News | Anorak - Part 7

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March to Beat Coronavirus – #StopTheSpread

March coronavirus

Hashtags, candlelit vigils and songs cannot defeat Coronavirus. We need to do more. So join the March To Stop The Spread this April 1. Join thousands of activists in cities across the world and harness the power of other grassroots movements like Stop The War, #bringbackourgirls and Bollocks To Brexit. Standing shoulder to shoulder we can beat it.

Spotter: Comics With Problems

Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Internet Archive creates National Emergency Library for instant access to its 1.4million books

Shut indoors you can read and read thanks to the Internet Archive which has suspended waiting lists for the 1.4 million book on it shelves by creating a National Emergency Library.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.  

This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.

And you can help:

  1. Read books, recommend books, and teach using books from the National Emergency Library
  2. Sponsor a book to be digitized and preserved
  3. Endorse this effort institutionally or individually
  4. Share news about the National Emergency Library with your social media followers using #NationalEmergencyLibrary
  5. Donate to the Internet Archive


Posted: 26th, March 2020 | In: Books, Key Posts, News | Comment

Child breaks down as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and the Chinese restaurant close forcing her to eat mum’s cooking (video)

Fast food child

Jo Charlton post the following video of her daughter having a meltdown over the closure of fast food eateries. “Just like to add… we didn’t live off of takeaways!!! The world has ended for layla today x,” says Jo.

Just like to add… we didnt live off of takeaways!!! The world has ended for layla today x

Posted by Jo Charlton on Monday, 23 March 2020

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment

Stay at home: That NHS Text sent to 1.5million ‘vulnerable’ Britons as Coronavirus fear mounts


This text message was delivered to around 1.5 million Britons yesterday afternoon:

NHS Coronavirus Service: We have identified that you’re someone at risk of severe illness if you catch Coronavirus. Please remain at home for a minimum of 12 weeks. Home is the safest place for you. Staying in helps you stay well and that will help the NHS too. You can open a window but do not leave your home, and stay 3 steps away from others indoors. Wash your hands more often, for at least 20 seconds.

Read more advice about staying safe at home.

We will send you more messages with information.

To opt out reply STOP

Why anyone would call ‘STOP’ on such advice is moot. But the NHS needs to act, even if a blanket email to so many people not based on their location, degree of wellness and dwelling is flawed.

Hit the link in that text and you’re told why you got the text:

What do we mean by extremely vulnerable?

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

Solid organ transplant recipients

People with specific cancers:
people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.

People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.

Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

What are you going to do?

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus Law : the newspapers lead with house arrest

We’re all under house arrest in the UK – unless you need to go shopping, jogging or sell discount trainers and anoraks at Sports Direct. (Prime Minister Boris Johnson says all UK shops selling non-essential goods must close. Sports Direct says it is “uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible”. And you can betcha last cough drop its staff agree.) The coronavirus is among us. The “invisible killer” (copyright: all media) is the only story around.

Coronavirus newspapers

“End of freedom,” the Daily Telegraph declares. “Britain shuts up shop,” says Daily Mail. The Sun says we’re under “House arrest”. The Daily Mirror calls it a “national lockdown”. The Financial Times says the Government had not choice but to enforce social isolation. The Metro shows how people were ignoring the polite advice as they packed themselves into stuffy Tube trains in London. (How long can the freebie Metro and Evening Standard newspapers last without commuters?) Not one newspaper is critical of anything the Government has ruled., including fines for anyone caught breaking the rules, which can amount to three people not from the same house playing football together.

Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers
Coronavirus newspapers

Posted: 24th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment

Coylumbridge Hotel in Aviemore make staff homeless – blame it on admin error

The Colyumbridge Hotel new Aviemore, Scotland, has been making news. The “perfect escape for an unforgettable family vacation” has sent out a letter telling employees to get thee hence. Coronavirus is apparently behind the mass sacking in which some staff were told to leave the hotel accommodation immediately.

The hotel’s owners, Brittania Hotels, says it was all a misunderstanding. The company tell the Liverpool Echo: “With regards to the current situation regarding staff at our Coylumbridge Hotel and being asked to vacate their staff accommodation. Unfortunately, the communication sent to these employees was an administrative error. All affected employees are being immediately contacted. We apologise for any upset caused.”

