World News

Pub closed by police as landlord 'was drunk' and there was no social distancing

The same day the pubs reopened again, one was shut down as police found no social distancing was going on and the owner was ‘intoxicated and argumentative’.

Number One Bar in Darlington was temporarily closed on July 4 when officers decided staff were not in control of how customers were behaving.

Durham Constabulary also temporarily closed The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton, blaming ‘irresponsible behaviour’ at the two venues.

A closure notice at the Number One Bar said: ‘When officers arrived at the premises the music was too loud and there was no social distancing taking place.

‘Customers were stood up at the bar, when staff were spoken to by officers, the staff stated that customers would not listen to their instructions and effectively could not control what was taking place in the premises. The bar owner was intoxicated and argumentative.

‘He did not seem aware of the guidelines and was certainly not adhering to them.’

The bar’s Facebook page said it had reopened for business by Monday evening.

Chief Inspector Neal Bickford said: ‘We want to say a massive thank you to those responsible establishments who complied with all the regulations to allow people to have a safe and enjoyable trip back to the pub.

‘We know it has been a tough three months for both businesses and revellers so it was great to see the vast majority of people working with us.

‘We will always look to work with those who need to improve but unfortunately two premises did have to be closed on Saturday following unacceptable behaviour.’

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World News

Trump moves to pull US out of WHO amid pandemic

President Donald Trump has formally moved to withdraw the US from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The president had made his intentions clear in late May, accusing the WHO of being under China’s control in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite calls from the EU and others, he said he would pull out of the UN agency and redirect funds elsewhere.

He has now notified the UN and Congress of his intentions, although the process could take at least a year.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, confirmed the US had notified it of its withdrawal, effective as of 6 July 2021.

Senator Robert Menendez, the leading Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, also wrote on Twitter: “Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the US from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic.

“It leaves Americans sick and America alone.”

A senior US administration official told CBS News that Washington had detailed the reforms that it wanted the WHO to make and engaged with it directly, but that the WHO had refused to act.

“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship,” the official was quoted as saying.

Joe Biden, who will challenge Donald Trump in the November presidential election, tweeted: “On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.”

The US is the global health agency’s largest single contributor, providing more than $400m (£324m; €360m) in 2019, around 15% of its total budget.

Under a Congress resolution in 1948, the US can withdraw but must give a year’s notice and should pay outstanding fees, although it is unclear where Mr Trump stands on that. Mr Dujarric stressed that those conditions should be met.

The withdrawal will call into question the WHO’s financial viability and the future of its many programmes promoting healthcare and tackling disease.

What has Mr Trump said about the WHO?

He first announced in April that he was going to halt US funding for the WHO unless it undertook “substantive improvements” within 30 days.

Then in late May he said: “We will be terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and directing those funds” to other global public health charities.

“The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he said, adding that China had “instigated a global pandemic”.

The president accused China of pressurising the WHO to “mislead the world” about the virus, without giving evidence for his allegations.

“China has total control over the World Health Organization,” the president said.

Other countries, including Germany and the UK, have said they have no intention of withdrawing funding from the WHO, which is co-ordinating a global initiative to develop a vaccine against Covid-19

What is the WHO – and who funds it?

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World News

Streeter Fire in Moffat County has burned more than 1,000 acres.

The Streeter wildfire that started Tuesday morning north of Meeker in Moffat County has burned 1,000 acres and forced the evacuation of a coal mine.

Authorities evacuated the Colowyo Mine, which is located about 10 miles north of Meeker, according to the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. MOre than 200 people work at the mine, according to Elk Ridge Mining and Reclamation company’s website. The fire also closed roads in the area, and heavy smoke is billowing.

Fire suppression is difficult because of high winds, dry land and rugged terrain, the sheriff’s office said.

Early reports put the fire at 25 acres when it was spotted, but the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center reported at 2:38 p.m. on Twitter that the fire had spread to 1,088 acres.

Three hotshot firefighting crews and two other firefighting crews, including Craig Fire, are on scene. A tanker fire was ordered to help douse the fire just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, RMACC said on Twitter.

Colorado 13 between Nine Mile Gap and County Road 180 is closed in Moffat County.

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World News

Prince Andrew title: How Duke of York title could fall out of use

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Prince Andrew, 60, is Queen Elizabeth II’s son and was born with an HRH style. In keeping with royal tradition, he was created the Duke of York by the Queen when he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986.

While Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are no longer married he remains the Duke of York and is expected to keep the peerage for life.

Andrew stepped back from royal duty last year following a controversial interview about his friendship with dead sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Following the Newsnight interview, Prince Andrew released a statement announcing his withdrawal from public life for “the foreseeable future”.

In the statement, Prince Andrew said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.”


  • Royal rebel: Why Prince Andrew ‘thought he was above rules’

The statement continued: “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”

Despite his withdrawal from royal duties, Prince Andrew remains the Duke of York, a title he is expected to hold on to for life.

However, Prince Andrew’s lack of sons could mean the dukedom of York falls out of use following his death.

Hereditary peerages, including dukedoms, can only be passed down from fathers to sons or to other male members of the family.

The law of male primogeniture in the UK means neither of Prince Andrew’s daughters – Princess Beatrice, 31, or Princess Eugenie, 30 – can inherit his dukedom.

The rules of inheritance for a British dukedom are laid down in Letters Patent when the dukedom is created.

The Letters Patent for the 1986 creation of the Dukedom of York says the title will be inherited by “heirs male of the body”.


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  • Prince Andrew’s brutally honest assessment of Queen as mother exposed

The Dukedom of York currently belongs to the second son of the monarch and whether it is passed on depends on who is on the throne when Prince Andrew dies.

There is a chance Prince William’s son Prince Louis could inherit the title on Prince Andrew’s death.

Addressing the question of who Prince Andrew’s title may pass to, one Quora user wrote: “The Dukedom of York will be inherited by the oldest legitimate son of the current duke.

“Of course, the current duke has no sons, so unless that situation changes, the title will go extinct and will be available for the monarch at the time to recreate and confer on whoever they want.”

“Of course, the title is usually given to the second son of the monarch, so we would need to know who the monarch will be at the time.

“Given that Prince Andrew is twelve years younger than Prince Charles, it seems likely that when Prince Andrew dies and the dukedom becomes available, Prince Charles will have already died and Prince William will be the king.

“Prince William’s second son is Prince Louis, so he will be a prime candidate to get the dukedom.

“But isn’t it be nice to consider the possibility that, in the thirty or so years before then, the amount of sexism in the British Peerage will have fallen to the extent that Princess Charlotte, as the second child of the monarch, could be the first woman to be created Duchess of York in her own right?”

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World News

Indiana officials investigate ‘attempted lynching’

Authorities in the US state of Indiana are investigating allegations that a group of white men attacked and attempted to “lynch” a black man at a 4 July weekend gathering.

Viral video of the incident shared by Vauhxx Booker shows a man on all fours, held down by a white man as onlookers shout for him to be released.

In an accompanying post, Mr Booker wrote that he was pinned to a tree and beaten near Lake Monroe.

He called 911 but no arrests were made.

On Monday, hundreds gathered outside Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington to demand arrests be made in Mr Booker’s case. As the peaceful protest was drawing to a close, a speeding vehicle struck at least one person. Organisers of the protest told the BBC’s US partner CBS News that a woman was taken to hospital, and her condition is unknown.

According to Mr Booker, a local civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, he and his friends had gathered to watch the lunar eclipse at Lake Monroe when they encountered a man donning a hat with a Confederate flag print who told them they were on private property.

Later on, when Mr Booker and his friends approached the man and his group to “smooth things over,” the interaction “quickly became aggressive”, he wrote. “I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching”, he said, adding that the men threatened to “get a noose”.

Two of the men allegedly jumped Mr Booker from behind and knocked him to the ground before three others joined.

“The five were able to easily overwhelm me and got me to the ground and dragged me pinning my body against a tree as they began pounding on my head and ripped off some of my hair,” he wrote.

While bystanders shouted for the assailants to release him, Mr Booker said the men said they would “break his arms” before saying “get a noose”. These alleged comments were not captured in the posted video footage.

According to Mr Booker, these bystanders were able to get the attackers off of him, though they continued to shout racial slurs. He suffered a concussion as a result of the attack, he wrote.

Mr Booker said he called 911, but was transferred to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Agents eventually reported to the park but made no arrests.

In a statement, the Department of Natural Resources confirmed it received a call regarding a battery “on private property adjacent to Monroe Reservoir property”.

The department’s law enforcement division is now working with the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office “to ensure a lawful resolution,” the statement said. “This matter remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time.”

The prosecutor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

In a statement, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton condemned the incident, in which he said Mr Booker was “physically assaulted and denounced and threatened with racial epithets”. The mayor said he was “reaching out” to the law enforcement and the Monroe County Prosecutor regarding the encounter, although the city does not have jurisdiction over the investigation.

On Tuesday, former Democratic presidential candidate and Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg weighed in on Twitter,describing the “violent show of racism” as “sickening”.

“Something is deeply wrong in Indiana,” he wrote.

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UPDATE 1-Blackstone eyes US$7.5bn for mezzanine debt

(Adds market commentary)

By Andrew Hedlund

NEW YORK, July 7 (LPC) – Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP’s credit arm GSO Capital Partners is seeking US$7.5bn for its fourth subordinated debt vehicle, according to investor notes from the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana.

The New York-based asset manager has launched its GSO Capital Opportunities Fund IV (Fund IV), which is looking to surpass the US$6.5bn raised by its predecessor (Fund III), the pension fund notes show.

Fund IV will invest US$100m to US$450m in mezzanine debt for North American and Western European businesses that have enterprise values between US$500m and US$5bn.

The Fund IV portfolio will consist of between 30 to 40 investments with a hold period of three to five years.

Fund III posted a 6% net internal rate of return and a 1.1 times multiple on invested capital, according to Blackstone’s first quarter earnings results.

A GSO spokesperson declined to comment.


GSO raised its debut US$2bn mezzanine fund, which began investing in July 2007, Blackstone’s results show, at the cusp of the global financial crisis. Since then the market for direct lending has evolved significantly, said Steve Nesbitt, chief executive officer of investment advisory firm Cliffwater.

“The mezzanine market has evolved since the global financial crisis as direct lending, particularly unitranche (loans), has become a popular financing tool for private equity as an alternative to mezzanine financing,” he said.

“(Now) could be an attractive time to invest (in mezzanine debt), but investors also need to be cautious about being deeper in the capital structure during a time period where the length and severity of this recession is unknown.”

According to the most recent data available from financial data firm Preqin, global mezzanine debt funds collected US$1.6bn in the first three months of the year. Of the total amount of investor capital currently being sought by all private credit funds monitored, 18% of it would go to mezzanine debt funds.

If GSO meets or surpasses US$7.5bn, it would be one of the largest private debt funds raised, according to Refinitiv LPC data.

In recent years, a slew of global private debt firms have gained market share. Fourteen percent of the funds in the market are seeking more than US$1bn but targeting 49% of the aggregate capital across all private debt strategies, which include direct lending, special situations and distressed debt.

With US$121bn in assets under management, GSO invests in leveraged loans, high yield bonds, mezzanine debt and direct lending opportunities, among others. (Reporting by Andrew Hedlund. Editing by Michelle Sierra and Paula Schaap.)

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World News

Cordless vacuum cleaner has nifty tools

The V8 Slim Fluffy+ is the latest model in Dyson’s stick cordless vacuum cleaner series.

At $599, it is also the most affordable model of the series, which is led by the $999 V11 Absolute.

It uses the digital motor first introduced three years ago in the original V8 model. But this motor is no slouch – it is capable of 107,000 rotations a minute.

At 2.15kg, the V8 Slim is lighter than its bigger cousins. For example, the V11 Absolute weighs 3.05kg. It feels even lighter during use, almost like wielding a broomstick.

In terms of design, the V8 Slim looks no different from the original, with a hand grip that has a trigger you press to activate the suction.

A transparent bin in front of the trigger lets you see the amount of hair and dirt collected, which you dispose of by holding the main unit over your rubbish bin and lifting the ejection handle to open the bin’s bottom lid. The main unit can be easily dismantled and cleaned.

A slider behind the ejection handle lets you switch between normal and maximum suction power.

For floors, normal suction will suffice. But for bedding or carpets, you might want to switch to the maximum suction.

Included is an array of cleaning tools, such as the new Slim Fluffy cleaner head (for floors and general use), a mini-motorised tool (for sofas or cushions), a combination tool (for table surfaces), a light-pipe crevice tool (for hard-to-reach spots), a mini soft-dusting brush (for furniture) and a mattress tool.

And it is these tools that really differentiate the V8 Slim from its predecessors.

For instance, the new cleaner head is 40 per cent smaller and lighter than the original, making cleaning the tight corners of small flats easier. And the light-pipe crevice tool has two LED lights at its suction end to make cleaning small, dark spaces a breeze. In fact, I believe this is the first time Dyson has such a “lit” tool.


• Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre

• Most affordable Dyson vacuum cleaner

• New cleaning tools


• No trigger lock

• Non-removable battery

• Battery life could be better


PRICE: $599

WEIGHT: 2.15kg








But Dyson continues to leave out the trigger lock. Without it, I find myself having to change the finger I use to press the trigger often, as my finger goes numb pretty quickly.

According to Dyson, the V8’s battery life is around 40 minutes if you use small attachments such as the combination tool. But if you use the cleaner head, the battery life drops to around 25 minutes.

Thankfully, the latter is the time I normally take to vacuum my 90 sq m flat.

During my test, I find the V8 Slim able to pick up most of the dust and hair around my home.

Still, it is not as thorough as my $3,000 industrial-grade heavyweight vacuum cleaner.

The V8 Slim does much better with maximum power, but that lasts only seven minutes on a full charge. And it takes five hours to charge the battery to full again. This is made worse by the fact that it does not use a removable battery.

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World News

New French PM pledges 7.5 billion euros for hospital staff

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new prime minister, Jean Castex, said on Tuesday his government would commit an envelope of 7.5 billion euros to raise wages of hospital workers.

“I have insisted for jobs to be at the heart of the discussions,” Castex said on Twitter of negotiations between unions, hospital officials and the government, which started before a government reshuffle on Monday.

Officials at the Health Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

Although France enjoys a reputation for having one of the world’s best healthcare systems, hospital staff have been asking for more money, jobs and equipment in the last decade to better address the needs of an ageing population and a shortage of city doctors.

The coronavirus outbreak has strained the system even more with hospitals on the verge of saturation earlier this year.

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World News

What unites young people against Obama and Trump

In the midst of America’s racial reckoning, the question of how to deal with memorials to controversial leaders has risen again to the national stage – and has brought back criticisms of “cancel culture” with it.

“Cancel culture”, the term for when individuals or companies face swift public backlash and boycott over offensive statements or actions, has been an incendiary topic in the movements of recent years, whether relating to misogyny, race or homophobia.

To some, it’s a new way to flag past wrongs. To others, it’s an ineffective over-reaction in the court of public opinion. In the wake of the George Floyd protests, some see the dethroning of historical figures associated with racism as the latest iteration of cancel culture.

On Tuesday, a group of more than 100 famous writers such Salman Rushdie and JK Rowling published a letter in Harper’s magazine in which they decried “this stifling atmosphere” as toxic to artistic expression and healthy debate.

Here’s a look at what US leaders and cultural experts have had to say about it.

Trump: ‘Far-left fascism’

US President Donald Trump appears to be making it a central part of his re-election campaign. He has deemed cancel culture “far-left fascism”, saying it is “driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees…is the very definition of totalitarianism”.

He has criticised calls for renaming sites and removing monuments as part of this “dangerous movement”.

“This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly,” Mr Trump told supporters during his Independence Day event on 3 July.

“We will expose this dangerous movement, protect our nation’s children, end this radical assault, and preserve our beloved American way of life.”

Obama: ‘The world is messy’

Last October, former President Barack Obama challenged cancel culture and the idea of being “woke” – a term describing being alert to injustices and what’s going on in the community – saying change was complex.

“I get a sense among certain young people on social media that the way of making change is to be as judgemental as possible about other people,” Mr Obama said.

“The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

Young people who disagree with Trump and Obama

Mr Trump’s critics in particular have said his own remarks condemning and publicly shaming those he disagrees with – from news outlets to former staff to protesters – also play into cancel culture.

But younger generations have pushed back against the notion that cancel culture equals unhelpful judgment.

Journalist Ernest Owens wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times: “As a millennial who has participated in using digital platforms to critique powerful people for promoting bigotry or harming others, I can assure you it wasn’t because they had ‘different opinions’.

“It was because they were spreading the kinds of ideas that contribute to the marginalisation of people like me and those I care about.”

Owens said Mr Obama’s generation failed to understand that this was not bullying people with different opinions, but rather pushing back against influential people who had caused harm or could in the future.

Essayist Sarah Hagi, writing for Time Magazine, said those “whose privilege has historically shielded them from public scrutiny” turned to phrases like cancel culture to “delegitimise the criticism”.

“I’m a black, Muslim woman, and because of social media, marginalised people like myself can express ourselves in a way that was not possible before,” she said. “That means racist, sexist, and bigoted behaviour or remarks don’t fly like they used to.”

