London spared from toughest regional restrictions, but Manchester and Birmingham plunged into tier-three lockdown — RT UK News



The government has announced new regional restrictions that will come into force when England’s national lockdown ends next week. London will be in the second-highest tier, meaning no household mixing indoors.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed on Thursday that the national lockdown will be replaced with a return to the tiered system across England from next Wednesday.  

The restrictions announced by Hancock will see London spared from the highest tier of lockdown and instead being placed in tier two, meaning bars and restaurants can reopen but households won’t be allowed to mix indoors.

Meanwhile, other urban centres such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds will experience a continuation of the national lockdown measures having been designated very-high risk regions.

Tier three, the highest level, prevents bars and restaurants from reopening and forbids people from mixing with others outside their households in all indoor and many outdoor spaces.

The southwest, an area that was largely unhit by the worst of the pandemic, now finds a number of regions plunged into the highest tier. The city of Bristol and the rural counties of North Somerset and South Gloucestershire will also be subjected to the toughest restrictions in the run up to Christmas.

A postcode checker was briefly available on Thursday morning to allow people to see what the restrictions would be in force in their area. However, the page subsequently crashed.



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Brits warned of dreaded THIRD WAVE of Covid as ex-cabinet secretary insists relaxing restrictions over Christmas is UNSCIENTIFIC


The United Kingdom is one of the worst-afflicted nations in the world with Covid-19 after 18,662 new cases were reported on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Office for National Statistics suggested that Covid infections had levelled off across England following three weeks of national lockdown.

The ONS estimates there were 633,000 people infected with Covid during the week from November 15 to 21. This was down from 664,700 the week before. 

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Six-Day Major Lockdown In SA, The Toughest In The Nation Yet

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Yesterday, Premier Steven Marshall announced a major lockdown for South Australia. This has been one of the nation’s toughest coronavirus lockdowns to date.

In hopes of stopping what seems to be the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been escalating from a cluster in Adelaide’s north, a six-day major lockdown would serve as a “circuit breaker”.

This means all non-essential businesses closed, including numerous businesses, pet owners and funeral parlour operators are affected. This sparked a divided view in the state.

From midnight last night, only supermarkets, bottle shops, medical and mental health services, petrol station and childcare and school for families of essential workers are still open.

With this major lockdown, people will be restricted from going outside their homes, giving only one person per household the exception to leave the home each day, given the essentiality of the purpose.

Sadly, weddings and funeral will also be banned. Funeral directors and celebrants stated that the sudden ban on services is already having a devastating impact on families that were already grieving.

For instance, Sharon Muscet said she was midway through planning a service when she was notified of the six-day statewide lockdown. Since then, the family she had been working with are in distress, shocked and became quite angry towards the Government.

“You know, the sticking point was the word ‘banning’ funerals and they found it to be quite insensitive, was their words.” She added.

Weddings, on the other hand, were also moved on a last-minute notice.

Dog owners are also concerned for the well-being of their pets. Given that people aren’t allowed to go outside without a pressing reason, they are worried they might not be able to take their dogs for a walk.

Carolyn Jones, an RSPCA spokeswoman, already saw this coming. “We will have concerns if people weren’t able to take their dogs out for daily exercise,” she said. “It’s obviously good for the dog and good for the owner and we’ll await further direction from SA Health on that.”

With these restrictions being tough, supermarkets across suburban Adelaide, otherwise, will be allowed open 24 hours on weekdays, until 9:00 pm on Saturdays and from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm on Sundays for the next 14 days to facilitate physical distancing, under a measure announced last night.

Despite that, the announcement sparked buying, particularly at shops selling face masks. Instead of avoiding it, people have been hoarding goods. “It’s no point panicking and rushing out to the shop and, you know, buying up lots of toilet paper,” Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said.

Liquors stores, for instance, got people stocked up due to the re-imposition of quantity limits on certain items.

All of these grievances proved that people were overwhelmed with restrictions toughening up.

However, Raina MacIntyre, professor of Global Biosecurity from the University of NSW, said that the major lockdown was a good move to mitigate the outbreak at an early notice. She also cited that face masks should have been mandatory and not just encouraged.

“Earlier lockdown is always better,” she said.

Business SA hoped it would lessen the long-term impact for the organization’s members. Chief executive Martin Haese said he received more than 350 calls yesterday from concerned employers. He added that the measures were vital to making sure people returned to work as soon as possible. Should the numbers absolutely dissipate in the following days, work might resume. Although it is a tough pill to swallow, there is no denying that it is necessary.