You know how these errors go: a virus infects your world, types a letter and tells everyone to get out or else. Other companies should take note of this and increase their virus protection.

Posted: 21st, March 2020 | In: Money, News, The Consumer | Comment

Coronavirus: A ‘useful’ cull on Scotland’s old and infirm

Coronavirus cull

Do we much care what former government officials say or think? Over Brexit we were told that we should. Ex-politicians and wonks got to opine on the BBC and big media on how their replacements were getting it wrong. Tony Blair and his spin doctor Alistair Campbell were ubiquitous, telling us that the will of the people was to remain in the EU. Others with spoon-shaped profiles also proliferate. Here’s Professor June Andrews. She said the coronavirus might be “useful” in killing off NHS bed blockers. The virus would take elderly “out of the system”. The system is more important than the patients that give it purpose. The system is all.

Her words are news because, as you know, Professor Andrews is, it says here, the former director of the Scottish Government’s Centre for Change and Innovation. “Fury as ex-Government health official says coronavirus pandemic would be ‘useful’ for killing off NHS bed blockers,” says the Sun. “Coronavirus could be ‘quite useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers, says ex official,” reports the Mirror. “Former Scottish government worker claims a coronavirus pandemic ‘would be quite useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers in the wake of the first UK death,” says the Mail, which included the following reactions from Outraged of Twitter:

Professor Andrews Coronavirus

Speaking at Holyrood’s public audit committee, The Herald reports she said:

“If you’re on the board of a care home company, a pandemic is one of things you think about as a potential damage to your business because of the number of older people it’s going to take out of the system. Curiously, ripping off the sticking plaster, in a hospital that has 92 delayed discharges, a pandemic would be quite useful because your hospital would work because these people would be taken out of the system.”

The paper adds:

Professor June Andrews recognised her comments were “horrific” but gave an honest assessment of the potential consequences of a large-scale coronavirus outbreak.

Chief executive of Age Scotland, Brian Sloan, was quick to call the Prof’s opinion “breath-takingly callous” and “nothing short of barbaric”.

The Indy notes:

Prof Andrews, who is an adviser to the Dementia Services Development Trust, said she had since been targeted by people online for her comments. “The one thing I had learned from this is I should never use irony,” she said. I “was asking the question about what the politicians were expecting to happen; do they just expect the old people to disappear.”

Andrews wrote into the Herald’s letters page:

I WISH to express my concern about the selective reporting of my evidence at the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

We were discussing NHS leadership failings and future workforce and I wanted to make the point that people working in NHS Scotland have an impossible job, even before the coronavirus struck, because tough planning and strategy decisions have been politically ducked.

We have known for decades that the number of older people needing care is rocketing, yet no provision has been made outside the hospital – which is not a safe place to be if you do not really need to be there. Access to care homes and home care is clearly limited, otherwise no one would be a delayed discharge patient in hospital.

Perhaps the coronavirus outbreak that we are experiencing will finally force politicians to listen to what staff and NHS managers are unable to say, which is that we have to make provision in the community for older people to be cared for properly.

Professor June Andrews, Edinburgh.

Her fuller comment is thus:

“As a nurse my job is to be kind, but I also rip off sticking plasters, so sometimes it seems unkind what you have to say. If you’re on the board of a care home company a pandemic is one of the things you think about as a potential damage to your business because of the number of older people it is going to take out the system. Curiously, ripping off the sticking plaster, in that hospital I’m thinking about that has 92 delayed discharges, a pandemic would be quite useful because then your hospital would work because these people would be taken out of the system. Now that sounds like a horrific thing to say, but it is the case that somehow or other we have put people in the wrong places by not having the kind of strategic views we should have. That means that politicians who don’t want to think about bad things before the election, need to think about putting income tax up even higher in order to pay for more care in care homes and they need to think about whether they reinstate geriatric hospitals.”

Irony might be dead. Can we get a second opinion?

PS: This also in the outrage Telegraph:

Opinions to deadline until we’re all dead.

Posted: 20th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Ward off Alzheimer’s with grumbling and circumspection

Good news for moaners: researchers at the University of Geneva and the University Hospitals of Geneva) have found evidence to suggest that being cantankerous can ward off Alzheimer’s. The research, to be published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, tracked a cohort of 65 senior citizens (aged 65 or older) for five years. They tested for amyloid accumulation and brain deterioration. And they monitored cognitive aptitude and personality. Data links curiosity and contrarianism with those who displayed less progressive neurodegenerative disorder. So keep asking questions and demanding better.

