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Tesco, Aldi, John Lewis & Primark new face mask rules from July 19 – ‘please wear one’

The legal requirement to wear face masks will be dropped in England on Monday, a year after they were introduced to help combat the spread of the virus. Although experts still recommend wearing a face covering in busy or crowded settings, businesses can set their own rules.


Supermarket giant Tesco has said that social distancing as well as other safety measures will remain in place across its stores.

It will continue to limit customer capacity in stores at busy times as well as keep protective screens at checkouts as well as hand sanitiser stations.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on ensuring everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment.

“Having listened to our customers and colleagues, we will continue to have safety measures in place in our stores; these include limiting the number of people in store at any time, protective screens at every checkout, hand sanitiser stations and regular cleaning.

“We’re asking our customers and colleagues to be on the safe side, and so from July 19 we’ll be encouraging our colleagues to wear face coverings whilst they work and encouraging our customers to do the same when they shop with us.”

READ MORE: Lidl announces new ‘ambitious’ healthy eating commitment to customers

John Lewis & Waitrose

Staff and customers at Waitrose and John Lewis have also been urged to continue wearing masks but bosses say it will be ultimately up to individual judgement.

Perspex screens and hand sanitising stations will remain in place throughout stores.

A spokesperson for the John Lewis Partnership, which also manages Waitrose, said: “In line with Government guidance, we will recommend that our customers and partners in England continue to wear a face covering unless exempt, from July 19.

“The decision over whether to do so or not when in our shops, will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgement.

“Across all our stores we will be retaining Perspex screens and hand sanitising stations.

“We will also maintain all of the hand hygiene and store cleaning disciplines which have served us well since the start of the pandemic.”

Taking to Twitter to share their thoughts not the easing of lockdown restrictions, users across the country have expressed opinions about the relaxation of face mask wearing.

One person wrote: “It’s ridiculous, we’re seeing thousands of new cases each day, just please wear one.”

Another said: “It’s such a small inconvenience that can help stop the spread.”

A third tweeted: “I’m glad it’s now a personal choice, but I will wear one and I hope others will too.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Life and Style
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Colleges Say Students Must Get a Covid Vaccine. But No, Not That One.

Milloni Doshi, a 25-year-old student from India who is supposed to start her master’s degree this fall at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, has a problem.

Although Ms. Doshi has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, she received two doses of Covaxin, which is made by an Indian manufacturer and is not currently approved by the World Health Organization, as required by the university.

Columbia has told her she will need to be revaccinated with a different vaccine once she arrives on campus, but no one can say for sure if it is safe to do so.

“I am just concerned about taking two different vaccines,” she wrote via a messaging app. “They said the application process would be the toughest part of the cycle, but it’s really been all of this that has been uncertain and anxiety-inducing.”

Since March, more than 400 colleges and universities in the United States have announced vaccine mandates, requiring students to be immunized against the coronavirus. But the rules have been designed primarily with domestic students in mind, leaving international students scrambling — particularly those in India and Russia.

Neither Covaxin nor the Sputnik V vaccine, which is manufactured in Russia, has been approved by the W.H.O. American students, however, have access to the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, three of the eight authorized by the health agency, according to a W.H.O. spokesman.

The disparity could hinder colleges that have made it a major priority to retain international students, who brought in close to $ 39 billion in tuition dollars in the year before the pandemic, according to one analysis.

“Universities want to enroll international students because they add diversity to the campus community — and they bring money,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education. “It’s why this has been a subject of intense discussion.”

The situation is particularly challenging for students in India, which sends approximately 200,000 international students to American colleges every year, the second most after China. The subcontinent is emerging from the grips of one of the most severe waves of the pandemic, when burial grounds were running out of space and funeral pyres were nearly constantly burning. Vaccine shortages are so acute that only 3 percent of the population is fully immunized, and getting an appointment is a taxing affair.

In some parts of India, students planning on attending American universities have turned to the black market, paying hundreds of dollars to be vaccinated. Others have hired people to spend up to 12 hours online trying to line up a vaccination slot.

