News, sport and opinion f United Kingdom
Latest international news, sport and comment from the Guardian
Daniel Ricciardo disgusted with 'Hollywood' coverage of Grosjean's F1 crash - The Guardian
Renault’s Australian driver has blasted the decision to show replays of Romain Grosjean’s fiery Bahrain Grand Prix crash
Daniel Ricciardo blasted the Hollywood coverage of Romain Grosjeans fiery Bahrain Grand Prix crash on Sunday and said he was disgusted by Formula One showing endless replays while drivers were waiting for the race to restart. Grosjean was lucky to escape with his life after his Haas car speared through metal barriers, splitting in two and bursting into flames. Im disgusted and disappointed with Formula One for showing or choosing the way to show it as they did, and broadcast replays after replays after replays of the fire, and his car split in half, said Renaults Ricciardo. And then, like thats not enough, they go to his onboard. Why do we need to see this? Were competing again in an hour. His family has to keep watching that. All our families have to keep watching that ... Its really unfair. Its not entertainment. Ricciardo said Formula One, whose commercial rights are owned by US-based Liberty Media, was lucky it was not having to deal with a very different story. To show it like its something from Hollywood, its not cool. Choose to do that tomorrow, but not today, added the Australian driver. A Formula One spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Mercedes Valtteri Bottas agreed the replays had been disconcerting. I feel like people, spectators want to see it. But theres a limit as well, said the Finn. It could have been a fraction different, the shunt, and there would have been no way for him to get out of the car. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the images were frightening but if youre not transparent as an organisation, youre just taking the risk that somebody else shows stuff that is beyond your control. The race at Sakhir was halted and delayed for an hour and 20 minutes after the first lap crash with track workers having to remove the metal barrier and replace it. Haas said Grosjean was staying in hospital overnight after suffering burns on the back of his hands.
Environment to benefit from ‘biggest farming shake-up in 50 years’ - The Guardian
£1.6bn subsidies for owning land in England to end, with funds going to improve nature
Wildlife, nature and the climate will benefit from the biggest shake-up in farming policy in England for 50 years, according to government plans. The £1.6bn subsidy farmers receive every year for simply owning land will be phased out by 2028, with the funds used instead to pay them to restore wild habitats, create new woodlands, boost soils and cut pesticide use. The wealthiest landowners those receiving annual payments over £150,000 a year will face the sharpest cuts, starting with 25% in 2021. Those receiving under £30,000 will see a 5% cut next year. Some of the biggest recipients of the existing scheme have been the Duke of Westminster, the inventor Sir James Dyson, racehorse owner Prince Khalid bin Abdullah al Saud and the Queen. Farmers will also get grants to improve productivity and animal welfare, including new robotic equipment. The goal of the plan is that farmers will within seven years be producing healthy and profitable food in a sustainable way and without subsidies. The environment secretary, George Eustice, acknowledged the damage done to the environment by industrial farming since the 1960s and said the new plans would deliver for nature and help fight the climate crisis. Farming occupies 70% of England, is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss and produces significant greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution. The radical changes in agricultural policy are possible due to the UK leaving the EU, whose common agricultural policy is widely regarded as a disaster for nature and even critics of Brexit see the changes as positive. Farming and environment groups largely welcomed the plans but said more detail was urgently required. Brexit is looming at the end of December and uncertainties remain over food tariffs and trade deals. Many groups are also concerned about the potential import of food produced to lower animal welfare and environmental standards. [This is] the biggest change in agricultural policy in half a century, said Eustice. It makes no sense to subsidise land ownership and tenure where the largest subsidy payments often go to the wealthiest landowners. Over the last century, much of our wildlife-rich habitat has been lost, and many species are in long-term decline. I know many farmers feel this loss keenly and are taking measures to reverse this decline. But we cannot deny that the intensification of agriculture since the 1960s has taken its toll. Our plans for future farming must [also] tackle climate change one of the most urgent challenges facing the world. The total of £2.4bn a year currently paid to farmers will remain the same until 2025, as promised in the Conservative manifesto. Currently, two-thirds of this is paid solely for owning land, but the proportion will fall to one-third by 2025 and zero by 2028. Funds for environmental action will rise from a quarter of the total to more than half by 2025, with the remaining funds used to increase productivity. The new green payments will be trialled with 5,000 farmers before a full launch in 2024. But the level of payments for work such as natural flood defences and restoring peatlands and saltmarshes has not yet been set. Nor has the likely cut in carbon emissions been quantified. The president of the National Farmers Union, Minette Batters, said: Farming is changing and we look forward to working with ministers and officials to co-create the new schemes. But she added: Expecting farmers to run viable, high-cost farm businesses, continue to produce food and increase their environmental delivery, while phasing out existing support and without a complete replacement scheme for almost three years is high risk and a very big ask. The cuts are expected to reduce the income of livestock farmers, for example, by 60% to 80% by 2024, Batters said. Kate Norgrove, of the WWF, said: Our farmers have the potential to be frontline heroes in the climate and nature emergency, and this roadmap starts us on the right path. It must see increased investment in nature as a way to tackle climate change. Tom Lancaster, principal policy officer for agriculture at the RSPB, said: This is a make or break moment for the governments farming reforms, which are so important to both the future of farming and recovery of nature in England. [This plan] provides some welcome clarity, but faster progress is now needed over the coming months. But Craig Bennett, CEO of the Wildlife Trusts, said: We are deeply worried that the pilot [environment] schemes simply cannot deliver the promise that nature will be in a better state. Four years on from the EU referendum, we still lack the detail and clarity on how farm funding will benefit the public. Other measures in the government plan include funding improvements in how farmers manage animal manure slurry is a major polluter of both water and air and a scheme where farmers seeking to leave the sector can cash out all the subsidies payments they are due up to 2028 in 2022, part of efforts to help new farmers enter the sector. The government said it would be cutting red tape for farmers, with warning letters replacing automatic fines for minor issues and more targeted though not fewer inspections. In July, the government said rules about growing diverse crops, fallow land and hedges would be abolished in 2021, claiming they had little environmental benefit. Farming policy is a devolved matter and other UK nations have yet to bring forward firm new plans.
