European Commission decides future of UK’s opt-out rights

first_imgEuropean Commission decides future of UK’s opt-out rightsOn 1 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Employers and politicians are bracing themselves for an end to the UK’sopt-out from the Working Time Directive, which allows staff to waive theirright to work no more than 48-hours a week. The UK remains the only EU member country to have the opt-out and pressurehas been mounting in Europe to bring the UK into line with other states,restricting staff to a 48-hour working week. The European Commission hasembarked on a review of the directive and will rule on revisions to thelegislation by the end of November 2003. David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy at the EngineeringEmployers Federation, said meetings with Fernando Pereira, the commissionerresponsible for the review, indicate that an end to the opt-out is inevitable.He said the EEF would be pushing for some sort of quid pro quo, however, suchas being able to average working hours across a year. “Given that the UK is the only country to take advantage of theopt-out, it will be a difficult battle to persuade others to allow it toremain,” said Yeandle. “We will be pressing for as long a lead timebefore that happens as possible to make the necessary changes and ideally to beable to average working hours over 52 weeks.” A poll in Personnel Today revealed that two-thirds of employers believe anend to the opt-out would increase labour costs, such as forcing companies whichoperate production lines to fall back on contract workers to keep theiroperations running. Others have welcomed the news, believing it signals a positive move towardsending the long-hours culture, which plagues the UK and is deemed to undermineproductivity. Paul Sellers, policy officer at the TUC, said the Government has littlechoice in the matter. “The Government has made a public commitment tostamp out the long-hours culture within five years and if it is going to meetthat target it is going to have to change the law,” he said. “But essentially we believe this is a piece of health and safety legislationand there should be no exemptions.” Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Bank saves with online recruits

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. HFC Bank says a new online recruitment programme will save it £500,000 ayear and improve the quality of new hires. David Smith, head of HR operations in the UK and Europe, said HFC – thelargest independent finance house in the world – recruits up to 1,000 people ayear, and the way it was managing candidates through the recruiting processneeded to be improved. “With the old system, branch managers had to look at too many CVs andit was taking too long,” he said. “We were asking too much of them.We needed to remove the front-end log-jam and needed to filter more.” The new system, tailor-made by HR Portal, allows agencies to advertisevacancies on the best job sites and includes a careers portal on the HFC Bankwebsite. It also provides better filtering of candidates and manages themthrough the system. Managers are now presented with a shorter list of more appropriatecandidates. Smith said feedback indicated if candidates were good, reducing the numberof interviews needed and saving both time and money. “We are not removingthe manager from making decisions, we are just giving them bettercandidates,” he said. Bank saves with online recruitsOn 7 Jan 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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Astros executive fired after ‘frightening’ outburst toward female reporters

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmail33ft/iStock(HOUSTON) — A Houston Astros executive has been fired after he reportedly made a “frightening” outburst toward three female reporters while celebrating the team making it to the World Series. The controversy surrounded closer Roberto Osuna, who the Astros acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays last season while he was under a 75-game suspension for domestic violence, per Major League Baseball’s policy on domestic violence.On Saturday, after the Astros clinched the ALCS in Game 6 against the New York Yankees, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman reportedly turned toward the group of female reporters in the clubhouse and said several times, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!” Sports Illustrated reported.One of the reporters was wearing a purple domestic violence bracelet, and Taubman’s comments were so “offensive and frightening” that another Astros staffer apologized to the women, according to the outlet.The comments were even more puzzling considering that Osuna had been “the least valuable” Astros player that game, Sports Illustrated reported.The Astros initially defended Taubman, describing the Sports Illustrated story in a statement as “misleading and completely irresponsible,” stating that the comments were “not directed toward any specific reporters” and accusing Sports Illustrated of fabricating “a story where one does not exist.”“An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time,” the statement, released on Monday, read, although the Houston Chronicle reported that there were no players in the area and no interviews being conducted at the time. “His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else.”On Tuesday, the organization apologized, and Taubman released a statement admitting to using “inappropriate language” for which he is “deeply sorry and embarrassed.”“In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate,” he said. “My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue. Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”The Astros release a subsequent statement on Thursday, stating that while their initial investigation found that Taubman’s comments “were not directed toward any reporter,” subsequent interviews “revealed that Taubman’s comments were, in fact, directed toward one or more reporters.”“We were wrong,” the statement read. “We sincerely apologize to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.”Astros officials stated that it believed terminating Taubman was “the most appropriate course of action” because “his conduct does not reflect the values of our organization.”In a news conference Thursday evening, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow described the team’s original reaction to the Sports Illustrated story as “incorrect.”“We own it as an organization,” Luhnow said, adding that the statement was reviewed by several people before it was released.Luhnow also said that Taubman’s comments were “out of character for him” and “not consistent with his behavior in the past.”The Sports Illustrated column argues Taubman’s comments are an illustration of MLB’s “forgive and forget” attitude toward domestic violence.The allegations against Osuna, 24, stem from a May 2018 incident in which he allegedly assaulted the mother of his child, but the charges were dropped after she returned to Mexico and declined to testify, ESPN reported. As part of a peace bond, Osuna agreed to counseling and to not have any contact with the woman.In August 2018, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement that while the situation “weighed heavily” on their decision to sign Osuna, they “felt that Roberto deserved a second chance” after evaluating “the entirety of information.”“This is the miscalculation that teams make over and over again,” the Sports Illustrated column read. “They acquire players with reprehensible pasts for less than market rate and concede that they will have to pay a price in public trust. But when the bill comes due, teams act like they, not the people their actions wounded, are the aggrieved party.”Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane said in a statement Tuesday that the team continues “to be committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence.”“We not only ensure mandatory training annually for all our employees, we also have created an important partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence, and have raised over $300K through our initiatives to help various agencies providing important support for this cause,” Crane said. “We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. Written by October 25, 2019 /Sports News – National Astros executive fired after ‘frightening’ outburst toward female reporterscenter_img Beau Lundlast_img read more

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Aimaq leads Utah Valley past Seattle 93-92 in OT

first_imgJanuary 15, 2021 /Sports News – Local Aimaq leads Utah Valley past Seattle 93-92 in OT Written by Tags: Fardaws Aimaq/UVU Wolverines Basketball/WAC FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailSEATTLE (AP) — Fardaws Aimaq had 29 points plus 14 rebounds while Trey Woodbury chipped in 20 and made the game-winning 3-pointer with five seconds left in overtime as Utah Valley edged past Seattle 93-92 in overtime.Darrion Trammell led the Redhawks on Friday night with 26 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Associated Presslast_img read more

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FEI Allocates Eventing European Championships for 2021, 2023

first_img We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! SIGN UP Email* More from News:MARS Bromont CCI Announces Requirements For US-Based RidersThe first set of requirements to allow American athletes and support teams to enter Canada for the June 2-6 competition have been released.Canadian Eventer Jessica Phoenix Reaches the 100 CCI4*-S MarkPhoenix achieved the milestone while riding Pavarotti at the inaugural 2021 CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.Tribunal Satisfied That Kocher Made Prolonged Use of Electric SpursAs well as horse abuse, the US rider is found to have brought the sport into disrepute and committed criminal acts under Swiss law.Washington International Horse Show Returns to TryonTIEC will again provide the venue for the WIHS Oct. 26-31 with a full schedule of hunter, jumper and equitation classes. Avenches in Switzerland will host this year’s FEI Eventing European Championship, with the 2023 edition allocated to Haras du Pin (FRA)Host venues for these two important Championships and other key events were made by the FEI Board at its videoconference March 16, with the full support of the FEI Eventing Committee and the European Equestrian Federation (EEF).“We are pleased to have the Swiss venue of Avenches hosting the 2021 Championships,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “Following last year’s postponement of the Tokyo Games, the FEI had originally cancelled European Championships in all three Olympic and Paralympic disciplines so that the focus could remain on the Games in 2021, but our community encouraged us to review that decision and we listened to those voices.“After carefully reviewing three strong bids, which also included Boekelo in the Netherlands and Montelibretti in Italy, the FEI Board voted to allocate this year’s FEI Eventing European Championship to Avenches.“We are happy to be able to give our community something to look forward to during these difficult days as we tackle the EHV-1 outbreak and work to put in place protocols to get our horses and athletes back to competing again.”The 2021 edition of the FEI Eventing European Championship will run from 23-26 September.Haras du Pin (FRA) was named as host for the FEI Eventing European Championship in 2023. The FEI Board had originally allocated the 2021 Championship to the French venue and, when there were discussions last year about the possibility of rescheduling the event away from the Olympic Games period, the Haras du Pin organisers were unfortunately unable to find an alternative date in 2021. However, they put forward a proposal to the FEI to host the Championships in 2023 and this was agreed by the FEI Board this week. Dates for the Championship in 2023 are yet be confirmed.The FEI Board also allocated the FEI Jumping Ponies Trophy Final 2021 to Mechelen (BEL). An experienced Organiser of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Western European League, the Belgian city will hold the Trophy Final from 26-30 December.Kronenberg (NED) will host the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Youth Final 2021 from 23-26 September. Horse Sport Enewslast_img read more

