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Men pictured drinking pints at Skegness hotel with caption ‘What Lockdown?’

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/skegness-hotel-licence-revoked-covid-b900511.html

Men pictured drinking pints at Skegness hotel with caption ‘What Lockdown?’
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seaside hotel has had its alcohol premises licence revoked after pictures were posted online of men drinking pints with the caption “What Lockdown?”

The force attended the hotel on November 19 and CCTV showed it had been open and trading on November 13 and 14.

Police said the business was in contravention of the Government closure order which started at midnight on November 4.

The owner of the hotel, named by the force as Mr Sparks, described it as an “error of judgment” but police said CCTV showed attendees being handed “pint after pint” by management.

The hotel has 21 days to appeal against the decision by Skegness District Council Licensing Sub-Committee, otherwise the suspension will begin with immediate effect.

Sergeant Kim Enderby, alcohol licensing manager for Lincolnshire Police, said: “Following that initial Facebook image being sent to my team we carried out a thorough investigation.

“I thought after 29 years in the police there wasn’t a lot left to shock me but the way in which this venue was operating was awful.

“Nearly two weeks after the November lockdown had started we found footage of over 15 people in the bar area.

<p>What Lockdown? Men snapped drinking pints in the Grosvenor House Hotel</p>
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What Lockdown? Men snapped drinking pints in the Grosvenor House Hotel

/ Lincolnshire Police )

“They were being served pint after pint by the owner of the premises, Mr Sparks.

“Obviously this hotel bar should have been closed; people should not have been allowed inside to drink alcohol. But of equal concern was the total lack of social distancing measures in place.

“At one point over 10 men were crammed round a small table drinking and posing for what we think were the Facebook posts.

“There were no face masks being worn by customers or staff, nothing had been put in place to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

“Mr Sparks claimed it was an error of judgment on his part to open the bar, but that is a poor excuse.”

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Large groups gathered at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Skegness during the latest coronavirus lockdown.

/ East Lindsey District Council )

Sgt Enderby said the “blatant disregard” for the closure order and social distancing measures demonstrated “a lack of management and control over these premises”.

He added: “We are not yet out of this pandemic – whilst the vaccine rollout is well under way, we still need everyone to be sensible and follow the regulations.

“The decision of East Lindsey District Council to revoke this licence sends a really strong deterrent message to anyone owning or running licensed premises. They need to follow the guidance, operate lawfully and responsibly.

“We will not hesitate to take action against any licensed premises whose operation presents a risk to the public, where there is criminality and where the licensing objectives are undermined.”

An East Lindsey District Council spokesman added: “Lincolnshire Police and the District Council made visits to the premises during November 2020. 

“During these visits, evidence was found suggesting the premises had been operating in such a manner as to undermine the regulations designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

“Following the evidence found, Lincolnshire Police requested a premises licence review by the Council.

“The Licensing Committee’s decision was to revoke the premises licence and owner, Mr Russell Sparkes, has 21 days to appeal the decision.”

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Royal family focus on pandemic in Commonwealth show ahead of Oprah interview

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/queen-commonwealth-tv-special-harry-meghan-oprah-interview-b922158.html

Royal family focus on pandemic in Commonwealth show ahead of Oprah interview

It comes after CBS revealed that Harry and Meghan’s intimate interview with Oprah Winfrey is set to be released at 8pm in the US on Sunday, which will be in the early hours of Monday UK time.

ITV also announced it secured the exclusive UK television rights to the 90-minute interview and will air it on the Monday at 9pm.

The Palace said in a statement: “In Her Majesty’s annual Commonwealth Day message, the Queen will pay tribute to the way in which communities across the family of nations have come together in response to the pandemic.”

A Celebration for Commonwealth Day will be broadcast on BBC One at 5pm on Sunday, March 7.

<p>A Celebration for Commonwealth Day will be broadcast on BBC One at 5pm on Sunday, March 7.</p>

A Celebration for Commonwealth Day will be broadcast on BBC One at 5pm on Sunday, March 7.

/ AP

The Prince of Wales has recorded a message for the programme addressing “the universal devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic”.