Edinson Cavani could face three-game ban as FA investigates social media post - The Guardian
The FA has confirmed it is investigating whether a social media post from the Manchester United striker used racist language
Edinson Cavani, the Manchester United striker, could face a three-game ban if the Football Association deems that he used discriminatory or racist language in an Instagram story shared from his account on Sunday evening. The FA has confirmed it is investigating the post, which was published shortly after Uniteds 3-2 win over Southampton, in which Cavani scored two goals after coming on as a half-time substitute. In the post which was later deleted the words gracias negrito! are used to thank a follower congratulating Cavani on his performance in the match at St. Marys. Social media postings are covered by FA Rule E3, and if a comment is deemed to include a reference to a persons ethnic origin, colour, race or nationality, then that will be regarded as a potential aggravating factor in any punishment. The rules also make it clear that the owners of social media accounts are responsible for any content posted from their account, whether by themselves or by a third party. Additionally, deleting an inappropriate post does not necessarily prevent a sanction from being imposed. Last year, Manchester Citys Bernardo Silva was banned for one match after posting and then deleting a tweet comparing his teammate Benjamin Mendy to the cartoon figure on a brand of Spanish chocolate. If the FA decides to pursue the case it will write to Cavani in the next few days asking for his written observations. Any charge must be issued by next Monday. The word in question negrito was the same one used by Cavanis friend and Uruguay teammate Luis Suárez to Patrice Evra during a game between Liverpool and Manchester United in 2011. At the time, Suárez argued that the word was a term of endearment and not intended as a form of racial abuse. However, the FAs disciplinary panel rejected this explanation, and Suárez was banned for eight matches. At the start of this season, the FA issued fresh guidelines on racist language and behaviour on social media, with offences carrying a minimum ban of three matches. Manchester United were not available for comment on Sunday night.
Joe Biden announces all-female media team at his White House - The Guardian
The president-elect announces senior communications team, led by campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield
President-elect Joe Biden will have an all-female senior communications team at his White House, led by campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield. Bedingfield will serve as Bidens White House communications director, and Jen Psaki, a longtime Democratic spokeswoman, will be his press secretary. Biden, whose office said he would receive his first presidential intelligence briefing on Monday, also plans to name a woman as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Neera Tanden, the president and chief executive of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, will be given the job of overseeing the implementation of Bidens policies, according to a person familiar with the transition process. All three are veterans of the Obama administration. Bedingfield served as communications director for Biden while he was vice president; Psaki was a White House communications director and a spokesperson at the state department; and Tanden served as a senior adviser to the-then health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. Jen Psaki was a White House communications director Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House, Biden said in a statement. These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better, he added. Karine Jean Pierre, who was vice president-elect Kamala Harris chief of staff, will serve as a principal deputy press secretary for the president-elect. She is another Obama administration alum, having served as a regional political director for the White House office of political affairs. Pili Tobar, who was communications director for coalitions on Bidens campaign, will be his deputy White House communications director. Another woman expected to be appointed to a senior role in the administration is Cecilia Rouse, who will beome chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. Rouse, a labor economist at Princeton University whose research has focused on the economics of education and tackling wealth inequality, is well-liked by progressives. She previously served as a member of the council in the Obama administration. Biden is also expected to pick Wally Adeyemo, senior international economic adviser in the Obama administration, to serve as Janet Yellens top deputy at the treasury department. Economists Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey are expected to be named as members of the Council of Economic Advisers, the person said. Biden has also picked Brian Deese, another adviser under Obama, to head the White House National Economic Council, the New York Times reported, citing three people with knowledge of the matter. The economic blow dealt by the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare dramatic wealth and racial disparities that progressives want Bidens team to tackle swiftly. They have leaned hard on him to shun corporate lobbyists and prioritise diverse picks. The economic selections so far represent broad diversity, deep expertise, long Washington experience, said Matt Bennett, co-founder of centrist Democratic political consultancy Third Way, and a return to competence and sanity. But some progressives criticized the selection of Deese, a White House climate official under Obama and currently an executive at BlackRock, the worlds largest asset manager. Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project, a group that scrutinizes corporate influence in government, said BlackRocks large stake in U.S. policy decisions might put pressure on Deese to recuse himself from some policy matters. He will either be absent from big chunks of his job or proceed without regard to the conflicts of interest, Hauser said. BlackRock did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The appointment of Tanden, who heads the left-leaning Center for American Progress think tank and sparred with the progressive camp over her support for Hillary Clinton against Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential race, is also likely to draw criticism from the left.
NHS to enlist 'sensible' celebrities to persuade people to take coronavirus vaccine - The Guardian
People who are ‘known and loved’ will front campaign amid fears of low take-up
NHS bosses plan to enlist celebrities and influencers with big social media followings in a major campaign to persuade people to have a Covid vaccine amid fears of low take-up. Ministers and NHS England are drawing up a list of very sensible famous faces in the hope that their advice to get immunised would be widely trusted, the Guardian has learned. Health chiefs are particularly worried about the number of people who are still undecided, and about vaccine scepticism among NHS staff. There will be a big national campaign [to drive take-up], said one source with knowledge of the plans. NHS England are looking for famous faces, people who are known and loved. It could be celebrities who are very sensible and have done sensible stuff during the pandemic. No names are thought to have been confirmed. But NHS communications experts suggested privately that the footballer Marcus Rashford, who is widely admired for his child food poverty campaign, which has forced two government U-turns, and members of the royal family would be ideal recruits. Politicians will not be used, it is understood. Expectation is growing that the first of three potentially promising vaccines Pfizer/BioNTech, of which the UK has secured 40m doses is set for regulatory approval within days, allowing hospitals to start immunising their frontline health workers as soon as 7 December, as revealed by the Guardian on Friday. The government has secured 100m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and has asked the regulator to assess it for emergency deployment. A further 2m doses of the US Moderna vaccine have also been