United Kingdom

Regional News • Middle East
Egypt seizes Ever Given ship in Suez Canal, demands $900 million in compensation
Ever Given ship
Ever Given ship Credit: kees torn, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

An Egyptian court ordered the vessel's Japanese owner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, to pay $900 million in compensation due to losses inflicted when the Panamanian-flagged Ever Given prevented marine traffic from transiting through the vital global trade waterway.

Shoei Kisen Kaisha said insurance companies and lawyers were working on the compensation claim and refused to comment further.

UK Club, the protection and indemnity insurer for the Ever Given, said Tuesday that they had responded to a claim from the Suez Canal Authority for $916 million and questioned its basis.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Meghan Markle not to attend Prince Philip's funeral due to pregnancy
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with other members of the Royal family going to church at Sandringham on Christmas Day 2017.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with other members of the Royal family going to church at Sandringham on Christmas Day 2017. Credit: Mark Jones (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Meghan Markle will not attend Prince Philip's funeral as she's been advised not to travel to the United Kingdom by her physician due to her pregnancy. Prince Harry is set to attend the service in the St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Hong Kong activist Nathan Law receives asylum in Great Britain
Hong Kong activist Nathan Law receives asylum in Great Britain
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Nathan Law

The prominent activist Nathan Law left the country nine months ago because he faces political persecution in Hong Kong, Now he has been granted political asylum in Britain.

The 27-year-old former opposition MP reported on Twitter that his application had been approved after four months of consideration. "The fact that I am being sought under the National Security Act shows that I face severe political persecution and am unlikely to be able to return to Hong Kong without risk."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Actor Paul Ritter dead at 54
Paul Ritter
Paul Ritter Credit: Daniel Mays (Twitter Reproduction)

British actor Paul Ritter, who appeared in the “Harry Potter” franchise and played a key figure behind nuclear disaster in “Chernobyl,” has died, his agent said Tuesday. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour.

Ritter was a regular cast member in productions at Britain’s National Theatre, and his stage roles also included “Art” at London’s Old Vic and Prime Minister John Major in the royal drama “The Audience.” He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009 for his performance in Alan Ayckbourn’s farce “The Norman Conquests” on Broadway.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Data reveals over a million people in the UK suffer from Long-Covid
Data reveals over a million people in the UK suffer from Long-Covid
Credit: unsplash.com/engin akyurt

UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) has stated that roughly 1.1 million people in the United Kingdom are suffering from Long Covid, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), chronic COVID syndrome (CCS) and long-haul COVID.

“The Office for National Statistics estimates that over a million people in the UK were reporting symptoms associated with long Covid at the beginning of March 2021, with over two-thirds of these individuals having had (or suspecting they had) Covid-19 at least 12 weeks earlier," so Ben Humberstone, head of health and life events at the ONS. "An estimated 674,000 people reported that their symptoms have negatively impacted on their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities. People who tested positive for Covid-19 are around eight times more likely to suffer prolonged symptoms than observed in the general population.”

Law
British man to pay over $571 million for defrauding people out of more than 20,000 bitcoin
British man to pay over $571 million for defrauding people out of more than 20,000 bitcoin
Credit: unsplash.com / Pierre Borthiry

For defrauding numerous people out of more than 20,000 Bitcoin, a British man is to pay a record-breaking fine. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had previously moved against the British citizen Benjamin Reynolds in federal court.

The court, it has now been revealed, issued a penalty order in early March. Since it considers the guilt of the defendant as proven, this is to pay on the one hand approximately 429 million dollar (approximately 364 million euro) as punishment as well as scarcely 143 million dollar (approximately 121 million euro) as damages to 169 US customers. The number of those actually affected could be even higher.

The CFTC warns that the court's order does not automatically mean that affected parties will get their cryptoassets or their compensation payment. Because even if Reynolds can be tracked down, it may still turn out that he does not have the financial means to settle the demanded sums.

Regional News • Europe
UK health minister admits preferential treatment from AstraZeneca
UK health minister admits preferential treatment from AstraZeneca
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

As 29 million apparently hoarded AstraZeneca vaccine doses have been traced in Italy, Britain's health minister Matt Hancock has conceded preferential treatment for his country by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company.

"I believe that free trading nations follow contract law," Hancock told the Financial Times. "Our treaty trumps theirs. It's called contract law and it's clear," he said, referring to the dispute between the EU and AstraZeneca over cut supply volumes.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Santander Bank to Close 111 UK branches
Santander Bank to Close 111 UK branches
Credit: Rodhullandemu, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Santander has announced it will close 111 UK branches as the company will shift its focus to mobile and online banking amid increasing numbers of customers visiting bank branches. The decision affects around 840 employees, but Santander promised to offer them different jobs within its company.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK Administered 844,285 Covid-19 Vaccines in One Day – Daily Record
UK Administered 844,285 Covid-19 Vaccines in One Day – Daily Record
Credit: unsplash.com/Grooveland Designs

Saturday saw a daily record in Covid-19 vaccinations, with 844,285 first and second doses administered in one day on Saturday. The number was later confirmed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK supply of Covid-19 vaccine hit by India delivery delay
UK supply of Covid-19 vaccine hit by India delivery delay
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A spokesperson for the Serum Institute said: "Five million doses had been delivered a few weeks ago to the UK, and we will try to supply more later, based on the current situation and the requirement for the government immunisation programme in India."

