Tag Archives: alert

Furlough alert: Workers face ‘financial nightmare’ as HMRC ‘clawback’ payments – act now

FURLOUGH payments will soon dry up as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to a close. As the scheme comes to an end from September 30, it has been hailed as a “qualified success” but affected workers could still be hit by unexpected demands from the Government. As 2022 approaches, HMRC may “clawback” money from those who have overclaimed and ahead of this, Britons have been urged to get their budgetary affairs in order.

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Pension alert as Britons set to wait until 57 to access cash – ‘hideously complex’

Pension alert as Britons set to wait until 57The normal minimum pension age increase is due to take effect from April 2028 as a single-step change, impacting many people. At present, Britons are able to access their pension at 55 under freedoms rules which allow them to manage their retirement cash. At this age, they will not have to incur any further tax charges related to an “unauthorised payment”.

The increase will be in line with that of the state pension age, which is set to rise to 67 at a similar time.

However, there are also other aspects of the draft legislation which are worth bearing in mind.

An individual member of a registered pension scheme who on April 5, 2023 has a right to take benefits earlier than 57, and the rules of the scheme on February 11, 2021, gave a right to take benefits at an earlier age, can retain the right to take benefits at age 55.

This right to take benefits at an earlier age is retained on a “block transfer”.

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He said: “The confirmation of the timing of the increase in the normal minimum pension age will be welcome to individuals and advisers and give time for appropriate planning over the next seven years.

“However, what should have been a simple process has turned into a hugely complex mess.

“The process to decide which individuals retain a right to an earlier pension age is completely arbitrary, being based on the specific wording within scheme rules, which may have been written many years ago.

“It also leaves open the possibility that people will hunt around for a scheme which gives them the right to take benefits at age 55 and transfer to that before 2023.

“So expect frantic transfer activity over the next few years as people look to secure age 55 as their minimum pension age, irrespective of their birth date.”

Mr Tully also expressed disappointment at the continuation of existing “block transfer” rules currently in place.

These rules are considered by some to be complex, and preventative when it comes to switching to a new contract.

Mr Tully stated these new arrangements can often be more flexible, modern and even cheaper.

But people are hanging on to the idea of taking their benefits at age 55 and so may not switch.

He concluded: “The legislation as drafted adds further hideous complexity to the pension system.

“That might be fine for pension geeks like me, but for the average pension saver will prove nigh on impossible to navigate successfully without the help of a professional adviser.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Australia on alert after ‘unusual’ military move from Chinese spy ships off its coast

Australia is currently engaged in joint military exercises with the US military, ahead of a major missile launch on Sunday. However, the Australia Defence Force (ADF) has warned that a second Chinese spy ship is approaching Australia’s coast ahead of the joint exercises, known as Exercise Talisman Sabre. Defence officials are wary, claiming it is “unusual” that two Chinese high-tech surveillance ships monitor the country.

In fact, it marks the first time two intelligence ships have been deployed by Beijing.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted he is very wary of the vessels which appear to be watching the Talisman Sabre 2021 war games off the coast of Queensland.

According to released photographs, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general intelligence ship, the Haiwangxing, is approaching Australia’s east coast via the Solomon Sea.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the ADF had been monitoring the ship’s approach as part of a broader surveillance effort.

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He said: “Defence will continue to monitor the presence of these vessels.”

One military official said the Haiwanxing had been “on our radar for some time”.

As part of the fortnight-long joint exercises, the US has already fired a Patriot missile for the first time on Australian soil. 

The missile test saw a Patriot battery down a pair of drone aircraft on Friday. 

This comes as a recent poll suggested that more than four in 10 Australians are worried China may attack Australia. 

When the 603 people polled in Australia by the Australia Institute were asked whether they thought China would launch an armed attack on Australia, 6 percent said soon and 36 percent said some time – totalling 42 percent.

Earlier today, China responded to new US sanctions on Chinese officials following its crackdown in Hong Kong.

Beijing vowed to deal a “head-on blow” to the United States and slammed Washington DC for its “unprovoked smearing”. 

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

Covid vaccine update: The 21 symptoms of Covid vaccinated people should ‘stay alert to’

The UK is days away from what has been dubbed ‘Freedom Day’. On July 19 the Government will lift all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England. Although the Delta variant is still raging across the country, many people will have received two shots of a coronavirus vaccine by now, which should help allay some of the fears. However, the viral disease can still breach the immune system’s defences.

The team behind the ZOE COVID Study app have been hammering this message home over the last couple of weeks.

It’s app, which has been accumulating data on the pandemic from millions of users, clearly shows you can still catch COVID-19 after being vaccinated.

A curious development to spring out of its data is that people who had been vaccinated and then tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to report sneezing as a symptom compared with those without a jab.

