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UK Government Remove 1.3 million coronavirus samples from their ‘Double Counting’ data




Once again, the UK government has updated estimates for the coronavirus outbreak.

This period, about 1.3m coronavirus samples were secretly excluded from official data citing ‘double counting’ and posing new concerns about the accuracy.

The devastating news coincides with further details of the NHS Trust members’ inability to support the UK Government ‘s research policy.

RT reports: The UK government has not only cut the number for “tests made disponible” in a coronavirus update on Wednesday, but has abandoned the measure entirely, bringing more uncertainty to an already dubious testing method. This has become the latest in the country’s long history of high-profile and humiliating gaffes.

“The historical statistics for ‘tests available’ metrics have been modified by -1.308.071,’ as the study reads, highlighting cases of the “double-counting” of the test kits released between 14 May and 12 August.

The issue was first detected on 6 July, but the inaccurate data were only removed on 12 August and parallel to the recent downward assessments of the death rates of Covid-19 reported in England and Wales.

The number of 1.3 million covers in-person testing carried out outside of hospitals, including but not limited to swab tests performed outside of the hospital in nursing homes and home test kits delivered by mail.

Shadow Minister of Health Justin Madders characterized the UK ‘s data as “shambolic,” adding that Wednesday’s change was “the latest in a long line of government dysfunctional testing deficiencies.”

“Truly, they are the most ineffective and incompetent government I have ever seen,” said Mike Dailly, video game designer. Others asked whether the UK had ever had a government that was “dangerously inept” in history.

Television host and social analyst Piers Morgan shared his fear of the situation more succinctly.

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Why they walked out: King Soopers workers on life on the margins



Guest commentary: Support the King Soopers strikers

Talk to the men and women who walked the King Soopers picket lines and you’d hear why they were out there, in the cold and freezing rain, striking for a better life.

They started as high school kids looking for some extra cash to pay for that senior trip. Or they heard about the decent wages and upward mobility. Others lost their jobs during the pandemic and desperately needed work.

They stay because they’re scared to lose insurance for their children. Or they don’t want to let down their co-workers they view more as family.

These are the workers of King Soopers. More than 8,000 of them — encompassing 68 stores across metro Denver — walked off the job on Jan. 12, striking for livable wages, better benefits and more security at their stores.

Friday morning, on the 10th day of a walkout that included bitter public posturing and a temporary restraining order, the two sides announced they had reached a tentative agreement to end the labor dispute and bring union workers back into stores.

Details of the agreement were not immediately released, but the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, Kim Cordova, said in a statement that the agreement “addresses the company’s unfair labor practices and ensures that our members will receive the respect, pay and protection they warrant.”

Joe Kelley, president of King Soopers and City Market, said in a statement that the deal would “put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures health care and pension plans.”

Throughout the strike, the union argued that its workers were being left behind as Colorado’s rising cost of living far outpaced wages, while the company said the union was rejecting millions in wage increases.

A recent Economic Roundtable report, titled “Hungry at the Table,” found more than three-quarters of workers at grocery stores owned by Kroger — the parent company that owns King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado — are food insecure, with a rate seven times greater than the national average.

“The data demonstrate that workers’ financial distress, housing insecurity and food insecurity are not resulting from their personal failures but rather, from Kroger’s companywide policies for cutting costs and increasing profits,” the report’s authors noted.

Here are some of King Soopers workers’ stories:

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Brandy Ruiz walks the picket line outside the King Soopers where she works in Denver on Jan. 19, 2022.

“You have have to take action”

Single mother Brandy Ruiz sees her 16-year-old son working diligently at school. He gets good grades, studies hard and has college in his sights.

She wants to be able to pay for that schooling, to reward him for his strong work ethic — but it’s hard.

“I just don’t have the finances,” Ruiz 38, said Wednesday outside the King Soopers on Speer Boulevard in Denver, where she’s worked for six years. “It hurts.”

Ruiz hasn’t gotten a raise from the grocery store chain in four years, she says. Meanwhile, her son, now 6 feet tall, constantly needs new clothes and eats like a full family. She knows he needs braces but she can’t afford them right now.

The 38-year-old has thought about getting a second job to make ends meet. But she believes in commitment, in progressing and growing with a company.

“It feels a bit unfair,” Ruiz said as she tried to stay warm on the sidewalk, a sign around her neck pleading with customers not to shop at King Soopers. “I’ve shown my half; I’m just looking for a little incentive from their half.”

