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Royal POLL: Should Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview have won an Emmy? VOTE

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry appeared on Oprah for a bombshell tell-all interview that rocked the Royal Family in March 2021. The interview was nominated in the Best Hosted Non-Fiction Series category at the Emmys Awards, which recognises excellence in US TV.

The programme did not win the gong at the ceremony on Sunday though, instead Stanley Tucci’s CNN series “Searching for Italy” pipped Oprah’s royal interview to the post for the title.

Elsewhere in the category, the likes of David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell were also up for the accolade.

Express.co.uk is asking readers for their opinion on whether or not you think the interview should have won the gong, after the couple spoke with eye-opening candour and delivered jaw-dropping accusations and rebukes against the monarchy.

The interview, aired earlier this year, was watched by nearly 50 million people globally in the first three days, according to broadcaster CBS.

The televised interview marked the first TV appearance for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex following the events of Megxit the year prior, which saw them step away from royal duties and move to the US.

The highly anticipated open conversation between Oprah, Prince Harry and Meghan allowed the couple to share their side of the story about life in the Royal Family.

During the two-hour TV special, the Sussexes made claims that were explosive and potentially damaging to the Royal Family.

The couple openly spoke about their relationships with other royals, the racism they had faced and how their mental health suffered within The Firm.

READ MORE: Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview loses at Emmys

The Duchess of Sussex also candidly spoke about her mental health struggles during her time as a senior royal, and claimed that she was on the verge of suicide but was refused help.

During the interview she said her mental health got so bad that she “didn’t want to be alive any more”.

She said: “I went to the institution and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help, said I had never felt that way before and need to go somewhere, and I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”

Elsewhere, accusations were also made that there was a rift forming between Prince Harry, and his father Prince Charles.

After stepping back from the Royal Family, Harry said Charles “stopped taking my calls”, and the couple said a “lack of support and lack of understanding” was the simplest reason they stepped away from royal duties.

In a statement in the aftermath of the interview, Buckingham Palace said: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”

Do you think the explosive interview should have claimed the gong at the Emmy Awards earlier this week? Vote in favour, or oppose in our exclusive poll and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Read more here Daily Express :: Royal Feed

Senate nears pivotal vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal that’s still unwritten

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will force a vote next Wednesday on advancing the bipartisan infrastructure package, a hardball tactic aimed at moving President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda forward before the August recess.

“Everyone has been having productive conversations and it’s important to keep the two-track process moving,” Schumer said in a floor speech Thursday. “All parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their agreement so that the Senate can begin considering that legislation next week.”

The New York Democrat added that he is setting the same deadline for the Democratic caucus to reach a consensus on a budget resolution setting up a $ 3.5 trillion social spending plan.

The fate of Wednesday’s vote, however, remains uncertain. Although Democrats expressed optimism about the timetable, Republicans were less sure. At the moment, it’s not clear whether 10 Republicans will vote to advance the bipartisan bill.

When asked whether he was confident the bipartisan group would meet Schumer’s deadline, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the group negotiating the bipartisan framework, had a blunt response: “No.”

“We’re not done yet,” Rounds said. “I don’t think we’re going to have any artificial deadlines. I think we’re going to do our best to get done in an expeditious fashion, but if we were successful in coming to an agreement, it’d be great to have it done before” August recess.

Schumer’s timetable comes as the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure negotiators are unlikely to meet their own self-imposed Thursday deadline to resolve outstanding issues among members, according to two sources familiar with the talks. The group met again early Thursday afternoon, but members still need to resolve key disagreements over how to pay for the $ 1.2 trillion physical infrastructure deal that Biden supports. The bipartisan group met Tuesday evening and made progress, but a host of questions about spending priorities also remain unanswered.

Among the proposed funding sources that could change is a provision related to IRS enforcement, a source of controversy for Republicans. One Senate Democrat suggested that money from increased IRS enforcement could instead be used to pay for for Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion package.

Members of the group are racing to turn the bipartisan framework they announced last month into legislative text, and Schumer’s deadline will only add pressure to wrap up the discussions. Several Senate Republicans interpreted it as an effort to sink the bipartisan talks, given the absence of legislative text and the likelihood that members will not yet have a score from the Congressional Budget Office by Wednesday.