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Open House Planned For Students Interested In Earning Associate Degree In Less Than 1 Year

first_imgAn Open House is planned at Ivy Tech Community College for high school graduates within the last three years, who are interested in earning an Associate of Science Degree in Liberal Arts in11 months through the Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP).The free event is planned for Wednesday, May 25, from 6-8 p.m., in Room 107 at Ivy Tech Community College, 3501 First Avenue.The program is designed so that students attend classes together, as a cohort, each day of the week. Financial and technology supports are made available to students. The associate degree is completely transferrable to all colleges in Indiana and selected others. “In fact, the students graduating in our first two cohorts, had 100 percent of their college credits earned, transfer seamlessly to their bachelor degree granting university or college,” said Kelly Cozart, associate vice chancellor for academics at Ivy Tech. “Students were able to transfer after 11 months to become juniors at IU, Purdue, Butler, USI, UE and Western Kentucky University, to continue toward a four-year degree.”At the event students will have the opportunity to speak with faculty and coordinators of the program, and talk one-on-one with recent graduates. Information about financial aid, programming, supports for students, and a campus tour will be provided. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Statement to Parliament: Final local government finance settlement 2018 to 2019: written statement

first_imgLocal government financeYesterday, I laid before the House, the ‘Report on Local Government Finance (England) 2018-19’, which represents the annual local government finance settlement for local authorities in England.I would like to thank all colleagues in the House, council leaders and officers, who contributed to the consultation after the provisional settlement was published before Christmas.My ministers and I have engaged extensively with the sector, including offering a teleconference to all local authorities, and holding meetings with representative groups including the Local Government Association and with councils and MPs. Representations from almost 160 organisations or individuals have been carefully considered before finalising the settlement.This settlement is the third year of a 4 year offer which was accepted by 97% of councils in return for publishing efficiency plans. This settlement sees 2 years of real terms increases in available resources to local government: £44.3 billion in 2017 to 2018 to £45.6 billion in 2019 to 2020.The current business rates retention scheme is yielding strong results. Local authorities estimate that in 2017 to 2018 they will keep around £1.3 billion in business rates growth, which we expect will be maintained into 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020. This is on top of the core settlement funding I am announcing today (6 February 2018).I commend local authorities for their work in securing efficiency savings supported by the long term certainty of the multi-year settlement. Councils continue to seek to maximise public value for every pound invested in public services. Of course, there is further for all councils to go.To help this, I am extending the capital receipts flexibility programme for a further 3 years. This scheme gives local authorities the freedom to use capital receipts from the sale of their own assets to support transformation and unlock efficiency savings. We will also continue to work with the sector to help them increase transparency and share best practice supporting greater progress in delivering increased efficiency over the coming year. I expect this to have a tangible impact on the steps councils take to promote efficiency by 2019 to 2020.Social careI recognise the need to prioritise spending on social care services that councils provide to our elderly and vulnerable citizens. This is why we announced an additional £2 billion at Spring Budget 2017 for adult social care over the 3 years from 2017 to 2018. This year we have seen how this money has enabled councils to increase provider fees, provide for more care packages and reduce delayed transfer of care.And, having listening to representations since the provisional settlement, I am today announcing a further £150 million in 2018 to 2019 for an Adult Social Care Support Grant. This will be taken from anticipated underspend in existing departmental budgets, and will not affect existing revenue commitments made ‎to local government. This will be allocated according to relative needs and we will expect to see councils use it to build on their progress so far in supporting sustainable local care markets.With this, and other measures, the government has given councils access to £9.4 billion dedicated funding for adult social care over 3 years.This is a long-term challenge that requires a sustainable settlement for the future. The publication of a green paper this summer setting out our proposals for reform sets us on the path to securing a resilient and sustainable system.In children’s social care too, it is important to understand cost drivers as well as service quality and efficiency in a highly complex and critical service area. The government has invested £200 million since 2014 in the Innovation Programme and Partners in Practice Programme, as well as £920 million in the Troubled Families Programme, to help the children’s social care sector innovate and re-design service delivery to achieve higher quality, improve family outcomes and secure