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Brit expats race to buy property in Spain ‘We’re working from home – in IBIZA’

Brit expats race to buy property in Spain ‘We’re working from home – in IBIZA’

SUN-LOVING BRITS are racing to buy Spanish property once more, as the dream of owning a second home in the sun becomes a reality again. They are shrugging off Brexit and the pandemic to reserve new holiday homes in record numbers. It’s the new working from home.Brit expats race to buy property in Spain ‘We’re working from home – in IBIZA’

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Zahawi issues warning on flu this winter ‘we’re launching mass vaccination programme’

Zahawi issues warning on flu this winter 'we're launching mass vaccination programme'

According to the Vaccines Minister, the Government is “planning a large-scale flu vaccination programme” to counter the threat.

The problem is particularly acute this winter time “because there has not been much flu circulating in communities because of the lockdown”, warned Mr Zahawi.

We’re making big plans to boost the antibody and T-cell protection of the most vulnerable in September and protect them against flu.”

The multi-pronged approach is to tackle both coronavirus and flu head-on, explained Mr Zahawi.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Health
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Pollsters: ‘Impossible’ to say why 2020 polls were wrong

Pollsters: 'Impossible' to say why 2020 polls were wrongA new, highly anticipated report from the leading association of pollsters confirms just how wrong the 2020 election polls were. But nine months after that closer-than-expected contest, the people asking why are still looking for answers.

National surveys of the 2020 presidential contest were the least accurate in 40 years, while the state polls were the worst in at least two decades, according to the new, comprehensive report from the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

But unlike 2016, when pollsters could pinpoint factors like the education divide as reasons they underestimated Donald Trump and offer specific recommendations to fix the problem, the authors of the new American Association for Public Opinion Research report couldn’t put their finger on the exact problem they face now. Instead, they’ve stuck to rejecting the idea that they made the same mistakes as before, while pointing to possible new reasons for inaccuracy.

“We could rule some things out, but it’s hard to prove beyond a certainty what happened,” said Josh Clinton, a professor at Vanderbilt University and the chair of the association’s 2020 election task force. “Based on what we know about polling, what we know about politics, we have some good prime suspects as to what may be going on.”

Those “prime suspects” will hardly be comforting to pollsters and those who depend on them, from political campaigns to the news media. The most likely — if far from certain — culprit for off-kilter polling results is that key groups of people don’t answer polls in the first place.

Decreasing response rates have been a major source of concern for pollsters for more than a decade. But the politicization of polling during the Trump era — including the feedback loop from the former president, who has falsely decried poll results he doesn’t like as “fake” or deliberately aimed at suppressing enthusiasm for answering polls among GOP voters — appears to be skewing the results, with some segment of Republicans refusing to participate in surveys.

But pollsters say they can’t be sure that’s the main reason, because you never know exactly whom you’re not talking to.

That makes the problems with polling a lot harder to fix than the diagnosis four years ago, which mostly focused on adjusting surveys to account for Trump’s popularity with voters who haven’t earned college degrees and his corresponding weakness with college degree-holders.

“It seems plausible to the task force that, perhaps, the Republicans who are participating in our polls are different from those who are supporting Republican candidates who aren’t participating in our polls,” Clinton said. “But how do you prove that?”

The task force’s first job was to evaluate the performance of the 2020 public election polls. On that measure, polling earned a failing grade. While the national polls were the worst in four decades, the state-level polls of the presidential, Senate and gubernatorial races were as bad as they’ve been as far back as there are records (20 years).

According to the report, national polls of the presidential race conducted in the final two weeks of the election were off by an average of 4.5 percentage points, while the state polls were off by just over 5 points. Most of the error was in one direction: Looking at the vote margin, the national polls were too favorable to now-President Joe Biden by 3.9 points, and the state polls were 4.3 points too favorable for Biden.

