Why the pandemic just earned some NBA players millions of extra income


Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at the Field House at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on Sept. 5, 2020


Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The National Basketball Association will begin training camp for the 2020-2021 NBA season this week, just two months after the Los Angeles Lakers and star LeBron James won a championship in the Disney
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World bubble.

Like many industries, the NBA as a whole has seen lower revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, falling short of its revenue projections by $1.5 billion for 2020. Players on one NBA team, however, will see their net income go up due to the pandemic: the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors are leaving Canada for the 2020-2021 season to play their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Fla. The Raptors will share the space with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning for a portion of next season.

The Canadian government denied the Raptors’ request to play in Toronto this year because it would not be safe for teams to constantly be traveling between the two countries, health officials said.

Some Raptors players will get to keep millions of dollars more from their paychecks as a result.

“These guys are gonna save money,” Robert Raiola, a CPA from PKF O’Connor Davies known as the “Sports Tax Guy” on Twitter
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told MarketWatch.

See also: Detroit Lions fans donate to Deshaun Watson’s charity after his performance led to the firing of their head coach

The way athletes’ contracts work is they pay taxes based on the state and country each game they play in is located. If a game is in New York, the player’s game check will be taxed according to U.S. and New York state law, for example, and if a game is in Texas, a player’s game check will be taxed in accordance with Texas law. This is often referred to as the “jock tax.”

“American players pay taxes in Canada on a Canadian source income,” Raiola explained.

For next season, the Toronto Raptors home games, which are normally taxed at the “brutally high” Toronto rate, according to Raiola, will be taxed in the U.S., where taxes are lower compared with Canada.

“The difference between the U.S. top rate, 37%, and Canadian top rate, which is 53.5%, is a difference of 16.5% on whatever they make. It’s a lot.”

The 53.5% rate in Canada is for people who have over $220,000 of taxable income, and the 37% rate in the U.S. is for individuals who make $518,401 or more —which applies to nearly every player on the Raptors active roster.

That 16.5% difference in federal taxes between the U.S. and Canada will amount to millions in savings for highly paid Raptors players like Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam, who make more than $30 million a season.

For example, the All-Star guard Lowry will save a minimum of $2.475 million from the move.

In addition to lower federal taxes, there is also no state income tax in Florida. This is also a huge savings for some players. At one point, the Raptors considered playing their home games this season in New Jersey, which has a top income tax rate of 10.75% for people who make over $5 million before ultimately deciding to play in Florida. Playing in Florida as opposed to New Jersey will net Lowry an additional $1.613 million in income tax savings as well.

It’s not known how long the Raptors will play in Florida, but the team was denied access to play in Canada for the near future. Raptors President of Basketball operations Masai Ujiri said the team tried to play next season in Toronto, but couldn’t make the situation work.

“Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida,” Ujiri said in a statement.

Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays faced a similar situation earlier this year, ultimately deciding to play its home games in Buffalo, N.Y.





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Spanish NGO eases poverty crisis by collecting millions in old Spanish currency


Approximately € 1.6 billion euros worth of Spain”s former currency, the Peseta, remains unaccounted for. And as the deadline to convert the currency draws closer, a charity is collecting the cash to help ease a burgeoning poverty crisis, and feed people in Madrid.

The old notes and coins are still convertible currency and now the organisation ‘Peseta solidaria’ has decided to put it to good use. To donate, all people have to do is sign up on their website. They collect them door to door, change them into Euros and then donate them to food banks.

For Laura Blanco, the organisation’s founder, this is a way of giving “a noble and generous end to the peseta”, allowing some Spaniards to help others in this time of need. Blanco goes on:

“Despite the crisis, they want to give something to others, and maybe they don’t have Euros, but they have Pesetas, and it’s a way to help. From a lady who lives in Getafe who had a collection of banknotes that her sister had left for her children, to a man who heard the news, but has no Internet or mail or anything, called the Food Bank and said I have eight kilos of coins, and I want to donate them”.

There are still millions worth of euros in pesetas like these in Spanish households. That is why the government has extended the deadline to convert them to euros, from this December to September 2021.

