Ms Wilson, 25, who has previously been the subject of racist abuse, said it was “really disappointing” it took some time for the hats to be taken down.
She said she wanted to make sure the item was never sold again.
“Multiple people reported it and racist material should be removed immediately,” she said.
“Websites like Amazon definitely need to have better checks in place for both their descriptions and photos because this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.”
The hat, which cost £12.96, was described by the seller as “high quality” with a “unique and fashionable” design which was “eye catching”. It said the hat’s “elegant” appearance made it a “nice present” for family and friends.
In a statement, Amazon said: “All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The product in question is no longer available.”
A Northamptonshire man who was a member of a hacking group which stole hospital patients’ records and Netflix shows has been sentenced to five years in prison in the US.
The Dark Overlord (TDO) hacking group stole data from a range of organisations, and demanded huge ransoms for its return.
Wyatt contacted victims to ask for payments, and was caught via a telephone number linking him to this.
The rest of the group remains at large.
It is unclear how many members there are.
Wyatt was arrested in 2017 in the UK and extradited to the US in December 2019. He had previously been investigated for hacking the iCloud account of Pippa Middleton, the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, but was released with no further action taken.
The 39-year-old pleaded guilty in a federal court in St Louis to charges of identity theft and computer fraud. During the hearing, held via Zoom, he apologised and reportedly said that he never wanted to see another computer for the rest of his life.
He admitted that the group had obtained sensitive data from companies, and threatened to release the data unless the companies paid a ransom of between $75,000 (£58,000) and $350,000. No companies paid up, but he was ordered to pay £1.1m in compensation.
Acting US Assistant Attorney General Brian C Rabbitt said: “Nathan Wyatt used his technical skills to prey on Americans’ private data and exploited the sensitive nature of their medical and financial records for his own personal gain”.
The crimes the TDO has claimed responsibility for include:
hacking three healthcare organisations and selling more than 650,000 patient records on the dark web
hacking Netflix and leaking episodes of Orange is the New Black
selling more than 9.3 million patient records from an unnamed healthcare insurance provider
TikTok has written to social media firms asking them to join together to remove content that depicts self-harm or suicide more quickly.
It comes after a clip of a man killing himself was widely circulated on its platform and viewed by young children.
Theo Bertram, Europe’s public policy head, said the sharing of the video suggested a co-ordinated attack, possibly from bot accounts.
He declined to discuss ongoing negotiations on the future of TikTok.
Mr Bertram was being grilled by MPs on the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport who are investigating how social media platforms deal with online harms.
They were also keen to hear more about the future of the company outside China, in wake of President Donald Trump’s threat to ban the app in the US unless a deal is struck with American firms.
Owner ByteDance is currently in talks with Oracle and Walmart over its future, but reports suggest that China is unlikely to approve what it sees as an unfair deal.
Mr Bertram said he was not able to comment on the details of the ongoing negotiations.
“I think there are broader concerns around China and China’s role in the world. And I think that these concerns are projected on to TikTok and don’t think they are always fairly projected,” he told MPs.
When pressed on how the platform dealt with content sensitive to the Chinese government, such as protests in Hong Kong and the treatment of the Uighur Muslims, he told MPs: “TikTok is a business outside of China and is led by European management that have the same concerns and the same world view that you do and we care about our users.”
Some of those users have recently been traumatised by a clip circulating on the platform showing a US man killing himself, and Mr Bertram acknowledged that the firm had to “do better”.
Mr Bertram explained that the firm had seen a huge spike in the sharing of the clip a week after the broadcast took place on Facebook Live.
“Following an internal review, we found evidence of a co-ordinated effort by bad actors to spread this video across the internet and platforms, including TikTok.
“And we saw people searching for content in a very specific way. Frequently clicking on a profile of people as if they’re kind of anticipating that those people had uploaded a video.”
He said the firm had written to the chief executives of Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest and Reddit.
“What we are proposing is that, the same way these companies already work together around child sexual imagery and terrorist-related content, we should now establish a partnership around dealing with this type of content.”
And for TikTok itself, he promised “changes to machines learning and emergency systems” as well as how algorithms that detect such content can work better with the firm’s content moderators.
He was also asked about reports that TikTok had removed content around disabilities or LGBTQ.
He explained that “unfortunately” there had been a policy around not promoting content that might encourage bullying, which limited content from people with disabilities and LGBTQ content.
“That is no longer our policy,” he said.
He was less clear on whether the firm restricted the promotion of LGBTQ hashtags in Russia, saying: “Not as far as I’m aware… The only time we will remove that content is when we have a legal requirement to do so.”
“The hidden internet is no longer hidden”, said Edvardas Sileris, head of Europol’s cyber-crime centre.
The operation, known as DisrupTor, was a joint effort between the Department of Justice and Europol. It is believed that the criminals engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit goods and services across the US and Europe.
Drugs seized including fentanyl, oxycodone, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and MDMA.
Of those arrested 119 were based in the US, two in Canada, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the UK, three in Austria and one in Sweden.
