covid:-germany-rejects-us-backed-proposal-to-waive-vaccine-patents

Covid: Germany rejects US-backed proposal to waive vaccine patents

Germany has voiced opposition to a US-backed proposal to waive patents on Covid-19 vaccines, saying they were not hindering production of the jabs.

Its government said “the protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so”.

The European Union earlier said it was ready to talk about the proposal, and some states gave it their full backing.

Supporters of the plan say it would allow more manufactures to produce the life-saving vaccines.

They argue that this will increase access to jabs in poorer countries.

But opponents, including drug makers, say it may not have the desired effect.

The idea was originally proposed by India and South Africa, who have been leading a group of about 60 countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) – an intergovernmental body that promotes global commerce. The group is pushing for the temporary removal of intellectual property protections on vaccines.

The idea was met with strong opposition from the previous US administration of Donald Trump, as well as the UK and the EU.

But it gained momentum this week after the US backed it.

What have EU countries said?

In a statement on Thursday, the German government said the US-backed proposal would have “significant implications for vaccine production as a whole”.

“The limiting factors in the production of vaccines are the production capacities and the high quality standards and not patents,” it said, adding that pharmaceutical companies were already working with partners to ramp up manufacturing.

Germany is the EU’s biggest economic power and home to a major pharmaceutical sector, including BioNTech which developed one of the most widely-used coronavirus vaccines.

The remarks by the German government came after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc was “ready to discuss” the proposal on waiving patents.

Ms von der Leyen has previously spoken about her opposition to lifting intellectual property rights, telling the New York Times just weeks ago that she was “not at all a friend of releasing patents”.

image copyrightEPA

image captionUrsula von der Leyen said the EU was “ready to discuss any proposals that address the crisis in an effective and pragmatic manner”

Meanwhile, officials in other member states such as France and Italy gave the proposal their full backing.

The issue is reportedly set to be on the agenda at a two-day EU meeting this week.

Outside of the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he supported the idea of a waiver.

The UK government said it was “working with WTO members to resolve this issue” and was “in discussions with the US and WTO members to facilitate increased production and supply of Covid-19 vaccines”.

What exactly is intellectual property?

Intellectual property describes creations, such as inventions, which are protected by patents, copyrights and trademarks. These prevent copying and allow the originator to be financially rewarded.

Patents give innovating firms a short-term monopoly on production to cover the costs of development and encourage investment.

Biotech firms argue that such protection has provided incentives to produce Covid vaccines in record times.

What is the debate?

Many developing countries have argued that rules requiring countries to protect patents and other forms of intellectual property are an obstacle to increasing the production of vaccines and other products needed to tackle the pandemic.

Calls for a vaccine patent waiver come as lower income countries face acute vaccine shortages.

media captionHow to tell a Covid-19 vaccine sceptic the facts

But opponents, particularly from the industry, have said it will not solve the problem.

The head of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, Thomas Cueni, told the BBC’s Today programme he was “deeply concerned” that “you could compromise the quality and safety of vaccines which we see now”.

“It is shortages and scarcity in the supply chains, which need to be addressed. And it is also right now the disappointing unwillingness of rich countries to early share doses with the poor countries,” he said.

Some experts say pharmaceutical companies would also need to share know-how, such as production techniques, with poorer countries to have any real beneficial effect.

Nobody is protected until everyone’s protected: on that world and business leaders are agreed.

But pharmaceutical companies have called the decision by the US to back the sharing of secret recipes for vaccinations shortsighted, claiming it is understanding the production process that is the real challenge. It is, they say, akin to handing out a recipe without sharing the method or the ingredients, and could lead to quality issues and less efficient production

Instead, the UK and the EU have favoured a system of licensing, whereby knowhow is shared and there is more oversight. It is already being done on some cases on a voluntary basis – such as the tie up between Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India. And that licensing can be made compulsory, although the pharmaceutical companies could then be eligible for compensation.

Some trade specialists have speculated that the US might be hoping that, by backing a lifting of patents, manufacturers might be more open to sharing expertise voluntarily – or at least, for a reduced charge.

uk-ships-prepare-to-leave-jersey-after-dispute-over-fishing-rights

UK ships prepare to leave Jersey after dispute over fishing rights

By Joseph Lee

BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images

Two Royal Navy ships are preparing to return home after a protest by French fishermen over post-Brexit rights in Jersey’s territorial waters ended.

The UK government said “the situation is resolved for now” but “we remain on standby” to assist Jersey.