Mila Benito is involved with a food bank that benefits from the scheme:

“These are people who work and are in poverty, which is even worse, because they have such small salaries that they don’t make ends meet. Several times I’ve picked up the phone to people who told me that they used to volunteer at the food bank and help others, and now they call because they need the help. And there is an added problem because we come from the crisis of 2008, so there were no savings left in the families”.

Before the pandemic there were around 350,000 people living in poverty just in the capital Madrid. The Food Bank fears, due to COVID-19, the situation will reach crisis point in January.

Watch Euronews’ full report in the player above.



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Millions of full-time US workers get government aid – Long Island Business News


Millions of Americans who are working full-time jobs still rely on federal health care and food assistance programs because of low wages, a bipartisan congressional watchdog says.

A report  from the Government Accountability Office found that about 70% of adult workers participating in Medicaid, which provides health care to low-income Americans, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, are working full time.

The report was requested by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who said its findings show an urgent need to raise the federal minimum wage.

“At a time when huge corporations like Walmart and McDonald’s are making billions in profits and giving their CEOs tens of millions of dollars a year, they’re relying on corporate welfare from the federal government by paying their workers starvation wages.,” Sanders said in a statement. “This is morally obscene.”

He said it was long past time to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15.

In the report issued Wednesday, the GAO analyzed data from 15 state agencies covering 11 states, with each agency reporting the employers in their states with the largest numbers of Medicaid and food-stamp beneficiaries.

Among the 15 agencies overseeing the Medicaid and food-stamp programs, Walmart was among the top four employers with beneficiaries in each of the 15 programs. McDonald’s was among the top five employers whose workers received federal benefits from 13 of the 15 state agencies.

Other companies that appeared frequently were Dollar Tree and Dollar General.

Sanders said an analysis of the GAO data showed that across nine of the states reviewed — Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington — the largest number of recipients of foods stamps were employed at Walmart and McDonald’s.

Asked for comment on the GAO report, Anne Hatfield, a Walmart spokesperson, said, “If not for the employment access Walmart and other companies provide, many more people would be dependent on government assistance.”

She said that a small percentage of Walmart’s workforce is on public assistance when hired by Walmart. The company strives to “remove employment barriers and create opportunities for individuals that too many overlook,” she said.

McDonald’s USA said in a statement, “The average starting wage at U.S. corporate-owned restaurants is over $10 per hour and exceeds the federal minimum wage.”





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Millions in cash seized from trucks in crackdown on methylamphetamine syndicates


Almost $9 million in mostly $50 and $100 notes has been seized in a police operation targeting drug trafficking over the West Australian border, which officers say has significantly disrupted criminal syndicates operated by methylamphetamine “peddlers of death”.

Police believe the massive cash haul was destined for New South Wales to be laundered and used to further distribute drugs.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Adams described the money as the “lubricant that fuels the drug making machine”.

“The money represents significant harm to Western Australia. This money has been derived from the profits of selling methylamphetamine in Western Australia,” he said.

One haul alone netted almost $6 million in cash.(Supplied: WA Police)

Seven men have been arrested and charged so far, with more arrests expected.

A large esky filled with bundles of $50 and $100 notes.
Police intercepted two trucks last week.(Supplied: WA Police)

Potentially ‘highest single seizure in Australian history’

Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Division, with the help of community tip-offs, identified and stopped several suspicious vehicles crossing the border on October 20.

Inside six cardboard boxes they found a total of $5,986,970 in cash — thought to be linked to a seizure of four kilograms of methylamphetamine in August.

Last week they stopped two trucks.

The first one had recently crossed into WA and was believed to be heading back to the border when police intercepted it in Meckering.

Officers found $2,942,130 cash inside.

The second truck was stopped by detectives from the Gang Crime Squad in Coolgardie.

Police are still counting how much money was in there, but Acting Assistant Commissioner Adams believed it would amount to about the same amount in total as the two other seizures, or around $9 million.

“It is a significant amount of cash that is going to harm criminal enterprises, not only in Western Australia but across Australia,” he said.