Police are getting better at targeting operations on the dark web – a part of the internet that is accessible only through specialised tools. This latest raid follows the takedown of the Wall Street market last year, which was then thought to be the second-largest illegal online market on the dark web.
Mr Sileris said: “Law enforcement is most effective when working together, and today’s announcement sends a strong message to criminals selling or buying illicit goods on the dark web: the hidden internet is no longer hidden and your anonymous activity is not anonymous.”
“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognise that today’s announcement is important and timely,” said FBI director Christopher Wray.
Kacey Clark, a researcher dark web monitoring specialist Digital Shadows said: “This is another further blow to organised cybercrime. The operation which took down the AlphaBay and Hansa marketplaces three years ago spooked cyber criminals, since it resulted in many follow up prosecutions as law enforcement pieced evidence together – often many months later.
“Wall Street market emerged from these ashes and was the most significant one in existence at the time. It would appear that law enforcement has followed the same pattern and that is why we are seeing arrests today.”
Will this truly herald the “end of the golden era of dark web marketplaces”?
In the short-term there could big impact as not only this operation but other recent incidents have shaken trust in dark web stores.
Last month another popular marketplace called Empire came to an abrupt close after a suspected ‘exit scam’.
It’s thought the administrators made off with members’ funds, leaving customers’ wallets empty and vendors needing to rebuild their shops somewhere else.
Three other major sites have also been linked to exit scams in the last 12 months – so the police operation comes at a time when many people may already be questioning their shopping habits.
However, as we’ve seen in the past with big takedowns like AlphaBay, the lure of buying drugs and other illegal items on the internet means there is always be a market for it.
Other sites will be trying to boost their security and anonymity and it’s likely more marketplaces will sprout up, potentially offering even more innovative systems to make it harder for law enforcement to find them.
As Chile’s talk continues beyond the 15-minute deadline, Julian Borger has some analysis on China’s news-making speech:
Xi Jinping adopted the role of the adult superpower in the room in his address, presented in front of a painting of the Great Wall. Unlike Trump, he spoke the language of multilateral diplomacy. And he made news, declaring that China’s carbon dioxide emissions would peak by 2030 and the country would reach carbon neutrality by 2060, targets the EU has been urging Beijing to agree to.
Xi also announced some donations to UN funds – $50m to UN’s Covid-19 relief fund, and $50m to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
As it was a pre-recorded speech, there was no reaction to Trump’s attack, but there were some digs at unilateralism without naming the US or its president.
“Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich or trying to fight globalization with Don Quixote’s lance will go against the trend of history,” the Chinese leader said, with a western literary reference apparently aimed at Trump. “The world will never return to isolation and no one can sever the ties between countries.”
Sebastián Piñera Echenique, the president of Chile,is now defending his government’s crackdown on protests this year.
You can read more about that here:
Trump’s UN speech is already and predictably being promoted as an election video:
Chile speaking now. After that, we have:
…and we have photos of Xi Jinping’s background:
Some more analysis, this time from our diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour, on Turkey’s talk:
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used his general assembly address to set out Turkey’s bitter objections to its exclusion from the East Mediterranean, but said he was ready to resume talks bound by international law to address their contested maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean. By his recent rhetorical standards, the speech was one of Erdoğan’s mildest.
His speech came at a highly sensitive time in the talks process following a video conference earlier on Tuesday between Erdoğan, GermanChancellor Angela Merkel and EU Council President Charles Michel.
Merkel is trying to mediate a deal whereby Turkey and Greece restart bilateral talks on their disputed maritime claims, and in return Turkey at a meeting of the EU Heads of State later this week is given assurances about modernising the Turkey-EU customs union. In a bid to pave the way for talks, Turkey pulled back one of its navy surveillance ships for what it described as routine maintenance, but was clearly a diplomatic gesture.
Erdoğan told the UN his priority was to settle disputes by international law on an equitable basis. He warned no attack, harassment or intimidation of Turkey will be accepted.
The dispute has widened into a conflict between Turkey as upholder of the Palestinian cause, and the Arab Gulf States, such as the United Arab Emiratesthat have struck a peace deal with Israel. Turkey is also defending the rights of Turkish Cypriots on the divided island. Without mentioning France,Greece’s main supporter, he said futile attempts to exclude Turkey would have no chance of success, and blamed the dispute on Greece’s maximalists demands since 2003.
He also called for a regional conference in the Mediterranean including the Turkish Cypriots to promote a dialogue between the Med’s coastal countries. Turkey feels it was excluded when an East Med gas forum was set up last year that left out Turkey.
Xi says there is no point trying to fight globalisation.
He is also calling for “a green revolution”. He wants carbon neutrality before 2060.
Sidenote: China wins my vote for “best video call background” so far. Xi is sitting in front of a painting of the Great Wall of China. Other leaders have to step it up.
Before introducing President Xi Jinping, China’s UN representative just complained that the country was being blamed for the pandemic.
“China resolutely rejects the baseless accusations,” he said.
I wonder if those were off-the-cuff remarks after Trump’s earlier attack.