French fishermen say their rights are unfairly restricted by licences issued under the Channel Island’s new system.

Jersey’s External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said discussions with the French crews had been “positive”.

The UK said it had agreed with Jersey’s government that one of the Royal Navy offshore patrol vessels will return to its home port on Thursday night while the other will leave on Friday morning.

“We are pleased that French fishing boats have now left the vicinity of Jersey,” a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the UK supported Jersey in exercising its right to regulate fisheries in its waters, under the post-Brexit trade deal.

About 60 boats took part in a protest at St Helier, Jersey’s main port, prompting two Royal Navy ships and two French vessels to be sent to the area.

A spokesman for fishermen from France’s Normandy region suggested the situation was still in “deadlock”, however. Hugo Lehuby told Reuters news agency: “Either this gets resolved, or retaliatory measures are taken.”

And a European Commission spokeswoman said “additional conditions” attached to the new fishing licences were a breach of the Brexit trade deal.

A plan to get noticed

By Jean Mackenzie, BBC Europe correspondent, in Carteret port on the Normandy coast

As the boats pulled out of this harbour at 02:30 on Thursday morning, the fishermen were prepared for this 15-hour stand-off in the cold and rain.

This protest was their plan to get noticed and it worked.

Yes they are angry, but they are also shaken by these unexpected restrictions and worried about their livelihoods. Some fishermen have only been given permission to fish for a handful of days a year.

One fisherman, who catches half his whelks and lobsters along Jersey’s shores, told me if he can’t get full access to Jersey’s waters he will have to sell his boat and change his job.

When they returned to the French coast this evening, drenched and exhausted, they were surprisingly upbeat. Talks with Jersey’s government did not go well, they said, but they know they have been heard.

They are now hopeful their government and Brussels will step in to resolve the issue.

They feel their part is done, for now.

brazil:-at-least-25-killed-in-rio-de-janeiro-shootout

Brazil: At least 25 killed in Rio de Janeiro shootout

image copyrightAFP

image captionPolice launched the operation after receiving reports that drug traffickers were recruiting children for their gang

At least 25 people including a police officer have been killed in a shootout in Rio de Janeiro, according to local media.

The shootout took place during a police operation in a favela in the Jacarezinho area of the city.

Civil Police launched the operation after receiving reports that drug traffickers were recruiting children for their gang.

Two passengers on a metro train were hit by bullets but survived.

Police in the Brazilian city confirmed the death of one of their officers, Inspector Andre Leonardo de Mello Frias. A statement on Facebook said “he honoured the profession he loved and will be missed”.

Police Chief Ronaldo Oliveira told Reuters news agency that Thursday’s raid was “the largest number of deaths in a police operation in Rio”.

According to local news, the gang targeted in this raid engages in drug trafficking, mugging, murders and kidnappings.

Television images showed suspects trying to escape across rooftops as police entered the favela.

Meanwhile, residents of Jacarezinho have shared accounts of what they witnessed on social media.

One resident posted a photo of his blood-covered floor and said two people had died in his house as police chased the criminals. The man, who did not want to give his name, said he would try to move out of the area as soon as possible.

“We’re trying to sell the house as fast as possible, we can’t continue to live here,” he said.

Other residents said officers had seized their phones, accusing them of warning gang members of the raid.

image copyrightReuters

image captionRio de Janeiro is one of Brazil’s most violent states

Sociology professor Ignacio Cano from the Laboratory for the Analysis of Violence at Rio State University dismissed the reasons the police gave for the raid: “To say that drug traffickers recruit children and teenagers to deal drugs is almost laughable because everyone knows that these gangs have minors who work for them.

“To say that you’re going to launch a massive raid because you’ve discovered that traffickers recruit children is a joke.”

Rio de Janeiro is one of Brazil’s most violent states and vast areas are under the control of criminals, many of them linked to powerful drug-trafficking gangs.

Security forces in Brazil have often been accused of excessive use of force against the civilian population during anti-crime operations in major cities.

A court ruling last June restricted police action in poor neighbourhoods of Rio during the pandemic unless it was deemed essential.

covid-19:-complaints-after-england-booking-site-reveals-vaccine-status

Covid-19: Complaints after England booking site reveals vaccine status

By Joseph Lee

BBC News

image copyrightReuters

image captionVaccine status could be exploited by “companies, insurers, employers or scammers”, privacy campaigners warned

The NHS is revising the booking system for Covid-19 jabs in England after complaints that it could reveal individuals’ vaccination status.

