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Waiting List » Covid in Scotland: Level three move expected for north east councils » Yesterday 11:41 pm

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Covid in Scotland: Level three move expected for north east councils

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are expected to move to level three when Scotland's Covid-19 alert levels are

Public health officials recommended the move following an increase in cases across NHS Grampian.

The first minister has stressed that the 11 areas under level four - the harshest restrictions - will remain there
until 11 December.

Each local authority's position in the five-level system of measures is reviewed every Tuesday.

When levels largely remained unchanged last week, Nicola Sturgeon said the government must follow
a "cautious approach".

Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, told BBC Scotland he was informed that Aberdeen city
and Aberdeenshire could be moved to level three during a meeting with Deputy First
Minister John Swinney.

He said he had defended the city's current level two position and hoped this would be considered ahead
of a final decision being made on Tuesday.

A move to level three would be "devastating" for businesses and bring "economic harm" to the area,
he added.

It comes after an investigation was launched into Covid cases linked to an Aberdeenshire food plant.

On Monday it was revealed that a further 37 people across the NHS Grampian area had tested positive
for coronavirus over 24 hours.

There are currently 54 patients in north east hospitals - six of them are in intensive care.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "At this point no decision has been made about the review."

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Waiting List » When Is the Earliest Tax Rates Could Change Under Biden? » Yesterday 12:07 am

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When Is the Earliest Tax Rates Could Change Under Biden?,png

[size=125]The best way to sum up President-elect Joe Biden's tax plan would be to say he wants to raise taxes
on high-income households and corporations. And he would do this in a few ways. Here are some
of the most important parts of Biden's tax plan for Americans to know

- Increase the corporate tax rate -- President Trump's tax plan lowered the corporate tax rate from
35% to 21%. While Biden generally agrees 35% was too high, he wants to raise it to 28%.

- Increase taxes on high earners -- Biden would restore the 39.6% top marginal tax rate that was
in effect prior to the 2018 tax year.

- Phase out the pass-through deduction -- Biden would phase out the 20% Qualified Business
Income (QBI) deduction for taxpayers earning $400,000 or more.

- Increase capital gains tax on high earners -- Currently, capital gains get lower tax rates than
ordinary income, but Biden would change this for taxpayers earning more than $1 million.

- Increase Social Security taxes -- Biden would increase revenue to Social Security by imposing
the 12.4% payroll tax (half of which is paid by the taxpayer) on all income above $400,000
in addition to the current structure of the tax.

It's worth noting that Biden doesn't just want to increase taxes. For many people outside of the top
income brackets, taxes could go down if Biden gets his way. Specifically:

- Biden wants to increase the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per qualifying child from the current
$2,000 level and add a $600 bonus credit for children under six.

- Biden wants to significantly increase the child and dependent care credit to a maximum value of
$8,000 -- nearly four times the current $2,100 maximum.

When could Biden's changes happen and when is it most likely?
Here's an important point to know. The time when Biden's proposed

Waiting List » India farmers allowed to protest in Delhi after clashes » 11/29/2020 12:40 am

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India farmers allowed to protest in Delhi after clashes

[size=125]Farmers from India's Punjab state have begun entering Delhi to protest reforms they say are against their

Thousands of them marched to Delhi, where barricades at the border led to clashes with police.

But they are now being escorted by the police to a protest site where they say they will continue demonstrating.

The government denies that the reforms, which open the farming sector to private players, will hurt

"Protesting farmers will be allowed to enter the national capital," the Delhi Police Commissioner told local
media, adding that they will be allowed to protest and urged them do so peacefully.

The farmers have been marching to the capital since early this week. Two farmers associations put out
a statement on Friday saying that they expect 50,000 farmers to reach the Delhi border from the neighbouring
state of Haryana. Local media reports say drone cameras have been deployed for security surveillance at
the Delhi-Haryana border.

The farmers are desperate to enter Delhi, says BBC Hindi's Dilnawaz Pasha, who is with a group of farmers near
the border.

"They are travelling with trolleys full of rice and grains and are cooking their own food. They say they're
ready for a long battle."

Photos and videos show dramatic visuals of the farmers clashing with police, who have used tear gas and
water cannons to stop them.

Media reports say that the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged the federal government to
defuse the tension at the border.

Farmers defied barricades to enter Haryana state on Thursday, despite police trying to stop them with
water cannons.

Thousands of them, including some on tractors, clashed with Haryana police. At one point, photos showed
protesting farmers allegedly throwing barricades off a bridge in Haryana after

Waiting List » Paris police officers suspended over beating of black music producer » 11/27/2020 4:26 am

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Paris police officers suspended over beating of black music producer

[size=125]French authorities have suspended three police officers after they were seen on video beating up a black music
producer in central Paris.

The incident on Saturday has prompted a fresh outcry over the conduct of French security forces.

On Monday police were accused of using unnecessary force as they dismantled a makeshift migrant camp
in Paris.

The incidents come as the government tries to bring in laws banning the broadcast of police officers' faces.

Critics of the legislation say that without such images, none of the incidents which took place over the past week
would have come to light.