better value for money.I also recognise the good work that local authorities do in caring for unaccompanied asylum seeking children. I have therefore made £19 million available to local authorities in 2017 to 2018 from within existing budgets, including the Controlling Migration Fund, to develop the skills and capacity to be able to support these very vulnerable children.Protecting residents from excessive Council Tax risesUnder the Localism Act 2011 and as re-affirmed in the government’s 2017 manifesto, councils can set whatever Council Tax rates they wish, but they need the direct consent of local people if they wish to impose an excessive rise.This year, that referendum threshold is set in line with inflation at 3%. In addition, local authorities with responsibility for social care may levy a precept to spend exclusively on adult social care. As announced last year, this precept equates to up to 6% over 3 years, from 2017-18 to 2019-20, with a maximum increase of 3% in the first 2 years and 2% in the final year.This settlement strikes a balance on Council Tax between the need to relieve pressure on local services, including social care, while also recognising that many households face their own pressures.New Homes BonusLocal authorities are instrumental in ensuring the building of homes this country needs. By the end of 2018 to 2019, we will have allocated £7 billion in New Homes Bonus payments to reward the building of 1,400,000 homes since the scheme was introduced in 2011.We recognise the need for continuity and certainty on New Homes Bonus, and therefore for the year ahead there will be no new changes to the way New Homes Bonus works. The New Homes Bonus baseline will be maintained at 0.4% and £947.5 million in New Homes Bonus payments will be paid in 2018 to 2019.Rural fundingI am committed to ensuring the needs of rural areas are met and recognise the particular costs of providing services in sparse rural areas. So in 2018 to 2019, in response to representations made since the provisional settlement, I will increase the Rural Services Delivery Grant by £31 million – £16 million more than proposed in the provisional settlement. This will take the total to £81 million, a little over the 2016 to 2017 level and the highest it has ever been.2019 to 2020 and later yearsTo meet the challenges of the future we need an updated and more responsive distribution methodology. We have published a formal consultation on a review of relative needs and resources and aim to implement its findings in 2020 to 2021. There have been widespread calls for a thorough, evidence-based review, and we will deliver this. The review will examine the cost of delivering services across the country, including rural areas, and will consider which factors should be taken into account when considering a local authority’s relative resources.Following the delay to the implementation of 100% business rates retention and reforms to the local government finance system, I acknowledge concerns around ‘negative RSG’. We will be looking at fair and affordable options that will address the problem of negative RSG that occurs in 2019 to 2020, and will formally consult on proposals ahead of next year’s settlement.We will also work towards implementing the next phase of our business rates retention reforms in 2020 to 2021 to support the long held objective for local authorities of greater self-sufficiency and financial sustainability. This will give local councils the levers and incentives they need to grow their local economies.Local authorities will be able to keep more business rates, to the value of the Revenue Support Grant, the Greater London Authority Transport Grant, the Rural Services Delivery Grant and the Public Health Grant. Overall, this is equivalent to 75% retention at 2019 to 2020 levels. Local authorities will then be able to keep the equivalent share of business rates growth on their baseline levels from 2020 to 2021, when the system is reset. The government intends to use the intervening period to develop a set of measures that support a smooth transition of funding for public health services from a grant to retained business rates.Ahead of this, we will continue to test out aspects of the future business rates retention system in a broad range of authorities right across the country. And, to help us take forward our continued long-term plan to let local government keep 100% of its business rates, in 2018 to 2019 we will continue to pilot 100% business rates retention in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, the West Midlands, West of England and Cornwall, introduce a London pilot, and will take forward 10 further 100% business rates retention pilots.These are Berkshire, Derbyshire, Devon, Gloucestershire, Kent and Medway, Leeds City Region, Lincolnshire, Solent Authorities, Suffolk and Surrey. The 10 pilot areas will cover 89 local authorities in total.I recognise that there is disappointment among those areas that were unsuccessful in their pilot applications this year and I am pleased to confirm that I intend to open a further bidding round for pilots in 2019 to 2020. Further information on this will be published in due course.ConclusionLocal government delivers vital services at the heart of the communities they serve. This settlement strikes a balance between relieving growing pressure on local government whilst ensuring that hard-pressed taxpayers do not face excessive bills. We have listened to representations made and delivered on these requests: two years of real terms increases in resources, more freedom and fairness, and greater certainty to plan and secure value for money.last_img read more