By entering details such as their name, date of birth and postcode it may be possible to work out if another person has been given both doses, one or none.

Privacy campaigners Big Brother Watch called it a “shocking failure”.

NHS Digital said the system had no direct access to medical records and allowed millions to quickly book jabs.

The flaw in the website was first revealed by the Guardian, which said it could allow employers to monitor their workers’ vaccination status or put people at risk of peer pressure from anti-vaccination friends and colleagues not to get the jab.

It comes as the UK reported another 543,323vaccinations given in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of people who have had both jabs to nearly 16.3 million, with 34.9m first doses given out.

A further 13 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded, while there were 2,613 new confirmed cases.

The website allows people to book appointments without using their NHS number, by entering their name, date of birth and postcode.

But it gives different results depending on whether the individual has already had two doses, one or none, allowing another user to quickly determine other people’s vaccination status.

In the case of someone who has had both doses it currently says: “You do not need to book any coronavirus (COVID-19) appointments using this service.” The Guardian earlier reported that it said “you have had both of your appointments”.

For people who have had one dose, the site presents a screen referring to their booking for a second appointment.

And for those who have not had any jabs, it goes to a standard screening page.

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said it is “a seriously shocking failure to protect patients’ medical confidentiality at a time when it could not be more important”.

She said the data was “exposed to absolutely anyone to pry into” because date of birth and postcode information can easily be found or bought.

“This is personal health information that could easily be exploited by companies, insurers, employers or scammers,” Ms Carlo said.

“Robust protections must be put in place immediately and an urgent investigation should be opened to establish how such basic privacy protections could be missing from one of the most sensitive health databases in the country.”

The National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care, which advises healthcare organisations about handling personal data, said it had been contacted by some people with concerns about the way the NHS booking site works.

“It is important that it is as simple and easy as possible for people to book their vaccinations and we understand that the website has been developed to support this aim,” a spokeswoman for the Office of the National Data Guardian said.

But the spokeswoman said the organisations responsible for the site had been contacted to raise its concerns and discuss “the twin important aims of protecting confidentiality whilst maintaining easy access to vaccinations for the public”.

NHS Digital said it was revising the messages used by the booking system to improve privacy, but suggested that conclusions about someone’s vaccine status from entering other people’s data would not always be accurate.

The online booking system enabled millions of people to book their vaccinations quickly and easily, it said.

A spokesperson said: “This is making a significant impact on the management and containment of the pandemic and is saving lives.

“The system does not provide access to anyone’s medical records and people should not be fraudulently using the service – it should only be used by people booking their own vaccines or for someone who has knowingly provided their details for this purpose.”

julia-james:-10,000-reward-in-hunt-for-pcso’s-killer

Julia James: £10,000 reward in hunt for PCSO’s killer

image copyrightKent Police

image captionJulia James’s body was found near her home in Snowdown

A £10,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to the conviction of a police community officer’s killer.

Julia James, 53, was found on 27 April near woodland in Snowdown, Kent, having suffered serious head injuries.

Charity Crimestoppers appealed for people to come forward anonymously and help the killer “face up to the consequences of their violent actions”.

Meanwhile, police have broadened the search area away from the crime scene.

Mick Duthie, of Crimestoppers, said that anonymous information, no matter how small, could help police find those responsible and “may even prevent someone else from coming to harm”.

He said the charity was “not interested” in the identity of those giving information, but was there to “help people who, for whatever reason, won’t or can’t speak directly to the police, but want to do the right thing”.

image copyrightKent Police

image captionPolice would like to speak to anybody who was in the area pictured on 27 April

The body of Ms James, who had left home to walk her dog, was found in Akholt Wood, a few hundred yards from her house.

Officers continue to appeal to anyone in the area on the afternoon of 27 April to come forward.

Assistant chief constable Tom Richards said: “We are keeping an open mind and not ruling anything out.”

Police would not say where the additional searches were being conducted.

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matt-dawson-column:-warren-gatland-has-got-lions-selection-right-–-as-always

Matt Dawson column: Warren Gatland has got Lions selection right – as always

Matt Dawson

Warren Gatland has named a fantastic British and Irish Lions squad for this summer’s tour of South Africa.

One thing Gatland tends to get right is his selection. It was something I saw when he was Wasps coach and I was playing there, and we have also seen it with Wales and the Lions – he knows his players.

He understands their characteristics, their strengths and weaknesses, and he picks the right players for the right jobs.

I can understand what Gatland and the selectors are thinking with all their choices. It makes sense to me. There is not any player that I think is a risk.

Exeter forward Sam Simmonds has been a surprise pick for some but it will be because Gatland wants to play a different type of eight.

Courtney Lawes has struggled with injury recently but Gatland knows what he is going to get out of him.

Lawes has great coverage in the back five of the scrum. He has got that really horrible streak about him that means no-one is going to go through him and I think Jonny Hill is like that as well.

Sam Simmonds on a graphic with a picture of a Lion
Sam Simmonds won his last England cap in 2018

‘Gatland has a definite style in mind for Springboks’

My initial impression when I heard the 37-man squad was that Gatland has got a very definite style in mind to take on South Africa.

The last match the Springboks played was when they beat England in the 2019 World Cup final and the Lions coaches can learn from that.

The squad named by Gatland is very confrontational, which I think is probably right.

The final was the biggest game South Africa had had for many years and they psyched themselves up into a frenzy that England could not match.

The creativity that England showed in the quarter- and semi-finals proved to be negated quickly by a physical and able South African team.

At the very least you have to match South Africa physically – that is the starting point. So I can understand why Gatland has chosen those 37 players, particularly in the backs.

With the tour set to be played in a coronavirus “bubbles” and uncertainty over whether any fans will be allowed, having the right type of characters in the squad is important too.

Lots of conversations will have been had with club and country coaches to see what the state of mind of players is and how they deal with the solitude of Covid.

It is also going to be important that the Lions have players who can create their own atmosphere away from the field.

They need those characters who can crank stuff up and enjoy themselves to make humorous memories as well as the rugby memories.

Matt Dawson hugs coach Ian McGeechan
Matt Dawson (right) was part of the Lions team that successfully toured South Africa in 1997

‘Sexton has not been at the races’

Gatland’s midfield selection is really interesting.

The possible centres are Bundee Aki, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell.

Jonathan Davies – player of the series in 2017 – has been left out so where is that outside centre with a bit of flare and creativity?

Is it going to be Daly, who also plays at full-back? You would have thought Henry Slade had a chance, but he has also been left out.

It looks like Gatland is not really that worried about that type of gameplan and having physicality in the midfield is going to be crucial.

Aki was an interesting one for me well. He likes a big hit in big games but is that a liability? He has been sent off a couple of times.

Aki, Harris and Henshaw are relatively similar in the way that they play. You know what you are going to get out of them.

They are going to be super solid and get over the gainline. They can create opportunities for the back three and the half-backs to link up.

In a more traditional vein, you would be looking for at least one outside centre like Davies or Slade who can really play that attacking 13 role.

In a Lions squad you have got to have players who can play in different positions and that may be one of the reasons Farrell was included ahead of Ireland’s Johnny Sexton.

Sexton has not been at the races. I know him and Conor Murray played well against England in the Six Nations but physically he goes off a lot with his injuries.

He has not been as sharp as he has been in the last three or four years.

‘Selection is an emotional rollercoaster’

I have been thinking about the times I was selected for the Lions and what it was like waiting for the announcement.

The night before will have been an emotional night for players. You do not sleep particularly well. You try to distract yourself.

I remember being in the clubhouse at Northampton before the 1997 South Africa tour.

We were talking about it, trying to find reasons why we would be in or out. You are re-running different games, second guessing whether you will or will not be in.

When you are sitting there watching the TV, they read the names in alphabetical order and you know where yours should sit.

You know you are either next on the list or out of it. It is an emotional rollercoaster.

The players whose names were read out will be on top of the world. A lot will have had training after and they will have been giddy.

If the coaches have got any sense they would probably have told them not to train and take a couple of hours off because they will be away with the fairies.

Matt Dawson was speaking to BBC Sport’s Becky Grey.

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lake-district-skiers-thrilled-by-snow-in-may

Lake District skiers thrilled by snow in May

image copyrightPA Media

image captionThe club said members were “giddy with excitement”

Skiers in the Lake District have taken advantage of unseasonal snowfall to head to the slopes for the first time in months.

Covid-19 restrictions forced the 85-year-old Lake District Ski Club to close during the winter.

Snow which started on Tuesday was deep enough by Wednesday to allow the club’s tow up Raise, near Helvellyn, to run.

Members were “giddy” at the unusual sight of snow-covered mountains in May, club president Mike Sweeney said.

