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Will there be a series 2 of Roadkill?

THE BBC's new political drama Roadkill has left viewers wanting more.

The four-part series, starring Hugh Laurie as cabinet minister Peter Laurence, has received widespread praise for its appeal particularly at a time of real-life political upheaval.

Will there be a series 2 of Roadkill?

Roadkill tells the story of Peter Laurence – a Tory politician whose public and private life appears to be falling apart – or being picked apart by his enemies as some claim.

It's not been confirmed whether there will be a series two of Roadkill. The series is due to end on November 8.

Fans have been left speculating whether there will be a second series, with some begging to see Hugh Laurie as Prime Minister.

One said: "Roadkill on BBC with @hughlaurie has to be one of the most gripping political thrillers I've seen in a long time.

"Cast is outstanding, music is brilliant and plot is fab.

"I just need a series 2 just to see more Hugh Laurie as prime minister."

How does Roadkill end?

Warning! May contain spoilers.

Dawn Ellison's premiership, who is played by Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory, appears to be faltering.

Peter makes a move for the top job, but with his enemies circling, he's forced to make a final role of the dice.

As Prime Minister, Peter announces at the lectern outside Number 10: "All my life I have been refused to be weighed down by the past. I believe in the future. I believe in freedom. I really do.

"By all mean judge me by results but today at least I can tell you my intention. I will do anything, anything to set my country free."

The gripping finale will play out on our TV screens at 9pm on November 8.

What time is Roadkill on BBC One?

The second episode of this four-part thriller airs tonight (Sunday, October 25 2020) at 9pm on BBC 1.

Don't worry if you have missed the first episode – you can catch it on the BBC iPlayer.

Each episode is available on the BBC iPlayer if you want to binge-watch the series.

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World News

Loved ones 'will die' if families mix on Christmas Day, says professor

Winter of discontent: Schools forced to shut, routine operations CANCELLED and if families are allowed to mix on Christmas Day… loved ones ‘will catch Covid and die’, warns Professor Lockdown in bleak prognosis

  • Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling led to lockdown, said schools may have to be closed to older pupils
  • Scientist added it will be a ‘political judgement’ as to whether rules on mixing are relaxed over festive period 
  • Meanwhile, doctors have warned that mass cancellations for routine operations are ‘inevitable’ this winter
  • It follows Downing Street saying families should be able to gather – but minister warning it will not be ‘normal’

Professor Neil Ferguson has warned that loved ones ‘will catch Covid-19 and die’ if families are allowed to mix on Christmas Day, as doctors predict that mass cancellations for routine operations are ‘inevitable’ this winter.

The scientist, whose modelling led to the original lockdown in March, said schools may have to be closed to older pupils if restrictions on households mixing fail to stem the rise of coronavirus infections.

He said it will be a ‘political judgement’ as to whether regulations are relaxed over the festive season, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘It risks some transmission and there will be consequences of that. Some people will die because of getting infected on that day.

‘But if it is only one or two days the impact is likely to be limited. So that is really a political judgment about the cost versus the benefits.’ 

It follows the prospects for a family Christmas descending into further confusion yesterday, as Downing Street insisted that relatives should be able to gather – but a minister warned it will not be ‘normal’.

Professor Ferguson added: ‘That (banning households mixing) should have a significant effect but as yet we have been unable to see it definitively.

‘If we go beyond that there is a limit to what we can do in terms of reducing contacts, short of starting to target, for instance, the older years in schools and sixth form colleges where we know older teenagers are able to transmit as adults.

‘Of course nobody wants to start moving to virtual education and closing schools even partially. The challenge may be that we are not able to get on top of the transmission otherwise.’

Professor Neil Ferguson said it will be a ‘political judgement’ as to whether regulations on households mixing are relaxed over the festive season. Pictured: a shopper in Wrexham last night as the 6pm ‘fire break’ lockdown approached

Doctors have warned that the mass cancellation of routine operations is ‘inevitable’. The BMA’s Dr Rob Harwood said NHS trusts will have ‘no choice’ but to limit planned treatments for patients as they approach winter

Professor Ferguson said schools may have to be closed to older pupils if restrictions on households mixing fail to stem the rise of coronavirus infections (pictured: an empty classroom at Manor Park School and Nursery in Cheshire)

Meanwhile Dr Nick Scriven, former president of the Society for Acute Medicine, warned last night that cancellations would be ‘inevitable’ across large areas of the health service.

He said: ‘I feel it is unrealistic to expect trusts across the country to meet the set elective targets in the current climate.’

The scientist (above), whose modelling led to the original lockdown in March, said of regulations being relaxed: ‘Some people will die because of getting infected on that day’

NHS trusts in Chesterfield, Northampton, Newcastle and Nottingham confirmed yesterday that they were postponing at least some non-urgent activity, while Rotherham, Liverpool, Bradford and Plymouth have announced similar actions in the last week.  

Dr Rob Harwood, the chair of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) hospital consultants committee, said trusts will have ‘no choice’ but to limit planned treatments for patients.

He told The Guardian: ‘As we approach winter, it’s likely that many trusts will have no choice but to continue to restrict their elective care services, which is incredibly worrying for both staff and patients, as backlogs increase and health conditions potentially worsen.’