On Thursday, French football star Kylian Mbappe, who is black, joined national teammates and fellow athletes in
condemning the latest incident.

"Unbearable video, unacceptable violence. Say no to racism," he wrote on Twitter next to a picture of
the bloodied face of the injured producer, who has been named only as Michel.

The security camera video was published on Thursday by the online news site Loopsider. It shows three officers
kicking, punching and using their truncheons on the man after he entered his studio. Loopsider said he had
initially been stopped for not wearing a mask.

Michel said that he was also subjected to racist abuse during the five minute beating.

He was detained and charged with violence and resisting arrest, but prosecutors threw the charges out and
instead opened an investigation against the officers.

As he arrived at police headquarters on Thursday with his lawyer to file a complaint, Michel told reporters:
"People who should have been protecting me attacked me. I did nothing to deserve this. I just want these
three people to be punished according to the law."

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Applications » Covid: Seven things that may be different this Christmas » 11/26/2020 12:30 am

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Covid: Seven things that may be different this Christmas

[size=125]The four UK governments have announced their plans to enable families to celebrate Christmas together.

So how is the festive period likely to be different this year?

1. Christmas bubbles announced
The governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed a common approach allowing
up to three households to form a Christmas bubble and meet up from 23 to 27 December
(22 to 28 December in Northern Ireland).

People can mix in homes, places of worship and outdoor spaces, and travel restrictions will also be eased.

2. Smaller turkeys on the table
Fears that a lack of skilled overseas workers on poultry farms could hit the supply of turkeys have been
overcome after travel rules were relaxed so they could travel to the UK.

But many people are buying smaller turkeys than usual because they are likely to have fewer guests.

3. Work parties set for Zoom
This year's work celebrations seem certain to take place on Zoom and other online platforms.

Rules on big groups meeting up in pubs or anywhere outdoors are very unlikely to be eased in December,
so seeing friends for a pre-Christmas drink or meal will probably not be allowed.

4. Midnight Mass chances unknown
At the moment, it is not known what will happen about traditional Christmas religious services like
midnight Mass.

From 2 December in England, places of worship will reopen for communal prayer.

Up to 50 people can attend indoor services in Scotland in levels zero to three areas, but only up to 20 in
level four places.

5. Online shopping surge expected
While in-person shopping in non-food shops can currently happen in all of the UK except England, online
retailers are expecting a big surge in demand this year.

In September, shoppers were warned by

Applications » Spending Review: Covid Universal Credit top-up 'should be extended' » 11/25/2020 12:35 am

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Spending Review: Covid Universal Credit top-up 'should be extended'

[size=125]"At the moment we're not able to budget for Christmas or anything because we had to buy more all year round."

Kirsty Clayton, 24, from Milford Haven, is one of the 112,700 people in Wales out of work and on Universal
Credit - almost double the 57,400 last October.

Like other claimants, mother-of-three Ms Clayton has received a £20-a-week top up during the pandemic.

But that is due to end in March and there are calls for it to be extended in the chancellor's Spending Review.

Neither Ms Clayton nor her partner are currently employed, and they are struggling to bring up three
children aged two, one and three months.

She said she has had to buy three sizes of nappies and because she has had to buy more from local shops
since the start of the pandemic, they are £4 more expensive per pack than supermarkets' own-brand

Ms Clayton has been helped with parcels from Patch, a Pembrokeshire charity which donates food,
gifts and toys at Christmas, and said she would "struggle quite a bit" if the extra £20 a week comes
to an end as planned in March.

She explained: "It's taken its toll on me. I've been depressed as well - post-natal depression -
it's been really hard."

There are calls, including from within his own party, for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the payment
beyond March when he announces his annual Spending Review later.

Like other charities in Wales, Patch has experienced a large increase in the numbers of people it is

The charity, which gives food parcels with five days' worth of food to those in need, has handed out
70% more meals this year than it did last year.

Between January and the end of September, it provided 78,435 meals compared with 46,080 meals
during the same period in 2019.

Here there are also many interesting news that can

Applications » Covid: World's poorest must not be 'trampled' in vaccine race - WHO » 11/23/2020 11:33 pm

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Covid: World's poorest must not be 'trampled' in vaccine race - WHO

[size=125]The world's poorest and most vulnerable must not be "trampled in the stampede" for Covid-19 vaccines,
the head of the World Health Organization has warned.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said successful vaccines must be distributed equitably and that $4.3bn
(£3.2bn) was needed to help fund a sharing scheme.

He said the question was "not whether the world can afford to share... it's whether it can afford not to".

Four vaccines have now reported good results from late-stage trials.

The latest to prove highly effective at stopping people developing Covid-19 symptoms, developed by
Oxford University and AstraZeneca, is much cheaper to produce than two others recently announced,
and could have a bigger impact worldwide.

The Oxford jab, which researchers say could offer up to 90% protection, is also easier to store and
transport than both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and would be supplied at cost price to
developing countries.

Another Covid vaccine developed in Russia, Sputnik V, has reported good preliminary data from phase
three trials.

What did Tedros say about vaccine progress?
Speaking at a virtual news conference on Monday, Dr Tedros said the promising results from vaccine
trials meant that "the light at the end of this long dark tunnel is growing brighter".

"The significance of this scientific achievement cannot be overstated," he said, adding: "No vaccines
in history have been developed as rapidly as these."

He said that vaccines, in combination with other tried and tested public health measures, would help to
"end the pandemic".

How does the WHO want to help poor nations?
Dr Tedros urged more countries to join a landmark global vaccine sharing scheme that the WHO helped
to create known as Covax, which he said 187 countries had si

Applications » Covid-19: Christmas get-together plan backed by UK nations » 11/23/2020 12:09 am

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Covid-19: Christmas get-together plan backed by UK nations

The UK's four nations have backed plans to allow some household mixing "for a small number of days" over

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to unveil on Monday a tougher three-tiered system for England - to be
introduced at the end of the current lockdown on 2 December.

The 10pm closing time for pubs and restaurants will also be relaxed.

Work to finalise the arrangements for a UK-wide approach to restrictions this Christmas is ongoing.

One option that was discussed in meetings this weekend was that three households could be allowed to meet
up for up to five days, according to the BBC's deputy political editor Vicki Young.

Mr Johnson will detail the strengthened tiered system in a statement to the House of Commons on Monday,
and every region of England will be told on Thursday which tier they will be put into after the lockdown ends.

Gyms and non-essential retail are expected to be allowed to re-open in all areas under the new plans.

Last orders in pubs and restaurants will remain at 10pm, but customers will have an extra hour to drink up.

The PM had also been hoping to announce arrangements for the Christmas period on Monday, but this
has been delayed until at least Tuesday to allow the Scottish and Welsh cabinets to agree the plans.

The Cabinet Office said ministers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had endorsed
a "shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days".

But they have emphasised that the public will be advised to "remain cautious", and that "wherever possible
people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact".

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Applications » The local news site behind fake Biden ‘mafia plot’ » 11/21/2020 11:54 pm

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The local news site behind fake Biden ‘mafia plot’

[size=125]A local news website spread false claims that a mafia boss was paid to forge 300,000 votes for Joe Biden -
but it's not the first time that the site has published supposed scoops that weren't true.

The most recent story appeared this week in the Buffalo Chronicle, based in the city in western New York State.

Despite the site's local focus, it claimed to have inside information into election wrongdoing
in Philadelphia - a much larger city, nearly 400 miles away and in an entirely different state.

The story claimed that reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joe Merlino - aka "Skinny Joey" - was paid $3m
(£2.25m) to "steal the election" in Pennsylvania by dumping boxes of counterfeit ballots marked for
Joe Biden at a counting centre. It cites "associates" of Mr Merlino and anonymous sources.

Election officials in Philadelphia have dismissed the story as "fiction", fact-checking website Lead Stories reports.

The story goes on to say that Mr Merlino might now be ready to "flip on Biden", exposing the alleged scam
to hand Donald Trump victory in the battleground state in exchange for a presidential pardon.

Provisional election results show Mr Biden ahead by 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania.

Skinny Joey is real, even if the story is not. Mr Merlino is currently on supervised release in Florida after
he accepted a plea deal on a racketeering charge in 2018.

"My client categorically denies all the allegations and Joey would rather die than ever be a snitch,"
said his lawyer John Meringolo, in a statement reported by US media.

Despite the denials and lack of evidence, the Buffalo Chronicle's publisher tells the BBC that he stands
by the story.

By some estimates, the story reached millions of potential readers. So how has a local news website
with a history of unsubstantiated claims m

Applications » The judge who stood up to Pakistan's military » 11/20/2020 12:24 am

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The judge who stood up to Pakistan's military

[size=125]Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, who has died after contracting coronavirus, was an outspoken judge of a kind rarely
seen in Pakistan and an unlikely source of opposition to the powerful military.

Tributes described him as bold, fearless and independent. He was 59.

As chief justice of Peshawar High Court (PHC), he passed judgments that angered both the military and
the government - including a death sentence on exiled former ruler General Pervez Musharraf that made
headlines around the world.

He also challenged the establishment on human rights abuses, striking down a law under which the military
ran secret internment centres, and acquitting dozens of people convicted under anti-terrorism laws for
lack of evidence.

Justice Seth's death is being seen as a major setback in a country where the military has been expanding
its influence again in recent years.

Lawyers around the country have been in mourning since his death in an Islamabad hospital
on 13 November.

The secretary-general of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Haris Khalique,
called his death a "great blow to a judiciary struggling to be independent in Pakistan's quasi

Mr Khalique told the BBC that Justice Seth represented the tradition of "conscientious and fearless judges…
who unfortunately always remained in a minority".

Former senator Afrasiab Khatak said in a tweet that Justice Seth's stature was raised not just by the list
of his remarkable judgments, "but also the oppressive conditions that required courage for writing such

Supreme Court Bar Association president Abdul Latif Afridi described him as "a courageous and
uncompromising" person who didn't shy away from a fight with the military.

"And he paid a personal price," Mr Afridi told Dawn newspaper, recalling that the

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