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Nicola Sturgeon: 'Buck stops with me' on Scottish Covid tiers - BBC News
The Scottish first minster says she will not be getting into "standoffs" with councils over local restrictions.
media captionCovid in Scotland: FM wants to avoid Manchester lockdown situation Nicola Sturgeon has insisted she will have the final say on local Covid-19 restrictions in different parts of Scotland, saying "the buck stops here". The Scottish first minister said she would not "offload" decisions about local alert levels onto councils. A lengthy row has played out between UK ministers and leaders in Manchester over imposing stricter rules there. Ms Sturgeon said it was her "driving ambition" not to repeat this when a new multi-tier system begins in Scotland. She said the government would "consult and be as collaborative as possible", but would ultimately make the decisions and would not be getting into "standoffs". Some 2.8 million people in Greater Manchester were left in limbo for more than a week during talks between ministers, mayors and MPs over whether the region would move into the top tier of England's Covid alert system. The talks broke down after 10 days amid disagreements over financial support, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now confirmed the region will be placed in the "very high" alert level from Friday even without a deal. Scotland is due to implement its own multi-tier system of restrictions after a set of short-term measures expires later in October. Ms Sturgeon said she made no criticism of anyone involved in the "tough decisions" in Manchester, but said she would be aiming to avoid such a dispute. image copyrightGetty Images image captionThe UK government has been in a standoff with local leaders in Greater Manchester over Covid-19 restrictions The first minister said: "I believe it's really important that the buck for these difficult decisions stops here, with me and government. "We are asking people to do extraordinary things right now, and it's not fair for me and the government to try to offload those onto other people, be it local authorities or health boards. "We have to consult and be as collaborative as possible - we will absolutely be engaging with local authorities. And as we take decisions about which levels apply in which parts of the country we will want that to be collaborative. "But ultimately we have to be able to take the decisions." Ms Sturgeon said her government was "not in a position to get into standoffs over money", stressing the "finite resources" available to her. She said: "What we are trying to do is give as much clarity and certainty as we can, have as much collaboration and discussion with those that need to be involved in these decisions as we can, not shy away from responsibility and ultimately me bearing the accountability for these decisions, and retaining a degree of flexibility in the face of an infectious virus. "That is the balance we are trying to strike." image captionPubs in Scotland's central belt have been shut down by the current set of short-term restrictions At her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon also hinted that the current short-term restrictions on bars and restaurants - which are chiefly focused on the central belt - could be extended for another week until the multi-tier system has been signed off by MSPs. Rules clamping down on the hospitality trade are due to expire on 26 October, but MSPs will not vote on the government's "strategic framework" before then as Holyrood is in recess. The first minister is to discuss the restrictions with her cabinet on Wednesday. Asked if the current measures would be extended to cover the gap, she said: "If you look at the numbers across the central belt right now and the sequencing over the next week of moving to a new system, you might expect it might make sense from a public health point of view to see that rolled over. "That is one option cabinet is looking at tomorrow. "The regulations currently expire on Monday, so another option would be for that to be allowed to happen - we will look at the data and I will give the outcome of that tomorrow." Ms Sturgeon is to hold talks with opposition party leaders about the next steps on Tuesday afternoon, including Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. The Tory MP said he would "look at everything as constructively as possible", but said there had been a "lack of clear guidance" from the Scottish government to firms. He said: "When they were given just 50 hours' notice to introduce these further restrictions, what was the guidance from the Scottish government to businesses about how they could change and adapt to make sure they could open again safely? "It seems nothing has happened, nothing has been developed in that area and businesses are once again hearing through the daily briefing that these restrictions may last far longer."
