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Could a boycott kill Facebook?

Words: - BBC News - 20:36 29-06-2020

Boycotts can be extremely effective - as Facebook is finding out.

In the late 18th century, the abolitionist movement encouraged British people to stay away from goods produced by slaves. It worked. Around 300,000 stopped buying sugar - increasing the pressure to abolish slavery.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign is the latest movement to use boycott as a political tool. It claims that Facebook doesn't do enough to remove racist and hateful content from its platform.

It's convinced a series of major companies to pull advertising from Facebook and some other social media companies.

Among the latest to do so are Ford, Adidas and HP. They join earlier participants including Coca-Cola, Unilever and Starbucks.

News site Axios has also reported that Microsoft suspended advertising on Facebook and Instagram in May because of concerns about unspecified "inappropriate content" - a development the BBC can confirm.

Meanwhile, other online platforms, including Reddit and Twitch, have piled on more pressure by taking anti-hate steps of their own.

Can that boycott hurt Facebook? The short answer is yes - the vast majority of Facebook's revenue comes from ads.

David Cumming from Aviva Investors told the BBC's Today programme that the loss of trust, and a perceived absence of a moral code, could "destroy the business".

On Friday, Facebook's share price dropped by 8% - making chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, theoretically at least, £6bn poorer.

But whether this could be bigger - an existential threat to Facebook's long-term future - is far less clear.

First of all, this isn't the first boycott of a social media company.

In 2017, major brand after major brand announced they would stop advertising on YouTube - after ads were placed next to racist and homophobic videos.

That particular boycott is now almost totally forgotten. YouTube tweaked its ad policies, and three years on YouTube's parent company Google is doing just fine.

And there are more reasons to believe this boycott isn't as damaging to Facebook as you might think.

Firstly, many companies have only committed to a one-month boycott in July.

Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, much of Facebook's advertising revenue comes from thousands and thousands of small- to medium-sized businesses.

CNN reports that the highest-spending 100 brands accounted for $4.2bn in Facebook advertising last year - or about 6% of the platform's ad revenue.

So far, the vast majority of medium-sized companies have not signed up.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg oversees the four most downloaded apps of the decade

Mat Morrison, head of strategy at advertising agency Digital Whiskey, told me there's a huge number of smaller businesses that "can't afford not to advertise".

He says that for smaller businesses - which are priced out of advertising on TV - cheaper and more focussed ads on platforms like Facebook are essential.

"The only way our business works is having access to these highly targeted audiences, that aren't mass media audiences, so we'll continue to advertise" Morrison says.

In some ways Facebook looks like a good choice of company to lobby. The structure of Facebook gives Mark Zuckerberg a huge amount of power to effect change. If he wants something, he'll get it.

You only need to change the mind of one man.

But the reverse is also true. Shareholders aren't able to put pressure on Mr Zuckerberg in the same way as other companies. If he doesn't want to act, he won't.

So far though, he has shown signs he's prepared to move. On Friday, Facebook announced it would begin to tag hateful content - and look out for further announcements this week.

These changes won't be enough to make Stop Hate for Profit go away though.

And elsewhere, others are taking action of their own.

This Monday, Reddit has banned The_Donald forum as part of a wider crackdown on "subreddits" whose members have engaged in harassment and threatening behaviour. The community was not officially linked to the President, but had helped widely spread memes that supported him, before Reddit took earlier steps to limit the posts' reach.

In addition, Twitch has temporarily banned an account run by the Trump campaign.

The Amazon-owned video-streaming site said two videos of Mr Trump's rallies that were shown on its platform had broken its rules on hateful conduct.

Twitch's action may feed into existing tensions between President Trump and Amazon's chief executive Jeff Bezos

One dated from 2015, before he was elected, at which he had said Mexico was sending rapists to the US. The other was from earlier this month, in which the President had described a fictional "tough hombre" breaking into the home of an American woman.

"We do not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content," Twitch said in a statement.

This year is going to be a rocky year for all social media companies.

Facebook is by no means the exception. But companies will always be guided by their balance sheets.

If the boycott drags on into the autumn - and if more and more companies sign up - this could be a defining year for the social network.

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Leicester 'faces lockdown extension' amid Covid surge

Words: - BBC News - 18:35 29-06-2020

Health Secretary Matt Hancock first mentioned an "outbreak" in Leicester on 18 June

Pubs and restaurants in Leicester may stay closed for two more weeks due to a surge in coronavirus cases, the city's mayor has said.

Sir Peter Soulsby said the government had recommended current restrictions are maintained for a further fortnight.

He told the Today programme the city could "remain restricted for two weeks longer than the rest of the country".

The prime minister said Public Health England and local authorities had the power to bring in a local lockdown.

There have been 2,987 positive cases in Leicester since the pandemic began, with 866 of those - 29% - reported in the two weeks to 23 June.

Coronavirus restrictions across England are due to be eased from 4 July, with pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and hotels allowed to reopen.

But Sir Peter said he had received an email from the government overnight and "it seems they're suggesting we continue the present level of restriction for a further two weeks beyond 4 July".

Sir Peter Soulsby has expressed scepticism about extending restrictions

Sir Peter criticised the analysis as "superficial" and said he did not know whether the government had the power to impose an extension if council officials concluded it was not necessary.

"I think it's very unclear as to what difference it would make if they continue the regulations in Leicester and why you would do it," he said.

"Frankly, if the virus is out of control and spreading in Leicester with the restrictions, I can't understand how extending them for a further two weeks would make any difference to that."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to make a statement on whether coronavirus restrictions will be extended in the city at 21:15 BST.

The prime minister's official spokesman said Public Health England (PHE) and councils had the power to impose a local lockdown by temporarily closing public spaces, businesses and venues.

He said local health authorities could also halt admissions to hospitals.

Boris Johnson said a local "whack-a-mole" strategy used to deal with outbreaks in Weston-super-Mare and around GP surgeries in London would be "brought to bear in Leicester as well".

"We are concerned about Leicester, we are concerned about any local outbreak. I want to stress to people that we are not out of the woods yet," he added.

We should get used to these local flare-ups - they are going to become a way of life over the coming months.

The virus, while at low levels, is still here.

There are around 1,000 positive tests every day across the UK on average - and then there are the unknown number of silent spreaders, those who do not show symptoms and hence do not get tested.

What's important is that these clusters are brought under control quickly and don't spread.

The fact a local outbreak has been identified in one part of Leicester suggests the system is working to some extent - although it's fair to ask whether it could have been spotted more quickly given cases have been growing for a number of weeks.

With extra testing facilities parachuted in officials will be desperately trying to get a clear idea of just how far it has spread so delaying the further easing of restrictions is the logical step.

If more cases keep emerging a local lockdown will be on the cards.

Should it be like this? Some argue we should have suppressed the virus further before easing - essentially going for elimination like New Zealand.

But for a country like the UK where the virus had spread further before lockdown and with its size of population and packed cities that is somewhat harder.

Sohail Ali (right) said further uncertainty was unwelcome

Business owners in the city who had been preparing to reopen on 4 July said they were dismayed at the prospect of having to wait a further two weeks.

Restaurant owner Sohail Ali said the uncertainty had made him "very nervous".

"Everyone has got bills to pay, mouths to feed, so we need to make sure that we can get our businesses back open," he said.

Blake Edwards, owner of the Flappers and Gentlemen salon, said continuing restrictions would be "heartbreaking".

Lyndsey Portas said she could not believe Leicester was worse than any other big cities

Lyndsey Portas, who owns a fruit and veg stall at the city market, said she "can't believe" Leicester is "worse than more heavily populated cities".

"It would have been nice to have felt it was a bit back to normal, but if it's spreading through the community, it does need to be stopped," she said.

Jo Collins, who works in a city centre pub, wants to get back to work to provide for her children.

The 30-year-old said: "I've got kids and I was off sick before this started for three months so I couldn't get furlough, so I've been on universal credit instead.

"It's unfair on Leicester and I'd be gutted if this carries on. We can definitely open safely."

Pub worker Jo Collins wants to return to work after spending three months on universal credit

Ivan Browne, Leicester's director of public health, said local cases were "very much around the younger working-age population and predominately towards the east part of our city" and "likely [due to] a combination of factors".

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe previously called for local lockdown due to a "perfect storm" of poverty, positive tests and higher ethnic diversity.

About 28% of Leicester's population is of Indian heritage, and a further 21% are from black or Asian backgrounds.

By Daniel Wainwright, BBC England Data Unit

The figure for confirmed cases in Leicester is almost three times that published by the government.

This is because the government's published data for local cases only cover tests carried out in hospitals and for health workers - known as Pillar 1.

Tests outside of hospitals, known as Pillar 2, are not broken down by local authority but PHE has started publishing a weekly round-up by region.

In the week of 18 to 24 June the East Midlands went from 18,516 confirmed cases to 19,861, equivalent to 28 new confirmed cases for every 100,000 people.

PHE does not provide figures down to a local authority area, but a map in its report showed Barnsley, Bradford and Rochdale all recorded at least 45 new cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 21 June.

In its weekly report PHE said case detections were highest in the north of England and there had been increases outside of hospital testing in Yorkshire and the Humber over the previous two weeks.

"At a local authority level, activity was highest in parts of West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and in Leicester," it added.

Dr Manish Pareek, a consultant at Leicester Royal Infirmary, said recent cases of Covid-19 he had seen were from "inner-city areas which have high levels of ethnic diversity, pockets of deprivation but also quite crowded housing with inter-generational and multi-occupancy households".

These factors "are almost like a perfect storm for a virus to be spread within," he added.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it was working with PHE, the city council and local partners "to help prevent further transmission of the virus".

Four mobile testing sites and thousands of home testing kits have been sent to Leicester, a spokesperson added.

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How many confirmed cases in your area?

Words: - BBC News - 16:53 07-07-2020

There have been nearly 300,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 44,000 people have died, government figures show.

These numbers only include people who have been tested, and the actual death toll will be higher.

Across the country, the number of newly confirmed cases each day has been falling since a peak in April.

On Tuesday a further 544 new cases were reported.

Find out how the pandemic has affected your area and how it compares with the national average:

Public Health England figures on coronavirus cases were updated on 2 July to include people tested in the wider community, as well as hospitals and healthcare workers, causing the numbers to increase sharply. Figures for the rest of the UK already included people tested in the wider population.

If you can't see the look-up click here.

Though the national trend in new coronavirus cases is down, in some areas the virus is spreading more quickly, leading to localised hotspots.

The most recent data shows Merthyr Tydfil has the highest rate of positive tests in the UK, with 179 out of every 100,000 people testing positive in the week to 30 June. The spike is attributed to an outbreak at a local meat processing plant.

The most discussed local hotspot is Leicester, where the government announced it was re-imposing lockdown measures last week, after a jump in cases. Figures released on Thursday showed Leicester still had the highest infection rate in England - with 141 cases per 100,000 people in the week to 28 June.

A full list of infection rates for local areas is at the bottom of this page.

Until recently, the only figures available to local authorities were the results of hospital testing. However, more testing is now taking place in the wider community.

The Department of Health says a data-sharing agreement has been reached with local authorities, which will give them access to the number of people testing positive in the community in their area.

It should mean that new hotspots can be quickly identified and measures taken to restrict the spread of the disease.

The chart below shows how the growth in positive cases identified through community testing (pale blue) has become more significant as positive hospital test results (dark blue) have declined.

Government-announced deaths from coronavirus peaked mid-April and have been steadily falling since then, though the downward trend seems to have slowed recently.

On Tuesday, the government announced a further 155 deaths in the UK. Figures tend to go up again quite sharply on a Tuesday, due to the lag in reporting deaths over the weekend.

The UK has the highest official death toll in Europe and the third highest in the world, after the US and Brazil.

The government has argued it is too soon to make definitive international comparisons but, as the impact of the first wave becomes clear in many countries, analysis is beginning to suggest the UK has been the hardest hit of the leading G7 nations.

The majority of the UK's deaths have been in England, with about 40,000 so far - around 90% of the total for the UK.

On Tuesday Scotland reported one death, bringing the total to 2,489. But data on death registrations from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) suggests there had been 4,155 deaths by 28 June.

Wales has recorded 1,534 deaths and Northern Ireland 554.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of deaths from all causes registered in a single week has fallen below the five-year average for the second consecutive week.

The new coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19, was first confirmed in the UK at the end of January, but the number of daily confirmed cases and related deaths only began to increase significantly by the second half of March.

Lockdown restrictions came into force across the UK at the end of that month. The number of new cases came to a peak mid-April and have been falling steadily since.

The number of deaths as a result of the virus can be measured in three ways. The government's daily announcement counts deaths with a positive test result.

But the ONS also counts death certificates mentioning the virus. This measure suggests there had been more than 54,500 deaths by 26 June.

When looking at deaths over and above the expected number for the period of the pandemic - the third way of measuring - the coronavirus death toll rises to almost 65,000 by the same date. This represents a decrease on last week's total because there have now been fewer deaths than expected for two weeks running, so the overall total is shrinking.

Some of the excess deaths are likely to include people with undiagnosed coronavirus or those who died as an indirect result of the pandemic.

Coronavirus accounted for about 6% of all deaths in the UK in the week to 26 June, according to death registration data - a drop from 8% the previous week.

When deaths from the virus were at their peak back in April, this figure reached almost 40%.

The "R number" is the average number of people an infected person will pass the disease on to.

If R is below one, then the number of people contracting the disease will fall; if it is above one, the number will grow.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, known as Sage, believes the R number across the whole of the UK is currently between 0.7 and 0.9.

The government says England itself is also between 0.7 and 0.9, but highest in London where it is between 0.8 and 1.1.

The estimate for Scotland is between 0.6 and 0.8. In Northern Ireland, it is between 0.3 and 0.8, while it is between 0.7 and 1.0 in Wales.

The government has said that the R number is one of the most important factors in deciding when lockdown measures can be eased.

The UK exceeded its target to increase testing capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of May. Though the number of tests reported each day has only occasionally been near that capacity.

The government said 141,807 tests had been made available in the 24 hours to 09:00 on Monday and of those, 94,284 had been processed.

In total, more than eight million tests have been processed so far.

Most recorded coronavirus deaths have been among the elderly, with NHS England figures showing more than half of deaths have been among people aged over 80.

The disease appears to disproportionally affect men in their 50s and 60s, and the death rate for men outstrips women across all age ranges.

People with underlying health conditions are also at greater risk regardless of age.

Research by Public Health England (PHE) has also found that people from ethnic minorities have a much higher risk of dying from coronavirus than people of white British ethnicity. But it is still not clear why - the study did not take into account occupations or obesity, which are also known to be high risk factors.

Another study found that South Asian people were the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital. It was the only ethnic group found to have a raised risk of death in hospital, which researchers believe is partly due to high levels of diabetes.

The most deprived parts of England and Wales have been hit twice as hard by coronavirus as wealthier areas, according to the ONS.