He said the current highest amount found in a single seizure was about $8.5 million in NSW two years ago.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts and WA Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Adams stand holding bags of cash.
The police operation targeted methylamphetamine drug syndicates.(ABC News: Marcus Alborn)

‘If you are a criminal … we are coming’

Police Minister Michelle Roberts praised police for the operation, saying the $9 million represented “death and misery for families”.

“This is an amazing job that police have done here,” Ms Roberts said.

“They have disrupted a very significant organised crime group involved in this.

“The people behind this are the people destroying lives in the community.”

Police would not reveal exactly how the money was discovered, except to say “community resources” and information from the border were critical in identifying the targets.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Adams said the bust could not have been possible without help from the community, and specifically made the point that family members of criminals did not always agree with what they did.

A wide shot of Michelle Roberts with police officers in uniform tactical gear, with piles of money in plastic bags on a table.
The confiscated money will be redistributed through the Attorney General’s department.(ABC News: Marcus Alborn)

“If you are a criminal and you have a family, we are coming,” he warned.

“You don’t do business in Western Australia. You don’t do evil business in Western Australia.”

The confiscated money will be redistributed through the Attorney General’s department, with some going to the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and some possibly going to programs to reduce harm in the community and support vulnerable children.

Five men from Perth, one from Queensland and one from NSW have been charged with charged with laundering property or money from the proceeds of major crime.

They were all refused bail.



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Queensland’s end-of-life funding falls short by millions, says AMAQ


Professor Perry said that worked out to $28.5 million a year, far short of the recommended figure of $277 million put forward by advocacy group Palliative Care Queensland.

“So they talk about [voluntary assisted dying] legislation … in countries which have these laws, only about 2 per cent of people are really into the cold decision to have a doctor help them take their lives,” he said.

“Everyone says they want a pain-free and dignified death, well for 98 per cent of people that’s a properly funded palliative care system.”

Announcing the extra funding in October, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles said caring for Queenslanders at the end of their lives was one of the most important responsibilities a government could have.

“We will invest $102.5 million to employ more frontline palliative care staff and invest $54.8 million for community-based service providers to deliver home-based hospice care,” Mr Miles said.

“This means more Queenslanders will be able to have their wish of spending their last days at home.

“The parliamentary inquiry into palliative and end-of-life care informed this important funding announcement.”

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In its submission to the parliamentary inquiry, the AMAQ said it officially did not support euthanasia legislation, although it acknowledged diverse views were held within its membership.

Professor Perry said the AMAQ would continue to press the government on a number of the other priorities on its list.

In particular, he said members wanted more detail about how the government’s proposed network of satellite hospitals would work, who would staff them and the timeline for them being built.

Professor Perry said the AMAQ also wanted the government to do more to support young doctors, especially in the wake of a damning survey of working conditions released by the association in the final week of the campaign.

Mr Miles played down the report at the time, saying he was aware of “culture issues” within Queensland hospitals, but that his department was working to change that culture.

Professor Perry said that change was needed soon.

“We had reports that within two hours of us putting out our media release, junior doctors at hospitals were told that despite what management had said previously, they could start claiming overtime,” he said.

“That didn’t come from Steven Miles saying it, it came from the AMAQ highlighting it.”

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Millions of Britons stay home on Remembrance Sunday as commemorations move online


The Queen, Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson lead politicians and royals who paid their respects to Britain’s war dead at the Cenotaph today. 

The annual Remembrance Sunday service is going ahead this morning but the public are unable to attend because of lockdown restrictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Millions of people across the UK will instead be privately paying their respects from home.

At the Cenotaph, around 10,000 veterans would normally pay their respects, but this year there are just 26 because of the risks presented by Covid-19.  

As well as Mr Johnson and Sir Keir, former Prime Ministers David Cameron, Tony Blair and Theresa May, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey were all pictured on their way to the Cenotaph.  

As the clock struck 11am, Mr Johnson, Prince Charles, Prince William and other member’s of Britain’s elite marked the two-minute silence before laying their wreaths.  

Ahead of today’s service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said ‘no virus can stop us’ from commemorating the country’s war dead as he paid his respects at Uxbridge War Memorial in west London at a low-key event on Saturday.