 Spotter: The Big Think

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Anti-Coronavirus hand gels from Bulgarian vodka and Bristol gin

hand sanitzer alcohol

‘Hand gets?,” asked my Bulgarian friend Vanya. “Nah. Use vodka and tissues.” What;’ good in London is better in Bristol, where Bristol gin distillery Psychopomp is using some of its alcohol as hand sanitizer and giving it to locals in exchange for a donation to charity.

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment

Coronavirus: Fox News debates the unknown knowns and known unknowns

Coronavirus has placed the UK on a war footing – and we all know what war is good for: yep – hours and hours of strident to deadline punditry. Every nodding head who knew all about politics and Brexit is now an authority on the Covid-19 crisis. In this video the Washington Post highlights the of Fox News, whose pundit know one thing and that thing is always true fact. You can wonder, of course, why the WaPo is bothering to tell its readers why something they most likely don’t watch is rubbish – maybe it helps shore up notions of what their news outlet isn’t and maybe is.

The Washington Post says:

For weeks, some of Fox News’s most popular hosts downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, characterizing it as a conspiracy by media organizations and Democrats to undermine President Trump.

Fox News personalities such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham accused the news media of whipping up “mass hysteria” and being “panic pushers.” Fox Business host Trish Regan called the alleged media-Democratic alliance “yet another attempt to impeach the president.”

Back here in the UK, we’d had one thing reaffirmed: people all live in society. Do we try to mitigate the virus or suppression? Do we allow people to think for themselves, pay heed to official information channels and leave the to-deadline media to veer between calling it a hoax and trailing the apocalypse.

Posted: 19th, March 2020 | In: News, TV & Radio | Comment

UK Health Minister Matt Hancock puts his advice behind a paywall: Get FREE Coronavirus information from experts

Coronavirus COVID-19 has replaced Brexit as the media’s focus point. Thankfully, people more versed in such illnesses are here to cut through the to-deadline blather. You can tune into free online course by London’s Imperial College called ‘Science Matters: Let’s Talk About COVID-19‘.

Or you could pay to hear the thoughts of UK Secretary of State for Health & Social Care and MP for West Suffolk Matt Hancock in the Telegraph.

MAtt Hancock Coronavirus

Many publications have pulled down their paywalls for Coronavirus news.

Update: You can now read Matt Hancock’s words for free. But the free course from actual experts is a better use of your time.

Posted: 15th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus Cup bias: Liverpool to be awarded PL title and West Ham stay up

With top-flight football banned until April 4 at the earliest as the coronavirus bites, fair minds have been pushing their agendas. West Ham United’s vice-chairman Karren Brady insists that the Premier League season has to be declared void if no more fixtures are possible. “Sorry Liverpool,” says the woman to the table toppers and whose club is only out of the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference. “As games in both the PL and in the EFL are affected, the only fair and reasonable thing to do is declare the whole season null and void,” says Brady in her Sun column. “Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the games have not actually been played in full?” Can we guess? It is, she concedes, “A huge blow to Liverpool who might be robbed of their first title in 30 years.” But robbery is fine so long as it’s “fair and reasonable”.

But over in the Telegraph, we learn: “Liverpool are still likely to be crowned Premier League champions, even if the coronavirus crisis causes the season to be abandoned… a senior club executive revealed on Friday night that there was little ­opposition to awarding Jurgen Klopp’s men their first English title for 30 years following what threatened to be the longest suspension of the professional game since the Second World War.” An unnamed senior Liverpool FC executive says the Reds win the title because it seems likely they would have won it anyhow. Sport isn’t unpredictable. Liverpool won’t do a Devon Lock. Liverpool get the the Coronavirus Cup and the other teams get… Well, what? To applaud from their sick beds?

There are, of course, financial implications, wages and transfer debts must be paid and there is lost broadcast revenue,” says Brady, “lost matchday income but this pales into insignificance as the health and well-being of everyone must come first.” To say nothing of the cost of West Ham’s relegation from the Premier League, which she doesn’t.

