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GLOBAL COVID CASES TOUCH 85.5MN The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 85.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.85 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. In its latest update, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 85,593,895 and 1,852,812, respectively. The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 21,113,528 and 360,078, respectively, according to the CSSE. India comes in second place in terms of cases at 10,341,291, while the country’s death toll soared to 149,686. The other countries with more than a million confirmed

cases are Brazil (7,733,746), Russia (3,260,138), France (2,655,728), the UK (2,654,779), Turkey (2,241,912), Italy (2,155,446), Spain (1,936,718), Germany (1,783,896), Colombia (1,675,820), Argentina (1,640,718), Mexico (1,448,755), Poland (1,322,947), Iran (1,249,507), Ukraine (1,078,251), South Africa (1,100,748), and Peru (1,019,475), the CSSE figures showed. Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 196,018. The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (127,213), Italy (75,332), the UK (75,024), France (65,037), Russia (58,988), Iran (55,650), Spain (50,837), Argentina (43,482), Colombia (43,965), Peru (37,830), Germany (35,105), South Africa (29,577), Poland (29,161), Indonesia (22,911) and Turkey (21,488).


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Pakistan has banned the trailer of a new movie which the country’s Telecommunication Authority called ‘sacrilegious’. The film is about an Iraqi child whose grandmother narrates the 'historical' story of Lady Fatima (AS) the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). In a statement Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said it had “approached social media platforms for removal of trailers regarding sacrilegious movie titled “Lady of Heaven". It adds, “Keeping in view different reports regarding release of the movie titled “Lady of Heaven” and its sacrilegious content, PTA has directed social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter etc. for immediate blocking of all content related to the said movie from their platforms. So far 336 URLs containing promo of the said movie have been reported to different platforms.” The film is directed by Eli King, written by Sheikh Al-Habib and stars: Ray Fearon, Albane Courtois, and Sami Karim. Reports say in accordance with Islamic traditions 'no holy person' is depicted in the movie. A synopsis to the movie reads, “A child from war-torn Iraq finds himself moving into a new home after his mother passes away. There, he meets a loving old woman who tells him the story of Lady Fatima(sa), the daughter of the prophet Muhammad(saw) and the first victim of terrorism. Through the stories, the child learns how the virtue of patience is powerful and important to everyone, as well as how Hazrat Fatima’s(as) experience has spilled into the 21st century.”

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ALLAMA IQBAL SUNDAY CRICKET LEAGUE SEASON 2021 SECRETARY REPORT Alas we can say goodbye to 2020, a year that was full of challenges and difficulties. But it did give us an opportunity to test the PSL format, which to some degree was worth exploring. I for one did not like this for a league format. For me the challenge is to sustain your league form and position over a sustain period of time. That’s the true sign of champions, not one off games. You have one bad game and that’s your season done in a PSL format. Guess you can call me a traditionalist, and with that I’m pleased to announce Allama Iqbal is going back to league format. The good news is we’ve had a lot of interest and have had to create two new divisions, Premier and division 1. Bar any issues with COVID19, we should have either 10 in premier and 8 in division 1, or

8 and 8, so watch this space. Something new for season 2021, is Monday T10 competition. 10 overs, 8 a side, coloured kits and pink ball. I’ll not spoil the anticipation but what I can say is that we will only allow 8 teams to take part, so it will be first come first serve, and remember you can pick any Allama Iqbal players to utilise in your team. The added bonus is you can pick any fancy names for teams, they don’t have be the names you use for your Sunday teams, something like Nether Edge Qalandars. So I sign off with a few announcements, we will have our captains meeting via zoom and i will be sending details in due course, fixtures will be out soon as I have confirmation of your grounds. So this is me signing off till the next edition.

NEW CAMERAS TARGETING TAILGATERS COMING TO A MOTORWAY NEAR YOU Highways England have stepped up their efforts to curb tailgaters with the help of new roadside cameras. Technology that can detect if vehicles are travelling too close to each other is being trialled on the M1 in Northamptonshire before it’s rolled out across the country. The new system has recorded 26,000 tailgating vehicles in the first two months of the trial. That’s 419 drivers a day breaking the Highway Code’s two-second minimum gap rule. Rather than prosecuting offenders, the police have sent warning letters in the post to reinforce the message to leave a safe distance between vehicles. Drivers can usually be fined £100 and handed three penalty points on their licence. Of the 26,000 tailgaters who received letters, 3,700 were repeat offenders. Some drivers were spotted tailgating up to 12 times on the same 150-metre stretch of road where the cameras have been installed. Highways England’s say the cameras are there to make drivers aware of their behaviour and encourage better driving. The new cameras sadly

highlight just how many people are driving too close on our roads. Tailgating is a factor in one in eight casualties on the Highways England network and the government-owned company is assessing whether sending tailgaters letters is leading to a change in their behaviour. Serious collisions caused by drivers travelling too close to vehicles in front of them have jumped to their highest level in at least seven years, according the Department for Transport (DfT). The two-second gap recommended in the Highway Code should be treated as a minimum, as stopping distances vary on different road surfaces and at a range of speeds. Despite the danger of driving too close to other vehicles, a surprising 25% of drivers admitted to tailgating others, when asked by Highways England. A similar survey from road safety charity Brake in 2014 found that 95% of drivers are sometimes concerned about vehicles driving too close behind them. The Northamptonshire trial is set to last six months.


If you've got an older iPhone or Android phone, you may lose access to WhatsApp altogether or some features on the messaging app from January 1, 2021. The makers of the messaging app have confirmed support for older devices will stop in the new year, and for some it may mean the app stops working altogether. You'll only be impacted if you don't have iOS 9 or above on your iPhone or Android 4.0.3 or above on your Android device. That means those with an iPhone 4 or below won't be able to upgrade to the latest software, and some much older Android phones will also be affected such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 that

SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL SELECTS NEW LEADER Sheffield City Council has a new leader, after Labour councillors selected Cllr Bob Johnson to take over the top job in January. Johnson has been a councillor in Hillsborough since 2011 – the same year that Cllr Dore became leader after taking control of the Council


from the Liberal Democrats. The leader of the ruling Labour group, and therefore the Council Leader, is elected by Labour councillors rather than Labour members. “It is an unbelievable honour to be elected as leader of the Labour group and I would like to thank my colleagues for putting their trust in me," said Cllr Johnson in a statement. "I am Sheffield born and bred and am passionate about our city delivering on the huge potential we have." Cllr Johnson has been Cabinet Member for Transport and Development since last May, leading on projects such as the opening of Division Street to people and the city's first Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Kelham Island. In a statement Cllr Johnson paid tribute to his predecessor, who is stepping down as a councillor in May after twenty years at Town Hall. "I would like to pay tribute to Julie who has led the city through one of the most challenging times in our history, dealing with a decade of austerity and the pandemic over the past year," he said. In power for close to a decade, Cllr Dore has come under intense criticism in recent years over her handling of the street tree scandal.

was released in 2011. Some WhatsApp users will be able to upgrade their software to higher than iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3 to make sure they're not impacted, so we'd recommend checking to see what software you have if you're worried you may lose access. Some with much older devices won't be able to upgrade their software at all, and if that's you it may mean you lose access to certain WhatsApp features on January 1. If that's the case, or you lose access to the app altogether, it may be you have to upgrade your phone to be able to make the most of the app again.