Most of the error came from underestimating Trump’s support, as opposed to overestimating Biden’s. Comparing the final election results to the poll numbers for each candidate, Trump’s support was understated by a whopping 3.3 points on average, while Biden’s was overstated by a point — turning what looked like a solid Biden lead into a closer, if still decisive, race.

It wasn’t just a Trump effect, either. The polls of Senate and governor’s races were off by an even greater margin: 6 points on average.

“Within the same state, polling error was often larger in senatorial contests than the presidential contest,” the AAPOR report reads. “Whether the candidates were running for president, senator, or governor, poll margins overall suggested that Democratic candidates would do better and Republican candidates would do worse relative to the final certified vote.”

No one methodology performed head-and-shoulders above the others. According to the report, there were only “minor differences” whether polls were conducted on the phone, over the internet or using a mixed methodology, including texts and smartphone apps — or whether they contacted voters randomly versus off a list of registered voters. “Every mode of interviewing and every mode of sampling overstated the Democratic-Republican margin relative to the final certified vote margin,” the report said.

After the 2016 election, AAPOR’s autopsy blamed that year’s polling errors on a number of different factors. First, the organization said, a larger-than-usual number of undecided voters measured in polls flocked toward Trump disproportionately at the very end of the race, giving him an advantage that would be impossible to measure beforehand.

But 2020’s error can’t be blamed on late deciders: Only 4 percent of voters weren’t behind one of the two major candidates in state polls conducted over the final two weeks, and exit polls suggest late-deciding voters split roughly evenly between Biden and Trump.

Another of the 2016 problems — the failure of many pollsters to weight by education — wasn’t to blame last year, either, the report said. Four years earlier, many pollsters adjusted their results to get the right mix of voters by race and gender. But that missed a key, emerging dynamic in the electorate: Increasingly, white voters with college degrees have supported Democrats, while those who didn’t graduate from college rapidly flocked toward Republicans. Studies show voters without college degrees are less likely to participate in polls.

In 2020, however, the majority of state polls made adjustments to get more non-college voters in their polls. But they were still wrong.

Other 2016-style factors were also dismissed: Voters weren’t lying to pollsters about whom they’d support because of some kind of “shy Trump” theory (otherwise the errors wouldn’t be larger in downballot races). It wasn’t that one candidate’s backers didn’t show up to vote (as evidenced by the record-breaking turnout in last year’s race). And estimating the number of voters who would cast early ballots versus show up on Election Day also wasn’t to blame (the polls mostly nailed that split).

The report is clear on what didn’t cause the 2020 polling miss. But it says “identifying conclusively why polls overstated the Democratic-Republican margin relative to the certified vote appears to be impossible with the available data.”

The most plausible — yet still unproven — theory is that the voters the polls are reaching are fundamentally different from those they are not. And Trump’s rantings about the polls being “fake” or rigged only exacerbate that problem.

“If the voters most supportive of Trump were least likely to participate in polls then the polling error may be explained as follows: Self-identified Republicans who choose to respond to polls are more likely to support Democrats and those who choose not to respond to polls are more likely to support Republicans,” the report reads. “Even if the correct percentage of self-identified Republicans were polled, differences in the Republicans who did and did not respond could produce the observed polling error.”

AAPOR isn’t the only organization struggling to nail down where things went wrong. A collaborative report conducted by five of the largest Democratic campaign polling firms, released this spring, said “no consensus on a solution has emerged” to fix the 2020 errors.

While explanations remain elusive, pollsters and their clients are hard at work on changes to methodologies. Soliciting poll respondents via text messages — or text surveys entirely — are increasingly popular as fewer Americans are willing to take a 15-minute phone poll. Online polling continues to grow as well.

Public polls commissioned by the media are also changing. NBC News and The Wall Street Journal terminated their more-than-30-year-long polling partnership late last year, a Wall Street Journal spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO. The two news organizations had long worked with a bipartisan pair of major polling firms on regular phone surveys.

Without definitive answers about the causes of the 2020 miss, however, pollsters aren’t sure they’ll be able to get it right in 2022, 2024 or beyond.

