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The ‘best meteor shower of the year’ will be visible over the UK this week

This will be amazing!

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Michael Mancewicz/Unsplash

The Perseid meteors are active between mid-July and the end of August, and this year they will be reaching their peak this week. 

There is set to be as many as 50 to 100 comets flying across the sky each hour, as part of the spectacle this week.

To get the best glimpse of the meteor shower, you’re gonna have to stay up late. The Royal Observatory advises that The Perseids will be most visible between midnight and 5:30am.

The meteors will be flying across the skies on the nights of August 11th and 12th, meaning you can get a glimpse as early as tomorrow evening!

Nick Iliasov/Unsplash

According to the Royal Observatory: “[The shower] is always above the horizon as seen from the UK, which means that observers in the UK should be able to see some meteors as soon as the Sun sets.

“Therefore, it is worth looking up in the early evening.

“It is always favourable to try and spot meteors when the Moon is below the horizon or when it is in its crescent phase, because otherwise it will act as a natural light pollution and will prevent the fainter meteors from being visible.”

Clint McKoy/Unsplash

Many stargazers wait all year for this extra special meteor shower due to the rate and brightness of the meteors.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused as the Earth moves through a stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has a huge 133-year orbit.

The particles hit the Earth at a super speed of 37 miles per second, burning and streaking across the sky.

It is possible to see some rare meteors just before midnight that graze the Earth’s atmosphere and produce the occasional bright long trail, called a ‘fireball’.

The Royal Observatory recommends heading to the countryside for the best view, and to ensure you’re in an area of clear skies.

Find out more about the Perseid meteor shower here

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Greater Manchester school to withdraw places for pupils who break lockdown rules

The headteacher has issued a warning letter

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Yew Tree Community School

A school has threatened to withdraw places for pupils who have told teachers they are visiting people from outside their households.

Yew Tree Community School in Oldham has said they will withdraw places for those children in school who have admitted to visiting friends, neighbours and family despite Covid-19 lockdown rules.

Headteacher Martine Buckley said she would take action when ‘parents were putting staff in danger’. 

Currently, schools are open to pupils who are listed as vulnerable or as children of key workers. Families can also form childcare bubbles with another household and children who live between two parents who live separately can move between households.

Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

However, other household mixing is forbidden.

Mrs Buckley began the letter by saying she was ‘upset’ to be writing this but that ‘I feel I must’. 

She continued: “Our lovely children are open and honest and they tell us about their lives and activities.

“A number of them are telling us that they are visiting friends, neighbours and family which is against the law.

“Our teachers and support staff are putting their own safety at risk to look after your children and they should be confident you are doing your bit to follow the lockdown rules.

“I am afraid I will have to withdraw the offer of a place in school to children whose parents are putting us in danger.”

Element 5 Digital / Unsplash

One man told the BBC that his two grandchildren who were at the school have been asked about their activities at home which was ‘out of order’. 

He said: “My granddaughters are pretty intimidated by the tone.

“Asking them questions like that and then the answers off the back of that. They come to a decision of whether they are going to displace them or not.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We expect schools to work with families to ensure all critical worker children are given access to a place if this is required. 

“We encourage all vulnerable children to attend.”

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Keir Starmer calls for all teachers to be vaccinated during the February half-term

Boris has rejected the suggestion.

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UK Parliament & Keir Starmer /Flickr

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calls for all teachers to be vaccinated in the February half-term.

Responding to the prime minister, Starmer said Boris Johnson should ‘bring forward’ vaccines for teachers and school staff to fulfil the ‘national priority of reopening schools’. 

The Labour leader says he ‘welcomes’ any steps being taken towards reopening schools but is highly critical of the PM’s opening and closing of classrooms.

Starmer describes the government’s U-turns on schools as ‘the kind of nonsense that’s led to the highest death toll in Europe’.

He then repeated his calls to vaccinate teachers during the half-term, explaining that they should be given their first dose once the 14 million people in the top priority groups have had their first jab.

The government is aiming for over-70s, care home residents, frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable to have their first dose of the vaccine by February 15th, the start date for most schools’ half term. 

Starmer asked Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday: “Everybody agrees that reopening our schools should be a national priority. But that requires a plan, and the PM hasn’t got a plan.

“So as a first step, does he agree with me that once the first four categories and the most vulnerable have been vaccinated by mid-February, he should bring forward the vaccination of key workers and use the window of the February half-term to vaccinate all teachers and all school staff?”

Number 10/Flickr

Johnson rejected this, saying only teachers and school staff in the top nine groups will be given priority for the vaccine. 

Starmer criticised the PM saying that half term is a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to vaccinate teachers, but that he is ‘no wiser as to whether the PM thinks that’s a good idea or a bad idea’.

The prime minister insists that schools are not un-safe, explaining that the problem is they ‘bring communities together’ and ‘a large number of kids are a considerable vector of transmission’.

He added that the prioritisation of the vaccine should be up to experts not politicians, and that Starmer’s policy suggestion ‘would actually delay our route out of lockdown’.

Earlier today Boris Johnson confirmed that schools wouldn’t reopen before March 8th at the earliest.

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Lidl to give frontline staff a £200 ‘thank you’ bonus for their hard work during the pandemic

A lovely gesture!

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Lidl

Lidl is set to give it’s 23,000 UK frontline employees a £200 bonus in recognition for hard work in the pandemic. 

The gesture will be received by customer assistants, warehouse operatives and cleaners across more than 800 stores and 13 distribution centres in the UK.

There will also be a £100 reward to around 1,800 office-based staff.

The bonus will be put into staff’s February pay and will amass to £5.5 million in total. 

Andrew Curtis / Geograph

Christian Hartnagel, chief executive of Lidl’s UK business, said: “It has been an extremely challenging period and our teams have done a phenomenal job in helping to keep the nation fed.

“I am incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment our colleagues have shown and continue to show and this payment is about recognising their unrelenting hard work and thanking each individual for the important part they’ve played in the year like no other.”

It comes after Lidl handed out £150 bonuses to all colleagues in March last year, and a pay rise in November.

Pay rises which see the entry-level wages increase from £9.30 to £9.50 an hour (outside M25) and £10.75 to £10.85 (inside M25) and will come into effect in March 2021. 

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