Wales lockdown: Supermarkets told to sell only essential items

Supermarkets will be unable to sell items like clothes during the 17-day Covid firebreak lockdown in Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said it would be “made clear” to them they are only able to open parts of their business that sell “essential goods”.

Many retailers will be forced to shut but food shops, off-licences and pharmacies can stay open when lockdown begins on Friday at 18:00 BST.

Retailers said they had not been given a definition of what was essential.

The Association of Convenience Stores and the Welsh Retail Consortium have written urgently to the first minister, expressing alarm over the new regulations.

Sara Jones, head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said: “Compelling retailers to stop selling certain items, without them being told clearly what is and what isn’t permitted to be sold, is ill-conceived and short-sighted.”

Welsh Conservative Andrew RT Davies tweeted: “The power is going to their heads.”

But Plaid Cymru’s Helen Mary Jones said “smaller businesses should not be put at an unfair disadvantage during the firebreak lockdown”.

Business leaders say companies in Wales have been given just hours to finalise plans for the firebreak lockdown, which ends at midnight on 9 November.

Mr Drakeford told a Senedd committee on Friday that “in the last lockdown, people were reasonably understanding of the fact that supermarkets didn’t close all the things that they may have needed to”.

“I don’t think people will be as understanding this time.

“We will make sure there is a more level playing field in those next two weeks.”

The first minister was responding to Conservative Member of the Senedd Russell George, who said it was “unfair” to force independent clothing and hardware retailers to close while similar goods were on sale in major supermarkets.

“It felt very wrong and disproportionate to the small businesses,” Mr George said.

Mr Drakeford said: “We will be making it clear to supermarkets that they are only able to open those parts of their business that provide essential goods to people.

“And that will not include some of the things that Russell George mentioned, which other people are prevented from selling.”

There is no precise list of non-essential goods in the law coming into force on Friday, but any business selling goods or services for sale or hire in a shop will have to close.

But there are exceptions for food retailers, newsagents, pharmacies and chemists, bicycle shops, petrol stations, car repair and MOT services, banks, laundrettes, post offices, pet shops and agricultural supplies shops.

Under the law firms conducting a business that provides a mixed set of services will be allowed to open if they cease conducting the service that must close.

Boris Becker accused of not handing over tennis trophies to pay debts

Ex-tennis champion Boris Becker has appeared in court accused of failing to hand over trophies from his playing days so they could be sold to pay debts.

The three-time Wimbledon winner was declared bankrupt in 2017 over money owed to a bank.

He is accused of not complying with obligations to disclose information.

Mr Becker denied all 28 charges against him at a Southwark Crown Court hearing in London on Thursday.

The 28-count indictment includes mention of his 1985 All England Club trophy, his 1989 silverware from the same tournament, and his Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996.

The 52-year-old German national is also accused of concealing more than £1m held in bank accounts, in addition to property in the UK and abroad.

The court heard that he failed to declare his property interest in an address in Chelsea, south-west London, with similar charges for two properties in his home town of Leimen.

Mr Becker is also accused of removing hundreds of thousands of pounds by transferring it to other accounts, including to former wife Barbara Becker, and estranged wife Sharlely “Lilly” Becker.

It is also alleged he hid his holding of shares in a firm called Breaking Data Corp.

Mr Becker was released on bail ahead of his trial next September, which is set to last up to four weeks.

Prosecutor Rebecca Chalkley said the retired sportsman and television presenter may face further charges at a later date.

Defence counsel Jonathan Caplan said: “He (Mr Becker) is determined to face and contest these charges and restore his reputation in relation to the allegations made against him.”

The former world number one and six-time Grand Slam champion collected 49 singles titles out of 77 finals during his 16 years as a professional tennis player.

He was picked to enter the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003, and has been a commentator on the BBC and at tennis tournaments around the world.

Marian Clode: Womans cattle death ruled accidental

A woman died after a cow charged at her and flipped her over a fence, an inquest has heard.

Marian Clode was thrown into the air “like a ragdoll” in front of her daughter and grandchildren as she walked on a public bridleway near Belford, Northumberland, in April 2016.

The inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre heard the 61-year-old, from Ashton-under-Lyne, died in hospital.

She died as the result of an accident, a jury found.

The hearing was told that Mrs Clode, originally from Londonderry, was on a family holiday and had gone for a walk.

The cattle were being moved from their winter sheds to open fields when some of them broke loose and ran at her.

Mrs Clode was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle but died two days later.

In a statement her family said she was a “wonderful woman, mother and grandmother who was taken from us prematurely”.

Justin Fashanu: 30 years since footballer came out

Exactly 30 years ago, footballer Justin Fashanu hit the headlines as the first professional player to come out as gay. What impact did he make – and why have no others followed him?

As a footballer, Justin Fashanu was a ground-breaker. In 1981 he became the country’s most expensive black player with his £1m move to Nottingham Forest.

Growing up in foster care in Norfolk alongside his footballer brother John, he had risen through Norwich City’s youth ranks.

His majestic strike against Liverpool in 1980 was Match of the Day’s Goal of the Season, cementing his legendary status among Canaries fans.

Then, in 1990, Fashanu stunned the football world when he told a newspaper he was gay.

Three decades on, he remains the only male footballer to reveal his sexuality while playing professionally in the top tiers.

That might seem surprising, but not to equality campaigner Amal Fashanu, who set up the Justin Fashanu Foundation, dedicated to her uncle.

“It’s believable because of the attitude that surrounds football,” she said.

The daughter of Wimbledon FC stalwart John, Ms Fashanu was just 10 when her uncle took his own life in 1998, aged 37.

Earlier this year, she proudly accepted his Hall of Fame award.

“Justin was an incredible person with a very big heart,” she said.

“If he was still alive now people would be able to see that. He accepted everyone as they were, it was all about love – I miss that a lot.

“He was the one person who taught me as a kid how to love, and how to love without judging.”

Despite strides made elsewhere, she said football was lagging behind the pace of societal change.

Same-sex marriages in England and Wales were legalised in 2013. Welsh rugby union star Gareth Thomas came out in 2009, and ex-footballers Thomas Beattie and Robbie Rogers went public about their sexuality after leaving the game.

But to be a gay footballer in the elite leagues was still a “major issue”, she said.

“It’s always been that powerful, secretive, dark world where there’s no place for anyone weaker and a lot of people see if you’re gay, you’d be weaker.

“You can’t really blame one person – it’s the environment of football.”

Lower down the football ladder, in England’s ninth tier, Matt Morton said he had been overwhelmed by positive comments since coming out on Instagram in June.

“Even my fiercest rivals on the pitch have been supportive,” said Mr Morton, 33, player-manager of Eastern Counties League club Thetford Town in Norfolk.

He said he had been “flooded” with private messages from people who had quit the game rather than come out to team-mates.

“It has to happen en masse in the lower leagues – or with more high-profile players coming out – to get to the point of normalisation,” he said.

“I’m a footballer but sexuality should just be such an inconsequential thing to other people’s lives.

“Everyone needs to come together as a whole – you can’t expect the minority to take on the mantle.”

That sentiment is echoed by LGBT rights charity Stonewall, which is working with the Premier League and the Football Association (FA).

“Tackling anti-LGBT attitudes and behaviours cannot and must not rest on the shoulders of LGBT athletes alone,” said the charity’s Jeff Ingold.

“Speculating over why people don’t come out ignores the many valid reasons someone may have for not being open about their sexuality.

“Focusing on the absence of openly gay and bi male professional football players often adds more pressure to what is already a high-stress environment.”

The charity hopes support for campaigns such as its Rainbow Laces project will lead to more “confident athletes… accepted for who they are”.

BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey, a life-long Norwich City fan, said it was “important to remember Justin as a great footballer, but also as the person he was”.

He added: “There is no doubt over the years football fans have cheered, celebrated and loved footballers unable to come out.”

The FA said it had made moves across all levels of the game to help players and fans be included.

