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EU can’t accept that! Brexit triggers chaos for German fishermen – risk spat with Norway

Brexit: Sandell hits out at ‘disgraceful’ lack of Norway deal

And Germany’s fishing industry has branded Norway “self-serving” – while appealing to Brussels to intervene, with one expert saying: “You cannot accept this.” The UK’s departure has prompted Oslo to unilaterally cut the EU’s fishing quota for cod and is aiming to do likewise with mackerel in a move which Norway’s Fiskeribladet website estimates could be worth an additional £100million.

Concerns over the knock-on effect their approach will have were outlined in a statement issued by the German Fisheries Association yesterday.

This warned: “Because the fish stock to be distributed is not growing, someone has to foot the bill for the self-serving behaviour of the Norwegians.

“It cannot be that the EU will accept that.”

Germany Angela Merkel

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (Image: GETTY)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)

The statement warned: “Since the total catches do not increase in the context of sustainable management, this would result in a permanent reduction in the EU’s fishing opportunities.”

The GFA fears an escalation by the end of August at the latest “because the EU fishermen from Germany, Spain, Portugal, France and Poland would by then have exhausted the quota that Norway still wants to grant them”, the GFA explained.

It added: “If the EU does not defend the legitimate rights of EU citizens in this situation, there is a risk of permanent losses of fishing rights with a total value of several hundred million euros per year.”

There is even a risk of ships from all five EU countries mentioned above being barred from Norway waters.

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Norway Arctic

Norway boats fish for cod in the Arctic (Image: GETTY)

Speaking last year, the country’s Fisheries Minister, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, said: “If we do not get a deal by January 1, we will not open Norway’s economic fishing zones to vessels from the EU and Britain.

“Neither can we expect Norwegian vessels to get access to their (the EU’s and Britain’s) zones before a deal is in place.”

Such a ban has not yet transpired – but remains a possibility.

Germany’s fishing industry employs 40,000 people and lands more than over 1.2 million metric tons of fish annually.

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Kirkella

Kirkella, moored up in Hull (Image: UK Fisheries)

Erna Solberg

Erna Solberg, Norway’s PM (Image: GETTY)

Chancellor Angela Merkel is a member of the Bundestag for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, one of the German regions most heavily reliant on fishing.

The failure to strike a post-Brexit fishing deal with Norway – which has never been a member of the EU – also has serious implications for the UK fishing industry.

Kirkella, a distant water trawler belonging to Hull-based UK Fisheries, is currently tied up in port because it is not currently permitted to operate in Norwegian waters.

Speaking in April, CEO Jane Sandell said: “This is a very black day for Britain.

European fisheries mapped

European fisheries mapped (Image: Express)

“George Eustice owes our crews and the Humberside region an explanation as to why Defra was unable even to maintain the rights we have had to fish in Norwegian waters for decades, never mind land the boasts of a ‘Brexit Bonus’, which has turned to disaster.

“In consequence, there will be no British-caught Arctic cod sold through chippies for our national dish – it will all be imported from the Norwegians, who will continue to sell their fish products to the UK tariff-free while we are excluded from these waters.

“Quite simply, this is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.

“The UK wanted to be an independent coastal state, but the only beneficiaries of Brexit will turn out to be a handful of Scottish pelagic fishing barons.

Fishing boats Germany

Fishing boats in Northern Germany (Image: GETTY)

“Everyone else – including much of the UK domestic fleet and the people who work in it, will lose out.”

Jeremy Percy, chairman of the New Under Tens Fisherman’s Association (NUFTA), told Express.co.uk at the time: “‘Dog’s breakfast’ sums it up really.

“The whole EU Exit with regard to fisheries has been a complete debacle from beginning to end.

“Our negotiators have yet to secure a long term deal with the EU on quotas or with Norway.”

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

People are gobsmacked over secret number on everyday playing cards ‘Can’t unsee it!’

The discovery is the latest viral sensation to take the internet by storm. Twitter account @NoContextBrits revealed that there is a secret eight in the middle of the eight of diamonds and people have lost it.

To astonished tweeters a post was captioned: “What age were you when you first saw the eight in the middle of the eight of diamonds?”

One user said: “I was today years old! And I consider myself to be good at spotting patterns!”

Another replied: “It has taken me five minutes, but I see it now. Incredible, I have never seen that before.”

