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The Guardian

Rishi Sunak defends budget amid claim it will plunge 500,000 more people into poverty – politics live (Thu, 04 Mar 2021)
IFS head questions whether government will really spend £16bn less on public services than it was planning pre-pandemic amid budget criticism IFS criticises ‘remarkable’ move not to phase out universal credit uplift Analysis: was there a cut to NHS frontline services buried in the budget? Sunak’s £1bn of ‘town deals’ will nearly all go to Tory constituencies Budget calculator 2021: what does it mean for me? Coronavirus – latest global updates 2.16pm GMT At the regular No 10 lobby briefing Downing Street rejected the claim by Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, that the EU could no longer trust the UK because of London’s decision to delay the full implementation of the Northern Irish protocol. (See 11.42am.) Asked about the comment, the prime minister’s spokesman said: Obviously we wouldn’t accept that characterisation. We have worked closely with the EU throughout the Brexit period, not just in terms of the Northern Ireland protocol but with regards to the TCA [trade and co-operation agreement] that we agreed at Christmas time. We notified the European Commission at official level earlier this week. We also informed the Irish government earlier this week and then Lord Frost last night in his call to [European Commission vice-president Maros] Sefcovic obviously discussed this at length and set out the rationale and the reasons for it. 2.12pm GMT Nicola Sturgeon has said she will “get on with the job” of steering Scotland out of the coronavirus pandemic, as she accusing opposition parties of pre-judging the outcome of inquiries into her and her government’s conduct over the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Alex Salmond. During angry exchanges at first minister’s questions today, Sturgeon told Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson: I’m going to get on with the job that I suspect most people watching at home right now want me to get on with, which is leading this country through and out of a pandemic. I answered questions for eight hours yesterday, I answered every question that was put to me and I intend to rest on that to allow both the committee and the inquiry into the ministerial code to conclude their work. Continue reading...
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EU postpones setting date for ratifying Brexit trade deal (Thu, 04 Mar 2021)
Move follows Boris Johnson being accused of breaking international law for second time over Northern Ireland The European parliament has postponed setting a date for ratifying the trade and security deal with Britain after Boris Johnson was accused of breaking international law for a second time over Northern Ireland. The chamber’s political groups agreed on Thursday to wait in light of the latest row with Downing Street, with some senior MEPs warning that the Christmas Eve deal will not be passed at all if the UK goes ahead with its plans. Continue reading...
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Coronavirus live: Germany and Sweden approve AstraZeneca vaccine for over-65s; 40% of English over-80s break rules after jab (Thu, 04 Mar 2021)
Sweden follows Germany in recommending Oxford vaccine for over-65s; one-in-four over-80s in England meeting others after first dose German authorities say over-65s should get AstraZeneca jab Vaccines tweaked for Covid variants ‘will be fast-tracked safely’ Mandatory jabs for NHS staff could be discriminatory, top doctor says Interpol: fake vaccines seized in China and South Africa ‘tip of iceberg’ See all our coronavirus coverage 2.31pm GMT Hello, I am covering the live blog while my colleague takes a break. Please email or get in touch to share any news tips or comments with me. Thanks so much Twitter: @sloumarsh Instagram: sarah_marsh_journalist Email: sarah.marsh@theguardian.com 2.30pm GMT The majority of global Covid-19 deaths have been in countries where many people are obese, with coronavirus fatality rates 10 times higher in nations where at least 50% of adults are overweight, a global study found. The report, which described a “dramatic” correlation between countries’ Covid-19 death and obesity rates, found that 90% or 2.2 million of the 2.5 million deaths from the pandemic disease so far were in countries with high levels of obesity. The study analysed the death figures from Johns Hopkins University in the United States and the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory data on obesity. Strikingly, the authors said, there is no example of a country where people are generally not overweight or obese having high COVID-19 death rates. “Look at countries like Japan and South Korea, where they have very low levels of COVID-19 deaths as well as very low levels of adult obesity,” said Tim Lobstein, an expert advisor to the World Obesity Federation and visiting professor at Australia’s Sydney University who co-led the report. “They have prioritised public health across a range of measures, including population weight, and it has paid off in the pandemic.” Continue reading...
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