“We have come so far since [Fashanu’s] tragic experience, however… more needs to be done,” said The FA’s Jehmeil Lemonius.

“We will continue to work… to help create a safe and supportive environment for any player who chooses to come out, so we never have a situation like Justin’s again.

“Justin wasn’t just a fantastic player, but a remarkable man… a role model and trailblazer.”

He said the women’s game had many players open about their sexual orientation and had shared their stories to help others.

For Ms Fashanu, her uncle’s spirit remains strong.

“If Justin was still here my foundation wouldn’t exist; there would be no need for me to do it – he was so powerful in a very peaceful way,” she said.”There’s no road map to show these footballers what would happen… it would change your life forever to be remembered as only the second gay top-flight footballer in the world.

“We could be doing more considering football has a lot of power and money, but I do think we are doing something.”

Huawei Mate 40 phones launch despite chip freeze

Huawei has unveiled its Mate 40 smartphones claiming they feature a more “sophisticated” processor than Apple’s forthcoming iPhones.

The component was made using the same “five nanometre” process as its US rival’s chip, but contains billions more transistors.

As a result, the Chinese firm claims its phones are more powerful.

However, Huawei has had its supply of the chips cut off because of a US trade ban that came into effect in September.

That means that once its stockpile of the new Kirin 9000 processors runs out, it faces being unable to make more of the Mate 40 handsets in their current form.

At present, only Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung have the expertise and equipment to manufacture 5nm chips, and both are forbidden to supply Huawei with them or any other semiconductor product whose creation involves “US technology and software”.

The States says the move has been taken on national security grounds, but Huawei denies posing a threat.

The BBC asked how many of the chips Huawei had purchased, but it declined to answer.

However, in a online presentation, the company’s consumer devices chief Richard Yu acknowledged the ban was “making the situation extremely difficult for us”.

Huawei also faces other earlier restrictions placed on it by Washington, which have prevented any of the devices it has launched since mid-2019 from providing access to some of Google’s services, including its Play Store.

Despite this, Huawei remains the world’s third-bestselling smartphone-maker, and the market leader in its home country.

“In China, Huawei has phenomenal brand awareness in the premium space,” commented Mo Jia, an analyst at tech research firm Canalys.

“Demand for the Mate 40 series is expected to be strong [there], but despite this, amid US sanctions, component constraints may limit the total quantity of new Kirin-powered smartphones Huawei can produce.”

The basic Mate 40 model – which Huawei said costs €899 ($1,049; £800) – has a 6.5in (16.5cm) OLED display. Three more expensive versions – ranging in price up to €2,295 – have 6.8in OLED screens.

In each case, the screens offer a 90Hz refresh rate – meaning the equivalent of 90 frames per second – which is higher than Apple’s newest iPhones but less than Samsung’s S20 series.

Mr Yu suggested this offered the best balance of smoothness and battery life.

One of the main ways the different models are differentiated are by their cameras:

For the time being, the firm only plans to put the Pro model on sale outside China, where it will cost £1,100.

One of the innovations detailed was the use of a “free-form lens” for the ultra-wide angle camera found on each model, which Huawei said solved image distortion problems.

The firm added that an optional “eyes-on-device” feature – which only turns on the screen when it detects being looked at – would reduce the power the handset consumes.

Huawei said the Kirin 9000 chip includes an integrated 5G modem, which enables it to extend battery life beyond its rivals.

One slide displayed at the launch claimed the Mate 40 Pro would last about 25% longer on a single charge than Samsung’s Note 20 Ultra+, despite the latter having a bigger battery.

Huawei said it was also using the extra processing power to take slow-motion shots at 240 frames per second from two of the cameras simultaneously.

The firm also boasted that the chip allows its devices to offer a “pro-gaming” experience, thanks to its ability to offer graphics with better detail and lighting effects.

However, some titles including Call of Duty Mobile will not work on the devices because of their lack of access to some of Google’s technologies, while some others function but are unable to make in-app payments.

Most Android apps can be installed via the Petal search tool even if they do not appear in Huawei’s own app store.

However, there are notable exceptions.