ordered, bringing its total to 7m for the UK. All three vaccines involve two doses received several weeks apart. Meanwhile, an internal NHS briefing paper shows that airline cabin crew, firefighters and the jobless are being targeted as part of a huge team of vaccinators being assembled, trained and paid £11.20 an hour to administer the jabs. Under the slogan Your NHS needs you, the recruitment campaign aimed at enlisting tens of thousands of extra staff will stress that vaccines will be our best defence against the virus alongside effective social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands and that vaccinators will be playing a vital role by immunising millions of at-risk people. Public trust in vaccines has risen in most of Europe in the past five years, with the largest survey of global attitudes to vaccinations suggesting that just 7% of Britons would not accept a Covid-19 vaccine in March. According to the findings in the Lancet, this rose to 11% in June and 14% in July, however. For the NHS campaign to tackle Covid scepticism, officials plan to use doctors who often appear on television and radio discussing health issues, because of their profile and the trust they are assumed to already have with the public. They will also deploy other influencers who are popular on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Religious leaders are being asked to help persuade adherents to their faith that vaccination is good for them, their family and the country as a whole. They are seen as important ways of getting pro-immunisation messages to people of black, Asian and minority ethnic origin in particular, amid concern about potential take-up in some communities. In Yorkshire, staff from Bradford Royal Infirmary are working with local religious and community leaders to devise ways to encourage the citys large Asian population to have the jab. The NHS and Public Health England are also drawing up parallel plans to convince the health services 1.4m-strong workforce in England to get vaccinated amid signs that a significant proportion may shun it. Jacqueline Totterdell, chief executive of St Georges hospital trust in London, told a seminar run by the Health Service Journal: I think there is a lot of anxiety [among staff], and some of the polls weve done around south-west London show that as little as 50% of people are willing just to have it without any [assurance about its safety]. We might all think people might be rushing to have it, but actually we might find thats not quite the case. Thea Stein, the boss of Leeds community healthcare NHS trust, told the same event: People who know about vaccines, know about side-effects, feel they dont know enough about the potential side-effects of the vaccine [for Covid] they feel anxious and uncertain. Experts say that overall take-up would need to be anything from 60% to 75%, depending on how effective the vaccines prove to be. The British Medical Association, which represents Britains doctors, said those deemed a priority to receive Covid jabs because of their poor underlying health would need to be reassured that vaccines are safe, to counter apprehension about taking them. It is especially important that those most at risk of serious illness, and the people around them, are vaccinated. Such individuals will need evidence-based assurance of vaccine safety and efficacy in their specific group, said Dr Penelope Toff, co-chair of the BMAs public health medicine committee. It will be vital that there are clear culturally-tailored communications delivered by trusted local and community leaders, and targeted at the most vulnerable and harder-to-reach communities, and that it is made easy for these populations to access vaccination. Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia who specialises in infectious diseases, said famous faces could help people hear the truth and understand the message. Some form of campaign will be essential, even if it is only to advise people how to get vaccinated, he said. But with the rise in recent years of vaccine scepticism and the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories about vaccines then some form of campaign will be needed to counter this. The government declined to release details of the campaign. A government spokesperson said: An effective vaccine will be the best way to protect the most vulnerable from coronavirus and the biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began, potentially saving thousands of lives. Vaccines will only be authorised for use if they have met the strict safety and effectiveness standards of the UKs medicines regulator.
Philip Green: the tycoon who went 'from zero to hero' – and back again - The Guardian
‘King of the high street’ will forever be associated with the downfall of BHS – and now very possibly Arcadia
Sir Philip Green is most at home in a grey tracksuit pacing the decks of his £100m superyacht Lionheart floating in the tax haven of Monaco shouting into one, two or sometimes even three mobile phones simultaneously. It is where he is this weekend ahead of what looks the end of the road for his Topshop fashion empire. And it is where the Guardian found the former self-crowned King of the high street when the newspaper tracked him down to ask him to reassure his 13,000 staff that he would look out for them the last time his business appeared to be teetering on the brink of collapse last summer. Then, as now, Green who has spent most of his career polishing his image with models, pop stars and celebrities did not want to talk. He threatened reporters with a visit from the Monégasque police and unpleasant things. Green, 68, whose family owns Arcadia Group which includes Topshop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge is in crisis talks trying to secure emergency funding to stave off a collapse into administration. Accountants at Deloitte are said to have been lined up to take over as administrators as soon as Monday. But there has been no word of concern from Green, 68, for his 13,000 staff whose jobs are at risk. Most of the employees are being supported by the taxpayer via the governments furlough scheme. While his workers face unemployment at Christmas, Green is reportedly planning a festive break at a luxury resort in the Maldives. Green is said to be booked into the One & Only Reethi Rah resort, where private villas costs up to £30,000-a-night and guests arrive by seaplane. Other guests to have enjoyed the resorts 12 pristine white sand beaches and three swimming pools are said to have included Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Gordon Ramsay and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich. The Beckhams have also reportedly stayed for Christmas, taking an 11-night break said to have cost £250,000. A spokesman for Arcadia declined to comment when asked about the trip, or the progress of talks this weekend to save the business. Green, who went to the now defunct private Carmel College, known as the Jewish Eton, but left at 16 with no O-levels, has become accustomed to a life of luxury and excess. For a large part of his career he spent weekdays living in a suite at the five-star Dorchester hotel, in Mayfair central London, before flying by private jet to join his family on Lionheart on Friday nights. Seeking to avoid the coronavirus pandemic, Green has spent most of the past year permanently onboard the 300ft yacht, which features a helipad, pool, 15 crew cabins and room for 12 guests. It is the third yacht that Green has commissioned from Italian shipbuilder Benetti Yachts. If Green pushes ahead with the trip to the Maldives, local people are likely to remember him from his previous visits. He picked the Indian Ocean archipelago as the location for his 55th birthday party, which lasted five days, and reportedly featured a troupe of topless dancers and performances by George Michael and Jennifer Lopez. It was said to have cost about £20m. Anna Wintour, Sir Philip Green, Kate Moss and Lottie Moss attend the Topshop Unique show at London Fashion Week AW14 at Tate Modern in 2014. Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images So many of his famous friends including Kate Moss and the Vogue editor Anna Wintour arrived by private jet that the local airport authorities refused to allow any more to park. The party for his 60th, billed as PG60, was held at the Rosewood Mayakoba resort in Mexico, with performances from Robbie Williams, Stevie Wonder and the Beach Boys. His presents have included a £7m Gulfstream jet and a £250,000 gold Monopoly set. Green is not afraid to confront people who challenge him. They include the veteran MP Frank Field and a long list of journalists who questioned his business operations or tax affairs. When the king of the high street, Sir Philip Green, appeared before the Commons he said he regarded his workers as part of the family, Field said this weekend. The workers now need that family. In 2003 Green described the Guardians then financial editor Paul Murphy born in Oldham and raised in Portsmouth as a fucking Irishman who cant read English. In the short conversation with the Guardian, which the newspaper printed in full, he said the words fuck or fucking 14 times. Challenged later about his bad language, Green said: Do I say fuck off? Yes, if people dont behave themselves, according to a profile in Tatler. Green is, by his own admission, not a modern man. He told Sunday Times journalist Oliver Shah in his unauthorised 2018 biography of Green titled Damaged Goods, that the #MeToo debate had gone too far. Wheres this all going to end, Green said. Theres no stag parties, no hen parties, no more girls parading in the ring at the boxing. So theyre all banned? Perhaps it was not a surprise to Arcadia employees that Green was soon caught up in the #MeToo scandal with a string of sexual and racial harassment allegations, including claims he groped a female employee and told a black executive his problem was that he was still throwing spears in the jungle. Two other female employees received hundreds of thousands of pounds each after alleging Green had grabbed one woman by the face and put another in a headlock. Greens lawyers admitted he acted in a tactile way and has prodded and poked individuals. Green has repeatedly said he categorically denies any unlawful racist or sexual behaviour. Green will be forever associated with the downfall of BHS. He sold the department store chain to the former bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in March 2015. The company collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs 13 months later, leaving a pension deficit of about £571m. A high-profile parliamentary investigation into BHSs demise concluded that the owners had systematically plundered the company, and described the hole in the pension fund as the unacceptable face of capitalism. It led to calls for Green to be stripped of his knighthood, awarded by Tony Blair for services to the retail industry in 2006. Green had boasted that he had Blair on speed dial. Blair described Green as the person who thought up the dream and dreamt the dream into reality. More than 100 MPs voted in favour of a motion for his knighthood to be cancelled and annulled by the honours forfeiture committee. It was the first time that MPs had proposed someone be stripped of a knighthood. The threat was dropped when Green agreed to pay £363m into the BHS pension scheme in 2017. Once again I would like to apologise to the BHS pensioners for this last year of uncertainty, which was clearly never the intention when the business was sold in March 2015, he said at the time. I hope that this solution puts their minds at rest and closes this sorry chapter for them. Tina Green, who said she thought her future husband was dreadful when she first met him at a party in 1985, lives in Monaco, where the family own a luxury apartment and Lionheart is often berthed. She collected a £1.2bn dividend from Arcadia in 2005, the biggest in British corporate history. No tax was paid on the dividend because of her Monaco base. The Greens, who had once amassed a £4.9bn estimated fortune, fell off the UKs list of billionaires in 2019. Veteran retail analyst Richard Hyman said: Hes gone from zero to hero, and now it looks like hes going back to zero again.
Mystery metal monolith vanishes from Utah desert - The Guardian
Metal structure that prompted multiple theories about how it came to be was removed by ‘an unknown party’, officials say
The tall, shiny, metal structure, now famously known as a monolith was discovered in Utah last week, and had prompted multiple theories about how it had come to be there ranging from TV show set leftover, to art work, to aliens. But now, almost as mysteriously as it appeared, it has been removed by what local officials called an unknown party. [We] did not remove the structure which is considered private property, A Bureau of Land Management spokesperson said in a statement. The structure has received international and national attention and we received reports that a person or group removed it on the evening of 27 Nov. The bureau added it will not investigate crimes involving private property as they are handled by the local sheriffs office. The Utah Department of Public Safety, whose helicopter crew first discovered the installation on 18 November during a count of bighorn sheep, initially declined to reveal the structures location. A number of thrill-seeking visitors, however, had since found it located just east off Canyonlands National Park. By the time adventurers Riccardo Marino and Sierra Van Meter went to the spot late Friday night to get some photos, it was no longer there. All that was left in its place was a message written in the dirt that said bye bitch with a fresh pee stain right next to it, Marino posted to instagram. Someone had just stolen the statue, and we were the first to arrive at the scene. Marino said they saw a pickup truck with a large object in its bed driving in the opposite direction shortly before they got there. A Reddit user also found the structure, which many believed to be abstract art, had been formerly removed. The objects origins remain unknown but Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot who discovered it, estimated it to be between 10ft and 12ft high (about three metres). One of the biologists spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it, Hutchings told local KSL. He was like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around! And I was like, What. And hes like, Theres this thing back there weve got to go look at it! Some have compared the art to minimalist sculptors, including the late John McCracken. A spokesperson for his gallerist, David Zwirner, told the Guardian earlier this week it was not one of McCrackens works. He later told the New York Times, however, it could in fact be by the artist. Since its disappearance, visitors have begun stacking rocks around the site, along with the top piece that was left behind.
Man charged with murdering rapper 21 Savage's brother TM1way - The Guardian
Terrell Davis was reportedly stabbed in south London as he took shopping to his grandmother
A man has been charged with the murder of a rapper who was reportedly killed as he took shopping to his grandmother. Terrell Davis, who performed as TM1way, was stabbed to death in Ramilles Close in Brixton Hill, south London, just before 6pm on 22 November. It was reported that the 27-year-old had been visiting his elderly relative when he bumped into an old friend and was stabbed. He was the brother of the US rapper 21 Savage, who paid tribute by posting a picture of the pair together on Instagram. The performer wrote: Cant believe somebody took you baby bro I know I took my anger out on you I wish I could take that shit back. Paramedics and an air ambulance crew tried to save Davis but he was pronounced dead at the scene. On Sunday the Metropolitan police said detectives investigating the killing had charged a man with murder. Tyrece Fuller, 21, of Tavy Close, Lambeth, is due to appear in custody at Bromley magistrates court on Monday. A Met police spokesperson said this week: Terrells family are distraught and we are providing them with support via specially trained officers as they begin to grieve for him. 21 Savage has been based in the US since he was seven, but the Grammy-nominated artist whose real name is Sheyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph was born in Newham, east London. He was arrested by US immigration officials last year over claims he failed to leave the country when his visa expired.