Before we get to the next speaker, here is some snap analyis on Trump’s address from my colleague, Julian Borger:
Trump’s speech was a barnstorming seven minutes, less than half the time he was allotted, and in a tone just short of yelling. It was a speech designed for a virtual campaign rally and that is its destiny, to be played on repeat on Republican social media.
Much of the speech was a ferocious attack on China. He named the country 11 times in all. In the first few seconds he had named Covid-19 the “China virus”, and called for Beijing to be held accountable.
Having dismissed the pandemic as affecting “virtually nobody” at a rally yesterday, he called the fight against it as a “great global struggle” comparable to the second world war. And Trump went on to make a series of false claims about what the US government was doing about the pandemic.
The first was the biggest. He said “we launched the most aggressive mobilization, since the second world war.”
In fact, the federal government has handed over leadership to the states, and its main impact was to broadcast misleading information, downplaying the threat. Trump was speaking just after the US passed the milestone of 200,000 dead from the pandemic – a statistic he did not mention.
There will be some relief in the UN, where there were fears that the US president would announce the severing of more US funding of the organisation. Instead the hostile fire was directed mostly on China. The brevity of the speech limited the number of targets.
Erdoğan is jumping from Middle East crisis to Middle East crisis.
He is complaining about what he says is Turkey’s disproportionate role in Syria’s refugee crisis, then brings up conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Iraq.
Erdoğan later criticises Trump’s Israel-Palestine “peace plan”, released in January.The Turkish president calls it a“document of surrender” that is detrimental for Palestinians.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkeyhas started with a rather technical talk on bolstering multilateralism.
After a summer of gradual relaxation, the UK faces the prospect of further nationwide restrictions. But about a fifth of the population already know what it’s like to go back into some form of lockdown.
So are these local lockdowns effective, and what can we learn from them?
Not all lockdowns are created equal
Since July, more than 10 million people have come under some form of new curbs to their freedom, from pub closures to a complete ban on mixing with other households.
Restrictions were brought in at different points in local outbreaks.
Given that many local restrictions have been implemented so recently, it is difficult to assess how effective they’ve been.
However, data from Leicester, Leicestershire and Greater Manchester, which have been subject to restrictions for longer periods, provide some insight.
In Leicester, action was taken fairly late, once cases had surpassed 140 per 100,000 people.
However, once they were brought in, the measures were stringent, preventing shops and pubs from opening, and households from gathering indoors.
And that lockdown had a visible impact on cases.
Allowing for the fact that some people might change their behaviour a little before or after a formal lockdown is announced, the rise and fall in case numbers tracks very closely with measures being implemented, and then eased again.
Pubs, restaurants, gyms and beauty salons were gradually allowed to reopen from the beginning of August to the start of September. There are still limits on gatherings across the city.
In Greater Manchester, a slightly different approach was taken.
Measures were brought in sooner than in Leicester – when cases hit about 80 per 100,000 people – but initially they were softer.
Gatherings with other households were banned, but shops, pubs and restaurants remained open.
And the pattern when it comes to cases is less clear.
Although Oldham saw a large weekly drop immediately after the restrictions were added, the trend has generally been upwards.
When we talk about cases, what we’re really seeing is how many cases are being confirmed through testing – and this can vary wildly depending on how much testing you do.
Testing has been troubled in recent weeks, but earlier in the summer huge resources were focused on areas with outbreaks, including testers going door-to-door to swab people, regardless of whether they had symptoms.
The government doesn’t publish a breakdown of testing by local authority, but Public Health England does publish regional positivity rates – the number of positive cases as a proportion of all tests carried out.
This makes earlier increases in cases look a little less steep than they do from confirmed cases alone.
But it shows that recent rises in case numbers have been genuine, and not just a result of more testing.
While case numbers are skewed by how many tests are being done, hospital admissions are a more consistent measure.
Looking at both hospital admissions and deaths in Leicester brings home how much impact its second lockdown had.
A rise in hospital admissions was stopped in its tracks and reduced – only to come back up again in recent weeks, as restrictions have eased.
Coronavirus deaths in the city also saw a sustained decrease, with Leicester recording fewer than five deaths a week in the month to 7 September.
In Greater Manchester, again the picture is less dramatic but hospital admissions do appear to have been kept at a low level following the introduction of restrictions.
It is possible the measures did something to protect the most vulnerable, even if they didn’t have as noticeable an impact on overall cases.
And, perhaps because some restrictions were brought in at an earlier stage, the rise in cases doesn’t appear to have led to higher death rates.
But local hospitalisation data has only been published up to 2 September. National data shows hospital admissions for Covid have been creeping up since then.
In fact, since 2 September the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in the north-west has tripled to 393 – the highest since 6 July.
That hasn’t yet translated to an increase in the number of people dying, but that will be the fear.
The data confirms that curbs in local areas can have a considerable impact, and the tighter they are, the bigger the impact on cases.
Fundamentally, the virus needs people to be in close contact and mixing between circles to spread through the population.
But it also indicates that the impact is far from permanent – relax the restrictions and allow more contact, and the virus will quickly start to spread again.
Unless and until a viable vaccine becomes available, government will be faced with the same choice: shut down large chunks of society or allow the virus to tear through communities, with little idea of the true toll that either will exact.