It is hard enough just to get an appointment, but even more so to secure one for a vaccine that will be accepted by American campuses.

“Every day, we get 10 to 15 messages and inquiries, saying ‘What does this mean? How does this impact me?’” said Sudhanshu Kaushik, 26, who dropped out of his M.B.A. program at New York University last year to run the North American Association of Indian Students, which is working to help fellow students.

Among the questions flooding Mr. Kaushik’s inbox: What happens if I cannot get my vaccine in time? Will I still be allowed to matriculate in the fall? What should I do if the vaccine I can get locally is not approved by my college?

At Indiana University, which announced its vaccine requirement less than two weeks ago, administrators are working overtime to answer the roughly 200 phone calls and 300 emails that are pouring in every day from the university’s roughly 6,000 students overseas, said its vice president for international affairs, Hannah Buxbaum.

“Ringing off the hook doesn’t begin to describe,” said Ms. Buxbaum of the volume of calls from overseas students who are trying to navigate the vaccine bureaucracy in their home countries, as well as a host of other virus-related problems, from flight bans to shuttered consulates.

“There is no question that there is anxiety and concern among our international students,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tried to provide guidance. The agency considers people fully vaccinated several weeks after they have received the requisite doses of any of the vaccines authorized by the W.H.O., said a spokeswoman, Kristen Nordlund.

Besides the three vaccines currently available in the United States under emergency authorization by the F.D.A., the world body has, according to its website, also approved three versions of the AstraZeneca vaccine, including one made in England and one made in India; the Sinopharm vaccine, which is manufactured in China; and, as of this week, the Sinovac vaccine, also made in China.

Many universities appear to be following these guidelines: “If a student has had a W.H.O.-approved vaccine,” said Clayton S. Rose, the president of Bowdoin College, “then the student will be considered to be vaccinated.”

At Columbia, where one-third of the student body is from overseas, international students will be asked to present either their W.H.O. booklet or a letter from a physician confirming they have received the requisite doses of one of the vaccines vetted by the world body, said Donna Lynne, the chief operating officer of the university’s medical center, who heads the campus’s Covid-19 response.

But that leaves two categories of students that will face a more complicated — and potentially problematic — process.

There are those who will not succeed in securing a vaccine before the start of the fall semester. Bowdoin and many other universities say they plan to have clinics on campus that will offer one of the three F.D.A.-authorized vaccines.

The trick is that two of those — Pfizer and Moderna — require the first and second dose to be spaced three weeks apart; because someone is only considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the last dose, the process lasts a minimum of five weeks. During that time, will students be required to quarantine while the rest of campus goes back to normal? Will they need to undergo routine testing?

Campuses are proposing different measures, with some saying that those students will need to self-isolate in their dorm and attend classes remotely. Others are saying the students will be expected to wear a mask and undergo testing.

The more complicated scenario is if students received a vaccine that has not been approved by the W.H.O., like Sputnik or Covaxin. Many colleges are proposing that those student will need to be revaccinated, which presents both medical and logistical conundrums.

No data exists on whether combining vaccines from different companies is safe.

“Since Covid-19 vaccines are not interchangeable, the safety and effectiveness of receiving two different Covid-19 vaccines have not been studied,” Ms. Nordlund, the C.D.C. spokeswoman, wrote in an email.

She added that the C.D.C. was recommending that people who were vaccinated outside the United States with a vaccine that was not authorized by the W.H.O. should wait a minimum of 28 days before taking the first dose of one of the F.D.A.-sanctioned vaccines.

Many universities were vague on how they plan to deal with the logistical complexity of spacing out these unrelated vaccines, beyond saying that they planned to accommodate students undergoing this process.

While much remains in flux, at least one major university system is planning on deviating from the C.D.C. guidelines.

California State, the largest public university system in the country with 23 campuses enrolling nearly a half-million students, plans to accept any vaccine a student received if it was authorized by the regulatory agency in their country of origin, said Chancellor Joseph I. Castro.

“They will be able to satisfy the requirement,” he said, “as long as the vaccine they receive is approved by something similar to an entity like the F.D.A.”

