World News

Brits working from home in coronavirus lockdown share hilarious snaps of their cats and dogs trying to distract them – The Sun

MILLIONS of Brits working from home to combat the spread of coronavirus have shared hilarious snaps of their pets trying to distract them.

Pets across the country appear to be thrilled that their owners will be spending lots more time in the house.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news and updates

And, as these sweet snaps show, animals will do anything to try to distract their hard-working owners.

From the big dog who believes he's the size of a tiny puppy, to the hedgehog perfectly-sized for a desk drawer, animal lovers have been sharing some hilarious photos of their attempts to work from home.

One social media user even tweeted a photograph of her pet GOAT curiously inspecting her laptop.


Railways and major roads have fallen silent across the country after Boris Johnson warned office staff to work from home where possible.

It comes following fears Britain could be locked down over the coronavirus, just like in France, Italy and Spain.

Those who live and work in London are particularly vulnerable as the city is the worst-hit place in the UK with 480 cases, the prime minister said.

Nationally, the death toll leapt from 36 to 55 today.

Schools have been told to send kids with a cough home to stop the spread.

It was also reported that up to eight million people could be hospitalised during an outbreak lasting up to a year.

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The 1967 Ford Mustang From 'Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift' Never Actually Did Any Drifting

The RB26-swapped 1967 Ford Mustang fastback from Tokyo Drift is undoubtedly one of the most outrageous cars from the Fast & Furious franchise. Any enthusiast who’s seen the movie would kill to know more about the car, so Craig Lieberman—a senior producer for the first three movies—linked up with Sean Morris, one of the main mechanics who built it, to tell its story.

The RB26 Mustang originally received a twin-turbo RB26 taken straight out of an R34 Skyline GT-R, but the twin-turbo system wouldn’t fit properly between the shock towers. Once Morris got involved, he decided to put the original RB26 back in the R34 (so it wouldn’t become a worthless shell), and swap in a different block with a single-turbo setup instead. Morris even provides a cell phone video from 2005 of the car starting up for the first time.

Edmunds reviewed the hero car a few weeks before the film was released in theaters, and managed to get it on a dyno. Officially, it laid down 340 horsepower at 7300 rpm and 264 lb-ft of torque at 5950 rpm to the wheels. That’s a fair bit more than a stock Skyline GT-R, and a massive step up over any original six-cylinder Mustang.

But as Morris explains, the hero car never did any drifting on-screen. While it was fully capable of going sideways, all of the actual drifting scenes were done by the five to six stunt cars on set. All of those cars were powered by 403 cubic-inch V-8 crate engines. Those engine sounds? All dubbed over.

Now you know.

From: Road & Track

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Americans Returning From Europe Will Be Forced To Land In 13 US Airports For Screening

Passengers rest at the Barcelona airport on March 12, 2020.

The Trump administration will force American travelers flying from more than two dozen European countries to land in 13 airports across the United States starting Saturday, according to a federal notice posted by the Department of Homeland Security on Friday.

The notice comes two days after new restrictions, which block travel from foreign nationals who had been present in 26 European countries during the two weeks prior to their planned visit to the US, were announced by the Trump administration. The rules go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

While those travel restrictions will not apply to US citizens, legal permanent residents, and their family members, those who do fly from the European countries will be forced to land at the following 13 airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York; Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois; San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California; Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington; Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii; Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia; Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia; Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas; Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan; Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts; and Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida.

The rules apply to those traveling from the Schengen Area, which includes Austria, France, Germany, Greece, and Italy, among other countries.

A health official scans the body temperature of a passenger as she arrives at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia.

“In the next 48 hours, in the interest of public health, I intend to issue a supplemental Notice of Arrivals Restriction requiring U.S. passengers that have been in the Schengen Area to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures,” acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement posted after Trump’s travel ban announcement on Wednesday.

The rules forcing American travelers to land in certain airports apply to those who “recently traveled from, or otherwise been present within” the countries within 14 days of the date of their arrival in the US.

Though the virus originated in China, it has become a global pandemic. The virus has been spreading within US communities for weeks, leading to large conferences, concerts, and other events being canceled, widespread school closures, and quarantines of entire communities.

Trump’s restrictions were listed in a presidential proclamation on Wednesday. The proclamation states that the US government cannot “effectively evaluate and monitor” all travelers arriving from the Schengen Area, an area comprised of 26 European countries, including Austria, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. The area currently has the largest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside of China, the proclamation states.

