Tag: The Guardian

The Guardian: UK universities suffer worst-ever rankings in world league table

A triple threat of Brexit, tightening budgets and unchecked expansion has seen the rankings of UK universities in an international league table slump for the fourth year in a row.

Nearly three-quarters of the country’s universities slipped down the rankings in the UK’s worst-ever performance in the table compiled by data and research group QS. 

Imperial College London climbed one spot to reach eighth, making it the only UK university in the top 20 to improve. Oxford University slipped from fourth to fifth place and University College London fell two places to 10th, while Cambridge University held on to seventh place and the University of Edinburgh the 20th spot.Advertisement

The compilers attributed the falls to poor teaching and declining research impact. Of the UK’s 84 ranked universities, 66 saw their staff to student ratio decline while 59 had a drop in research citations. International student numbers at 51 universities also fell.

The Guardian: Which UK companies are cutting jobs in the coronavirus crisis?

The coronavirus lockdown has virtually halted international travel and tourism, hitting airlines and other travel companies, aerospace and auto manufacturers and oil companies hard.

As these businesses adjust to dramatically reduced revenue projections, job losses are starting to mount alarmingly. More than 40,000 redundancies have already been announced across these sectors, with more than 10,000 likely to be in the UK.

Rolls-Royce

The jet-engine manufacturer has confirmed that 3,000 job cuts, of a planned 9,000 worldwide, will be made in the UK. Rolls-Royce will make the first round of redundancies through a voluntary programme, with about 1,500 posts being lost at its headquarters in Derby, as well as 700 redundancies in Inchinnan, near Glasgow, another 200 at its Barnoldswick site in Lancashire, and 175 in Solihull, Warwickshire.

The Guardian: Donations to Black Lives Matter UK and other groups top £1m

Black Lives Matter UK has said it is touched by people’s generosity after donations towards combating the causes and consequences of racism reached more than £1m.

By Tuesday afternoon, six days after launching a fundraising drive, Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK) had raised more than £750,000. Money pledged to other groups, including organisations helping black people with their mental health, providing legal assistance for protesters and holding memorials for loved ones who have died from Covid-19, took the total figure to more than £1m.

A spokesman for BLMUK said: “BLMUK have been overwhelmed and greatly touched by the generosity of communities and individuals across the country. We have received messages from small villages and towns organising fundraisers, workplaces or community organisations and black parents desperately concerned about the safety of their children. The safety of the people protesting is our priority and we are working with other groups to ensure this.

The Guardian: Pub gardens in England could reopen from 22 June – reports

Opening beer gardens before the end of the month would give struggling pubs a psychological boost but most would still lose money, JD Wetherspoon’s founder, Tim Martin, has said.

The government is reportedly ready to let pub beer gardens in England reopen from 22 June as part of plans drawn up by a group of ministers, dubbed the “Save Summer Six”, who are looking at ways to restart the hospitality industry earlier than initially planned.

The proposals, first reported in the Financial Times, would allow some of the 27,000 pubs that have outdoor space to serve customers for the first time in three months.

The Guardian: Extra 10,000 dementia deaths in England and Wales in April

There were almost 10,000 unexplained extra deaths among people with dementia in England and Wales in April, according to official figures that have prompted alarm about the severe impact of social isolation on people with the condition.

The data, from the Office for National Statistics, reveals that, beyond deaths directly linked to Covid-19, there were 83% more deaths from dementia than usual in April, with charities warning that a reduction in essential medical care and family visits were taking a devastating toll.

The Guardian: Coronavirus lockdown halts surge in UK slavery

Number of suspected victims of modern slavery falls for first time in four years

The number of suspected modern slavery victims identified in the UK has fallen for the first time in four years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Home Office has said.

Officials said the decrease “is understood to have been influenced by the effects of restrictions implemented in the UK as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

The UK’s national referral mechanism (NRM), the official system through which victims of modern slavery are identified and provided with support, received 2,871 referrals of potential victims in the first quarter of 2020 – a 14% fall from the previous three months. This is the first quarter-on-quarter fall since 2016.

Travel restrictions by other countries on people coming to the UK, increasing numbers of people self-isolating and businesses shutting after the lockdown on 23 March are understood to be some of the factors behind the decline.

Ministers have said people referred through the NRM will continue to be able to access support and government-funded accommodation through the pandemic.

Potential victims would usually be assisted to find new accommodation after 45 days, but will be able to remain for three months to protect them from Covid-19.

The Guardian: Doctor quits NHS over Dominic Cummings’ refusal to resign

A doctor is quitting the NHS in protest at Dominic Cummings’ refusal to resign despite allegedly flouting lockdown rules.

Dr Dominic Pimenta has decided to resign because he fears that the behaviour of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser could help trigger a second wave of coronavirus and is angered by the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Explaining his resignation in a statement shared exclusively with the Guardian, Pimenta said his decision was driven by the “laughable fairytale” explanation Cummings gave for his trip from London to Durham and nearby Barnard Castle, as well as by the adviser’s continued presence in Downing Street and cabinet ministers’ support of him.

The Guardian: Surgisphere: governments and WHO changed Covid-19 policy based on suspect data from tiny US company

The World Health Organization and a number of national governments have changed their Covid-19 policies and treatments on the basis of flawed data from a little-known US healthcare analytics company, also calling into question the integrity of key studies published in some of the world’s most prestigious medical journals.

A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees appear to include a science fiction writer and an adult-content model, has provided data for multiple studies on Covid-19 co-authored by its chief executive, but has so far failed to adequately explain its data or methodology.

Data it claims to have legitimately obtained from more than a thousand hospitals worldwide formed the basis of scientific articles that have led to changes in Covid-19 treatment policies in Latin American countries. It was also behind a decision by the WHO and research institutes around the world to halt trials of the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine. On Wednesday, the WHO announced those trials would now resume.

Two of the world’s leading medical journals – the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine – published studies based on Surgisphere data. The studies were co-authored by the firm’s chief executive, Sapan Desai.

Late on Tuesday, after being approached by the Guardian, the Lancet released an “expression of concern” about its published study. The New England Journal of Medicine has also issued a similar notice.

An independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has now been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere because of “concerns that have been raised about the reliability of the database”.

The Guardian: How can any scientists stand by this government now?

Dominic Cummings predicted the events that have threatened both him and the government he serves. Writing on his blog in 2014, in an essay he called The Hollow Men, Cummings said: “The people at the apex of political power (elected and unelected) are far from the best people in the world in terms of goals, intelligence, ethics, or competence … No 10 will continue to hurtle from crisis to crisis with no priorities and no understanding of how to get things done … the media will continue obsessing on the new rather than the important, and the public will continue to fume with rage.” 

The Guardian: UK volunteering soars during coronavirus crisis

Ten million UK adults have been volunteering in their community during the coronavirus crisis, and most say they will carry on after the lockdown ends, according to new research.

The study also found that Britons have been extending a financial helping hand to local businesses. More than £1bn was spent on services and goods that people knew they would never be able to use during the pandemic, including payments to home cleaners and gardeners.