UK travel industry calls for urgent government action

Planes on the apron at London City Airport which has been closed after the discovery of an unexploded Second World War bomb.
Planes at London City Airport. Photo: PA

UK travel group ABTA said the government is not doing enough to support the sector, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

It criticised the government for “ever-changing quarantine rules and a dwindling number of destinations for holidaymakers to visit,” and demanded tailored support, including further grants.

ABTA said it is “vital that the Global Travel Taskforce launched this month to consider a testing regime, and other measures to support recovery of the travel industry, acts decisively and urgently to help increase consumer confidence and get the industry moving again.”

The taskforce was set up by the government and is meant to report to prime minister Boris Johnson no later than early November, setting out recommendations for how the UK can support the recovery of international travel.

According to new figures released by ABTA, only 15% of people took a foreign holiday

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Czech government closes bars, schools in what PM calls ‘one shot’ to curb COVID-19 surge

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech government ordered bars, restaurants and clubs closed from Wednesday and shifted schools to distance learning as it puts new measures in place to curb the fast spread of novel coronavirus cases.

The Czech Republic is experiencing the strongest surge in Europe when adjusted for population as the number of infections detected since the outbreak began has soared to nearly 120,000, from around 25,000 at the beginning of September.



a clock tower in front of a building: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Prague


© Reuters/DAVID W CERNY
The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Prague


Hospitals are starting to feel that strain as the number of patients have doubled since the start of October to over 2,000.

The government has been seeking to avoid repeating the strict lockdowns imposed in the spring, which sent the economy into a record contraction. The summer saw a relaxation of restrictions after the country came through the first wave of the pandemic with

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MPs reject calls by campaigners to enshrine food safety in UK law

Farmers and food campaigners were defeated on Monday night in their attempts to enshrine high food safety and animal welfare practices in British law.



a tractor in front of a building: A demonstration by farmers outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the vote.


© Getty Images
A demonstration by farmers outside the Houses of Parliament ahead of the vote.

Several prominent backbench Tory MPs rebelled against the government to vote for amendments to the agriculture bill that would have given legal status to the standards, but the rebels were too few to overcome the government’s 80-seat majority and the key amendment fell by 332 votes to 279 after an often impassioned debate.

The government argued that giving current standards legal status was unnecessary as ministers had already committed to ensuring that UK food standards would be kept in any post-Brexit trade agreements. However, critics fear that the lack of a legally binding commitment in the agriculture bill will allow future imports of sub-standard food that will undercut British produce

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UK retail body steps up calls for government action on illegal pay

The UK’s largest retail trade body has stepped up its demands for urgent government action to end illegally low wages among garment workers in the UK, arguing that more than 10,000 people have been denied £27m in pay since July.

The British Retail Consortium and MP Lisa Cameron, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on textiles and fashion, have written to Priti Patel, home secretary, to repeat demands for the speedy introduction of a licensing scheme for UK-based textile manufacturers to safeguard factory workers’ pay.

It follows resurfaced reports of many garment workers being paid as little as £3.50 an hour, well below the national minimum wage of £8.72. The scandal has shaken fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, the largest buyer from Britain’s garment hub in Leicester, which is now scrambling to convince stakeholders it can clean up its supply chain after evidence of illegal work practices.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of

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Slovak COVID-19 infections keep rising, government calls troops to help

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Slovakia reported another daily record number of new coronavirus infections on Friday, prompting the government to call up hundreds of troops to help public health officials and warn of tighter restrictions on public life.

Some 1,184 newly infected people were identified on Thursday, the government said on Friday, bringing the total in the country of 5.5 million to 16,910. It has reported 57 deaths so far with 370 hospitalised as of Thursday.

“I am beginning to be concerned whether the measures adopted can be effective with such marked growth in the numbers of positive people,” Prime Minister Igor Matovic told a news conference.

Health Minister Marek Krajci said the “R” number estimating the speed of the spread of the infection was around 1.4, which translates to a doubling of new infections in a week.

The government has approved up to 1,500 troops to be available to help

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Florida high school student arrested after refusing to wear mask, lawyer calls it ‘government abuse’

A 16-year-old boy was arrested last month after refusing to wear a face mask at a Florida high school amid the coronavirus pandemic, a report said Tuesday.

The law firm of Jose Rivas, the family’s attorney, called the incident “government abuse” of a teen suffering from panic attacks, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

TEXAS TEACHER FIRED FOR REFUSING TO STOP WEARING ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ MASK: REPORT

“We will be seeking just and fair compensation for the illegal arrest … and the harm that this action caused him,” the law firm said in a statement.

The teen’s mother told the paper her son has an anxiety disorder. She said he was arrested after having gone to the school office for feeling panicky from having trouble breathing in the mask.

“Should they be arresting a 16-year-old child knowing he already has a medical condition?” Rivas told the paper.

The Winter Springs High School

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Labour MP calls for second national lockdown

Labour councillor Claudia Webbe speaks during a leadership campaign rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn at Ruach City Church in Kilburn, north London. (PA)
Labour councillor Claudia Webbe speaks during a leadership campaign rally in support of Jeremy Corbyn at Ruach City Church in Kilburn, north London. (PA)

A Labour MP has called for another national lockdown as coronavirus rates rose dramatically after an IT glitch caused 16,000 cases to go unreported.

Claudia Webbe, who was suspended from the Labour party last week after she was accused of sexual harassment tweeted: “Govt has lost total control of #COVID19. A national lockdown is needed. Extend both the eviction ban for renters & furlough scheme. Protect jobs & introduce a #WealthTax.”

Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has maintained that a second national lockdown would be a “government failure”.

Starmer said in September that a second lockdown would take an “immense toll on people’s physical and mental health and on the economy”, and accused the government of losing control of the testing system.

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Coronavirus live news: global cases pass 35m as Walter Reed physician calls Trump drive ‘insanity’ | World news

US president Donald Trump has begun a fourth day at the military hospital where he is being treated for Covid-19, as his condition remained unclear and outside experts warned his case may be severe.

The president’s team is treating 74-year-old Trump with a steroid, dexmethasone, normally used only in the most severe cases.

His medical team told reporters on Sunday that Trump could return to the White House as early as Monday. Even if he does, he will need to continue treatment as the Republican president is still undergoing a five-day course of an intravenous antiviral drug, remdesivir.

The normal quarantine period for anyone testing positive for the coronavirus is 14 days.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday reiterated the hope that Trump would be released shortly from the hospital.

“He will meet with his doctors and nurses this morning to make further assessments of his

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Racecourse group steps up calls for UK government bailout of sports

The Jockey Club has stepped up calls for a UK government rescue of sports akin to the £1.5bn bailout for the arts industry.

Nevin Truesdale, group chief executive, said “we need the government to step in and provide direct support” for horseracing and the wider sporting community, citing the package for the arts announced in July. He pointed to the pandemic impact on revenues and the potential for widespread job losses without aid.

The government’s decision to halt plans to reopen stadiums this month has been met with frustration across British sport. Racecourse revenues have been hit hard by the absence of spectators at meetings, hurting their ability to continue providing race prize money.

Venue owners have urged the government to give greater clarity on when courses can reopen to spectators to help them navigate the crisis.

The Jockey Club said it now expected revenues lost from the pandemic

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New law calls for task force on addressing ‘the issues of justice and fairness’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that moves the Golden State one step closer to paying reparations to black Californians.

Assembly Bill 3121 calls for the creation of a 9-member task force that will make recommendations on whether compensation should be paid, the type of compensation that should be paid out, and who is eligible to receive compensation from the state.

The committee will also be charged with examining the effects slavery still has on the United States and recommending how California can make a formal apology “for the perpetration of gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity on African slaves and their descendants.”

California was admitted into the Union in 1850. In 1852, the state legislature instituted the Fugitive Slave Law, which decreed any enslaved person who had entered California before it became a state were not legally considered “free.”

“California has come to terms with

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