The supply issues could affect infection rates but should not impact hospital admissions, as those who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 were being prioritised for the jab.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Britain's Prince Philip leaves hospital after a month
Prince Philip's and Queen Elizabeth II in 2015
Prince Philip's and Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 Credit: Kiefer (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Prince Philip, 99, returned to Windsor Castle after the 28-night stay, his longest-ever in hospital. Buckingham Palace said the duke was discharged "following treatment for an infection."

The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII's hospital on February 16. He later underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
United Kingdom announces expansion of nuclear weapons
United Kingdom announces expansion of nuclear weapons
Credit: unsplash.com / Dan Meyers

For the first time in decades of disarmament, the British government wants to allow an expansion of its nuclear arsenal. According to a document on the country's strategic reorientation after Brexit, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented in parliament, the limit on the number of nuclear warheads, which had previously been set until the middle of the decade, is to be increased from 180 to up to 260.

This is necessary to maintain a minimum level of deterrence in the face of the "changing security environment, including a range of technological and ideological threats", it said. It is the most far-reaching change in Britain's foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.

Health
WHO meets to discuss AstraZeneca jab as more EU countries halt vaccination
WHO meets to discuss AstraZeneca jab as more EU countries halt vaccination
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The World Health Organization's vaccine safety experts were due to meet Tuesday to discuss the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, as more countries stopped vaccinations over blood clot concerns. WHO on Monday appealed to countries to keep vaccination campaigns going, saying there was no evidence the vaccine caused clotting issues.

But much of Europe has gone against that advice in recent days, temporarily halting AstraZeneca shots even as the continent confronts a third wave of the pandemic, spurred by variants of the virus, and faces criticism over sluggish vaccination campaigns.

In a statement on Sunday, the pharmaceutical giant said that of the 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and the United Kingdom so far, blood clot incidents were "much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population."

Science • Medicine
AstraZeneca finds "no evidence" of increased risk of blood clots
AstraZeneca finds "no evidence" of increased risk of blood clots
Credit: gencat cat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

AstraZeneca has released a statement, saying its Covid-19 vaccine has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

"Following a recent concern raised around thrombotic events, AstraZeneca would like to offer its reassurance on the safety of its COVID-19 vaccine based on clear scientific evidence. Safety is of paramount importance and the Company is continually monitoring the safety of its vaccine," the report said. "A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
London police chief faces calls to resign after officers smash vigil to murdered Sarah Everard
London police chief faces calls to resign after officers smash vigil to murdered Sarah Everard
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The head of the London Metropolitan Police is under pressure to explain her officers' actions during a vigil in south London on Saturday in memory of Sarah Everard.

Police were seen grabbing and leading women away from the event in handcuffs.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "urgently seeking an explanation" from Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, while Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked the Met for a report on what happened.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Survey: 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed
Survey: 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed
Credit: unsplash.com/Mika Baumeister

According to a YouGov survey commissioned by UN Women UK, 97% of women aged 18-24 and 80% of women of all ages have experienced some form of sexual harassment. The survey, that collected data from over 1000 women, also showed that 96% did not report incidents as it was either not serious enough (e.g. groping, coercion into sexual activities) or would not change anything.

“This is a human rights crisis. It’s just not enough for us to keep saying ‘this is too difficult a problem for us to solve’ – it needs addressing now,” so Claire Barnett, executive director of UN Women UK. “We are looking at a situation where younger women are constantly modifying their behaviour in an attempt to avoid being objectified or attacked, and older women are reporting serious concerns about personal safety if they ever leave the house in the dark – even during the daytime in winter.”

Science • Medicine
Novavax vaccine up to 96% effective in UK trial
Novavax vaccine up to 96% effective in UK trial
Credit: Novavax

American vaccine development company Novavax said its Covid-19 vaccine has shown a 96% efficacy against the original Coronavirus strain and a 86% efficacy against the more potent UK strain B117 in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United Kingdom. The vaccine has also shown to be 100% effective against severe Covid-19 infections.

Trials are still running in the United States, and the company will apply for US emergency use authorization as soon as those trials are complete.

Stanley Erck, Novavax's president and CEO, said that the company was "very encouraged by the data".

“We are very encouraged by the data showing that NVX-CoV2373 not only provided complete protection against the most severe forms of disease, but also dramatically reduced mild and moderate disease across both trials. Importantly, both studies confirmed efficacy against the variant strains,” so Erck. “Today marks one year since the WHO officially declared the COVID-19 pandemic, and with this data in hand, we are even more motivated to advance our vaccine as a potential weapon in the fight to end the suffering caused by COVID-19.”

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Prince William defends UK monarchy against racism accusation
Prince William
Prince William Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Prince William denies Britain's royals are racist after Meghan Markle, wife of his younger brother Harry, said one unnamed member of the family had asked how dark their son Archie's skin might be.

On Tuesday, Buckingham Palace issued a statement on behalf of 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth, the princes' grandmother. She said the family were saddened by how challenging the couple had found the last few years.

William said he had not talked to Harry since the interview was broadcast just over three days ago.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Buckingham Palace issues statement regarding Meghan & Harry interview with Oprah
Buckingham Palace issues statement regarding Meghan & Harry interview with Oprah
Credit: unsplash.com / Amy-Leigh Barnard

Buckingham Palace issued a statement Tuesday, responding to Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Queen Elizabeth's statement reads: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Piers Morgan leaves ITV following Meghan Markle comments
Piers Morgan leaves ITV following Meghan Markle comments
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

English television personality Piers Morgan is leaving Good Morning Britain – ITV's breakfast news show – following comments he made about Meghan Markle, including questioning her suicidal thoughts. The announcement comes after aver 41,000 people complained to UK media regulator Ofcom after the show aired.

"Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain," ITV said in a statement. "ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."