People are being advised to get a flu jab to help protect against the “double danger” of flu and coronavirus.
Research shows people can catch both diseases at the same time, with serious and sometimes deadly consequences.
More people will be offered a free flu vaccine this year – anyone over 50 in England is eligible.
A vaccine for coronavirus is not available yet and experts are worried the UK could see the virus rip through the population this winter.
Research from Public Health England looking at Covid-19 illness between January and April among nearly 20,000 hospital patients suggests risk of death is more than doubled for people who catch flu on top of coronavirus, compared to coronavirus alone.
Flu by itself can also be a serious condition – it kills around 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more.
People at high risk from flu are also most at risk from Covid-19.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said: “Flu can be deadly and it is easily spread in children and adults. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from becoming ill with the flu, especially if you are in a vulnerable group.
“This winter with Covid still circulating, and the increased risk to life if you are ill with both viruses simultaneously, it is even more vital to get the free jab as soon as you can.”
People who are not eligible for a free jab could pay for one at pharmacies and supermarkets, although availability is limited currently while stocks are prioritised to those who need it the most.
School bus drivers have raised concerns about a lack of social distancing on services travelling at full capacity, with many children not wearing masks.
The Unite union said it was “extremely worried” drivers were at risk of catching Covid-19 on “packed” buses.
Social distancing is not mandatory on dedicated school buses under government guidance across the UK, although it should happen where possible.
The government says it is providing £40m to help increase capacity.
Government guidance for England says that, where possible, social distancing should be “maximised” between individuals or “bubbles” of children who stay together throughout the course of the day.
Other safety measures recommended include more frequent cleaning, maximising ventilation through opening windows and ceiling vents, and allocating seats to ensure children sit with their “bubble” if possible.
The guidance says the measures are an “appropriate balance” because the overall risk to children of serious illness from Covid-19 is very low, they do not mix with the general public on school buses, and services often carry the same children on a regular basis.
Sheamus Greene, who drives a school bus in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, which holds 45 children and travels at full capacity, says there is no social distancing on the service.
He says the bus carries children from eight different schools, who are on board for between 20 and 35 minutes.
Pupils over the age of 12 are advised to wear face coverings but Mr Greene says only around 50% on his bus do.
Unlike on public transport, face coverings are not compulsory on dedicated school buses in Northern Ireland, Wales or England, although they are recommended. However, they should be worn by children aged five and over on services in Scotland.
Mr Greene, who is also a Sinn Féin councillor, says a plastic screen was installed around his driver’s seat after he raised concerns with the education authority – but it is not airtight.
He says there is very little ventilation on the bus, with only one skylight window able to be opened and this has to be closed if it rains, which he fears will allow the virus to spread more easily.
Mr Greene, 55, says he is worried about transmitting the virus to family members at home, who have underlying health conditions making them more vulnerable to Covid-19.
“There’s an awful lot of drivers in this area in their 70s and mid to late 60s, and I know some of them have underlying health problems as well,” he adds.
“I don’t know of any other job where people have been expected to do what school bus drivers have been expected to do – sit in a confined space with up to 50 people for six hours a day.”
Mr Greene says he wants to see evidence that travelling without social distancing is safe – and, if it isn’t, he says capacity should be reduced.
A statement from the education authority said it had put in place a range of safety measures, in line with government advice, including distributing more than 150,000 items of PPE to drivers, installing screens and hand sanitiser dispensers on vehicles, and enhanced cleaning.
“Our drivers and escorts play a vital role in enabling children and young people to access education, and their health and wellbeing is important to us, so we are committed to keeping our guidance under review in line with government advice,” the statement said.
‘Colds are rife’
Michael – not his real name – drives a minibus for a special needs school in Surrey.
With children travelling in the vehicle for up to an hour-and-a-half each morning, Michael, who is 61 and asthmatic, says he is “very worried” about catching the virus.
“During the winter season colds are rife because they just go round and round the vehicle,” he says.
“If the common cold can whizz around a vehicle very easily, it does concern me enormously that coronavirus could also spread come cold season.”
The vehicle carries up to eight passengers but after Michael raised concerns with his employer the capacity was reduced to seven, allowing a one-seat gap between him and the next child.
While the children wear masks, Michael – who does not want to use his real name for fear of losing his job – says they are not worn properly, with the children’s noses often uncovered.
He wants capacity reduced to four passengers to enable social distancing and medical-grade masks for drivers.
A Surrey County Council spokesman said both the council and the Department for Transport had provided guidance to schools and bus operators on how to safely run school transport.
“It’s important that we all work together to ensure that appropriate measures are in place and the risk to passengers, drivers and passenger assistants is minimised, therefore we’re always willing to discuss any concerns with transport operators,” he said.
Unite’s national officer for passenger transport, Bobby Morton, says social distancing and face coverings should be mandatory on school buses.
He says a lack of consistency in guidance for public transport and dedicated school services means the situation varies across the country, with some buses “packed” full of children.
“I get call after call from drivers saying to me they’re very, very fearful,” he says.