This suggests that sneezing a lot with no explanation after you’ve been vaccinated could be a sign of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Delta variant symptoms: The key DIFFERENT symptoms to look out for

However, “it’s important to remember that the link between sneezing and COVID-19 isn’t very strong,” the team behind the app noted.

What’s more, sneezing is just one possible symptom out of many that even those vaccinated should be on the lookout for.

“You should stay alert to the 20 symptoms of the disease, whether or not you’ve been vaccinated,” advises the Symptom Study app experts.

What are the 20 symptoms?

The full list of reported coronavirus symptoms include:

  • High temperature (fever)
  • Chills or shivers
  • Persistent cough
  • Loss or change in smell (anosmia)
  • Loss or change in taste (dysgeusia)
  • Headache
  • Unusual tiredness (fatigue)
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden confusion (delirium), especially in older people
  • Skin rash
  • Changes in the mouth or tongue (COVID tongue)
  • Red and sore fingers or toes (COVID fingers/toes)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Muscle pains
  • Hoarse voice
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skipping meals
  • Abdominal pains
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing.

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It is important to note that, while the vaccines will not stop you from catching COVID-19, they will render the viral disease far less deadly.

In fact, those used in the UK are as effective at preventing symptomatic disease in the majority of people with underlying health conditions as the rest of the population, Public Health England (PHE) recently reported.

The verdict is based on a study from PHE that included more than one million people in at-risk groups.

“Within these clinical risk groups, there will be people with more severe forms of illness – particularly in the immunosuppressed group – who may not respond as well to the vaccines, and we recommend they seek advice from their specialists,” Advises PHE.

The study found:

  • Overall vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease in risk groups is approximately 60 percent after one dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech, with little variation by age
  • After two doses, vaccine effectiveness is 81 percent with AstraZeneca in people in risk groups aged 16 to 64. No data is available for Pfizer-BioNTech
  • In people in risk groups aged 65 and over, vaccine effectiveness with Pfizer-BioNTech is 89 percent and 80 percent with AstraZeneca
  • For those who are immunosuppressed, vaccine effectiveness after a second dose is 74 percent, with similar protection to those who are not in a risk group. This rises from four percent after a first dose.

Although age is the greatest risk factor for adverse outcomes following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, certain health conditions also increase the risk of severe disease, they study noted.

Diabetes, severe asthma, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, neurological disease, and diseases or therapies that weaken the immune system – such as blood cancer, HIV or chemotherapy – have all been linked to an increased risk of hospitalisation or death with COVID-19.

People with these conditions who are at highest risk were initially advised to shield during the peak of the pandemic and all risk groups were then prioritised for vaccination.

“The government announced the dose interval would be brought forward from 12 to eight weeks for the clinically vulnerable on 14 May, and everyone in these groups should now have been offered a second dose,” reported PHE.

Data on vaccine effectiveness among people in clinical risk groups was previously limited.

Though more data is needed, protection against hospitalisation and death in risk groups is expected to be greater than protection against symptomatic disease, as has been seen in studies of the general population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: “This real-world data shows for the first time that most people who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 still receive high levels of protection after two doses of vaccine.

“It is vital that anyone with an underlying condition gets both doses, especially people with weakened immune systems as they gain so much more benefit from the second dose.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Spain holidays: Tenerife heading for ‘highest alert’ amid calls for harsher restrictions

Tenerife has been refused permission to reimpose a night-time curfew to try and stop the spread of coronavirus. The Supreme Court of the Canary Islands says it cannot condone a limit on mobility between 12.30am and 6.00am in a bid to avoid illegal parties and fiestas.

A judge said the measure was “not duly justified” and that there was insufficient evidence to suggest “risky behaviour” was more dangerous if carried out at night rather than in the day.

The court ruled that the Canary Islands government had other means at its disposal to clamp down on parties or any other situations which presented a risk to public health.

Health officials are concerned about rising cases of coronavirus, particularly in Tenerife, which has been placed on level three alert with various restrictions in place, including time and capacity restrictions in pubs, restaurants, shops and other public places.

Sales of alcoholic drinks after 10.00pm is banned and beaches, parks and squares have to close between 8.00 pm and 6.00am.

READ MORE: Travel testing rules could be axed for fully vaccinated Britons

In its ruling announced today, the Supreme court said: “We do not doubt the suitability of the curfew measure to reduce contagion without affecting economic and labour activity but the end does not justify any means and the adopted agreement is excessive and at the cost of serious damage for the vast majority of the population, including young people, who comply with the regulations in order to avoid these breaches.”

The court said individuals must take responsibility and exercise self-control in order to safeguard their communities.

Currently, the Canary Islands are on the UK’s amber list, meaning Britons returning from the nation face 10 days of quarantine.

However, the islands are welcoming back Britons as long as they can provide evidence they have been fully vaccinated or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel.