Iranian nuclear chief's body prepared for burial as anger focused on Israel and US - The Guardian
Newspaper publishes comment urging retaliation with strike on Haifa that ‘causes heavy human casualties’
The body of Irans most senior nuclear scientist has been prepared for burial as anger at Israel and the US boiled over in the country following his assassination last week. Mohsen Fakhrizadehs coffin, draped in the Iranian flag and topped with flowers, was transported to a Muslim shrine for prayers and last tributes, the countrys state news reported. His remains will be taken from the Imam Reza shrine to Fatima Masumehs shrine in Qom, south of Tehran, and then to Imam Khomeinis shrine in the capital, according to the defence ministry. Fakhrizadeh was killed on Friday on a highway near the capital in a military-style gun and bomb assault that has led to an escalation of tensions in the Middle East. A bodyguard was also killed in the attack. High-ranking military commanders and his family will attend Fakhrizadehs funeral, Irans defence ministry said on its website. Israel has not claimed responsibility or officially commented on the attack. However, Tehran has long blamed its arch-foe Israel for killing several of its nuclear scientists, with Fakhrizadeh considered the most senior, having founded the Islamic Republics nuclear programme in the early 2000s. Irans supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has promised a definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it, putting Israel on alert for a potential military response in the coming days. Fakhrizadehs coffin at the Imam Reza shrine. Photograph: Wana News Agency/Reuters An opinion piece published by a hardline Iranian newspaper on Sunday suggested that Iran should attack Haifa, a port city in northern Israel. The Kayhan newspaper published an opinion piece by an Iranian analyst, Sadollah Zarei, who suggested a strike that destroys facilities and also causes heavy human casualties. Such an attack would be an effective deterrent, he said, because the United States and the Israeli regime and its agents are by no means ready to take part in a war and a military confrontation. Iran has attacked Israeli targets overseas. Its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, has also conducted strikes during previous rounds of heightened hostility. Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Irans parliamentary speaker, said on Sunday that Irans enemies must be made to regret the killing. The criminal enemy does not regret it except with a strong reaction, he said in a broadcast on Iranian state radio. While Iran claims that its nuclear programme is non-military and focused on energy, Fakhrizadeh was the subject of US sanctions; Israels prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has accused him of leading a secret atomic weapons operation. The timing of the attack has led to suggestions that Israel, possibly with Donald Trumps support, is attempting to stop any future attempt by the incoming president, Joe Biden, to reconcile with Iran. To Israels dismay, Biden has said he is willing to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal abandoned by Trump and lift some economic sanctions if Iran comes back into compliance with the agreement. Ben Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser when Biden was vice-president to Barack Obama, did not suggest who was to blame for this killing but criticised it as an outrageous action aimed at undermining diplomacy between an incoming US administration and Iran. All future UN inspections of Irans nuclear sites should be ended as a result of the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian parliament agreed unanimously on Sunday. The response suggests the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, already breached by Iran by breaking the agreed limits on enriched uranium stockpiles, is going to come under severe pressure in the coming weeks as Iran responds to the attack. The parliament said in a reference to Israel that what it described as the hand of the murderous Zionist regime could be clearly seen in the assassination. Tehran said those that thought negotiation with the US was the right path had been proved wrong. The parliament said Iran should withdraw from so-called additional protocol the measure that gives the UN weapons inspectors from the IAEA access to Irans nuclear sites. Such a move would probably be regarded as the effective end of the nuclear deal by its three European signatories: Germany, France and the UK. Iranian hardliners have long argued that Israeli spies operate within the IAEA inspectorate. Parliament met in closed session on Saturday to hear an intelligence report on how the assassination happened, and to update on progress with the investigation. Sundays statement of its own creates no legal duty on either the Iranian government or the countrys Atomic Energy Organization, but members of parliament are finalising a bill on the strategic act to revoke sanctions to create that obligation. Numerous Iran military and political officials have said Iran will not respond militarily to the assassination at this stage since it would play into the hands of those in Israel and the US wanting to foment a war in the middle east before Trump stands down in January. But Iran is debating whether the assassination has shown diplomatic negotiations with the Biden administration will be pointless. The former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted: The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was reckless, provocative, and illegal. As a new administration takes power, it was clearly intended to undermine US-Iran diplomacy. We must not allow that to happen. Diplomacy, not murder, is the best path forward. Biden has not yet commented, but his allies say he remains committed to the US rejoining the nuclear deal. The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, during an interview on Sky said the UK had no evidence on the responsibility for the attack, saying: We are still waiting to see the full facts of what happened in Iran but I would say that we stick to the rules of international military law, which is very clear against targeting civilians. On Saturday the Iranian Ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, urged the UK government to unreservedly condemn the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, saying he was a dedicated scientist and said the attack was a clear violation of the international law as well as human rights values and standards. Raab said he was willing to meet Iranian leaders to discuss a way forward. He said: There is an opportunity to look at the JCPOA [the Iran deal] again with the Biden administration, but there are a series of choices for them to go further and further down the track with its non-compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal, and we will be, right up to Christmas, I will be meeting with my colleagues, also with Iran, if they are willing to come into the tent, to make sure we hold them to account but also to try and find a peaceful path through. Javad Zarif, Irans foreign minister, defended the negotiation of the nuclear deal predicting some of the unnecessary tensions in US-Iranian relations could be removed under Biden. Trump, he said, had contracted Americas Middle East policy to Netanyahu, creating the worst era in US-Iran relations in 40 years. Agence France-Presse contributed to this report
Culture secretary to ask Netflix to play 'health warning' that The Crown is fictional - The Guardian
Oliver Dowden says younger viewers might take historical drama’s portrayal as fact
The culture secretary plans to write to Netflix and request a health warning is played before The Crown so viewers are aware that the historical drama is a work of fiction, he said in an intervention that prompted criticism. Oliver Dowden said that without the caveat younger viewers who did not live through the events might mistake fiction for fact following complaints that the fourth series of the drama had abused its artistic licence and fabricated events. He told the Mail on Sunday: Its a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact. At present viewers are warned that the show contains nudity, sex, violence, suicide references, and is suitable for viewers who are 15 and older. The move was derided by historians including Prof Kate Williams, who said it sounded like a distraction. Alex von Tunzelmann, a historian who wrote the Reel History column for the Guardian, wrote: Netflix already tells people that The Crown is fiction. Its billed as a drama. Those people in it are actors. I know! Blows your mind. The historical dramas fourth season, which focuses on the late 1970s and 80s with the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands conflict and Lady Diana Spencers marriage to Prince Charles, has evoked much criticism. Accusations of inaccuracies in Peter Morgans production span from repeatedly showing the Queen wrongly dressed for trooping the colour to disputes over Charles fishing technique. But the biggest bones of contention have been around the depiction of Charles marriage to Diana. He is portrayed phoning Camilla Parker Bowles every day in the early years of the marriage, and Diana is depicted as forcing plans for the couples trip to Australia be changed after throwing a tantrum. Morgan has previously spoken about meeting Prince Charles and being told by him that scriptwriting is a hard job and that its not what you leave in but what you leave out thats most important. Hes one of those characters for whom you have sympathy and criticism in equal measure, a perhaps not uncommon attitude toward the monarchy in general, Morgan told the New York Times. Sarah Horsley, whose husband, Major Hugh Lindsay, died in an avalanche while on a skiing trip with the prince, said she wrote to Morgan to ask for her husbands death not to be dramatised. She said the royal family have to grin and bear the depiction of them in the avalanche episode, but for her it was a very private tragedy. Sundays intervention is the latest from Dowden, who contacted the BBC to voice his concerns that Rule, Britannia! might not be played at this years event. In September, he wrote to national museum directors saying the government does not support the removal of statues or other similar objects after a debate started about how to handle colonial-era artefacts and those with connections to slavery. The Crown has also been praised for presenting the royal family as real people. Others have pointed out that Charles and Dianas infidelity and marital problems are well recorded including in interviews they both gave. Netflix declined to comment, but a source said it had been widely reported that The Crown was a drama based on real-life events.