Today’s Remembrance Sunday service is going ahead but the British public cannot attend as normal because of the coronavirus pandemic

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer were among the members of Britain's political elite who arrived at the Cenotaph on Whitehall for today's Remembrance Sunday Service

Sir Keir Starmer walking to the Cenotaph this morning

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer were among the members of Britain’s political elite who arrived at the Cenotaph on Whitehall for today’s Remembrance Sunday Service

At the Cenotaph, around 10,000 veterans would normally pay their respects, but this year there are just 26 because of the risks presented by Covid-19

At the Cenotaph, around 10,000 veterans would normally pay their respects, but this year there are just 26 because of the risks presented by Covid-19

Although the public are unable to attend today's ceremony, the event will be broadcast live on multiple channels, with people encouraged to take part in the two-minute silence at home. Pictured: Scottish Second World War veterans Ronnie Wilson

Woman's Auxiliary Air Force veteran Cathy Drummond at her home in  Scotland

Although the public are unable to attend today’s ceremony, the event will be broadcast live on multiple channels, with people encouraged to take part in the two-minute silence at home. Pictured: Scottish Second World War veterans Ronnie Wilson (left) and Cathy Drummond pose with their war medals outside their homes ahead of Sunday’s commemorations

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.’ 

Sir Kier, along with Mr Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and the SNP’s leader in the House of Commons Sir Ian Blackford, was pictured walking down Downing Street on his way to the Cenotaph on Sunday. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his predecessor, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, walk down Downing Street to the Cenotaph ahead of today's ceremony

Mr Blair was wearing a face mask

Past and present: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his predecessor, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, walk down Downing Street to the Cenotaph ahead of today’s ceremony

Ahead of today's Remembrance Sunday service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 'no virus can stop us' from commemorating the country's war dead as he paid his respects at Uxbridge War Memorial in west London at a low-key event on Saturday

Ahead of today’s Remembrance Sunday service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said ‘no virus can stop us’ from commemorating the country’s war dead as he paid his respects at Uxbridge War Memorial in west London at a low-key event on Saturday 

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

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

Paying her respects: The Dean of Westminster Abbey David Hoyle (right) watches as The Queen's Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in front of the Queen in Westminster Abbey

Paying her respects: The Dean of Westminster Abbey David Hoyle (right) watches as The Queen’s Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in front of the Queen in Westminster Abbey

How to get involved in Remembrance Sunday

Even though this year’s Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph is closed to the public, the Government says there are many ways you can get involved. 

People have been invited to share their personal stories and family histories on social media using the hashtag #WeWillRememberThem. 

They are also invited to post a tribute to the Royal British Legion’s virtual Field of Remembrance or on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Wall of Remembrance.

Britons can also watch Sunday’s Cenotaph service on television and online 

Other ways to get involved include: 

  • Supporting the Poppy appeal by donating through the post and displaying your own poppy or Remembrance window display.
  • Hold a small Remembrance service in your garden or write letters of remembrance to veterans or serving personnel.
  • Look up your own family history on Ancestry. The firm has made them free to access to mark this year’s commemorations. 
  • The Royal Air Force Museum is asking people to write poems to go on its online gallery.     

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. 

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. 

The Liberal Democrats' leader Sir Ed Davey was also pictured on his way to the Cenotaph

SNP's House of Commons leader Sir Ian Blackford

The Liberal Democrats’ leader Sir Ed Davey was also pictured on his way to the Cenotaph, along with the SNP’s House of Commons leader Sir Ian Blackford 

Prince Harry visiting West Point Military Academy, America, in 2010

Prince Harry scrambling his Apache during his 12 hour shift at the British controlled flight-line in Camp Bastion, southern Afghanistan, in 2012

Prince Harry, who spent 10 years in the armed forces, described the day as ‘a moment for respect and for hope’, in an interview with the Declassified podcast

Second World War veteran remembers his fallen comrades from his doorstep  

A 96-year-old veteran has remembered the fallen soldiers from his doorstep in Birmingham, in the West Midlands.

Ned Redmond joined the British Army in 1944 and served in the Far East during World War II.

The great grandfather-of-four was a sergeant in the Middlesex regiment and fought in the Korean War.