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CLIMATE CHANGE: 2021 WILL BE COOLER BUT STILL IN TOP SIX WARMEST UK Met Office scientists are forecasting that 2021 will be a little cooler around the world, but will still be one of the top six warmest years. The La Niña weather phenomenon will see temperatures edge down but greenhouse gases will remain the biggest influence. Researchers say the world will likely be around 1C

warmer than the pre-industrial era. It will be the seventh year in a row close to or above this mark. According to Met Office projections, the Earth's temperature for 2021 will likely be between 0.91C and 1.15C above what they were in the years from 1850-1900 with a central estimate of 1.03C The 2021 forecast is slightly lower than in recent

years, due to the onset of the La Niña event in the tropical Pacific. A La Niña develops when strong winds blow the warm surface waters of the Pacific away from South America and towards the Philippines. In their place, colder waters from deep in the ocean come up to the surface. It is expected to reduce sea-surface temperatures by 1-2C and

will likely do enough to prevent 2021 from setting a new high mark. Researchers say the impact of a natural cooling event like La Niña, while important, is hugely overshadowed by the warming driven by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Met Office says that its experience in forecasting previous annual temperatures gives it confidence in next year's projections. A year ago, the agency estimated that 2020 would be 0.99C to 1.23C warmer than pre-industrial levels. Data from January to October this year indicates that the annual temperature will be 1.17C above the 1850-1900 average. 2016 remains the warmest year on record with 2020 vying for second place with 2019. According to a provisional assessment from the World Meteorological Organization, the warmest six years in global records dating back to 1850 have now all occurred since 2015. The Met Office expects that 2021 will edge out 2018 for sixth place.

A57 CONGESTION FEARS WITH MOTTRAM BYPASS PLAN Sheffield Green Party have expressed fears of increased traffic on the A57 Snake Pass route between Sheffield and Manchester that could result from plans for the Mottram bypass to the east of Glossop. The plan could lead to more traffic through Broomhill and Malin Bridge to and from the A57 route over the Pennines. Around 25,000 vehicles travel along the A57 through Mottram every day, including over 2,000 HGVs – equivalent to one lorry entering the village every 42 seconds. The new twomile bypass would run from the roundabout at the end of the M67 (junction 4) to a new junction on the A57 in Woolley Bridge. The Mottram bypass scheme includes a new dual carriageway to the north of Mottram which would connect the motorway rounda-

bout to the A57 at Mottram Moor. A new single carriageway road from Mottram Moor to Woolley Bridge would also separate Glossop traffic from vehicles travelling along the A628 Woodhead Pass. A combined footpath and cycleway would run alongside the new single carriageway road, connecting Mottram to the coast-to-coast Trans Pennine Trail at Woolley Bridge. The mainly traffic-free route is part of the national cycle network and winds 215 miles across the Pennines between Southport and Hornsea. A planning application for Mottram bypass is due to be submitted next year once the consultation responses have been considered and, if the project is approved by the government, construction work could start by spring 2023.

LACK OF DATA ON ETHNIC MINORITIES AND COVID The lack of data taken around ethnic minorities in Britain during the pandemic could be putting lives at risk, health experts have warned. Research has shown a disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority communities, but some leading medics fear not enough information is being gathered by the NHS and other public bodies to fully understand the risks to specific groups. The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA), say research funded so far “barely scratched the surface when it comes to ethnic inequality”. It feels an opportunity had been missed to ensure measures to better record and collect data were in place ahead of the second wave of coronavirus this winter. Approximately 12% of the British adult population is from an ethnic minority background, but these


communities have experienced higher rates of infection and mortality during the pandemic. A report from the Commons Women and Equalities Committee found pre-existing inequalities created a “perfect storm” of factors which exacerbated the impact on BAME communities. However, the committee also criticised the Government for failing to show a “sustained effort to capture a full picture” of the issue, and a “resistance to deploy resources for data collection”. The lack of available data is described as dangerous. Data means intelligence and it means professionals can put targeted approaches into saving lives. Some data has been collected by public bodies to help understand the causes, including a June report looking at disparities in risks and outcomes by Public Health England and research in September that found higher levels of mortality with Covid among black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. In October, minister for equalities Kemi Badenoch announced funding for six research projects to better understand the links between Covid-19 and ethnicity and it was also made mandatory for ethnicity to be recorded on death certificates. There are also major differences in how specific minority groups are affected by the virus as the term “BAME” tends to group everyone together.

NEW YEAR HONOURS LIST 2021 The UK’s New Year Honours List 2021 recognises those who have delivered extraordinary services. The UK New Year Honours List 2021 was published to commemorate the contributions made by people of all backgrounds across the UK, including British Asians to British society. For the New Year Honours, a total of 1,239 people have been recognised for their contributions. 1,123 were selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level, 397 at BEM, 476 at MBE and 250 at OBE. Of the total, 14,2% of successful candidates come from a BAME background, making the 2021 Honours List the most diverse ever. There are 603 women on the list while 6.9% of candidates consider themselves to have a disability (under the Equality Act 2010) and 4% being identified as being LGBT+. Celebrities, politicians and sports personalities have been recognised in the New Year Honours. However, in what has been a challenging year, 65% of honourees are everyday heroes who have been recognised for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic. As for the Asian contributions,

the New Year Honours List commends the hard work and efforts by men and women with South Asian roots who have made a major impact on communities around the UK. Titles bestowed upon the Asian individuals include Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM). These honorary titles are awarded to these individuals in recognition for their commitment to serve and help Britain in their areas of work and services. The Asian recipients of these awards have proved their specific dedication without a doubt to their contributions.

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EUROPEAN NATIONS WELCOME UK TRADE DEAL Just seven days before the Brexit transition period was slated to end on December 31, the European Union (EU) and the UK announced the reaching of an agreement that will govern the trade and security relationship between the two sides starting from January 1, 2021. The European Parliament and EU member states hailed the last-minute deal reached on Thursday with relief while some, with a sentiment tinged with caution, pledged to scrutinize the text before giving a green light. At a press conference in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the 27-member bloc has reached “a fair and balanced agreement” with the UK, which officially exited the EU this January. “It is fair, it is a balanced deal, and it is right and responsible thing to do for both sides. To our friends in the UK, I want to say, parting is such sweet sorrow,” she added. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his virtual press conference at Downing Street, said his country has “taken back control” when securing the post-Brexit trade deal. “We have taken back control of every jot and title of our regulation, in a way that is complete and unfettered,” he said. Johnson also said the agreement offers certainty for businesses across the whole country and will benefit the whole of Britain because “there will be no palisade of tariffs on January 1 (2021) and there will be no non-tariff barriers to trade”. The deal will need the approval of the European Parliament, the British Parliament and the EU’s 27 member states. The EU is likely to impose a “provisional application” of the agreement until MEPs vote on it in 2021.

