Tag Archives: mean

State pension warning as ‘seismic shifts’ mean Britons forced to work past retirement age

Britons forced to work past retirement age

If a person begins to take money from their pension pot, the amount they can pay into a pension and still receive tax relief on may reduce.

The tax charge is one many people will be keen to avoid, but could trigger without even realising it.

Mr Tully continued: “The Money Purchase Annual Allowance will unwittingly catch out ‘pension dippers’ who want to continue working, given the prevalence of workplace pension schemes.

“The MPAA is an arbitrary allowance which is easy to increase or remove altogether, and would allow savers to rebuild their pensions, especially in light of the pandemic and resulting uncertainty created.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Max Verstappen unfazed by Lewis Hamilton’s British GP pace – ‘It doesn’t mean anything’

Championship leader Max Verstappen was left frustrated as he starts from second on the grid for Saturday’s sprint qualifying race, as he battles it out with Lewis Hamilton for pole position for Sunday’s British Grand Prix

Hamilton heads up the grid as he was cheered on by thousands of home fans ahead of the main event at the end of the weekend, as he stunned around Silverstone.

Hamilton was looking to bounce back this weekend, a track he’s won at seven times, as Red Bull have dominated for the past five races.

Verstappen meanwhile was heard complaining on the radio of understeer, as the Dutchman struggle to find any grip in his Red Bull around the Northampton circuit.

Hamilton lit up the timing screens his final run, and was on course to better his time of a 1:26.7706s, but was hampered by a huge slide in the final sector.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas will line up third on the grid tomorrow, in a 17 lap race that will decide Sunday’s grid for the British Grand Prix, with three Britons in the top ten.

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Yet, clearly frustrated, Verstappen, who had been fastest in the morning practice session, said he wasn’t at surprised by the pace of the Mercedes, who have struggled to hook it up for the past five races.

“No [I am not surprised by Lewis Hamilton’s pace], we need to look at ourselves.

“The car itself was handling quite well but there was a lot of understeer, so I couldn’t really attack too many corners.

“I was waiting for the front to grip up, but It was a weird feeling to drive.

“I don’t think it was set-up or front wing-related, it is what it is, we are still quite close”

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“It’s a bit of a weird feeling, to be honest, you do qualify and you go flat out and actually doesn’t really mean anything in terms of pole position, so we’ll see tomorrow.

“I think we have a strong race car just need to fix a bit the issues we had in qualifying.

“I’ve got confidence we can have a strong race.”

Sprint qualifying gets underway at 4:30pm tomorrow after a second practice session on Saturday morning, with the results deciding the grid for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Sport

Freeview and Freesat complete merger, but what does it mean for your TV?

Freeview and Freesat are now one and the same company. The two brands finalised their long-awaited merger at the end of last week. For those who don’t want to shell out a small fortune to enjoy Sky Q, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video subscriptions to watch at home… Freeview and Freesat offer a wealth of shows and movies to watch for free. If you have either of these services, the merger brings some good news.

Freeview parent company Digital UK, which was a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and transmitter operator Arqiva – until the latter left the project last year, has now confirmed that it acquired Freesat on July 8, 2021. Freesat had two shareholders, BBC and ITV, which meant the merger had to be cleared by the relevant authorities and regulators.

The process of bringing the two companies together will take a number of months, the brands confirmed.

It’s unclear what exactly the merger will mean for viewers. However, Digital UK has claimed bringing both brands under the same roof will mean both will “benefit from a more streamlined approach to technological innovation and product development”.

As such, we’d expect new functionality to roll out to Freeview and Freesat devices at the same time. Fingers crossed, it should also mean that upcoming content deals will apply to both set-top boxes – so Freesat and Freeview viewers will be able to enjoy the same boxsets and channels.

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We’d also hope that innovations already available on one of the Digital UK services but not another can now be shared – bringing both of these free-to-watch options on a level footing for the first time.

For those who don’t know, Freesat offers access to a number of the same channels as Freeview, but relies on a satellite dish to connect viewers to their favourite shows. So, if you’ve decided to leave Sky Q, but still have a dish strapped to your roof and don’t fancy a weekend of DIY – you can plug in a Freesat compatible set-top box to access free-to-air channels using your existing receiver. That’s a different approach to Freeview, which leverages your aerial.

There are a few advantages to Freesat over Freeview, most notably, that the service uses the additional capacity afforded when broadcasting via satellite to offer a selection of 24 high-definition channels, including those from BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Discovery Networks, France 24, Paramount Network, Bloomberg, RT UK and TRT World.

That said, Freeview Play – which requires an internet connection to bring catch-up services into the TV Guide – includes more content than Freesat. When using a Freeview Play television or set-top box, scrolling to the left on the TV Guide will allow viewers “travel back in time” and jump into previously-aired shows still available from BBC iPlayer, My5, ITV Hub, All4 and others.

In total, it pulls content from 10 on-demand catch-up services now, following the launch of POP Player at the end of last year. While much of this is also possible with Freesat, the service doesn’t currently include any shows from All4.

Jonathan Thompson, CEO, Digital UK, said: “I’m delighted to be heading up the new entity and am very much looking forward to leading the development of free-to-view TV in the UK over the coming years. Freeview and Freesat are both major success stories for the UK’s TV industry and wider society, enabling the public policy goals that underpin public service broadcasting, allowing access to high quality TV for free, for all.”

The news comes as Digital UK struck a deal with Amazon to bring Freeview Play to its Fire TV Edition TVs. These are TVs powered entirely by the Fire TV operating system that can also be found on its best-selling Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube set-top boxes.

The Freeview Play app will allow access to 85 live broadcast channels and content from 10 on-demand players, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Horror Bites, STV Player and BBC Sounds.

What the Delta variant’s trajectory in Israel and the UK could mean for the US

But trends from Israel and the United Kingdom — where the variant became dominant a few weeks sooner than in the US — present hope for a less deadly and severe surge than others that have come before. And experts say that vaccination progress will be the most critical factor in preventing the worst outcomes.
In Israel, average daily cases are twice what they were in mid-April when the first cases of Delta were identified in the country. At that time, there were an average of five deaths each day in Israel. But despite the rise of the Delta variant — which now accounts for more than 90% of new cases in the country — average daily deaths have stayed consistently below that. In fact, Israel has had an average of less than two Covid-19 deaths per day since the last week of May, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In the United Kingdom, both cases and deaths are higher than they were when the Delta variant became the dominant strain in the country in mid-May, but cases have climbed exponentially faster than deaths. Average daily deaths in the UK are about twice what they were when the Delta variant became dominant, and cases are about 12 times what they were.
But trends in death due to Covid-19 lag a few weeks behind trends in cases, so the latest data on deaths should be closer in line with data on cases from a few weeks earlier. And even three weeks ago, average daily cases in the UK had multiplied more than the most recent daily deaths.
While both Israel and the UK foreshadow some optimism for Delta’s trajectory in the United States, experts say that Israel’s outcomes have been more overwhelmingly positive because of their substantial vaccination rate.
“In my mind, vaccines are the single most important factor” in the fight against the Delta variant, Becky Dutch, a virologist and chair of the University of Kentucky’s department of molecular and cellular biochemistry, told CNN.
When the first cases of the Delta variant were identified in Israel, about 56% of the population was already fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. But in the UK, only 2% of the population was fully vaccinated when the Delta variant was first identified there, only reaching 50% vaccination within the past week.
“There is reason to be moderately hopeful — with the caveat that the reason deaths and hospitalizations have not gone up as much is that there’s pretty high immunity from vaccination and natural infection in individuals most at risk,” Justin Lessler, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, told CNN.
In a statement released Monday, the Israeli government said that its analysis has shown the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to provide 64% protection against infections caused by the Delta variant but 93% effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalizations, compared to research from May that reported it to be 97% effective.
“If we picked a flu vaccine that is effective as the current mRNA vaccines appear to be against Delta, we would be celebrating. They’re only slightly less good against Delta than the originally circulating strain,” Lessler said.
“The concern is places in the US that have not seen a lot of Covid and vaccination rates among the high-risk population is low.”
Overall, vaccination rates in the US fall somewhere between Israel and the UK. About 16% of the population was fully vaccinated when the first cases of Delta were identified in the US and about 48% are fully vaccinated now that the variant has become dominant.
And vaccination rates vary widely across the country. Less than a third of people in Alabama are fully vaccinated, compared to about two-thirds of people in Vermont, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The US is a patchwork now,” Dutch said. “It depends on where you live. If you live in a place with high vaccination rates and you’re vaccinated yourself, I’m not overly concerned about you. But if you’re sitting in an area of the country with 35% of the population vaccinated and you’re not vaccinated, I’m much more concerned.”
And while there is some evidence that the virus may evade natural immunity from previous infections and slightly lower the efficacy of the vaccines, experts say these findings are something to pay attention to, they’re not something to panic about.
Instead, Lessler says the rise and spread of the Delta and Alpha variants are a “warning that the virus is going to continue to evolve and continue to — in that evolution — find ways around existing immunity,” but that the hope is that vaccines will “virtually eliminate severe disease” for quite some time.

What Arizona’s 2010 Ban on Ethnic Studies Could Mean for the Fight Over Critical Race Theory

PHOENIX — In 2006, Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American studies curriculum was relatively unknown. The program — a series of middle and high school classes highlighting Mexican American contributions to U.S. history and culture — had shown promise in lifting Latino students out of lower test score brackets and boosting graduation rates. Only a handful of detractors had shown up at school board meetings to grouse about the curriculum’s race-focused teachings.

Then, Jonathan Paton, a Republican lawmaker representing Tucson at the time, got ahold of a recording of labor organizer and Chicano rights icon Dolores Huerta telling an auditorium of Tucson High School students, “Republicans hate Latinos.” Suddenly, GOP lawmakers in Phoenix were decrying “Raza Studies,” as the program was known, as a plot to indoctrinate children with ideas about white people as racists and people of color as their victims. (“Raza” is Spanish for “race,” though the teachers who adopted the name said the intended translation was more akin to “the people.”)

A legislative panel ordered school administrators to defend the program at the state capitol in Phoenix, with one lawmaker accusing the district of running a “sweatshop for liberalism.” By 2008, lawmakers were setting their sights on banning TUSD’s Mexican American studies program altogether with a bill to prohibit classes from teaching beliefs that “denigrate American values.”

“Organizations that spew anti-American or race-based rhetoric have no place,” Russell Pearce, a Republican representative who sponsored the first attempt to outlaw the classes, said at a 2008 hearing. “We ought to be celebrating unity as Americans and not allowing, with taxpayer dollars, these organizations.”

Proponents of the program saw it as a way not only to engage students but to ensure that past wrongs against marginalized communities wouldn’t be repeated. “At one time in the history of our nation, part of our ‘American values’ were the enslavement of other human beings,” Linda Lopez, a Democratic representative, shot back. “It was through dissent and through the revolution of the minds of the people of this country that we were able to do away with those kinds of American values.”

The contours of Arizona’s Mexican American studies debate a decade ago will sound familiar to anyone following the current sparring over the teaching of concepts lumped together as “critical race theory” — which some two dozen states have introduced legislation to ban. Republicans back then saw teachers indoctrinating children to do the left’s political bidding, building a Marxist youth program to fight the power and the white man. Educators and their Democratic backers saw an opportunity to inspire underperforming Latino students by overhauling the way American history is taught. The focus today is on the teaching of slavery and the history of discrimination toward Black, rather than Latino, Americans, but the language and the politics have clear echoes.