Bartleby – The world’s toughest business school | Business


IN 1996 CIVIL war erupted in what was then Zaire and is now the conflict-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Karasira Mboniga managed to escape, eventually settling in the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda, and working as a secondary-school teacher. But he says that his life changed for ever when he started his own business in 2008, selling food and performing money transfers.

That business came under threat when the pandemic hit earlier this year. But Mr Mboniga was one of many refugees to be helped by the African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), a charity which started to disburse grants from a special covid-19 relief fund in June.

AEC, which started in Rwanda in 2012, has had a focus on job creation from the start. Eventually it realised that helping refugees would serve that aim, as jobs would also be created in the host community. Until the pandemic, it focused on making loans, rather than grants, to small businesses.

Its new covid-19 fund was established with help from the MasterCard Foundation, the payment processor’s charitable arm. It has already helped almost 4,000 entrepreneurs; 91% of the businesses that were closed have since reopened. On average, the ventures have managed to increase their staff by a third within a month of receiving a grant.

Sara Leedom of the AEC says the charity has put few restrictions on how the refugees can spend the money. Some have used it to settle debts; some to pay their employees; some to restock the business; some on covid-related issues, such as sanitation; and some have invested in new technology. Many operate small shops, kiosks or cafés; several work in agriculture; and a few in tourism and hospitality. “We were blown away with what was possible,” she says.

All the residents in the camps tend to rely on grants from the UN refugee agency for their monthly income. When people do buy goods, they often have to purchase them on credit. As a consequence, the camp’s entrepreneurs can get easily into debt as they wait to be repaid by their customers. That, in turn, helps explain why loans and grants from charities can be necessary to tide them over.

As well as a grant, however, Mr Mboniga has received business training from the AEC and says he would advise other refugees to join the programme. In the long run, he hopes that “my business will help me to support my family, to be self-reliant”. But he also wants to “create jobs for other refugees who don’t have other sources of income”.

Another person to make it out of the DRC was Muzaliwa Rushama, who reached the Nyabiheke Camp in the Gatsibo district of Rwanda in 2008. For many years, he had part-time work delivering goods. Starting a business was difficult, he says, because he did not have enough capital and it was also hard to find somewhere to conduct his trade and to acquire business knowledge. From his part-time income, he would save around 20,000 Rwandan francs ($20) a month until eventually he was able to accumulate 300,000 francs. That allowed him to start his business, selling food, such as flour and rice, in 2017.

Mr Rushama started working with the AEC in 2018 and has benefited from training, particularly in book-keeping, which he found immensely useful. “I know how to count money in and out, my expenses and stock,” he says. He was able to borrow $100 in 2018 and is currently servicing a $300 loan; he estimates that the value of his business has risen more than threefold since it began. His dream is to diversify into selling other products, for example shoes and clothes.

The challenges of operating a business in the middle of a refugee camp are enormous, to put it mildly. Almost everyone there relies on aid. Access to traditional sources of finance, like banks, is extremely limited and expensive. Many goods need to be brought in from outside but the Kiziba camp has only a dangerous road linking it with the nearest town. On the plus side, the Rwandan government at least does not tax the enterprises run within the camps.

Creating a business gives refugee entrepreneurs two things: a degree of control over their own lives and hope for the future. For those who have languished in such places for years or decades both are invaluable.

AEC is expanding its operations. A year ago it began helping refugees in a Kenyan camp called Kakuma. Its entrepreneurial wards may never become the next Apple or Facebook. But turnover is not the only measure of business achievement. Small can be beautiful.

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “The toughest business school”

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AFL Collingwood trade news 2020: Nathan Buckley Twitter, Adam Treloar Sam Darley, Peter Helliar, toughest day in footy


Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has described the final day of the 2020 AFL trade period as “my toughest day in footy” as he farewelled four players in a Magpies fire sale that’s left fans fuming.

It comes as Adam Treloar’s close friend and former Giants teammate Sam Darley suggested the new Bulldog was “one happy man” and “all will be revealed” soon about his messy exit.

Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips and Atu Bosenavulagi all found new footy homes on Thursday night as Collingwood cleared out salary cap space yet only essentially netted a first-round pick and a future second-rounder.

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Magpies list boss Ned Guy defended his club’s strategy during a tense interview on Fox Footy’s Trading Day.





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Melbourne Storm will wait on resting policy as toughest recovery of top eight looms for first week of the finals


But given there could be absolutely nothing to be gained – or lost – on the NRL ladder from the trip south to face St George Illawarra, Bellamy could next week have some thinking to do.

If, as expected, the Panthers seal the minor premiership with victory over a struggling Cowboys on Friday night, and red hot favourites Melbourne can beat the Tigers on the Sunshine Coast the next day, the Storm will be guaranteed second spot regardless of what happens in round 20.