A third shocked user simply said: “Holy sh**.” And a fourth added: “Wtf? Everyday is a school day.”

In short, what you know influences what you see.

The revelation about the eight of diamonds has also become an opportunity for people to share other hidden images in well-known logos.

For example, one Twitter user shared a picture of the Toblerone logo, which is a mountain. But on closer inspection, the outline of a bear can be seen in the peaks.

Another pointed out the arrow from A to Z in the Amazon logo and the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Weird Feed

Faster than your broadband – and cheaper too! Latest £5 offer from Three can’t be missed

Mobile network Three has slashed the price of its SIM-only deals. If you already own a smartphone and don’t fancy an upgrade, you can sign-up to one of these brilliant SIM-only plans to unlock lightning-fast 5G data downloads, unlimited minutes and unlimited text messages. And for a limited time, Three is offering its 8GB SIM-only bundle for £5 a month.

The latest deal means you’ll get half-price monthly bills during the first six months of your contract. So, you’ll only have to spend £5 a month to unlock unlimited text messages, unlimited calls, and 8GB of 5G data. Not only that, but Three also throws-in its Go Roam Around The World, which lets you use your minutes, texts and mobile data as normal in 71 countries across the planet.

Compared with rivals EE and O2, which have announced plans to bring back roaming charges each day you’re in Europe – something that’s now allowed following the UK’s exit from the European Union – Three’s roaming policy seems even more generous than before.

Three says its 5G network is roughly 10x faster than its 4G speeds. In our speed tests with 5G handsets, we’ve clocked speeds anywhere from 200Mbps to 500Mbps, depending on our location. For comparison, the average home broadband speed in the UK, as recorded earlier this year, is roughly 70Mbps. So, you’ll be able to download movies and stream Netflix shows easier on your phone than your home Wi-Fi connection. That’s especially handy if you’re struggling with buffering during an important video call.

Under the terms of the contract, Three allows its customers to use their 5G-powered phone to bring Wi-Fi to other gadgets. That’s handy if you’re trying to work in a train carriage, coffee shop, or garden.

Of course, to benefit from these supercharged mobile speeds you’ll need to make sure your phone is 5G-compatible. When it comes to Android, 5G handsets have been around for a while, so it’s possible your device is ready-to-go and you didn’t even realise. Apple introduced 5G to the iPhone last year, so you’ll need to make sure you have one of the latest models, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max.

After the six-month promotional period, the SIM-only reverts to £10 a month, although that’s still a pretty solid deal. If you’d rather keep paying £5 a month for the duration of your contract, Three offers a plan at that cost… but you’ll have to settle for 1GB of mobile data allowance.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Tech

Biden Wants the FCC to Fix Net Neutrality—but It Can’t Yet

The FCC won’t be able to do most of the things the president encouraged in his executive order until he nominates a fifth commissioner.

On Friday, President Biden urged the Federal Communications Commission to restore net neutrality rules and take steps to boost price transparency and competition in broadband—but the FCC can’t do most or all of that yet, because Biden hasn’t nominated a fifth commissioner to break the 2-2 deadlock between Democrats and Republicans.

Consumer advocacy groups have been urging Biden to nominate a third Democrat to the deadlocked FCC for months, but he still hasn’t done so. What’s causing the holdup isn’t clear. The delay could wipe out the FCC’s ability to do anything opposed by Republicans for all of 2021, because it can take the Senate months to approve FCC nominations, and the FCC process for complicated rulemakings is also lengthy.

Friday, Biden released a fact sheet describing an executive order focused on boosting competition in numerous industries. The order targets four broadband problems that it “encourages” the FCC to solve: deals between ISPs and landlords that limit tenants’ choices; misleading advertised prices; high termination fees; and net neutrality. (We published a separate article Friday on how other parts of the executive order affect the tech industry.)

“The order tackles four issues that limit competition, raise prices, and reduce choices for internet service,” the Biden fact sheet’s broadband section said. “More than 200 million US residents live in an area with only one or two reliable high-speed internet providers, leading to prices as much as five times higher in these markets than in markets with more options. A related problem is landlords and internet service providers entering exclusivity deals or collusive arrangements that leave tenants with only one option. This impacts low-income and marginalized neighborhoods, because landlord–ISP arrangements can effectively block out broadband infrastructure expansion by new providers.”