More on this

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  • Hamed Aleaziz is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

    Contact Hamed Aleaziz at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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World News

Fliers from Italy to UK say there is no coronavirus protection

No checks, no advice and told to make their own way home: Passengers returning from coronavirus-hit Italy reveal shambolic scenes at UK airports – as officials order them to fill out patient forms that NO-ONE collects

  • 10,000 people in Italy have now caught coronavirus, the most outside of China 
  • People returning to the UK from any part of Italy must self-isolate for two weeks
  • But this is not being enforced or well-advertised, according to travellers 
  • One couple were given forms to fill out but nobody ever collected them
  • Another family were split up when one became ill after returning from Italy
  • Are you returning from Italy? Email [email protected]

People travelling back to the UK from coronavirus-hit Italy say the Government is doing next to nothing to protect against them spreading the virus in Britain.

A couple flying into London from Venice last night said they were given forms to fill out in case health officials had to track them down if a passenger was diagnosed, but nobody collected the forms.

And a family who returned from northern Italy in half-term were reportedly told they did not need to self-isolate but, when one of them fell ill, only two of them were quarantined in a hospital to wait for test results which were eventually negative.

The travellers’ stories are some of many from people returning from Italy who say they are confused and frustrated by the Government’s travel advice.

People have also been surprised to find they are still able to travel as normal, facing no health checks or questioning at the British border.

The UK Foreign Office is now advising everyone returning from Italy to isolate themselves at home for two weeks in case they caught the coronavirus there.

Italy is now the worst-hit country outside of China – more than 10,000 people there have come down with the illness and at least 631 have died.

Many of the UK’s 382 cases have been among recent visitors to Italy or from people who caught it inside the UK since Italy’s outbreak began. A sixth person died yesterday in Watford.

People flying into the UK from Gatwick from Italy said they were allowed to travel as normal – they will now be expected to isolate themselves at home for two weeks in case they have caught the coronavirus

British Airways has cancelled all of its flights to and from Italy because of the coronavirus outbreak there (Pictured, a BA arrivals board at Heathrow Airport)

At least 382 people in the UK have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and six have died

Denise Owens, who returned from Venice last night after a holiday with her husband, said there had been signs of precautions being taken but they were not followed through.

She told MailOnline: ‘While on the plane we all had to fill out forms so they could trace all passengers if one became ill.

‘I went to hand mine in on the plane but was told we had to hand them in inside the airport, but there was no-one to give these forms to. Nobody was interested. Mine is still in my bag.’

Another family who visited the north of Italy during February half-term said they were told they didn’t need to self-isolate when they came home.

The UK could be heading straight for a coronavirus crisis like the one which has crippled Italy, leading experts have warned.

Italy last night put all of its 60million people into lockdown and banned movement between cities in a drastic bid to contain the outbreak, which has infected 9,000 people.

But one scientist tracking the outbreak in the UK said Britain is following the same trajectory and could end up in a similar situation as Italy within two weeks. 

The number of cases in Italy has rocketed from just three on February 21 to at least 9,172. While in the UK it has jumped from nine to 321.

Professor Mark Handley, at University College London, compared the rate of coronavirus infection in Italy, which is in crisis, to that in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, the US and Switzerland and found they’re growing at the same rate

Silvia Monchelato and her family, who have lived in London for 15 years, returned in the same week that Italy’s rampant outbreak started to spiral out of control.

They were told by NHS 111 that they did not need to isolate, she told MailOnline, but she and her son were taken into quarantine when he started to feel ill – but her daughter was sent back to school.

Mrs Monchelato, who is Italian but has had both her children in the UK, had been to Veneto, one of the northern Italian regions at the heart of the country’s outbreak and returned on February 26.

She called an ambulance when her son started to have trouble breathing. 

She said: ‘When [paramedics] arrived they told me to get off with my son and my daughter headed off to school. 

‘They took us to St Mary’s Hospital and kept us inside the vehicle for about two hours until a team came to test us for the coronavirus. 

‘After this, with security, masked medical staff [came and] took us inside the hospital to a cubicle and locked us inside for four days until the negative test result arrived. 

‘What if the test had been positive? My daughter who travelled with us went to school all week, free to infect others. 

‘The measures that the British government is taking are not at all logical, consistent or protective.’

People in Italy are facing increasingly  difficult trips home to the UK after British Airways and Jet2 yesterday announced they were cancelling all flights between the two countries.  

Anna De Luca (left) nor Carmine Loru (right) both flew home to England from Italy yesterday but said they weren’t given any information about the Government’s new rule that anyone returning must self-isolate for two weeks

Retired greengrocer Martin Rudd arrived at Stansted from Pisa yesterday and said he was not tested but would now have to go into self-isolation

Ryanair will continue to fly as normal until Saturday – with customers in Italy able to fly home before it stops all international flights from the virus-hit nation until April 8.

EasyJet has cancelled most of its flights at Milan, Venice and Verona but is still flying between other parts of Italy and the UK. The airline said anyone who has not been contacted can assume their flight is scheduled as normal.

The budget airline also flies to England from airports in Bologna, Turin, Livorno, Ancona, Rome, Naples, Bari, Brindisi, Sicily and Sardinia. These services are not affected by cancellations, according to the firm’s website.

Vuelling is also running some flights. 

Italian airline Alitalia has stopped flying out of Milan Malpensa and limited flights from Milan Linate to only domestic routes, but it continues to fly internationally out of Rome.

The UK’s outbreak started in earnest last week when the number of confirmed patients more than doubled from 23 to 51 between Saturday, February 29, and Tuesday, March 3.

Government officials have decided not to move to the second stage of Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s coronavirus action plan, and remain in the first phase which focuses on trying to contain and stop the virus.

The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the UK has risen to 382 and more than 26,000 people have been tested


NHS England has ramped up its coronavirus testing capacity so 10,000 swabs can be done every day as it braces for an explosion of cases. 

The health service is currently conducting around 1,500 daily tests.

By comparison, South Korea has been able to swab up to 15,000 patients every day for the virus despite having a population of 50million compared to Britain’s 66million. 

Currently there are around 100 testing centres in England and every sample has to be sent to one of 12 Public Health England laboratories.

It means patients must wait around 48 hours for test results to come back.

But now local NHS hospital labs are being equipped with test kits so they can conduct them on-site without having to send samples away. 

Most of the people tested should get a result back within 24 hours, according to PHE.

They have, however, admitted that they expect a ‘significant’ outbreak to take hold in Britain. 

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Dr Jenny Harries, predicted ‘many thousands of people’ would get COVID-19.

Most people only get a mild illness and don’t need medical help, while others may be hospitalised and a small proportion will get pneumonia and die.

Dr Harries told Sky News: ‘We currently have relatively few cases here, which is why we are still in the containment phase [the first step of government action plan].

‘Obviously we will have significant numbers in a way in which the country is not used to.

‘This is the sort of thing that professionally we’re trained for and very rarely see, almost in a professional lifetime.

‘Large numbers of the population will become infected because it’s a naive population, nobody has got antibodies to this virus currently.

‘We will see many thousands of people infected by coronavirus, that’s what we’re seeing in other countries and the important thing for us is to make sure that we manage those infections.’ 

Engineer Anna De Luca, 30, who lives in Brighton and arrived at Gatwick yesterday, said: ‘There were no checks at all. So I said, I will take some responsibility and wear the mask – even if it’s useless. 

‘But even in Naples they did a check, and told us to stay one metre away from the next person. And then on the plane there was nothing. We weren’t given any information. 

‘I just asked a man working here, he said maybe you should phone 111, but there were no checks at all.’ 

A woman is pictured wearing a face mask on the London Underground. There have been more than 50 coronavirus cases diagnosed in London

Women wearing face masks stand in central London today. Officials have said masks probably don’t protect against the COVID-19 virus, which is small enough to pass through the material


Ryanair, British Airways and Jet2 have today cancelled hundreds of flights to and from Italy until April at the earliest and easyJet has also grounded most of its services leaving thousands of customers stranded in the coronavirus-hit country.

BA has axed its 60 flights a day to cities including Milan, Venice and Rome while Jet2 has gone even further and cancelled all its Italian trips for almost six weeks until April 26.

Ryanair today announced it had cancelled all flights from March 14 until April 9, but has told thousands of Brits trapped in Italy they can switch their return flight to come home before Saturday.