So what’s the statue row about?

Opinions held by protesters range from tearing down Confederate statues to dethroning all monuments associated with colonisation or with ties to slavery and racism.

Activists calling for the removal of statues like Confederate general Robert E Lee and Italian explorer Christopher Columbus have said these monuments glorify in lieu of teaching people about history.

What began in America has caused statues of past leaders around the world – from Winston Churchill to Mahatma Gandhi – to come under scrutiny.

And what’s Trump said about this?

The president has called US statues “sacred” and “treasured American legacies”, while describing the push for their removal “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history” and “erase our values”.

His address at Mount Rushmore – a controversial memorial on land sacred to Native Americans – focused on these notions of “angry mobs” attacking US culture.

“Before these figures were immortalised in stone, they were American giants in full flesh and blood, gallant men whose intrepid deeds unleashed the greatest leap of human advancement the world has ever known,” Mr Trump said.

The president has also defended the preservation of symbols of the Confederacy – the group of southern states that fought to keep slavery and sparked the Civil War.

What about Democrats?

Former Vice-President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has also defended keeping monuments to presidents past, but said those memorialising Confederate leaders should be taken down.

“The idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and somebody who was in rebellion committing treason trying to take down a union to keep slavery, I think there’s a distinction there,” Mr Biden said at a recent news conference.

He added that Confederate statues of people who “strongly supported secession and maintaining slavery” should go to museums.

Mr Obama has also touched on the issues over Confederate memorials in the past, saying the Confederate flag belongs in a museum.

So where does the public stand?

A Quinnipiac University poll on 17 June found that most Americans support removing Confederate statues, with four in 10 opposing.

The numbers are a stark change from when Quinnipiac posed the same question three years ago and found 50% of people were against removing the statues.

What about other views?

African American Studies Senior Lecturer Jason Nichols of the University of Maryland says deciding which monuments ought to go should depend on the reason the person is memorialised.

“Statues and monuments are supposed to show where we want to be – the people in the past who have shown us a path to a better and unified nation, the people who represent the ideals that the nation aspires to,” Mr Nichols told the BBC.

“We have to talk about the Confederacy, we just don’t have to praise it in public.”

He says that ideally, all statues belong in museums that can provide context and there is never a reason to bury history, adding: “I do think that some people do try to take this moral indignation a little too far and extend it beyond these Confederate monuments.”

“The key difference is we praise Lincoln for what he did right, not what he did wrong,” Mr Nichols says, noting that while people like Washington and Jefferson were slaveholders and did not outright condemn slavery, they still put forth important principals that were positive in the long-run.

“That is the major nuance with Confederate statues – we’re praising them for tearing our country apart.”

Others think that statutes to the Confederacy should remain up, but only with additions like plaques or even graffiti.

Columnist Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch told the Economist the graffiti on monuments in Richmond “make them far more approachable, that humble them, and have made these statutes welcoming places for people they were not intended to draw, people they were largely intended to intimidate”.

Reporting by Ritu Prasad

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World News

Children of British military personnel to get free childcare

The children of British military personnel will receive free childcare, the defence secretary has announced, in an attempt to modernise working conditions after recent criticism that the armed forces are not inclusive.

From September, breakfast and after-school clubs will be offered to service children between four and 11 years old.

The first pilots will begin at RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, before the scheme is rolled out across the country through 2021.

It will cost up to £150m a year and benefit up to 44,000 children – it fulfils an election manifesto pledge made by the Conservative Party.

It is hoped that it will make the armed forces a more attractive career and easier for those serving on operations abroad.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News: “We think it’s a really important commitment to our workforce because at the heart of our armed forces are the people and so we recognise what they’ve done in COVID, we recognise what they do around the world to keep us safe and looking after their families while they’re doing it is something that I think is really important.

“I am determined to make the armed forces a more modern, inclusive and family-friendly employer, in order to improve the working environment for retention of all personnel but also to encourage more talented women to pursue long and fulfilling careers in uniform.”

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer, who has just become a father for the third time, said: “I know from first-hand experience that, while service life is hugely rewarding, it isn’t without its challenges when it comes to juggling the demands of family life.

“It is only right that those who continue to do extraordinary work on behalf of the country are recognised and rewarded, and I’m pleased we’re continuing to honour our commitment to our hard-working personnel so they receive the right support to care for loved ones.”

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