“Even seven months after the fact, you’d think you’d be able to know exactly what happened,” Clinton said.

“How certain are we that we can fix this in the future? Well, it’s unclear,” Clinton added. “We’ll have to wait and see what happens — which isn’t a particularly reassuring position. But I think that’s the honest answer.”

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

At least 3 people were wounded in a shooting outside Nationals Park

A fan outside of the stadium was one of three people wounded, according to Ashan Benedict, executive assistant chief of police for DC’s Metropolitan Police Department.
CNN journalists inside the stadium reported hearing multiple loud bangs during the bottom of the 6th inning in a game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres.
Fans fled their seats and sought shelter after hearing the gunfire. Benedict said there ultimately was no threat to people inside the stadium.
“I just want to assure the public that at no time during this incident were individuals inside the stadium attending the game in any kind of danger. This was not an active shooter incident and it’s not being investigated as such. Everything took place outside the stadium,” he said.
Fans leave their seats as a shooting took place outside Nationals Park during an MLB game in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2021.
Benedict told reporters that two vehicles were involved in a “shootout” on a street outside of the stadium during the game. Police recovered one of the vehicles but the other remains at-large.
The two other people wounded in the shooting were associated with the recovered vehicle and are now in the hospital being questioned by police, according to Benedict. It’s unclear what their exact involvement was in the incident. Benedict also said those individuals were known to law enforcement.
The fan who was shot, a woman, is expected to recover, Benedict said. Police initially said in statements posted on Twitter that four people were shot.
The Washington Nationals had fans shelter-in-place inside the stadium during the immediate aftermath of the gunfire, according to Scott Fear, vice president for public safety and security for the Washington Nationals. A message on the scoreboard shortly after the shooting told fans to remain inside the baseball park, but it was later updated to say it was safe for fans to leave the stadium.
Fans take cover after apparent gun shots were heard during the game between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres at Nationals Park.
“We held shelter in place for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. At that time we said fans were allowed, not that they had to, but they were allowed to exit through Center Field Gates and Right Field Gates on the other side of the stadium, because MPD had let me know that it was safe enough that they could go outside, out of the gate that way,” said Fear.
The remainder of the game was suspended until Sunday afternoon, the Nationals said on Twitter.
“The suspended game will resume beginning at 1:05 PM ET and be completed as a nine-inning regulation game,” the team said.
Game 3 of the Nationals-Padres series that was originally scheduled to begin at the same time Sunday but will instead be played at the conclusion of the suspended game, the team said.
San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. posted on Twitter his appreciation for those who responded to the shooting.
“Hope everyone is safe! Just keep the prayers up thank you everyone that help in the front line! God bless,” he said.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Freddie Mercury’s other woman after Mary ‘They were in love, she was even wilder than him’

Freddie Mercury's other woman after Mary 'They were in love, she was even wilder than him'

It’s A Hard Life remains most famous for its outrageously OTT video, but Freddie’s bandmate Brian May believes it is also one of his friend’s most beautiful compositions. There is a moment when the Queen frontman sings the iconic and heartfelt line, “Two lovers together, to love and live forever in each other’s hearts.” In the video, he is looking at the voluptuous and glamorous woman leaning over the balcony above him. This was Barbara Valentin, who shared two extraordinary years with Freddie in Munich. She remained close to him until the very end and was one of the few invited to his last ever birthday party.

This weekend marks the release of It’s A Hard Life in 1984. At the time, Freddie was already living in Munich. He had discovered the German city in 1979 when the band recorded the album The Game at the famous Musicland studios.

Freddie’s fame meant he increasingly struggled to find privacy in the UK at the same time as he had begun to explore his sexuality. Munich’s thriving gay scene offered him freedom and opportunity.

From 1983-1985 the star made Munich his home and even bought a flat with devoted new friend Barbara. 

READ MORE: Elvis Presley’s romance with teenage dancer after seeing her photo

Busty blonde bombshell Barbara was notorious in Germany as the provocative star of saucy films. Freddie loved her outrageous character and his friends believed he had met his match.

His PA and close friend Peter Freestone said: “They had the most intense, loving relationship. I know one hundred percent they shared a bed on numerous occasions.”

Another friend, West End star Peter Straker, said: “I was told he just met this woman who was larger than life. Barbara was very outrageous. She was the queen of nudity.”

Royal Ballet star Wayne Sleep added: “Freddie was with a woman. So I thought.’There you go. He’s not predictable at all, is he, this boy?.’”

Another friend said: “It was almost like he enjoyed being with someone who had a wilder reputation than him.


Except, of course, Freddie was homosexual. While Wayne Sleep believed Freddie had slept with Barbara. He certainly spent nights with her at her apartment on Stollberg Strasse. Peter Freestone remains a little more coy on the subject.

He added: “I wasn’t sitting in the room. I can’t tell you yes or no if sex happened. If it had, Freddie could not have been quiet about it.”

In fact, for most of those two years in Munich, Freddie was also in a relationship with local restauranteur Winnie Kirschberger, despite the fact that neither spoke the other’s language.

Whatever her feelings for Freddie, Barbara was under no illusion about his sexuality. Like Mary before her, Barbara loved and supported the star and, in this case, provided even more vital and personal help to the men’s relationship. 

Freestone said: “it was sometimes comical to watch the arguments happening… Both Freddie and Winnie would be screaming at Barbara who had to do her best to try to sort out the jumbled emotions.”

It was an intense period in Freddie’s life but the star was beginning to feel homesick and Mary had finally completed all the renovations to his new London house, One Garden Lodge, in Kensington.

The tumultuous relationship with Winnie was fizzling out and a new man from London, Jim Hutton, was on the scene. Freddie never actually moved into the flat he bought with Barbara and returned to the UK. Although he split up with Winnie, Freddie remained close to Barbara for the rest of his life and she flew over to see him one last time in 1990.

In September 1990, Freddie threw his last ever birthday bash, a very smart formal dinner. The following year he would be far too ill.

His close friend Dave Clarke, who was the man by his side when he died, recalled a very intimate night, filled with those Freddie loved most, including Barbara, who sat either side of him with Mary.

Clarke said: “On his last birthday, he just invited 30 of his closest friends and there were 30 different courses, done by his personal chef, Joe Fanelli, and 30 different types of wine to go with each course.”

Freddie died the following November. Barbara herself passed away from a stroke on February 22, 2002.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

Jeremy Clarkson on being ‘accosted’ as fans were ‘determined’ to ‘take photo of his penis’

Jeremy Clarkson on being ‘accosted’ as fans were 'determined' to ‘take photo of his penis’

Jeremy Clarkson, 61, has been in the public eye since 1988, when he joined Top Gear as a presenter. His witticisms, advanced knowledge of cars and, as he’d like to think in some cases, everything else, propelled him to international fame, but with that came some very strange experiences with fans.

Over the years, The Grand Tour star has taken millions of photographs and signed thousands of autographs for his growing fanbase, but there was one memorable incident that has remained engrained in his mind.

“I was once accosted at a motorway service station urinal,” he sighed.

“A group of guys seemed very determined to take a photograph of my penis.

“And there’s no point using the cubicles instead because if they know you’re in there, camera phones will soon appear under the door and over the side of the stalls.”

READ MORE: Jeremy Clarkson ‘justifies’ breaking farming rules ‘Makes no sense!’

The recollection came after one of the young lads who videoed themselves “harassing” Chris Whitty, lost his job as an estate agent and was charged with assault.

The Chief Medical Officer was filmed by two men the other week as he tried to flee their clutches, and while they were branded “despicable thugs” by Boris Johnson and thousands of others who saw the footage, Jeremy wondered whether the punishment really fit the crime.

It prompted him to think about how people nowadays seem to live their lives as a series of ten-second movies.