The Melbourne Storm will have the toughest recovery heading into the first week of the finals.Credit:Getty

Does Bellamy ask some of his bug guns – Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster and Ryan Papenhuyzen – to stay at Twin Waters instead of heading down and back in one day to Sydney, which is required under the NRL’s biosecurity protocols? What about his rugged forwards, which have helped them relentlessly march to another double chance in the finals?

Smith, Munster and Papenhuyzen have missed game time with injury in recent months, but in a gruelling year where teams had a rapid mini pre-season after the COVID break and no byes aligning with State of Origin, there would certainly be logic in the line of thinking.

Smith, famously, hates to rest. He hates to even be taken from the field for a few minutes with a result beyond doubt. But if he’s readying himself for one final fling at a title, then even Bellamy wouldn’t be afraid to ask the question.

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For their part, Melbourne won’t seriously contemplate the idea until they know nothing will be gained from next week’s game. Right now, they just want to worry about rolling the Tigers, which would guarantee them two home finals at Suncorp Stadium.

They have played all of their home matches out of Sunshine Coast Stadium as the infection rate climbed in Melbourne, but will head an hour down the road for the play-offs.

The first of those could be against two-time defending premiers the Roosters. The two great protagonists featured in an epic during the corresponding match in Brisbane earlier this year.

Ryan Papenhuyzen’s last-gasp field goal cancelled out what appeared to be a Luke Keary match-winner, sending the match into golden point. Smith kicked the winning penalty goal, ending what many described the best regular season match in recent memory.

The problem for the Storm and Bellamy is the Roosters won’t leave Sydney in the final round. The tricolours also play on Friday night against arch rivals the Rabbitohs. That’s two extra days of recovery up their sleeve should they be drawn against Melbourne the following week.

When asked about the Storm’s predicament, NRL head of football Graham Annesley said: “We will move heaven and earth to ensure they don’t have a five-day turnaround.”

But will Bellamy move heaven and earth to keep his biggest guns off the plane to Sydney to fix what the draw couldn’t?

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Boyd Cordner is the toughest player in the NRL, but is Roosters captain too tough for his own good?


He also plays for a club where the coaching staff worries about their players more than most. Players at other clubs suffer head injuries one week and are sent out like mindless bison the next. That’s not how they roll at the Roosters.

The simplistic view is they must have a concussion problem because so many of their players have been sidelined for extended periods.

Roosters players show their concern for Boyd Cordner after the skipper went down against the Knights.Credit:NRL Photos

The reality is they draw attention to their concussed players because coach Trent Robinson and his medical staff rest them far longer than required.

He did it with five-eighth Luke Keary. He did it with Ryan Matterson when he was at the club. Jake Friend was cleared to play against Canberra earlier this month but benched nonetheless as a precaution.

Robinson has been particularly cautious with Cordner. He needs to be. It’s not in the captain’s DNA to watch at home under the doona.

In the frenzied madness of the Storm’s golden point win over the Roosters in July, we watched Cordner age before our eyes.

Cordner was taken from the field after a head knock against the Storm earlier this season.

Cordner was taken from the field after a head knock against the Storm earlier this season.Credit:Getty

He was tackled with the ball in the 83rd minute, this time slammed into the Suncorp Stadium turf, slowly rose to his feet then stuffed up the play-the-ball. The Storm won from the turnover in possession.

“Oh no, Boyd,” Andrew Johns said in commentary for Channel Nine as Cordner staggered about. “It’s hard to watch a warrior like that. The thing about Boyd is that he’s too tough for his own good.”

A truer word has never been spoken about Boyd Cordner. That moment, in which he subconsciously told himself to hurry up and play the ball instead of just laying down, captured the beauty and the bane of the Rooster skipper.

There are craftier back-rowers out there, no doubt, who are better ball-players, with better footwork, but none are as courageous. None make as many hard runs, so frequently. It’s why he’s the captain of his club, state and country. It’s why he’s so widely loved.

But it’s also why his body is failing him. It’s why there have been concerns at the Roosters about his longevity dating back as far as 2013, when his knees were starting to show signs of arthritis.

Cordner was only 21 then. He’s 28 now and there’s growing concern about how he can see out this NRL season, let alone three Origins for NSW. Perhaps an early retirement from rep footy is looming.

I asked him before the second Origin match in Perth last year to detail his injuries.

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“I’ve done the ACL in my left knee, couple of surgeries on my right knee, syndesmosis in both ankles so surgeries there, broken jaw so surgery there, pec at the start of the season in 2016, broke my big toe that year, too, calf in game two of Origin in 2017 … and then this ankle,” he said, referring to his black, blue and swollen ankle. “But I’ve been lucky.”