Biden’s order encourages the FCC to “prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.” The FCC technically bans exclusive agreements for TV and telecom services in multi-unit buildings but hasn’t stamped out the problem.

Biden Targets Hidden Fees and Switching Costs

The next part of Biden’s fact sheet covers the misleading advertised prices used by ISPs to hide the true cost of service. “Even where consumers have options, comparison shopping is hard. According to the FCC, actual prices paid for broadband services can be 40 percent higher than advertised,” the fact sheet said.

Biden’s proposed solution is to bring back the Obama-era “nutrition labels” that were designed to give customers information about hidden fees, data caps, overage charges, speed, latency, packet loss, and so on. Biden’s fact sheet said the executive order “encourages the FCC to revive the ‘Broadband Nutrition Label’ and require providers to report prices and subscription rates to the FCC.”

Biden further asks the FCC to “limit excessive early termination fees,” because customers in areas with competition “may be unable to actually switch because of high early termination fees—on average nearly $ 200—charged by internet providers.”

Restoring Net Neutrality Rules

Finally, Biden encouraged the FCC to “restore net neutrality rules undone by the prior administration.” Without the Obama-era net neutrality rules, “big providers can use their power to discriminatorily block or slow down online services,” Biden wrote.

ISPs do have to follow net neutrality rules in California and Washington state because of state laws and may do so in other states for the sake of simplicity in network operations and because they don’t want to give the government more incentive to impose stronger regulations while the long-term status of net neutrality is unsettled. Reviving the FCC’s Obama-era net neutrality rules would likely involve reclassifying broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act again to establish a nationwide framework for protecting net neutrality.

The FCC could also use its authority over common carriers to protect consumers in other ways. For example, former FCC chair Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal simultaneously wiped out the Obama-era price-transparency rules that Biden wants to bring back.

Senator Ed Markey (D–Massachusetts) applauded Biden’s call for restoring net neutrality rules. “As soon as there are three Democratic commissioners in place, the FCC must act without delay to reclassify broadband as a Title II service and reassert its authority over broadband,” Markey said. “I also plan to soon introduce legislation to do the same by statute. We cannot and will not stop working until net neutrality is the law of the land.” The pandemic “highlighted what we already knew: broadband isn’t a luxury. Like running water and electricity, it is an essential utility that everyone needs,” Markey said.

Cable Industry Criticizes Biden Order

The cable industry’s primary lobby group, NCTA–The Internet & Television Association, blasted Biden’s order.

“We are disappointed that the executive order rehashes misleading claims about the broadband marketplace, including the tired and disproven assertion that ISPs would block or throttle consumers from accessing the internet content of their choice,” NCTA said on Friday. “America’s broadband networks have been the nation’s most resilient and critical infrastructure during the pandemic, keeping our economy moving and enabling our citizens to learn, work and stay connected from the safety of their homes. As policymakers and industry share the goal of connecting every American to robust and reliable broadband service, we hope the administration will put the rhetoric aside and focus on constructive solutions.”

NCTA and the USTelecom lobby group have repeatedly claimed that broadband prices are dropping. But their claims rely on a “price-per-megabit” calculation that doesn’t reflect consumers’ total bills and a “broadband pricing index” that includes the prices of only a couple of service tiers instead of the average or median price. The actual monthly price consumers pay to internet service providers has been rising far faster than inflation for years.

Municipal Broadband Plan Apparently Stalled

Biden first signaled plans to take on the broadband industry in late March when he said he would lower prices, end hidden fees, and provide funding for municipal broadband networks. Publicly owned networks have “less pressure to turn profits and … a commitment to serving entire communities,” Biden noted at the time.

Biden originally proposed $ 100 billion in funding, with priority access going to publicly owned networks, triggering a round of lobbying by AT&T and other ISPs that aim to prevent competition and want broadband money going only to private companies. Biden ended up making a $ 65 billion deal with Republicans, apparently without any preference for public networks, but that’s still subject to negotiations in Congress.

FCC Needs 5th Member to ‘Fully Function’

Biden will have less direct involvement in implementing the measures he has asked the FCC to tackle, because the FCC is an independent agency that doesn’t simply do what the president asks. The president does get to nominate commissioners and choose the chair, so he can pick people who agree with his priorities. But he has to actually pick someone before the FCC’s Democrats can get to work on anything that involves a partisan battle like reclassifying broadband providers as common carriers, imposing net neutrality rules, and forcing ISPs to lower prices and end hidden fees.

“The executive order is important, but the processes and personnel to actually move ahead on these priorities are not in place yet … The agency needs a fifth commissioner to fully function,” Matt Wood, VP of policy and general counsel of Free Press, said Friday.

Restoring the FCC’s Title II common-carrier authority over broadband will let the FCC use “all its available tools to bring more competitive choice to the wired-broadband market,” Wood said. The FCC should also collect “better data on what individuals are actually paying each month” and “prevent abusive practices and price gouging.”

“The FCC needs to reverse the damage done by the Trump administration, which presided over rising prices and declining investment in broadband while pretending that a do-nothing deregulatory approach would solve these problems,” Wood said. Once the FCC is fully functioning, the FCC can start “promoting the public interest again,” he said.

This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.


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Britons accuse EU of ‘backdoor’ tactics to wreck Brexit ‘Can’t let them get away with it!’

More than half (53 percent) of people say it is “important” that Northern Ireland stays part of the UK, compared with just 12 percent who say it is “not important”. The Savanta ComRes polling comes as debate mounts on both sides of the Irish border about the potential of a referendum on Irish unification. A mere seven percent of more than 2,000 UK adults polled said it was “not at all” important that Northern Ireland remains part of the union, compared with 29 percent who said it was “very” important.

People who voted for Brexit are most likely to value Northern Ireland’s status as one of the four nations of the UK. While nearly two-thirds of Leavers (65 percent) said it was important it stayed, this was true for less than half of Remainers (49 percent).

The polling also reveals strong suspicion that Brussels may be trying to use special arrangements for Northern Ireland to thwart Brexit.

Forty-two percent agreed that “by tying Northern Ireland to EU single market rules the Northern Ireland protocol (NIP) is a backdoor way of not implementing Brexit” – and a mere nine percent disagreed.

The protocol, a key element of the Brexit deal, was designed to avoid the need for customs checks along the Irish border but there is fury in some unionist circles that it has impeded trade between Northern Ireland and England, Scotland and Wales.

The polling, commissioned by the Centre for Brexit Policy (CBP), uncovers concerns that the tensions could jeopardise the peace process and may contravene the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement which was instrumental in ending the Troubles.

Nearly six out of 10 people (57 percent) said the protocol is a threat to peace and stability in Northern Ireland with fewer than one in five (19 percent) saying it is not.

Half of respondents (50 percent) say it is unfair that Northern Ireland is treated differently to the UK with just 22 percent saying it is fair. More than three out of 10 (31 percent) say protocol breaches the Good Friday Agreement, while just 20 percent say it does not.

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson, who chairs the CBP, said the findings should be a wake-up call to Conservative ministers and MPs.

He said: “The polling shows that the British people understand that the NIP radically changes the status of Northern Ireland and is threatening its stability. Nobel peace prize winner and architect of the Belfast Agreement Lord Trimble has said consistently that the NIP breaches the principle of consent that the status of Northern Ireland cannot change without the consent of the people.

“Lord Trimble is an advocate of mutual enforcement as a solution which would guarantee the sovereignty of the UK and the integrity of the EU Single Market.”

A UK Government spokesperson said the concerns of people in Northern Ireland about the impact the protocol is having on their identity cannot be ignored.

The spokesperson said: “Northern Ireland is an integral part of our United Kingdom, so we can’t ignore the disruption that the protocol is causing, nor can we ignore the concerns of those in Northern Ireland who worry about impact it is having on their identity and Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

“That’s why we are working with the EU to try and resolve the issues but we’ll consider all options if solutions can’t be found. The Government’s priority will always be the protection of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and the peace process.”

 

Sammy Wilson, a DUP MP and director of the CBP, strongly welcomed the polling.

He said: “The good sense of the British people is winning through and not for the first time. For all the smoke and mirrors of politicians and officials in the Republic of Ireland and Brussels, the public know that the hidden agenda here is to use the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland as a way of wrecking Brexit.

“They must not be allowed to get away with it. They also know that hard-line advocates of the protocol are playing with fire.

“Northern Ireland is an integral part of the UK and foreign powers should not be allowed to interfere with trade within a sovereign state.”

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In letter, USADA says it can’t change marijuana rules alone

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency letter addressed criticisms leveled by members of Congress after sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s ban from the Olympics over marijuana.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency leaders are pushing to further mitigate “harsh consequences” for marijuana if it’s not intentionally used to enhance performance, though they cannot unilaterally change the rules, they wrote in a letter to members of Congress critical of the agency in the wake of sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s ban from the Olympics.

The letter, sent Friday, addressed criticisms leveled by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, in their own letter, sent last week, after Richardson’s suspension was announced.

The 21-year-old sprinter will not compete at the Tokyo Games after testing positive for a chemical found in marijuana after her victory in the 100-meter finals at the Olympic trials last month.

Officially, she received a 30-day ban, but the positive test nullified her first-place finish at the trials, which cost her a spot in the individual race. And earlier this week, USA Track and Field left her completely off the Olympic roster, meaning she can’t run in the 4×100 relay, which takes place after the 30-day ban is over.

Friday’s letter, co-signed by USADA CEO Travis Tygart, referenced a rule in Ultimate Fighting Championship that does not penalize marijuana use if it is not meant to enhance performance. But while USADA oversees UFC’s anti-doping program, that league is not signed onto the international anti-doping code, the way USADA, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and all organizations that oversee Olympic athletes are.

“Most governments in the world have been very reluctant to take marijuana off the prohibited list for public health reasons,” the USADA letter read. “It is worth noting that when marijuana was included in the first prohibited list in 2004, one of the strongest advocates for inclusion of marijuana on the prohibited list was the U.S. government.”

It said that because Richardson voluntarily accepted her 30-day sanction, any attempt to reverse it, as Ocasio-Cortez and Raskin suggested should happen, “would have been quickly appealed” by the IOC or World Anti-Doping Agency and might have resulted in an even longer suspension.

In last Friday’s letter to Tygart and WADA president Witold Banka, Ocasio-Cortez and Raskin wrote “the ban on marijuana is a significant and unnecessary burden on athletes’ civil liberties.” It said the rule was even more antiquated because of more permissive attitudes about the drug, which “is currently legal in 19 states” and “legal in some form in at least 35 countries around the world.”

But USADA countered back that “most governments in the world have been very reluctant to take marijuana off the prohibited list for public health reasons.”

[embedded content]

Author: EDDIE PELLS (AP National Writer)
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Sky unleashes biggest ever broadband upgrade at a price that BT and Virgin can’t match

Sky Broadband has unleashed its fastest-ever speed – with downloads clocking in at 500Mbps. The full-fibre plan costs £45 a month when you sign-up to an 18-month contract. For comparison, BT charges £49.99 a month for 300Mbps, while Virgin Media customers can either pay £56 a month for 350Mbps, or £62 a month for 500Mbps. That makes Sky Broadband comfortably the most affordable option for these speeds.

But that’s not the only advantage of picking Sky over its biggest rivals.

Anyone who signs-up to Sky’s Ultrafast Plus package will be guaranteed download speeds of 400Mbps. Broadband speeds usually fluctuate throughout the day, with speeds on busy streets or estates taking a hit at peak times. Sky Broadband’s Speed Guarantee means you can claim a month’s subscription back if your speed falls below the minimum guaranteed speed.

BT and Virgin Media both offer similar schemes, but neither of these rivals is seemingly as confident in their ability to maintain speeds.

For example, BT’s Full Fibre 300 package only has a speed guarantee of 150Mbps. So, in order to claim from the telecoms giant, you’ll need to be regularly getting less than half of the broadband speed you’re paying for. Yikes. Virgin Media states that its M500 plan will usually deliver between 460 and 551Mbps, which is solid. However, the speed guarantee doesn’t kick-in until you’re getting below 258Mbps for three consecutive days.

If your speeds aren’t up to scratch after 30 days with BT, the company will hand over £20. It will also offer customers the chance to exit their contract without paying a charge for cancelling early. Likewise, Virgin Media has 30 days to resolve the issue. After that, it will also let you walk away and find a deal with a competitor before the end of your contract.

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Sky’s equivalent guarantee is a little more generous. If your download speeds fall below the 400Mbps mark for three days in a row in any 30-day period, the satellite broadcaster will refund the cost of the last month. To be eligible, you’ll need be within your minimum term but can claim up to twice. If it happens within the first 30 days of your broadband being activated, Sky will also refund your money for any upfront setup costs.