Travel insurance with health cover. Your current EHIC card will be valid until its expiry date, and it will be replaced by a new scheme in the future, but the government still advises you to get travel insurance with health cover. Make sure you’ve checked roaming charges with your mobile provider, as the guarantee of free roaming will end. Obtained an animal health certificate from your vet at least 10 days before you travel, if you are travelling with your pet, including from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The current EU pet passport scheme will no longer apply.

Brexit: Seven things that are changing on 1 January From 1 January, the free movement of people and goods and services between the UK and the EU will end. This means significant differences to how people live, work and travel. Here are some of the most important things that are changing.

At border control, you will have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. Significantly, because of the Covid pandemic, travellers from non-EU countries - which the UK becomes on 1 January - will not be able to visit the EU except for a certain number of essential reasons.

1. European travel rules change From January, UK nationals will only able to travel without a visa to Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period (this includes most EU nations and Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). In addition, you will need to: Have at least six months left on your passport, except for trips to Ireland.

2. Duty-free shopping will return When the UK was an EU member, you were allowed to bring unlimited amounts of alcohol and tobacco back from an EU country without paying any duty at the border, as long as duty had been paid in the country where you bought it and you could prove it was for your own use. From 2021, duty-free shopping will be available if you travel to the EU, although there will now be

limits to the amount you can bring in duty-free check if you can stay after that. You’ll need to befrom the EU, as there are for arrivals from non-EU come a UK citizen, or apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Again, because of the Common Travel countries. Area, rights of Irish citizens will not change. 3. The rules change for UK citizens who want to 5. There’ll be a new UK immigration system move to the EU If you’re already living in an EU country, you will From January, there’ll be a new points-based syshave certain protections under the withdrawal tem for foreign citizens (except Irish nationals) agreement. But even then, you should check that wanting to move to the UK. The government says country’s specific rules. You may need to register it’ll treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and will or apply for residency, get new documents, or aim to attract people who can contribute to the meet specific requirements - like having a job. UK economy. People wanting to move to the UK For example, UK nationals living or planning to to work, live or study will have to apply, and pay for, a visa. It will cost £348 to apply for a student visa from outside the UK, or £475 to extend or switch one from inside the UK. Applying for a visa for a skilled worker will cost between £610 and £1,408 per person unless they have skills that the country is short of. They will also have to pay a health surcharge of £624 per person per year, unless they are healthcare workers. 6. If you want to buy or sell with the EU, things get trickier The UK and the EU agreed that there will be no taxes on each other’s goods when they cross borders and no limits on the amount of things that can be traded. However, traders England, Wales and Scotland (for the case of Northern Ireland, see below) will need to make customs declarations as if they were dealing with countries elsewhere in the world - this means a lot of paperwork. Rather than following one set of rules for the whole of the EU, UK businesses will need to comply with the regulations in each individual country. Even though trade with the EU will become trickier, the UK is free to negotiate its own trade deals with other countries, live in France will need to obtain new residents’ like the US. Brexit supporters say this will benefit the economy in the long run, although critics say permits. If you plan to move to the EU in 2021, you will it’s more important to remain close to the EU. no longer have an automatic right to live, work, study or retire there. You will need a visa if you 7. Northern Ireland becomes an exception are going there for any reason other than tour- The UK and EU have agreed to keep an all-butism. The rules will depend on the country you invisible border, without checkpoints, between want to move to, and the reason for your move. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland You should check the rules for the country that (which remains in the EU). you are intending to move to. People planning to Northern Ireland will continue to follow many of the EU’s rules, meaning that lorries can continue move to Ireland will be largely unaffected. to drive across the border without having to be inspected. 4. There are new rules for EU citizens in the UK If you’re an EU citizen living in the UK by 31 De- However, some new checks will be needed on cember 2020 - or from Iceland, Liechtenstein, certain goods arriving into Northern Ireland from Norway or Switzerland - your rights will remain the rest of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales) inthe same until 30 June 2021. But you should stead.

MUSLIM FUNERAL RITES ARE BEING KILLED OFF BY THE PANDEMIC The coronavirus has changed the way everyone has lived life throughout the past year, but it’s had a particularly difficult impact on how families are dealing with rites after their loved ones have passed. Whether it be funerals or memorials held in memory of those who have passed or simply as a rite of passing that helped closure. Many Muslims have not been able to conduct many of the rites that are so normal. The rules are as such: there are to be no more than 30 people at funerals and when someone has passed due to coronavirus then there is to be no washing of the body or shrouding, which is a fundamental part of a Muslim funeral. The washing of the body is usually done by family members of the same sex and includes washing the body and dressing the body ready for the funeral. The restrictions extend to seeing the face for the


last time and even putting soil in the grave once the coffin has been lowered. The viewing of the face, whilst not observed by many from non-Muslim backgrounds, is one of the main parts of the Muslim funeral. There is no such thing as an average funeral anymore; each individual funeral is planned differently. There’s now a risk assessment surrounding volunteers at the mosque and the people who will be attending the funeral. Families are naturally distressed because that’s not the way they want to send their loved ones off. Death on its own provides a very difficult time, and when you don’t have the opportunity to send them off in a dignified way, and everyone is present, it’s very hard. Having funerals in the graveyard with only 10 to 12 people, and you think of Asian families then those numbers are nothing. Religious rites of passage include the funeral, the

40th anniversary after the passing and friends, family and acquaintances giving condolences in person when someone has died. Whilst the funeral is arguably the most important, the other rites are included in the mourning period and for some help the stages of grief that families have to go through. The 40th day after the death is used for prayers, usually family members, friends and members of the Muslim community belonging to the same mosque will join together in prayer. However, with the coronavirus pandemic causing a nationwide lockdown these rites were not allowed to happen. The pandemic has taken some essential moments from many families in the UK and beyond, and many families from different religions will have had to adapt in the wake of these restrictions. One thing

that can be agreed on is that funeral rites are another difficulty that grieving loved ones have to deal with during the coronavirus pandemic. With little to no closure during ceremonies, the grieving process is made significantly more painful.

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COVID-19 VACCINE IS HALAL SAYS LEADING MEDICAL ASSOCIATION AND ISLAMIC SCHOLARS The new Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out across the UK has been deemed halal by a leading medical association and a team of scholars. The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) said it had taken all the available information into account including the increased risk from Covid-19 to those who are from an ethnic minority. The BIMA said it has consulted various experts in infectious diseases, the pharmaceutical industry, clinical medicine, commissioning, inequalities research, public health and bioethicists. In a statement it says that ‘no animal products in this vaccine and no animal derived cells were used’. The organisation went on to add that British Muslim community has been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 with excess cases and deaths. And how ‘Chronic disease is often badly managed, with higher rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease5-whichare poor prognostic factors for Covid-19,with poor patient satisfaction and access to health services’. After discussion with experts the organisation said it would recommend the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for eligible at-risks individuals in the Muslim community.

and Healthcare products Agency can confirm that was cholesterol, because it can be sourced from the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does not animal fat although it is normally sourced from the eggs of hens. contain any components of animal origin.” “We contacted the Pfizer company requesting a “The aforementioned statement from the Government confirms that it is not sourced from animal fat, therefore it is Halal. The company has also confirmed this in an email to us which states, “All lipid excipients used in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 are either from plant-derived sources or are synthetic. The vaccine contains no animal components.” It goes on to add, “Please also note that this answer is regarding the Islamic permissibility of the vaccine. The decision to use the vaccine is a personal decision for each individual to make. It is recommended that individuals read the patient information leaflet to understand the benefits and risks and also discuss with medical professionals should they require further information.” Concerns about the shots containing items banned under Islamic law continue to linger in Muslim-majority nations. Malaysia recently signed a deal with Pfizer Inc. to obtain its Covcontain any components of animal origin. The breakdown of the ingredients which were shared id-19 vaccine that will cover 6.4 million people, Government’s website states, “The Medicines with us. Initially, the only ingredient of concern starting early next year. A fatwa was also posted stating the vaccine is Halal based on the information available. It says, “The UK Government has confirmed that the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine does not

APPLE’S AIRPODS PRO NAMED WHICH? PRODUCT OF THE YEAR Apple’s Airpods Pro have been named product of the year by consumer group Which?. The wireless bluetooth earbuds were praised for being improved “to the point of near-perfection”. Which? judges said it is “remarkable that tiny earpods can create such versatile, powerful and spatial sound” and welcomed the introduction of a rubber earpiece to create a more secure fit. Expert testers from the not-for-profit organisation whittled down 3,500 products to just 50 based on exceptional innovation, sustainability or value for money. Researchers voted on products launched and tested between September 2018 and September 2020, before the entire company was given the option to vote on the top 10. The earbuds are followed by the Halo Capsule in second, a recyclable cordless vacuum that comes with enough capacity and extra disposable bags to fill a bathtub with dust. “Apple’s new Airpods Pro edged out some fantastic contenders by taking a product that was already exceptional and improving it to the point of near-perfection,” said Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine. The Kia Soul fully electric vehicle, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G smartphone and an LG 48-inch OLED TV also made it into the top five.

Despite experts rating it a bit noisy, a budget £12 kettle made it into the top 50 at number 47 based on its simple and stylish appearance, and “phenomenal” value for money. Among the quirkier items is the iRobot Roomba S9 robot vacuum which empties its own dust bag at number 42, and Sony’s swivelling selfie display ZV-1 camera at number 50. “It is a huge task to sift through the thousands of products Which? tests each year and whittle it down to just 50 – but this year’s list showcases the very best in high-tech gadgets, advances in sustainability and value for money products proving there are great buys out there for anyone prepared to do their research,” Mr Rose added. The full top 10 list: 1. Apple Airpods Pro 2. Halo Capsule 3. Kia Soul 4. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G 5. LG OLED48CX6LB TV 6. Hisense BI5228PXUK oven 7. TP-Link Casa KC200 security camera 8. LG GBB92STAXP fridge freezer 9. Siemens SN658D01NG 10. Challenge 7K air conditioner

NEW TURING SCHEME TO SUPPORT THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS TO STUDY AND WORK ABROAD Thousands of students will be able to study and do work placements across the world through a brand new scheme that replaces the UK’s participation in Erasmus+. The Turing scheme will be backed by over £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. The new scheme will also target students from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas which did not previously have many students benefiting from Erasmus+, making life-changing opportunities accessible to everyone across the country. The programme will provide similar opportunities for students to study and work abroad as the Erasmus+ programme but it will include countries across the world and aims to deliver greater value for money to taxpayers. The UK will reap the rewards from the investment, by boosting students’ skills and prospects, benefitting UK employers, and supporting Global Britain’s ties with international partners.

TV LICENCE FEE Official data shows nearly a third of women’s convictions come from television licence evasion. Women accounted for 74 per cent of the 114,000 convictions for licence fee evasion in 2019, up 3 per cent since 2015, according to the Ministry of Justice data published last month. Ministers have delayed a decision to end the prosecution and imprisonment of people who do not pay the fee until at least 2022 Boris Johnson is preparing to shelve plans to decriminalise non-payment of the BBC licence fee. Ministers have delayed a decision to end the prosecution and imprisonment of people who do not pay the licence fee until at least 2022, it is understood, amid concerns it could create an even harsher system in which bailiffs pursue elderly people and poor families for unpaid debts.


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THE MOST ICONIC MOMENTS OF 2020 2020 has been a year like no other and for many of us it is one we will want to put behind us. The year has been full of highs and lows with incredible scientific breakthroughs and human connection being reimagined. We've taken a look back at some of the most iconic moments of the year: Clap for Carers The Clap for Carers event ran every Thursday night at 8pm for 10 weeks and saw the nation stand on their doorsteps celebrating our incredible frontline workers. Across the country people made as much noise as they could clapping, banging pots and pans and ringing bells in a show of appreciation to the nation's hero's.

able, reflected a nation “those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire,” said the Queen. And she highlighted the message of VE (Victory in Europe) Day that resonates with the country’s plight today – “Never give up, never

taine before his 100th birthday to raise money for the NHS. Captain Tom received donations reaching more than a staggering £32 million, including an 'undisclosed' sum from the Duke and Duchess of Cam-

Free School Meals With thousands of people on furlough and school holidays looming, low income families across the nation felt the pinch of their purse strings more than ever this year. Families that usually rely on free school meals to help feed their children were supported through a campaign by Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford. The 23-year-old’s campaign ensured free meals would be provided to disadvantaged children helping to improve the lives of thousands during the coronavirus pandemic. The Queen's "We'll meet again" speech To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day The Queen praised the nation's response to the coronavirus outbreak. As she remembered Britain’s Second World War sacrifices and the “joyous celebrations” that followed the end of fighting in Europe, the head of state paid tribute to the positive qualities of today’s generation. The tireless efforts of NHS staff, care and key workers, and communities helping the vulner-

Protesters throwing a statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour After the killing of George Floyd in America on May 25 protests erupted across the globe under the Black Lives Matter movement. This iconic wave of protests and demonstrations seen worldwide captivated people from all walks of life frustrated by the treatment of black people. In the UK there were BLM protests in every major city and town with calls for action sparking a wave of change that can still be felt today. The statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century slave trader, can be seen about to fall into the water in the foreground with hordes of protesters stood across Pero’s Bridge in the background. The bridge is named after enslaved African Pero Jones, who was brought to Bristol aged 12 to work as a servant and died in the city after 32 years of service. Capturing the juxtaposition of these two worlds colliding in the 21st century makes for one of the most groundbreaking images of 2020. First person to be vaccinated against Covid-19 Margaret Keenan, 90, who became the first person to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine. This landmark moment at University Hospital, Coventry marks the start of the largest ever immunisation programme in British history. Formally leaving the European Union

On January 31 2020, the Union flag was lowered from its pole outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, and removed to mark the UK formally leaving the European Union, after 47 years of membership. bridge. despair”. On July 17 Captain Sir Tom Moore was knighted The brexit transition period will end on December by The Queen in her first official engagement in 31 sparking enormous change for the UK from The remarkable Captain Tom Moore January 1 2021. Former British Army Officer, Captain Tom Moore person since the first lockdown. walked 100 laps of his garden in Marston More-

GREAT POETS: MIRZA Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, better known by his pen name Ghalib and Asad, was born 223 years ago on December 27, 1797. Honoured with titles Dabir-ul-Mulk and Najm-udDaula, he wrote in both Urdu and Persian and traced his ancestry back to Aibak Turks who moved to Samarkand following the fall of the Selijuk dynasty. Ghalib’s grandfather immigrated to India from Samarkand during the reign of Ahmad Shah. Regarded as one of the greatest Urdu poets, Ghalib’s love for Delhi is well known. He has time and again immortalised the spirit of the city, once writing,

it has been noted that in most of his verses, the gender of the beloved is never known. Following the death of Ghalib in February 15, 1869, the last great poet of the Mughal era was buried in Hazrat Nizamuddin near the tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya. Ghalib chronicled a turbulent period in Mughal history. He

“Ik roz apni rooh se poocha, ki Dilli kya hai, to yun jawab main keh gaye, yeh duniya mano jism hai aur Dilli uski jaan.” (I asked my soul, ‘What is Delhi?’ It replied: ‘The world is the body, Delhi its soul”). On the poet’s 223nd birth anniversary, here are a few facts about Mirza Ghalib Ghalib married the daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh, Umrao Begum, when he was just 13-years-old, following which he settled in Delhi. In 1850, Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II bestowed upon Mirza Ghalib the title of Dabirul-Mulk, as well as the title Najm-ud-daula. It was Bahadur Shah Zafar II who awarded him the title of Mirza Nosha, thus adding the word Mirza to his name. Bahadur Shah Zafar II had appointed Ghalib as his tutor for poetry in 1854 and later he appointed him the tutor to his eldest son Prince Fakhr-ud Din Mirza. During this time, Ghalib was also appointed by the Emperor as the royal historian of the Mughal court. Ghalib wrote his first verse at the age of 11, and interestingly,


ets. He wrote much of his poetry in Farsi and believed this was superior to his work in Urdu. Nevertheless, although his Urdu ghazals were written mostly in his early years, many before he was twenty, his claim to fame rests primarily on his slim Urdu divan and secondarily on his Urdu letters. In a society that was outwardly ruled by the shariah, poets used the ghazal to celebrate love and longing, and, under the cover of symbols and metaphors, questioned, criticized, and even made light of the religious and social conventions of society. Ghalib covers these subjects in the most exquisite manner, bringing a new and sharper irreverence to his dissent, but nearly always his barbs are softened by his inimitable wit and humour.

would time and again write about the destruction of the famed bazaars of Mughal Delhi as well as havelis and mansions. Mirza Ghalib’s residence, which is located in Gali Qasim Jan, Ballimaran, Old Delhi, has been converted into a heritage site. The museum also houses a life size replica of the legendary poet. Ghalib is commonly regarded as the greatest of Urdu po-

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HE WHO CHALLENGES THE SCIENCE With the current covid 19 pandemic raging like a hurricane destroying everything in its path, from country to country and across cultures and religions and peoples, it would be hard to think of another more pressing issue that people and governments are facing at the beginning of 2021. But this particular virus seems to be selective effecting more intensely certain groups of people compared to others with individuals from certain backgrounds more vulnerable to its serious consequences than others who may experience it but in a mild form on par with say the flu. The BME communities as they are known in the UK seem to be one of the most targeted and worst effected by the virus which is taking lives from these communities on a much higher rate than compared to their white counterparts. So much so that the government faced with growing pressure did conduct a report into the disproportionate impact of covid 19 on black and other minority communities, to try and get an understanding of why this was the case. On a daily basis the news would feature health professionals who had succumb to the virus on the front line including retired Muslim and other doctors who had returned to assist the NHS along with nurses and carers all from BME communities who had died. These were people who had devoted their lives to the care of others who were aware of the risks and understood the dangers and took care to prevent themselves getting it. Yet these were the headlines of many a daily news during these last 9 months or so of 2020. Along with this the Runneymede trust also did a report on covid 19s impact on the BME commu-

nity entitled ‘Over Exposed & Under Protected’ -the devastating impact of covid 19 on black and minority ethnic communities in Great Britain. And although exact conclusions are hard to ascertain their would-be certain factors which enable an insight into this. BME communities are usually located within deprived areas within towns and cities with poor access to health facilities and have poorer diets high in fats and salt, without proper nutrition and have high rates on underlying illnesses like diabetes, heart disease which all expose them at a far higher rate to the worst form of the virus. (A patient being treated for Covid 19 in ICU) But it has to be said that aside from this there seems to be a prevalent strain of ‘denial’ running through certain BME communities, with covid

19 being thought of as an unreal virus either nothing more than a flu of some kind or a conspiracy designed to control the world by the powers that be. This foolish and against scientific thought process or mentality is the basis of falsehood and dangerous myth which can easily be fed more lies and snowball into an anti-science and health agenda. The believers of these falsehoods are actively exposing their loved ones old and young to infection by their lack of understanding and willingness to accept the devastating reality which affects us all in the world today. This ignorance is commonplace, just go to any ethnic butchers or grocery store and you will see a wilful disregard of the basics like not shaking hands, wearing a mask and staying 2 metres apart. It is with great sorrow that these scenes play out up and down the land in various places when the evidence is very clear in the ICU wards of the nations

Jaan. M. Khan Jaanvegas1@gmail.com

hospitals who are at breaking point in trying to contain the virus and treat its victims. ( BME Communities at higher risk of catching the Covid 19 Virus) In an age of technology and education within one of most developed countries in the world BME communities are not being served by their own hand and conduct. Information is available in multiple languages and methods so no one is left out. The rules as implemented are there to serve and protect the subjects of the land and not to mislead or impair people, god knows the financial impact which will again come round full circle to affect the poorer BME communities the worst, is enough to see that the country is paying a devastating price and that the only joke going will be the one aspect of the BME communities played on themselves through their ignorance of the threat and embrace of the devil.

WHAT WAS ‘MOST READ’ ON WIKIPEDIA IN 2020? After the coronavirus, people were interested the most in reading about US President Donald Trump. Articles related to Donald Trump had 5,54,72,791 total views. 3. Deaths in 2020: Driven by fear and panic, internet users searched a lot about death in 2020 during the ongoing pandemic. "Deaths in 2020" stands as the third most searched phrase and has total views of 4,22,62,147. As the year 2020 comes to a close, free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has released a list of the 10 most-read topics of the year. In 2020, people read the most about the COVID-19 pandemic and the US presidential elections. These two topics topped the list of the top reads of Wikipedia. "COVID-19" being the most-viewed article has the first spot.

4. Kamala Harris The number of visitors to the Wikipedia page related to US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in 2020 was recorded at 38,319,706.

5. Joe Biden Next on the list is Joe Biden, who was elected as the President of the US. During the period of elections, this was the most searched article and has garnered 1. Covid-19 The global pandemic has topped the list of most- 3,42,81,120 total views. read articles on Wikipedia this year, with the coronavirus page or related articles being read more than On the other hand, Articles on late NBA star Kobe Bryant and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II also made 83,040,504 times. the list, as did an annual article on the year's notable deaths. 2. US President Donald Trump

UK INTERNET USE DOUBLES IN 2020 DUE TO PANDEMIC UK internet use more than doubled in 2020, as people stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic. Boxing Day was the busiest day for broadband users, according to data from Openreach, which runs much of the UK's broadband network. Over the festive period, large parts of the country were put into tier four restrictions, and Christmas gatherings were limited. Live sport, online gaming and home-working all contributed to the boost. Openreach operates the cables, ducts, and


other infrastructure used by many other providers, including BT and Sky. It said that this year: Openreach customers consumed 50,000 petabytes of data this year, compared to 22,000 in 2019 Properties connected to its fibre broadband used, on average, nine gigabytes of data a day On Boxing Day, a record 210 petabytes was used on the network A mix of video calls to get in touch with family and friends, as well as TV streaming and

gaming downloads were contributing factors to the 26 December record, it said. media captionDo you know the etiquette of video calling? The year's second-busiest day was 14 November, as Amazon Prime broadcast two live rugby matches. Openreach said usage surged just before kick off. Online gaming also had a big impact on the UK's broadband consumption, with many of the major data spikes focussed around updates to popular PlayStation, PC and Xbox games - including Call of Duty and Fortnite.

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Pakistan has extended its ban on flights from the United Kingdom until January 4, 2021, its Civil Aviation Authority said. Islamabad last week banned flights from the UK until December 29 after a new strain of coronavirus emerged there. The restriction is applicable to all direct and indirect flights from the UK. It will also apply to all persons travelling from the UK who have been there for 10 days. Pakistani passport holders who travelled to the UK on visit or temporary visas will be allowed to return if

• Hijrat ehle ilm ka tareeq hai • Hijrat qadr me izafah karti hai • Hijrat se ilm me izafah hota hai • Hijrat insan ko mazbut bana deta hai • Hijrat se tijarat ko farogh milta hai • Hijrat se insan ko kamyabi milti hai


• Hijrat makan o zaman ki tabdili ka naam hai • Hijrat se mashre urooj pate hain • Hijrat karne wale khas ban jate hain • Hijrat rizq me izafeh ka baiss banti hai • Hijrat se tehzeeb me nayi jeet peda hoti hai • Hijrat izat baksh ti hai - Hijrat se naam milta hai • Hijrat se maqam milta hai - Hijrat khas kar deti hai • Hijrat aulad ki taleem ke liye behtareen hijrat hai • Hijrat taleem ke liye ki jaye to fayeda mand hoti hai

Az kalam

they fulfill the following conditions: They have a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to the flight Passengers will be required to stay at the airport or in a government facility until a PCR test on arrival in Pakistan Mandatory home quarantine for seven days Pakistan has so far reported 482,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Of them, 437,000 patients have recovered. The virus has claimed 10,176 lives in the country.

Syed Fayyaz Hussain Shah

Virgin Atlantic has now commenced flights to demic. The UK is the largest export market for Islamabad Pakistan, marking the first time Vir- Pakistan in Europe, transporting high volumes of gin has flown in the country. Flights will depart goods such as textiles, apparel and machinery. from London Heathrow airport, Manchester and north America, going to Islamabad. The UK has the largest Pakistani expatriate community in the world with around 1.6 million people. 18 months ago no British airlines were flying into Pakistan and today there are over 20 direct flights a week. This is a sign or real confidence in Pakistan hoping to boost tourism and business ties between Pakistan and the UK. The Virgin flights are the first route launched since the Covid-19 pan-

DIRTY MONEY CONTINUES TO FLOW FROM PAKISTAN TO UK A British government report reveals that dirty money continues to flow unhindered from Pakistan into the UK and vice versa. The latest “National risk assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing 2020” report says “corrupt foreign elites continue to be attracted to the UK property market, especially in London, to disguise their corruption proceeds”. The report, put together by the Treasury and Home Office, has named Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Russia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the hotspot c o u n tries from where the most flow of money takes place. The report findings suggest that the illicit flow of money both ways between the two countries has held on well without any obstacles. About Pakistan, the report said the UK continues to have close economic links to Pakistan, including significant remittance flows between both jurisdictions, which according to estimates equated to approximately $1.7 billion in 2017. The report notes that these economic and cultural ties “also enable and disguise illicit funds to be transferred be-


tween the UK and Pakistan, including through illegal informal value transfers”. The report said that elements from Pakistan are buying high value assets in the UK and elements from the UK are buying high value assets in Pakistan, using cash and dirty money. The report said: “Criminals continue to purchase high value assets, such as real estate, precious gems and jewellery to

launder illicit funds which are transferred from Pakistan to the UK and vice versa. This includes proceeds from corruption and drug-trafficking. The risk from cashbased money laundering from the UK to Pakistan via smuggled cash and Money Service Business (MSBs) also persists.” Joint operations between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Pakistani au-

thorities to tackle illicit finance threats have benefitted from good levels of cooperation. For example, in December 2019, the NCA negotiated a settlement with a Pakistani national to return funds and property valued at approximately £190 million to Pakistan. This success would not have been possible without the close cooperation between UK and Pakistan law enforcement agencies. The report says serious and organised crime undermines the legitimacy and authority of the state and poses a fundamental threat to the c o u n t r y ’s future security. Organized crimes, said the report, cost the UK economy an estimated £37 billion per year. The report says money launderers from Russia exploited the UK’s company setup system and professional services to buy expensive properties. The UAE is an attractive location for those who also wish to launder the proceeds of crime from abroad and these deficiencies expose the UAE, and other countries, to abuse by international controller networks which continue to launder the proceeds of crime to and from countries including the UK.