WWII veteran Ned Redmond, 96, has commemorated his fallen comrades from his doorstep

WWII veteran Ned Redmond, 96, has commemorated his fallen comrades from his doorstep

He was one of the first to get off the boat in 1950.

In recent years, he has returned to South Korea as a guest speaker.

Ned – who lives independently – will pay his respects on November 8.

He encourages others to remember the heroes by standing on their doorsteps for two minutes of silence.

Dublin-born Ned said: ‘Looking back at everything I have done, I do feel proud.

He joined the British Army in 1944 and served in the Far East during World War II

He joined the British Army in 1944 and served in the Far East during World War II

‘It is hard to describe how hard Korea was.

‘We were on the front line every single day and lost a lot of good men – many of which were great friends.

‘We went for months without a shower and were covered in lice.

‘It was horrendous but i’m fortunate and happy to have survived it.’

 

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.’ 

To mark Remembrance Sunday, members of the public have been encouraged to share their family histories and commemorative messages online using the hashtag #WeWillRememberThem.

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.’ 

The commemorations come after the former head of the Royal Navy Lord West of Spithead led a backlash against a ban on services inside churches and warned veterans faced catching pneumonia by being forced to stand outside. 

As a result of winter coronavirus lockdown restrictions, most religious services are banned and anyone caught attending one could face a £200 fine.   

John ‘Paddy’ Hemingway, the 101-year-old last survivor of the Battle of Britain, is said to be upset by the move.

His son Brian Hemingway said the veteran ‘feels sad,’ people will not be able to come together on Sunday.

But growing uproar from former senior members of the armed forces, and former defence secretary Michael Fallon, has seen calls for an exemption so the day can be properly commemorated.

Lord West of Spithead, the former First Sea Lord, told The Telegraph: ‘If you look at the average size of a church there must be a way of letting veterans in with social distancing. 

‘It seems very silly to have them standing outside in the freezing cold. This puts them more at risk. They will die of pneumonia rather than Covid.’ 

The Royal British Legion earlier confirmed there will not be the annual March Past the Cenotaph.

On its website the charity said it recognised the decision was ‘deeply disappointing,’ adding it was taken following Government advice. 

Guidance from the Government allows local authorities in England to organise events at a ‘public war memorial or cenotaph’ so long as they are held outdoors, they are short and those in attendance observe social distancing measures. 

Former Prime Minister Theresa May also criticised the decision to ban church services.

She told the House of Commons: ‘The Covid-secure Remembrance service in Worcester Cathedral is now going to be turned into a pre-recorded online service.

‘Surely those men and women who gave down their lives for our freedom deserve better than this?’  

Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, said: ‘Veterans are perfectly capable of social distancing and wearing face masks for half an hour and I hope the Government will think again. It seems ridiculous. We trusted veterans to put their lives on the line for the country but we cannot trust them to stand two metres apart in church.’

Several members in the House of Lords raised concerns over the impact of the move on people’s mental health, pointing out that for many elderly people attending church was their only regular social activity. 

Defending the rule, Communities Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: ‘We have come to a critical point in the fight against Covid-19.’

Stressing the need to ‘limit our interaction with others’, he said: ‘Therefore, with great regret, while places of worship will remain open for individual prayer, communal worship cannot take place at this time.’

Pressing the minister, Tory peer Lord Cormack said he had ‘not given a single shred of evidence as to why churches should not be open for public worship’.

He said a remembrance service had been planned for this Sunday in Lincoln Cathedral, which was ‘an immense space where everybody can be properly socially distanced’.

Lord Cormack added: ‘Instead, the Government have come up with an imbecilic answer – that the veterans, all of whom are 90 and over, can stand in the cold and be rained on, but they cannot go into a safe, socially distanced cathedral. 

‘This is a disgrace.’

The Cenotaph would ordinarily be thronged with members of the armed forces, veterans and ordinary Britons on Remembrance Sunday

The Cenotaph would ordinarily be thronged with members of the armed forces, veterans and ordinary Britons on Remembrance Sunday 

The Queen wears a face mask for the first time in public as she marks centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey

By Bridie Pearson-Jones and Jack Wright for MailOnline 

The Queen wore a face mask for the first time in public last week as she marked the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior in a small private ceremony in Westminster Abbey. 

Her Majesty, 94, honoured the British serviceman, whose identity remains a mystery, and the Royal Family‘s own associations with World War One at the London abbey ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

The head of state, who was dressed all in black as she placed an orchid and myrtle bouquet on the grave, was required to cover her face during the act of worship under government restrictions. 

It reflected the custom of Royal bridal bouquets being placed on the grave, a tradition which began in 1923 when Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the future Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, laid her bouquet as she entered the Abbey in memory of her brother Fergus, who was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915.

Many Royal brides since have sent their bouquets to the grave at Westminster Abbey. 

Before her death in 2002, The Queen Mother also requested her funeral wreath be placed on the grave of the Unknown Warrior – a wish honoured at the Abbey the day after her funeral.

Tribute: The Queen commemmorates the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, an unidentified British serviceman who died in WW1, in Westminster Abbey on Wednesday

Tribute: The Queen commemmorates the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, an unidentified British serviceman who died in WW1, in Westminster Abbey on Wednesday

Paying her respects: The Dean of Westminster Abbey David Hoyle (right) watches as The Queen's Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in front of the Queen in Westminster Abbey

Paying her respects: The Dean of Westminster Abbey David Hoyle (right) watches as The Queen’s Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in front of the Queen in Westminster Abbey

Commemoration: The Queen inspects a bouquet of flowers to be placed at the grave of the Unknown Warrior by her Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah

Commemoration: The Queen inspects a bouquet of flowers to be placed at the grave of the Unknown Warrior by her Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah

Paying her respects: The Queen, 94, travelled by car from Windsor Castle to London to commemorate the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, according to the Court Circular. The Queen was photographed leaving Windsor Castle yesterday (pictured) before returning two hours later but the reason for the outing was not announced

Paying her respects: The Queen, 94, travelled by car from Windsor Castle to London to commemorate the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior, according to the Court Circular. The Queen was photographed leaving Windsor Castle yesterday (pictured) before returning two hours later but the reason for the outing was not announced

Tribute: Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior during a ceremony in Westminster Abbey

Tribute: Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior during a ceremony in Westminster Abbey

Paying respects: The Queen's Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior on behalf of the Queen during a ceremony at Westminster Abbey

Paying respects: The Queen’s Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, places a bouquet of flowers at the grave of the Unknown Warrior on behalf of the Queen during a ceremony at Westminster Abbey

Tribute: The Queen inspects a bouquet of flowers placed on her behalf at the grave of the Unknown Warrior by her Equerry

Tribute: The Queen inspects a bouquet of flowers placed on her behalf at the grave of the Unknown Warrior by her Equerry

Which Royal bridal bouquets were laid on the grave of the Unknown Warrior? 

  • The Queen Mother, 1923
  • The Queen, 1947
  • Princess Margaret, 1960
  • Princess Alexandra, 1963
  • The Princess Royal, 1973
  • Diana, Princess of Wales, 1981
  • Sarah, Duchess of York, 1986
  • The Countess of Wessex, 1999
  • The Duchess of Cornwall, 2005
  • The Duchess of Cambridge, 2011
  • The Duchess of Sussex, 2018
  • Princess Eugenie, 2018
  • Princess Beatrice, 2020

During the ceremony this week, Her Majesty also joined the Dean of Westminster in prayers and a moment of reflection after the bouquet was laid on the grave, before The Queen’s Piper played a lament, The Flowers of the Forest.

The grave of the Unknown Warrior is the final resting place of an unidentified British serviceman who died on the battlefields during the First World War. The serviceman’s body was brought from Northern France and buried at Westminster Abbey on 11th November 1920 after a procession through Whitehall. 

The Queen’s grandfather, King George V, placed a wreath on the coffin at the Cenotaph, which was unveiled on the processional route. 

His Majesty later dropped a handful of earth from France onto the serviceman’s coffin as it was lowered into the grave at the Abbey. 

He was joined at the burial by his son, the future King George VI.