UK students fined more than £170,000 over Covid rule breaches - The Guardian
Exclusive: 28 institutions issued fines, with Nottingham University making up one-third of total
Universities fined students more than £170,000 for breaching coronavirus safety rules in the first weeks of the new academic year, a Guardian analysis has found, as students told of struggling to make friends without flouting restrictions. Twenty-eight institutions fined students for breaking university, local and national Covid rules, including bans on household mixing, and mandatory face coverings and social distancing, according to responses from 105 universities to freedom of information (FoI) requests. Nottingham University students paid more than one-third of the total amount, with 91 fined a total of £58,865 up to 12 November more than the amount levied on its student population by police. The university said the individual fines it issued were up to £1,500. The fines handed down to 1,898 students amounted to £170,915. Most universities only disclosed fines levied in the first two to three weeks of term. Some said the money would be paid into their student hardship fund. The findings reveal wide variations in the penalties imposed on students by different universities as well as in the support provided to those self-isolating or seeking psychological help during the pandemic. Fifty-three universities said they disciplined and cautioned a total of 5,122 students. Nottingham came top, with 672 students sanctioned and a further 21 cases pending, followed by Leeds Beckett (403), Oxford Brookes (340), Manchester University (334) and Aberdeen (215). Aberdeen University disclosed the second highest value of fines £32,250 by 24 November. The university did not disclose how many students this figure covered but said it had imposed fines of £17,750 on 140 students by 15 October. Most fines were £125 but a small number of repeat offenders were told to pay £250, it added. Oxford Brookes imposed the highest number of Covid-related fines 326, totalling £18,950. Leeds University imposed 343 fines but said it could not extrapolate how many were for breaches of Covid regulations, and did not disclose their value. St Andrews University imposed fines totalling £13,240 on 193 students. The figures do not include fines separately imposed by police. Nottingham said police had issued 91 fines to its students, totalling £28,000. In October, four Nottingham Trent students were fined £10,000 each by the police after more than 30 people were found in their house. A university spokesman said it was working with officers to investigate another student house party earlier this week, and had begun disciplinary proceedings. Emily, 20, a first-year student at St Andrews University, which warned students they must followall safety guidelines to the letter, said she had broken the Covid restrictions because otherwise it would have been physically impossible to make friends. She added: I have received two £60 fines from the university and two strikes on my non-academic register, meaning I can no longer do things such as apply for a year abroad. I think its outrageous that these strikes will stay on my record for my entire university life. The halls and town are crawling with wardens and security ready to shut down anything immediately. Its like a police state. A friend was fined for not wearing a mask properly. This whole experience is incredibly isolating. Liz, 18, a first-year student at Newcastle University, was fined £100 by the police for having drinks with friends from her home town in their student house. She said: Id been feeling really down and thought this would make me feel better. It wasnt a party but the music was fairly loud. I didnt appeal because I thought feeling lonely wouldnt stand up very well as a defence. Ive not made any new friends. Im stuck in my tiny bedroom all day. I would have deferred if I knew if was going to be like this. Some of the universities that levied the largest fines also had the longest waiting times for students to see a counsellor. St Andrews University said the average waiting time to see a counsellor was five weeks. Manchester Metropolitan University, which issued 156 fines totalling £7,800, disclosed the largest number of students waiting for counselling (280), followed by Northumbria University (81). Most universities said they were providing online and telephone counselling, with some also laying on buddy services. Many are providing deliveries of food and toiletries some for free. Larissa Kennedy, the president of the National Union of Students, said: It is absolutely unacceptable that universities have felt it necessary to issue obscene fines and harsh punishments. [They] should be providing care packages with food, household products, wellbeing materials and general necessities at no extra cost. Newcastle University said it was acutely aware that the pandemic had limited students ability to make friends. A spokeswoman added that students had access to a helpline and 24/7 mental health support and could pair up with a student or staff buddy. A St Andrews University spokesman said: Its grossly false and disingenuous to claim the only way to make friends is to break the rules. Support for our students remains our paramount concern. Nottingham University said it supported police fines against the minority of students who broke the rules, which were reinforced by its own disciplinary action, fines and other sanctions. A spokesman for Universities UK, which represents 140 higher education institutions, said universities had encouraged responsible student behaviour through agreements or pledges. But he added: Universities are taking Covid safety measures and government guidance very seriously and students will have been informed of the consequences of breaking these rules.
Long Covid: ‘Is this now me forever?’ - The Guardian
Months after coming down with the virus, Eleanor Morgan is still struggling with ‘long Covid’. What is it and how can the burden be eased?