Brexit: Standoff continues in trade talks after negotiators' call - BBC News
Both sides are calling on one another to compromise over a deal, as a December deadline looms.
image captionLord Frost has said the EU needs to "make clear" it is willing to change its approach. Talks on a post-Brexit trade deal remain stalled, after a phone call between the two sides' negotiators failed to make a breakthrough. UK negotiator Lord Frost said his call with the EU's Michel Barnier on Tuesday had been "constructive" but in-person negotiations could not resume. No 10 has said a "fundamental change" in the EU's approach is required before face-to-face talks should continue. Mr Barnier said the EU's door "remains open" following the call. The Frenchman, who had proposed "intensified" talks in London this week, added: "we should be making the most out of the little time left". Both sides are seeking an agreement to govern their trading relationship once the UK's post-Brexit transition period ends in January 2021. Both sides are calling on the other to compromise ahead of the looming December deadline for a deal, with key areas of disagreement including fishing rights and post-Brexit competition rules. The EU wants the UK to agree to rules limiting government help for business and industry, as well as a way for the EU to seek redress if they are broken. The two sides are also haggling over how much European fishermen should be able to catch in British waters from next year. Speaking before Tuesday's call, the prime minister's spokesman said the EU would need to show talks could be a "genuine negotiation rather than one side being expected to make all of the moves". Speaking in Brussels earlier, a European Commission spokesman said it was "pretty obvious" both sides would need to compromise in order for a deal to be done. It follows a summit in Brussels last week where EU leaders called on the UK to "make the necessary moves" towards a deal. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged business leaders to prepare for the end of the transition period in December, in a conference call alongside Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove. BBC business editor Simon Jack said business figures on the call described it as "terrible", with one adding it had been "more of a lecture". image captionMr Barnier attended last week's summit, where EU leaders called for talks to continue. It comes as a government bill granting ministers the power to override sections of the UK's Brexit divorce agreement cleared its first hurdle in the House of Lords. However, peers approved a motion by 395 votes to 169 to say the bill's controversial provisions to break international law would damage the UK's reputation. The vote and the scale of the defeat is an indication that peers could seek to make changes to the legislation when they embark on line-by-line scrutiny of the proposals. By remaining in the bloc's single market and customs union, the UK has continued to follow EU trading rules during its post-Brexit transition period. This 11-month period is due to end in December, and the UK has ruled out seeking an extension. Formal talks began in March and continued throughout the pandemic, initially via video link before in-person discussions resumed over the summer. If a deal is not done, the UK will trade with the EU according to the default rules set by the World Trade Organization.
Covid: Greater Manchester to move to Tier 3 restrictions from Friday - BBC News
Boris Johnson says he "regrets" a deal over financial support could not be reached with local leaders.
media captionBoris Johnson says Greater Manchester will move into Tier 3 Greater Manchester will move to England's highest tier of coronavirus restrictions from Friday at 00:01 BST, the prime minister has announced. Boris Johnson said "not to act now" would put the lives of Manchester's residents "at risk". He added a "generous" offer of financial support had been made to the region, but Mayor Andy Burnham refused. Mr Burnham said he had not been offered enough to "protect the poorest people in our communities". Greater Manchester is currently under tier two rules, meaning pubs and restaurants must close at 22:00, there is no household mixing indoors and the rule of six applies outdoors. But under tier three rules - currently only applied to Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region - pubs and bars not serving substantial meals have to close, household mixing is banned both indoors and outdoors, and there is guidance against travelling in or out of the area. Ahead of the Downing Street press conference, Mr Burnham - speaking alongside other local leaders - said that without an additional £65m in support, tighter measures "would be certain to increase levels of poverty, homelessness and hardship". On the inability to agree a support package, Mr Johnson said: "I do regret this. As I said last week, we would have a better chance of defeating the virus if we work together." He added Greater Manchester would receive £22m in funding as part of a "comprehensive package of support" but that the "door was open to continue the conversation" so long as the support was in line with that offered to other areas in same position. And he confirmed that conversations were ongoing with leaders in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the North East about the possibility of moving to the very high alert level. Responding to the breakdown in talks, Labour leader Sir Keir said: "The Conservatives have been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East, and their leaders with contempt. "Labour recognise the need for stricter public health restrictions. However, that must be accompanied by extra financial support." William Wragg, Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, tweeted that the "sense of failure" was "overwhelming". It comes as the latest government figures showed that, on Tuesday, the UK recorded a further 21,330 coronavirus cases and a further 241 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
US election 2020: Deadline looms for crucial US coronavirus relief - BBC News
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has set a Tuesday deadline for a deal to be reached before the election.
image copyrightGetty Images image captionSpeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has set a Tuesday deadline for a deal to be reached White House officials and Democrats in Congress are entering last-ditch talks over a stimulus bill that could inject cash into the battered US economy. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has set a Tuesday deadline for any agreement to be reached. Earlier this month, Mr Trump cancelled the budget negotiations, before later directing his team to resume them. Each side has said they want a deal passed before the 3 November election, but experts say this is unlikely. A statement from Mrs Pelosi's office on Monday evening said she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had made progress during a phone call earlier that day. The negotiators "continued to narrow their differences," her spokesman said, adding that Mrs Pelosi "continues to hope that, by the end of the day Tuesday, we will have clarity on whether we will be able to pass a bill before the election". In order for any deal to be finalised, it must be approved by the Democratic-controlled House and then the Republican-controlled Senate before going to the president to be signed into law. For the few past weeks, Mrs Pelosi and Mr Mnuchin have been haggling over a stimulus package ranging from $1.8tr to $2.2tr (£1.4tr to £1.7tr), which would address both economic and health issues. One major sticking point continues to be federal funding to cash-starved state and local governments, which Democrats insist on but Republicans label a "blue-state bailout". Democrats also continue to press for a clear national Covid-19 testing strategy and an expansion of childcare access. The White House is pushing for tax cuts and liability protections for businesses bringing back their workers. The White House has wavered on how broad a package the deal should be, as key Republican lawmaker express hesitations about adding to the ballooning US national debt. Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he would support a relief bill that is even larger than the $2.2tr package proposed by Democrats. "It's very simple. I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats," he told the programme. "Now, not every Republican agrees with me, but they will. But I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats, because this is money going to people that did not deserve what happened to them coming out of China." The last of three US coronavirus stimulus packages was passed in March, and many of the funds have already been depleted. Talks on a fourth package collapsed in August and have been on-and-off ever since. Relief measures have been proposed by both the House and Senate, but failed to gain broader traction in Congress. Meanwhile, new daily cases in the US are trending upward. Last week, the US nearly broke its record for new infections recorded in one day. The stimulus package has stalled, and in classic Washington fashion both sides, Democrats and Republicans, blame the other for politicising the issue. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed guarded optimism about the bill's prospects, but remains concerned about "differences" that negotiators have. Meanwhile at the White House, I spoke with the president's economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. He said the president has worked hard on the bill. Mr Kudlow also sighed, loudly, and said the discussions had become ideological. "There's a million - not a million - there's a number of political and ideological points in that that have nothing to do with Covid," he told me and a small group of reporters, referring to the bill. "Once it became a mammoth bill with a lot of ideological asks in it, that's what hurt." At this point, there is no resolution. Yet Republicans and Democrats both say they are doing their best - and that the other side has caused all the political drama and hobbled the bill's progress. In other words, it's business as usual here in Washington. Mrs Pelosi has said that if no deal is reached by the end of Tuesday, the talks will be suspended until after the election, which is now only 14 days away. However, she could be bluffing - as Mr Trump apparently was on 6 October when he tweeted directions to his team to "stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill". "I shut down talks two days ago because they weren't working out. Now they're starting to work out," he told Fox News later that week, citing breakthroughs in aid for airlines and direct payments to households.
Spencer Davis, one of rock's elder statesmen, dies aged 81 - BBC News
The Welsh musician was behind transatlantic hits such as Keep On Running and Somebody Help Me.
By Mark SavageBBC music reporter image copyrightGetty Images Spencer Davis, one of the key figures of the 1960s beat scene, has died at the age of 81. The Welsh guitarist was the driving force behind The Spencer Davis Group, who scored transatlantic hits with Keep On Running and Somebody Help Me. The band, which also featured a teenage Stevie Winwood, toured with The Who and The Rolling Stones in the 60s. Davis died in hospital on Monday, while being treated for pneumonia, his agent told the BBC. "He was a very good friend," said Bob Birk, who had worked with the musician for more than 30 years. "He was a highly ethical, very talented, good-hearted, extremely intelligent, generous man. He will be missed." The son of a paratrooper, Davis was born in Swansea in 1939 and first started learning harmonica and the accordion at the age of six. He moved to London to work for the civil service at the age of 16, but later relocated to Birmingham, where he taught German by day, and played in local clubs at night. Inspired by blues and skiffle, he formed a band called The Saints with Bill Wyman, later a member of the Rolling Stones; and performed folk music with Christine Perfect - who, as Christine McVie, became a core member of Fleetwood Mac's classic line-up. But it was with his eponymous rock group that he struck gold. Formed in 1963, The Spencer Davis Group featured Davis on guitar, a teenage Stevie Winwood on organ and vocals, his brother Muff on bass and Peter York on drums. Originally called The Rhythm & Blues Quartette, they changed their name in 1964 when Muff pointed out that Davis was the only one who enjoyed doing interviews - the logic being that the rest of the band could slope off to the pub while he handled the press. image copyrightGetty Images image captionKeep on Running knocked the Beatles off the top of the charts Their breakout hit, Keep On Running, was a cover of a song by West Indian performer Jackie Edwards. When it topped the UK charts in 1966, it knocked the double A-sided Beatles single We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper from the top slot - and Davis received a telegram from the band congratulating him on the achievement. "It's in a pile of papers somewhere," he told the BBC in 2009. "It said, 'Congratulations on reaching number one - The Beatles.'" The follow-up was delayed when Davis bashed his head on a car windscreen after braking to avoid a dog - but Somebody Help Me, another Jackie Davis cover, gave the quartet a second number one in March 1966. The band went on to prove they had songwriting chops of their own, with hit singles like I'm A Man and Gimme Some Lovin', which was later covered by The Blues Brothers. The Spencer Davis Group also recorded the theme song for the long-running children's TV show Magpie, under the pseudonym The Murgatroyd Band - a reference to the show's mascot, a fat magpie named Murgatroyd. By 1966, the band had starred in their own film, a musical comedy called The Ghost Goes Gear, which found the band stranded in a haunted manor. Davis also made a cameo in The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, as a bus passenger. Hits followed in the US, although the band never toured there; while Davis's ability with languages (he was fluent in German, French and Spanish) helped the band further their career in Europe. Those linguistic capabilities even led to Davis recording a German version of The Age Of Aquarius (Aquarius Der Wassermann) in 1968, and earned him a lasting nickname: "The Professor". image copyrightGetty Images image captionThe Spencer Davis Group - and Nicholas Parsons - in their 1966 comedy musical The Ghost Goes Gear However, the Spencer Davis Group came to an untimely end in 1967 when, at the height of their fame, Winwood quit to form Traffic, leaving Davis without his dynamic frontman. The band recorded a few more minor hits, but broke up soon after, with Davis moving to California, where he embarked on a short-lived solo career. At the time, he later claimed, he was near to bankruptcy, thanks to a punitive contract with Island Records. "I didn't realise what had been going on. I'd sold millions of records and hadn't seen a penny from them," he told Music Mart magazine in 2005. "In 1970, I was considering declaring bankruptcy, but I'd written a track with Eddie Hardin, called Don't Want You No More, which the Allman Brothers put on their Beginnings album. The damned thing sold six million copies. Suddenly a cheque for £5,000 arrived through the door and I'd never seen so much money in all my life. "I saw more money from that one song than I saw from all the stuff that had been an Island production." After confronting Island Records' owner Chris Blackwell over the issue, he was given a job in artist development at the label in the mid-70s. There, he helped to promote newcomers like Bob Marley, Robert Palmer and Eddie And The Hot Rods, as well as working alongside Winwood, who was now establishing himself as a solo artist. image copyrightGetty Images image captionThe Spencer Davis Group pictured in the mid-1960s (L-R): Spencer Davis, Peter York, Steve Winwood, Muff Winwood Davis returned to songwriting with 1984's Crossfire, which featured contributions from Dusty Springfield and Booker T. He subsequently reformed the Spencer Davis Group - minus the Winwood brothers - with whom he toured the world for the rest of his career, often playing more than 200 shows a year. Birmingham International Jazz Festival founder Jim Simpson, who was told about Davis' passing by drummer Pete York, said: "Spencer was a lovely man - always very courteous and a purist about music. "The Spencer Davis Group stuck more to the blues and never became a fully-fledged rock band. Spencer was scholarly and well educated, very gentle and kind and his tastes in music were spot on." The musician is survived by his long-time partner June, and three adult children. Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]
Covid: Tier 3 restrictions set to be imposed on Greater Manchester - BBC News
Talks between local leaders and Westminster have collapsed but the measures are expected to be brought in anyway.
The highest tier of Covid restrictions is expected to be imposed on Greater Manchester after talks over financial support broke down. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said local leaders had asked for £65m but would now get less than £60m. The "very high" alert level - or tier three - means pubs and bars not serving food must close, and there will be extra restrictions on household mixing. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to hold a press conference at 17:00 BST. That press conference will be followed by a statement in the House of Commons from Health Secretary Matt Hancock at 19:00. It comes after 10 days of talks between the government and local leaders - including mayors and MPs - over moving Greater Manchester's 2.8 million population from tier two to the highest restrictions. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the "collapse of the talks" was a "sign of government failure". Greater Manchester is currently under tier two rules, meaning pubs and restaurants must close at 22:00, there is no household mixing indoors and the rule of six applies outdoors. Under tier three rules - currently only applied to Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region - pubs and bars not serving substantial meals have to close, household mixing is banned both indoors and outdoors, and there is guidance against travelling in or out of the area. The BBC understands Greater Manchester was offered £60m of central government to help support businesses under the new Tier 3 limits - but in a conversation with the prime minister, Mayor Andy Burnham suggested it was not possible to accept less than £65m. Greater Manchester leaders originally submitted a request for £90m, which had been costed by a former Treasury official. On Tuesday morning they discussed £75m with government officials, which would have covered the period until the end of the financial year. It's understood that Boris Johnson and Mr Burnham discussed a figure of £60m but were unable to agree. Ministers were reluctant to set a precedent of giving one region more, proportionately, than another, especially given ongoing talks with several other parts of the country which could also face tougher restrictions. A Greater Manchester source said: "We had costed what people needed. Rather than give us what people needed, they were only willing to give us what they would offer." But government sources have suggested Mr Burnham was intransigent, with one saying: "Other local leaders in GM were more reasonable and constructive but Burnham was too proud to make a deal." In response, a Greater Manchester source said there had been "unanimity" and accused the government of "trying to grind us into submission". It is now not clear what financial support the region will receive. After 10 days of talks (of a kind) and billions spent during this crisis, it is quite something that the deal fell over down to a gap of £5m. Earlier, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said Greater Manchester's mayor, Andy Burnham, had been "unwilling to take the action that is required to get the spread of the virus under control". He added: "I have therefore advised the prime minister that these discussions have concluded without an agreement." Responding to the news, Sir Keir said: "The Conservatives have been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East, and their leaders with contempt. "Labour recognise the need for stricter public health restrictions. However, that must be accompanied by extra financial support." William Wragg, Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, tweeted that the "sense of failure" was "overwhelming". He added: "I shall avoid political comment until I have heard Matt Hancock's statement in House of Commons this evening." The three-tier system of alerts came into force in England last week in an attempt to control rising coronavirus cases without a UK-wide lockdown. On Monday, Mr Hancock told the Commons that discussions were planned about South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, north-east England and Teesside also moving into the top tier. Speaking ahead of those discussions with government, Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen said he planned to make clear "that we want a package that properly protects local people, businesses, jobs and education, whether it's for tier two or tier three". media captionEngland's three-tier system explained... with cake Elsewhere in the UK, in Wales people will be told to stay at home from Friday, while pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will shut, as part of a "short, sharp" national lockdown until 9 November. A two-week school closure has begun in Northern Ireland as part of a tightening of restrictions. And in Scotland, the tightest restrictions are in place in the central belt, and there are plans for a three-tier framework of measures, similar to England's. On Monday, government figures showed the UK recorded a further 18,804 coronavirus cases and 80 deaths.
Stormzy's stab-proof vest up for major design award - BBC News
The grime star wore the Banksy-designed piece during his 2019 Glastonbury headline performance.
image captionStormzy tears up Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage in 2019 Stormzy's stab-proof vest, which he wore whilst headlining Glastonbury Festival last year, has been nominated for a major design award. The Banksy-design was donned by the grime star to highlight structural racism. The winner of the Beazley Designs of the Year prize will be announced by London's Design Museum next month. Also in the running is a house created for the Oscar-winning South Korean film Parasite. Lee Ha Jun based the entire scheme for the fictional home of the wealthy Parks family on one simple sketch from the film's director Bong Joon Ho. The technology used to take years off Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese's mobster movie The Irishman is in contention too. media captionHow we made the actors younger "I thought it was really good," De Niro told the BBC last year. "I always joke I can gain 30 more years in my career." In June 2019, Stormzy made history by becoming the first-ever black British solo act to top the bill at the Worthy Farm event. Wearing the stab-proof Union Jack vest, he used his set to bring attention to inequality in the justice system and the arts. The eye-catching vest was created by the famously anonymous artist Banksy from a former police issue garment. The organisers of the new exhibition said it was "a defining cultural moment". image copyrightDesign Museum image captionThe rapper's famous Union Jack stab-proof vest will go on display at the Design Museum Several months after his big gig, Stormzy told Q Magazine that technical issues had made it the "most difficult thing" he has done. "Then after calming down for an hour," he added, "Some of the people at the festival - Emily Eavis and that - gave us a memory stick to watch it back. And I got about halfway through and I was, like, 'I think it all went alright'." media captionBanksy shop featuring Stormzy stab vest has appeared in London The design prize features 74 nominations across six categories - architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport. Also in contention are the sound design for the award-winning TV drama Chernobyl, and a virtual library aimed at evading censorship in the computer game Minecraft. A Chinese hospital built in 12 days at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic is recognised on the longlist; as well as the vegan impossible Burger 2.0; and The Renegade - a dance choreographed by the then 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon, which went viral on TikTok. The exhibition opens at the Design Museum in London on Wednesday 21 October and runs until 28 March 2021, with an overall winner being announced on November 26. Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]
The Countdown: Mic dropped, 50 Cent and the Twitch Among Us vote - BBC News
Hopes that Twitch will bring out the youth vote and 50 Cent has problems with Joe Biden's tax plan.
Exactly two weeks until voting day and a lot is going on. US President Donald Trump said Americans were tired of hearing about the virus but the Democrat pick for vice-president Kamala Harris said he had ignored its threat. Rapper 50 Cent threw his two cents behind the president. image copyrightPaul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Shutterstock 1. After the constant interruptions of the first presidential debate, there is a new rule: Donald Trump and Joe Biden's microphones will be muted during parts of the next match-up, but they are already arguing over the topics. 2. Mr Trump said Americans were sick of the pandemic while at a rally in Arizona, a Republican state which analysts say could be becoming more Democrat, as infection rates have been surging across the US. 3. "Oh you need a couple of permits?... I'd love you to send me $25m for the campaign," said Mr Trump as he acted out an imaginary call with the head of oil giant Exxon to prove that he could raise more money than Joe Biden - prompting the company to tweet:"Just so we're all clear, it never happened." 4. In rainy Florida, a hotly contested state where early voting has already started, Kamala Harris used a familiar Democrat attack line against Mr Trump, saying he had ignored the threat of coronavirus. You are on an alien spaceship and you are either an astronaut or a murderous imposter. Can you survive? image copyrightInnerSloth That is the premise of the hugely popular multiplayer game Among Us, and Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking for teammates. She has set up a channel on streaming platform Twitch as part of an effort to encourage young people to vote. Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote? (Ive never played but it looks like a lot of fun) — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 19, 2020 Big-name Twitch streamers like Pokimane lined up to play with her and root out the imposter. Politicians want that youth vote badly and just last week Joe Biden's campaign created a virtual field office in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. image captionWhen not on the House oversight committee, the congresswoman has also mastered the League of Legends game When lockdowns kicked in, Among Us became a way for millions of teenagers to socialise online. As journalist Alina Kim writes, it's the "game I log on to after burning my eyes out in back-to-back Zoom meetings". The headline on one Vice article about it simply reads: Among Us was not just the game of 2020, it is 2020: the game. As one of the game's developer's tweeted on hearing about AOC: "Ahhhh. What is life". image copyrightMark Davis "(Vote for Trump)... I'm out," wrote 50 Cent in a sweary post to his many millions of followers on social media. The reason? Biden's tax plan, which the rapper suggested amounted to a 62% hike. BBC Reality Check looked into the claim: Joe Biden has pledged to only impose higher taxes on those earning more than $400,000 a year - about 1.5% of the US population. Tax calculations are rarely straightforward but a Tax Policy Center study backs up the idea that most people won't be charged higher rates. It also estimates that the effective, or average, tax rate on the top 1% of earners would rise to 39%. Different taxes imposed by individual states could lead to variations in the figure. Assuming that 50 Cent's earnings are in the highest earning bracket, he could well be liable for a tax hike and could consider life as 30 Cent.
Robert Redford: Retired actor mourns the death of his son James aged 58 - BBC News
The film star's son James dies aged 58, after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
image copyrightGetty Images image captionJames Redford and his father Robert, pictured together at an event in 2018 Hollywood star Robert Redford is "in mourning" following the death of his son James at the age of 58. Activist and filmmaker James Redford died on Friday after being diagnosed with liver cancer, his wife Kyle confirmed via Twitter. His famous father's publicist, Cindi Berger, said: "The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child." The 84-year-old retired actor and director starred in movies like Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. "Jamie [James] was a loving son, husband and father," added Berger, who asked for privacy for the Redford family "during this difficult time". "His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking and devoted passion to conservation and the environment." Redford's son James made documentary films, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. His latest film Playing Keeps, which explored the importance of play and downtime in our lives, was given a virtual premiere online at this month's Mill Valley Film Festival in California. His wife of 32 years, Kyle, shared the news of his death online, alongside pictures of the couple and their two children. "We're heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life and was loved by many," she wrote. Jamie died today. Were heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many. He will be deeply missed. As his wife of 32 yrs, Im most grateful for the two spectacular children we raised together. I dont know what we wouldve done w/o them over the past 2yrs. pic.twitter.com/ynDN2jSZ04 — kyle redford (@kyleredford) October 16, 2020 She told the Salt Lake Tribune that James had discovered the cancer diagnosis late last year while awaiting a liver transplant. His liver disease had returned two years ago, she added. Paying tribute, actor and director Mark Ruffalo wrote: "Damn. This year has cut deep. Another great, sweet, kindly person leaves us." Another Hollywood star, Kiefer Sutherland, described the late filmmaker as "a wonderful writer and a wonderful man". So saddened to hear about the passing of James Redford. He was a wonderful writer and a wonderful man. — Kiefer Sutherland (@RealKiefer) October 19, 2020 Fellow filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom tweeted she was "heartbroken to hear of my friend Jamie's passing". "He was an amazing filmmaker and a beautiful person, & I will be forever grateful to him for his mentorship when I started out as a filmmaker." Robert Redford has three other children, including the actress Amy Redford. Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]
Covid: Noon deadline approaches for Manchester coronavirus deal - BBC News
If agreement on new restrictions is not reached, the PM could impose tier three rules.
image captionGreater Manchester is currently in tier two, or "high alert" level Greater Manchester leaders have been given a deadline of midday to reach a deal with the government over moving to tier three Covid restrictions. If a deal is not reached, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the PM would decide on the next steps. In this situation, the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said the "implication" was the top tier of rules would be imposed. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the region was seeking a "fair figure" of support from the government. Mr Burnham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he would be meeting with local leaders this morning and would advise them to set out the request in a letter to the government. The government and local leaders - including mayors and MPs - have been embroiled in 10 days of talks over tighter rules for Greater Manchester's 2.8m population. The "very high" alert level, also known as tier three, would mean closing pubs and bars which do not serve meals, and additional restrictions on households mixing. Mr Jenrick said local leaders had been "so far unwilling to take the action that is required to get this situation under control". Speaking to Today, Mr Burnham described the government's ultimatum as a "slightly provocative move", but he said he was going to "try and find a way forward". He said local leaders had never been given a figure for additional financial support in return for further restrictions. As well as setting out what a "fair figure" of support was, Mr Burnham said he wanted "full flexibility" to support people who will be affected by restrictions. He said: "I think it is fair to recognise that if you put a place under restrictions for as long as we've been under restrictions it grinds people down. It pushes businesses closer to the brink." Sir Richard Leese, the Labour leader of Manchester City Council, told BBC Newsnight he hoped a deal could still be made, but added: "If government imposes tier three - and I hope that won't happen - we will clearly need to comply with that." On Monday, Mr Burnham and Sir Richard accused the government of using "selective statistics" on hospital occupancy rates to bolster the case for tougher rules. On Monday evening, the two sides couldn't even agree on what they actually discussed earlier. Believe the local leaders and on Monday morning there seemed to be hope in the air. Officials from central government had mooted the