In some parts of the Canaries, a negative PCR test is required regardless of whether or not a holidaymaker has been jabbed.

For those who are visiting the region, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office(FCDO) advised Britons to “refer to your travel operator and the local authorities in your final destination for guidance on domestic entry requirements.”

Travel to the Canary Islands could be set to open up further to double-jabbed Britons from July 19.

As of July 19, UK holidaymakers who have received both doses of their Covid vaccine will be able to side-step quarantine on their return from an amber list country.

However, they will be subject to restrictions in place in their destination at the time of travel.

“Regional governments retain legal powers to ease or tighten restrictions within their region if deemed necessary to control the spread of the virus,” warns the FCDO.

This includes “partial lockdowns; limiting the capacity and opening hours of retail, hospitality establishments and public events.”

The FCDO adds: “Local and regional restrictions may be introduced at short notice.

“You should consult regional incidence levels, refer to the advice of local authorities in your destination and ensure you are aware of the specific measures in place prior to travel.”

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

New Jersey Mother Found Dead After Her 2-Year-Old Son Was Located Safely Following Amber Alert

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

NEW JERSEY (KDKA) — A 24-year-old woman who police say had been kidnapped along with her 2-year-old son this weekend was found dead off the side of a highway in Tennessee.

(Photo Credit: New Jersey State Police/Facebook)

An Amber Alert had been issued in multiple states, including Pennsylvania, for 2-year-old Sebastian Rios and his mother, Yasmine Uyar, on Friday after they were allegedly abducted by the boy’s father, 27-year-old Tyler Rios.

State police announced Saturday that the alert was called off after they found Sebastian was safe in Monterey, Tennessee.

Police arrested Tyler Rios shortly thereafter.

READ MORE: Pennsylvania State Police Cancel AMBER Alert After Locating 2-Year-Old Sebastian Rios

But the mother had been still been missing early on Saturday, and her body was later recovered in a wooded area off of I-40.

Tyler Rios is facing charges of first-degree kidnapping, and officials say additional charges are to follow in connection to the death of Uyar.

Police began looking into Sebastian Rios’ and Uyar’s whereabouts after he did not arrive to daycare and she did not show up to her usual work shift, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady says.

From there, police stopped by to make a welfare check at Uyar’s home Friday morning but found no one inside, prompting the Amber Alert to be issued.

Tyler Rios will be extradited back to New Jersey.

Covid panic as two UK hospitals declare code black alert – forced to cancel appointments

NHS Grampian said both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, Moray have now been forced to postpone and cancel non-urgent elective operations due to a sharp rise in Covid patients. Both trusts have also seen a rise in staff members needing to self-isolate due to the virus. NHS Grampian medical director Professor Nick Fluck said: “This is a dynamic situation, subject to change throughout each day.

“I can confirm that both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital have been at black status in recent days.

“Choosing to cancel procedures or appointments is never a decision we take lightly; however it is our only option if we are to relieve some of the pressure and allow staff to concentrate on the most urgent and emergency care.

“I know it is distressing for people to have procedures or appointments postponed, sometimes at very short notice. I apologise to anyone who has been affected by this.

“We will work to reschedule these, but we cannot offer any guarantees at present about when this might happen.

“If you are accessing any healthcare services, please be aware delays are likely.”

This comes as coronavirus cases, deaths and hospital admissions have begun to rise rapidly in Scotland. 

According to the Scottish Government, 3,799 new cases were reported north of the border. 

Since June 13, case levels have risen sharply and have exceeded 2,000 a day since June 21. 

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First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the final easing of restrictions is not set in stone due to the rising case levels. 

Scotland is due to proceed to level 0 on July 19 as England also lifts all restrictions. 

She claimed lifting restrictions must be done in a reasonable and controlled manner due to the increasing case numbers. 

Ms Sturgeon told the BBC: “We are looking at this very carefully.

“My biggest concern right now is that even though we are seeing a weakening of the link between cases and hospitalisations, if we have a high number of cases even a lower proportion of those cases ending up in hospital can put pressure on our NHS.”

This is a breaking news story, more to follow…

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Author: Bill McLoughlin
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: UK Feed

MEPs from 15 countries sign declaration of resistance against EU superstate – Bloc alert

MEPs from 16 parties and 15 EU states joined forces today to declare “resistance” against a European superstate stripping nations of their sovereignty bit by bit.

The so-called “declaration of values” was signed by all parties in the Identity and Democracy (ID), European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) groups and the unaffiliated Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party.

In the text, signed on Friday, the MEPs denounced the “overactivity” of the European institutions in what should remain member states’ competences.

In a stern warning to Brussels, they unanimously pledged to form a new resistance against the creation of the United States of Europe in favour of more respect for sovereign nations.

They wrote: “The use of political structures and law to create a European superstate and new forms of social structure is a manifestation of the dangerous and invasive social engineering of the past, which must prompt legitimate resistance.

“The moralistic overactivity that we have seen in recent years in the EU institutions has resulted in a dangerous tendency to impose an ideological monopoly.”

They added: “All attempts to transform European institutions into bodies that take precedence over national constitutional institutions create chaos, undermine the sense of the treaties, question the fundamental role of Member States’ constitutions, and the resulting disputes over competences are in effect settled by the brutal imposition of the will of politically stronger entities on weaker ones.

“This destroys the basis for the functioning of the European community as a community of free nations.

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“We believe that consensus should remain the basic means of reaching a common position in the Union. Recent attempts to circumvent this procedure or ideas of its abolition threaten to exclude some countries from influence on decision-making and to transform the Union into a special form of oligarchy.

“This could lead to the de facto incapacitation of national constitutional bodies, including governments and parliaments, reduced to the function of approving decisions already taken by others.

“In the member countries there is still an overwhelming will to cooperate, and a spirit of community and friendship pervades nations and societies of our continent.

“It is our great capital. A reformed Union will make use of this capital, whereas a Union that rejects reform will squander it.

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“That is why today we turn to all parties and groups who share our views with this document as a base for a cultural and political common work, respecting the role of the current political groups.

“Let us together reform the Union for the future of Europe!”

Parties from Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, France, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finlandia, Poland, the Netherlands, Greece and Romania, Lithuania and Hungary signed the document.

The document will come as a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron who has longed hoped for more cooperation in the EU. 

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, has warned the departure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel will accelerate moves from the French President to take her place as the EU’s leading figurehead.

He argued Mr Macron may jump on this opportunity to create an “EU superstate in his image, which should terrify advocates of democracy and sovereignty”.

Mr Harris-Quinney told Express.co.uk: “Macron has been vying to take her (Angela Merkel’s) place for some time, and her leaving office will accelerate this process.

“He is a more extreme Euro federalist than Merkel and will likely seize the opportunity to create an EU superstate in his image, which should terrify advocates of democracy and sovereignty.”

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Author: Alessandra Scotto di Santolo
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Cryptocurrency price LIVE: UK bans leading crypto exchange in major crackdown – new alert

Bitcoin price has suffered a huge hit over recent weeks due to China’s crypto mining crackdown.

Elon Musk’s concerns over bitcoin’s energy use has also helped wipe more than $ 1 trillion from the market.

Michael Saylor, the chief executive of business intelligence software company-turned bitcoin accumulator Microstrategy, has warned this could be a “trillion-dollar” mistake.

He told Bloomberg: “I think, given the bitcoin growth rate, this will prove to be a trillion-dollar mistake for China.

“It’s a tragedy for Chinese miners [and] it’s a geopolitical mistake for China the country – but I suppose they could afford to make a trillion-dollar mistake.”

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Lloyds Bank issues alert as ‘criminal gangs’ attack Britons through unsuspecting call

Lloyds Bank is determined to keep its customers, and other Britons, safe, and has warned of a dangerous scam which has recently been circulating. The bank has observed a rise in computer takeover scams, saying individuals will need to be on their guard this summer. A scam of this kind can usually occur when the victim receives a phone call, often from out of the blue.

One form of this scam which is resurging uses the name of Amazon as a front to lull Britons into a false sense of security.

As a result, individuals must remain alert to the threats, and take steps to protect themselves.

Philip Robinson, Retail Fraud Prevention Director at Lloyds Bank, commented on the issue.

He said: “Organised criminal gangs are forever inventing new ways to dupe unsuspecting victims out of their money.

“But they’re always ready to re-use tactics that have worked for them before, hoping people have forgotten previous warnings.

“Fortunately, we are able to stop many of these scammers in their tracks with sophisticated monitoring of our customers’ online banking accounts.

“But sadly, the fraudsters only need to be successful once to make off with thousands of pounds of someone’s hard-earned cash, which can leave a devastating impact.

“That’s why we want people to stay alert to the threat of this scam. Be wary of any messages you receive which you weren’t expecting, and don’t click on links in emails or texts.

“If you receive a phone call out of the blue, never download software or make a payment because someone asks you to, even if it seems they already know all about you and are trying to help.

“Always hang up and report it to your bank immediately.”

To avoid this scam, and others like it, there are a series of steps Britons should take, with these considerations potentially saving them heartache, stress, and of course, money.

Firstly, with emails and texts, individuals should never click on a link, unless they know and trust the sender.

With calls, a similar approach should be taken, with people putting the phone down if they are unsure of who is calling.

And they should always use a number they trust, rather than one a caller uses or may give them.

Often Britons may be prompted to download software, but this should never be done out of instruction from an out of the blue phone call.

Individuals are encouraged to never share any of their personal or banking details, keeping their information private.

And finally, in order to protect one’s account, a person should never log on to their online banking for someone who calls. 

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