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PAKISTAN GOVT TO REVOKE NAWAZ SHARIF’S PASSPORT Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has announced that the government will not renew the passport of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in London in connection with his treatment. The ex Prime Ministers current passport is due for renewal on February 16 2021. Adviser to Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said Nawaz's stay in London will become illegal after his passport expires. The only option for the PML-N supremo, after his passport expires, would be to come back to Pakistan and appear in court to face the cases against him, Awan said. While several ministers have made statements, it’s understood that Prime Minister Imran Khan will make a final decision on this matter in a few days. There are several options for the former premier to continue living in London even when his passport has expired, cancelled or revoked by the Pakistan government. He can continue staying in London when and if his passport is cancelled – without claiming asylum. The UK Home Office in any event allows those on medical visas normally up to 18 months on the

grounds that he is receiving treatment in the UK. He can also potentially extend this even further depending on the nature of the treatment and with the current global pandemic the UK immigration authorities can also take this into consideration and grant further extensions of stay if necessary. Mr Sharif could claim asylum potentially if he

wants to, although it is unlikely that he would do so. He has the ability to claim statelessness (assuming he has no other nationality) if his citizenship has been revoked and he is left with no other nationality. The Pakistan government, however, may simply refuse to renew Nawaz's passport rather than revoke his citizenship. In this type of situation, it

would be for Nawaz to prove to the Home Office that his citizenship has effectively been revoked. Another option for Nawaz is to apply for formal residence - from within the UK - in a new visa category either as an investor or any other business/ employment option. When you make such an application there is usually a check if there are any other criminal cases anywhere in the world. This may create issues for Nawaz, but the UK authorities can use their discretion in such situations and generally, as long as Nawaz has a clean record in the UK, there are several options for him. The UK has not entered into a formal extradition treaty with Pakistan so in terms of any potential extradition it will come down to the political will of those involved. The ex PM was granted an eight-week bail on medical grounds in October 2019 and a month later he was allowed to travel abroad for treatment for four weeks. The Pakistan government maintains that Nawaz was permitted on the condition he would share details of his treatment, which he did not do.

INDIAN NEWS CHANNEL FINED IN UK FOR HATE SPEECH ABOUT PAKISTAN er Arnab Goswami hosting agOfcom imposes £20,000 penalty on gressive current affairs debates, Republic TV for ‘highly pejorative’ which regularly air rightwing comments on talk show and Islamophobic opinions while A rightwing Indian news channel pointing and shouting at viewers known for its strong pro-governdown the camera. It is known for ment stance and firebrand host has its fierce allegiance to the ruling been fined by the UK regulator OfHindu nationalist Bharatiya Jacom for broadcasting hate speech nata party (BJP) and the prime about Pakistan. minister, Narendra Modi. Republic TV was fined £20,000 for Ofcom said it had received mulairing a segment on its UK service, tiple complaints from viewers for which conveyed the view that all Pathe “highly pejorative references kistani people are terrorists, includto members of the Pakistani coming “their scientists, doctors, their munity (eg continually referring leaders, politicians […] Even their to them as ‘filthy’)” on Goswami’s sports people”. show. The primetime show Poochta Hai Ofcom found that statements Bharat aired on 6 September 2019 the network has now been banned from airing made during a 35-minute discussion between on the Hindi-language version of the channel, Rethe show in the UK again. Goswami and guests included the description public Bharat. The channel was licensed to broadRepublic TV is one of the most widely watched of Pakistani scientists as “thieves” and Pakistani cast in the UK by Worldview Media Network but channels in India, with news anchor and found-

MUFTI MUNEEB-UR-REHMAN REMOVED AS CHAIRMAN OF THE RUET-E-HILAL COMMITTEE Mufti Muneeb has been replaced by Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Azad was until now the Khateeb of Lahore’s famous Badshahi Mosque in Pakistan. The development comes as part of a major reshuffle in the 19-member committee. Representatives of the Suparco, Science and Technology Ministry and the Met Office have been inducted in the committee too. Rehman has headed the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee for a long time. The committee has had the final word regarding announcement of the start or end of Islamic months, which specifies dates for major festivals such as Eidul Fitr and Eidul Azha. However, it has often stirred controversy over


the announcement of moon sighting. The Rehman-led committee had been at loggerheads with Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry over the issue. The minister had repeatedly called for the dissolution of the committee. In May, he even announced that his ministry would make an Islamic calendar with Eid, Ramazan and Muharram dates pre-decided.

people as “beggars”. The topic of discussion was India’s recent Chandrayaan-2 mission into space but instead shifted towards the country’s alleged superiority to its neighbour and longtime adversary Pakistan. The regulator said the show failed to comply with UK broadcasting rules as it had “spread, incited, promoted and justified such intolerance towards Pakistani people among viewers”. This is the third time Ofcom has found Republic Bharat in breach of its broadcasting code, after previously reprimanding the channel for broadcasting graphically violent footage and for airing “uncontextualised hate speech and abusive and derogatory treatment of groups”. However, this was the first time Ofcom had issued a fine. In response to the investigation, Republic TV had said the show did not feature hate speech but instead included “figures of speech not intended to be taken literally, which Asian viewers would have understood clearly”.

PAKISTAN WANTS TO ELIMINATE HUNGER FROM COUNTRY Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz has said that the Ehsaas Programme is a very successful development of PTI government to take care of downtrodden segments of society and to feed the helpless and poor people. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed the resolve to eliminate hunger from the country by extending support to the deserving people through Ehsas Program. Imran Khan is committed that nobody across Pakistan should be left hungry as welfare of backward segments of society is one of his top priorities. Launched on March 27, 2019, the objective of Ehsaas is to reduce inequality, invest in people,

and lift lagging districts. Ehsaas is about the creation of a ‘welfare state’ by countering elite capture and leveraging 21st century tools—such as using data and technology to create precision safety nets; promoting financial inclusion and access to digital services; supporting the economic empowerment of women.

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WHEN WILL YOU BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE COVID VACCINE? The NHS has begun the biggest mass vaccination campaign in its history, with a jab that protects against Covid-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be safe and effective by the UK medicines regulator and has been approved for mass use in over-16s. Two other vaccines - developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna - could also be approved soon and ready for widespread use. Broadly, vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine highpriority groups, covering about a quarter of the UK population. They are thought to represent 9099% of those at risk of dying from Covid-19. - Residents in care homes for older adults and their carers - 80-year-olds and over and frontline health and social care workers - 75-year-olds and over - 70-year-olds and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals - 65-year-olds and over - 16 to 64-year-olds with serious underlying health conditions - 60-year-olds and over - 55-year-olds and over - 50-year-olds and over People aged over 80 in hospital, frontline health staff and care home workers have been the first to get the jab at 70 designated hospitals hubs across the UK. Vaccination has now begun in care homes, which the government announced on 23 December. This follows assessment of how smaller batches of the vaccine could be transported safely at ultra-cold temperatures of -70C. People will be vaccinated twice - around 21 days apart and full immunity starts seven days after the second dose. The second phase of vaccination will focus on the rest of the population, mainly the under-50s, who are much less likely to be ill with

Covid-19. Teachers, transport workers and the military could prioritised at that point, but more data on how well the vaccines are working will be needed before that decision is made. It could be well into 2021 before this phase begins, by which time more Covid vaccines could be approved for use. The UK is initially expecting delivery of 800,000 doses - enough for 400,000 people - which will be shared out fairly across the four UK nations. Although the UK was planning to have 10 million doses of the Pfizer jab before the end of the year, it is likely to receive just four million enough for two million people. The British-made Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is also expected to be approved by the UK regulator soon, and millions more doses of that could be made available quickly because it can be stored at normal fridge temperatures.