“All of them are competing for an Oscar,” he said of his own encounter in the toilet stall.

He added: “Certainly, I don’t see why someone should be sacked for being what? Young?”

While on the subject of fan reactions, he also revealed that when he’s been mobbed in public, things “often turn mildly physical”.

After claiming that he doesn’t think it is “entirely fair” for the young man to have lost his job in the case Mr Whitty, he noted that if you’re in the public eye, you “have to expect attention” when out and about in public.

“If I walk past a building site, or a pub, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be surrounded almost immediately by a gang of young men shouting ‘One photo. One photo,'” he wrote in his column for The Sun.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Celebrity News

About one-fifth of Americans were hesitant about or squarely against getting the Covid vaccine, according to a new poll. Here’s what’s changing their minds.

About one-fifth of Americans were hesitant about or squarely against getting the Covid vaccine, according to a new poll. Here's what's changing their minds.
The survey reached back out to people first polled in January to see how their views on the issue had evolved. Those who had decided to be vaccinated after saying they weren’t sure about or didn’t intend to get the shot “often say that family, friends and their personal doctors helped change their minds,” the foundation found.
Most people who’d made firm decisions one way or the other in January hadn’t budged since. Of those who were unvaccinated at the start of the year, only about 8% had changed their minds — the rest either stuck with their initial choice or had started off unsure what they would end up doing.
But those who did change their minds or reached decisions after initial uncertainty often decided in favor of the vaccine. Not only had 92% of those who’d intended to get the vaccine done so, but so had 54% of those who said they planned to wait and see, as well as 24% of those who initially had said they definitely would not get the vaccine or would get it only if required to. By contrast, only 8% who’d been on the fence in January said in June that they’d definitely decided against getting the shot.
Of those who’d decided to get the vaccine after being initially less than certain, roughly half said they had been persuaded by something they’d learned or heard, and 36% said they’d been persuaded by somebody they talked to.
A quarter who’d gotten the vaccine after initial hesitation said they had been reassured to see other people getting vaccinated without ill effects. Many mentioned their families and friends getting the shot; one woman said she’d been convinced of the vaccine’s safety after President Joe Biden got vaccinated.
“I became convinced that some of the rumored side effects were not true,” one Colorado man, a 69-year-old political independent who’d initially said he’d get the shot only if required, told the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Others who eventually decided to get the vaccine cited pressure from family and friends (8%) or a desire to visit loved ones safely (3%).
One woman, a 42-year-old Republican from Indiana, told pollsters in January that she definitely wouldn’t get the shot. This summer, however, she reported she’d been vaccinated: “My husband bugged me to get it and I gave in.”
Reassurance and recommendations from doctors and health care providers also played a role (11%). A 28-year-old Iowa woman said she’d initially held off because she was worried about getting the vaccine while breastfeeding, but heard from doctors that she’d be able to give her baby antibodies.
A few said they’d chosen to get the shot because of restrictions placed on unvaccinated people — one man, for instance, because he needed the vaccination to visit the Bahamas.
About 56.2% of Americans 12 or older had been fully vaccinated as of Monday, and vaccination rates remain dangerously low in states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, which are also seeing some of the worst daily coronavirus case rates in the nation.
About one-fifth of adults who are still unvaccinated mentioned side effects as their main reason for not getting vaccinated, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found. Others remained concerned about the vaccine’s safety, or said they didn’t see benefits in getting vaccinated.
“My husband got the vaccine and all the side effects,” said one Californian, a 42-year-old Hispanic woman who said she’d decided against getting the vaccine. “I cannot be sick, I am the rock of the family.”
Although the persuadable share of the public has dwindled since January, it hasn’t disappeared. A tenth of Americans still say they’re waiting to see how the vaccine works for others before they make up their minds.
The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor surveyed 878 US adults June 15-23, using a nationally representative online panel. All the respondents had previously participated in a January survey. The margin of sampling error, including the design effect for the full sample, is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the June survey.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero