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Chester Zoo to reopen on Monday as government gives green light

Amazing news!

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The news we’ve all been waiting for, zoos, safari parks and drive-through outdoor cinemas will be allowed to reopen from next Monday says Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister has decided to lift the restrictions on outdoor attractions to provide parents with more opportunities to entertain their kids after 12 weeks of lockdown.

He is expected to announce as part of the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown that will be coming into effect on 15th June. 

Zoos, safari parks and drive-through outdoor cinemas will be allowed to reopen from June 15th as long as they can abide by social distancing rules.

Safari Parks and outdoor cinemas have also been added to the list as people remain in their cars and therefore the risk of spreading the disease is lower.

This news is also alongside the reopening of non-essential shops on the same date, including fashion, charity, betting, gift shops, craft fairs, auction houses and plenty of others.

A Downing Street official said last night: “People are continuing to make huge sacrifices to reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid a second spike, but we know it is tough and where we can safely open up more attractions, and it is supported by the science, we will do so.

“This is by necessity a careful process, but we hope the reopening of safari parks and zoos will help provide families with more options to spend time outdoors while supporting the industry caring for these incredible animals.”

Chester Zoo

This is great news for zoos like Chester Zoo which has been campaigning over the last week to ‘save our zoo’ and raised over £2.2 million to do so. 

The indoor exhibitions at zoos will remain closed such as reptile houses and any cafes must be only for take-away.

Andrew Hall, spokesperson for Biaza – British and Irish Association for Zoos and Aquariums, said: “Biaza is obviously delighted that zoos and safari parks have been given the flexibility to reopen.

Chester Zoo / Instagram

“But as a sector, we are not out of the woods. Aquariums are still closed, and zoos and safari parks have taken a real hit. For some zoos, particularly those reliant on tourism, reopening isn’t going to be financially viable for them.

“It’s helpful today but it’s not the full answer to the challenges we face. We know that as a sector, zoos, aquariums and safari parks will be struggling, especially with limited entry, so we do still need the support of Government – but we’re very pleased about today’s announcement.”

He added: “Zoos and aquariums in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will still be facing significant challenges and we will be working hard to achieve positive outcomes in these nations.”

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Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school

He’s the second person to be arrested

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West Yorkshire Police

A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.

The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.

He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.

He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.

West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.

“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.

“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”

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Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor

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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.

He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.

There’s also unit price limits for companies.

Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.

As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.

He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.

Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.

As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.

This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.

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Drag Race UK star Cherry Valentine has died aged 28

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@thecherryvalentine / Instagram

Drag star George Ward, known as Cherry Valentine, has sadly passed away aged 28, it’s been confirmed this morning.

Ward’s family announced the news, describing his death as a ‘profound shock’.

He appeared on series two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, before going on to front the BBC documentary Gypsy Queen And Proud.

According to his family, Ward – who was raised in Darlington, County Durham as part of the Traveller community – died on Sunday.

He qualified as a mental health nurse back in 2015 before he began his career in drag.

Ward’s family said in a statement: “It is with the most heart-wrenching and deepest sadness to inform you that our George – Cherry Valentine – has tragically passed away.

“This will come as a profound shock to most people and we understand there is no easy way for this to be announced.

“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched. All we ask is for your patience and your prayers in this time. We love you Georgie.”

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