“Not only could they be infected themselves but when they return home after their shift they could unwittingly be transmitting the virus to members of their family.”
In the House of Common, the prime minister told MPs: “We always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real. I’m sorry to say that, as in Spain and France and many other countries, we’ve reached a perilous turning point.”
Mr Johnson said the government would provide police and local authorities in England with extra funding to enforce the regulations and the option to draw on military support.
He said the new rules were “carefully judged” to achieve the maximum reduction in the R number – which measures how quickly the virus is spreading – while causing “the minimum damage to lives and livelihoods”.
The prime minister said this was “by no means a return to the full lockdown of March”, with no general instructions to stay at home. Businesses, schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
In the last fortnight, hospital admissions have doubled and Covid-19 is likely to spread faster in winter, Mr Johnson said, adding: “So this is the moment when we must act.”
If these restrictions fail to bring the R number below one – the point where the epidemic is no longer growing – “then we reserve the right to deploy greater fire power with significantly greater restrictions” he said.
Mr Johnson said: “We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments, new forms of mass-testing but unless we palpably make progress we should assume that the restrictions that I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.”
Under the new measures for England:
Penalties for not wearing a mask or gathering in groups of more than six will increase to £200 on the first offence
From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants will be restricted to table service only. Takeaways can continue
The planned return of spectators to sports venues will now not go ahead from 1 October
Face coverings must be worn by shop staff, taxi drivers and passengers
Customers in indoor hospitality venues will also have to wear masks, except when seated at a table to eat or drink
Exemptions to the “rule of six” will be cut back, meaning indoor team sports such as five-a-side football matches will end.
Restating her support for people working from home, Scotland’s first minister also announced her government may impose a “legal duty” on employers to allow home working.
Ms Sturgeon said enforcement of coronavirus rules for the public in Scotland is “under review” but added: “Supporting people to do the right thing is much more effective than threatening harsh punishment if they cannot.”
The first minister also said the new restrictions on visiting other households would be reviewed every three weeks – and stressed that they would “not necessarily” be in place for as long as six months.
‘Tough calls are still to come’
The new restrictions in England amount to little more than a tinkering around the edges.
Last week there was talk of mini lockdowns and circuit breaks. But with hospital admissions and deaths still low, there is a window of opportunity to see what impact these new measures will have.
While the rapid growth put forward by the government’s chief pandemic advisers on Monday that cases could reach 50,000 a day by mid-October is unlikely to be realised, according to many, the chances are infection rates will continue to climb.
This is a virus which can be transmitted silently – people are infectious before symptoms develop, while some do not even develop any – and we are entering the time of year when respiratory illnesses circulate more and deaths start to increase.
If and when this happens, the government will need to decide how far it is prepared to go. The same applies for the rest of the UK nations despite the tighter restrictions there on visiting people’s homes.
A full lockdown is highly unlikely, but more significant steps such as closing hospitality venues, leisure facilities and curbing everyday activities from playing sport to travelling around the country remain options.
But the horrible question that will be asked is this: How much economic pain, disruption and damage to wider health and wellbeing is worth the lives that are at risk?
The really tough calls are still to come.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he supported “necessary” stricter measures, but added that families were worried “the government doesn’t have a strategy”.
“One day people were encouraged to work in the office, in fact more than encouraged they were openly challenged by the prime minister for not doing so. Today they’re told the opposite,” he said.
“This is a time of national crisis but we need clear leadership.”
Sir Keir also said it would be a “disaster” to withdraw the furlough scheme – which is due to end next month – in “one fell swoop” with no additional support for people whose jobs might be at risk.
The Confederation of British Industry, which represents business, said it was “desperately urgent” to announce a targeted replacement for the furlough scheme.
“It has saved thousands and thousands of jobs but there is a cliff-edge looming. And, now, with today’s announcement that is more urgent than ever,” said director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn.
Some business owners said the new rules would make life even harder. Marc Gough, who runs a crockery and glassware business in the wedding and events sector, said the cut to the limit for weddings to 15 was “heart breaking”.
“I can’t earn a living because you’re restricting me to weddings of 15 people,” Mr Gough told BBC Radio 5 live, adding that the turnover of his business had fallen from £750,000 to £20,000.
“To walk into that warehouse, to put a smile on my face to the staff that I have left, to the clients that I deal with constantly, the brides, it’s truly heart breaking,” he said.
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It’s the pathfinder in what the firm hopes will be a 10-spacecraft constellation by the end of 2022.
The image at the top of this page is Iris’s “first light” – its first attempt to sense a significant emission of methane.
The observation was made over Turkmenistan, in a region where large plumes from oil and gas infrastructure have been noted before.
The detection, overlaid on a standard aerial image, shows the concentration of methane in the air in excess of normal background levels.
“Let me tell you there was a big hurrah from the team when the data came down because we could see the spectroscopy was there, the resolution was there – everything was as it should be,” recalled GHGSat CEO Stéphane Germain.
“We still need to work on the calibration, which will then allow us to verify the detection threshold and the final performance of the satellite. But as a first-light image – by any standard it’s phenomenal,” he told BBC News.