The Unknown Warrior became an important symbol of mourning for bereaved families, representing all those who lost their lives in the First World War but whose place of death was not known, or whose bodies remained unidentified. It remains a solemn tribute to all service personnel who have lost their lives in combat. 

The Queen was photographed leaving Windsor Castle on Wednesday before returning two hours later, where it is understood she is now self-isolating with husband Prince Philip, 99.

She looked sombre in a black ensemble, typically only worn while in mourning, attending a funeral, or for Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday services. 

The Court Circular for November 4 reads: ‘The Queen this morning commemorated the Centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey, London SW1, and was received at the Great West Door by the Dean of Westminster (the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle).’ 

The Queen

The Queen's Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah

Tribute: The Queen pays tribute to the Unknown Warrior while her Equerry, Lieutenant Colonel Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, carries a bouquet of flowers to place at his grave

Tribute: The Unknown Soldier was buried at Westminster Abbey on 11 November 1920 but lockdown restrictions mean commemorations had to take place in advance. File image

Tribute: The Unknown Soldier was buried at Westminster Abbey on 11 November 1920 but lockdown restrictions mean commemorations had to take place in advance. File image

The Queen's Piper plays during a ceremony in London's Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen last week

The Queen’s Piper plays during a ceremony in London’s Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen last week

Royal commemorations: The Duchess of Cornwall also carried out an engagement at Westminster Abbey yesterday, standing in for Prince Harry to visit the Field of Remembrance

Royal commemorations: The Duchess of Cornwall also carried out an engagement at Westminster Abbey yesterday, standing in for Prince Harry to visit the Field of Remembrance 

Sporting a poppy facemask,  Camilla, 73, honoured the servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for their country and stood in solemn silence as the Last Post was played

Sporting a poppy facemask,  Camilla, 73, honoured the servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for their country and stood in solemn silence as the Last Post was played

This tradition was first completed by the Queen Mother when she married King George VI in 1923. Pictured is Princess Beatrice's wedding bouquet on the grave earlier this year

This tradition was first completed by the Queen Mother when she married King George VI in 1923. Pictured is Princess Beatrice’s wedding bouquet on the grave earlier this year

King George V paying his tribute to the Unknown Warrior as he placed a wreath on the coffin, mounted on a gun carriage, at the Cenotaph in London's Whitehall in 1920

King George V paying his tribute to the Unknown Warrior as he placed a wreath on the coffin, mounted on a gun carriage, at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall in 1920

The Unknown Warrior's coffin resting in Westminster Abbey, in London, before the burial ceremony in 1920

The Unknown Warrior’s coffin resting in Westminster Abbey, in London, before the burial ceremony in 1920

The Queen has carried out only a handful of engagements since March and is expected to keep a low profile over the next month as she and the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, spend lockdown together at Windsor Castle.  

The Duchess of Cornwall also carried out an engagement at Westminster Abbey yesterday, standing in for Prince Harry to visit the Field of Remembrance.

She then stood in front of crosses from the Graves of the Unknown as the Dean offered prayers, before solemnly laying her own cross of remembrance and bowing her head in reflection.

A bugler played the Last Post, followed by a two-minute silence, and then Exhortation to Remembrance, as Big Ben chimed at 2pm.

 Afterwards the duchess toured the 308 plots filled with more than 60,000 crosses and symbols of all faiths, laid by staff and volunteers, with Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, President of The Poppy Factory.

Remembrance Sunday services, which are traditionally part of communal worship, cannot go ahead as planned on November 8 due to lockdown restrictions 

However, rather than being banned entirely the Government has set out a series of guidelines for local authorities and faith leaders hoping to hold the services.  

The coffin was laid in the ancient abbey ahead of its burial, two years after the end of the First World War

The coffin was laid in the ancient abbey ahead of its burial, two years after the end of the First World War

The burial ceremony of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey was attended by prominent politicians and members of the public

The burial ceremony of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey was attended by prominent politicians and members of the public

The warrior's coffin was carried into the Abbey by soldiers who were flanked by fellow military personnel ahead of the burial ceremony

The warrior’s coffin was carried into the Abbey by soldiers who were flanked by fellow military personnel ahead of the burial ceremony 

In 1981, the Princess of Wales's bridal bouquet was laid on to the grave of the Unknown warrior after her wedding to Prince Charles

In 1981, the Princess of Wales’s bridal bouquet was laid on to the grave of the Unknown warrior after her wedding to Prince Charles



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US election 2020: Win or lose, Donald Trump still has millions more votes than in 2016 – and that matters | US News


Whoever wins this nail-biter of an election, it may spell the end of the world order as we know it.