Speaking on operations being cancelled, Dr Nick Scriven the former president of the Society for Acute Medicine and a consultant physician, added: ‘I think this is going to be inevitable across large areas of the health service as the pandemic and winter coincide. 

‘We know bed numbers are low compared with other countries and with the necessary infection control processes the ‘functioning’ of what we have is slowed down across the board.’

Professor Ferguson also warned that the NHS will be unable to cope if coronavirus cases continue to increase at the present rate, saying that while infections among 18 to 21-year-olds were falling, they were continuing to rise in other age groups.  

Normal Christmas is ‘wishful thinking’, says SAGE adviser 

The idea that ‘we can carry on as we are’ and have a normal Christmas ‘is wishful thinking in the extreme’, a Government scientific adviser has said.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said ‘radical action’ would be needed to stem the rise in coronavirus cases, particularly in regions with high incidence of the virus.

Prof Edmunds, who told MPs on Wednesday that tens of thousands of deaths could occur during this wave of the pandemic, said further measures are needed to bring cases down.

He told the PA news agency that a circuit-breaker is needed across the whole country or at least in areas where incidence is high.

‘The only way that we can have a relatively safe and normal Christmas is if we take radical action now to reduce incidence – at the very least in high incidence areas – and keep the incidence low across the country by implementing a package of measures to reduce social contacts,’ he said.

‘The notion that we can carry on as we are and have a Christmas that we can celebrate normally with friends and family is wishful thinking in the extreme.’

He explained: ‘Unfortunately, in every other age group case numbers continue to rise at about the same rate they were. There are little hints of slowing, for instance in the North East of England, but we are not seeing the sort of slowing that we really need to to get on top of this. 

‘It is a worrying situation. We now have 8,000 people in hospital with Covid. That is about a third of the level we were at the peak of the pandemic in March.

‘If the rate of growth continues as it is, it means that in a month’s time we will above that peak level in March and that is probably unsustainable.

‘We are in a critical time right now. The health system will not be able to cope with this rate of growth for much longer.’ 

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) and from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has said his own group was looking at how interventions might work over the winter, but these had not been requested by the Government.

Of Sage, he said: ‘We haven’t specifically been asked to look at different policies quite honestly, so nobody’s asking us to say ‘well what should we do here?’

‘So these are things that we’ve really taken on ourselves and decided to look at ourselves.’

There are tough restrictions on people meeting indoors across much of the UK, but asked whether families should abandon hope of meeting up, a No10 spokesman previously said: ‘The PM has been clear previously that he is hopeful that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas. 

‘As I say, we’ve been clear about the ambition to ensure that people may celebrate Christmas as a family this year.’

The comments contrasted with the stance taken by Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barclay in a round of interviews on Friday morning. 

Government scientists claimed the crucial R rate has dropped slightly and an array of statistics revealed cases are no longer growing as quickly as they once were, although the epidemic is still growing (pictured: Boris Johnson in London yesterday)

Britain’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, Mr Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak take part in a coronavirus briefing on Thursday. The UK yesterday announced 20,530 more coronavirus cases

Christmas chaos as No10 says families CAN gather this year but minister warns it won’t be ‘normal’ 

The prospects for a family Christmas descended further into confusion yesterday as Downing Street insisted families should be able to gather – but a minister warned it will not be ‘normal’.

The mixed messages came as politicians desperately try to get a grip on a surge in coronavirus cases – with lockdowns tightening in many areas.

There are tough restrictions on people meeting indoors across much of the UK, but asked whether families should abandon hope of meeting up, a No10 spokesman said: ‘The PM has been clear previously that he is hopeful that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas.

‘As I say, we’ve been clear about the ambition to ensure that people may celebrate Christmas as a family this year.’

The comments contrasted with the stance taken by Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barclay in a round of interviews yesterday morning.

He said: ‘I think few people expect it to be exactly as it would normally because we will be living with this virus for some time.’ 

He said: ‘I think few people expect it to be exactly as it would normally because we will be living with this virus for some time.

‘And the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser have been very clear on that.

‘But, your point really was about the ability of families to spend Christmas together – that is something we all hope to be in a position to do.’

Meanwhile, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the only way to save the festive season was to impose a ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown now – something Labour has been demanding.

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘The tier system so far has not worked to reduce infections.

‘What we are looking at unfortunately – given the Government doesn’t seem to be willing to shift on this when half-term holidays are coming up – what we are looking up to Christmas is an increasingly difficult situation in lots of parts of the country.’

Greater Manchester moved into the highest alert level, Tier 3, on Friday morning, and Wales introduced its two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown at 6pm last night. 

Coventry, Stoke and Slough entered Tier 2 today, while talks between Westminster and civic leaders in Nottingham over possible Tier 3 restrictions were continuing yesterday. 

The UK yesterday announced 20,530 more coronavirus cases and the deaths of 224 people but official data suggests the country’s outbreak may finally be slowing down.

Positive tests are up 31 per cent on last Friday, when there were 15,650, and deaths have surged by 65 per cent in a week.