possibility of a hardship fund to help support low-paid workers who stand to lose out if businesses close their doors under tighter restrictions. The message local leaders took from their meeting was that, while the Treasury is adamant they are not going to extend their national furlough scheme - nor increase the level of cash available from its replacement, the Job Support Scheme - Westminster might sign off extra money that could be spent that way, if local politicians saw fit. There was no concrete agreement on the numbers, but sources in Greater Manchester suggest the cost of supporting those who need the extra help comes in at around £15m a month. After that call, the consensus among North West leaders was moving in the direction of signing on the dotted line, with another call planned with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick for the afternoon. But rather than ushering in a new spirit of co-operation, that meeting went south. Read more from Laura. A three-tier system of alerts was announced a week ago in an attempt to control rising coronavirus cases without a UK-wide lockdown. So far, only the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire have been moved into tier three, the highest level. Mr Jenrick said Greater Manchester hospitals now had more Covid-19 patients than the whole of south-west England and south-east England combined. But he said local leaders in Greater Manchester had not agreed to the additional measures, "despite recognising the gravity of the situation" and with the government offering "an extensive package of support for local people and businesses". Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that he might "need to intervene" if local leaders did not accept a move to tier three. In areas under tier three, pubs and bars not serving substantial meals must close and there is guidance against travelling in and out of the area. Households are also banned from mixing indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens. Local councillors, the mayor and MPs are concerned that tier three rules will devastate industries such as hospitality without more financial support for workers and businesses. A key sticking point is that Mr Burnham wants the government to reintroduce the 80% furlough scheme used during the UK's first lockdown, instead of the new Job Support Scheme which covers 67% of the wages (covered by employers and the government) of people affected by tier three closures. Manchester's mayor and city council leader say the city has been in restrictions equivalent to tier two for almost three months, which has "taken a toll on people and businesses" and meant they needed better protection for the lowest-paid. In a joint statement, Mr Burnham and Sir Richard Leese said: "We had been encouraged by earlier discussions at an official level where the idea of a hardship fund, to top up furlough payments and support the self-employed, had been tabled by the government. "It was both surprising and disappointing when this idea was taken off the table by the secretary of state." But a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said Mr Burnham and Sir Richard were "incorrect in claiming that officials made this proposal today". Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons further discussions were planned about South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, north-east England and Teesside moving to tier three, or very high alert. In Wales, people will be told from Friday to stay at home, while pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will shut, as part of a "short, sharp" national lockdown until 9 November. It comes as a two-week school closure begins in Northern Ireland as part of a tightening of restrictions. In Scotland, the tightest restrictions are in place in the central belt, and there are plans for a three-tier framework of measures, similar to England's. Monday's figures show the UK recorded a further 18,804 coronavirus cases and 80 deaths. Mr Hancock said the virus was "on the offensive" as winter approached, adding that he was concerned about the level of infections among over-60s in some northern areas. But as the government tries to tackle the virus region by region, its claims about the impact on each area have been disputed. On Monday, the prime minister's official spokesman said government projections suggested coronavirus patients would take up the entire current intensive care capacity in Greater Manchester by 8 November, not including capacity in Nightingale hospitals. But Prof Jane Eddleston, the region's medical lead for the coronavirus response, said the situation was "serious" but Greater Manchester's intensive care capacity was not at risk of being overwhelmed. In their joint statement, Mr Burnham and Sir Richard said Greater Manchester's intensive care unit occupancy rate was "not abnormal for this time of year" and it was "essential... public fears are not raised unnecessarily". BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle said the rise in cases in Greater Manchester "may have already stalled" with signs that the growth in hospital admissions was also slowing down. How have you been affected by coronavirus? What have restrictions meant for you? Share your experiences by emailing [email protected] Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways: If you are reading this page and can't see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at [email protected] Please include your name, age and location with any submission.