Here's a full list so you can see whether the number of people testing positive per 100,000 in your area has gone up or down.

Infection rates by local authority Number of cases per 100,000 over seven days

Local authority Latest figures Previous week Antrim and Newtownabbey 0 4.21 Ards and North Down 2.49 0 Armagh City Banbridge Craigavon 0.47 0 Ayrshire and Arran 1.08 1.62 Barking and Dagenham 5.66 1.42 Barnet 1.53 2.3 Barnsley 35.07 54.65 Bath and North East Somerset 0 1.04 Bedford 18.06 41.95 Belfast 1.17 1.17 Bexley 3.24 4.45 Birmingham 6.48 9.64 Blackburn with Darwen 20.81 32.9 Blackpool 13.64 10.77 Blaenau Gwent 1.43 7.16 Bolton 23.48 15.77 Borders -0.87 0.87 Bournemouth Christchurch Poole 1.01 1.26 Bracknell Forest 1.64 4.11 Bradford 45.8 69.44 Brent 5.44 5.14 Bridgend 1.36 2.04 Brighton and Hove 2.41 5.17 Bristol, City of 1.94 1.94 Bromley 0.6 2.11 Buckinghamshire 3.52 6.11 Bury 6.31 13.15 Caerphilly 1.1 3.31 Calderdale 14.76 12.38 Cambridgeshire 3.68 5.07 Camden 0.38 1.91 Cardiff 6 7.09 Carmarthenshire 6.89 4.77 Causeway Coast and Glens 0.69 3.47 Central Bedfordshire 5.64 15.87 Ceredigion 1.38 8.25 Cheshire East 11.29 16.02 Cheshire West and Chester 9.69 12.33 City of London 0 0 Conwy 11.95 21.33 Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 1.41 0.7 County Durham 4.55 5.12 Coventry 1.36 5.73 Croydon 2.85 1.56 Cumbria 3.61 5.81 Darlington 0.94 4.69 Denbighshire 5.22 15.67 Derby 12.83 24.5 Derbyshire 6.53 9.67 Derry City and Strabane 0 0 Devon 0.38 1.01 Doncaster 21.25 17.39 Dorset 1.06 1.06 Dudley 2.18 3.74 Dumfries and Galloway 4.03 7.39 Ealing 6.73 4.09 East Riding of Yorkshire 4.71 14.13 East Sussex 4.51 9.02 Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) 0 0 Enfield 3.59 2.7 Essex 3.52 5.82 Fermanagh and Omagh 0 0.86 Fife 0.54 0 Flintshire 5.77 13.45 Forth Valley 2.94 3.26 Gateshead 0.49 3.46 Gloucestershire 0.95 0.63 Grampian 1.37 0.68 Greater Glasgow and Clyde 2.03 2.03 Greenwich 2.45 3.14 Gwynedd 5.62 38.54 Hackney 1.43 2.5 Halton 6.23 6.23 Hammersmith and Fulham 12.4 5.93 Hampshire 0.44 1.24 Haringey 2.96 2.59 Harrow 2.8 1.6 Hartlepool 6.43 4.29 Havering 5.43 1.94 Herefordshire 1.56 2.08 Hertfordshire 2.36 4.64 Highland 0.31 0.31 Hillingdon 5.91 2.62 Hounslow 9.23 7.39 Isle of Anglesey 9.99 108.5 Isle of Wight 2.12 2.83 Islington 0.84 2.93 Kensington and Chelsea 6.4 7.68 Kent 10.01 13.45 Kingston upon Hull 3.84 22.64 Kingston upon Thames 1.71 1.14 Kirklees 26.21 30.31 Knowsley 20.06 6.02 Lambeth 0.31 0.92 Lanarkshire 1.36 5.59 Lancashire 7.44 15.04 Leeds 11.66 19.77 Leicester 141.32 140.2 Leicestershire 17.33 20.77 Lewisham 1.65 1.98 Lincolnshire 3.04 5.69 Lisburn and Castlereagh 3.46 2.77 Liverpool 7.68 6.26 Lothian 0.11 2.97 Luton 14.95 26.62 Manchester 17.53 21.55 Medway 4.68 6.12 Merthyr Tydfil 179.03 9.95 Merton 5.82 4.36 Mid and East Antrim 1.44 5.04 Mid Ulster 0 0.68 Middlesbrough 6.4 7.83 Milton Keynes 4.1 10.8 Monmouthshire 3.17 2.11 Neath Port Talbot 1.4 2.79 Newcastle upon Tyne 3.66 5.33 Newham 1.7 3.41 Newport 1.94 0 Newry, Mourne and Down 1.11 2.78 Norfolk 1.55 4.32 North East Lincolnshire 1.88 1.88 North Lincolnshire 3.49 4.65 North Somerset 3.74 1.4 North Tyneside 2.91 4.85 North Yorkshire 5.04 13.83 Northamptonshire 9.9 14.85 Northumberland 2.19 3.43 Nottingham 8.46 10.57 Nottinghamshire 5.35 12.63 Oldham 30.13 38.62 Orkney 0 0 Oxfordshire 4.36 5.09 Pembrokeshire 0.79 0.79 Peterborough 18.9 27.86 Plymouth 2.28 1.52 Portsmouth 0 0.93 Powys 1.51 3.02 Reading 3.06 1.84 Redbridge 2.3 3.62 Redcar and Cleveland 5.12 0.73 Rhondda Cynon Taf 3.73 7.46 Richmond upon Thames 3.05 1.02 Rochdale 35 53.64 Rotherham 26.07 33.63 Rutland 0 2.52 Salford 7.86 10.22 Sandwell 5.5 7.33 Sefton 4.72 8.35 Sheffield 24.38 20.6 Shetland 0 0 Shropshire 7.18 13.74 Slough 8.72 13.41 Solihull 6.51 4.65 Somerset 0.89 4.65 South Gloucestershire 0.71 0.35 South Tyneside 0.67 0 Southampton 0.4 5.54 Southend-on-Sea 8.22 20.83 Southwark 1.58 3.47 St. Helens 6.66 6.66 Staffordshire 7.88 9.37 Stockport 6.51 12.34 Stockton-on-Tees 5.58 14.7 Stoke-on-Trent 14.07 17.98 Suffolk 0.92 1.45 Sunderland 1.8 1.8 Surrey 2.94 3.7 Sutton 1.47 1.96 Swansea 0 0.4 Swindon 6.76 10.36 Tameside 16.87 33.3 Tayside 1.2 0.96 Telford and Wrekin 5.06 8.44 Thurrock 6.96 12.17 Torbay 0 0.74 Torfaen 2.13 0 Tower Hamlets 0.94 2.83 Trafford 3.81 10.15 Vale of Glamorgan 2.99 11.98 Wakefield 8.98 18.55 Walsall 3.18 4.59 Waltham Forest 4.7 5.42 Wandsworth 3.98 2.76 Warrington 5.73 9.07 Warwickshire 5.6 10.33 West Berkshire 1.26 0 West Sussex 2.91 3.26 Westminster 4.7 5.09 Wigan 4.6 5.52 Wiltshire 1.41 1.2 Windsor and Maidenhead 0.66 1.99 Wirral 8.35 19.18 Wokingham 2.98 0.6 Wolverhampton 7.63 9.92 Worcestershire 3.55 5.74 Wrexham 38.25 98.56 York 1.91 6.67

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How UK museums are responding to Black Lives Matter

Words: - BBC News - 16:41 29-06-2020

When museums in the UK start to reopen next month it will be to a new world: not just one of social distancing and mask-wearing, but one possibly entering a different cultural epoch.

The death of the African-American George Floyd was followed by global protests for social justice and racial equality. Anger directed at statues memorialising controversial individuals from Britain's colonial past has put a spotlight on museums and their collections, in what some are seeing as a generational shift in attitudes.

Many museums have expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but what actions will follow the words for those institutions with links to Britain's imperial past?

Professor Dan Hicks is a senior curator at the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford, a sprawling anthropological collection containing around 600,000 objects from just about every country on the planet.

It was shortlisted for the prestigious Museum of the Year award 12 months ago, an accolade bestowed, in part, for the revisionist work Hicks has been conducting on the Pitt Rivers collection for the past four years.

Hicks and his colleagues have been re-evaluating, re-contextualising and re-presenting many objects from the perspective of the culture from which they came, as opposed to that of the white, British, Victorian man whose ethnographic collection founded the museum.

Hicks is a leading voice among museum professionals calling for the return (restitution) of contested cultural objects that are currently held in the UK's national and local municipal collections.

The most problematic artefacts, he says, are those stolen, looted or removed by the British from their place of origin where the local people had been subjugated.

The Pitt Rivers Museum contains around 600,000 objects

"In this country you're never more than 150 miles away from a looted African object," Hicks says.

The UK's museums have received restitution requests from Australia, Asia and South America. But it is those from Africa that are coming under the greatest scrutiny, according to Hicks.

"We need to think very hard about objects [from Africa]. Where it is clear they were taken as trophies of war and however well you rewrite labels and re-tell history, you're not going to be able to tell a story other than one about military victory. In those cases, we need to work towards a restitution process."

Hicks says he is confronting the uncomfortable truths of colonial Britain and an empire built on slavery and the suppression of indigenous peoples across the globe.

There are some potential visitors within the catchment area of the Pitt Rivers, he reports, who have told him they will not set foot inside the museum because it is "too violent" - a reference to objects on display that were taken as spoils of war.

"This is very specifically about a period of time when our anthropology museums were used for purposes of institutional racism, race science, the display of white supremacy. At this moment in history, it could not be more urgent to remove such icons from our institutions."

Of these, the so-called Benin Bronzes, or Benin treasures, are the most high-profile example of looted artefacts, taken by British soldiers following a punitive and murderous raid on the ancient Kingdom of Benin (in modern-day Nigeria) in 1897.

Benin Bronzes being looted in February 1897

There is no question in Hicks's mind that the Benin Bronzes should be returned. It is a point of view shared by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, who thinks those held by the British Museum should be 3D-printed and displayed in London, while the originals are returned to Nigeria.

"It is a matter of respect and being treated equally. If you steal people's heritage you're stealing their psychology, and you need to return it," he says.

Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, does not agree. While he accepts that a request has been made by Nigeria for the return of the Bronzes, he doesn't believe their ownership should be transferred back.

He thinks a better way forward is through a close collaboration between the British Museum and its counterparts in Nigeria, to whom he would loan the Benin Bronzes for long periods of time.

This is a conversation that is currently in progress and would include, he says, a broader exchange of ideas and knowledge.

The playwright Bonnie Greer was the deputy chair of the British Museum for four years and is familiar with the controversy surrounding the Benin Bronzes.

"I'm comfortable with them there [in the British Museum]," she says. "What they do for me, as a descendant of enslaved people, is they give me comfort and a link.

"I look at them and I can see myself… What I find when I see African objects in a Western museum... I get solace."

A cabinet of Benin Court Art at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Greer does not think the Benin Bronzes should necessarily be at the British Museum in perpetuity, saying that the museums across the country should "be like dancers on their toes, ready to tell the truth, ready to listen, to have a door open".

A greater diversity of opinion and interpretation is required throughout the country's museums, she adds.

"Diversity isn't just putting black or people of colour in institutions. Listen to them, implement what they say… There are plenty of people who teach black history, who know heck of a lot.

"Bring them in, let them hold courses and have clashing interpretations of an object."

Sara Wajid is head of engagement at the Museum of London and a member of Museum Detox, a network of people of colour who work in museums. She says there is very little diversity in senior positions in the UK's cultural institutions.

"In most museums the place where you see black staff is in cleaning and security. You won't see them in curatorial departments, you won't see them in management.

"So, the first step towards a decolonised museum is where you have BAME leadership."

The British Museum bears her argument out. Fischer describes it as a museum of the world but admits there are no black curators among a curatorial staff of around 150. It is, he says, "a big issue we need to address."

British Museum/Pitt Rivers Museum

The Bronzes decorated the Royal Palace of the Benin Kingdom

Shonibare thinks that the lack of black curators at the British Museum is unacceptable. "There are plenty of people qualified to do that job, and I think that's the kind of thing the museum should be looking at. You know, if black lives really mattered then they will take those issues really seriously."

Fischer agrees, while also saying that museums in the UK are heading in the right direction. He considers Britain to be "at the forefront of making museums inclusive", having already made "a vast contribution to reaching out to… address various communities."

As with several of the UK's cultural institutions, the British Museum is the product of the country's colonial past, including its participation in the slave trade.

The Bloomsbury-based institution was founded on the collection of Sir Hans Sloane, a man whose great wealth came mainly from a slave plantation in the West Indies.

The vast sums of money the Jamaican enterprise generated enabled him to acquire so many valuable objects that when he died, the 71,000 plus items he had amassed formed the basis of not only the British Museum's collection, but also that of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.

"The historical fact we have to deal with is that slavery has been an integral part of the European economy for centuries" Fischer says. "That is something that needs acknowledging and it needs to be addressed.

"We need to widen the scope, we need to deepen the work and look at the history of our institution as a whole."

The British Museum was founded on the collection of Sir Hans Sloane

Shonibare agrees. "We live in a multicultural world, museums should reflect that history and that story. How did we get here? Where did the wealth come from? It's absolutely important that museums do that work of representation."

The artist thinks the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests are the beginning of a new movement that will see change in society, a point of view with which Fischer concurs.

"What we are witnessing is a huge shift in perception, and [the] addressing [of] a very great problem, which is racism and that needs to be addressed."

He thinks his museum can and needs to be do more, but says change doesn't take place overnight. According to Wajid, though, it is happening.

"Some very serious and unusually frank conversations have been taking place between BAME museum staff networks and managers and leaders - most of whom are white - about their stance with regards to Black Lives Matter, to anti-racism, and to the work of decolonising museum collections.

"I've been working and campaigning towards greater equality in the culture sector for the past 25 years, and the kind of honesty and deeply uncomfortable conversations that I've heard [over the past three weeks] are astonishing."

Hicks has also seen a change in attitude. "There's a generational shift going on around arts and culture and heritage. It was acceptable, maybe a generation ago, to talk about loans and facing up to Empire, using these objects to tell the story better.

"There's a new generation now who really don't buy that - who see the museum as an end point as an outdated idea. In no part of arts and culture should we think that our museums are unable to evolve and to change."

i Facebook i @BBCNewsEnts . If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk .

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Coronavirus: What are social distancing and lockdown rules?

Words: - BBC News - 13:33 03-07-2020

Social distancing guidance in England is changing to "1 metre plus" and pubs, restaurants and hotels can reopen.

Rules are different in each UK nation - and rules will not ease in Leicester, which is currently under a local lockdown.

From Saturday, two households of any size can now meet inside in England.

You can meet different households at different times and overnight stays are allowed.

No more than two households should meet at any one time, and it is important that you don't see anyone if you have any coronavirus symptoms.