EasyJet has stopped the majority of its flights to northern Italy but planes will still fly from southern cities such as Rome and Naples despite a blanket travel ban imposed by the Italian government as deaths reached almost 100 per day yesterday.  

Carmine Loru, 39, who arrived at Gatwick on a flight from Florence, said that he had been given no information about self-isolation.

Mr Loru, whose family live in Florence, said: ‘There is a lot of paranoia in Italy, but here there is not even anybody checking us. 

‘I read on the BBC that I’m supposed to stay at home for 14 days, but nobody said anything about that on the plane. In Florence they didn’t tell us anything about what to do in London.’  

Retired greengrocer Martin Rudd claimed the public hand-sanitiser pumps at Stansted Airport were empty and there was no up to date health advice when in the arrivals hall when he arrived from Pisa yesterday. 

The 64-year-old said: ‘I’m in a high-risk group – I’m diabetic and I’ve had a triple heart by-pass – so I’m taking precautions.

‘The hand-sanitiser pumps are empty and the only information is on a notice board in the arrivals hall. There isn’t any one checking to see if people are unwell or taking anyone’s temperature.’

Mr Rudd, who had been on holiday in northern part of Italy but outside the original ‘Red Zone’ with his partner Linda Collis, booked an earlier flight after the Italian government announced a nationwide lock-down.

He said: ‘My son called warned us last night that travel restrictions were changing so I booked an earlier flight so we’ve come home this morning. In fact the plane was practically empty. There were on about 15 people on the flight.’

Mr Rudd said he was taking a taxi home and would stay indoors for the required 14 days in accordance with the latest advice from Public Health England.

He said: ‘I’ve got grandchildren so I don’t want to infect them. I’m well prepared. I’ve got lots of food in, everything I need.

‘I bought a load of hand sanitizer before we left, in fact I took six bottles with us to Italy and I’ve been cleaning my hands after touching anything.’


Prime minister Giuseppe Conte said last night’s decree could be ‘summarised as follows: I stay at home’. 

Here are the rules under the new decree. 


People who have tested positive for coronavirus must not leave their homes for any reason. 

Anyone with a fever or respiratory symptoms is urged to stay at home and limit social contact, including with their doctor. 


Travel is only allowed for ‘urgent, verifiable work situations and emergencies or health reasons’. Grocery shopping is considered a ‘necessity’ and still allowed. 

To avoid work-related travel, public and private companies have been urged to put their staff on leave. 

However, it was not immediately clear how the new measures would be enforced. Trains and numerous flights continued to operate into and out of Milan on Monday despite the earlier restrictions in Lombardy. 

Public transport will remain operational, but Conte says he wants as many people as possible to stay at home. 

People who do want to travel will need to fill in a document explaining their reasons for doing so and carry it with them. 

If they are found to have lied they face fines or jail terms. But they will generally work on an honour system.  

People will also be allowed to travel to return home.  


‘All forms of gatherings in public places or sites open to the public’ are banned, the decree says.  

Cinemas, museums, theatres, pubs, dance schools, betting shops and discos are all closed. Weddings and funerals are banned. Schools and universities will remain shut until April 3. 

Bars and restaurants were only allowed to open between 8am and 6pm, the decree said, and only if a distance of at least 3ft could be kept between customers.  

Sporting events of all levels and disciplines were cancelled – stopping play in the Serie A football league. Fixtures in international competitions can go ahead but will be played behind closed doors.  

Gyms, sports centres, swimming pools, spas and leisure centres must close.  


Shops can remain open but only if they can guarantee the 3ft safety distance for customers. 

Big and mid-sized shopping centres have to close at the weekend. Food stores are allowed to remain open at all hours. 


Leave for health workers is cancelled. People accompanying their friends or relatives to emergency units are not allowed to stay with them in the waiting rooms without express permission. 


The entire country, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, is covered by the decree – covering a total population of some 60million people. 

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World News

Woman rescued from collapsed coronavirus hotel after 21 hours

Woman is rescued from collapsed coronavirus quarantine hotel after being trapped for 21 hours as death toll of the incident in China rises to 11

  • The isolation facility crumbled to the ground on Saturday evening in Quanzhou 
  • 11 people have died and 21 remain trapped as of Monday afternoon, report said 
  • The hotel’s owner is under police investigation amid ongoing rescue operations
  • News comes as the spread of the novel coronavirus continues to slow in China 

At least 11 people have died and 21 remain trapped after a hotel used for quarantining people under observation for the coronavirus collapsed in China, state media reported.

Footage has captured the moment a woman was rescued from the rubble after being stranded under the debris for 21 hours.  

As of 2pm local time on Monday, rescuers had pulled 50 people from the rubble and 39 of them survived, reported Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

Rescue works are ongoing. The hotel’s 65-year-old owner is under police investigation.

Rescuers in China try to pull out a trapped woman around 21 hours after the hotel collapsed

The freed woman is lifted and carried to an ambulance by firefighters in Quanzhou, Fujian

The woman, having been given a mask, is transferred for medical attention after being rescued

The woman’s son is pictured being removed from the rubble five hours before her rescue

The 80-room hotel (pictured) had reportedly been turned into a coronavirus quarantine centre

The collapsed hotel, called Xinjia, is situated in downtown Quanzhou, a city of around 8.5 million people in south-eastern China’s Fujian Province.

It opened in June, 2018, and is reported to have around 80 rooms.

The hotel had been converted into a temporary ‘medical observation centre’ for suspected coronavirus patients before it toppled at around 7:15pm on March 7.

The building’s first floor had been under renovation, Xinhua said in a previous report.

Surveillance footage trending on Chinese social media has captured the shocking moment the seven-storey hotel crumbling to the ground on Saturday evening in the city of Quanzhou

At least 11 people have died and 21 remain trapped after more than 70 people were stranded

Rescuers carry an injured person from the rubble of a collapsed hotel on March 8 in Quanzhou

Rescuers search for survivors on Sunday after the hotel crumbled to the ground the day before

Cars are seen scattered at the scene while rescue workers continued their efforts on Sunday

Rescuers were seen responding Saturday night after the Xinjia hotel collapsed at 7:15pm

A CCTV clip filmed from a nearby petrol station shows the hotel falling apart in a matter of seconds.

Another video report from BJ News shows a 12-year-old boy being carried out of the debris Sunday morning after being buried for around 16 hours. 

The boy is filmed shouting at the rescuers ‘my mum is right next to me’ as he was being taken to an ambulance with a mask bound to his face to cover his eyes, nose and mouth.

His mother was rescued at around 4:30pm yesterday, reported People’s Daily. 

Pictures taken on Sunday at the rescue site showed rescue workers clad in hard hats, goggles and face masks carrying injured people away to medical staff in white overalls and surgical masks.

A rescue force of over 1,000 people – including firefighters, police forces and other emergency responders – arrived at the site on Saturday night, according to government officials.

Fujian Firefighting Department said they rescued at least three children, including one toddler, at around midnight Sunday. 

Rescuers carry out an injured infant from the collapsed seven-floor hotel building in Quanzhou

Around 70 people were trapped after a hotel collapsed in China’s eastern Fujian province

Rescuers are still looking for 21 people on Monday – two days after the hotel collapsed 

News of the collapse comes as the spread of the coronavirus continues to slow in China.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported 40 new cases and 22 new deaths from yesterday, compared to 44 cases and 27 deaths from the day before.

Of the 40 new confirmed cases, 36 were discovered in Wuhan, the origin of the virus’ outbreak and its hotbed. None was discovered in other parts of Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital.

The remaining four were cases imported from outside mainland China into the country’s Gansu Province.

The spread of the coronavirus continues to slow in China. Officials reported 40 new cases and 22 new deaths from yesterday, compared to 44 cases and 27 deaths from the day before

Of the 40 new confirmed cases, 36 were discovered in Wuhan, the origin of the virus’ outbreak

Chinese cities are gradually relaxing quarantine measures after a month of strict implementation while authorities keep a close watch on the virus’ spread overseas

Chinese cities are gradually relaxing quarantine measures after a month of strict implementation while authorities keep a close watch on the virus’ spread overseas.

As the virus slows its spread in Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic, authorities have reacted by halting operations of hospitals built specifically to house its patients.

State television reported on Sunday that operations of 11 makeshift hospitals had been suspended and the remaining ones would be out of service by around March 10, although they could be used again depending on the virus situation.

Outside of China, more than 100 nations are now battling the contagion, with South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran among the worst-affected.

The global death toll has surpassed 3,825 and the total number of cases has reached over 110,190.

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From catwalks to toilet paper, Golden Plains and the Pixies deliver

Guests of Aunty Meredith always make lemonade out of lemons.

Unperturbed – even spurred on – by Aunty's warnings to maintain hygiene at Golden Plains in the face of coronavirus, one group brought a totem pole with the sign: "Wash your hands, ya filthy animals".

Another brought the most valuable commodity of all: a 10-pack of unopened, two-ply toilet paper.

The Pixies, in their sixties, enthuse the crowd at Golden Plains 2020.Credit:Steve Benn

It didn't escape the attention of British reggae/rapper General Levy, who got among the home crowd in his sequinned gold jacket on Sunday afternoon and announced: "I heard you've got a toilet tissue crisis over here".

Bathed in a rare spot of sunshine over the long weekend, he launched into a coronavirus-led rap, inspiring the raising of a swath of boots – done to recognise one's favourite song at the festival.

Where General Levy surprised the crowd with his energy, US rockers the Pixies delivered on their headlining bill on Sunday night. The four-piece band – now mostly aged in their 50s – spoke little between songs, which made the delivery of classics like Here Comes Your Man all the more unifying.

Where Is My Mind brought the rare, spine-tingling experience of almost 15,000 people singing in unison in Meredith's supernatural ampitheatre, a farm that Aunty Meredith converts into a festival ground twice a year.

Hot Chip, the five-man English synth-pop outfit that's been touring since the year 2000, followed the Pixies.

Lead singer Joe Goddard is a master of his craft, cycling effortlessly between keyboard, percussion and vocals.

They sang classics like Over and Over and songs from their 2019 album such as Spell, though they were just short of launching into first gear, which the ampitheatre craved as the clock passed midnight.

Moonchild Sanelly at Golden Plains 2020.Credit:Steve Benn

On Saturday, the festival's first day, partiers’ “creativity” expressed itself in the supernatural ampitheatre's usual weird and wonderful ways.

One group of 12 – men and women – each wore glamorous dresses, draped in a sash naming their home towns, from Frankston to Nowra.

A human wheelbarrow race morphed into a catwalk competition, won by a tattooed man from Wangaratta whose finishing move was to put out his cigarette on his own chest.

There was also a wedding – an impromptu, swaying crowd encircling one couple as they exchanged vows, having handed out invitations earlier in the afternoon. Meredith: the Las Vegas of the southern hemisphere.

Electric Fields bring disco to the supernatural amphitheatre.Credit:Steve Benn

On Saturday night, Indigenous duo Electric Fields turned the amphitheatre into a one-hour disco party. British duo Sleaford Mods then demonstrated their “electronic munt minimalist punk-hop rants for the working class” that resemble fellow Brits the Streets.

Vocalist Jason Williamson, in his thick Midlands accent, covered the usuals – NHS, British politics, chip sandwiches.

Simona Castricum at Aunty Meredith’s amphitheatre.Credit:Suzanne Phoenix

But he had no time for one Golden Plains tradition.

"So I heard you all lift your shoes when you think a song is good or something? F— that – it's not a competition," he bellowed.

Guests of Aunty Meredith, a typically seamless blend of 19-year-old students and grey-haired veterans, took little notice. They responded, of course, with more boot raises.

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From income tax to motoring – how you can cut your tax bill whatever happens in next week’s Budget – The Sun

WILL we end up paying more for fuel, booze and fags next week – or lose a bigger slice of our paycheck?

Families will find out on Wednesday when Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his first Budget.

The average worker pays £9,000 a year across five types of tax.

But that figure soars after major life events such as moving home and the death of a relative.

Here, I explain how to cut your tax bills, whatever Wednesday’s outcome.


THIS is the biggest tax for most workers, with those on an average full-time salary of £30,000 paying more than £3,000 in income tax per year.

Most pay the “basic rate” of 20 per cent up to £50,000 after the personal allowance of £12,500. Higher earners pay 40 per cent on anything from £50,001, then 45 per cent above £150,000.

Here are a few ways to cut tax or get some back.