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News story: Civil news: ‘Civil Claim Fix’ service now includes case outcomes

first_img rejected an ‘outcome’ incorrectly asked for information already provided or not required in a ‘document request’ on a civil claim or outcome Advanced billing guides – these are on the Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) website and detail the processes to follow when submitting your claim The billing guides include one which deals with how to report any financial award to the client.Further [email protected] – to contact our Civil Claim Fix teamLegal aid guidance – scroll to ‘Civil Finance electronic handbook’ under ‘Other guidance’CCMS website: closing cases and submitting bills – scroll down to ‘Advanced Billing Guides’ We have enhanced our Civil Claim Fix service to include ‘case outcomes’.This means case outcome rejects can be added to the challenges which the Civil Claim Fix service can consider.It is important to remember that case outcomes need to be submitted in advance of claims to ensure prompt payment.When to make a challengeChallenges will be considered by the Civil Claim Fix service where you believe we have:center_img rejected a civil claim incorrectly When emailing Civil Claim Fix you need to set out your reasons clearly and include any relevant supporting evidence.Guidance to help youThere is guidance available to help you avoid a reject or request for further information. This includes: Civil Finance electronic handbook – for information required with your claimlast_img read more

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Speech: Chief Scientific Advisor and Chief Medical Officer briefing on coronavirus (COVID-19): 21 September 2020

first_imgSir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser:Good morning everybody. I’m Patrick Vallance, the government Chief Scientific Adviser and I’m here with Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer and we wanted to give you an update on where we see the epidemic at the moment, some of the knowns and some of the uncertainties.Let me just start by reminding you that this disease spreads by droplets, by surface contact and by aerosols. Hence the hands, face, space but also to remind you that the way that we reduce the spread is by limiting our number of contacts, by reducing contact in environments where spread is more likely. Those are crowded environments, indoor environments, poor ventilation. And making sure that we reduce the probability of coming into contact with anyone who is infectious and that’s the importance of self isolation, keeping out of circulation if you have or may have the virus. May I have the first slide please?I want to start by talking about the rise in cases elsewhere and what we can learn. We’ve seen increase in cases across Europe, and here I’ve taken examples of Spain and France. We have seen an increase in the numbers of cases. It started with younger people in their twenties and spread gradually to older ages as well. That increase in case number has translated into an increase in hospitalisations. As the hospitalisations have increased, as you look at the slide on the right here, you will see that very sadly but not unexpectedly, deaths are also increasing. So there’s a simple message from this slide, which is that as the disease spreads, as it spreads across age groups, we expect to see increase in hospitalisations and unfortunately those increase in hospitalisations will lead to an increase in deaths. The virus has genetically moved a bit but it has not changed in terms of its propensity and its ability to cause disease and to cause death, even though of course most of the disease deaths occur in the older population. So where are we here? Next slide, please.These are data from testing and I’ll come back to that point in a minute and they’re data for England but the picture is fairly similar across the UK and, and Chris Whitty will say more about that. What we see from July, as we look at the increase in cases per 100,000 of population, an increase which has occurred over August and has increased into September. This is by different age groups and the top line, the blue line is amongst the 20 to 29-year-olds. But what you can see is there has been an increase in cases across all age groups. The lowest increase has been in children and in the population aged 70 to 79 but in every age group we’ve seen an increase. Could that increase be due to increased testing? The answer is no. We see an increase in positivity of the tests done, so we see the proportion of people testing positive has increased even if testing stays flat. And if we look at other sources of data such as, for example, the ONS study which takes a sample of people across the population and looks at it or studies like the REACT study we see a similar increase. In the ONS study, it’s now estimated that roughly 70,000 people in the UK have Covid infection and that about 6,000 people per day are getting the infection. So we are in a situation where numbers are clearly increasing. They’re increasing across all age groups. It’s a little bit different in different areas, in terms of geographies and Chris will speak to that and this increase in numbers is also translating into an increase in hospitalisation, which Chris will say more about. So there’s no doubt we are in a situation where the numbers are increasing. What I’d like to do is just remind you how quickly this can move. So the next slide is not a prediction, but it is a way of thinking about how quickly this can change.So this is the UK reported cases per day against time and you can see running along the bottom there the number of cases over June, July and August. Up to roughly 3,000 cases per day or so in September, middle of September. At the moment, we think that the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days. It could be a little bit longer, maybe a little shorter, but let’s say roughly every seven days. If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated and this grows, doubling every seven days, then what you see of course, let’s say that there were 5,000 today, it would be 10,000 next week, 20,000 the week after, 40,000 the week after. And you can see that by mid-October if that continued, you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day. 50,000 cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200 plus deaths per day. So this graph, which is not a prediction, is simply showing you how quickly this can move if the doubling time stays at seven days. And of course the challenge therefore is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days. There’re already things in place which are expected to slow that. And to make sure that we do not enter into this exponential growth and end up with the problems that you would predict as a result of that. That requires speed, it requires action and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down. One final word on this section. So as we see it, cases are increasing, hospitalisations are following. Deaths unfortunately will follow that, and there is the potential for this to move very fast. A word on immunity. Next slide, please.When people have an infection, the vast majority of people get an antibody response, and we know that some of those antibodies are so-called neutralising antibodies. They do indeed protect against the virus. We also know that they fade over time, and there are cases of people becoming re-infected. So this is not an absolute protection, and it will potentially decrease over time. What we see is that something under eight per cent of the population have been infected as we measure the antibodies, so about eight per cent, so 3 million or so people, may have been infected and have antibodies. It means that the vast majority of us are not protected in any way and are susceptible to this disease. There may be other forms of protection that increase that number a little bit, other parts of the immune system, but it does mean the vast majority of the population remain susceptible, and therefore you’d expect spread throughout them. The number of people with antibodies is a little higher in the cities, and it may be as high as 17 per cent or so in London. That may confer a little slowing of spread but not much more than that. At that point I’ll pass over to Chris to take you through some of the other features of the epidemic. Chris.Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England:Thanks, Patrick. Next slide, please.What we have here are two maps, they are from England but there would be similar ones from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. What we have on the left here is a map where the darker colours are the rate of transmission, and on the right what we have is a map where orange or yellow or brown represent an increasing rate of transmission. The darker that colour, the greater the rate of increase, and green or blue represent a stable or falling situation. And what you can see in, on the left side is that at the moment the very high rates of transmission in the UK are highly concentrated in particular areas, but there are significant rates of transmission in many parts of the UK with the darker colours. But what we’ve seen is a progression where, after the remarkable efforts which got the rates right down across the country, firstly we saw very small outbreaks, might be associated with a workplace or another environment. Then we’ve seen more localised outbreaks which have got larger over time, particularly in the cities, and now what we’re seeing is a rate of increase across the great majority of the country. It’s growing at different rates but it is now increasing. And what we’ve found is that as the rate, as we go through in time, anywhere which was falling is now moving over to beginning to rise, and then the rate of rise continues in an upward direction. So this is not someone else’s problem, this is all of our problem. Next slide, please.This graph is a simple one, it simply shows the number of inpatient cases in England over the period from the first of August. And until that point in time, there had been a steady fall over a long period of time, right back from early April. And it then stabilised for a period and flattened out, but over the period since the first of September, you can see a steady, sustained rise in numbers with a doubling time, as with the cases, of probably seven or eight days. Now what that tells us is that if this carried on unabated, these numbers are relatively small, we are talking about around 200 at the moment, but if this, if this continued along the path that Patrick laid out, the number of deaths directly from Covid, I’ll come back to indirect deaths, will continue to rise, potentially on an exponential curve. That means doubling and doubling and doubling again, and you can quickly move from really quite small numbers to really very large numbers because of that exponential process. So we have, in a bad sense, literally turned a corner, although only relatively recently. And we, I think everybody will realise that at this point the seasons are against us. We’re now going into the seasons late autumn and winter which benefit respiratory viruses, and it is very likely they will benefit Covid as they do for example flu. So we should see this as a six-month problem that we have to deal with collectively. It’s not indefinite and as I come on to, science will in due course come, ride to our rescue, but in this period of the next six months I think we have to realise we have to take this collectively, very seriously.A lot of people have said maybe this is a milder virus than it was in April. I’m afraid, although that would be great if that were true, we see no evidence that is the case. At the moment, because the cases started to rise most in the lowest age bands, in young adults, not in children, children the rates have really not increased, as the data Patrick showed shows, showed in young children, but in young adults, these are the group who are least likely to end up in hospital. And a point we made right from the beginning is that for many people this remains a mild infection, but as you move up the ages, if you move into people who are more vulnerable, then the mortality rates, if people get this, rise to quite significant rates. And what we’ve seen in other countries, and are now clearly seeing here, is that they’re not staying just in the younger age groups, they’re moving up the age bands and the mortality rates will be similar to, slightly lower than they were previously, but they will be similar to what we saw previously. And these are significantly greater, for example, than ordinary seasonal flu. So seasonal flu normally in the UK would on average a year would kill around 7,000 people a year tragically, and in a bad flu year, as there was for example about three years ago, it might kill upward of 20,000 a year. This virus is more virulent than flu. So the numbers people talk about are not unreasonable numbers for us to be thinking about. Treatment is better, there is no doubt about that. Doctors, nurses have learned to treat this much more effectively and we have new drugs such as dexamethasone. These will reduce the mortality rate, but they will definitely not eliminate or take it right down to trivial levels.Two other broad points I wanted to make. The first one is that there are, as we’ve said from the beginning, and it really does need to be repeated, four ways in which this virus is going to have a very potential significant effect on the population’s health if we let it grow out of control. The first, the easiest to, to identify, is direct Covid deaths. People who get the virus and die of the virus. The second would be if the NHS emergency services were overwhelmed by a huge spike, and that is what the extraordinary efforts of the population allowed to prevent happening in the first wave we met. The third however is very important, and I think its importance should not be understated, which is if the NHS is having to spend a large proportion of its effort in trying to treat Covid cases because the numbers have gone up very, to a very high levels and trying to put in case, in place, large numbers of systems to try and reduce the risk of transmission in hospitals, it will lead to a reduction in treatment for other areas, in early diagnosis of disease, and in prevention programmes. And so there is an indirect effect on deaths and on illness from this impact on the NHS if we allow the numbers to rise too fast. But on the other side, we also know that some of the things we’ve had to do are going to cause significant problems in the economy, big social impacts, impacts on mental health, and therefore ministers making decisions, and all of society, have to walk this very difficult balance. If we do too little, this virus will go out of control and we will get significant numbers of increased direct and indirect deaths, but if we go too far the other way, then we can cause damage to the economy which can feed through to unemployment, to poverty and to deprivation, all of which have long-term health effects. So we need always to keep these two sides in mind.My final point is that if I increase my risk, a lot of people say, well, can’t people just be allowed to take their own risk? The problem with a pandemic or an epidemic infection like this is if I as an individual increase my risk, I increase the risk to everyone around me and then everyone who’s a contact of theirs, and sooner or later the chain will meet people who are vulnerable or elderly or have a long term problem from Covid. So you cannot in an epidemic just take your own risk. Unfortunately, you’re taking a risk on behalf of everybody else.It’s important that we see this as something we have to do collectively, and there are broadly four things we can do, over the next period, to get on top of this. The first of which is reducing our individual risk, and this is around the things that we all know about, hands, face, space, washing hands, using masks, particularly in environments which are enclosed, public transport and so on, and also, in particular, having space between people whenever we can achieve it. Especially when indoors. The second group of things are things we can do to isolate the virus. So if people have symptoms they must self-isolate and we must find their contacts so that they can isolate, and in people who’ve travelled from high risk areas, they also should isolate, and this means that they are taking on behalf of society a big step forward to keep the virus out of circulation whilst they are still infectious. This is an absolutely critical part of the response. The third one, and in many ways the most difficult, is that we have to break unnecessary links between households, because that is the way in which this virus is transmitted, and this means reducing social contacts, whether they are at work, and this is where we have enormous gratitude to all the businesses, for example, who’ve worked so hard to make their environment Covid-secure to reduce the risk, and also in social environments. And we have to try and do this in the least damaging way, but we, we all know we cannot do this without some significant downsides, and this is, this is a balance of risk between if we don’t do enough the virus will take off, and we at the moment, that is the path that we are clearly on, and we, if we do not change course, then we’re going to find ourselves in a very difficult problem, as Patrick has laid out. The final thing we can do is the science, is investing in drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and Patrick is going to take us through the final section, where we’ve got to with the most exciting of these, which is vaccines.Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser:Thank you very much. As Chris has said, we will be living with this vac, this virus. This is now circulating amongst the population worldwide, it will continue to do so. We will be learning how to live with it. One important part of that is vaccines. I’m pleased to say that there is good progress that’s being made. Many vaccines now have shown they generate an immune response of a type that ought to be protective, and several vaccines are in very late stage clinical testing, aiming to show that they are both effective and safe. The UK, through the Vaccines Task Force, has got access to a number of these, as illustrated on this slide, with a range of different vaccine technologies from a number of different companies. The UK therefore has put itself in a good position in terms of vaccine supply, and the possibility that one of these will work. We don’t yet know that they will work, but there is increasing evidence that it’s pointed in the right direction, and it’s possible that some vaccine could be available before the end of the year in small amounts, for certain groups, much more likely that we’ll see vaccines becoming available over the first half of next year. Again, not certain but pointed in the right direction, which then of course gives the possibility of a different approach to this virus, but in the meantime, we’ve got to get on control, control of this in the way that Chris has described in order to make sure we can live with it in a way that is sustainable and protects health and society overall. Thank you very much.last_img read more