Methane’s global warming potential is 30 times that of carbon dioxide, so it’s imperative any unnecessary releases are constrained or curtailed.
Human-produced sources are many and varied, including not only oil and gas facilities, but agriculture, landfills, coal mines and hydro-electric dams.
Already, GHGSat is working with operators, regulators and other interested parties to characterise these emissions using a prototype satellite called Claire that it launched in 2016. The presence in orbit of Iris provides an additional stream of data for the company that it now intends to interpret at a brand new British analytics hub, to be set up in Edinburgh and London in the coming weeks.
“There’s world-class capability in what we do in the UK,” Dr Germain said, “not only in analytics but also in the spacecraft systems that we’re interested in.
“The UK is a jurisdiction where climate change is important to people, and we want to be where people are willing to participate in the growth of an enterprise that wants to address that worldwide.”
This also monitors methane, taking a global daily snapshot of the gas. But at a resolution of 7km, its data is much less resolved than that of Iris, or indeed Claire which senses the atmosphere at scales of 50m.
Put them all together, however, and they form something of a dream team for investigating CH4.
“They (Sentinel-5P) can see the whole world every day. We can’t do that. But we can see individual facilities. They can’t do that. So, really, it’s a fantastic combination, and it’s making for a very good relationship with the European Space Agency that I think we’re just at the beginning of growing into something much, much bigger.”
GHG’s next satellite, Hugo, is in testing and is expected to launch at the end of this year.
The company recently secured $30m (£23m) in extra financing, which enables it to build the three spacecraft that will follow Hugo into orbit.
Responding to criticism, he tweeted: “I know you think it’s fun to dunk on me – but I’m as irritated about this as everyone else. However, I’m in a position to fix it and I will.
“It’s 100% our fault. No-one should say otherwise.”
Zehan Wang, a research engineering lead and co-founder of the neural networks company Magic Pony, which has been acquired by Twitter, said tests on the algorithm in 2017, using pairs of faces belonging to different ethnicities, had found “no significant bias between ethnicities (or genders)” – but Twitter would now review that study.
“There are many questions that will need time to dig into,” he said.
“More details will be shared after internal teams have had a chance to look at it.”
Mr Trump said at the weekend that he had asked the companies involved to put up the money “so we can educate people as to the real history of our country”.
TikTok said the $5bn figure was “a forecast of the corporate income tax and other operating taxes that TikTok will need to pay for its business development in the next few years” and said it had not been finalised.
It added, in a statement made on social media: “We would like to clarify that this is the first time that we have heard the news about a $5bn education fund”.
Bytedance also claimed it would retain an 80% stake of TikTok Global.
“China has been determined to emphasise in recent months that the country still has full control of TikTok, amid nervousness at home over the company potentially being divested,” said the BBC’s China Media Analyst Kerry Allen.
“When Oracle agreed a deal with ByteDance last week so that TikTok could remain active in the States, Chinese media emphasised that the deal was “co-operative”, with both parties playing an equal part, rather than Oracle bailing out the Chinese tech giant.”
But China may yet decide that it does not approve of the deal, said Dr Richard Windsor, founder of research firm Radio Free Mobile.
That’s because while Bytedance may retain TikTok’s algorithm, it will still run on US Oracle’s infrastructure.
“If one flips the deal on its head and imagines a situation where a world-leading piece of US software was going to be run on Chinese servers where a Chinese company had full access to it, one can start to see why China might object,” he said.
Xbox-owner Microsoft has acquired the games company behind blockbuster titles including Doom, Fallout, Skyrim and Wolfenstein.
It is paying $7.5bn (£5.85bn) for Bethesda’s parent ZeniMax Media.
Xbox has said that the publisher’s franchises would be added to its Game Pass subscription package for consoles and PCs.
This could help make the forthcoming Xbox Series X more attractive than the PlayStation 5 to some players.
Both machines are due to launch in November.
Game Pass already gives players access to more than 200 games. Microsoft includes first-party titles at point of launch to those signed up to its “ultimate” package without further cost.
By contrast, Sony has opted to charge players up to £70 for its own major releases and does not intend to include new titles in its PlayStation Plus Collection service.
It is not yet clear how the takeover affects Bethesda’s plans to create The Elder Scrolls 6, Starfield and other unfinished games as cross-platform titles.
In a statement, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said the two firms “shared similar visions for the opportunities for creators and their games to reach more players in more ways”.
Pete Hynes, senior vice president at Bethesda Softworks, said the deal offered “access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer”.
“We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us,” he wrote in a blog.
Piers Harding-Rolls, research director from Ampere Analysis, described the deal as “a major coup”.
“Microsoft has often been criticised for its lack of heavy-hitting first-party games franchises when compared to Sony and Nintendo. This deal catapults Microsoft’s games portfolio into a much stronger position,” he told the BBC.
However, there is a major drawback as each box can handle only one test at a time. So during a day, one box could perform around 16 tests.
Prof Cooke said: “They are useful in clinical settings when you are trying to make a rapid decision.”
He described a patient last week who was rapidly identified as having Covid and started on the drugs dexamethasone and remdesivir.
