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COVID vaccination passport extension to be monitored

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From 1 October, Scotland will introduce COVID- 19 vaccination passports to allow entry into large venues with high capacity, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Although the Scottish First Minister has been decisive in her approach to the next steps in tacking the pandemic, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that the government will only look at extending the use of vaccine passports if there is a “public health need” to do so.

MP Nadhim Zahawi has commented on when the UK government are looking to introduce the passports, “We are looking at, by the end of September when everyone has had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, or the large venues, venues that could end up causing a real spike in infections, where we need to use the certification process.”

“There’s a reason for that,” he continues, “the reason being is that I, as does the prime minister, want to make sure the whole economy remains open.”

Nicola Sturgeon has defined the events such as nightclubs, music festivals, and certain football grounds, will all require COVID vaccination certification upon entry.

The scheme will not apply to those under 18, and adults who are ineligible for the vaccine.

Culture secretary Mr Dowden has clearly emphasised that the government is “always reluctant to impose further burdens on businesses unless we really have to.”

“We want as few restrictions for as short a period as possible… But if we need them to protect public health, we will.”

It has been almost two months since nightclubs have been back open in the UK, and MPs are keen to keep them open rather than “have a sort of open- shut- open- shut strategy,” according to Nadhim Zahawi.

It is well known that the virus spreads when people are in a very close proximity to one another, and as Mr Zahawi said, “if people are in close spaces in large numbers, we see spikes appearing.”

There is currently no guidance for other events and venues such as restaurants, cafes and pubs, yet the Scottish government have said that throughout the coming months, this will be re-evaluated.

Commenting on this, health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said that, in a bid to aim for businesses to remain open and avoid additional restrictions, vaccine passports will “only be used in certain higher risk settings.”

Only time will tell if these domestic vaccine passports will make an impact for these venues and COVID cases, and Mr Zahawi has promised to do “everything in (his) power” to avoid another lockdown.

Story: Laura Fleming 17th September 2021

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Entertainment

Eurovision 2022: How Sam Ryder Turned Things Around For the UK

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Sam Ryder has said the “stigma” about the UK’s Eurovision performance has finally been “destroyed” after he brought home our best result in 24 years.

The singer led the UK to second place during Saturday night’s Song Contest in Turin, Italy, with his song ‘Space Man’.

It was the the highest the UK has placed since 1998, when Imaani’s ‘Where Are You?’ finished just behind Israel’s Dana International, who won with her song Diva.

In the years since, Britain has suffered a number of embarrassment moments, receiving the dreaded “nul points” in 2003 with Jemini’s ‘Cry Baby’ and in 2021 with James Newman’s ‘Embers’.

However, the public overwhelmingly backed Ukraine, who won the competition with 631 points on the leaderboard, with the UK securing 466 points.

Winning the 2022 Eurovision trophy is a hugely emotional and symbolic victory for Ukraine in the contest’s 66th year as the conflict continues.

The nation’s president Volodymyr Zelensky responded: “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe.

“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt.”

The results had many fans in sheer disbelief on social media, while prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “incredibly proud” of Sam and how “he brilliantly represented the UK”.

You’re the winner in our eyes Sam, well done!

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Eurovision 2022: Sam Ryder Odds Rocket Ahead of Eurovision Final

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The UK’s Eurovision 2022 entry Sam Ryder has closed in on Ukraine in the winner odds after his performance in the jury semi final.

The TikTok star blew away the audience who flocked to the Pala Olimpico arena in Turin, Italy to see the second jury semi final. The reaction to Sam’s act and his amazing performance have now got plenty of fans and experts predicting he is going to push Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra all the way on Saturday night.

Last week , Sam was sitting in fourth place in the Eurovision odds with his song ‘Space Man’ but, after his second rehearsal in Turin received a rave reaction from press over in Italy and fans and he was given a huge advantage by being drawn in the second half of the Eurovision final, he soared up to second.

The Ukraine currently have a 59% chance of winning and the UK 11%. Sweden and Italy then currently stand as third and fourth favourites at 9% and 6% respectively. Our odds have improved even more so since too as the UK have been announced to perform fourth from last, number 22, which has been the winning performance slot two years in a row.

On May 3 2022 it became exactly 25 years to the day since the UK’s last triumph in Eurovision, when Katrina & the Waves topped the leaderboard in Ireland with their anthemic track Love Shine A Light. Since then, there’s been little to shout about. The UK has always been on the wrong side of the leaderboard, with us consistently finishing at or near the bottom. And last year proved a particularly bitter pill to swallow when James Newman came last on zero points, having received nothing from either the juries or televote.

Check out Sam’s song here:

Who do you think will win?

Watch Eurovision Song Contest 2022 – Grand Final this Saturday (May 14) at 8pm GMT on BBC1.

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15 Years On Since the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

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Today marks 15 years since 3-year old Madeleine McCann went missing. The Youngster went missing whilst on holiday with her family in the Portuguese resort of Praia Da Luz in 2007.

The three-year old was taken from her bed as her parents dined across the resort with the infamous ‘Tapas Seven’ whilst they left their neglected children sleeping in their apartments. Madeleine was left with her baby twin siblings in apartment 5A.

The group of parents reportedly took it in turns to check on the children from 8:30pm onwards. Until during Kate’s 10pm check, she noticed the patio was unlocked and her children’s bedroom door and window wide open. She spotted Maddie’s bed empty other than her blanket and comforter ‘cuddle cat’. She left the babies, running back to the Tapas Restaurant yelling ‘Madeleine’s gone! Someone’s taken her!”

The Portuguese police arrived over an hour later, but by this time, the crimescene had already been contaminated.

As the news arrived back to England, the story became a British media frenzy. The resort then became flooded by journalists, reporters and news crews.

Over the years there’s been many theories, ranging from abduction, burglary and simply the fact Madeleine may have wandered off in the night looking for her parents. There has also been many suspects and efits over the years too. Two of the most famous suspects; her parents. Kate and Gerry McCann didn’t help people’s suspicions as they denied taking a lie detector test and scents of the missing child and traces of her blood were found in the boot of their rental car. The scent of human remains was also sensed in the McCann’s apartment. These were all picked up by police sniffer dogs, who’s findings unfortunatley can not be legally held in court.

Despite the years of searching, the police closed the inquiry in 2008. Subsequently, the McCann’s hired private detectives and wrote a book. The case was then picked back up in 2011, after heavy media attention, by Scotland Yard. The case was then referred to as ‘Operation Grange.’ Over the years, it cost the British Government over £12 million until it was decommisioned in March 2020.

Later the same year, German suspect Christian Brueckner was declared a ‘formal suspect’ as he was reported to have bragged about her murder he had commited. He was also confirmed to have been in the resort of Praia Da Luz at the time as mobile phone records have confirmed.  Brueckner is denying he ever said the claims and claims to have an alibi.

Could we be closer to finding out what really happened to little Madeleine any time soon?

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