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Fall Veggies.

first_imgFall gardening is great, because it’s getting cooler and you can spend more time in thegarden. Just remember that now is the time to get ready for fall production.One of the main quests for fall gardeners is a consistent supply of produce through thefall and winter. This usually is accomplished by staggering plantings of vegetables on aseven- to 28-day schedule.These early plantings during hot weather are a gamble. But it’s not a bad gamble. It’ssort of like “pay your money and take your chances.” Cauliflower D* Mid-July – September 14-21 Radishes D* September – October 7-14 Chinese cabbage T** September – October 21 Crop Planting Period Days Between Planting *D – Direct-seeded, **T – Transplants. Use the shorter planting interval for early plantings. Many of the fall vegetable cropsplanted in the summer to early fall will mature much faster than those planted in latefall, due to the higher temperatures.Carrots, spinach and beets don’t germinate well during hot weather, so it’s easier toget a stand with these crops when the weather cools off in late September and earlyOctober.Here are the planting dates and intervals for the fall vegetable crops adapted tostaggered plantings. Cabbage D* Mid-July – October 21 Spinach D* Late August – early October 21 Carrots Mid-August – mid-October 21 Cabbage T** August – October 21 Collards D* Mid-July – November 21 Fall Veggie Table Broccoli T** August – early November 14-21 Beets Mid-September – October 21 Collards T** August – November 21 Cauliflower T** August – September 14-21 Mustard greens D* Mid-July – November 21 Turnips D* Mid-July – November 21 Broccoli D* Mid-July – early October 14-21 Chinese cabbage D* Mid-August – mid-October 21-28last_img read more

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