You'll be invited to book an appointment to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by letter. Vaccinations will take place: - in hospital hubs - about 70 have been set up across the UK so far - in care homes, when the logistics are confirmed - in thousands of GP surgeries as stocks become available - in sports stadiums and conference centres acting as major vaccination hubs next year The NHS is recruiting 30,000 volunteers to help with the rollout, including lifeguards, airline staff and students - who will be trained to give the jabs. About 200 GP surgeries will offer vaccinations to the over-80s first. The programme will then be expanded out to more than 1,000 surgeries - with each local area having a designated site. The eventual aim is that as many people as possible

over the age of 16 receive a Covid-19 vaccine. It won't be compulsory though - no other vaccines in the UK are - as experts say this wouldn't help create confidence in the vaccine. The government has so far ordered seven different types of vaccine and expects to receive 355 million doses, including 100 million of the OxfordAstraZeneca one. If everyone needs two doses, that would certainly be enough for every adult in the UK. Anyone who has previously had a significant allergic reaction to a medicine, food or another vaccine should not have the Pfizer-BioNTech jab. This means, for example, anyone who carries an adrenaline pen. The UK regulator issued the advice after two NHS workers who got the jab on the first day of UK roll-out had allergic reactions soon after getting their initial dose. They received treatment quickly and are recovering well. A severe allergic reaction - known as anaphylaxis - is a very rare side-effect with any vaccine, but it can happen in those at risk. Most people, however, will not be affected in any way. The MHRA says anyone due to receive their vaccine should discuss any medical history of serious allergies with their healthcare professional beforehand. If you are planning to get pregnant in the next three months, you should also delay your vaccination. This is because the vaccine was not tested on pregnant women during the trials - not because of any safety concerns with the vaccine. Pregnant women are likely to be low down the list of priority groups anyway because of their age, and may only be offered a vaccine in the second phase in 2021. This vaccine is being rolled out free to people via the NHS. You can't jump the queue by paying for it, but there should be plenty of vaccine to go round.

ARTHRITIS – THE MOST COMMON TYPES AND WHO’S AT RISK FOR EACH If you’ve been feeling extra stiff lately, you may wonder if you have arthritis – a condition in which one or more of your joints is inflamed. Many people experience some type of arthritis, but there are actually more than 100 joint-related conditions that may fall under this general umbrella. While some types of arthritis can be genetic, other risk factors for developing arthritis include age, gender (women are more likely to have certain types of arthritis, while men are more likely to have others), a previous joint injury, and obesity. Here are the three most common forms of arthritis, how to tell the difference, and the ways health-care providers will treat it. Osteoarthritis Also known as "wear and tear" arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes cartilage – the tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint – to break down to the point at which bone grinds against bone, leading to pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis generally appears in the knees, hips, feet and spine, and can either evolve over many years or be prompted by an injury or infection. People who have osteoarthritis experience pain, decreased range of motion, aches, pain when walking, and a feeling of stiffness that sets in after you’ve rested. Sometimes, joints like the knees even emit creaky sounds when bent. With this form of arthritis, symptoms typically come and go. Osteoarthritis joint pain is worse in the morning, and improves with activity as the day goes on. If you have osteoarthritis, your healthcare provider will want you to manage your weight and stay active, which can help support and maintain the structures around the joint. Physical therapy can also be helpful in teaching exercises that will help keep the muscle around that arthritic joint


strong. If it’s your knee that’s painful, for example, you will want to be sure your quad and hamstring muscles are healthy and strong and that you have flexibility in those muscles so that the tendons and ligaments can work. In addition, patients often take anti-inflammatory medications (such as over-the-counter pain relievers) to ease symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis This common form of arthritis is actually an autoimmune disorder. That means that the body’s immune system is targeting the lining of the joints – which, in turn, prompts inflammation in the part of the joint that protects and lubricates. Once it becomes inflamed, pain and swelling occur. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes joint pain and swelling, especially in the knuckles, heels, or el-

bows. It also causes skin lumps, known as rheumatoid nodules, and stiffness that can last for hours or days. After a diagnosis of RA, people may be prescribed oral medications or injections to manage their symptoms. These drugs can include corticosteroids (such as prednisone), DMARDs (an acronym for disease-modifying anti rheumatic drugs), and biologic injections to control the inflammation. Doctors recommend powerful anti-inflammatories that work to change the inflammation pathways. But one caution is that these medications carry a risk of lowering your immunity, so patients have to be particularly vigilant about infections and may need to stop medications if they become ill. Psoriatic arthritis While the cause of psoriatic arthritis is not entirely clear, experts do know that it’s also an autoimmune disease that manifests in similar ways

to rheumatic arthritis. The main difference is that when you have psoriatic arthritis, the skin can be involved, as well. Between five per cent and 20 per cent of psoriasis patients will also have psoriatic arthritis. Some patients can have it with a lot of skin disease, where the body is very covered in rashes, while others have more joint symptoms and no active skin disease. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include pain, swelling, redness in the joints (especially in the hands), nail changes, fatigue, eye problems, skin rashes, and swelling and tenderness in fingers and feet. To control inflammation, psoriatic arthritis patients will take similar medications as those who have RA. These include NSAIDs, DMARDs, biologics, as well as new oral treatments. Other forms of arthritis While osteoarthritis, RA, and psoriatic arthritis tend to be the most common forms of arthritis, there’s a long list of other types of arthritis. These include bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, gout, Raynaud’s phenomenon, and ankylosing spondylitis. Other conditions – such as Lyme disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory bowel disease – can also include arthritis as one component of a more complex illness. Arthritis usually occurs in adults, and advanced age is a risk factor for many different types. But children can also get a rare type of arthritis known as childhood or juvenile arthritis. Because inflammation of the joints can be caused by so many different conditions, it’s important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing pain and stiffness. A primary-care physician is a good first step, or you may be referred to a rheumatologist who can help diagnose and treat your specific joint problems.

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Royal Family Spending In 2017 The British royal family made more money in the financial year that ended on March 31, documents revealed. The two sets of documents provided new insights into how the royal family earned, distributed and spent its money, One of the official reports, which covers the finances of Prince Charles, shows the budget category that includes funding for William, Kate and Harry increased roughly 40% to £5 million. In recent years, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, have increased spending in the category at more modest rates of up to 10 per cent. Charles and Camilla rely on a mix of public and private money to finance their


work and lives. Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle on May 19 has sparked huge public interest in their finances, but the royal family and British government have declined to give details about their wedding spending. The reports also cover the Sovereign Grant, which is the Queen’s main source of income. The Queen received £76.1 million free of tax from the Sovereign Grant in the year ended March, a 78% increase from the previous year that will help finance an extensive 10-year renovation of Buckingham Palace. She will get another 8% boost in the current financial year.

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