Posted: 14th, March 2020 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment

Cold, Flu or Coronavirus? This handy chart helps you identify your virus


The bloke sat across the aisle who just sneezed violently on the Tube, bus or train? Worry not. It looks like coma mon cold. The woman with the nagging dry cough in the row behind? Move seats – although it’s probably too late. That could be the Coronavirus.

Other viruses on the London Underground: toxic dust particles and 121 nasty bugs. In 2016, Staveley Head commissioned a study by microbiologists at London Metropolitan University to see what bugs were on the Tube. The London Under the Microscope project spotted 121 different bacteria and mould types on public transport – including nine antibiotic-resistant superbugs. A ride on the Tube might mean sharing a seat with Staphylococcus Aureus (the bacteria responsible for toxic shock syndrome), E.coli, Klebsiella Pneumoniae and Serratia.

Posted: 13th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Premier League: suspend season as Leicester players catch Coronavirus

After the N.B.A. suspended its season on Wednesday after one Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League is under pressure to call off the current football season as three Leicester City players get the bug. In Spain, La Liga has been suspended for “at least the next two rounds of matches” because the entire Real Madrid squad is into quarantine because of coronavirus.

“We had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs,” said Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers. “It would be a shame if the Watford game were postponed], but the public’s health is the most important in all of this. The game is all about the players and the fans and if you have one of those not there, it’s obviously not the same.”

Time to call the season off. Hard cheese, Liverpool.

Posted: 12th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comment

Coronavirus kills media paywalls

Coronavirus pollution

Such is the huge level of internet traffic generated by the coronavirus story that many publications have torn down their paywalls for coronavirus coverage. They want your clicks. Well, not quite, maybe. They say it’s because they are doing a public service (and don’t want you clicking elsewhere for free).

Kottke highlight how the walls came tumblin’ down at:  The AtlanticWSJTalking Points MemoGlobe and MailSeattle TimesMiami HeraldToronto StarStatDallas Morning NewsMedium and the NY Times.

In the UK, we have the trusty BBC – you’d mis it if it went.

Image: more people are staying in as Coronavirus hits.

Posted: 12th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus and SARS: Why do new diseases come from China?

Coronavirus Wuhan china

Why did Coronavirus strain COVID-19 begin in China? Vox takes a look:

Both SARS and COVID-19 are in the “coronavirus” family, and both appear to have emerged from animals in China’s notorious wildlife markets. Experts had long predicted that these markets, known to be potential sources of disease, would enable another outbreak. The markets, and the wildlife trade that supports them, are the underlying problem of these pandemics; until China solves that problem, more are likely to emerge.

China’s wildlife-farming industry has been shut down by Chinese officials.

Posted: 11th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Coronavirus panic: Daily Star doubles as toilet roll


Panic over. The Daily Star is offering its readers a free ‘cut out and keep’ toilet roll with every newspaper. “BOG OFF!” screams the headline – Buy One Get One For Free? No need to panic buy toilet roll when you have daily newspapers. There are not plans to print newspapers on absorbent tissue paper, nor for The Sun to offer discount subscriptions to Jeremy Corbyn supporters. Says one Guardian executive: “It’s a tissue of lies.”

Posted: 10th, March 2020 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment

Coronavirus toilet roll panic: ‘No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight’

Coronavirus toilet roll panic: 'No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight'
Coronavirus toilet roll panic: ‘No toilet rolls kept in this van overnight’

Coronavirus is giving people the runs – and they’re running to the shops buy stacks of toilet rolls. The way to stop panic buying is to remind people that no research has disproven a link between toilet roll and coronavirus. Be warned.

File under: fake poos.

Posted: 10th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment

Coronamania hits the UK : Tesco introduces rationing

High Street Virus

Tesco has brought in rationing as the coronavirus affects minds and drives the country mad. The panicky are limited to buying no more than five of each of the rationed goods on a list that includes: tinned carrots, long-life milk, antibacterial gel, arse wipes and dry pasta.

The good news is that those in the grip of Coronamania can get all that stuff elsewhere or live on fast food.

Time, perhaps, to bring the Tesco experiment to have a branch in every high street and a Tesco inside every Tesco by visiting your local greengrocer and buying soap.

Posted: 8th, March 2020 | In: News | Comment

Tampon tax is over: invest your saving in vagina candles and steamers

Good news, then. The State’s 5% rake on all sanitary products is to end. The sex-based “tampon tax” will be abolished from January. And you can thank Brexit for the end to it. It was an EU directive that meant the tax rate could not fall below 5%. And so long as the UK was in the bloc’s customs union, the country was legally bound to take a cut from every menstruating woman.