“I haven’t seen snow at this time of year before, but I was speaking to some other members who said there was snow in June in 1963, although that was a very unusual year for weather,” he said.

“It was fabulous, people were just giddy with excitement.”

image copyrightPA Media

image captionThe club operates a 360-metre button tow to give access to the mountain

Former president of the club and assistant hut warden Gerard Unthank, 80, said there had been “quite a bit of snow this year” which members were previously prevented from enjoying because of lockdown.

“Up here we rely on drifts and have snow fences because we don’t get a great depth of snow, but some of the drifts today are as high as the fences,” he said.

There are still Covid restrictions in place in the club’s hut to ensure social distancing, he added.

image copyrightGraeme Corrighan

image captionSnow on the top of Blencathra on Wednesday

Walkers and climbers have also been enjoying the unusual conditions.

As well as bringing unexpected snow, the weather pattern has bathed some peaks in sunshine while others have been covered in mist or fog.

image copyrightPA Media

image captionAbout 40 people used the tow to get to the top of the slope on Wednesday, with more on Thursday

BBC Weather presenter Simon King said falling snow was not common in May, but was also “not out of the question”.

Current conditions were being caused by a northerly wind which was dominating the weather pattern across the UK, he said.

In this set up, cold arctic air flows across the UK and there’s been enough moisture to produce showers.

“As the air is cold enough, those showers have been wintry with snow falling to relatively low levels.”

image copyrightPA Media

image captionSnow has been falling over winter but skiers had not been allowed on the slopes

Bethany Smith said a hike up Helvellyn on Wednesday was her first since the end of the third lockdown.

“We knew it was white on the tops and I’m always prepared for all weather conditions, but we didn’t realise quite how deep the snow was until we got to Grisedale Tarn and noticed people descending from Fairfield Peak on their backsides,” she said.

“At some points, the snow drifts were up to our knees.”

image copyrightHugh Granger

image captionTaking a breather from her PhD to hike, Bethany Smith said she had not been expecting Helvellyn to be quite this snowy in May

Ms Smith said the route up to Dollywaggon Pike was “a bit gnarly”.

“But it was such beautiful weather for hiking; it felt more like we were in the Alps,” she said.

image copyrightBethany Smith

image captionA few yards away and the scenery changed dramatically for Bethany

The weather conditions have prompted those closer to ground level to record the effects of the combination of chill and damp.

Frost has been unusually prevalent during April and May.

image copyrightChristine Moorcroft

image captionNature’s own art on a roof skylight

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childish-gambino-sued-by-rapper-over-this-is-america-copying-claim

Childish Gambino sued by rapper over This Is America copying claim

By Mark Savage

BBC music reporter

image copyrightRCA

image captionThis Is America topped the US chart and won the Grammys for both record and song of the year

Childish Gambino is being sued for copyright infringement over his Grammy Award-winning rap song This Is America.

Emelike Nwosuocha, a rapper who performs as Kidd Wes, claims the song copied his track Made In America, which was released two years earlier.

The “lyrical theme, content and structure” of the two songs’ choruses are “glaringly similar”, he said in court documents filed in New York.

Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, has yet to respond to the claims.

‘Beyond coincidence’

In 2019, This Is America made history by becoming the first rap track to win song of the year at the Grammy Awards.

One of the most-discussed and powerful songs of the year, it delivered a scathing message about racial inequality, police brutality and gun violence, which was amplified by its provocative music video.

However, in court documents, Nwosuocha said there was a “substantial similarity” between Glover’s track and his own.

He claimed the songs shared a “distinct and unique vocal cadence, delivery, rhythm, timing [and] phrasing”, and noted how the choruses of Made In America and This Is America were written in the same metre.

Nwosuocha alleged that the similarity in lyrical content and delivery was “striking to an extent beyond coincidence” and “audible to the average lay person”.

The rapper also employed a musicologist to compare the two tracks, who concluded that “these similarities are likely not coincidences”, the court documents said.

media caption‘I choreographed This is America, and this is my story’

Nwosuocha is demanding a trial and is seeking damages including lost profits and opportunities. While no sum is mentioned, he claimed that Glover and his co-writers made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from This Is America.

His legal case also named Childish Gambino’s record label, RCA, Roc Nation and Young Thug, who performed backing vocals on the track.

However, it is not the first time that Glover has been accused of plagiarising This Is America.

In 2018, a hip-hop blogger named Akademiks noted a similarity between the song and American Pharaoh by New York rapper Jase Harley.

However, Harley said he had no interest in pursuing legal action. “I feel extremely humbled to be recognised and labelled as one of, or the original inspiration, for one of the most important pieces of music and visual art of our time,” he posted on Instagram.

“I appreciate all the love and support! But please don’t let this controversy dilute the message me and Childish Gambino are trying to convey.”

Childish Gambino’s manager Fam Udeorji rejected the claims of plagiarism, saying his client’s song actually dated back to 2015, “and we have the Pro Tolls [computer] files to prove it”.

If so, the song would also pre-date Nwosuocha’s Made In America, which he first posted on SoundCloud in September 2016.

The BBC has contacted Childish Gambino’s team for a response.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

covid-19:-uk-economy-to-bounce-back-and-jab-site-privacy-fears

Covid-19: UK economy to bounce back and jab site privacy fears

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Friday morning.

1. UK economy to enjoy fast growth as restrictions ease

The UK economy is set to expand at the fastest rate since World War Two as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the Bank of England says. It is expected to grow by 7.25% this year, with extra government spending helping limit job losses. It follows a contraction of 9.9% in 2020, the biggest for 300 years. Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey says while the growth is “good news” it is “more of a bounce back” than a boom and will only see the economy recover to 2019 levels.

2. Complaints after booking site reveals vaccine status

The NHS is revising the booking system for Covid-19 jabs in England after complaints that it could reveal individuals’ vaccination status. By entering details such as a person’s name, date of birth and postcode it may be possible to work out how many doses they have had as the website gives a different result. NHS Digital said the system had no direct access to medical records but privacy campaigners Big Brother Watch called it a “shocking failure”.

3. Black leaders blame racism for lower jab take up

During England’s coronavirus vaccine programme an inequality has shown itself, with black people less likely to have had the jab than any other group. By April, 64% of black over-50s had been vaccinated compared with 93% of white people of the same age. The reasons for this are complex with unethical medical treatment in the past, ongoing discrimination and personal experiences of insensitive treatment by the NHS all believed to play a part. Doctors, researchers and campaigners who spoke to the BBC said they feared black communities were being blamed. You can read more on this issue here.

image copyrightGetty Images

4. World’s oldest person pulls out of Olympic torch relay

The world’s oldest person will not take part in the Olympic torch relay because she is worried about spreading Covid-19 to others in her nursing home. Kane Tanaka, 118, was supposed to take part in the relay for Tokyo 2020 in Fukuoka, southern Japan, on 11 May. She has joined several others in pulling out of the relay, which started in March, over concerns about the virus. The event, which builds up to the start of the Games, has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak with eight cases linked to it.

5. Man uses lockdown to bring golf course to the fore

Many of us took on lockdown projects over the past year but not many can claim to have uncovered a lost golf course. That’s what Chris Powell did when he started clearing bracken on common land near Rhayader, Powys. The nine-hole golf course was designed in 1920s by Dr Alister MacKenzie, who was also responsible for courses including Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, and had been unused for decades. Mr Powell said he spent the “best part of 1,000 hours” playing or clearing the course.

And don’t forget…

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

And with companies starting to think about getting workers back into the office you might want to know whether you can ask to keep working from home and if it is safe to return to the commute.

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english-counties-offer-to-host-postponed-ipl-games

English counties offer to host postponed IPL games

Indian Premier League
The IPL was postponed 29 matches into the 60-game tournament

A group of counties have written to the England and Wales Cricket Board about the possibility of hosting the remainder of the Indian Premier League.

The Twenty20 tournament was suspended on Tuesday after several positive coronavirus tests among players.

There is no suggestion that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is looking for a new venue.

Cricinfo reportedexternal-link that Warwickshire, Surrey and the Marylebone Cricket Club (Lord’s) are the interested parties.

There were reports that Lancashire were involved, although it is understood they have not offered their Old Trafford home as a potential venue.

An ECB spokesperson said: “We speak to the BCCI regularly about tours and other matters and we’ll continue doing so, but we have received no indication that they are looking for alternative hosts for the IPL at the moment.”

Wherever the remaining 31 games are played, any attempt to rearrange them will have to contend with a packed schedule of international cricket.

England end a five-Test series against India on 14 September and are due to travel to Bangladesh and Pakistan before the T20 World Cup in India begins in October.

However, finishing the IPL in the UK at the end of September would at least see the England and India squads in the same place, while some other international players may still be in country following the conclusion of The Hundred.

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