Yet, when Arizona lawmakers turned their eyes toward their own “critical race theory” ban this past spring, few seemed to remember how the previous attempt to prohibit race-related studies in schools had turned out here. In 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law banning Tucson’s Mexican American studies program. But today, 15 years after the curriculum first caught the attention of Republican lawmakers and a decade after they outlawed it, the courses — or at least a version of them — live on, thanks to a court-appointed monitor overseeing TUSD’S longstanding federal desegregation order, a dark reminder of the district’s own discriminatory past. A federal court later ruled that the 2010 ban violated students’ constitutional rights. Today, the program is larger than it’s ever been.

Paton, the Republican lawmaker, argues that the current critical race theory debate is different — a “nationalized movement” that he believes will make a mark on the 2022 election cycle. And polling suggests there’s something to that: A recent national survey found that while only about half of Americans said they know what critical race theory is, of those, 58 percent had a negative opinion of it. Nearly three-quarters of independents described it as “bad for America.”

Still, as critical race theory becomes a rallying cry for conservatives, from former President Donald Trump down to local school boards, Arizona’s years-long fight over Mexican American studies is a vivid reminder of what a messy, drawn-out affair a battle over local curriculum can become. The years of protests, political brawls and courtroom battles divided the Tucson community and mired the district in controversy, before reaching a resolution no one is really satisfied with to this day.

It turns out banning a curriculum is easier said than done.

If there’s one thing proponents and detractors of Mexican American studies in Tucson agree on, it’s that the program was a forerunner to the school teachings being debated today. At its core, critical race theory is an academic concept that looks at history, law and political science through the lens of race; a main tenet is that disparate racial outcomes are the result of institutions, not merely individuals, perpetuating racism. While the term often has been misapplied in the current debate — it is a university-level concept, not commonly taught to children — the founders of Tucson’s Mexican American studies program openly embraced it and still use it today. (On its website, though, while TUSD promotes its “multicultural” curriculum meant to “expose biases, stereotypes, and policies that can restrict achievement,” doesn’t use the buzzwords of “critical race theory.”)

Mexican American studies in Tucson originated in 1997, when Latino plaintiffs in a desegregation case dating back to the 1970s asked for courses that better reflected their history. In 2002, educator Augustine Romero became director of what was originally called “Hispanic studies.” He then changed the name to Mexican American studies and sought to radically revamp the way the district taught its students their own history.

Despite a few pockets of wealth, Tucson Unified School District is a largely poor district that serves a majority-Latino population. White students make up only about 20 percent of the district, and the vast majority of students qualify for free and reduced-priced lunches. TUSD’s students fall behind their peers around the state in standardized testing, and students of color fall even further behind their white peers.

Romero and other Mexican American studies founders hoped that by connecting history with current events and ethnic identity, the program would inspire Latino students in particular to envision a better future for themselves, their communities and the country. The classes, taught by a small corps of teachers spread across the district, counted for required graduation credits, though they weren’t mandatory — students were free to take standard American history or literature classes instead. In 2010, before the ban kicked in, the program included roughly 2,000 students per year and existed in five high schools, as well as some middle and elementary schools.

María Federico Brummer, who began teaching in the program in 2006, says the classes spoke to her students in a way that sparked intellectual curiosity and motivated them to imagine more for themselves. “As a middle school teacher, I could see it. I knew this was the way we should be teaching our students,” she says. “You saw these students were feeling more academically engaged, students feeling for the first time that they could be scholars in some way and that school wasn’t a foreign place for them, but someplace where they could have a future.”

Several surveys and independent audits backed that up, finding that students enrolled in the program saw improved scores in reading, writing and even math. They also were less likely to drop out, and more likely to feel engaged in school.

But critics, including Paton, the Republican lawmaker who had picked up on Dolores Huerta’s comments, described the program pointedly as a cult of personality around Romero and other early leaders that had an “almost pseudo-spiritualistic” vibe. Teachers who opposed the program reported harassment from Mexican American studies teachers and students. Several opponents of the program were put on a blacklist and have long suspected their opposition was the cause.

“It was just really weird. There was a lot about self-confidence and connection to my people — kind of liberation theology,” Paton says. “They were teaching about Aztlán. … It was completely wackadoodle.” (Aztlán is the name of the mythical homeland of the Aztec people, as well as a term used by Chicano activists to refer to the area seized in the Mexican-American War.)

Doug MacEachern, a conservative editorial columnist for the Arizona Republic at the time, found in the program a never-ending source of commentary. “Until these ideologues got their claws in them, these kids actually had a good chance at an education,” McEachern said in an interview. “I try to stay away from these terms, but you can’t: They were turning them into Marxist foot soldiers.”

After years of attacking the program, Republican lawmakers finally put a bill to ban classes that teach “racial resentment” and advocate “the overthrow of the government” on the governor’s desk in 2010. Brewer signed the legislation — as well as Arizona’s hardline immigration legislation, SB 1070 — the same year.

When the hammer finally came down, Federico Brummer joined other teachers in going class-to-class to round up the books they had used in the curriculum. Some students cried, she says, as she boxed up copies of Elizabeth Martinez’s 500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures, Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit and Rodolfo Acuña’s Occupied America. Students held a 24-hour vigil.

Under threat from state lawmakers and politicians in Phoenix to revoke millions in state funding for violating the ban, Tucson’s school board disbanded the program in 2011. That was when the fight reached its climactic moment, an intense confrontation not unlike the school board fights playing out today — though it was students, not parents, who led the protest.

On an April day that year, a group of more than a hundred students and supporters swarmed a school board meeting in the district office. Nine of them stormed the dais and wrestled with security before chaining themselves to the governing board members’ chairs. “Our education is under attack,” they chanted. “What do we do? Fight back!”

The meeting was shut down, temporarily delaying the inevitable dissolution of the program. The affair made national news, deepening the divide between the two sides and heightening the tension in the community.

Critics like MacEachern argue to this day that the students wouldn’t have protested without orders from their teachers. “Who bought them the chains and the padlocks?” he asked. But the teachers were proud of the students’ display, and they say they hadn’t planned it — that the ban was an attack on the students as much as it was on the program.

“The most beautiful part of it is that they were able to keep that a secret even from us,” Romero says. “The honest truth of this is, when I stood up and saw the students rush in, they scared the heck out of me too.”

All of this occurred at a trying time for Arizona’s Latinos. The immigration and education bills came on the heels voters’ overwhelmingly backing a proposal to bar undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition to local universities and community colleges. It was the same era when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was racially profiling Latinos in traffic stops and conducting workplace raids looking for undocumented immigrants. (Arpaio was later convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying an order to stop racially profiling, a crime for which Trump pardoned him.)

As stressful as those years were, in a way they were also gratifying for leaders of the Mexican American studies program. The students were living through the same struggles their icons had faced in Chicano rights movement decades earlier — the same kinds of struggles they had read about. They were fighting for better education the same way Dolores Huerta fought for better working conditions. They were making their own history.

“I saw our students organize and grow and make not just themselves proud, but their families and our community proud with the work they were doing to save our program,” Federico Brummer says.

Indeed, the ban wasn’t the end of Mexican American studies in Tucson. In 2012, a federal court appointed a “special master” to oversee negotiations in the district’s decades-old desegregation case — an academic named Willis D. Hawley, who saw the program’s benefit to Latino students. Hawley ordered the district to reinstate Mexican American studies while finding a way to comply with the 2010 state law. So, the program’s teachers and administrators began to rebuild. They ditched the name Mexican American studies in favor of “culturally responsive” classes and curriculum. But the books the program used were re-incorporated, and most of the same teachers stayed involved.