The latest broadband package from Sky is only possible thanks to full-fibre connections, so you’ll need to have next-generation fibre cables running to your door to be eligible. If there are still ageing copper cables in your street, you’ll miss out.

However, Openreach – which manages the cable infrastructure used by Sky – has already connected five million homes to full-fibre cables. According to its latest estimates, it’s on track to hit 25 million premises across the UK by December 2026. 

Sky’s 500Mbps Ultrafast Plus package is more than 10x faster than the UK’s average fibre speed.

That means you should have more than enough bandwidth for video calls, software updates, streaming music, online video games, and more. Busy households are unlikely to see any slowdown – enough if everyone is binging their own Netflix show in ultra-crisp 4K Ultra HD quality in separate rooms.

As you’d expect, there are no usage caps either. So don’t worry about downloading gargantuan PlayStation 5 games, gigabits of software updates for your iPhone, and more.

Director of Propositions at Sky Broadband Aman Bhatti said: “Today’s Ultrafast Plus launch reflects our commitment to providing customers with the fastest and most reliable broadband speeds possible. This is why Ultrafast Plus comes with the UK’s fastest Speed Guarantee, so our customers can game, stream, download and work from home seamlessly.”

Ultrafast Plus is available to new and existing Sky customers right now. 

Author: Aaron Brown
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Tech

‘Bucket of cold sick!’ Lineker’s £1.36m salary shows BBC ‘can’t be trusted’, says activist

BBC licence fee: Over-75s have ‘had enough’ says campaigner

And Rebecca Ryan, Defund the BBC’s Campaign Director, lamented the fact the news came at a time when pensioners throughout the country were being pursued for their £159-per-annum licence fees – with legal action an option. The BBC’s annual report for 2020/21 showed it had slashed 10 percent from its pay bill for top talent, after some of its biggest names agreed to salary cuts or quit.

However, despite taking a £400,000 paycut, former England striker Lineker – seen by millions last night during the coverage of Italy’s penalty shootout victory over Spain in the semi-finals of the European Championships – still trousers £1.36million a year.

Meanwhile, Naga Munchetty, presenter of BBC Breakfast, has seen her annual salary rocket by 30 percent, going up from the £195,000–£199,999 bracket to £255,000– £259,999.

People over the age of 75 were previously exempt from the licence fee – but rule changes mean only those in receipt of Pension Credit are excluded from the payment, with the grace period in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic expiring at the end of the month.

BBC news Gary Lineker

BBC news: Gary Lineker still earns £1.36million a year (Image: GETTY)

Naga Munchetty

Naga Munchetty has picked up a 30 percent payrise (Image: BBC)

Ms Ryan told Express.co.uk: “The shocking revelation that Naga Munchetty, who openly mocked the Queen and Union Jack live on air, has been rewarded with a 30 percent pay increase, whilst many Britons don’t know if they’ll have a job to go back to has gone down like a bucket of cold sick.

“Meanwhile, crowing about Gary Lineker’s pay cut to £1.36 million for 60 days of work shows how thoroughly out of touch with licence fee payers chief executive Tim Davie is.

“As Michael Portillo said, ‘the BBC is clinging to the licence fee like a polar bear on a melting piece of ice’.

READ MORE: Brexiteer savages ‘absurd’ EU chief Sefcovic after legal threat

Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker is fronting the BBC’s Euro 2020 coverage (Image: BBC)

The BBC is still a deeply wasteful organisation that has refused to evolve with its competitors

Rebecca Ryan

“Reducing the salaries of a few top earners, because they dropped a show or two, won’t hold back the inevitable tsunami that is the death of live broadcast TV.

“Nor will it assuage the ever-growing sense in the country that the licence fee is outdated and unjust, and the BBC’s collection practices discriminatory, with women and the vulnerable disproportionately prosecuted.”

Ms Ryan said: “The BBC extracted over £250 million from elderly Britons during a pandemic and we’re expected to be impressed with a staffing cost reduction of £14 million?

“The BBC is still a deeply wasteful organisation that has refused to evolve with its competitors.”

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Tim Davie

Tim Davie, the BBC’s director general (Image: GETTY)

Martin Bashir Princess Diana

Martin Bashir’s infamous interview with Princess Diana was cited by Ms Ryan (Image: GETTY)

The corporation had shown on numerous occasions, most recently with the controversy surrounding the methods Martin Bashir used to secure his bombshell interview with Prince Diana, that it “cannot be trusted to mark its own homework”, Ms Ryan claimed.

