at the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Melbourne’s south-east, has not recorded any new cases in more than a week.

Empty chairs and tables inside a restaurant, where the bar is decorated with blue tinsel.
The DHHS says its investigation into the Black Rock cluster is examining where diners were seated and the airflow through the venue.(ABC News: Kyle Harley)

“We have formed a dedicated acquisition investigation team made up of epidemiological, contact tracing, occupational physician, infection prevention control and public health staff to continue this investigation,” the DHHS said in a statement.

“This investigation includes interviews with cases and their close contacts by contact tracers, site assessments by infection control and occupational health experts and analysis of epidemiological data to try and identify potential missing links.”

The department said it was also still investigating the source of acquisition for the mystery case in a man from Vermont South who may have become infected while visiting the MCG and Chadstone shopping centre.

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Coronavirus latest: Intensive-care staff in England report mental health issues


Peter Wells in New York

The US on Tuesday reported more than 4,000 coronavirus fatalities in a single day for only the second time and as the death tolls in the country’s two most populous states surpassed 30,000.

State authorities attributed a further 4,056 deaths to coronavirus, a daily tally second only to the 4,081 fatalities reported on January 7, according to Covid Tracking Project data.

Over the past week, 23,119 deaths in the US have been attributed to coronavirus, a record for a seven-day period and averaging out at about 3,303 a day.

The overall death toll for the US stands at over 371,000, more than any other country.

On Tuesday, the health departments of California and Texas, which rank first and second among US states by population, revealed their death tolls had surpassed 30,000, climbing to 30,513 and 30,219, respectively.

Only New York, with 32,007 fatalities — the majority of which occurred during the early stage of the pandemic — has more.

Chris McLaurin, a Walgreens pharmacist, jabs Lakandra McNealy, an aged-care home worker, with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Jackson, Mississippi

Arizona (335), Alabama (226), Mississippi (98) and Wyoming (33) reported record one-day increases in deaths.

The number of people currently in US hospitals with coronavirus ticked back above 130,000 for the first time in three days to 131,326.

On January 7, a record 132,464 people were reported to be in hospital.

Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and president-elect Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware reported record hospitalisations, as did Texas, which crossed the 14,000 threshold for the first time.

States reported a further 213,885 infections over the past 24 hours, according to CTP data, up from 193,857 on Monday and compared with an average over the past week of 244,519 cases a day.

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US military issues rare statement denouncing Capitol riot and confirming Biden as next commander-in-chief


Statement comes just days before Joe Biden takes office (Getty)

America’s top military leadership has issued a rare statement denouncing the Capitol riot and confirming Joe Biden as the next commander-in-chief.

“As service members, we must embody the values and ideals of the nation,” said the statement issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

“We support and defend the constitution. Any act to disrupt the constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law.”

Amid intense anxiety ahead of next weeks’ inauguration and fears of a repeat of the violence and chaos that reverberated across the world, reports said the uniformed leadership felt obliged to issue the statement and comment on live events, something it generally seeks to avoid doing.

The situation has been made even more tense by the determination of Democrats to oust Donald Trump before he completes his term, even though he has days to go. On Wednesday, the House is due to vote on a move to impeach him for the second time.

They and others have accused Mr Trump of inciting what many have termed an “insurrection”, most obviously during a speech to supporters in Washington DC shortly before hundreds of people stormed into the Capitol.

They were seeking to stop the certification of electoral votes cast for Mr Biden, having been persuaded by Mr Trump and others that the election was rigged. There is no evidence to support any electoral fraud.

The statement was first reported by CNN, which said Gen Mark Milley, the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, issued it along with each of the top commanders of the different branches of the military.

“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law,” the statement added.

“The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.”

The statement came as the House was due to vote on a measure calling for Mr Trump to be removed from office through the 25th amendment of the constitution.

House Democrats also plan to vote on Wednesday, to impeach Mr Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection”.

If the vote goes ahead, Mr Trump would the first president to be impeached twice.

Read More

Trump calls Capitol rioters a ‘mob,’ warns Democrats off impeachment

Sedition charges expected as FBI opens 160 cases on Capitol rioters

Fury at the shaken Capitol over the attack, security, virus

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Tigers expected Stack issues: Riewoldt


Richmond star Jack Riewoldt says the AFL club always expected “small issues” would arise with Sydney Stack, but will continue to support the young player as he awaits another court appearance next week.

Stack, 20, was granted bail and released from a West Australian jail last week for the first time since mid-December.

He was arrested on December 19 for allegedly breaching the conditions of his travel exemption into the state and spent Christmas behind bars.

Stack was absent as the Tigers returned for pre-season training on Monday and is due to face court again on January 20.

“It is disappointing, as a senior player, when someone finds themself in trouble,” Tigers vice-captain Riewoldt said.

“But when we engaged Sydney to come to our football club we weren’t under an illusion that he was going to come in and it was going to be a really smooth transition.

“We expected that we were going to have some small issues with him.

“When you take on a young man like Sydney, who hasn’t been afforded a lot of the luxuries that a lot of Australian children grow up with, you know that it’s going to be a project.”

Stack was allowed into WA on compassionate grounds on December 10 for his grandfather’s funeral and under the provision he would serve a quarantine period of 14 days at his nominated address in Northam, about 97km from Perth.

He was allegedly found by police days later in the Perth party district of Northbridge, and had allegedly been staying at a residence in suburban Belmont.

Stack was also at the centre of a coronavirus protocol breach in September, when he and teammate Callum Coleman-Jones were sent home from Queensland.

The pair were suspended for 10 matches and fined for their involvement in a late-night fight on the Gold Coast while they were supposed to be in Richmond’s AFL bubble.

Stack has played 26 AFL games in two seasons for the Tigers and still has four matches of his suspension left to serve.

He was originally recruited as a pre-season supplementary selection, having been overlooked at the draft, in February 2019.

“He’s a young man that has got a lot of issues, he’s got a lot of potential, but most importantly now we put the football side of things to one side and we actually want to continue to grow him as a young man,” Riewoldt said.

“He’s got some fantastic traits and unfortunately he found himself in a situation which was against the law and certainly the wrong thing to do, but we’re not going to give up on Sydney Stack.”



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Vaccine rollout: Government framing norms to manage tricky issues


New Delhi: The Centre is framing detailed guidelines for addressing technical and scientific questions, such as the number of days a person who has already recovered from Covid-19 should wait before getting vaccinated, ahead of the first phase of vaccine rollout in the country.

The health and family welfare ministry has already released standard operating procedures to be followed at vaccination centres, number of beneficiaries to be covered in a day, and the protocols to be followed in case of adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) in the first phase of vaccination, covering 10 million healthcare workers.

However, there are technical questions on inoculation which have to be addressed, officials said.

“An expert group has been formed to address several scientific questions that have been raised,” a senior official told ET.

One of the main aspects of inoculating 10 million health workers would be whether to inoculate people who have recovered from the disease and how long should the person wait before getting the Covid shot.

The expert group is looking at international practices to frame the guidelines, officials said.

Both the UK and US, the first two countries to begin Covid vaccination drives, had addressed tricky questions like should recently-recovered healthcare workers give up their place in the queue as they have antibodies against the disease.

The UK’s vaccination policy recommends a waiting time of four weeks after onset of symptoms or four weeks from the first positive test before a vaccine could be administered.

India has already clarified that all healthcare workers, including those who have recovered from Covid, will be inoculated.

The guidelines would specify how much time should a healthcare worker who has recovered from Covid wait before getting a vaccine.

The guidelines would also specify vaccination of healthcare workers who have experienced prolonged Covid-19 symptoms and if they have undergone specific therapies like plasma therapy or taken antiviral medicines, officials told ET.

“If a person has taken plasma therapy, it could interfere with immune response to the vaccine,” a senior official said. “These aspects are being studied properly and these guidelines would be issued to the states to guide them through the vaccination process.”



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NBA issues tougher in-game mask policy for players





FILE PHOTO: Dec 27, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans stadium employee telling people the need to wear a mask at all times during the first half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

January 5, 2021

The NBA has instituted a tougher mask policy that will go into effect Tuesday, making it mandatory practice for dressed and active players to wear masks on the bench until they enter a game.

Multiple outlets reported the updated policy, citing a memo the league sent to every team.

Also, players and coaches must wear masks when outside the team environment and if around other players and coaches, and each team must divulge the names of private trainers and sundry specialists they work with outside of the team facility, per the reports.

Players are not required to don a mask coming out of a game, though it’s highly recommended.

Inactive players and coaches must continue to wear masks throughout the duration of games.

–Field Level Media




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Coronavirus Australia live news: NSW looks to double testing numbers in bid to contain clusters, Victoria issues fresh health alerts



Australia not going to ‘cut corners’ on vaccine approval

   
The Prime Minister’s been doing the commercial radio rounds this morning, talking about everything from vaccines to the cricket.

   

Speaking on Melbourne station 3AW, Scott Morrison made it clear even though other countries are approving COVID-19 vaccines, Australia isn’t rushing in to anything.

     

“We are moving this as swiftly as it safely can be done, but Australia is not an emergency situation so we don’t have to cut corners,” he said.

   

“We don’t have to take unnecessary risks.”

   

Mr Morrison also said that after a vaccine is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, batches of it will still have to be tested before it is rolled out.

    

“I don’t think Australians just want us sending out willy-nilly vials of vaccines that haven’t been tested which is the normal process that happens with any TGA-approved vaccine,” he said.

     

The PM also said while he won’t be going to the cricket over the weekend (he’s stuck in Canberra which has closed its border to Greater Sydney), he believes the event has been managed in a safe way.

      

“They’ve reduced how many people can go, it’s an outdoor venue … health officials [there] have made their recommendations and the Government is acting on that,” he said.

 

Reporting by Georgia Hitch.

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Coronavirus live news: EU rollout of Pfizer vaccine may be disrupted by supply issues, BioNTech warns | World news


Australia welcomed 2021 with subdued celebrations as fresh coronavirus restrictions and border closures at its two most populous states forced people to ditch new year plans.

Media reported traffic jams at border checkpoints stretching as long as 25 miles (40km) as people rushed to avoid border restrictions that kicked in from midnight.

New South Wales (NSW), the centre of the latest outbreak, reported three new cases overnight from more than 32,000 tests. Its largest cluster, in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, is now at 146 cases.

“The strong message from us is to be on high alert, come forward and get tested with the mildest of symptoms,” the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, told reporters in Sydney, urging people to wear masks.






A fireworks display is seen over the Sydney Opera House on New Year’s Eve. Photograph: Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images

Sydney’s famous fireworks went ahead above deserted streets as gatherings were banned, while its harbour sported just 20% of the vessels typically seen on New Year’s Eve.

Neighbouring Victoria state reported no new cases since Thursday afternoon, though authorities expect numbers to rise in coming days. The state has a cluster of eight cases, with some believed to be linked to the Sydney outbreak.

The outbreaks in the two states occurred after weeks without any community transmission, Reuters reports.

“The NSW link is still our primary line of investigation for this outbreak,” said Martin Foley, the health minister for Victoria state, which this week limited indoor gatherings to 15 people and reintroduced mandatory masks indoors. “We expect genomic testing to come through very shortly.”

South Australia said the infections in Sydney had led it to put up a hard border with NSW starting on Friday.

“I think we have to keep reminding ourselves that there is no simple easy way of this all being fixed. It is a global pandemic and that means that there will be frustrations from time to time,” the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said, while welcoming the low case numbers in the two states.

Australia has reported just over 28,400 Covid-19 cases and 909 deaths since the pandemic began.



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