“Why in the world would you vote for something that hasn’t been written yet,” asked Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a McConnell confidante. “I don’t know whether Sen. Schumer is just setting this all up to fail so he can then move to the budget. That may part of his Machiavellian scheme.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who attempted to negotiate a bipartisan infrastructure package but failed, interpreted Schumer’s move as an attempt “to put pressure on the group to either put up or shut up.”

Schumer will take the first steps toward moving the bipartisan physical infrastructure proposal Monday, using a House bill as a legislative vehicle that would later be amended to reflect the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal. Even if a deal is clinched and the Senate votes to move ahead on the bill next week, it will likely take days or even weeks to finish its work on the bipartisan legislation because of intense desire to vote on amendments to a bill likely to win Biden’s signature.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, has vowed that the House will not move forward on the bipartisan infrastructure package until the Senate passes a budget setting up the $ 3.5 trillion social spending package. Senior Democrats do not expect that calculation to change based on the Senate’s latest moves.

And with Democrats just starting to hash out the details of that party-line spending package, it could be weeks, if not months, before the House takes up the bipartisan bill.

Both the physical infrastructure and social spending bills are top priorities for Biden, who attended a Senate Democratic caucus lunch Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has withheld judgment so far on the bipartisan plan, encouraging his members to view it as a separate effort from Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion bill. Several Republicans have expressed concerns about its financing and are waiting for an official score from the Congressional Budget Office once the bill’s text is completed.

Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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This post originally posted here Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

2021 elections: Norwegians abroad encouraged to vote early due to the corona situation

From July 1, Norwegians abroad are able to vote in parliamentary elections. But fewer postal deliveries could mean that the votes must be sent earlier than before – if they are to count.

Corona restrictions and fewer mail flights can make advance voting from abroad more complicated than before. Several government agencies are now urging people not to wait until the last minute.

“It is an unpredictable situation because the corona restrictions change in step with the infection outbreaks,” Deputy Director Yngve Olsen Hvoslef of the Section for Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told news bureau NTB.

Norwegians abroad can vote at Norwegian embassies and consulates or by post. Then they can ask to receive election material from the embassy in the country they live in or vote via a blank sheet, the Electoral Directorate’s website notes.

“In some extreme cases, it may be that it is not allowed to travel into the capital, or, as earlier in the pandemic, that it is not allowed to move outdoors in some places,” Hvoslef said.

Expecting more votes from abroad than before

Strict entry requirements for Norway can also lead to more votes from abroad, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that they expect more voters than usual in countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore, and Thailand, where many Norwegians live.

In the parliamentary elections in 2017, a total of 11,811 votes were cast abroad, according to the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. Of these, 763 were by mail.

The Norwegian Electoral Directorate points out that it is extra important to vote early in these cases.

“Vote as early as possible if you live in a place with late postage, to be sure that the vote arrives on time,” communications manager Kristina Brekke Jørgensen at the Norwegian Electoral Directorate told NTB.

However, it is the voters’ own responsibility to ensure that they are aware of the rules and deadlines.

“Voters must take into account how the post office works in the country in which they live. The voting period for foreign voting is very long in Norway, just over two months, and if you want to be sure that the vote arrives on time, you should use the opportunity this long voting period provides,” Jørgensen points out.

Fewer mail planes

Although Norway cooperates with other national postal companies abroad, they do not cooperate on advance votes in the election. The Norwegian Post has abdicated all delivery responsibility before the mail crosses Norwegian borders.

“An important reminder in these corona times is that mail from abroad is often sent by plane to Norway. There are fewer flights, and delays must therefore be expected,” press manager Kenneth Tjønndal Pettersen at the Norwegian Post told NTB.  

In general, the Norwegian Post has no influence or responsibility for mail until it arrives in Norway. All advance votes must have arrived at the municipalities by 5 PM the day after election day, September 13, if they are to count.

A different election in Singapore

Singapore is one of the countries where many Norwegians live. For several months, they have lived under strict national corona restrictions, and although several reliefs take effect on July 12, many will have to resort to a different election.

“Due to local restrictions, it is not as easy to vote this year as in previous elections, but we will be able to receive votes until September 3,” Embassy Councilor Daniel Hirsch from the Embassy in Singapore told NTB.

During previous parliamentary elections, around 240 Norwegians voted from Singapore, but few voted by mail since there are such short distances to the embassy.

“Previously, we also had election day at Sjømannskirken in Singapore, but we will not have the opportunity to do so this year, as it is contrary to local rules introduced due to COVID-19,” Hirsch said.

No obstacles

The Norwegian embassy in Paris, on the other hand, is planning a normal election after France eased most corona restrictions on July 9.

“Advance voting for Norwegians in France will take place in the same way as in previous elections. 

“How many there will be is difficult to say, but the corona pandemic today does not create any obstacles,” Embassy Councilor Liv Kari Ridsbråten at the embassy told NTB.

The deadline for voting in advance from abroad is September 3.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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Travel poll: Will you visit an amber country this summer? Vote now

“To be clear, a full vaccination means 14 days have passed since your final dose of the vaccine, and it’s also important to note that health matters are devolved, so decision-making and implementation may differ across the UK administrations and we’ll continue to work with the devolved administrations to ensure we achieve our shared objectives of safe, sustainable and robust return to international travel.”

Mr Shapps added: “I don’t underestimate for a second just how difficult the last 16 months have been for those who have not been able to travel to see their families, and the tourism and for the aviation sector itself, of course, and no minister, let alone Transport Secretary, would want to ever curtail freedom and ask people not to travel.

“But protecting public health has rightly been and will continue to be our overriding priority of this Government, and that’s why we introduced some of the toughest border measures in the world.

“But we are now, thanks to our brilliant vaccination programme, in a position where we can start to think about how we live with coronavirus while returning life to a sense of normality.”

Read more here >>> Daily Express

State pension POLL: Should the free NHS prescription age rise to 66? Vote now

At State Pension age, Britons primarily become able to receive the all-important state pension sum to aid them in retirement. The payment is up to £179.60 per week, and is made available to those with enough National Insurance contributions. But aside from the state pension sum, those who have reached an eligible age often become entitled to other forms of support.

Attendance Allowance, for example, is an additional payment to support older people living with a disability or health condition.

However, for certain forms of support, individuals will not have to wait as long as the state pension age, at least, at present.

This is the case for those living in England who can unlock a free prescription at age 60.

But under consultations put forward yesterday, this age could change – to align with the state pension age.

READ MORE: Good news for savers as bank account ups ‘competitive’ interest rates

If the consultation were to find in favour of increasing the free prescription age in line with the state pension age it could mean more people are forced to wait longer to receive the entitlement.

However, one option which has been suggested is to introduce a grace period which would mean those aged 60 to 65 at the point of change can continue to receive a free prescription. 

Opinion has been somewhat split on the matter thus far. 

One Express.co.uk reader criticised the potential move as a “tax on the vulnerable” urging a reconsideration of the issue.

Health Minister, James Bethell, commented on the consultation.

He said: “We are committed to improving patient care and supporting the NHS with the funding it needs to recover from this pandemic.

“The upper age exemption for free prescriptions used to align with the state pension age, but that link has been lost over the years.

“Prescription charges are an important source of income for the NHS, and the costs of providing free prescriptions continue to increase with our ageing population.

“I encourage anyone with views on our proposals to share them through the consultation response form, available online on GOV.UK.”

Author: Rebekah Evans
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Finance Feed

New Yorkers Vote for Mayor in Race Tinged With Acrimony and Uncertainty

When the New York City mayoral primary campaign began, the city was steeped in grave uncertainty about its future. Candidates laid out radically different visions for how they would guide a still-shuttered metropolis out of overlapping crises around public health, the economy and racial injustice.

But as voters head to the polls on Tuesday, New York and its mayoral race have changed. The city is well on its path to reopening even as new problems have surged to the fore. Now, a different kind of political uncertainty awaits.

No Democratic candidate is expected to reach the threshold needed to win outright under the city’s new ranked-choice voting system, and it may be weeks before a Democratic primary victor — who would become an overwhelming favorite to win the general election in November — is officially declared.