Facing mounting pressure from confused and anxious students, at least six regional governments in India have announced emergency clinics in the past week to vaccinate students heading to American universities.

One of them is in Maharashtra, the state that includes Mumbai and is where Ms. Doshi lives, although the move came too late for her since she is already vaccinated with an injection Columbia does not accept. Instead of concentrating on her future course of study, she is fretting over whether the vaccine she will need to get upon arriving at Columbia will cause an adverse reaction.

“Truthfully, it was easier to get admitted than to handle the post-admissions process,” she said.

Denise Grady contributed reporting.

Author: Rukmini Callimachi
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

‘They should be thriving!’ Thinktank warns Italy is ‘one to watch’ as Euroscepticism grows

Director of Bruges Group and author of Moralitis, A Cultural Virus Robert Oulds warned Italy‘s economy should be thriving but the effect of the pandemic and the poor handling of it has meant the country is struggling. Italy’s economy was one of the few EU nations to not fully recover following to 2008 financial crash with the pandemic throwing a huge obstacle in the country’s way. Euroscepticism has seen a rise in Italy as many blame the EU over its poor procurement of vaccines with Mr Oulds stating more Italians are looking at economic systems not tied to the Euro and its banks. 
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Oulds was asked how the pandemic has affected Euroscepticism on the continent. 

He said: “There’s been a great deal of dissatisfaction with the European Union in Italy, that is really one to watch.

“The Italian economy should be striving ahead, it’s a creative country, some parts of Italy are fairly prosperous indeed.

“But being stuck in the Euro they’ve suffered greatly it’s enabled Germany to dominate their markets and there’s been next to no economic growth and the debt levels are rising to unsustainable levels.

“They’re basically being kept afloat by artificial means by the European Central Bank having a massive amount of quantitative easing and just injecting money, that’s the really only way that they kept their economy functioning but avoiding a total collapse.”

Italy is set to receive the largest share of the EU’s recovery fund – taking around €191.5billion from the bloc. 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was appointed in February by President Sergio Mattarella due to his economic expertise as a way to solve Italy’s money problems. 

Mr Draghi will use the majority of the rescue fund to invest in key areas of Italy’s economy to kickstart it once more. 

But Mr Oulds added: “This cannot carry on forever, they need to realise that they need to be outside of European Union structures to have prosperity.

“Not only to have the vaccinations, to control their own immigration policies but also to make sure their countries start working again so they can run their own affairs and that’s actually going to be absolutely critical.

“So we will see change happening, it may take a long time but the European Union is going backwards economically in terms of global growth.

“It’s not offering any opportunities to its own young people and can’t even save its own lives, offered no help to countries such as Italy when they actually had a really severe outbreak of Covid a year ago.”

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Italy has one of the worst death rates in Europe and was one of the first countries put into lockdown in 2020 following COVID-19 being detected in Europe. 

Italy’s debt is set to rise to 160 percent of GDP this year as key sectors like tourism have been battered by the pandemic. 

The country’s GDP fell by 17.3 percent in 2020’s second quarter. 

The UK’s debt to GDP ratio is around 75 percent with neighbouring France at 115 percent. 

The Italexit party was launched in 2020 by former Five Star Movement politician Gianluigi Paragone who has been campaigning for Italy to leave the European Union. 

While a relatively small and new party, the group has seen a rise in support as polls suggest Euroscepticism is on the rise. 

According to the BBC, 42 percent of Italians say they would leave the EU in April 2020 which was up from 26 percent in November 2018.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

‘One of the scariest things I’ve experienced’: NBA star Aldridge announces shock retirement over irregular heartbeat fears

Brooklyn Nets star LaMarcus Aldridge has announced his retirement from basketball following an irregular heartbeat scare.

The 35-year-old took to Twitter on Thursday to reveal his decision, describing events which followed a 23-minute cameo for the Brooklyn Nets against the LA Lakers. 

“[In] my last game, I played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat,” he began. 

“Later on that night, my rhythm got even worse which really worried me even more.

“The next morning, I told the team what was going on and they were great getting me to the hospital and getting me checked out. 

“Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced,” he insisted, with the developments leading Aldridge to make “the difficult decision to retire from the NBA”.

“For 15 years, I’ve put basketball first, and now it is time to put my health and my family first,” he said. 

Over that period, Aldridge reportedly made $ 211 million in career earnings and had just been bought out of the rest of his $ 72 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs in March.

Pulled out of the University of Texas early by the Portland Trail Blazers, as the second-overall pick of the 2006 draft, 6ft 11in Aldridge averaged a respectable 19.4 points per game and 8.2 rebounds across 1,029 outings. 

Thanking all three outfits that took a punt on a “skinny Texas kid”, he said he was thankful for everything this game has given me”.  

There were “great memories” to cherish during “unforgettable years” in Portland, and a “fun” half decade in San Antonio, who he thanked for “letting me into the family”.

“Last but not least, I want to thank Brooklyn,” Aldridge said.

“You wanted me for me. In a game that’s changing so much, you asked me to come and just do what I do which was good to hear.

“I’m sorry it didn’t get to last long, but I’ve definitely had fun being part of this special group.”

“You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it everyday,” Aldridge concluded. 

“I can truly say I did just that.”

With over 4,000 comments and counting on his announcement post, the tributes from fans and former colleagues rolled in for Aldridge. 

“Glad I had chance to share the court with you! All the best to you and your family!,” said fellow ex-Spurs star Davis Bertans.

Some Nets supporters questioned why Aldridge couldn’t hang on for just a little while longer to pick up an NBA championship ring with their hotly-favored franchise.

In a glittering time at the top level including seven All-Star appearances, it was the only thing missing from the legacy of an ace famous for his signature fadeaway jump shot. 

This article originally appeared on RT Sport News

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‘One day left’: Tyson Fury fires warning as Anthony Joshua promises to ‘share positive news soon’ about boxing megafight

Tyson Fury has warned that there is just one day remaining to secure a location for the proposed July heavyweight title unification fight against Anthony Joshua, with the ‘Gypsy King’ hinting he could walk away from the deal.

Last summer, a giddy, shirtless Tyson Fury announced in an Instagram video that his advisor, alleged Irish mobster Daniel Kinahan, had helped secure a deal for two gargantuan showdowns between the two battling Brits – before several promotional and broadcasting bumps in the road threatened to scupper the fight.

Around a month ago, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn again raised hopes that the fight can be arranged when he announced both Joshua and Fury had signed contracts ahead of a July fight – but what wasn’t quite so loudly expressed by the Matchroom Boxing chief was that the contracts reportedly hold an expiry date, which Fury says is fast approaching.

Fury took to social media once again on Friday to sound the alarm ahead of the possible crumbling of a superfight, writing that there is “one day left” for the terms to be agreed as they relate to the most recent contract between the two boxers.

It is thought that the hold-up is is largely down to a location for the fight not yet being agreed, despite interest being reported from the Middle East. 

And, boxing being boxing, it is also assumed that there are more than a few wrinkles with regard to broadcasting rights and any number of the other variables which go into an equation of this magnitude.

But just minutes after Fury took to Twitter to express his frustration, Joshua also went online to provide fans with a “quick update“.

Quick update,” he wrote. “Myself, @258mgt & @MatchroomBoxing are working really hard to make the fight happen. I want to give my fans what they want & you know I’ll do whatever I can to deliver. Hoping to share some positive news soon.

The timing of Joshua’s tweet was interesting, given that it came roughly an hour after Fury’s and has prompted questions as to which side is more responsible for the negotiations apparently grinding to a halt.

If and when the two fighters do step into a ring, however, some fans are saying that Joshua, and his promoter Eddie Hearn, might quickly regret it.

AJ won’t agree. He and Hearn lose everything after the fight,” one fan suggested, while another wrote that Joshua’s only path to victory is if he lands a “lucky shot“.

Another, though, was a tad more conspiratorial.