She added: “It must therefore be moved into the private sector where it can be held accountable by willing customers, not propped up by reluctant and coerced Britons.”

Speaking yesterday, Tory MP Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), said: “It’s welcome that some of the BBC’s top-earners have agreed to ‘significant reductions’ in their salaries this year. Yet despite taking a pay cut Gary Lineker is still earning £1.36 million.

“There remains a concerning lack of transparency because a number of top-earning stars are paid through BBC Studios and their salaries don’t appear here.

European TV licence fees

European TV licence fees compared (Image: GETTY)

“Claudia Winkleman is one of those missing from this list despite her work for Radio 2 and presenting Strictly.”

Mr Knight said: “Without any indication of whether these earnings have gone up or down, licence fee-payers are only getting half the picture on whether they are getting value for money.

“It’s time for the BBC to commit to full transparency on its talent bill and drop the smoke and mirrors approach.”

The report covers the first six months of BBC director-general Tim Davie’s tenure.

Julian Knight

Julian Knight (Image: GETTY)

He said: “The BBC has delivered outstanding content and value to audiences in extraordinary circumstances this year. I am proud of all we have achieved to inform, educate and entertain the Nation in record numbers during the pandemic.

“The BBC is responding to global competition and pressure on our finances.

“But, we know we must do much more to ensure licence fee payers across the UK get best value from the BBC, to maintain their trust and provide a service they cannot do without.

“I am absolutely focused on making the reforms we need to ensure the BBC is positioned to offer all audiences the best possible service well into the future.”

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Author: Ciaran McGrath
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: UK Feed

TikTok Down: Anger as video app not working – users lose followers and can’t log in

If you’re trying to access TikTok and can’t log in tonight then you are definitely not alone. The hugely popular chat and video app appears to be down right now with thousands of reports flooding in from across the world. The outage began at around 8.30pm with many users left angry as they are unable to access their accounts with others reporting that all of their followers have suddenly disappeared. Independent monitor Down Detector, which monitors online outages, has registered a huge spike in TikTok down reports while users have also reported issues in droves on Twitter.

The Down Detector outage map says the TikTok issues are affecting users in the UK and large parts of Europe with one user posting a message on the forum page saying: “TikTok is down can’t login and seeing 0 followers and 0 likes on my accounts.”

Another added: “So I have to change my username??? And have 0 following, 0 followers, 0 likes??”

Along with plenty of comments on Down Detector, TikTok fans have also flooded Twitter with complaints.

One tweet said: “TikTok seems down because mine won’t let me see comments, likes or anything.”

Whilst another posted a message saying: “Looks like TikTok is down showing 0 followers & 0 videos and likes where is it all gone can we get them back @tiktok_uk.”

There’s currently no word on what is causing the gremlins or when things will be fixed but we will update this article when we hear more. So far the TikTok US, TikTok UK and TikTok Support Twitter accounts are yet to post about the issues users are reportedly experiencing tonight.

This isn’t the first time this year that TikTok users have been left unable to access their accounts or lose their followers. Back in May, a very similar issue hit the service with the App telling users that they had 0 TikTok followers.

The good news is, that issue corrected itself after everything returned to normal so hopefully the same will happen after tonight’s outage.

MORE FOLLOWS

Author: David Snelling
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Tech

UFO sightings: Pentagon can’t rule out alien ETs and neither should you, says investigator

Despite the buzz surrounding the report, this is not the first time the US has investigated the UFO phenomenon.

In 1969, the US Air Force compiled the infamous Project Blue Book – a list of nearly 13,000 sighings, including 700 that were deemed “unidentified”.

And there are, of course, those who were not as enthusiastic about the report or its findings.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the famed astrophysicist and science communicator, has been very vocal about his distrust towards the Pentagon’s declassified UFO videos – and UFO sightings in general.

He publically decried the quality of most sightings, claiming blurry videos and fuzzy images are simply not enough to back and ET origin for some of these phenomena.

His stance towards UFO sightings contrasts his belief alien life probably does exist somewhere out there in our infinite universe – but it has certainly not visited our planet.

Author: Sebastian Kettley
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Weird Feed