There is little to celebrate about today’s A-level results – inequalities just got worse | Nadeine Asbali

Students have paid the price of the pandemic and a government that neglects the chasm between rich and poor

The English teacher in me couldn’t help but recognise pathetic fallacy in the grim weather this morning, as though it confirmed the worst fears of teachers across the country that this year’s A-level results would provide a bleak outlook for students who have faced the greatest disruption to their learning in living memory.

No matter the circumstances, A-level results day can often be an anxious time for all involved: students, their loved ones and their teachers waiting to see the outcome of two years of intense study and hard work, and what the contents of those envelopes means for futures at stake. But this year, results day was surrounded by even more tension and controversy as we waited to see how a return to exam-assessed grades after 18 months of upheaval to schooling would affect results.

Nadeine Asbali is a secondary school teacher in London

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French fire service official tells of death threats over Covid vaccine stance

Firefighters’ spokesperson Eric Brocardi has said those refusing jab should remain suspended from job

A French fire service official says he has received death threats and been harassed after calling for firefighters who have refused the Covid vaccine to remain suspended.

France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, condemned the alleged social media threats against Eric Brocardi, who has reported them to police.

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A-level joy for sixth formers in Wales after ‘difficult few years’

At the Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen school in Caernarfon, all 56 students achieve results they need – despite Covid disruption

There were lots of tears but they were largely the good, joyful, relieved ones for sixth formers at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, a secondary school in the town of Caernarfon, north Wales.

Despite two years of studies being disrupted by the Covid pandemic meaning precious little real-life experience of actually taking an exam, all 56 pupils achieved the results they needed for the places they aspired to.

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MP Margaret Ferrier pleads guilty to breaching Covid rules

Prosecutors said former SNP politician made several journeys after being told to self-isolate in September 2020

The MP Margaret Ferrier has pleaded guilty at Glasgow sheriff court to breaching Covid rules by travelling on a train between Scotland and London after being told to self-isolate in September 2020.

The former Scottish National party politician, who now sits as an independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, was suspended from her party after the alleged rule-breaking came to light in October 2020.

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Sick days double the normal winter rate in July, ABS data shows

Increase in people working fewer hours or not at all due to illness in July attributed to Omicron wave and high rates of influenza

If it felt like everyone at your work was off sick in July, you weren’t imagining things.

New data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed nearly twice as many people took sick days last month than they would in a regular July as Omicron swept across the country and cases of influenza were at their highest in years.

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City in China orders fish swabbed for Covid

Coastal city of Xiamen tells workers on fishing boats, as well as their catch, to undergo testing as part of import controls

In the coastal Chinese city of Xiamen, it’s not just the mouths of fishers being swabbed for Covid-19, but also the fish they’ve caught.

As China maintains its commitment to zero Covid, city authorities are working to ensure there is no avenue for the virus to enter, ordering all fishers and their catch undergo a daily nucleic acid test.

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Truss and Sunak are promising sunshine without rain – don’t believe them | Martin Kettle

From Churchill to Roosevelt, great leaders have told the public the truth: that in dark times, sacrifices must be made for the greater good

There was never any formal announcement to the effect that modern British politics would no longer call on its citizens to make significant sacrifices. It just turned out that way. Perhaps it was after the 1970s oil crisis that politicians began to suspect such appeals were too great an electoral risk. Perhaps it got another push from the financial crisis of 2008. Either way, the mindset still remains strong of not trusting or relying on the public to stay the course when normality is put on hold.

No modern British politician would now make the speech that Franklin Roosevelt did when he became US president in 1933. “If I read the temper of our people correctly,” Roosevelt said in his first inaugural, “we now realise as we have never realised before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective.”

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Australia news live: Scott Morrison’s secret ministries ‘breached the Coalition agreement’, Bridget McKenzie says

The Nationals Senate leader doesn’t believe Scott Morrison should resign, but says she believes he should apologise to Karen Andrews

‘Cringeworthy’: energy minister says Morrison’s media conference was embarrassing

Circling back to Chris Bowen’s interview on ABC Radio, where the discussion on climate policy was followed by questions on the biggest story in Canberra – Scott Morrison’s secret appointment to five additional ministries.

I think to be fair that the governor general was in a difficult position, he has to accept the advice of the government or the PM of the day.

It was pretty pathetic, embarrassing and cringeworthy to be honest.

He should call Andrews.

The right thing to do would be to call all ministers concerned.

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Covid linked to longer-term elevated risk of brain fog and dementia

Study finds that unlike anxiety and depression, conditions including brain fog, dementia and psychosis, are still more likely two years on

Millions of people who have had Covid-19 still face a higher risk of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including brain fog, dementia and psychosis, two years after their illness, compared with those who have had other respiratory infections, according to the single largest study of its kind.

They also face an increased risk of anxiety and depression, the research suggests, but this subsides within two months of having Covid-19. Over two years the risk is no more likely than after other respiratory infections. The findings are published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal.

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Cineworld’s story has shareholders watching through their hands | Nils Pratley

The cinema chain made a high-risk bet on audiences flooding back but is now forced into painful restructuring

One can’t call it a major twist in the plot in the disaster movie for investors that is Cineworld, owner of 750 cinemas in 10 countries. A possible “comprehensive deleveraging transaction” – in other words, a hefty whack for shareholders – has been a threat ever since Covid arrived.

Even pre-pandemic, the company was up to its neck in debt, having been run as an acquisition machine by chief executive Mooky Greidinger, who controls a fifth of the shares with his family. At the last count at the end of 2021, the debt figure was $4.8bn (£4bn), ignoring lease liabilities, which is one hell of a sum when revenues for the year were only $1.8bn.

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