Something isn’t adding up here,” they said. “One side clearly don’t want it.”
Also on rt.com ‘The deal could go away’: Questions raised about Fury-Joshua mega-fight as insider reveals contracts could EXPIRE in 30 days


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Fans react as former world No1 golfer Jordan Spieth

Fans react as former world No1 golfer Jordan Spieth

Anyone who has ever spent time on a golf course will know the feeling of seeing a drive swerve away from its intended direction – but golf star Jordan Spieth has proved that even the sport’s top pros aren’t immune to errant shots.

27-year-old Texan Spieth was in command in his opening match with Matt Fitzpatrick at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, leading his opponent by three shots with six holes to play when he decided to go all out on the short par-4 13th hole.

The former world number one ranked – who, like noted golf hulk Bryson DeChambeau, has added some considerable muscle to his frame in attempt to bolster his tee shots – miscalculated sending his drive to the right towards the grandstand.

Spieth’s shot landed on a cart track before bouncing directly onto the 15th green – just as a confused Patrick Cantlay was putting for a birdie.

Incredibly, despite Spieth’s misplaced drive, he still salvaged the hole and soon rubber-stamped a 3&1 win against England’s Fitzpatrick.

When he was told the identity of the golfer whose drive ended up on the green he was putting from, an incredulous Cantlay said that he would have to take it up with Spieth later.

Was it? I’ll give him crap about it,” quipped Cantlay.

I think it landed on the cart path and then just shot over,” said Spieth of his unconventional approach on the 13th.

To that back-left pin it’s a no-brainer: you hit driver up there and you have a 50 or 60-yard pitch right up the green, and that wedge shot is just so difficult to the back-left pin.

When it hit the cart path it just makes it look crazier, but in reality you’re going to drop in the same place, no matter where you hit it. I don’t see that strategy changing for me. It was just kind of annoying to have to walk an extra 50 yards to get my ball.”

Also on rt.com Paige Spiranac sermonises about being ‘more real on social media’ as golf stunner backs Max Homa over Tiger Woods tribute backlash

Reacting to the viral clip, golf babe Paige Spiranac called Spieth “all of us off the tee” – a sentiment that was shared by several other golf enthusiasts who could apparently relate to the feeling of seeing a drive arc away from its intended direction.

One of us,” wrote one fan, while another said that they were “still impressed” by the shot despite it veering wildly off course.

This is me, every shot,” another fan agreed.

Also on rt.com ‘Okay, this was cool’: Golf Insta star Spiranac stunned as DeChambeau wows field with MONSTER tee shot (VIDEO)


Camping holidays: First-time campers urged to take ‘bandana’ for ‘one hundred’ things

Camping, caravan and self-catered holidays in the UK are set to go ahead from April 17 under Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” out of lockdown. With many Britons jumping at the chance for a change of scenery, it could see many people swapping their usual overseas jaunt for something closer to home.
However, a traditional tent holiday comes with a lot of preparation, particularly if you’re hoping to camp in comfort.

According to seasoned campers on Reddit, some of the most useful items to pack are also some of the most simple every-day ones many people already have at home.

In fact, a handful of campers recommended always packing a bandana.

These square pieces of fabric, typically styled as a fashion accessory, can be used for “a hundred” things while camping according to one holidaymaker.

READ MORE: Cyprus holidays: Is it safe to travel to Cyprus at the moment?

“I kept my list at only ten items but if I could add more a bandana would be one.

“My preferred bandana is a tube but any bandana works.”

Bandanas can also have a rather technical use for those who are camping in more remote regions.

“It’s also good as a makeshift filter for water,” they wrote.

Furthermore, it seems bandanas can also be added to your makeshift emergency kit.

“A bandana can potentially save a life too. They can be used as a tourniquet or other bandages and slings,” stated one of the campers.

A second added: “I use the same bandana I got on my first backpacking trip.

“It’s soaked up water, cleaned up sweat, and held a wound or two shut.

“Never go on a trip without it. It’s not just a piece of cloth. Its a bandana.”

While lots of people may have a bandana lying around at home, they can also be made easily and at a low cost.

One campsite regular recommended fashioning one by cutting up a spare T-shirt.