Many banking apps, eBay and the UK’s Tesco Groceries app will not install, and instead the user is provided with an icon that instead launches their websites. The Sky News app is also unavailable, although Huawei said it was coming soon.

“Clearly politics has brought about a situation where Huawei is now working hard to become non-reliant upon Google to offer consumers an alternative,” a spokesman told the BBC.

“Surely what Huawei is doing with its App Gallery – albeit a work in progress – deserves praise.”

If an app is unavailable, users can add it to a “wish list” and Huawei says the developer will be told if there is strong demand.

But one expert questioned whether most consumers would be happy with the current arrangement.

“The new chip is impressive and the circular camera design on the rear distinctive, but despite Huawei’s best efforts to build up its App Gallery, there are still significant gaps,” commented Ben Wood from CCS Insight.

“Even with the Petal search capability, you still have this challenge that you have to find the applications and then side-load them onto the device. That’s all very well for tech-savvy, committed Huawei enthusiasts, but for the mass market, it’s a pretty big barrier to put in people’s way.”

Goldman Sachs to pay $3bn over 1MDB Malaysia scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia’s 1MDB corruption scandal.

The bank’s Malaysian subsidiary also admitted to violating US anti-bribery laws during its work raising money for Malaysia’s state-owned wealth fund.

The settlement with the Department of Justice allows the bank to avoid criminal conviction.

Goldman did not immediately comment.

In all, it is expected to pay about $5bn in penalties – about two thirds of its 2019 profits – to regulators around the world to resolve cases that have severely tarnished the firm’s reputation.

The bank has also said it may cut compensation awarded to executives, including retired chief Lloyd Blankfein, under whose watch the scandal happened.

The 1MDB scheme was a global web of fraud and corruption, in which billions of dollars ostensibly raised for public development projects instead landed in private pockets, including those of Malaysia’s former PM Najib Razak.

Authorities in Asia, the US and Europe have spent years tracking down cash and assets paid for with money stolen from the fund, including condos, jewellery and art.

In July Najib was found guilty on all seven counts in the first of several multi-million dollar corruption trials and sentenced to 12 years in jail.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and abuse of power.

Probes of Goldman Sachs focused on its help raising $6.5bn in 2012 and 2013 for the fund formally known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), work authorities said earned the firm the outsize sum of $600m.

On Thursday, the bank admitted that its Malaysian unit had “knowingly and willingly” paid bribes to foreign officials and agreed to pay nearly $3bn in penalties.

Goldman had long blamed rogue employees, asserting it had no idea the money it helped raise would be diverted from planned development projects within Malaysia.

One former Goldman Sachs partner, Tim Leissner, pleaded guilty in the US to conspiring to launder money and violating foreign bribery laws. Another executive was charged with foreign bribery offenses.

Three months ago, Goldman Sachs reached a $3.9bn settlement with the Malaysian government for its role in the corruption scandal.

The settlement included a $2.5bn cash payout by Goldman, while the investment bank said it would guarantee that the government would receive at least $1.4bn from money recovered from the scheme.

The deal resolved charges in Malaysia that Goldman had misled investors.

Hong Kong regulators on Thursday announced a separate $350m fine, citing lapses in management controls.

In Singapore, authorities also plan to levy a financial penalty and issue a warning with conditions, according to Bloomberg sources.

Coronavirus: Arlene Foster says NI contact tracing must be scaled up

Northern Ireland’s contact tracing system must be “scaled up” in order to help tackle the latest wave of Covid-19, Arlene Foster has said.

The first minister said society “must be able to co-exist” with the virus until a vaccine is found.

She said key to those plans were the test and trace scheme, and increasing capacity of the health service.

Mrs Foster said NI could not continue with strategies of limited lockdowns.

“That strategy is in reality a failure and will ensure despair engulfs all of our people and we cannot allow that to happen,” she said.

“Every sector must adapt and we must learn to live with the virus.”

Speaking at a Stormont press briefing on Thursday, the first minister said on average 1,000 new cases of coronavirus in Northern Ireland are being recorded every day.