One night in early March, I had a fever that reminded me of being a child. My pyjama top stuck to me with sweat, my joints ached and, at some point, the walls looked like they were breathing. The next morning I started coughing and didnt stop. It was pre-lockdown and, taking pity on me (I live alone in London), a friend in the countryside offered to be nurse. En route, in Paddington Station, I longed to curl up like a cat beside the warmth of the Upper Crust stall. One morning, my friend told me shed poked her head round the door throughout the night to check I hadnt coughed my aorta up into the bed. Back in London, as lockdown began, unpredictable spells of fatigue started to hit me. Was it Covid? I had no idea; only NHS staff were being tested then. But it didnt feel like chest infections Id known. There was a crushing feeling in my chest for weeks, as if my ribs were a pair of bellows being squeezed. Adding to the fun, Im asthmatic. On two occasions, things felt hairy and I called 111. Each time I was summoned to A&E and given a nebuliser and steroids, which helped dramatically. But March became April, became May and the fatigue remained. Some days, it felt like a possession. Id walk the dog in the morning then fall asleep on the sofa until 3pm. Eight months on, I still have mild, irregular breathlessness and chest tightness. I have been upgraded to a steroid inhaler that, generously, keeps giving me oral thrush. My GP thinks I may have long Covid. Long Covid is not medically definitive, but a term that describes a portion of the population struggling with symptoms for weeks or months after being infected with Covid-19, and not just those who were seriously ill. In fact, there is no evidence that links severity of infection and ongoing symptoms like fatigue. Data from the app-based Covid-19 symptom study, being conducted in real time by the genetic epidemiology team at Kings College London (KCL), showed that up to 60,000 people had reported having symptoms for more than three months. Fatigue is the most common, but breathlessness, chest tightness, brain fog, gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, headaches and vertigo are among other reported manifestations, ranging from mild to debilitating. For many, the psychological effects are profound. Back in London, as lockdown began, unpredictable spells of fatigue started to hit me. Was it Covid? I had no idea What is causing so many people to be knocked sideways like this? Preliminary data from the first study to assess the long-term impact of Covid-19 on multiple organ health in low-risk individuals (those who are relatively young and healthy) with ongoing symptoms shows 70% of the first 200 screened patients have impairments in one or more organs, including the heart, lungs, pancreas and liver, four months after they were first ill. More data is needed, but an emerging theory regarding the ongoing fatigue people are experiencing is that long Covid could be a post-viral syndrome akin to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In fact, Professor Frances Williams, who is part of the genetic epidemiology team at KCL overseeing the app study, and who has been researching CFS for decades, believes Covid-19 may finally unlock the black box of chronic fatigue, which is, truly, one of the last frontiers in medicine. Lee Bowen hasmade a career from his lungs. As an opera singer, harnessing the power of his breath is a daily practice. For the past eight months, his chest has not felt like a site of power but one of trauma. Throughout March, Bowen, 49, from Caerphilly, says he felt chesty and fluey with a cough and progressive, disabling fatigue. I was walking to the shop one day and wanted to lie on the pavement and go to sleep, he says. The cough persisted. One evening in late March, Bowen was so unwell he called 111. He was sent to A&E, where x-rays showed his lungs were in good shape, but he wasnt tested for Covid. Bowen cannot be certain he had the virus, but his GP feels his symptoms are Covid-related. Six months after his cough started, he still has bizarre and unpredictable fatigue as well as brain fog that stops him being able to read. I see the words, but they dont go in, he says. Blood tests ruled out any serious problems, which led to Bowens GP diagnosing post-viral fatigue or long Covid. It is hard, he says. Very hard. Bowen is one of 30,000 members of the Long Covid Support Group on Facebook. Many members report feeling unseen and desperate. Some are bed-bound, broke because they cant work and, in some cases, facing homelessness. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (Sign) are now working with the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) to draw up guidelines to help those with long-term complications in both primary and secondary care. Understandably, many feel this official recognition has taken too long and that, with earlier intervention, their outcome might have been very different. Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the RCGP, tells me that the college had long been calling for the development of guidance to support healthcare professionals to deliver the most appropriate care and treatments to patients suffering with long Covid, which he describes as a dreadful condition. Like all other aspects of Covid-19, he explains that, although we are starting to understand more, we need to see more research so that GPs can deliver the most appropriate care and support in the community. A network of 40 specialist NHS long Covid clinics are now opening, which will come as good news for people who have previously been rejected from oversubscribed services. For many, the psychological effects are profound: long Covid. Illustration: Nathalie Lees/The Observer Amy Durant, 31, a digital publisher from Surrey, was recently rejected from a long Covid clinic. She was very unwell in March (fever, aches and delirium) and, throughout April, started to feel as if something was crushing my chest. She was seen by paramedics one evening, who were reassured by her vital signs and didnt take her to hospital. This was encouraging, but a positive antibodies test and a CT scan (which took six months to get) identified damage to the airways in her lungs, and have left her feeling less hopeful. I have no idea if this is permanent. Before this, I ran 15km a week on the Surrey Hills. Now, I have mornings where I turn the kettle on and have to go back to bed. I need some help. For those who have survived being seriously unwell with Covid-19, a protracted recovery is common. Life after such severe illness and the treatments required, such as intubation or mechanical ventilation in intensive care, is slow, basic and often very frustrating. Damage to the lungs and heart, and muscle atrophy, can leave previously healthy, spirited people feeling like a hologram of who they once were. Nigel Heal, a semi-retired Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust manager, spent 12 days in intensive care in April. He describes his life now as being in biometric opposition to before he fell ill. Im normally up in the mornings at 5am, at my desk early and full of enthusiasm, he explains. When Heal, 62, first returned home after hospital, he couldnt move without shortness of breath or an increased heart rate. Then it became muscle and joint pain. The fatigue has been constant, but so damn variable. I never know how the day will go when I wake up. Everyday tasks need pacing. Eight weeks ago, I was talking to my line manager about a phased return to work, but woke up the next day and felt dreadful. I see the words, but they dont go in: Lee Bowen, whose symptoms include brain fog. Photograph: Mark Griffiths/The Observer Heal is slowly making progress with the hospital rehab programme he attends with his partner, Rob, who was admitted to intensive care with Covid a week before he was. The couple were, at one point, back-to-back in side wards, but couldnt communicate because they were bound by machinery and Heal forgot to give Rob his phone. Heal is thankful theyre on the recovery journey together my good day might be his bad day and we can look after each other but has thought at times: Is this going to be us forever now? There is a gentle dejection in his voice. Im a happy person, but I cant lie this has been incredibly difficult. An important part of Heals emotional recovery has been filling the gaps in his recollection of the hospital stay. I had false memories, he says. I thought I was only on a ventilator for a few nights, but later found one of my selfies of me on a ventilator during the days. I submitted a subject access request for my medical notes and was able to join the dots. I saw that I really was in dire straits. Even people who were mildly ill with Covid-19 have been left with ongoing health issues. This can create a deep psychological wound. A lot of people feel isolated and unsupported, says Professor Williams. This is why we are trying to provide useful, well-validated information on our website and feed the data into government. From the beginning, the Welsh and Scottish governments were keen to engage. It has been more difficult with ours, she notes, pointedly. We have used what we have learned to pressure the government