The tests could become even more useful for hospitals in the future as it is theoretically possible to test for coronavirus, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (a major reason young children are admitted to hospital) at the same time.
However, the capacity issue means the test cannot solve the problems with NHS Test and Trace or help with Operation Moonshot and the plans for 10 million tests per day.
Testing 60,000 people at a stadium ahead of a football match would require 60,000 boxes, but it may be useful at smaller venues.
Prof Lawrence Young, who was not part of the research and from the University of Warwick, said the technology was “innovative”.
He added: “The CovidNudge test could have an important role where near-patient, real-time decision-making is necessary, such as screening patients for admission to hospital or for surgery.
“[However,] this is not the answer to universal mass testing. “
Although deaths remain at a very low level, Sage, the scientific body which advises the UK government on the epidemic, says the rise in the R number “shows that we are moving to wider spread growth in transmission at a faster rate”.
The R (reproduction) number describes how many people each infected person passes the virus on to. If it’s above 1, numbers of cases increase very quickly.
The sharp rise in UK cases over the last two weeks comes amid ongoing problems with the government’s test and trace programme, leading to people struggling to access tests.
Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England said there were “clear signs the virus is now spreading widely across all age groups”, adding she was particularly worried “by the increase in rates of admission to hospital and intensive care among older people”.
The ONS infection survey, which tests thousands of people in random households whether they have symptoms or not, estimated there were around 6,000 new infections a day in the week to 10 September – up from 3,200 the week before.
It found infection rates were highest in the North West and London, and children aged two to 11 and young people aged 17 to 34 had most positive tests.
Where is this trajectory heading?
The government’s scientific advisers are clear coronavirus is no longer a local problem contained to hotspots.
Instead the rise in cases is now “widespread” across the UK.
Cases may be doubling every week, but they were quadrupling every week before lockdown and are currently at much lower levels than at the peak.
But the concern is where we are heading – it’s a question of trajectory.
If cases continue to double every week then the situation can rapidly get out of hand, that is why the government is contemplating a “circuit break” to control the spread.
But this is not just a question of government action, there is a responsibility on all of us.
Sage documents say only one in five people are fully self-isolating at home when they get symptoms.
The Covid Symptom Study app, which tracks the health of four million people in the UK, estimates there are around 7,500 new cases of Covid every day over the last two weeks.
Latest figures from the app show a rise in cases in London for the first time since June.
Prof Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and app founder, said it was “a worrying picture”, adding it appears “to be the start of a second wave”.
ONS data from Wales suggests Covid-19 cases there are currently “relatively stable” – with an estimated one in 2,000 people testing positive.
The move comes as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide passes 30 million, with reported global deaths standing at more than 957,000. In Africa there have been more than 1.3 million cases and than 33,000 reported deaths.
Around 140 potential vaccines for Covid-19 are being developed around the world, with dozens already being tested on people in clinical trials.
Alongside these efforts, the green light has now been given for phrase three clinical trials using African traditional medicines.
A panel of experts, set up by the WHO, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs, has agreed on the protocols.
Phase three trials usually test the safety and efficacy of a drug on larger groups of participants.
“The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of Covid-19 is generated without compromising the safety of participants,” said Prof Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa, the panel’s chairman.
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“The onset of Covid-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines,” the WHO’s Dr Prosper Tumusiime said in the statement.
In April, Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina launched Covid-Organics to great fanfare, saying it was a prevention and remedy. It had been tested on 20 people over a period of three weeks.
Mr Rajoelina stands by the herbal concoction, despite the Indian Ocean island having had 15,925 coronavirus infections and 216 Covid-19 deaths.
The drink, which has also been sent to dozens of African countries, is produced by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research from the artemisia plant – the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment – and other Malagasy plants.
Dr Tumusiime said that via the WHO’s African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, there was now a way for clinical trials of medicines in the region to be assessed and approved in fewer than 60 days.
The UK could see 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day by mid-October without further action, the government’s chief scientific adviser has warned.
Sir Patrick Vallance said that would be expected to lead to about “200-plus deaths per day” a month after that.
It comes as the PM prepares to chair a Cobra emergency committee meeting on Tuesday morning, then make a statement in the House of Commons.
On Monday, a further 4,368 daily cases and 11 deaths were reported in the UK.
The number of deaths recorded tends to be lower over the weekend and on Mondays due to reporting delays.
Speaking at Downing Street alongside chief medical adviser, Prof Chris Whitty, Sir Patrick stressed the figures given were not a prediction, but added: “At the moment we think the epidemic is doubling roughly every seven days.
“If, and that’s quite a big if, but if that continues unabated, and this grows, doubling every seven days… if that continued you would end up with something like 50,000 cases in the middle of October per day.
“Fifty-thousand cases per day would be expected to lead a month later, so the middle of November say, to 200-plus deaths per day.
“The challenge, therefore, is to make sure the doubling time does not stay at seven days.
“That requires speed, it requires action and it requires enough in order to be able to bring that down.”
Prof Whitty added that if cases continued to double every seven days as Sir Patrick had set out, then the UK could “quickly move from really quite small numbers to really very large numbers because of that exponential process”.