“There are signs we can take a degree of hope from, that our shared effort is turning the tide. There is a slowing in the rate of infection albeit still at a high level,” added Mrs Foster.

“Advisers are optimistic we might reach the point soon where cases begin to fall.”

Sinn Féin’s junior minister Declan Kearney, who was standing in for Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill as she is still self-isolating, urged people to follow the regulations and public health advice.

“We are determined to use this space to double down and develop a strategy to normalise life and maximise public safety,” he said.

“We’ve bought time – now we need to double down on a number of key priorities.

“We have to look after businesses and those most vulnerable in society, double down and ensure we have the necessary resilience in our test, track, trace and isolate programme.”

Earlier, it emerged that the Finance Minister Conor Murphy is to self-isolate after a family member tested positive for Covid-19.

Mr Murphy’s announcement means a third of ministers in Stormont’s 12-strong executive are self-isolating.

Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed on Wednesday night that he is isolating after receiving a close-proximity notification from Northern Ireland’s track and trace app.

On Wednesday, Mr Swann’s UUP colleague John Stewart MLA announced he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Several other Stormont assembly members (MLAs) posted on social media that they had also received app notifications to isolate.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Assembly said: “We have been notified that an MLA has tested positive for Covid-19.

“We are currently tracing all of the MLA’s interactions with other building users in order to determine if any additional measures are needed at this time.”

On Thursday, another five deaths linked to the virus were reported by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health, bringing its death toll to 634.

The department also reported a further 1,042 new cases of the coronavirus.

The total number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began now stands at 31,034.

Of the five deaths confirmed on Thursday, four happened during the current reporting period while the fifth took place outside that time frame.

The latest figures show there are 291 inpatients with the virus in hospital, 33 of whom are in intensive care units while 23 patients are being ventilated.

The number of coronavirus outbreaks in care homes remains static at 83.

A geographic breakdown of the department’s statistics showed that the five latest deaths were each recorded in different council areas.

The Belfast City Council area had the highest number of new cases over the past week, with 1,748 people testing positive across a seven-day period.

This was followed by Derry City and Strabane Council where 930 new cases have been confirmed in the same week.

Covid-19: Greater Manchester Tier 3 move prompts more police patrols

Police have urged the public to comply with restrictions as Greater Manchester prepares to be placed under the highest Covid-19 alert.

Greater Manchester chief constable said more officers will be on duty “to make sure that we can deal with whatever comes our way”.

People who “blatantly flout the law” will be fined, Ian Hopkins said.

The borough is the third area to enter Tier Three with restrictions coming into force at 00:01 on Friday.

“Clearly one of the messages I want to get over to people is ‘go home’ when restaurants and licensed premises close at 22:00,” Mr Hopkins said.

His message comes as it was confirmed that as of 15 October, the force has issued 23 £1,000 fines to people failing to self-isolate on their return from international travel.

Because of the cumulative effect of fixed penalty notices, one person has been issued with fines up £3,100.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is also looking to enforce a closure order on a house where eight fixed penalty notices have been issued, while five £1,000 fines have been handed to premises that have remained open after 22:00.

A £10,000 fine has also been issued in Longsight to an Indian restaurant that hosted a wedding reception involving live music.

“We don’t want to be out there issuing fixed penalty notices for breaches of coronavirus legislation,” said Mr Hopkins.

“I would much rather my officers were dealing with the levels of crime and disorder that we’ve got, which are back to pre-Covid levels.

“But we absolutely recognise our role in trying to help stem the tide of the infection and if that means we have to enforce those that blatantly flout the law, then we will do that.”

Supermarkets told sell only essentials in Wales lockdown

Supermarkets will be told that they can only sell “essential goods” during the 17-day Covid firebreak lockdown in Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said it will be “made clear” to them they are only able to open parts of their business that sell “essential goods”.

During lockdown many retailers, like clothes shops, will be forced to shut.

But food retailers, newsagents, off-licences and pharmacies can stay open. The lockdown begins on Friday.