But Government scientists claimed the crucial R rate has dropped slightly and an array of statistics revealed cases are no longer growing as quickly as they once were, although the epidemic is still growing.

SAGE estimates the reproduction rate for the UK has fallen for the first time in a month, from between 1.3-1.5 to 1.2-1.4. The number – the key measure at the heart of Number 10’s plan to control the virus – must stay below one, or the outbreak will continue to grow.

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World News

Re-elected Trump will prioritise reducing global reliance on China, security adviser says

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London: One of Donald Trump's top national security advisers says redressing the West's reliance on Chinese supply lines will be at the heart of the President's second-term agenda if he is re-elected, pointing directly to Australia's economic dependence on the country.

Matt Pottinger, who is President Trump's deputy national security adviser, told the Westminster think tank Policy Exchange that the US views Australia and India as the "canaries in the coal mine" and on the frontline of dealing with China's increasingly aggressive stance since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which first emerged in Wuhan last year.

Donald Trump had led an emerging consensus on the need to push back against China, his deputy national security adviser said.Credit:AP

Pottinger delivered a lecture in Mandarin in which he urged the world to speak up about China’s oppression of the Uighurs, saying there was "no credible justification in Chinese philosophy, religion, or moral law for the concentration camps", where it is estimated up to one million Muslims are held in Xinjiang province.

Pottinger answered a question posed by Policy Exchange Chair Alexander Downer, who asked what specific steps a re-elected Trump administration would take to help countries like Australia who were bearing the brunt of China's fury via tariff increases and threats of economic boycott.

Pottinger said reducing reliance on China's supply lines was a key priority of the Trump administration, which this year helped to prevent UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson from including Chinese firm Huawei from building Britain's 5G network.

"Part of the approach is, first – to work closely with allies as we've been doing to ensure that we do not overly rely on supply chains being rooted in one country in particular. It’s not good policy to put all of our eggs in one basket," he said.

"Part of the second-term agenda is very much about building on those dynamics now and how to build that sense of collective security and collective prosperity."

Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger addresses the London-based think tank Policy Exchange.Credit:Policy Exchange/You Tube

As China overtook Japan to become Australia's largest trading partner in 2007, Australian MPs traditionally kept any criticisms of China to a minimum.

However, Pottinger said that China's economic retaliation against Australia for having the "temerity" to seek an investigation into coronavirus had exposed that years of keeping quiet had failed to produce a better bilateral relationship.

"China retaliated by putting tariffs on Australian barley, cancelling beef exports and their arch propaganda said 'Australia is chewing gum stuck to the bottom of China's shoe and it's time to scrape it off'," he said.

"So there you have a pretty good counter-argument to the notion that by being extra friendly to China and hiding some of our candour – the idea that that would lead to a happier bilateral relationship – just doesn't stand up."

A recent study by the Henry Jackson Society think tank, also based in London and which has led the debate on China in the UK, found that Australia was the most dependent on China for critical goods out of the Five Eyes countries. The Five Eyes is an elite intelligence-sharing network comprising Australia, the US, UK, New Zealand and Canada.



The American consensus

Pottinger said President Trump's greatest foreign policy legacy to date had been leading the emerging consensus on the need to push back against China.

As in 2016, both the Democrats and Republicans have pledged tough stances on China.

US presidential hopeful Joe Biden has been repeatedly critical of Trump during the 2020 campaign for not taking a strong enough stance on Chinese President Xi Jinping at the beginning of the pandemic.

Pottinger said the mostly bipartisanship approach taken on China in the US, Australia and increasingly the UK showed that "the American consensus" was being copied around the world and involved a "whole of society" endorsement.

"We've led that consensus, that's been President Trump's hallmark, probably the most key legacy and shift in American foreign policy in quite some time but there are a lot of other countries that are now starting to – at a minimum – share a very similar consensus on the diagnosis of what the problem is."

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the EU's representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell launched a new dialogue between EU and State Department officials dedicated purely to dealing with a joint approach towards China, including on human rights, security and multilateralism.

Recent Pew Research Centre polling revealed unfavourable views of China reached historic highs this year across 14 advanced economies with the highest dissatisfaction rating – of 81 per cent – recorded in Australia.

The centre said that in Spain, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, the US, the UK, South Korea, Sweden and Australia, negative views had reached their highest level in the 12 or more years that the Pew Research Centre had been polling in those countries.

The data showed that 86 per cent of Australians aged 50 or older held unfavourable views of China, compared to 68 per cent of Australians aged under 30.

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Warrington will go into Tier 3 lockdown next Thursday as Nottingham on the brink of stricter rules

WARRINGTON is set to be plunged into Tier 3 lockdown from just after midnight next Thursday morning after local leaders agreed a deal this morning.

And Nottingham is also on the brink of being given the harshest lockdown measures as MPshave crucial talks with ministers this morning – but infection rates have fallen by a third.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates




Warrington Borough Council said it had agreed £5.9 million in coronavirus support as it will be pushed into Tier 3.

Leader of the council Russ Bowden, said: "Across Warrington, we have seen our case numbers remain stubbornly high, with more people being admitted to hospital and, upsettingly, more people being taken by the virus.

"As we approach winter, we need to take urgent action to drive down the number of coronavirus cases in our town.

"After negotiations with the Government, we have agreed a package of measures and funding for Warrington that means our businesses and residents will get extra support.

"This has been a difficult decision but we need to prioritise the health of our most vulnerable and elderly people, and we also need to protect hospital capacity as far as possible.

"We will not stop speaking up for those who are most vulnerable or at risk during the pandemic."

Council chief executive Steven Broomhead and Mr Bowden agreed the measures after a call with the PM's top aide Sir Eddie Lister and deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries.

The current infection rate in Warrington at 347.6 cases per 100,00, and eight people have died at Warrington Hospital in the last two days.

It would mean bars and pubs that cannot serve meals will have to close.

And people will not be able to meet up with people from other households indoors or outdoors, except for a few public places.

Other venues including casinos, betting shops and soft play areas could also be forced to shut.

Despite a fall in the number of cases in Nottinghama, major hospitals were forced to postpone surgeries last night and local leaders said they were in discussions with the Government over fresh restrictions.

The infection rate in Nottingham has plummeted by a third in one week, in a hopeful sign things could be improving.

The number of cases per 100,000 fell a shocking height of 926.7 cases in the week up to October 11 to 610.1 in the week to October 18.

There were also mounting fears of the North East being thrown into Tier 3, but talks with the Government were paused after case rates fallen.

But data from the Public Health England surveillance report show the fall is minimal – down from 293 cases per 100,000 to 253.

Nottingham MPs will discuss with Government ministers the possibility of fresh measures this morning, after a two hour meeting between the Government and the leaders of the Nottingham city council, Nottingham county council, Broxtowe, Rushcliffe and Gedling.

The leaders were shown grim data on the state of the spread of the virus in Nottingham and the surrounding areas.

All of those areas are expected to be thrown into tough Tier 3 restrictions as soon as next week.

They have only been in Tier 2 measures for a little over a week, despite having the worst infection rate in England a fortnight ago.

Local leaders in Liverpool, Manchester and South Yorkshire all had extensive meetings with ministers and Downing Street aides before they were given the strict new rules.

It comes after NHS Nottingham Universities Trust made the worrying announcement yesterday they were postponing non-urgent surgeries.

Boris Johnson has repeatedly stressed that the ability of local NHS services to cope with all kinds of treatment is one of the crucial tests on whether an area needs further restrictions.

The over-stretch hospital trust said last night: "We have made the difficult decision to postpone some of our non-urgent surgery and appointments until 6 November following a dramatic increase in the number of patients with Covid-19 in our hospital."

More than 200 coronavirus patients have been admitted to the hospital over the last few days and every day nearly another full ward of people are being brought in.

At least 16 of the patients are desperately unwell and receiving treatment from critical care staff.

The trust warned: "This surge is now at levels similar to April and is combining with our normal winter emergency pressures.

"Unfortunately this means that we’ve had to make this difficult decision to pause some of the treatment we offer."

Hospital admissions take a couple of weeks to catch up with the huge jump in infections so the fall in infections over the last 7 days won't have had a chance to have an impact of strained ICU wards.

Greater Manchester was plunged into Tier 3 today and South Yorkshire will follow from just after midnight tomorrow.

 

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World News

French minister says EU will veto trade deal against 'our interests'

French minister threatens to veto Brexit trade deal if it does not protect ‘our interests’ and claims Britain is BLUFFING about being ready to walk away without an agreement as talks resume in London

  • Clement Beaune said all bets were off if UK had ‘not shown sufficient movement’ 
  • Suggested PMs threat to walk away without agreement was a charade
  • Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and European Union  continue today

A senior French minister warned that the EU would not accept a trade deal if it did  not protect ‘our interests’ – and claimed the UK was bluffing about walking away from talks. 

French Europe Minister Clement Beaune said that all bets were off if Britain had ‘not shown sufficient movement’ amid a continuing stand-off over fishing rights in British waters.

The issue has emerged as the last remaining real stumbling block to a deal being complete before the end of the transition period on December 31. 

Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and European Union will continue in London on Friday as Michel Barnier said both sides have a ‘common responsibility’ to strike a deal.

The European Union’s chief negotiator continued discussions with his UK counterpart Lord Frost as the deadline for an agreement looms.

Speaking to French Television, Mr Beaune said: ‘We thought the end of October was the final deadline. We are giving ourselves a few more days to give the negotiations a chance, but we need to know quickly.

‘Michel Barnier has several days ahead of him where he is going to negotiate and then he will talk to us.

He is going to tell the head of state and government of the EU27: ‘Here is a deal, and I think it is a good one’ – and then we have to evaluate it. Or: ‘I think the British have not shown sufficient movement to reach an agreement that protects our interests and then it’s no deal.’

French Europe Minister Clement Beaune said that all bets were off if Britain had ‘not shown sufficient movement’ amid a continuing stand-off over fishing rights in British waters

Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and European Union will continue in London on Friday as Michel Barnier said both sides have a ‘common responsibility’ to strike a deal

The European Union’s chief negotiator is expected to continue discussions with his UK counterpart Lord Frost (pictured today) as the deadline for an agreement looms

And he also suggested that Boris Johnson’s position, that he is relaxed for Britain to walk away without a deal and operate on an ‘Australian-style’ trading arrangement, was a charade. 