Over the past few weeks, she’s had to explain to her son and nieces and nephews why she was standing outside her workplace with a sign. Ruiz pointed to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday as a fitting example.

“When you believe in something big,” Ruiz said, “you have to take action.”

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RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Josie Penley walks the picket line outside the King Soopers where she works in Denver on Jan. 19, 2022.

“Colorado is very exepensive”

Every Friday night, Josie Penley’s 9-year-old grows excited.

It’s ramen night.

A lot of nights have turned into ramen nights in Penley’s house, as the single mother of two tries to make the numbers work every month on $20 an hour.

When the 30-year-old started at King Soopers a dozen years ago, the $9.14 an hour wasn’t bad. But that’s when rent cost $600 a month, not the $1,150 she pays now, and before she had two other mouths to feed.

“I’m not asking for $30 an hour,” she said Wednesday outside the Speer Boulevard store. “But Colorado is very expensive.”

Her boyfriend moved in after three months — more out of financial necessity than anything, Penley said. She relies heavily on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which provides food and health care referrals to low-income families with young kids.

“I make too much for food stamps,” Penley said, “but not enough to live.”

She sticks with the job because she feels she can’t just leave the insurance benefits, and she recently got sick with COVID-19. So did most of the deli staff, Penley said. Her job in optimum wellness requires her to touch everything the customers touch.

“We want and deserve hazard pay,” Penley said.

“Everybody deserves a livable wage”

Michelle Kissinger’s day begins at 4 a.m., hurrying to make her 5 a.m. shift at the King Soopers store just east of Green Mountain Park in Lakewood.

The 52-year-old mother and grandmother works a full shift as a pick-up shopper, then embarks on her second job, driving for Door Dash food delivery. After 12 hours of work, she hurries home to make her daughter dinner, then does it all again the next day.

“My daughter told me, ‘You love this job more than you love me,’” Kissinger said as frozen rain blew sideways Wednesday morning while she picketed outside the Lakewood grocery store. “That just about broke my heart.”

She yearns to work a 40-hour week, but needs the second job to actually buy food and clothes for her daughter.

Kissinger used to sing and dance at work, a bright and cheery presence among staff. But as workers leave, the remaining staff is being worked ragged, she said. COVID got her and has run through many of her co-workers.

“Everybody deserves a livable wage,” Kissing said, donning her union sign. “Nobody should fear not being able to feed their families.”

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RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

King Soopers employee Moses Carrasco stands on the picket line outside the store where he works in Wheat Ridge on Jan. 19, 2022.

“Cost of living keeps going up”

When Moses Carrasco’s kids were born, he knew he needed good benefits. So he started working at King Soopers — a place he heard had decent pay and the chance at upward mobility.

Within six months, he earned a promotion and took home $16.49 per hour.

That was 14 years ago. Now Carrasco, 43 with grown kids, is making just $3.30 more per hour than he did when he first started — not even enough to keep up with inflation. And everything else about the job is deteriorating, he said.

“The benefits keep getting worse, cost of living keeps going up and raises don’t follow suit,” Carrasco said outside the Wheat Ridge grocery store at 38th Street and Sheridan Boulevard.

As more and more workers leave for better-paying jobs, he said, employees are being asked to do more with less. Six year ago, the deli employed 16 people, Carrasco said. Now it’s down to six.

He worries about employee safety, from COVID precautions and operating heavy machinery to robberies.

“There’s security now that we’re on strike,” he said. “But not when we asked for it.”

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RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

King Soopers employee Candace Arellano walks the picket line outside the store where she works in Wheat Ridge on Jan. 19, 2022.

“Only job I’ve ever known”

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Nuggets Mailbag: Who should Denver front office target at NBA trade deadline?



Nuggets searching for upgrades on the wing, backup center before trade deadline, sources say

Beat writer Mike Singer opens up the Nuggets Mailbag periodically during the season. Pose a Nuggets — or NBA — related question here.

What position (guard/wing/big) are the Nuggets most likely to trade for at the deadline? The Nuggets front office makes a move at most deadlines, but it seems like the bench has more needs than years past.
— @JokicWonMVP21 via Twitter

The Nuggets need help, and are looking, on the wing. If a player can shoot and defend and doesn’t cost an inordinate amount, the Nuggets have probably considered him. Given that they’ve cornered the market on smaller guards, any upgrade probably needs to be a bigger wing, too.

In terms of expected sellers, keep an eye on Orlando, Indiana, Portland and Sacramento. Within that, there are some names to monitor. Justin Holiday (wing with good size), Robert Covington (Blazers are going nowhere, fast, and he could help a contender) and Terrence Ross (appears on at least one trade wish-list every season). I also think Utah’s Joe Ingles might be available (though out of the Nuggets’ price range), or even Philadelphia’s Danny Green. Or, deep breath, what if Gary Harris became available in a buy-out situation? I think there’s a relatively deep pool of available reserve wings.

Mike, I got two questions. The first is do you see Matt Ryan getting a call-up from the Nuggets as he has shown that he can light it up from 3? And the second: Is Markus Howard’s return to the G-league a rehab assignment or has he fallen out of the rotation now that he’s playing in the G-league?
— Uday Chaudhary, Cypress Texas

First off, appreciate you asking about the G-Leaguers. Matt Ryan is a sniper. He’s shooting 40% from 3-point range on over 11 attempts a night. A few games ago, he set a career-high with 39 points. Is his production blossoming because other Gold players (Lance Stephenson, Nik Stauskas) haven’t been there? Perhaps, but his quick trigger looks like an NBA skill. The Nuggets might need outside shooting more than any other skill, hence the Bryn Forbes trade. I haven’t heard his name yet, but I’ll ask around.

Howard has already been recalled from Grand Rapids after returning from his leg injury. Michael Malone sees Howard as a valuable floor spacer, especially with how depleted their backcourt has become. That said, it’s hard to see Howard supplanting Forbes in the rotation.

RELATED: 🔊 Nuggets Podcast: Nikola Jokic’s MVP moment, Bryn Forbes’ addition, potential trade targets and All-Star starters

Any chance the Nuggets give Marc Gasol a ring if the Boogie experiment doesn’t pan out?
— @j_middles via Twitter

I don’t have a feel for their opinion of late-stage Marc Gasol, but I’m answering this one because of this: When you watch Nikola Jokic defend, think of Gasol. Neither are elite athletes but both process and anticipate the game at an elite level. I was once told the Nuggets envisioned turning Jokic into their own version of Gasol. With Jokic’s leaps defensively, it’s not that crazy.

With so many guys like Bones Hyland, Zeke Nnaji and Davon Reed getting meaningful minutes with all our injuries, how does coach Michael Malone get them minutes when we get healthy? They are too good to not be on the floor, but you can’t not play Murray, Porter, etc. either.
— Brad Bonesteel, Westminster

It’s a great question. While the above inquiry asked about trade targets, no one’s asked what it might cost. In my opinion, Nnaji might be a player to dangle in trade talks. He’s young, promising and needs time to develop. Once Porter returns, that development will be inhibited. I just wonder if he’s completely on the team’s timeline. I could be wrong, but there aren’t many obvious choices for trade bait.

I realize that’s not the question you asked. Of the three, I think Hyland stands the best chance of cementing a role in the team’s optimal version. He’s like a Will Barton-lite, capable of igniting and creating offense in the second unit. That’s a significant component. Reed, in my opinion, will turn into more of a Torrey Craig-type and likely play spot minutes in certain matchups. Assuming he’s not traded, it’s tough to know what Nnaji’s minutes look like when Porter and Jokic are the starting frontcourt, and JaMychal Green and Jeff Green make up the reserve frontcourt. He’s not going to get much better playing sparingly.

Given the disparity between starters and bench, why don’t the Nuggets try Monte Morris off the bench for the cohesiveness of that squad. He could still play 30 minutes, just a different rotation.
–Jim Clawson, Denver 

I like the idea, and I have a theory why it hasn’t happened. Have you seen what happens when Facu Campazzo or Austin Rivers play alongside Nikola Jokic? Teams aren’t honoring their outside shot and therefore devoting even more attention to Jokic.

Monte is a career 39% 3-point shooter. This season, he’s at 37%. The Nuggets are already asking Jokic to carry so much that taking away one of the team’s best 3-point shooters probably adds more work for Jokic in the long-term. Adding Morris to the second unit, no doubt, would help stabilize their wild swings. I just wonder about the cost.

Mike, I am sick and tired of these Nuggets second-half collapses. They blew a 25-point lead to the Clippers and lost (Jan. 11). The game before that they blew another big lead against OKC, but hung on to win. It’s become nearly a nightly occurrence from these Nuggets — no lead is safe. The reason this bothers me is because it smacks of 1 of 2 things: either poor coaching (being out-adjusted at halftime) or poor effort. Mike Malone certainly seems to think effort is a problem — he publicly blasts the team often enough. Why can’t he get more out of them?
— Sam, Seattle

The Nuggets are 29th in the NBA in second-half plus/minus at -3.1, sandwiched in between the Pistons and the Kings. That drops to last when you account strictly for fourth quarters. The Nuggets tend to build big leads and then get complacent. The ball stops moving, with their fluid offense deteriorating into isolation plays, and the turnovers start mounting. Couple that with their inconsistent 3-point shooting, and no lead is safe.

Some of this falls on the players. If you can’t take care of the ball, or start relying on early shot-clock 3-pointers, you’re doing the opponent a favor. The 3-point shooting is also something Malone can’t control. In general, they’ve been pleased with the looks that they’ve generated. In terms of motivation, though, he needs to impress on his team that double-digit leads mean less and less in today’s game. It’s about consistency and bringing the requisite respect to an opponent for four quarters. It’s also an indication of how tenuous a lead is for those hold-your-breath stretches when Jokic rests.

I was really glad to see Aaron Gordon speak about the lack of respect from refs that Jokic gets. I know you mentioned in a previous column that the team has been in communication with the league about this, but are there are plans for more public outreach either via TC or Malone?
via @saintmiles_

That was about as honest an answer from Aaron Gordon as you’ll ever hear on the topic. Michael Malone alluded to the free throw discrepancy but went nowhere near as far as Gordon did. The Nuggets, generally, keep their dirty laundry out of the public sphere. There’s no doubt they’ve reached out to the NBA regarding Jokic’s whistle but we’re unlikely to hear more about it. Malone has been wary in the past about it becoming a talking point. My guess is they don’t want it to come off as pandering or pleading, but when it comes from Gordon, in an organic, impassioned manner like that, I’m sure they didn’t mind.

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Four found dead at Canada-U.S. border after what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt



Four found dead at Canada-U.S. border after what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — A Florida man has been charged with human smuggling after the bodies of four people, including a baby and a teen, were found in Canada near the U.S. border in what authorities believe was a failed crossing attempt during a freezing blizzard.

Steve Shand, 47, was charged Thursday with human smuggling after seven Indian nationals were found in the U.S. and the discovery of the bodies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.

Court documents filed Wednesday in support of Shand’s arrest allege one of the people spent a significant amount of money to come to Canada with a fraudulent student visa.

“The investigation into the death of the four individuals in Canada is ongoing along with an investigation into a larger human smuggling operation of which Shand is suspected of being a part,” John Stanley, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, said in court documents.

Shand could not be immediately reached for comment. There was no immediate response to an email and phone message to the federal public defender’s office, listed in court documents as representing Shand.

“This is absolutely a mind blowing incident,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during an appearance Friday in Ottawa. Traffickers took advantage of their desire to build a better life, he said.

“This is why we are doing everything we can do discourage people from trying to cross the border in irregularly or illegal ways,” the prime minister said.

According to documents, a U.S. Border Patrol in North Dakota stopped a 15-passenger van just south of the Canadian border on Wednesday. Shand was driving and court documents allege he was with two Indian nationals.

Around the same time, court documents said five other people were spotted by law enforcement in the snow nearby. The group, who were also Indian nationals, told officers they’d been walking for more than 11 hours outside in frigid conditions.

A woman stopped breathing several times as she was transported to hospital. Court documents said she will require partial amputation of her hand. A man was also hospitalized for frostbite but was later released.

One of the men in the group was carrying a backpack that had baby supplies in it. Court documents said he told officers it belonged to a family who had become separated from the group overnight.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy told a news conference in Winnipeg Thursday that once Mounties were notified the family may still be in Manitoba officers immediately began to search the area.

After a difficult search in nearly impassible terrain, she said officers found three bodies together — a man, a woman and a baby — just 10 meters (33 feet) from the border near Emerson, Manitoba. The search continued and a teen boy was found a short distance away. It is believed they died from exposure.

“It is an absolute and heartbreaking tragedy,” MacLatchy said.

They were wearing winter clothing, she said, but it would not have been enough to save them with the freezing conditions.

“These victims faced not only the cold weather but also endless fields, large snowdrifts and complete darkness,” MacLatchy added.

Shand was arrested Wednesday and remains in custody. American authorities allege in court documents that Shand has likely been involved in other border crossings, including two recent incidents in December.

Officials in both countries said it is more common to see crossings north from the U.S. into Canada. Border crossings into Canada on foot increased in 2016 following the election of former U.S. president Donald Trump.

That December, two men lost their fingers to severe frostbite after getting caught in a blizzard while walking from the U.S. into Manitoba. A few months later, a woman died of hypothermia near the border on the American side.

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