Protesters have taken to the streets of the Bangladeshi capital following the death of a writer in a high-security prison on February 25. Mushtaq Ahmed was arrested 10 months ago under Bangladesh's Digital Security Act (DSA), which allows security forces to carry out arrests without a warrant of anyone criticizing the government online. Ahmed was arrested for comments he posted on Facebook criticizing the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic in May. His bail petition was rejected six times. He was sitting in pretrial detention when he died. Although the circumstances behind the sudden death of Ahmed are not yet clear, protesters are demanding justice, as well as the release of other prisoners who have been arrested under the DSA. They also want the government to repeal the act. Shocked by the news of Ahmed's death, Bärbel Kofler, Germany's federal human rights commissioner, called on Bangladesh's government to conduct "an independent inquiry" into the … [Read more...] about How is Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act muzzling free speech?
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MARTIN Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert is urging parents not to miss out on thousands of pounds of tax-free childcare. As part of the tax-free childcare scheme, you can get up to £500 every three months - up to £2,000 a year - for each of your children. For disabled children, the maximum amount you could get rises to £4,000. The scheme essentially works like a savings account where for every £8 you save towards childcare costs, the government tops up an extra £2. So if you put away £8,000 a year for one child, the government will give you £2,000 totally free. But MoneySavingExpert estimates fewer than one in five of the 1.3 million families eligible for tax-free childcare aren’t taking advantage of the scheme. What help is available for parents for childcard costs? CHILDCARE can be a costly business but here is how you can get help: 30 hours free childcare - Parents of three and four-year-olds can apply for 30 hours free childcare a week. To qualify you must … [Read more...] about Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert reminds parents not to miss out on thousands of pounds of tax-free childcare
The legal limit for contactless payments will more than double, Chancellor Rishi Sunak will confirm in today's budget. The limit for a single contactless payment will rise from £45 to £100 as part of Mr Sunak 's plans to boost businesses as the UK recovers from the COVID crisis. You can watch and follow the budget live with special coverage and analysis from 12.30pm - and a special edition of the Sky News Daily podcast will be available to listen to from 7pm. "As we begin to open the UK economy and people return to the high street, the contactless limit increase will make it easier than ever before for people to pay for their shopping, providing a welcome boost to retail that will protect jobs and drive growth," the chancellor said. The move comes despite fears of a growing fraud risk from the increased use of contactless payments. Advertisement On Tuesday, Sky News reported that some of Britain's biggest banks were urging the … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: Contactless payment limit to increase to £100, Chancellor Rishi Sunak says
Covid deaths in England are falling faster than gloomy SAGE advisers thought they would, official data show — and scientists claim lockdown rules could be loosened faster. Models produced by the SPI-M group of scientists predicting the future of the Covid outbreak in February suggested the daily death count would stay above 200 until mid-March. But the average number of victims recorded each day had dropped below this level before the end of February, statistics show. Experts told The Telegraph the progress is 'better than expected' and suggested the Government's 'data not dates' approach could see relaxations brought forward. The vaccine rollout has made immense progress, with 20million people now vaccinated across the UK, and studies suggest the jabs are working better than expected, preventing between 85 and 94 per cent of hospitalisations. SPI-M's prediction was more pessimistic about how well the vaccine would work and whether it would stop transmission, which may … [Read more...] about Lockdown ‘could ease earlier’ in England because Covid deaths are falling FASTER than SAGE predicted thanks to vaccine success
Border disruption with the EU, caused in part by Brexit, is expected to cause an economic hit in the first three months of this year, according to Whitehall's fiscal watchdog. In its latest economic forecast, the Office for Budget Responsibility said it expected "near-term disruption" to trade in goods with the EU to reduce gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the size of the economy, by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2021. The OBR said its previous forecasts had "assumed a smooth transition" to the new trading relationship with the EU, with it expected traders would be given "time to adjust". A special edition of the Sky News Daily podcast will be available from 7pm. Budget 2021: All the key points But it noted that, while the UK had "delayed or reduced" the application of new border checks until later this year, the bloc had "applied full customs requirements due on exports from Great Britain to the EU" since the end of the Brexit transition period … [Read more...] about Budget 2021: EU border disruption to cause economic hit – and Brexit deal to see ‘4% shrinkage in long-term’