‘If the British thought they could live with the ”freedom” of no deal outside the EU, if it was so easy and so comfortable, they would have already left without a deal,’ he said.   

Talks had been in limbo after Boris Johnson’s deadline for a deal passed last week, but they resumed on Thursday as Brussels said both sides needed to compromise on trade issues.

Mr Barnier arrived in London on Thursday evening wearing a face covering printed with the EU flag.

He told reporters: ‘I think we have a huge common responsibility. Every day counts.’

Number 10 acknowledged that ‘significant gaps’ remain between the two sides and it was ‘entirely possible that negotiations will not succeed’.

The main stumbling blocks remain fishing rights, the governance of any deal and the ‘level playing field’ aimed at preventing unfair competition, which includes state subsidies.

Time is short to reach an agreement before the end of the transition period on December 31.

Both sides had previously said a deal would need to be reached by mid-October in order to allow time for ratification. 

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Lifestyle

Facebook will charge companies to conduct business on WhatsApp

Facebook will start charging merchants to use certain business features on WhatsApp like in-chat shopping and hosting

  • Facebook is rolling out in-chat purchases and hosting services to businesses 
  • However, companies that intend to use the service will soon be charged
  • The move comes as Facebook is looking to increase its revenue with WhatsApp 

WhatsApp has become a go-to for businesses to chat with customers and sell products – and Facebook intends to reap some of the profits.

The social media giant announced it will start charging merchants using the messaging service by offering in-app purchases and hosting services.

One of the major features is giving businesses the ability to sell products within WhatsApp through Facebook Shops, which consumers can purchase directly from a chat.

Companies can also add ‘buy’ buttons other places that direct customers to the messaging service to buy goods or services.

The announcement shares that WhatsApp is now entering the cloud computing sector, offering firms who use its customer service messaging tools the ability to store those messages on Facebook servers.

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WhatsApp has become a go-to for businesses to chat with customers and sell products – and Facebook intends to reap some of the profits. The social media giant announced it will start charging merchants using the messaging service by offering in-app purchases and hosting services

Facebook has been trying to boost sales from higher-growth units such as Instagram and WhatsApp – a feat it has struggled with since purchasing the apps some six years ago.

WhatsApp’s chief operating officer, Matt Idema, said in an interview that the shopping tool would start rolling out this year, while message hosting would become available in 2021.

The in-chat shopping feature will allow businesses to add ‘buy’ buttons in other places that will redirect customers to the merchant’s chat to complete purchases, TechCrunch reports.

‘We also want to make it easier for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions,’ WhatsApp shared in Thursday’s announcement.


One of the major changes is giving businesses the ability to sell products within WhatsApp through Facebook Shops, which consumers can purchase directly from a chat

‘This will help many small businesses who have been most impacted in this time.’

Idema said WhatsApp would offer the will hosting service for free to try to draw new paying customers to its enterprise tools, which charge 0.5 cents to 9 cents per message delivered.

Allowing companies to use WhatsApp’s API will let the manage message threads outside of the app, along with having a place to store conversation that may be needed in the future.

Idema notes chats with a business using the new hosting service will disclose that those conversations are stored elsewhere and not protected by the app’s end-to-end encryption.

In total, more than 175 million people interact with a business each day on WhatsApp

Facebook has also said it will not use message data hosted on its servers for other business purposes, Idema explained.

The app has a relatively small customer base of tens of thousands of businesses, while tens of millions use its more limited free tools aimed at small businesses.

In total, more than 175 million people interact with a business each day on WhatsApp, Idema said.

‘The revenue is small today, by comparison to Facebook at large, but we think the opportunity is pretty big,’ he said.

The social media firm has allowed merchants to conduct business on WhatsApp free of charge, up until now.

However, the firm claims that a portion of the generated revenue will be used to allow some free services to its more than two billion WhatsApp users.  

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Lifestyle

Actor Jussie Smollett Will Adapt B-Boy Blues As A Film

According to Variety, former Empire star Jussie Smollett will make his directorial debut with a film adaptation of B-Boy Blues, James Earl Hardy’s 1994 novel. The book has spawned the B-Boy Blues series, which comprises six novels and one short story. The film will be produced through Smollett’s own company, SuperMassive Movies.

In February 2019, Smollett, 37, was indicted for disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a hate crime assault. A month later, the charges dismissed a month later, yet this past February, he was indicted again on six counts of making false police reports. The actor still maintains his innocence.

RELATED: Regina King’s ‘One Night in Miami’ Creates Oscar Buzz At Venice Film Festival

B-Boy Blues will start production on October 17. The film is being financed by SuperMassive and Tom Wilson, a Cleveland-based investor who funds independent, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC films. Smollett will produce, along with author Hardy, Frank Gatson, Sampson McCormick and Madia Hill Scott.

Set in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1993, the film delves into the relationship between 27-year-old journalist Mitchell Crawford and 21-year-old bicycle messenger Raheim Rivers, who meet at a gay bar. Rivers is known as a B-boy or banjee boy, a term from ballroom culture that describes someone who projects a rough image. As Crawford gets to know Rivers, he discovers that he has a 5-year-old son and a history of violence.

Smollett, best known for playing Jamal Lyon on Fox’s Empire, won an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role. He has previously directed two episodes of Empire. Following his indictment, the actor was released from his contract at Fox. He has not acted since.

Born in New York City, Smollett has five brothers and sisters. His sister Jurnee Smollett currently stars in the HBO supernatural horror drama Lovecraft Country as Letitia Lewis, while his brother Jake Smollett, also an actor, has appeared on several cooking shows and was featured as a guest judge on Food Network’s hit show Chopped Junior.

Source: Variety

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TV and Movies

When Will Disneyland Open? California Issues Guidelines, Disney Responds

It’s the question on the minds of so many theme park fans: When will Disneyland reopen? While there is still no set date, the state of California has revealed the guidelines that must be met in order for the parks to open. This comes after Disney announced it was laying off 28,000 workers, partially blaming the state for not allowing them to reopen. Don’t get too excited, though, as it may still be some time before the gates open–a possibility Disney is unhappy about.

As announced by California’s Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, via The Hollywood Reporter, theme parks will be able to open at 25% capacity when the counties they exist in reach Tier 4 (yellow) status in the state’s four-tiered system. The guidelines to achieve Tier 4 status are less than one new daily case per 100,000 people and less than 2% positive tests.

Currently, Orange County–home to Disneyland–is in Tier 2 (red), which means there are 4-7 daily cases per 100,000 people and a 5-8% positive test rate. Universal Studios Hollywood is in Los Angeles County, which is currently Tier 1 (purple) with more than 7 daily cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of over 8%.

Once the counties reach Tier 4, they will be allowed to open–but there are some rules being imposed by the state. Once open, in addition to the 25% capacity limit, all ticket reservations must be made in advance. There are to be no day-of ticket sales. Beyond that, masks will be required inside the parks. Currently, the shopping complexes attached to both Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood are open. Both require masks and take guest temperatures.

Shortly after the state revealed its guidelines, Disney responded in a statement. “We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world,” Disneyland Resort president Ken Potrock said. “Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities. Together with our labor unions we want to get people back to work, but these State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community.”

Disney and Universal’s parks in Florida are open to the public, with restrictions in place. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the state of Florida has also seen a decline in testing. In July, an average of 54,400 daily tests were administered. Now, the state averages less than half that. Thus far, no outbreaks have been traced back to Disney World’s guests or employees, according to the New York Times.

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Final Trump-Biden debate will feature 'mute' button after chaotic…

Furious Trump objects to ‘unfair’ MUTE button during final debate with Biden but says he will take part as he pledges to grill Democrat candidate on Hunter Biden emails even if ‘totally biased’ moderator does not

  • The Trump campaign objected to news that a mute button will be installed during the next presidential debate
  •  The Presidential Commission on Debates announced the feature on Monday
  • Organizers said it will allow candidates to speak uninterrupted after President Trump repeatedly talked over both Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace
  • Bill Stepien said Trump will still attend the debate and planned to asked his opponent about Hunter Biden’s alleged unearthed emails
  • Hunter Biden was involved with China’s largest private energy company CEFC 
  • The email allegedly showed that Hunter Biden held a share of the equity for his father Joe Biden 
  • The Trump campaign has criticized Kristen Welker, the third and final presidential debate moderator
  • The last presidential debate is scheduled for Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee 

President Trump’s campaign vehemently objected to news that his final debate against Democratic rival Joe Biden will feature a mute button, but he will still attend for an opportunity to discuss Hunter Biden’s email scandal. 

The Presidential Commission on Debates said each candidate’s microphone at the debate in Nashville, Tennessee, would be silenced to allow the other to make two minutes of opening remarks at the beginning of each 15-minute segment of the debate. 

Both microphones will be turned on to allow a back-and-forth after that time. 

On Monday, the Trump campaign voiced objections to the change, but said the Republican would still take part in the Thursday night event – one of his last chances to reach a large prime-time audience before voting ends on November 3.

US President Donald Trump speaks reporters while in flight aboard Air Force One shortly before landing at Andrews Air Force Base


President Trump’s campaign objected to a new mute button feature that will be used during the final debate between him and Joe Biden (right)

President Donald Trump (left) and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden (right) during the first presidential debate in September

The new mute feature was added after the president repeatedly talked over both Biden and the moderator at last month’s debate in violation of its agreed-upon rules.   

‘I’ll participate, I just think it is very unfair,’ Trump told reporters on Monday.

‘I will participate, but it’s very unfair that they changed the topics and it is very unfair that again we have an anchor who is totally biased.’ 

That point was reiterated by  campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement.   

‘President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last-minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate.

The statement then diverted from the debate itself to talking points about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s youngest son and the subject of reignited attacks from Trump’s camp. 

Trump campaign statement from Bill Stepien

‘President Trump is committed to debating Joe Biden regardless of last-minute rule changes from the biased commission in their latest attempt to provide advantage to their favored candidate.