New Yorkers on Tuesday will also render judgments on other vital positions in primary races that will test the power of the left in the nation’s largest city. The city comptroller’s race, the Manhattan district attorney’s race and a slew of City Council primaries, among other contests, will offer imperfect but important windows into Democratic attitudes and engagement levels as the nation emerges from the pandemic in the post-Trump era.

But no results will be more carefully watched than the race to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio, a contest that has been defined by debates over public safety, the economy, political experience and personal ethics and that in its final weeks became intensely acrimonious.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president; Kathryn Garcia, a former sanitation commissioner; Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mr. de Blasio; and Andrew Yang, a former presidential candidate, were considered leading Democratic contenders, though the race remained fluid and strikingly contentious.

If no single candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote on the first tally, the eventual nominee will be determined by rounds of ranked-choice voting, through which New Yorkers could rank up to five candidates in order of preference.

The winner of the Democratic nomination will face either Fernando Mateo, a restaurateur, or Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, in the general election.

Shaun Donovan, a former federal housing secretary; Raymond J. McGuire, a former Citi executive; and Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, who all benefited from heavy spending on television on their behalf, were hoping to show unexpected strength through the ranking process. Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, once appeared poised to be a left-wing standard-bearer, but her standing suffered amid internal campaign turmoil.

No issue dominated the race more than public safety, as poll after poll showed combating crime was the most important issue to New York Democrats.

Sparse public polling suggested that Mr. Adams, a former police captain who challenged misconduct from within the system — part of a complex career — attained credibility on that subject in the eyes of some voters, which will have been a crucial factor if he wins.

But Ms. Wiley repeatedly challenged Mr. Adams from the left on policing matters, expressing skepticism about adding more officers to patrol the subways and calling for greater investments in the social safety net and less in the Police Department budget. She emerged as a favorite of left-wing leaders and progressive voters.

Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia shared Mr. Adams’s criticisms of efforts to scale back police funding, and those three candidates also frequently addressed quality-of-life issues across the city.

But if the race was defined in part by clashes over policy and vision, it also had all the hallmarks of a bare-knuckled brawl. Mr. Adams faced intense criticism from opponents over transparency and ethics, tied to reports concerning his tax and real estate holding disclosures and fund-raising practices. And Mr. Yang stumbled amid growing scrutiny of his knowledge of municipal government as rivals sharply questioned his capacity to lead.

The ugliest stretch of the contest came in its last days, as Mr. Adams declared that Mr. Yang and Ms. Garcia, who formed an apparent alliance, were seeking to prevent a Black candidate from winning. His allies went further, claiming without evidence that the actions of those candidates amounted to voter suppression.

By contrast, the comptroller’s race has flown below the radar. But it has attracted national left-wing engagement: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, among others, backed Councilman Brad Lander, helping coalesce left-wing energy in that contest, far earlier than in the mayor’s race.

The race remained unsettled heading into Primary Day, with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson; Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor who unsuccessfully challenged Ms. Ocasio-Cortez last year; and a slew of other Democratic candidates also competing for the role.

In the Manhattan district attorney’s race, the two leading candidates were believed to be Tali Farhadian Weinstein, who clerked for Merrick B. Garland, now the United States attorney general, and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and worked as a federal prosecutor; and Alvin Bragg, who served as a federal prosecutor and as a chief deputy to the state attorney general. The race will not be decided by ranked-choice voting, and the winner may be called on Tuesday night.

The New York chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America stayed out of the mayor’s race altogether, but did emphasize a series of high-profile City Council races with the potential to remake the ideological balance of the Council.

For months, many New Yorkers tuned out the mayor’s race, distracted by the challenges of winter in a pandemic and burned out by the presidential election.

But the final stretch has been hard to miss, culminating in a frenzied five-borough battle over the direction of the city, with exchanges between candidates that turned acridly personal in the final weeks.

The race was also complicated by strategizing around ranked-choice voting. In one of the most unusual and closely watched dynamics of the final stretch, Mr. Yang encouraged his voters to support Ms. Garcia as their second choice on their ballots. Ms. Garcia insisted that she was not endorsing Mr. Yang even as they attended events together, jointly greeting voters and passing out shared campaign literature.

Some of Ms. Garcia’s allies privately acknowledged that the decision to appear with Mr. Yang could discomfit progressives who disdained him but were open to her. But they also saw opportunities to convert some voters who liked both Mr. Yang and Mr. Adams, and Ms. Garcia was not shy in discussing her motivation: She wanted Yang voters to rank her second.

Author: Katie Glueck
This post originally appeared on NYT > Top Stories

Pension POLL: Should triple lock be broken if pensions rise 8% under rule? VOTE

State pension payments offer support to older people who are eligible to receive the sum from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). To receive the payment, individuals must put forward a set number of National Insurance contributions throughout their lifetime. For many people, then, the state pension serves as a primary source of income in retirement, particularly useful when the regular payment of a salary or wages is lost.

Understanding the importance of a state pension to millions of Britons, the Triple Lock Mechanism is in place to protect the sum.

First introduced in 2010 by the then-coalition government, the mechanism is designed to protect the state pension in real terms.

Triple Lock sees the basic and new sum rise by the highest of three key components: average earnings growth, inflation or 2.5 percent.

For this tax year, the sum increased by 2.5 percent, but there has been discussion about the pending increase for the forthcoming year.

READ MORE: State pension: Warning as ‘low’ sum leaves millions at risk

While this has led some pensioners to celebrate a potential boost to their sum, there is concern in other camps.

Mainly, there has been a suggestion that the Triple Lock policy is not viable, and with increases set to be high, some have said it should be scrapped altogether.

Such an increase, it has been argued, is unfair for younger generations, many of whom have been impacted by the pandemic.

Others have suggested a modification to the policy, perhaps a ‘double lock’ or a temporary freeze to ensure the longevity of state pension support.

Recently, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak was pressed on whether the policy would be maintained in the future.

GB News presenter, Andrew Neil, questioned the Government’s stance on the matter.

Mr Sunak responded: “Of course the triple lock is still Government policy. 

“I think formally, I have to be very careful, as I can’t comment on fiscal policy outside of events, which I’m sure you’ll understand.

“With regards to pensions uprating, there is a statutory review which is carried out later on in the year, which is then brought to Parliament.

“What you’re referring to are forecasts, but as we’ve seen over the past 12 months, we’re in a period of extraordinary economic uncertainty, and lots of the forecasts we’ve seen have moved around and changed.

“I’d put that in the bucket right now, that’s speculation, and when we get to the autumn, there will be a formal review.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

POLL: Was Boris Johnson right to delay the end of lockdown measures until July 19? VOTE

Boris Johnson announces a four-week delay to lockdown easing

The Prime Minister today announced the disappointing news for millions of Britons that the June 21 “Freedom Day” has been rescheduled for July 19. He argued that the extra time was needed to prevent thousands of deaths and unbearable pressure on the NHS, after experts warned him about possible consequences.

He insisted it was “sensible to wait just a little longer” for all legal limits on social distancing at public events to be lifted.

Do you think Mr Johnson was right to listen to the warnings from his advisers?

And do you believe he could have been selective by choosing to perhaps lift some rules while delaying others?

Some companies have laid out plans for staff to continue working from home long-term so changing this rule would not have affected too many people.

The Prime Minister chose to scrap plans to roll back of restrictions on audience numbers at sporting events, theatres and cinemas.

boris johnson delays lockdown

POLL: Do you think Boris Johnson was right to delay the lifting of lockdown restrictions? Vote below (Image: GETTY)

downing street lockdown protest

Crowds of anti-lockdown protesters descended on Downing Street today (Image: GETTY)

Wedding were given the go ahead with guidance to avoid dancing and singing indoors and guests are also advised to socially distance.

Similar guidance was released for funerals.

While no restrictions have been made on travel in and out of high-risk areas in England, there is a traffic light system in place for international destinations.

Those travelling in England not share a private vehicle in groups larger than 6 people or more than two households.

After the new date of July 19 for the final phase was announced, many people questioned if this would in fact be the date on which they get their freedoms back.

Some sceptics took to social media to predict that the Government would renege on its July 19 deadline.

One person wrote: “As I said previously, a few weeks from July 19 the cycle of ‘rising cases’ news stories and leaks to the media of a new lockdown, will continue.”

READ MORE: ‘You’re on my watch!’ Speaker unleashes furious warning to Boris

Can’t see the survey below? Click here to access it now. 

The opposition to Number 10’s plan marks a significant shift in the public mood since last year.

In February and March 2020 as the virus swept in from China and took hold, Britons began hunkering down before any lockdown rules were implemented.

Conversations on social media and people’s behaviour in public suggests many Britons feel less afraid of catching Covid today than they did in 2020.

Do you feel more concerned about coronavirus today than you did in March of last year when England’s first national lockdown was ordered?

Or do you feel more relaxed about the pandemic, despite the emergence of the Delta variant, which scientists have warned spreads faster than the Kent strain?

Covid: Why does lockdown easing vary in Scotland, Wales and NI? [ANSWERED]
Covid will be with us ‘FOREVER’ – Sir Patrick Vallance issues warning [EXPLAINED]
Furlough and SEISS see ‘no changes’ despite June 21 delay [INSIGHT]

downing street lockdown protest

Demonstrators at an anti-lockdown rally in London today (Image: GETTY)

boris johnson

Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay to the lifting of restrictions (Image: GETTY)

Many Britons who have not been vaccinated will likely be drawn towards getting tested more often due to the worrying data.

And people may also take an extra precaution this summer by scrapping plans to travel to areas deemed to be high-risk.

The variant has driven a huge surge in infections in Teesside, public health bosses have warned.

The dominant strain has been identified in Stockton, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Darlington.

Mark Adams, the South Tees joint director of public health, warned further surges could be on the cards for the region this summer.

Parts of hte North West including Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Manchester and Wigan have also been hit badly by the Delta variant of Covid, which was first discovered in India.

UK coronavirus map

UK coronavirus map (Image: EXPRESS)

downing street lockdown protest

A man holds a sign at the anti-lockdown protest in London today (Image: GETTY)

Despite setting a July 19 date, Mr Johnson has left open the option of ending restrictions on July 5 if the data proves drastically better than expected,.

However, he conceded “let’s be realistic, probably more likely four weeks”.

At today’s press conference he announced a limited lifting of some measures as he faces a possible rebellion from furious Tory MPs.

He said the 30-person cap for wedding ceremonies and receptions, as well as wakes, will be lifted – with limits to be set by venues based on social distancing requirements.

Downing Street also said care home residents will no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days after leaving for visits, though high-risk exceptions would remain.

downing street lockdown protest

Protesters outside No10 called for their freedoms to be handed back (Image: GETTY)

But it was not immediately clear exactly how residents would benefit, as the current guidance states they can already leave for a variety of low-risk and essential visits without needing to quarantine.

Addressing the nation, Mr Johnson said: “It’s unmistakably clear that vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves.

“But now is the time to ease off the accelerator because by being cautious now we have the chance in the next four weeks to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Lockdown POLL: Boris set to delay lifting restrictions by four weeks – do you agree? VOTE

The Prime Minister will address the country at 6pm and is poised to confirm rules on social distancing will not end as planned on June 21 and will continue until at least July 19. Mr Johnson will explain the next steps at a press conference in Downing Street and will be joined by England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

The Prime Minister and his advisers analysed the latest data on Sunday evening and Boris Johnson reportedly agreed to wait to re-open society.

The roadmap out of lockdown, set out by the Prime Minister in February, has been derailed by the spread of the Delta or Indian variant of coronavirus, which is now estimated to make up 96 percent of all cases in the UK.

Scientists have also warned the Delta strain is up to 60 percent more transmissible than the previously dominant Kent variant and a “substantial” third wave could be forthcoming if so-called “Freedom Day” went ahead.

A four-week delay is set to provide enough time for around 10 million more vaccinations to be administered.

But, the move will come as another bitter blow to businesses that had planned to get back to trading as usual next week.

The Government has always said the decision to lift restrictions will be based on four tests.

They include whether the vaccine rollout is continuing successfully and if evidence shows the jabs are reducing hospital cases and deaths among people who have been vaccinated.

Thirdly, the data must show infection rates are not risking a surge in hospital cases which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS and finally the Government must assess the risks that has not been fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

The latest estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests the proportion of people testing positive for coronavirus in England has increased in recent weeks.

Around one in 560 people in private households in England had COVID-19 in the week to June 5 – up from one in 640 in the previous week.

It is the highest level since the week of April 10.

In hospitals in England, the seven-day average for admissions currently stands at 120, the highest since April 21.

READ MORE: Brexit LIVE: Boris humiliates Macron with joke about poor French navy

“Variants and mutations will appear for the rest of time. We have to learn to live with it.

“If our very effective vaccines cannot deliver us freedom from restrictions, then nothing ever will.”

Conservative backbencher Marcus Fysh said the delay was a “disastrous and unacceptable policy”.

However, Health minister Edward Argar has suggested the Prime Minister is considering relaxing some of the rules, including scrapping the 30 person limit at weddings.

He said: “I’m not going to pre-empt what the Prime Minister will say later, but I know that weddings and people in that particular situation will be very much in his mind at the moment, it’s one of the things he has been looking at.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Israel parliament ousts Netanyahu after 12 year tenure – leader loses crunch vote by one

Israel: Netanyahu’s opponents agree coalition government

In a raucous session in which Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing and ultra-Orthodox supporters shouted “shame” and “liar” at Mr Bennett, parliament voted confidence in his new administration by a razor thin 60-59 majority. Following his defeat, Mr Netanayahu pledged he would soon return to power. US President Joe Biden said the United States remained committed to Israel’s security and would work with its new government.

Mr Bennett – former defence minister and a high-tech millionaire – was due to be sworn in shortly after the vote.

He pledged to be prime minister for “all Israelis” and said: “Thank you, Benjamin Netanyahu, for your lengthy and achievement-filled service on behalf of the State of Israel.”

His alliance includes for the first time in Israel’s history a party that represents its 21 percent Arab minority.

With little in common except for a desire to end the Mr Netanyahu era and political impasse that led to four inconclusive elections in two years, the coalition of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties is likely to be fragile.

Benjamin Netanyahu loses 12-year hold over Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu loses 12-year hold over Israel (Image: Getty)

Nationalist Naftali Bennett

Nationalist Naftali Bennett (Image: Getty)

Israel’s longest-serving leader, Mr Netanyahu was prime minister since 2009, after a first term from 1996 to 1999.

But he was weakened by his repeated failure to clinch victory in the polls since 2019 and by an ongoing corruption trial, in which he has denied any wrongdoing.

Under a coalition deal, Mr Bennett will be replaced as prime minister by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, in 2023.

The new government, formed after an inconclusive March 23 election, plans largely to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians and to focus on domestic reforms.

READ MORE: Benjamin Netanyahu: ‘Ousting me will endanger Israel’

Centrist Yair Lapid

Centrist Yair Lapid (Image: Getty)

Palestinians were unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett would pursue the same right-wing agenda as Mr Netanyahu.

The former Israeli prime minister was previously dubbed the “Trump before Trump”.

Mr Netanyahu’s unofficial biographer Anshel Pfeffer told Sky News: “He was Trump before Trump.

“He is a constant campaigner, he’s basically running for re-election the whole time. He doesn’t take a break between elections.

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Israel boundaries

Israel boundaries (Image: Express)

“So many of the populist politicians we talk about today – Orban in Hungary, Boris Johnson; Netanyahu was doing a lot of what they are doing now long before they were on the scene.

“Probably the only politician who was doing this in the television era before Netanyahu is Silvio Berlusconi in Italy.”

He continued: “Netanyahu is the most divisive prime minister in history, he has exploited every divide in Israeli society between Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, left and right.

“All these all these divides have been exploited and the communities have been played off against each other to keep him in power.

Benjamin Netanyahu ousted

Benjamin Netanyahu ousted (Image: Getty)

“That’s something that Israeli society will be paying the price for years to come.”

Ehud Olmert, Mr Netanyahu’s predecessor, said the two were “never friends” and said he never liked him.

He said: “I never liked him. I never felt close to him.

“I never felt that he is a genuine human being [but] I thought it was a highly talented performer, the greatest that I’ve met in modern politics.

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden (Image: Getty)

“He’s a genius.

“I mean, there will be no one that can compete with him in on television. Laurence Olivier?”

He continued: “He’s a great performer, but when you look at the substance of things, the divisions within the Israeli society today are greater than ever before.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed