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Pentribution Club
Writer and podcaster from the UK.
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Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies at age 103
Vera Lynn in 1972
Vera Lynn in 1972 Credit: Punt / Anefo / CC0 (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Dame Vera Lynn, whose live performances of her hit songs including We'll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover entertained front-line troops during the Second World War, has died at age 103.

Dame Vera, affectionately known as a Forces' Sweetheart, became the oldest artist to top the UK album chart in 2020 when We'll Meet Again was referenced by the Queen during a speech to the British public who were struggling with being separated from friends and loved ones during the lockdown imposed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading the tributes, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Dame Vera's "charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours". Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer added that "her songs still speak to the nation in 2020 as they did in 1940".

Los Angeles Chargers may workout Colin Kaepernick for NFL return
Graffiti of Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta, Georgia
Graffiti of Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta, Georgia Credit: JJonahJackalope (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn has revealed that the team has former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on their radar of free agent players to workout with a view to adding them to their roster.

Kaepernick, who received international attention during the 2016 NFL season for sitting and subsequently kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and wider systematic racial injustice, has been a free agent since the end of that season but has not been signed by any team since. In 2017 he filed a grievance against the NFL accusing them of conspiring to keep him out of the league but withdrew it after reaching a settlement with the league in 2019.

Lynn told a media Zoom conference that Kapernick "fits the style of quarterback that we want" and that it would be easy to "figure out real quick where he is" in terms of fitness.

Kapernick himself said in a February interview with USA Today that he was "ready for a phone call; tryout; workout at any point" and still had the desire to return to football.

Business • Economy
One third of UK's furloughed employees report being asked to continue work
Window of a closed fashion store, Boden, Chelsea. The store is closed due to the covid 19 pandemic.
Window of a closed fashion store, Boden, Chelsea. The store is closed due to the covid 19 pandemic. Credit: John Cameron

In a study by Crossland Employment Solicitors, more than a third of respondents who had been placed on furlough under the government's job retention scheme reported being asked by their employer to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme was set up to minimise job losses across the UK economy and sees the government paying 80% of a firm's staff salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month under the condition that the furloughed employees undertake no work that would generate revenue for the firm. Most of the survey respondents who reported being asked to continue working while furloughed stated that they were undertaking more administrative tasks than usual, with some even being asked to use their personal phone number and e-mail accounts in a bid to avoid being caught breaking the scheme's rules.

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, overseeing the job retention scheme, have received more than 3,000 complaints about fraudulent or erroneous claims. Its Chief Executive, Jim Harra, said in a statement to the Commons Public Accounts Committee that tipoffs were being taken "very seriously". Firms found to have broken the rules could be forced to return all funds paid by the scheme.