If you want to save money til January, best get what the Vagina Monologues termed “a wad of dry fucking cotton”. What you save on branded padding you can invest in other devices, such as the vagina steamer, trailed on Hollywood princess Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog GOOP thus: “You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus.” Afterwards you can see if your date wants to pull on a Hamzat suit and shag in a laboratory.

If things get too clean and you miss the old days, Paltrow also flogs a candle called ‘This Smells Like My Vagina’, which will ensure a fuller sensory experience to anyone dating a Gwyneth Paltrow love doll or indeed Gwyneth Paltrow.

Posted: 7th, March 2020 | In: Money, News | Comment

Back to The Future’s Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox meet for Parkinson’s poker night

‘All in with Christopher Lloyd at Michael J. Fox Poker Night!’ To help the Michael J. Fox Foundation in its quest to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease, Michael J. Fox met his Back To The Future co-star Christopher Lloyd for a night of charity poker.

Posted: 7th, March 2020 | In: Celebrities, Film, News | Comment

Coronavirus: how to prevent a world soap shortage

detroit soap-Dispenser

Having been told to wash out hands for 20 seconds – or as long it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice – not to touch our face (and certainly not to touch Donald Trump’s face: “I haven’t touched my face in weeks,” he said recently. “Been weeks… I miss it” – you can wonder if you’ve enough soap. Thankfully, Clean the World is a non-profit organization helps hotels to recycle used soap & other toiletries:

Posted: 6th, March 2020 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment

Coronavirus in London: Who is Lady Buckethead?

Coronavirus in London

Are you taking precautions against catching the coronavirus, like washing your hands whilst singing Happy Birthday to the tune to Anarchy in the UK and “self-isolating” in a place where nobody will come into contact with you, like on a bed pushed into a hospital corridor, attending a LibDem conference or becoming Prince Andrew.

Maybe you do like to this woman does (see above) and wear a plastic jar on your head whilst riding the London Underground or a bus?

Hat by Tupperwear. Scarf: model’s own.

Posted: 5th, March 2020 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment

The (Non) Fighting Cock: Eric Dier launches one man stands invasion at Spurs

Eric Dier crowd

Not long after Spurs lost at home to Norwich in the FA Cup, Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier dashed into the stands to confront a member of the self-described ‘Yid Army’ who he felt had “insulted” him. (No – he’s wasn’t going to fetch the ball after teammate Erik Lamela’s missed penalty.) Aside from the obvious point that few Spurs fans knew the big lummox could act with such pace and passion, what happened next was every bit as forgettable as a Dier performance on the pitch. A few videos of the moment appeared over Twitter. But aside from Dier moving forwards and fans moving sidewards to get a closer look, nothing occurred. Cantona’s kung-fu kick at Crystal Palace reminds the unsullied benchmark of ad-libbed pro-fan interaction.

Spurs’ thin-skinned manager Jose Mourinho was moved to tell media: “I think Eric did what we professionals cannot do but probably every one of us would do.”

Minds turn to Mourinho’s snide poke in the eye of an opposing coach when boss at Real Madrid match and being menaced by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Mourinho’s fighting prowess is pretty much on a par with players and fans of his latest club:

For those of who missed Eric’s moment of nothingness, here it is:

And for those of you want to see another Eric at it, here that is.

The Football Association and Tottenham are investigating the incident. Others are working out of Cantona (85) is still faster than Eric Dier (8).

Posted: 5th, March 2020 | In: News, Sports, Spurs | Comment

Rebecca Long-Bailey and anti-semitism: I’m a victim too!

Rebecca-Long Bailey, aka Corbyn II, is the Labour MP who saw the electorate send her party to their worst defeat since 1935 and gave leader Jeremy Corbyn 10/10 for his work. But she is not Corbyn II. No siree. She for one will call out anti-semitism when she sees it, whether it be on Press TV, a wall in East London or amongst her ‘friends’. Well, so says (not) Corbyn II as she bids to become the Labour Party’s next leader:

That clip made it on to the Andrew Neil show:

Rebecca Long-Bailey: not a Jew.

Posted: 4th, March 2020 | In: News, Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment