We use cookies to improve this site and enable full functionality. You can change your cookie settings at any time using your browser. Our cookie policy.

Obama backs off on Brexit warnings, Hunt warns against doctor strike, and Bard barred in Stratford

Obama backs off on Brexit warnings, Hunt warns against doctor strike, and Bard barred in Stratford

Obama backs off on Brexit warnings, Hunt warns against doctor strike, and Bard barred in Stratford
Are Obama’s Brexit warnings a paper tiger?
Are Barack Obama’s warnings about Brexit a paper tiger? The U.S. president appeared to walk back some of his earlier predictions over the weekend when he admitted that the US would still do a trade deal with the UK, according to a Daily Mail report. Obama also said that the nations’ special defence and intelligence relationship would remain unchanged.

In a 23 April letter to the Telegraph, Obama had warned that leaving the European Union could put the UK “at the back of the queue for forging a new trade deal with the US. While some interpreted the president’s remarks to mean that any other applicants for a trade deal would take precedence over the UK, Obama said that was incorrect, according to the Mail.

“My simple point is, it’s hard to negotiate a trade deal,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “It takes a long time, and the point is that the UK would not be able to negotiate something with the United States faster than the EU.”
 
Home secretary says immigration levels are too high
The Home Secretary admitted in a BBC interview over the weekend that free movement within the EU makes controlling immigration more difficult – and said that current immigration levels were too high.

However, Theresa May – an advocate of remaining in the EU – insisted that allowing free movement to EU citizens was different than having no border controls, the Daily Mail reported.
“Yes, free movement makes it harder to control immigration – but it doesn’t make it impossible to control immigration,” May said.

May came under pressure during the interview over a Treasury figure suggesting that another three million will be added to the population through immigration by 2030, the Mail reported.
Immigration levels are too high, and we need to control immigration,” May said.
 
Labour set to suffer worst defeat in opposition for 34 years
Labour is set to suffer its worst defeat in opposition in 34 years at the local elections, according to a Telegraph report.

If the votes go as the polls are currently suggesting, Labour will lose 170 councillors, the Telegraph reported. Party moderates said such a result would be a “tragedy,” and that Labour leadership would have to “take some responsibility” for the losses.

Some within the party plan to use the council defeats to call into question Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, saying the expected electoral thumping proves his “experiment” is a failure, the Telegraph reported.
 
Holding MoD liable for training deaths could put more soldiers at risk, former commander says
Holding the Ministry of Defence liable for training deaths could put soldiers at risk on the battlefield, according to a former head of the Army in Afghanistan.

A committee of MPs has called for the removal of a longstanding protection that prevented defence chiefs from risking corporate manslaughter protections for training deaths, according to a Telegraph report. But Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired military commander, warned lifting the protection could lead to a “sterile” and risk-free training environment – which in turn could lead to more battlefield deaths, because troops will not be fully prepared.

A sub-committee of the Commons defence committee found that since 2000, 135 personnel have died during training exercises. In 11 of those cases, the Health and Safety Executive issued a Crown Censure – the highest penalty it can impose on the MoD, according to the Telegraph. The committee wants the government to amend the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act to permit prosecution of the MoD in cases where a Crown Censure is issued.
 
Planned junior doctor walkout poses risk of patient death – Hunt
A planned walkout by junior doctors Tuesday will result in an “unacceptable” risk of patient deaths, according to the Health Secretary.

Jeremy Hunt has asked the British Medical Association to “put patients first” and call off the planned strikes, according to a report in the Telegraph. Hunt’s warning comes as experts say that 38% of hospitals have been forced to take emergency measures to cope with patient overflow in recent months.

However, British Medical Association head Dr Mark Porter said that the strikes would only be called off if the government withdrew its threat to impose new contracts before coming to an agreement on terms, the Telegraph reported. Porter said the BMA is demanding that the government address “a number of critical issues concerning work-life balance, excessive working hours, improvements in training and crucially, workforce and funding implications for seven-day services.”
 
 Ill-starred Bard barred from leaving yard
An eight-foot statue of William Shakespeare – intended to be unveiled in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon as part of celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death – is still sitting in the sculptor’s back yard. The reason, according to a Telegraph report: local authorities worry that tourists will be run over while attempting to take pictures of it.

The sculpture – the work of renowned artist James Butler – was intended for the roundabout in the centre of town. But local authorities raised concerns that tourists would be at risk crossing the road to see and photograph it. So the statue has spent the last two years sitting in Butler’s yard, out of public view. Perhaps it’s fortunate that the Bard himself seems to have had more faith in the staying power of the printed word:

“Not marble nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this pow'rful rhyme,
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.”

 
Lost socks in the wash? Here’s the science
A couple of scientists claim to have solved one of the most persistently baffling mysterines in the universe: why so many socks go missing in the wash.

Psychologist Sr. Simon Moore and statistician Dr Geoff Ellis have developed an algorithm to predict the likelihood of your socks taking a holiday, according to a report in the Daily Mail. In case you’re interested in the algorithm, called the “sock loss index,” here it is:

(L(p X f)+C(t X s))-(P x A).

According to the study, each person loses an average of 1.3 socks per month – more than 1,200 in a lifetime, with an annual cost of £2 billion for all Brits, the Mirror reported. Likelihood of losing socks is affected by factors as varied as the number of socks washed per load, number of people in the household and how closely the person doing the washing is paying attention to the task.