“So we have, in a bad sense, literally turned a corner, although only relatively recently,” he said.
Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick also said:
The rising case numbers can not be blamed on an increase in testing as there is also an “increase in positivity of the tests done”
Around 70,000 people in the UK are estimated to currently have the disease – and about 6,000 per day are catching it (based on an ONS study)
Less than 8% of the population has been infected, although the figure could be as high as 17% in London
The rising transmission is a serious “six-month problem that we have to deal with collectively” – but science will eventually “ride to our rescue”
The virus is not milder now than in April, despite claims to the contrary
It is possible “that some vaccine could be available before the end of the year in small amounts for certain groups” but “the first half of next year” is much more likely
The government’s most senior science and medical advisers are clearly concerned about the rise in cases that have been seen in recent weeks.
The warning about 50,000 cases a day by mid-October is stark. We don’t know for sure how many cases there were at the peak in spring (as there was very limited testing in place) although some estimates put it at 100,000.
However, they were also at pains to point out it was not a prediction – for one thing the ‘rule of six’ which came in just a week ago has not had time to have an impact.
Even among the government’s own advisers there is disagreement over whether what we are seeing is the start of an exponential rise or just a gradual increase in cases, which is what you would expect at this time of year as respiratory viruses tend to circulate more with the reopening of society.
Spain and France, which both started seeing rises earlier than the UK, have not seen the sort of rapid trajectory that was presented by the advisers.
Instead, what was quite telling was the clear social messaging. Even those who are not at a high risk of complications should, they say, play their part in curbing the spread of the virus – because if it spreads then difficult decisions will be needed that have profound societal consequences.
But the big unanswered question is what ministers will do next. There is talk of further restrictions being introduced.
A couple of things are in our favour that were not in the spring. Better treatments for those who get very sick are now available, while the government is in a stronger position to protect the vulnerable groups.
Should ministers wait and see what happens? Or should they crack down early, knowing that will have a negative impact in other ways?
Prof Whitty also said that even though different parts of the UK were seeing cases rising at different rates, and even though some age groups were affected more than others, the evolving situation was “all of our problem”.
He added that evidence from other countries showed infections were “not staying just in the younger age groups” but were “moving up the age bands”.
He said mortality rates from Covid-19 were “significantly greater” than seasonal flu, which killed around 7,000 annually or 20,000 in a bad year.
The briefing comes as areas in north-west England, West Yorkshire, the Midlands and four more counties in south Wales will face further local restrictions from Tuesday.
And additional lockdown restrictions will “almost certainly” be put in place in Scotland in the next couple of days, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
“Hopefully this will be with four-nations alignment, but if necessary it will have to happen without that,” she said.
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething added: “It may be the case that UK-wide measures will be taken but that will require all four governments to exercise our varying share of power and responsibility to do so.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with leaders of the devolved administrations on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a new exemption to local restrictions in England for formal and informal childcare arrangements, covering those looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults.
“It does not allow for play-dates or parties, but it does mean that a consistent childcare relationship that is vital for somebody to get to work is allowed,” he told the Commons.
It is not a question of “if”.
Downing Street will have to introduce extra restrictions to try to slow down the dramatic resurgence of coronavirus.
You would only have to have dipped into a minute or two of the sober briefing from the government’s most senior doctor and scientist on Monday morning to see why.
What is not yet settled however, is exactly what, exactly when, and indeed, exactly where these restrictions will be.
Here’s what it is important to know:
The government is not considering a new lockdown across the country right now.
The prime minister is not about to tell everyone to stay at home as he did from the Downing Street desk in March.
Ministers have no intention at all to close schools again.
Nor, right now, are they planning to tell every business, other than the non-essential, to close again.
What is likely is some kind of extra limits on our huge hospitality sector.
On Sunday, the prime minister held a meeting in Downing Street with Prof Whitty, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock to discuss possible further measures for England.
Asked about reports of disagreements among cabinet ministers about whether or not to impose a second lockdown, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told BBC Breakfast: “A conversation, a debate, is quite proper and that is exactly what you’d expect.
“Everyone recognises there is a tension between… the virus and the measures we need to take, and the economy and ensuring people’s livelihoods are protected.”
Prof Peter Horby, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said there was a risk the UK could face a repeat of the “catastrophic events” around the world early this year, with intensive care units “rammed full of very sick patients”.
“I really don’t buy that argument that we should slow down… the mistakes that were made in March were nearly all being too cautious and too slow,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
However, Prof Karol Sikora, from the University of Buckinghamshire and former director of the World Health Organization’s cancer programme, said blanket restrictions were “not the way forward”.
“The most important thing is to target the groups that we need to protect and to let everybody else get on with their business – schools, shops and so on,” he told the programme.
Labour, meanwhile, has also urged the government to avoid a second national lockdown.
“This rapid spike in infections was not inevitable, but a consequence of the government’s incompetence and failure to put in place an adequate testing system,” shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said.
“The government must do what it takes to prevent another lockdown, which would cause unimaginable damage to our economy and people’s wellbeing.”