‘This was supposed to be the foreign policy debate, so the President still looks forward to forcing Biden to answer the number one relevant question of whether he’s been compromised by the Communist Party of China. 

 ‘Why did Biden allow his son Hunter to sell access to him while he was vice president, and why were there Chinese payment arrangements for Joe himself worked out by Hunter and his sketchy partners?

‘If the media won’t ask Joe Biden these questions, the President will, and there will be no escape for Biden.’

‘This was supposed to be the foreign policy debate, so the President still looks forward to forcing Biden to answer the number one relevant question of whether he’s been compromised by the Communist Party of China.

‘Why did Biden allow his son Hunter to sell access to him while he was vice president, and why were there Chinese payment arrangements for Joe himself worked out by Hunter and his sketchy partners? If the media won’t ask Joe Biden these questions, the President will, and there will be no escape for Biden.’ 

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

According to the alleged emails published by the Post about his Chinese dealings, Hunter struck a deal for $30 million plus in bonuses ‘based on introductions alone’ over three years after his father left office, then was offered a ‘much more lasting and lucrative arrangement.’

The Chinese emails focus on Hunter’s dealings with Ye Jianming, the former chairman of CEFC in 2017, after his father had left office and when it was thought he would not run in 2020.

Ye has not been seen since he was taken into custody by Chinese authorities in 2018 amid rumored links to the Chinese military and intelligence services.

The remaining 20 per cent was split with 10 per cent going to ‘Jim’ who is otherwise unnamed, and then ’10 held by H for the big guy?’

The big guy in the alleged emails was previously unnamed until Fox claimed that it was in reference to Joe Biden.

Zang appears to be a reference to Zang Jian Jun who was the former executive director of CEFC.

The email also outlines a ‘provisional agreement’ where 80 per cent of the ‘equity’ would be shared equally among four people whose initials appear to relate to Hunter and three other recipients. 

The email divides the equity into ’20 H’ – meaning 20 per cent equity to Hunter; 20 per cent to RW, meaning Rob Walker, also of the jc2r consultancy; 20 per cent to another man called Tony Bubulinski.

Hunter Biden and his father Joe Biden in 2016. Fox now claims that Hunter was signed up to hold onto a payment for his father in a deal with a Chinese energy firm

The Trump campaign’s push back was on par with the President’s repeated attacks on the debate process, which has extended to Commission on Presidential Debates and all three moderators. 

His most recent attacks were leveled at the third and final moderator, Kristen Welker, who was allegedly heard on hot mic tipping off a Hillary Clinton staffer about post-debate interview questions in 2016. 

Welker, 44, has served as a White House correspondent for NBC News since 2011 and performed some coverage for the contentious 2016 presidential election.

The New York Post and The Sun report that the incident happened during a MSNBC segment with Hillary Clinton’s Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri. 

The Post’s Jon Levine reports that Welker gave Palmieri ‘at least one question she planned to ask during a post-debate interview in Michigan.’

‘I’m going to ask you about Flint,’ Welker told Palmieri. 

NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker was named the third and final moderator for the presidential debates

https://youtube.com/watch?v=8rte_dNzJuA%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

According to The Post, Welker reportedly came from a Democratic family that donated money into party coffers and Trump’s political opponents for years. 

Welker’s parents, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have allegedly donated ‘tens of thousands of dollars’ to liberal candidates. 

They allegedly donated $20,000 to Barack Obama, while Joe Biden reportedly received $3,00 and Hillary Clinton was given $2,100. 

As much as $7,300 was donated to the Democratic National Committee between 2004 and 2020, The Post reports. 

After the allegations hit social media, Trump responded by labeling Welker as ‘unfair.’

‘She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game. The people know! How’s Steve Scully doing?’   

Trump: ‘She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game. The people know!’

Trump continued to blast Welker as he traveled on the campaign trail.

He told his supporters in Arizona on Monday that Welker was ‘a radical Democrat,’ adding that she has been ‘screaming questions at me for a long time.’

The attacks were similar to the one he launched against Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and C-SPAN’s Steve Scully. 

Wallace moderated the first presidential debate, which was quickly labeled a disaster as critics blasted him for losing control of the proceedings,

Scully was scheduled to moderate the now-canceled second debate, but he was suspended after admitting that he lied about his Twitter account being hacked after a questionable exchange. 

Mark Levin: ‘Next debate moderator, another with deep Democrat ties’

Newt Gingrich blasted Welker on Twitter and alleged the debate commission was biased 

CNN’s Jake Tapper defended Kristen Welker on Twitter, saying ‘If any other outlet started covering the political donations of *the parents* of folks who work at Fox there would be widespread outrage and rightly so’

Several GOP members and Trump loyalists have followed the President’s lead in his apparent distaste for Welker.  

‘Next debate moderator, another with deep Democrat ties,’ tweeted Mark Levin, a right-wing radio host who also has a Fox News show.

Fox and Friend’s host Brian Kilmeade bashed Welker as well, claiming ‘She’s often the most abrasive, most dismissive, most disrespectful reporter in all those briefings.’ 

Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker, alleged that Welker ‘won’t be objective’ during Thursday’s debate.