Veterans of the Mexican American studies program say it was never really the same after the state’s ban, however. Federico Brummer was required to undergo “retraining” to unlearn some of the tactics used in Mexican American studies, she says. As they restarted the program, Arizona Department of Education officials, led by John Huppenthal — a chief opponent of the program who became state superintendent of public instruction, the state’s highest educational authority, just after the ban passed sent monitors to the classes to keep an eye on teachers and even read their lesson plans.

The TUSD’s culturally responsive curriculum program today is bigger than Mexican American studies ever was: It now includes more than 200 teachers in history, literature and social studies classes for about 6,000 students. It’s in every high school and middle school in the district, with plans to expand into elementary schools. But without the original dedicated core group of teachers, the classes just aren’t as good, says Federico Brummer, who is now director of the TUSD’s Mexican American Student Services. The spike in test scores that teachers saw in the heyday of the program has mostly faded away, too.

“We have an issue about quantity versus quality,” Federico Brummer says. “We have teachers being ‘voluntold,’ ‘You’re going to teach this language arts course from a Mexican American viewpoint.’ And that’s totally different.”

What does Tucson’s embrace of ethnic studies portend for the rest of the country as it debates whether schools should — or even do — teach critical race theory? The political context today is different, as is the curriculum that’s up for debate, but there are some lessons from how the fight in Arizona played out.

There could be political ramifications, for one thing. A lasting legacy of the immigration fights of the early 2010s is that they inspired a new generation of Latino activists who helped to turn Arizona purple and, more recently, blue. At the same time, the same kind of independent suburban voters who view critical race theory suspiciously also were key to pushing Democrats over the top in Arizona in the 2020 election.

While education fights inherently differ by state, another takeaway from the Tucson saga was the role the courts ultimately played in deciding the fate of Mexican American studies, including examining the intent behind the state’s ban. Shortly after the district got rid of the classes, students and parents filed a lawsuit alleging that the ban violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. After the case made a tour through district court, then up to the court of appeals and back to the trial level, a federal district court judge ruled in 2017 that the law was enacted with “racial animus” and used “discriminatory ends in order to make political gains” — and therefore was unconstitutional.

The court’s decision relied in large part on online screeds that Huppenthal, the state superintendent of public instruction, had posted on a blog under a pen name. (He later admitted to authoring, and apologized for, the posts.) In one post, Huppenthal called Mexican American studies the “KKK in a different color.” “I don’t mind them selling Mexican food as long as the menus are mostly in English. And, I’m not being humorous or racist. A lot is at stake here,” he wrote in another.

Romero recalled testifying before the state Senate on the topic when Huppenthal was a state lawmaker. “He said, ‘What upsets me is you talk about the idea of race and racism, and you talk about oppression. It means there are oppressors out there, and I don’t think it’s the case,’” Romero remembers. “And I’m looking at him thinking, ‘You are the oppressor — of course you wouldn’t see it.’”

(Huppenthal said in an interview that the idea that he’s an oppressor is laughable. He grew up on Tucson’s impoverished southside, alongside many Mexican American friends and neighbors, and the fact that the Mexican American studies leaders view everyone as either an oppressor or oppressed is exactly his problem with the program’s paradigm. But after opposing the program for years, Huppenthal now thinks banning a curriculum is the worst possible solution: It only drives its popularity, and forces supporters to hide their teachings behind different names, he says. “A much better approach would be to say if you want to teach critical race theory in Arizona, OK, you can do it, but you gotta put it out on your billboard,” he says. “See how that fares in the marketplace. You wanna lose half of your students?”)

Despite the 2017 court ruling, Paton, the lawmaker who supported the ban, chalks the decade-long battle with TUSD’s Mexican American studies program as a partial win for Republicans. Banning it didn’t solve what he views as the problem — TUSD still teaches ethnic studies — but it’s a milder variety.

Now, Tucson, as well as Arizona’s other school districts, will have to contend with the state’s new legislation opposing critical race theory. Lawmakers slipped a provision into a state budget package, which the governor signed, barring the teaching of “any form of blame or judgment on the basis of race” or teaching that anyone “should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of the individual’s race.” Teachers found to violate the law could lose their teaching certificates. Another new law would bar state and local governments from spending money on, or requiring employees to take, any training that teaches that an individual, by virtue of their race, is “inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

TUSD’s legal department is investigating the law’s implications, according to school board member Adelita Grijalva, a supporter of Mexican American studies and culturally responsive classes, who adds that she doesn’t believe the courses violate either of the two new laws. (Unlike in 2010, TUSD was not an explicit target of the laws. And unlike the 2010 ban, which empowered the superintendent of public instruction to determine if a class broke the law, the new ban would require the courts to step in if the state attorney general or a county attorney challenged a class.)

Many Republicans here believe the real war might be yet to come as a wave of conservatives, riding the renewed interest in critical race theory, eye local school boards seats and other offices. In fact, Tom Horne, who pushed lawmakers to adopt the 2010 ban during his time as superintendent of public instruction preceding Huppenthal, sees an opening for a political revival. Horne, who served one term as Arizona’s attorney general before getting bogged down in a string of scandals, has already announced a 2022 bid to once again become the state’s top education official, on a platform that largely amounts to: I stopped Mexican American studies while I was in office, and I’ll stop critical race theory if elected again.

“When I was fighting against it 20 years ago, I was a voice in the wilderness because people in Phoenix didn’t care. It was just in Tucson,” he said in a recent interview. “Now everybody cares because it’s spreading like wildfire.”

“It’s the exact same thing,” Horne says.

Mean Girls iconic maths question was wrong reveals expert

A maths expert has revealed that the Mean Girls equation that led to Lindsay Lohan’s iconic “the limit does not exist” answer was in fact wrong and would have changed the ending.

The meme-worthy moment saw Lohan’s Cady Heron taking part in the High School Mathletes Championship finals with one last question to decide which team wins.

In a tense moment, Cady is chosen to compete against character Caroline Krafft who is  representing another school.

In a sudden death round, the two are asked to find the limit of the below equation:

READ MORE:Jeremy Clarkson left stunned by Diddly Squat farm final profits

Author: Leah Stanfield
Read more here >>> Daily Express

Expert: Variants Mean More in US Must Get Vaccine

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

More people need to get vaccinated if the United States wants to prevent the spread of deadly variants this winter, says a top vaccine expert.

“Vaccines are our only way out of this,” Paul Offit, MD, a member of the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, said on CNN. “Unless we vaccinate a significant percentage of the population before winter hits, you’re going to see more spread and the creation of more variants, which will only make this task more difficult.”

Offit, a professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, acknowledged that deaths and infections have dropped since the start of the vaccination program in December. But with the number of people getting vaccinated on the decline, the summer lull could turn into another winter surge, he warned. For context, daily vaccinations have dropped from a peak of nearly 2.5 million people in mid-April to fewer than 400,000, The Hill reported.

Experts say it’s possible the U.S. will not reach President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of American adults partially vaccinated by July 4. Currently, the CDC says that 65% of Americans over the age of 18 are at least partially vaccinated, while 55.2% are fully vaccinated.

When asked about reaching the goal on Thursday, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, did not provide a direct answer, The Hill reported

“We’ve made tremendous progress. Today, more than 175 million Americans have gotten at least one shot … hundreds of thousands of people are continuing to get their first shot each day, and we are going to get to 70%, and we’re going to continue across the summer months to push beyond 70%,” he said.

During his CNN appearance, Offit spoke on vaccine hesitancy, noting it is a problem that affects the whole nation.

“What do we do if a critical percentage of this population chooses not to get vaccinated and chooses to allow this virus to continue to spread, continue to hurt themselves and others, and continue to create variants which become all the more contagious and all the more difficult to contain,” he said.