Whatever the outcome, one fact stands out: millions more people have voted for Donald Trump than in 2016, and that is very significant for those outside of America.

US election 2020 live: Follow the latest updates

Throughout the president’s first term in office there has been one question on the minds of many outside of the US, friend or foe.

Was the decision made by Americans four years ago a one-off, an aberration or a sign of things to come? We may now have an answer regardless of the result.

America built the world we live in, it was the architect of the post-war world order, its institutions, and the rules and agreements that have made our lives safer and more prosperous than they would otherwise have been.

And yet Donald Trump seemed opposed to so much of that.

He has openly derided international organisations and pulled out of some of them. He has gone back on America’s word by pulling out of international agreements on the climate and Iran. He has criticised allies and openly admired strongmen and autocrats.

He has undermined NATO by raising the possibility of America withdrawing from the western alliance. If he is elected, he may well follow through on that threat.

So traditional US allies as well as its rivals and enemies will have been watching this election closely to see if Americans endorsed that radical break with the country’s past, or rejected it.

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Joe Biden has urged his supporters to ‘keep the faith’ as they wait for results

Many Americans it seems are perfectly happy with a president disrupting so much of what the country worked so hard to put together.

They are not happy with America’s place in the world as it has become and used their vote to endorse Trump’s record.

If Joe Biden wins, he can work hard to restore America’s credibility among allies, renewing US support for the deals on Iran and the climate.

He will try and repair relations and alliances and put the US back at the centre of the world order.

But even then, allies may continue to doubt America as a reliable partner. They will know that it has voted for a Trump once and could vote for someone like him again.

To have dispelled those doubts, Americans needed to have voted decisively against Trump.

Millions more have voted for him this time round than the first time – even in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Whoever wins, America’s allies will need to hedge their bets in future, knowing there is a substantial chunk of the US electorate who have been willing twice to vote for a revolutionary disrupter on the world stage.

They will need to take into account the possibility that America will pull out of NATO, and without America’s unconditional support that alliance is undoubtedly weakened.

And they will know that Trump has shown the way for others like him.

Trump wannabes know there is considerable support for his kind of agenda at home and abroad that they will be able to tap into in future.

It turns out there is not the kind of unqualified enthusiasm for NATO, and the liberal democratic world order that allies have till now taken for granted.

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This is extraordinary.

America set up the institutions and wrote the rules that run much of the world in a way that suits America.

For an American president to retreat from leading that order and threaten to dismantle parts of it is hard to understand.

Isolationism is nothing to new to America and it has paid the price for it in the past, forced to intervene in two bloody world wars.

In the wake of the second, President Roosevelt led efforts to build a world order to safeguard the West’s prosperity and security to avoid the need for more costly interventions.

The support for Trump suggests Americans no longer see value for money in those arrangements.

America’s western allies will need to make plans accordingly.



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The NDIA spends millions fighting claims from people with disabilities


The NDIA spends up big on external law firms, creating a massive power imbalance. Only 20% of people with disabilities have legal representation.

Larry Laikind and the dangerous steps at his property (Images: Supplied)

Dr Larry Laikind is a decorated disability discrimination lawyer who has been commended for several human rights awards. He has 1% peripheral vision.

When the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) rejected his claim for funds to modify his backyard to make it accessible he, like hundreds of others with disabilities, took his claim to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to have it reviewed.

But Laikind is not in a fair fight. As revealed in Senate estimates last week, the NDIA has spent $29 million on external legal services in the past financial year, up from $18.4 the year before. This doesn’t count the cost of its in-house legal team.

Keep reading how the NDIA believes it is acting as a model litigant.

Register your email address to get FREE access on a 21-day trial.





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