Lucky? He would say that. Cordner might just be the toughest player in the NRL right now. He’s also the one who complains the least.

He could’ve returned to the field sooner than the Broncos match two weeks ago. He could’ve returned after a month, but Robinson and Longworth decided to keep him on ice longer, for his own good.

If I know Cordner at all, it would’ve gone down about as well as a schooner of nails.

He didn’t return on Saturday night after a “context” decision, as the club is calling it, was made. The context was the tragic death of Cordner’s cousin, Joel Dark, a week ago, from a severe head knock while making his first-grade debut in the Newcastle competition.

It was a tragedy. For the Cordner family, which has suffered more tragedy than most, it wasn’t fair. His death resonates with every footballer. Dark was fit and healthy and went out for an afternoon of recreational sport and didn’t survive.

It shows the inherent and often forgotten danger of playing a brutal collision sport. Cordner is its toughest warrior. Thankfully, he plays for a club that will know when he’s had enough.

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Toughest time in banking for 30 years, says Macquarie’s Greg Ward


“We’re just so lucky that the interest rates are so low.”

Ward, head of Macquarie’s banking and financial services group, has overseen the company’s rapid expansion in mortgages, taking the lender into the Big Four’s lucrative heartland of financing bricks and mortar.

But his comments underline a grim reality. About one in ten Australian home loans have been deferred in response to the COVID-19 economic crisis, and these six-month deferrals will start expiring from next month.

While many borrowers will be able to resume repayments, and banks can extend further leniency, he says this will not always be in customers’ interests and the bank must balance its obligations to shareholders and regulators while being fair to its clients.

“It’s a reality that some people were already in a tight situation before this (the pandemic), and this has made it sort of worse,” Ward says.

“Debt’s a wonderful thing when it’s working for you, but when it’s not working and you can’t support it, it’s pretty miserable.”

Debt’s a wonderful thing when it’s working for you, but when it’s not working and you can’t support it, it’s pretty miserable.

Greg Ward

Ward‘s division made up more than a third of Macquarie’s profit last year after its mortgage book swelled by 35 per cent, and he is one of the most senior executives at the banking giant.

But Ward, who grew up near Nowra on the NSW South Coast, says he can empathise with borrowers in distress.

He says that after high school he had hoped to study medicine, but his family could not afford it in the era before HECS debt. He ended up in banking after studying accounting, a career he chose because the firms offered cadetships where they would pay their new recruits’ university fees.

“Particularly now as we go through payment pauses with customers and so forth, I can empathise with what it’s like to have debt collectors turn up at the door and things like this. That was what my family had, and so I can really empathise with making ends meet and it being sort of tough,” Ward says.

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Ward has been at Macquarie since 1996, the year it listed. Within two years of joining, he was appointed chief financial officer at the age of 29, a position he held for 14 years including during the turmoil of the global financial crisis.

In his current role, he is driving Macquarie’s retail banking growth by targeting profitable niches in consumer and business banking. It does not have branches, relying mainly on brokers to distribute loans, and has also overhauled its technology systems in an attempt to improve productivity and service.

“We just thought there was an opportunity for us to play a meaningful role for an increasing number of people by making the experience much easier using technology,” he says.

He says the bank, which has about 2.65 per cent share of the Australian home loan market, expects to continue posting “double digit” growth in its home loan portfolio.

And despite the difficulties facing individual customers due to the pandemic, Ward is more optimistic about its portfolio as a whole.

Mortgages on deferral have declined from a peak of about 12 per cent of its portfolio to 10 per cent, he says. In business banking – where it also targets some niche industries – it has been surprised at the resilience of at-risk sectors, such as car dealers and real estate agents.

“I’m a little bit optimistic in terms of our book and portfolio. In terms of the economy overall, it to me looks like it’s pretty on par with where they were forecasting,” Ward says.

Similar to rival retail banks, Macquarie has also largely quit the mass-market financial advice business, after it was forced to agree to an enforceable undertaking with the corporate watchdog in 2013. It has slashed the number of advisers from 440 at its peak to 130, and is now focused on high-net-worth clients.

Ward says being slapped with the enforceable undertaking was “pretty disappointing,” conceding the systems and processes had not kept pace with clients’ expectations.

As all banks have faced pressure to improve culture, he says the division now has “behavioural tools” to monitor culture. The idea is to detect if staff are slipping into poor or lax compliance habits, such as not being diligent with their training, as the bank believes such cultural problems emerge gradually.

“We have the view that someone doesn’t go from being the most compliant, risk aware, engaged individual to doing something horrible in one sort of snap,” he says.

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Why BlackLine founder Therese Tucker—who broke some of tech’s toughest gender barriers—is stepping down as CEO


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