At present, the most troubling variant is the highly transmissible delta variant, which now accounts for 10% of U.S. COVID cases. Earlier this week, the CDC officially classified it a “variant of concern.”. The variant, also known as B.1.617.2, led to a surge in cases in India, where it was first identified, and is also prevalent across the United Kingdom.

But on a positive note, Offit said the vaccines now being given in the U.S. appear to offer strong protection against the novel disease.

“Although immunity might fade for protection against mild disease or asymptomatic infection or low moderate disease, I think protection against critical disease will probably be relatively long-lasting, meaning for a few years,” he said. “The so-called cellular immune response induced by these vaccines appears to be excellent.”

Sources

CNN: “The US must vaccinate most of the country against Covid-19 by winter to avoid more variants, expert says.”

The Hill: “White House officials won’t say if US will meet July vaccine goal.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/18/health/us-coronavirus-friday/index.html

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/558981-white-house-officials-wont-say-if-us-will-meet-july-vaccine-goal

Author:
This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

Uber’s Union Deal in the UK Doesn’t Mean Its Battles Are Over

The App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), formed by original Uber claimants Aslam and Farrar, is also planning to fight Uber in the high court as it attempts to validate its business model in London, in a move that they claim will undermine the UK Supreme Court judgment and allow Uber to avoid a multibillion-pound tax bill.

If Uber had won the Supreme Court case, it’s hard to believe this agreement would have happened at all, says Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society of the Arts and author of a report called “The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.” “Let’s be pleased about it, but let’s be realistic about the fact that if it wasn’t for the work the drivers did, and the unions did, we wouldn’t have gotten to this point.”

Part of the motivation for Uber to strike this deal could be a simple matter of optics, Taylor says. “Uber is a big company that operates in the public gaze and cares about its reputation. It is probably the case that there will be growing pressure on other companies that also care about their reputation and have a high profile to do things.”

For now the gig economy stronghold is standing largely firm against repeated assaults, says Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. She predicts that there will be fresh capitulations, “not just due to public opinion but because more institutional investors are focusing more attention on environmental, social, and governance issues, with workers’ rights increasingly under the spotlight.”

But Uber’s agreement with the GMB could distract from further changes that are needed. The ADCU quickly sent over its opposition to engage with the company in a manner similar to the GMB, citing Uber’s interpretation of workers’ rights as the main sticking point.

“Overall, this is a step in the right direction, but there are significant obstacles in the way of ADCU reaching a similar agreement. For us, compliance with legal minimums should be the point of departure for any union agreement with Uber,” it said in a statement.

The ADCU says there are reasons to be “cautious” about this agreement. It cites concerns that drivers represented by the GMB may receive “preferential treatment” if they are dismissed from the platform. “We believe that any such arrangement would be unlawful. We will continue to defend our members and hold Uber to account for all unfair dismissals and any adverse licensing action arising as a result,” it said.

“We communicate with Uber all the time,” says Farrar. “We have never requested a recognition agreement or even a meeting to discuss it because we will not negotiate with any employer for statutory rights.”

But without legislation from the government, there is no pressure on other companies to change worker status. It would be easy for them to adjust their working contracts to attempt to dodge the same legal challenges as Uber, Taylor says. He argues that instead of relying on courts to do all the work, the government needs to produce its employment bill.

In the five years since he wrote his original report on working practices for the government, Taylor says his thinking has changed regarding the classification of employment status to better reflect the reality of the gig economy now. Rather than the three statuses of employee, worker, and self-employed contractor, he says, there should be only two: employed or self-employed, and these should be aligned with other countries in Europe and the US.

But the government has yet to implement any of the recommendations from his original report, which he says denotes a worrying “lack of urgency.” This, however, could soon change. “There is a feeling that with the [Supreme Court ruling], it is less politically dangerous—that they can get on with reform now and there won’t be this pushback from entrepreneurs or investors, because all they’re doing is putting into law what the courts are already deciding.”

Author: Natasha Bernal, WIRED UK
This post originally appeared on Business Latest