  •  Pay more of your salary into your pension, since you don’t pay tax on pension contributions.You won’t get access to the cash until you are older but you stop Rishi taking it. This “tax relief” means that for every £100 you stick in the pension pot, you effectively pay in £80 as a basic-rate taxpayer. You pay in just £60 if on the higher rate and if you are on the big bucks, just £55.
  •  Married couples can get a tax perk worth £250 a year if one of them is a low earner.If they earn less than the £12,500 tax-free allowance, they can pass some of the allowance along to the other, so long as they earn under £50,000. Yet many eligible couples don’t do this.
  •  Self-employed people can deduct costs for a raft of expenses from their tax bill. For a builder, this could mean work boots, a hat and protective gear — and a van, insurance and fuel. Those who work at home may be able to claim phone costs.
  • Even those with a job can get tax relief on a few work costs, such as repairing or replacing uniforms or tools — but not on buying them in the first place. For example, spend £60 on replacement safety boots and get £12 back.


COUNCIL tax bills arrive soon and will, on average, work out £69 higher than last year’s.

Discounts are available to students, those who live alone, disabled people, families on low wages and anyone living with someone with a “severe mental impairment” such as Alzheimer’s or a learning disability. But many people eligible for help don’t claim.

Furthermore, some 400,000 homes are thought to be in the wrong “band”, represented by a letter from A to H based on assumed capital values in the early Nineties.

Some families overpay by hundreds a year but you can claim a rebate dating back to when the tax was launched in 1993. One family got a refund of £8,000.


DRIVERS face car tax, fuel duty and Rishi taking a slice of insurance costs too.

Those with an old banger — often the poorest families — are hit hardest. Older, less efficient cars have the highest tax and use the most fuel, half of which goes into Treasury coffers. In places such as London, motorists face “toxicity” charges too.

Electric vehicles are cheaper to run but cost more to buy or lease, though prices are getting closer to petrol or diesel cars.

A used 2015 Renault Zoe electric car is £7,680 and a similar petrol or diesel Ford Fiesta £7,145, according to CarGurus.

Many can’t afford to buy one now but could go electric next time they switch.

On these vehicles there is no car tax, which can be as high as £570 a year, and power is far cheaper than fuel.

More than half the cost of a tank of petrol or diesel is tax, which is tipped to rise.

If you don’t drive much, you can avoid road and insurance tax by using a car-sharing club such as Turo or Getaround.


VALUE added tax is added to what the Government deems “non-essential” items – although there are bizarre rules on what falls into this category.

But if you follow our tips and are aware of the quirks below, you can avoid being clobbered by VAT.

  • Make your own smoothies. Raw fruit is not subject to VAT, but it is when pulped and sold in a bottle.
  • VAT is charged on chocolate-covered biscuits but not plain ones or chocolate-covered cakes. So it is not added to Jaffa Cakes but is on to chocolate digestives. Gingerbread men can have two chocolate eyes . . . but add a chocolate belt or buttons and you pay tax.
  • Don’t buy potato crisps, which are taxed, while tortilla chips, Twiglets and prawn crackers and vegetable crisps are zero-rated.
  • Raw nuts are zero-rated, as are roasted and salted nuts still in their shells. If they are shelled and either roasted or salted, there is VAT to pay. Dried fruit in the baking aisle is exempt but not in snack packets.
  • Warm pasties and sausage rolls baked onsite and sold while cooling down – even if they are still hot – are zero-rated, whereas any other hot takeaway food is subject to VAT.
  • Books, children’s clothes and magazine subscriptions have no added tax.

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World News

School bans kids from dressing up for World Book Day over costume expense

A PRIMARY school has banned its pupils from dressing up for World Book Day – so hard-up parents don't have to worry about their children being 'shamed' in front of classmates.

Bosses at St Nicholas Priory in Great Yarmouth, which looks after some 440 children aged between four and 11, say youngsters should arrive in 'normal uniform'.

Teachers will wear costumes.

But not all parents are pleased at the idea, with one dad saying his daughter had been looking forward to dressing up as a princess from Frozen.


Headteacher Maria Grimmer said her aim is to make sure the school is "inclusive for all".

"This World Book Day we are not requiring parents to spend extra money on costumes for their children, but instead are focusing on the many opportunities to enjoy the books available in school," she said.

"For some families, making World Book Day a special non-school uniform day becomes an additional financial burden as they feel the need to buy costumes."


Mums and dads of youngsters at the school have had a mixed reaction to the plan.

Kasey John Hare, whose eight-year-old daughter Amy attends St Nicholas Priory, said he was annoyed that teachers had "given such late notice".

He said: "Amy was supposed to be a princess from Frozen.

"She's really disappointed as she's had her dress for weeks."

Another parent, Toni Blackburn, said: "I'm really disappointed by the news because some parents have been saving up for costumes.

"It would have been much better to be told this information two weeks ago, or even earlier."
However, others said they backed plans to ditch the dress-up.

Vicky Deveraux said: "I think many have forgot that World Book Day is about books.
"We spend, on average, £10 to £15 on a costume for it, for it to then sit there until next year when it's then too small.

"Wouldn't it be better to put this money towards books for our children?"

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Aaliyah & Jaquan From ‘Catfish’ Are Likely Still Together After Their Episode

The last few minutes of Aaliyah and Jaquan’s Catfish episode seemed to indicate that the couple is together and happily ever after — and if it hinges on a social media presence, that might be the only update fans will ever get on their relationship status.

Aaliyah, from Vegas, met Jaquan, from Baltimore, on Instagram. She slid into his DMs and they had been talking for a year and a half before her cousin, Pialeah, decided to ask Nev and Kamie for help: she did not trust Aaliyah’s long-distance boyfriend. Everything seemed to indicate Jaquan was a fake, from his refusal to meet Aaliyah in person to the fact that he wouldn’t send his girlfriend any new pictures. And after finding a Facebook account with his name and picture when he claimed he didn’t have one, Nev and Kamie were convinced that was another classic case of catfishing.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t. Jaquan’s only lie was that he did have a Facebook account, which is now impossible to find. He flew to LA to meet Aaliyah in person and, after the initial shock, they immediately hit it off. He promised her he was serious about their relationship, explained why he’d been so reluctant to meet her, and even brought back their plans to move together to LA and follow their careers there. This wasn’t a case of fake profiles and identity theft, just a more familiar misunderstanding.

Kamie and Nev were supportive of the couple, but advised them to take things slow. "You can both come here and make moves and do exactly what it is that you wanna do and be in a relationship with each other but still have your own path," Kamie advised them, before explicitly telling them not to move in together. So when they called Aaliyah a month later to check on her status, they were shocked to see that she was in Baltimore with Jaquan. "The same day that everything was done, I went with him to Baltimore," she told Nev and Kamie. She also said she’d be living there until both moved to LA.

The conclusion? Aaliyah and Jaquan might be together based on the ending, but it’s hard to locate them on social media to confirm that. Considering Jaquan’s previous secretive behavior, that’s not surprising. As far as we know, they could be sharing a place in LA right now.

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TV and Movies

Are Jessica and Mark from Love Is Blind Still Together?

New reality TV show Love Is Blind has taken the world by storm.

If you’ve not seen it, the premise is this: single people enter into specially made “pods” which allow them to talk to a prospective love interests, but never see what they look like. After dating in the “pods” for a few days, the couples who have found love must propose, and then they get to finally meet in real life. And the plot twist is, they must walk down the aisle in less than eight weeks.

One of the most unforgettable couples in Season 1 was Jessica Batten and Mark Cuevas. While Jessica flip-flopped between Mark and Barnett while in the “pods,” she quickly flipped back to Mark when Barnett revealed his intention to propose to someone else. While Mark was clearly besotted with Jessica throughout, she never seemed as sure as he did, especially as there was a ten year age gap between them.

Despite their differences, Jessica and Mark dated throughout the season, and even made it to the altar in the finale. However, Jessica turned Mark down, and walked away from her wedding. But has the couple rekindled their relationship since the show ended?

In an interview with Esquire, Mark revealed, “We haven’t talked, I haven’t seen her since the wedding day. It’s been radio silence and it is what it is. She has to live her life and move on and whatever it takes to do that, whatever works for her works for her and same for me. We both had to go live our lives.”

He also told TMZ, “I’ve got nothing but love for her, because I became a better man post-this entire experience.”

Meanwhile, Jessica told USA Today, “I’m actually dating around, but nothing serious. I didn’t date for a long time, after the show, but I recently started up again. It’s been really great. I’m actually in L.A. now. So it’s been a nice change from Atlanta. Atlanta is a tough place to date…”

As for the couple’s heartbreaking wedding day, Jessica explained, “I did apologize to him, and I apologized to his mom.”

Sadly, this is one match that didn’t quite work out, but it’s probably for the best.

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