But social distancing still applies with everyone you don't live with - even your grandchildren.

So for the time being, unless they are in your support bubble, you can't hug them. In Scotland, however, children aged 11 or under no longer have to socially distance with others outside, so since 3 July grandchildren and grandparents have been able to share a hug.

In England, though, you should ideally stay 2m (6ft) apart, but if that's not possible, follow the "1 metre plus" guidance - using "mitigation" such as face coverings and not sitting face-to-face.

Social distancing does not have to be observed in a support bubble.

In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, single adults living alone - or single parents with children under 18 - can form a bubble with one other household of any size, and visit each other's homes. In Wales, two households of any size can now join up in a similar "extended household".

People with certain underlying health conditions, or who are pregnant or aged over 70, are deemed "clinically vulnerable". They can go out, but should still take particular care.

In England, those categorised as "clinically extremely vulnerable", or "shielders", can go outside for exercise and meet up to five other people outdoors while social distancing. They can also form a support bubble.

From 1 August, shielding in England will be "paused". The guidance in Northern Ireland is similar, but different in Wales and Scotland.

Meet outside if possible, but if you do have to be inside remember the "plus" part of the new guidelines.

Breath droplets travel further when more force is used, so try not to cough, talk loudly or sing.

If necessary, rearrange seating to help reduce the virus spread.

Remember anyone can be infectious, even if they're not showing symptoms.

Avoid touching surfaces or your face.

Wash your hands regularly using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

If you're hosting, clean surfaces both before and after the meeting. Wear washing-up gloves if you can.

Put a cloth and bleach spray in the toilet. Ensure people wash their hands and disinfect any tap, loo seat or toilet handles they've touched.

Yes. Conversation at the table will pose the main risk of aerosol/droplet transmission.

So, if you eat inside, keep windows and doors open for ventilation.

Put crockery and cutlery in a dishwasher or hot soapy water (and then rinse in cold water) immediately after use.

Experts recommend the following:

From Saturday, pubs, restaurants and cafes can open indoors as long as they follow safety guidelines.

Staff should practise good hand hygiene and social distancing, but they don't have to wear face coverings.

The government advice to employers includes:

Read the government guidelines for staff in pubs and restaurants and hotels and attractions.

Hotels, B&Bs, cottages, campsites and caravan parks can reopen.

You can also get a haircut, go to a place of worship for communal prayer or get married with up to 30 guests.

Read our at-a-glance guide.

If you show symptoms of coronavirus, such as a dry cough, high temperature or loss of taste, you must self-isolate.

Stay at home and ask others to drop off food and medicines.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have similar tracing systems.

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CoronaVirus translator

What do all these terms mean?

Skip to main story

Antibodies test

A medical test that can show if a person has had the coronavirus and now has some immunity. The test detects antibodies in the blood, which are produced by the body to fight off the disease.

Asymptomatic

Someone who has a disease but does not have any of the symptoms it causes. Some studies suggest some people with coronavirus carry the disease but don't show the common symptoms, such as a persistent cough or high temperature.

Containment phase

The first part of the UK's strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which involved trying to identify infected people early and trace anyone who had been in close contact with them.

Coronavirus

One of a group of viruses that can cause severe or mild illness in humans and animals. The coronavirus currently sweeping the world causes the disease Covid-19. The common cold and influenza (flu) are other types of coronaviruses.

Covid-19

The disease caused by the coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. It primarily affects the lungs.

Delay phase

The second part of the UK's strategy to deal with the coronavirus, in which measures such as social distancing are used to delay its spread.

Fixed penalty notice

A fine designed to deal with an offence on the spot, instead of in court. These are often for driving offences, but now also cover anti-social behaviour and breaches of the coronavirus lockdown.

Flatten the curve

Health experts use a line on a chart to show numbers of new coronavirus cases. If a lot of people get the virus in a short period of time, the line might rise sharply and look a bit like a mountain. However, taking measures to reduce infections can spread cases out over a longer period and means the "curve" is flatter. This makes it easier for health systems to cope.

Flu

Short for influenza, a virus that routinely causes disease in humans and animals, in seasonal epidemics.

Furlough

Supports firms hit by coronavirus by temporarily helping pay the wages of some staff. It allows employees to remain on the payroll, even though they aren't working.

Herd immunity

How the spread of a disease slows after a sufficiently large proportion of a population has been exposed to it.

Immune

A person whose body can withstand or fend off a disease is said to be immune to it. Once a person has recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus, Covid-19, for example, it is thought they cannot catch it again for a certain period of time.

Incubation period

The period of time between catching a disease and starting to display symptoms.

Intensive care

Hospital wards which treat patients who are very ill. They are run by specially-trained healthcare staff and contain specialist equipment.

Lockdown

Restrictions on movement or daily life, where public buildings are closed and people told to stay at home. Lockdowns have been imposed in several countries as part of drastic efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Mitigation phase

The third part of the UK's strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which will involve attempts to lessen the impact of a high number of cases on public services. This could mean the NHS halting all non-critical care and police responding to major crimes and emergencies only.

NHS 111

The NHS's 24-hour phone and online service, which offers medical advice to anyone who needs it. People in England and Wales are advised to ring the service if they are worried about their symptoms. In Scotland, they should check NHS inform, then ring their GP in office hours or 111 out of hours. In Northern Ireland, they should call their GP.

Outbreak

Multiple cases of a disease occurring rapidly, in a cluster or different locations.

Pandemic

An epidemic of serious disease spreading rapidly in many countries simultaneously.

Phase 2

This is when the UK will start to lift some of its lockdown rules while still trying to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

PPE

PPE, or personal protective equipment, is clothing and kit such as masks, aprons, gloves and goggles used by medical staff, care workers and others to protect themselves against infection from coronavirus patients and other people who might be carrying the disease.

Quarantine

The isolation of people exposed to a contagious disease to prevent its spread.

R0

R0, pronounced "R-naught", is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person. If the R0 of coronavirus in a particular population is 2, then on average each case will create two more new cases. The value therefore gives an indication of how much the infection could spread.

Recession

This happens when there is a significant drop in income, jobs and sales in a country for two consecutive three-month periods.

Sars

Severe acute respiratory syndrome, a type of coronavirus that emerged in Asia in 2003.

Self-isolation

Staying inside and avoiding all contact with other people, with the aim of preventing the spread of a disease.

Social distancing

Keeping away from other people, with the aim of slowing down transmission of a disease. The government advises not seeing friends or relatives other than those you live with, working from home where possible and avoiding public transport.

State of emergency

Measures taken by a government to restrict daily life while it deals with a crisis. This can involve closing schools and workplaces, restricting the movement of people and even deploying the armed forces to support the regular emergency services.

Statutory instrument

These can be used by government ministers to implement new laws or regulations, or change existing laws. They are an easier alternative to passing a full Act of Parliament.

Symptoms

Any sign of disease, triggered by the body's immune system as it attempts to fight off the infection. The main symptoms of the coronavirus are a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

Vaccine

A treatment that causes the body to produce antibodies, which fight off a disease, and gives immunity against further infection.

Ventilator

A machine that takes over breathing for the body when disease has caused the lungs to fail.

Virus

A tiny agent that copies itself inside the living cells of any organism. Viruses can cause these cells to die and interrupt the body's normal chemical processes, causing disease.

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Gorton youth zone: 'It will make people proud to live here again'

Words: - BBC News - 00:18 29-06-2020

When I first moved back to the area I grew up in, I went around and asked people what the biggest issues in the community were right now.

One thing that came up a lot was kids hanging around and causing trouble.

This is something I've heard since I was a teen.

I'd be out on the streets with my mates because we'd nowhere else to go. And that's pretty much what happens now.

"There's not really anything to do after school," 14-year-old Jennifer Adesanya tells me. "So you'll see groups of young people doing things that don't look good for the local area.

"But it's not because they want to get involved in bad stuff. There's just nothing for them to do."

Gorton in Manchester is in the top 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England. Action group End Child Poverty estimates more than half of the children here are living in poverty.

So many families simply can't afford to pay for a 12-week course for their kid to go and learn how to play the drums or do gymnastics.

To be honest it feels like not much has changed in the area in the past 20 years.

So when I was chatting to one of the stall owners on Gorton indoor market, I was pretty surprised to hear a new £6 million youth centre was opening this year.

Adam Farricker is the CEO of the Hide Out Youth Zone in Gorton

"There's a feeling of excitement, a feeling of about time," its boss Adam Farricker tells me. "Something like this has been needed for a long time."

Adam grew up around here and says there's often a stigma attached to the area - but it has great community strengths too.

"It's a tight-knit community and people look after each other," he says.

"Young people have the same aspirations and the same potential as their peers across the rest of Manchester and across the country. But they don't have the same opportunities."

I chat with Adam about life in Manchester during a tour of the centre

When I walked into Hide Out Youth Zone, the first thing I noticed was a colourful climbing wall which has a timer so you can race to the top.

Over two floors there is a boxing ring, a gym, a dance studio, a music and podcast recording studio, a training kitchen where you can learn to cook, chill out rooms with Xboxes plus rooms to host employment and career workshops.

I decided I wanted to be a journalist at the age of 15 after writing for my school's newspaper. So I know giving young people the chance to try out different activities could shape their entire lives.

Cherry Wilson is a proud northerner who recently moved back to Stockport, Greater Manchester, where she grew up.

She studied journalism in Sheffield and was the first in her family to go to university. Her passion is telling the stories of the people and communities behind the headlines, exploring issues that matter to them. She has a great love for cups of tea, jerk chicken, chips and gravy and Coronation Street.

Read more from Cherry:

Some of the walls have inspirational quotes on them from famous people from Manchester such as suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and Oasis singer Liam Gallagher.

I'm told one girl did want a lyric from Manchester rapper Aitch on the wall but it was just a bit too rude. This made me laugh.

The Chill Out room is kitted out with a hairdresser's sink to give members a space to get their hair done and chat about their wellbeing

Every room is decorated with the symbol of Manchester - the bee - something us Mancs are very proud of.

"The youth centre will help give young people the opportunities they need to grow in life," 16-year-old Alex Kennedy tells me. She was part of a group of local young people that helped shape how Hide Out looks.

"It's something that will be really beneficial to help reduce knife crime, help reduce hate crime, keep people off the streets and doing things like drugs and drinking alcohol," she says.

Hide Out will be open seven days a week for young people aged eight to 19 - or 25 for those with additional needs - and costs £5 for a year's membership and then 50p a visit.

Where was this when I was a kid?! I know how much of an impact a place like this could have on young people here. But they will have to wait a bit longer.

Alex and Jennifer are members of a young person's development group that helped shape Hide Out

The centre aims to have 1,000 visits a week - but so far it's had none.

It was due to open in June but has had to abandon its plan because of lockdown and social distancing rules.

Hide Out is part of the charity OnSide Youth Zone network - which has 14 centres across the country from Wigan to Croydon - and they're all still closed.

Many have adapted and offer online sessions, but it's just not the same as face-to-face contact.

Having been on so many Zoom calls over the last few weeks, I can definitely relate to that.

The lights are still off at Hide Out Youth Zone because of coronavirus

So young people across the UK have no school and nowhere to hang out with friends. As always, it's those who at most at risk that are hardest hit.

I've seen reports from the National Youth Agency and England's children's commissioner about the impact of coronavirus on young people and it's grim reading.

This line really stuck with me: "There are over one million young people with known needs that have been amplified by the pandemic and an estimated two million young people with emerging needs triggered or caused by COVID-19."

There's so many young people right now being exposed to gangs or stuck in abusive or overcrowded homes - with no place to escape.

Young people shared how they were feeling in lockdown for a Hide Out video project

But it's not just the most vulnerable that are being affected by the pandemic.

"I definitely feel in limbo," says Alex, who had her GCSE exams cancelled this year.

"There's been extra responsibilities at home, helping my sisters with their school work and stuff.

"This summer was supposed to be the best summer after finishing high school and I'm probably not going to be able to go out."

I have a 10-year-old brother so I know how hard lockdown is on young people.

He misses having me around to play Monopoly Deal and Overcooked on the Nintendo Switch.

He answered one of those quizzes you see parents asking their kids and posting on Facebook. It asked who would he hug first after lockdown, and he said me.

Hide Out boss Adam says his biggest worry for young people going through lockdown is the lack of socialising.

"You'll get some people who are dying to get out the house and they feel like they're in prison," he says. "But the other risk is the young people who are not saying that's an issue.

"They're quite happy to be locked down in the house and are just engaging digitally, and that concerns me as well."

It's obvious to me that places like Hide Out are going to have a big role to play in supporting young people when we come through this.

"Everyone is going to want to go and try it out," says Jennifer. "It's going to be a place for everyone to feel comfortable and to be themselves."

They aim to have between 2,000-3,000 members signed up by the end of the first year.

"It's going to make people proud for a long time, and hopefully make people proud to live in Gorton again," Alex adds.

Despite lockdown rules being relaxed on 4 July, so far there's no official guidance from the government on when youth centres will be allowed to reopen.

Staff at Hide Out are working on how to they will be able to reopen in a socially-distanced world

But Adam is hopeful the young people here will bounce back from the crisis.

"We're Manchester aren't we? There's not a better city in the country that was built to deal with crisis and come back from that better.

"We know that these services are going to be needed more than ever.

"We're here, we're ready and we're eager and passionate to get going and support these young people and allow them to support each other."

Follow Cherry on Twitter: @cherryewilson

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David Frost: Does it matter if the national security adviser is politically appointed?

Words: - BBC News - 18:42 29-06-2020

Installing a political appointee as the prime minister's new national security adviser is a significant departure.

The move is motivated by a desire to make the government machine more responsive but has raised questions about what it means for a security and intelligence community already in transition.

The job of national security adviser (NSA) involves acting as the principal adviser to the prime minister on security and foreign policy and overseeing the relevant machinery of government, including the UK's spies.

Day to day operational responsibility for MI6 and GCHQ lies with the foreign secretary and MI5 with the home secretary but over many years Downing Street has been increasing its reach and the national security adviser oversees the intelligence budget and carries out performance reviews of the heads of the three agencies.

They also oversee implementation of decisions by the National Security Council, on which ministers and defence and intelligence chiefs sit.

Although an experienced diplomat and negotiator, the new national security adviser David Frost does not have a particular background in security and intelligence issues in the way his predecessor Mark Sedwill had.

His appointment looks to mark a shift to focusing on repositioning the UK in a post-Brexit world, with potentially a greater focus on trade and prosperity than hard-edged security, reflecting the prime minister's priorities.

And it comes as a major integrated review of security and defence is under way which could herald radical changes to spending, priorities and structures.

The nature of this appointment makes clear that delivering change will be at the top of the agenda, which may worry parts of the Ministry of Defence since its budget has come under particular criticism.

Some have raised questions about having a political appointee in such a sensitive role.