‘Savannah Guthrie’s bias against President Trump will probably be exceeded by Kristen Welker’s bias at the next debate. Her family gave thousands of dollars to Obama, Clinton and Biden. She registered as a Democrat. Her family spent Christmas with the Obamas at the White House,’ he wrote.

‘Choosing Democrat Welker as a “moderator” is one more example of why the Commission on Presidential Debates should be abolished and no Republican candidate should ever again agree to work with them.’

President Trump has criticized Kristen Welker in recent weeks, but he previously praised her and offered a public congratulated over her new job

But Trump previously praised Welker and personally congratulated her in Januar after she was named co-anchor of Weekend Today.

And members of Trump’s inner circle have also commended the reporter for being fair.

Jason Mille this month confessed he had ‘a very high opinion’ of Welker and told Fox News ‘she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate.

‘I think she’s a journalist who’s very fair in her approach and I think that she’ll be a very good choice for this third debate.’

Journalists like CNN’s Jake Tapper came to Welker’s defense. He called the New York Post’s story about her family ‘hideous and unjournalistic.’

 ‘If any other outlet started covering the political donations of *the parents* of folks who work at Fox there would be widespread outrage and rightly so,’ he wrote. 

More than 30 million Americans have already cast their ballots, limiting Trump’s chances of reframing a contest that national and state opinion polls show him trailing.

Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden during a chaotic and ill-tempered debate on September 29, at one point provoking Biden to snap: ‘Will you shut up, man?’

Pictured: President Donald J. Trump (center) and Democratic presidential nominee former United States Vice President Joe Biden (right), with Chris Wallace moderating in September 

Trump backed out of a second scheduled debate set for last Thursday over a disagreement about the virtual format following his COVID-19 infection. At that time, he raised concerns about having his microphone muted.

‘You sit behind a computer and do a debate – it’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want,’ Trump said in an October 8 interview on Fox Business.

Earlier on Monday, Trump’s campaign said it was unhappy with the announced set of topics for Thursday’s debate, arguing that it should focus more on foreign policy and asserting that the nonpartisan group was tilted toward Biden.

Stepien shared the letter from the Trump campaign to the Commission on Presidential Debates on Twitter, which he pointedly referred to as the ‘Biden Debate Commission.’

Much of it was rooted in claims the commission favored Biden, as well as another wave of attacks criticzing his character and political performance.

‘The Commissions pro-Biden antics have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco and it is little wonder why the public has lost faith in its objectivity,’ he claimed.

Pictured: a letter from Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien to to the Commission on Presidential Debates

Biden’s campaign said both sides previously agreed to let moderators choose the subjects. It said Trump wanted to avoid discussing his stewardship of the coronavirus pandemic, which surveys show is the top issue for voters.

‘As usual, the president is more concerned with the rules of a debate than he is getting a nation in crisis the help it needs,’ Biden spokesman TJ Ducklo said.

The number of Americans who voted early reached 30.2 million on Monday, according to the University of Florida’s United States Elections Project. That number represents more than one-fifth of all the votes cast in the 2016 election.

Early voting is likely to ramp up this week as more states open up voting centers for those who want to avoid possible coronavirus exposure at crowded Election Day polling sites.

In Florida, where more than 2.5 million have already voted by mail, residents lined up for the first day of early in-person voting. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week showed Trump and Biden effectively tied in the state, which is seen as a must-win for the president.

Hundreds of people, most wearing face masks, stood in pouring rain in the morning outside the public library in Coral Gables, a majority-Hispanic city near Miami.

Louis Perez, 57, an insurance fraud investigator, said he was voting for Biden because of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘He lied about it right from the beginning,’ Perez, who is not affiliated with a party, said of Trump.

Registered Republican Antonio Sanchez, an architect who arrived in the United States from Communist Cuba, said he supported Trump because he ‘stands for freedom’ and against socialism.

‘My two daughters are doctors,’ said Sanchez, 59. ‘I don’t think this could have happened anyplace other than America.’

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Categories
TV and Movies

Dominic West will play unfaithful Prince Charles in the final season of The Crown

LOVE-tangle actor Dominic West is set to play unfaithful Prince Charles in the final two series of The Crown.

The Netflix role comes after West, 51, was pictured last week smooching with 31-year-old Lily James in Rome.



He later put on a show of unity with wife Catherine Fitzgerald, 49.

West — who got rave reviews for US TV series The Affair — has been lined up to play the Prince of Wales at the time of his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his second wife.

A TV insider said: “This will be a prestigious casting for Dominic.

“But the irony of it won’t be lost on anyone.


“Show bosses looked at several stars for the sought-after role, but he was by far their preferred actor. Now both parties are hammering out a deal.”

The late Princess Diana will be played by The Night Manager actress Elizabeth Debicki, 30.

Charles’s father, the Duke of Edinburgh, was played in The Crown’s first two series by one-time Doctor Who Matt Smith, 37 — a former boyfriend of Lily.

West was in Rome filming The Pursuit of Love for the BBC, in which he plays Lily’s father.


He has previously been on good terms with the Royal Family.

He is a Prince’s Trust ambassador and raced Prince Harry to the South Pole in 2013 to raise money for charity Walking With The Wounded.

Last night Netflix declined to comment.


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