Business leaders say companies in Wales have been given just hours to finalise plans for the firebreak lockdown, which ends at midnight on 9 November.

Mr Drakeford told a Senedd committee on Friday that “in the last lockdown, people were reasonably understanding of the fact that supermarkets didn’t close all the things that they may have needed to”.

“I don’t think people will be as understanding this time.

“We will make sure there is a more level playing field in those next two weeks.”

The first minister was responding to Conservative Member of the Senedd Russell George, who said it was “unfair” to force independent clothing and hardware retailers to close while similar goods were on sale in major supermarkets.

“It felt very wrong and disproportionate to the small businesses,” Mr George said.

Mr Drakeford said: “We will be making it clear to supermarkets that they are only able to open those parts of their business that provide essential goods to people.

“And that will not include some of the things that Russell George mentioned, which other people are prevented from selling.”

Under the regulations any business selling goods or services for sale or hire in a shop will have to close.

But there are exemptions for food retailers, newsagents, pharmacies and chemists, bicycle shops, petrol stations, car repair and MOT services, banks, laundrettes, post offices, pet shops and agricultural supplies shops.

Under the law firms conducting a business that provides a mixed set of services will be allowed to open if they cease conducting the service that must close.

UK travel restrictions: Which countries can I visit without quarantining?

People entering the UK from most other countries must self-isolate for two weeks.

Many of the “travel corridors” set up to allow tourists to avoid restrictions have been suspended.

In early summer, travellers could visit popular holiday destinations such as Spain, Italy and France without having to quarantine.

There are now only a handful of places travellers from England can visit without facing restrictions – either when they arrive at their destination, or return.

These include:

There are separate exemption lists for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Travellers from the common travel area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – are exempt from UK quarantine.

However, some parts of the CTA, including Ireland and the Isle of Man, impose restrictions on travellers entering from England.

There are hopes coronavirus testing for passengers could make travel to more destinations possible, by providing proof of a negative result.

In the UK, Heathrow is offering an £80 pre-flight coronavirus test on flights to Hong Kong, which requires a recent negative test for entry from the UK.

The rapid saliva swab is available on some British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific flights from Terminals 2 and 5, and is known as a Lamp (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification).

Other counties such as Greece, Cyprus, the Bahamas and Bermuda will not accept the results of a Lamp test, which unlike the NHS-preferred PCR test, does not require analysis in a lab.

These tests are only for passengers departing the UK. But ministers say they could soon formally approve the idea of arrivals paying for a test after a week of self-isolation. This would lead to early release from quarantine if they are negative.

People will have to pay for their own private tests.

The UK’s rate of coronavirus has risen sharply in recent weeks. As of 22 October it stood at about 201 out of every 100,000 people.

This gives the country a similar rate to Spain (207), but a lower rate than France (260).

The UK’s infection rate is higher than many other holiday destinations including Croatia (144), Portugal (142) and Turkey (15).

Travellers from all or parts of these countries face quarantine restrictions when entering England.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) – set up by the government to monitor coronavirus – works with the chief medical officers of each UK nation and advises on which destinations should be on the quarantine list.

In the past, the decision appears to have been triggered when 20 or more people out of every 100,000 in a country, or island, are infected over seven days, but other factors are also considered. These include:

Countries can now share more robust and detailed breakdowns of their coronavirus rates.

That’s prompted the UK to introduce regional travel corridors. These allow quarantine measures to be introduced for a country’s mainland, but not its islands, for example.

As a result, travellers to England have needed to quarantine if they return from some Greek islands, or from mainland Portugal.

So far, it has been too difficult to distinguish between mainland areas of a country.

Health is a devolved policy, meaning each UK nation sets its own quarantine list. But until recently these have generally been identical.

In early September, Scotland and Wales decided to apply quarantine measures to all, or parts, of Greece after a number of cases of the virus were traced back to travellers from there.

They have also both added Portugal to their quarantine list, after cases rose.

But England and Northern Ireland did not immediately apply quarantine restrictions to travellers from Greece and Portugal at that point, although did for some areas of those countries at a later date.

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