Although the equivalent role in the US and some European countries is politically appointed that has not been the case in the UK (despite some discussion of it at the start of the 2010 coalition government).

The crucial question, one former senior intelligence official says, is whether the new adviser will be able to speak 'truth to power' by telling the prime minister something he does not want to hear.

The intelligence community still bears the scars of the Iraq war period when some felt there was insufficient challenge to policy set by Downing Street when some officials got too close.

Much, observers say, will depend on how Mr Frost embarks on the role and how he wields - or even tries to expand - his influence.

One former official said the foreign and home secretaries would likely resist any attempt to diminish their political role overseeing the agencies.

They said it was Frost's presence in the House of Lords that seemed most risky, especially if it turned him into something more like a minister for intelligence and security as well as an adviser.

On the other hand, he could delegate some of the aspects of the job to his two deputies, who have normally been experienced civil servants, and focus on the advisory role, to reduce potential tensions.

Not everyone is sure that having a more independent figure in that position is a mistake.

One person who has worked closely with the role said there may be benefits in having someone who has a broader perspective than a traditional 'securocrat' and who is not captured by what they call 'the machine'.

They argue it can be a mistake to have people from inside the world overseeing the intelligence services because there is a need to sometimes challenge their assumptions and the priority given to their views within the National Security Council.

The appointment comes at a transitional moment for the UK intelligence community. Ken McCallum has just taken over as head of MI5. A new head of the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) is due to be appointed over the summer. And interviews have just been completed for a new head of MI6. A recommendation is normally made by senior civil servants who carried out the interviews but this goes to the foreign secretary (and potentially the prime minister) for approval, offering a route for influence.

Any perception that the job of running one of the intelligence agencies, and not just acting as the prime minister's adviser, is to become a political appointment would likely lead to many more questions - even from those who do not normally speak out.

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Back-to-school safety plans for autumn in England leaked

Words: - BBC News - 18:39 29-06-2020

Pupils will face the front, but the safety plans will not be based on social distancing

The return-to-school plans for autumn in England will involve entire year groups staying in separate "bubbles".

A draft of the plans, set to be announced later this week, has been published by the Huffington Post.

It means that groups of up to 240 pupils could be kept apart within a school, with a separate time for starting and finishing.

It could also mean they would all be sent home if there was a Covid-19 case in the group.

There will also be a recognition of the need for pupils to catch up after months out of regular lessons, with an emphasis on core subjects such as English and maths.

The plans, understood to be draft documents shared as part of a consultation, show the approach to safety in the autumn is an expansion of the "protective bubble" approach already used.

Rather than relying on social distancing, the aim is to limit the points at which the infection could be spread, by keeping pupils in separate, isolated groups through the school day, with their own breaks and lunchtimes.

In primary schools this term, these bubbles have been up to 15 pupils, but in the plans for the autumn they could include a full secondary year group, which if there were eight classes, could be 240 pupils.

In primary schools in the autumn, the bubbles are expected to be a whole class of 30 pupils.

In secondary school entire year groups could be kept apart in the protective "bubble" system

If a pupil shows coronavirus symptoms, parents will have to quickly come to collect their child.

"While waiting, the child should be kept 2m away from the supervising teacher," says the leaked guidance.

"If that is not possible, in the case of a young child or one with complex needs, staff should wear full PPE - disposable gloves, a disposable apron, a fluid-resistant surgical face mask and in some cases eye goggles."

There will not be any fixed social distancing requirements for pupils in primary school - and in secondary it will be 1m, but only where possible, the leaked documents suggest.

But teachers will be expected to maintain social distancing at the front of a class - in classrooms in which pupils will face forward, rather than facing each other around circular tables.

On Monday, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson promised a comprehensive track and trace system would be in place for autumn.

That would allow year groups or schools to be closed down if there were Covid-19 cases, or if there were signs of a local upsurge infections.

There will be routines of regular hand-washing, but there are not expected to be temperature checks or masks, either for staff or pupils.

Pupils will be encouraged to get back on track with their learning when schools return for full-time lessons.

Attendance will be compulsory - with confirmation on Monday that penalty fines can once again be issued to parents who do not send their children back to school, at the usual level of £60 and then £120 for late payment.

And there will be a push on helping children to catch up in English and maths, which could include narrowing options in GCSE subjects and repeating work from before the lockdown.

An increase in disruptive behaviour is anticipated - but it is expected that Ofsted will not be carrying out routine inspections during the term.

In response to the leaked documents, a Department for Education spokesman said there would be continuing consultation, ahead of the full plans being published this week.

"We've said we want to see all children back at school in September - returning to full primary and secondary class sizes in a safe way," said the DfE spokesman.

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Coronavirus: New guidance for weddings in England

Words: - BBC News - 17:56 29-06-2020

A couple in Madrid getting married in early June

The government has published new guidance on weddings in England, allowing ceremonies of up to 30 people but advising against receptions.

From 4 July, wedding and civil partnerships can go ahead but with only 30 people including the couple, staff such as a photographer and witnesses.

People should socially distance, singing should not take place and hands must be washed before exchanging rings.

Receptions should be small, with only two households able to meet indoors.

Since lockdown began on 23 March, weddings in England have been banned under almost all circumstances.

Wedding dress shops have reopened in England, but with masks and social distancing

Small weddings are currently allowed in the other nations of the UK, which set their own lockdown rules.

In Northern Ireland, weddings of up to 10 people are allowed outdoors. In Wales, ceremonies can also take place, but social distancing must be observed, while outdoor marriages and civil partnerships can take place in Scotland.

Under the new guidance for England released on Monday, small wedding and civil partnership ceremonies are allowed to go ahead only when they can be done safely and follow social distancing guidelines.

The government advice also suggests changing traditional wedding layouts to avoid face-to-face seating, improving ventilation or using face masks.

The requirement to follow the 2m rule - or 1m with extra precautions - will likely rule out the tradition of a father walking his daughter down the aisle, unless they live in the same household.

The maximum number of 30 people includes everybody at the ceremony - including the couple, witnesses, officiants, guests and suppliers such as photographers and caterers.

The guidance also says receptions that "typically follow or accompany marriages or civil partnerships are strongly advised not to take place at this time".

It says small celebrations should only take place if they follow social distancing guidelines, such as groups of up to two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors.

The reason people are urged not to sing or speak loudly is based on scientific advice which suggests doing so produces more respiratory droplets which enter the air and can be inhaled by others.

Hannah Randolph and her fiance are due to get married at the beginning of September but have decided to leave it to "the last possible moment" to decide whether to walk up the aisle.

The 33-year-old from south-west London worries that if they cancel now, their suppliers will be unlikely to offer a refund as the ceremony can go ahead. But she says: "I just don't think it'll feel like a wedding."

"Weddings are every expensive but you can maybe justify it if you're having a party for 100 people," she says. Under the new guidance, she would have to cut that by two-thirds.

For her, uninviting guests will not be an easy task: "My fiance has got three siblings and their partners and a nephew and once you add that up it means you've got to have some really awkward conversations with members of the family."

While Hannah says weddings can feel "frivolous" given the circumstances, the lack of clarity from the government has left her feeling completely in the dark.

"I can go to a pub and have drinks with a bunch of strangers, but can't have socially distanced drinks with loved ones," she said. "It seems nonsensical."

The government says venues that do not follow the guidance could face action from the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority.

Failing to put in place sufficient measures could constitute a breach of existing health and safety legislation and venues could face enforcement notices, the guidance adds.

One man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he and his fiancee are due to get married at the end of July but the new rules "have made it impossible to have the wedding as planned".

"It's a joke - the venue we have is a farmhouse and we would have been in the courtyard," he said. "We can protest with hundreds of other people, we can gather to celebrate a football game with strangers, yet we cannot have an outdoor reception with our 25 guests. It goes beyond illogical."

The 2020 spring and summer wedding season in the UK has been hit hard by the pandemic, with many couples forced to postpone their weddings.

Some couples have held substitute celebrations instead, with one couple in Northamptonshire holding a street party and two hospital workers staging a mock wedding while wearing personal protective gear.

While the majority of wedding companies and venues have been flexible about postponing, some brides and grooms said they had been locked in a battle to get their money back.

strong haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist.

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Is Becky Hill pop's biggest unknown star?

Words: - BBC News - 23:12 28-06-2020

Last month, as part of Radio 1's virtual Big Weekend festival, Becky Hill installed a microphone in her bedroom and belted out a medley of flawless club classics.

Among them were chart-toppers like Gecko (Overdrive), the summer anthem I Wish You Well, and the platinum-selling Lose Control.

For a lot of listeners it was an lightbulb moment, as they figured out Hill was the voice behind some of the biggest hits of the 2010s.

"I heard all these songs so many times but never realised," wrote a typical user under a YouTube video of her performance. "Becky's voice is absolutely brilliant."

The 26-year-old is getting used to that reaction. On tour with The Script earlier this year, she witnessed the audience having the same epiphany every night.

"I'd come on stage and half-way through my set I'd go, 'How many of you didn't know who I was by my name?' and I'd see an array of hands," she says.

"Then I'd say, 'How many of you knew me after you heard the music?' and they'd all keep their hands up!

"It's so nice to see them click, singing all the words and going, 'I didn't know that was you!'"

Hill started her career on the first UK series of The Voice in 2012, reaching the semi-final. But when the programme turned out to be hopeless at launching people's careers, she became a songwriter for hire, writing and recording hits for producers like Oliver Heldens, Sigala and Jax Jones, all while holding down a bar job in her home town of Bewdley.

A record deal with Parlophone produced a couple of EPs and the criminally underrated single Losing - but ultimately failed to pan out.

Since 2017, she's been signed to Polydor where, in addition to touring with Pete Tong's Ibiza Classics show, she recently scored her first hit single under her own name, the defiantly upbeat Better Off Without You.

She's following that up this week with a new, house-inspired single Heaven On My Mind, and the launch of her "Art Of Rave" podcast.

Hill sat down with the BBC to talk about those projects, her "freakishly strong" arms and why many artists are afraid to speak badly of Spotify.

Hi Becky, how are things?

I'm good, thanks. I had my first personal training session this morning. I'm trying to get back out into the bikini sunshine before it's Christmas.

How did it go?

Not bad. We're trying to build up my strength again. I think I'm my trainer's example student because he tells all his clients I'm really freakishly strong.

What makes you freakishly strong?

Weight training and a good genetic make-up! But I do suffer from having a protruding belly if I don't work out so we're back on it after the lockdown.

Were you, like everyone else, just snacking on biscuits the whole time?

Yes, eating non-stop. I can't cook either, so my boyfriend was cooking for me every single day. He was knocking up salmon joints and turkey roasts... I think he was trying to get me to stay with him through the lockdown. And it worked.

strong Better Off Without You strong Wish You Well about your ex, so is this someone new?

No! We've kind of come back together and sort of sorted things out.

I've actually written a lot of songs about him. Sunrise In The East was about me and him staying up all night talking; I Could Get Used To This was written just before our fourth date, and it was about stepping into a new relationship; and then obviously Wish You Well and Better Off Without You happened when we had the break-up.

Not to put any pressure on the situation, but if you ended up getting married, would you play I Could Get Used To This at the wedding?

Hell no! Can you imagine dancing to your own tune at your own wedding? I wish I was that up my own arse, but I'm not unfortunately.

Your new single Heaven On My Mind is a proper dancing-in-a-field summer anthem. Is it strange to be releasing it in a year when all the festivals are cancelled?

Yeah, it's a very weird time, but I'm hoping people are listening in their gardens and still enjoying the summer music vibes.

What was the inspiration for this one?

It was actually sent to me as a fully-formed song [then] me and my best friend MNEK rewrote the verses and added the crowd chanting at the end.

What attracted you to the song?

Last year was quite a dark year for me. My granddad got liver cancer and died. My mum was nursing him and she got alopecia because of stress. Then my nana, who's got dementia, had a fall and my mum had to move her into a care home. On top of that, I moved house, I had a relationship break-up, and me and my housemate fell out.

So Heaven On My Mind is a song I would never have thought about writing. But I really loved the concept knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And I think that was a really strong message for me last year.

The song is coming off the back of your first solo hit, and that eye-catching Radio 1 performance. It feels like this might be a turning point in your career. Are you ready to give up your anonymity?

Yes! I mean, whenever I go back to Bewdley it's like I'm the local celebrity and that's very, very strange. But I'm looking forward to, hopefully, success and on a big scale because I feel like I've been writing this album for my entire career and I want as many people as possible to hear it.

Has the wait been frustrating?

Not really, actually. It's been frustrating that people only saw me as a "featured artist" for a while, but in terms of making an album, it's been quite a nice, unpressurised environment to write songs and pick the best ones.

How many songs do you think you've written in that time?

The last time me and my manager counted was in [2018] and at that point it was about 600.

The singer was mentored by pop star Jessie J on the first season of The Voice UK

I Wish You Well has seven writers listed on the credits. What do you contribute in a situation like that?

My strength is in melody and lyrics. I had the phrase "wish you well" written down on my phone because I really like to have concepts and stories in songs. And although I'm not particularly great on chorus melodies, I came up with the first half of that chorus.

How common is it to have that number of writers now?

It's interesting really, because if you're in a room with two other people and one of those people doesn't contribute anything, they still get a third [of the publishing royalties], because if you're in the room then you either changed the vibe or the way things were written, even if you didn't necessarily come up with lyrics or melody.

How do you make a living when the money is split seven ways?

I think it's important to find out who all the writers were and make sure everyone gets a fair cut - but the music industry hasn't really got payment of people right at all, to be honest.

All the labels have a share in Spotify, for example, but it's difficult to speak up against it because if you slag off Spotify, you're probably not going to get your next single on their New Music Friday playlist. There's a lot of stuff that people feel they have to stay silent on. But I always try to make sure everyone who works on a song gets paid.

That's impressive, because I think a lot of people would be tempted just to take the money.

I don't know. I think it's a lot fairer than that, especially among writers. We all tend to look after each other a bit better these days.

You're about to launch a podcast about rave culture. What prompted that?

Basically, the podcast started because I wondered if I was missing the golden days of rave.

I started raving when I was fully legal - 18 years old - and I wanted to know if social media and phones had changed the experience. Like, I've always noticed if I go to a house rave, people are shuffling, and their mate is recording them shuffling, then they upload it to their Instagram going, "Look at me shuffling!". And I wondered if that had damaged the essence of rave culture.

So I spoke to people like Roni Size and Pete Tong about how has the landscape has changed, from when they started DJing in the 80s to now, and did I miss out on an era that I wanted to be a part of? And I've got some very mixed responses.

If you could go back to a specific era of rave, what year would you choose?

I'd go back to 1998 for a couple of days, before the drugs got worse and the music changed. I love all that euphoric trance from the Ibiza days. It must have been the best time.

Becky Hill's new single Heaven On My Mind is out now, and her podcast launches next week.

i Facebook i @BBCNewsEnts . If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk .

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