into changing the list of official symptoms. For example, they were reluctant to include loss of taste and sense of smell, despite it being a very obvious symptom cluster in our data. Williams explains that as-yet- unpublished data from the app (with 4.3m users at the time of writing) suggests about 9-12% of people are still symptomatic at four weeks after illness onset, with more women being affected than men. This provides an incredibly valuable, but not exhaustive, insight into how the virus is behaving among the UKs population of 66m. But many people wont have used the app, will not have been tested at the time of infection and are unable to access antibody testing currently only available on the NHS for certain people who work in primary care, social care or education. (At an average cost of between £70 and £100, private services are too expensive for many.) So its impossible to know how many people could have long Covid. The underlying mechanisms are also shrouded in mystery, but theories are emerging. The uniqueness of the way Covid-19 attacks the host seems to be making people more unwell than with other viruses, as well as causing lingering and evolving symptoms. One theory is that the virus has been eradicated from most of the body, but is lingering in small clusters. For example, if someone has long-term diarrhoea, the virus may still be hiding in the gut. The virus may also affect organ function and cause scarring; most obviously in the lungs if a person developed pneumonia. (Long-term impaired lung function has been seen after Sars and Mers infections, both types of coronavirus.) Novel effects have been observed in the blood of some people who have been hospitalised, too, including abnormal clotting and damage to blood vessels. The most widely agreed-on theory is that long Covid could be the result of the body maintaining an immune response longer than it needs to. The symptoms of long Covid are similar to other post-viral syndromes, says Marshall. For example, some people who have had glandular fever will have fatigue that lasts for months. Williams agrees: A likely scenario is that someone with long Covid has an immune system that has gone into overdrive. When the body is fighting a pathogen, chemicals called cytokines are released by white blood cells. This creates an inflammatory response, including swelling and increased blood flow to the area that marks the infections location and attracts more white blood cells. This causes those awful flu feelings: fever, aching limbs and exhaustion. The immune response is turned off once the infection has been fought but, for some people, the switch stays on, causing ongoing fatigue and other symptoms. Williamss theory is that genetics inform the kind of exaggerated immune response people with long Covid may be having. Chronic fatigue syndrome is rooted in the same theory. In 2018, the largest study to date on the causes of CFS suggested that the condition may begin as a result of an exaggerated immune response. CFS is often diagnosed when fatigue and other prolonged symptoms cannot be medically explained, but a trigger illness or event is commonly identified. The complex nature of CFS means that improved medical testing is only part of the picture for providing better help for those living with it. Exploring the emotional component is integral, because CFS is often informed by a persons underlying mental health and past experiences. Fatigue is compounded by catastrophic thinking. Patience, empathy and validation, then, are key to any successful care pathway, particularly in light of the well-established link between CFS and those who have experienced childhood trauma. The precise underpinnings of this link are not fullyunderstood, but its clear. Dr Jonathon Tomlinson is a GP in east London, caring for one of the most socio-economically deprived communities in London. His key interest is medically unexplained symptoms. Tomlinson believes that a vulnerability to developing long Covid may be rooted in trauma. The evidence so far is unsurprising. If someone has a history of mental distress and develops long-term symptoms after infection, they may have less resilience. The symptoms may be much more anxiety-provoking, which in turn makes the symptoms worse. Many people feel unsupported: Professor Frances Williams outside St Thomas Hospital. Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Observer For both doctor and patient, it may be impossible to distinguish between the symptoms of a fight-or-flight system at full tilt (breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, diarrhoea and increased heart-rate are classic) and those of a post-viral syndrome. But these conversations should be collaborative. Individualised, empathetic care is going to be key, says Tomlinson. We have to think about the heterogeneity of long Covid. What does this mean? Well, like most GPs I have a handful of patients with ongoing problems, but they are all so different. One man barely speaks English and has been very frightened by his symptoms. His experience is different to a middle-class white British woman who is able to find community in a Facebook group. Her experience is different to a single mother of three kids from a BAME community, who may be completely exhausted, but doesnt have the time to engage with any referrals I could provide. None is better than the other, but applying broad strokes to peoples experiences is unfair. Validation a key aspect of helping those with CFS may not be found for everyone in ongoing testing. My experience is that people who have been very ill in hospital will have stuff found, like lung scarring, blood clots or pericardial effusions [fluid around the heart]. People who werent that sick rarely have things found, says Tomlinson. Two of his GP colleagues with ongoing post-viral symptoms were both referred to a post-Covid clinic. One was found to have pericardial effusion; the other nothing. Both doctors felt many of the tests were invasive and unnecessary. As GPs we are fairly parsimonious with tests. When you know the system, you know when someone is just doing every test they possibly can. Why? To cover their backs? Yes, but also to justify the funding. Understandably, some people may be reassured that a doctor is doing everything they can to get to the bottom of their symptoms. But there is also a risk that continued investigation could lead to more incidental findings that, however benign, may increase emotional distress in those with complex backgrounds. If someone has a history of mental distress and gets long-term symptoms after infection, they may have less resilience In some cases, youre made sick by medicine, says Tomlinson, who also identifies the risk of long Covid-ising peoples symptoms and missing the normal stuff (GPs get three calls a day about dizziness; how can you possibly say its long Covid or Ménières disease?) But there is also a risk in putting everything down to anxiety and delaying important diagnostic tests. Really getting to know someone and their history is fundamental. We really do need specialists to look at people, says Durant, who feels too much conversation among non-medical professionals is dangerous. I agree. Finding online communities can be validating, informative and reduce feelings of isolation. But they can also become places of conflict that may influence already vulnerable people to undergo superfluous testing that reinforces a disease mindset and reduces feelings of autonomy. As with CFS, the problem lies in the lack of widespread individualised, holistic care. That long Covid is more common in women as is CFS speaks to a stark truth: the persistent dismissal so many women with chronic symptoms feel from medical professionals Its your anxiety, madam! Its the menopause! makes them feel worse. If we are in pain and not listened to by someone we thought might be able to help, we turn that pain further inwards, where it stretches a claw into other parts of our being. On this point, Williams believes the lessons from Covid-19 could help inject more empathy into medical training: If we dont sort it out in the next couple of years, well have failed. If long Covid can be understood through the framework of CFS, medical investigation is important, but a psychologically informed approach that does not treat the symptoms as the entire story is crucial in helping people understand and manage how they feel. As Williams says: What most people need more than anything is somebody with the time to really listen to them. Writing this piece and hearing the stories of others has made me realise how at sea I have felt in my own body this year. I steadily lost trust in my corporeal strength, but am now rebuilding it something that only began to feel possible when I confronted the shame of the loneliness I have felt. Ive never found it easy to say, Im struggling, but clearly the pain hasnt just been in my lungs. Emotion lives in the body. My thought patterns have affected my breathing and vice versa. I have been referred to a long Covid clinic for some further tests, but wonder if this whole experience hasnt also been a stark lesson in what removing regular human connection, and the opportunity to be heard, can do to a soul.