Charles will also celebrate the “critical work” being carried out by nations across the Commonwealth to combat climate change and protect its unique landscapes, marine environments and biodiversity.

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London Mayoral campaign: Sadiq Khan forced to hole-up inside coffee shop after protesters turn up at launch

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/sadiq-khan-cafe-london-mayoral-race-launch-shaun-bailey-b922137.html

London Mayoral campaign: Sadiq Khan forced to hole-up inside coffee shop after protesters turn up at launch
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adiq Khan’s re-election campaign hit trouble today when he was forced to hole-up inside a coffee shop for an hour to avoid a small group of residents protesting about a transport scheme. 

The Mayor had chosen the Hot Milk cafe in Bounds Green for the media launch of his bid to win a second term at City Hall. 

But as news of his visit began to spread, six residents gathered outside, asking to speak with Mr Khan about a low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) introduced by Enfield council. 

They said it had made their lives a misery by forcing them to divert via the North Circular Road. 

Mr Khan, on the advice of his police protection officers, remained in the cafe for an hour in the hope the protesters would leave. When they refused to go, he made a dash for his car and ignored their requests.

Mr Khan launched his campaign for a second term with nine weeks until polling day on May 6 and after last year’s election was postponed due to Covid.

Mr Khan called for a 1945-style programme to rebuild the economy and promised to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs” and encouraging domestic tourists back to central London.

He criticised Chancellor Rishi Sunak for failing to provide a “long-term vision” for after the lifting of lockdown, or to guarantee jobs or training and said that a £367million hole in City Hall’s finances due to Covid meant “inevitable” cuts to public services.

At the campaign launch at Hot Milk Cafe in Bounds Green, which has received £5,000 from City Hall to keep trading and £12,500 from the Mayor’s “pay it forward” advance payment scheme, Mr Khan vowed to “relentlessly bang the drum for London — both at home and around the world” to attract jobs and investment.

More than 18,000 Londoners have died with Covid. Mr Khan said he was determined to “build an even better London” in their memory.

<p>Mr Khan had chosen the Hot Milk cafe in Bounds Green for the media launch of his bid to win a second term at City Hall</p>

Mr Khan had chosen the Hot Milk cafe in Bounds Green for the media launch of his bid to win a second term at City Hall

/ PA

He said: “In 1945, a Labour government rebuilt Britain from the ashes of war. Like so many, I benefited from their work decades later as I grew up on a council estate and was given the opportunities to fulfil my potential.

“That’s why jobs, jobs, jobs are a top priority for my second term. I am hopeful that with the right support from the Government we can help get the 300,000 Londoners who have lost jobs during the pandemic back into work.”

At least 16 candidates, including several independents, are expected to run for mayor but Mr Khan said it was a “two-horse race” between himself and Tory rival Shaun Bailey.

“We’re the only two candidates who can win and the choice couldn’t be starker,” he said. Mr Bailey said the Budget was “supporting London’s recovery, because Sadiq Khan won’t”.

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Mr Bailey said: “In the middle of a pandemic Londoners need support, not higher taxes. So as mayor, I’ll reverse these harmful decisions.”

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Amazon opens its first till-less grocery store outside the USA in west London

https://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/amazon-opens-first-tillless-grocery-store-outside-usa-west-london-b922102.html

Amazon opens its first till-less grocery store outside the USA in west London
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mazon opened its first till-less grocery store outside the USA in west London on Thursday.

Customers simply scan a QR code on the way in to the Amazon Fresh store then “just walk out” with groceries, with their accounts automatically billed as they leave.

A number of cameras and sensors in the store ceiling track customers and their purchases.

The store, in Ealing Broadway, stocks hundreds of own-brand products as well as well known brands and also serves as a collection and return point for goods bought online.

Amazon opens its first till-less grocery store outside the USA in west London
Amazon

The shop, which is open from 7am to 11am, is the first in the UK but Amazon is believed to be looking for other locations in Greater London.

Chiropractor Andrew Martin was one of the first customers this morning.

He said: “I just heard about it and had to come down. I use Amazon a lot and it’s really intriguing idea. It’s so strange just to be able to walk out with goods. I just hope it doesn’t lead me to accidentally shoplift in other shops because I get so used to the money coming out automatically.”

Amazon

Teacher Sara Right added: “I live locally so it’s definitely convenient. It’s quite terrifying that it just knows what you’ve bought but it’s very easy  so I think I’ll use it.”

The stores will be similar to the 20 Amazon Go stores the company runs in the US but will operate under the Fresh brand it uses for its UK online grocery operations.

Amazon said the store will be the first of a number of planned openings in London.

Teacher Sara Right said she thought it was “quite terrifying” that the store knew what people had bought.

/ Rachael Burford

Matt Birch, the former Sainsbury’s executive who now leads Amazon Fresh Stores UK, told PA the company has strived to make grocery shopping “as convenient as possible”.

“The focus was just creating a really easy shopping experience for customers,” he said.

“We recognise that UK customers want to shop in a convenient way so we really think they will appreciate being able to walk in and walk out with the shopping they need.”

The company said it has also launched a By Amazon range of hundreds of own-brand products for the stores.

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Prince Philip has ‘successful procedure’ for pre-existing heart condition and will remain in hospital

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/prince-philip-health-latest-procedure-heart-condition-hospital-b922091.html

Prince Philip has ‘successful procedure’ for pre-existing heart condition and will remain in hospital

The Palace said the duke, who turns 100 in June, would remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.

The news came hours after a second trailer for Harry and Meghan’s highly-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey was released. In the clip, the Duchess of Sussex suggests “The Firm” – widely considered to be shorthand for the institution of the Royal Family – played a part in “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and Harry.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday: “The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

“His Royal Highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days”.

Philip was was initially admitted to the private King Edward VII’s Hospital on February 16 as a precautionary measure after feeling unwell.

The Palace later said he was being treated for an infection.

He was shielded from public view with umbrellas as he was transferred. The Palace later released a statement saying that he was “comfortable”.

Meghan Markle Oprah interview: ‘a lot has been lost already’

Philip has been treated for heart problems in the past. In 2011, he was rushed to hospital by helicopter from Sandringham after suffering chest pains as the Royal Family were preparing for Christmas.

In the serious health scare, he was treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire and underwent a minimally invasive procedure of coronary stenting.

The duke has spent most of lockdown residing at Windsor Castle with the Queen for their safety, alongside a reduced household of staff dubbed HMS Bubble. He and the Queen, who have been married for 73 years, have had their first Covid vaccine.

In the latest clip, Winfrey asks the duchess: “How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?”

She replies: “I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.

“And, if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I … there is a lot that has been lost already.”

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Myanmar sees deadliest day as 38 killed amid ongoing protests

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/myanmar-deadly-protests-b922076.html

Myanmar sees deadliest day as 38 killed amid ongoing protests
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t least 38 people were killed in Myanmar on Wednesday in what UN officials are calling the “bloodiest day” since the force took over.

The death toll comes as mass protests, calling for the end of military rule and the release of the country’s elected government leaders, take place across the region.

UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said: “Today it was the bloodiest day since the coup happened on February 1.

“We have today – only today – 38 people died. We have now more than over 50 people who have died since the coup started and more have been wounded.”

This figure shared by the UN is consistent with other reports, however accounts are difficult to confirm inside the country.

<p>The military take over and the violent suppression of protests that soon followed have led to condemnation from the international community.</p>

The military take over and the violent suppression of protests that soon followed have led to condemnation from the international community.

/ REUTERS

Security forces were seen firing slingshots at protesters, chasing them down and beating an ambulance crew in a video showing a dramatic escalation of violence against opponents of last month’s military coup, according to the Associated Press.

The military take over and the violent suppression of protests that soon followed have led to condemnation from the international community.

Reacting to Wednesday’s deaths, the UK called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on Friday, while the US said it was considering further action against Myanmar’s military.

The latest violence comes a day after Myanmar’s neighbours urged the military to exercise restraint.

Demonstrators have regularly flooded the streets of cities across the country since the military seized power and ousted the elected government of leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Their numbers have remained high even as security forces have repeatedly fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the crowds, and arrested many protesters.

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