THINK you spend a lot on your Christmas presents? You may be shocked when you hear the Queen’s gift list. Her Majesty, 93, is said to buy 620 gifts for staff and family, which works out at a final bill of around £30,000, according to a former palace aide. Speaking to Fabulous Digital, the aide said up to two weeks before Christmas, the Deputy Master of the Household, instructs the staff, from equerries to maids, from accountants to footmen, to go to one of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace. They said: “Here they line up to receive a wrapped gift from the Queen, and she says a few words to each of them - usually something like ‘Thankyou so much for all your help during the year, followed by Happy Christmas.' "If the staff are not able to be there on the specified days - they may be a ghillie working at Balmoral for example - the Household makes sure they are sent to them, along with a card from HM. “The presents are usually a book … [Read more...] about The Queen buys ‘620 gifts costing £30,000 for staff and family’ and sends 750 Christmas cards, says former aide
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Teaching unions are warning of an “epidemic of stress” as research revealed that 3,750 teachers were signed off on longterm sick leave last year because of pressure of work, anxiety and mental illness. Figures obtained through a mass freedom of information request show a 5% rise on the year before, revealing that one in 83 teachers spent more than a month off work in 2016-17. Altogether 1.3 million days have been taken off by teachers for stress and mental health reasons in the last four years, including around 312,000 in 2016-17, the figures compiled by the Liberal Democrats show. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, warned of an “epidemic of stress”. “Teachers work more unpaid overtime than any other profession,” she said. “Classroom teachers routinely work 55 hours or over a week. School leaders routinely work over 60 hours a week. “And it is not just the amount of work. It is the pressures of a … [Read more...] about ‘Epidemic of stress’ blamed for 3,750 teachers on long-term sick leave
With the Spanish Grand Prix and five rounds of the 2019 season done we now have a fairly clear picture about the true standing at the front of the pack. Unfortunately for Ferrari fans and those who hope for a competitive season, the tale has been of Mercedes bossing it from race one onwards. Ferrari's incremental improvement from 2015 has started to go in the wrong direction, meaning the chances of either of their drivers fighting for the team's first drivers' title since 2007 are receding fast. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton sits nearly 50 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. A resurgent Valtteri Bottas is up there, too. So, now is a good time to look in more detail about each team's performance. The aim at the start of the season is improvement from the year before. Who has made big strides in 2019? Has Red Bull's new partnership with Honda helped them close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes? Do Haas lead the midfield? Will Williams … [Read more...] about Ranking the F1 teams after five rounds: why is the gap from Mercedes to Ferrari so large?
The Guam rail, a flightless bird typically about 30cm long, usually dull brown in colour and adorned with black and white stripes, has become a rare success story in the recent history of conservation. Previously extinct in the wild, the bird has been saved by captive breeding programmes and on Tuesday its status was updated on the IUCN red list of threatened species to critically endangered, along with nine others whose numbers have recently improved. The Guam rail fell prey to the brown tree snake, an invasive species accidentally introduced to the US territory at the end of the second world war. It is only the second bird in history to recover from being extinct in the wild, after the Californian condor. Other species to have their status updated include the echo parakeet, of which there are now more than 750 in the wild, leading to a reclassification as a “vulnerable” species, having been critically endangered more than a decade ago. The Australian trout cod and … [Read more...] about Previously extinct Guam rail saved in rare conservation success
The risk of border gridlock caused by no-deal Brexit has led British manufacturers to ramp up their stockpiling efforts to the highest levels on record for a major advanced economy. According to the monthly snapshot from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, which is closely watched by the Bank of England and the Treasury for early warning signs from the UK economy, British factories in January raised their stocks at the fastest pace since records began in the early 1990s. The development came as Honda, the Japanese car manufacturer that produces the Civic hatchback model in Swindon, said on Friday it was preparing to front-load some production to ensure it could ship vehicles abroad before Brexit and build up its stocks in Britain. Jaguar Land Rover, which requires as many as 25m separate parts every day, has also begun stockpiling, while BMW plans to close its Mini plant for a month after Brexit amid fears over parts shortages. Siemens UK, one of the … [Read more...] about UK manufacturers’ stockpiling for no-deal Brexit hit record levels