Mickleach https://mickleach.com Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:42:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips rips into ‘revolting’ EU – ‘It is anti-democratic!’ | UK | News https://mickleach.com/brexit-party-mep-alexandra-phillips-rips-into-revolting-eu-it-is-anti-democratic-uk-news/ https://mickleach.com/brexit-party-mep-alexandra-phillips-rips-into-revolting-eu-it-is-anti-democratic-uk-news/#respond Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:42:00 +0000 https://mickleach.com/brexit-party-mep-alexandra-phillips-rips-into-revolting-eu-it-is-anti-democratic-uk-news/

Ms Phillips claimed the European Union was “deliberately made to be anti-democratic”, admitting she was “revolted” by the Brussels political system. The Brexit Party MEP slammed the EU for their treatment of Greece and Italy when the economic crisis happened. She also told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham the entire European system was corrupt.

Ms Phillips said: “It is anti-democratic, not undemocratic but deliberately made to be anti-democratic.

“That is what I find revolting.

“When the massive economic crisis happened, the Eurozone crisis and everyone saw the way the EU treated countries such as Italy and Greece.

“Essentially saying to democratically elected leaders sorry because you’re probably going to want to leave the euro to devalue your currency and get back on your feet we can’t have that because it is going to threaten the project.

READ MORE: Can the Lords block Brexit? House of Lords role explained

“We are going to have to remove you and impose such strident austerity.

“At one stage you had about 100,000 Greek families relying on food banks.”

Mr Graham added: “The streets were burning, the streets were on fire, there were riots going on.”

The Brexit Party MEP responded: “At the same time the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the EU.

“I can’t get my head around how corrupt this entire system is.”

Ms Phillips continued: “The Euro is the EU poster child for weak growth, high unemployment and stagnant wages.

“Don’t do it, keep the Kuna!”

“As Brexit has shown citizens want freedom, not being dictated to by a faceless super state.

“The UK is leading the way out of this fanatical democratically bankrupt project.

“I am telling you unless the EU can show the will to reform many brave nations will follow.”


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PS Plus February 2020: PS4 Free Game news as Sony launch surprise sale https://mickleach.com/ps-plus-february-2020-ps4-free-game-news-as-sony-launch-surprise-sale/ https://mickleach.com/ps-plus-february-2020-ps4-free-game-news-as-sony-launch-surprise-sale/#respond Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:10:48 +0000 https://mickleach.com/ps-plus-february-2020-ps4-free-game-news-as-sony-launch-surprise-sale/

The official PS Plus February free games announcement looks set to be on track for next week. PS4 gamers had to wait an extra week to find out the news last month, which meant the latest PlayStation Plus rewards didn’t go live until January 7. Thankfully things will be going back to normal, and fans can expect the big free games announcement to be revealed on January 29, 2020. That’s still a full week away, with the good news being that the next game rewards will be available to download on February 4, 2020.

And with just a week to go before we find out what will be replacing the current lineup, Sony has also dropped a surprise update to the PlayStation Store.

Sony has launched a new promotion which has seen many games heavily discounted for PS4 and PS4 Pro consoles.

Games like Fallout 4, Watch Dogs 2 and F1 2018 can all be picked up at much lower prices this week.

The sale is set to run until early February, around the same time the new PS Plus free games will be going live.

“PlayStation Store’s latest promotion, Games Under €20, debuts today! For a limited time you can save money on a wide range of PlayStation 4 games,” a message from Sony explains.

“Lose yourself in a post-apocalyptic open world with Bethesda’s Fallout 4, become a racing champion in Codemasters’ F1 2018 or showcase your hacking skills in Watch Dogs 2 Deluxe Edition.

“So enjoy more amazing PS4 experiences for less! Below is the full list of games available on the sale.”

But this isn’t the only big change that has come to the PlayStation Store, with Sony also dropping the price on some games exclusively for PS Plus subscribers.

Eagle-eyed gamers have noticed that a number of titles have been given heavy PlayStation Plus discounts.

Games like Real Farm, Defunct, Shiny – A Robotic Adventure and Reus can be bought from the PS Store for under $1.

These provide savings on each game that add up to around 90 per cent off, however, having never played any of them, it’s hard to attest to their quality.

But it will still be worth checking out what other bargains Sony is dropping this week during its PlayStation Store Sale.

More mainstream choices include Dark Souls 3 priced at under $7 on the PlayStation Store until the current PS4 sale ends.

It should be noted that some of these deals listed above may only be available to gamers in certain regions and may not extend to North America.

Regardless of where the latest deals are available to purchase, everyone with a PS Plus subscription can download the current free games for January.

These will remain available to download until Tuesday, February 4, and include the likes of Goat Simulator and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection.

This technically means that gamers can enjoy four games this month for free, although multiplayer modes for the Uncharted games are not available.

Sony adds: “From the groundbreaking storytellers at Naughty Dog, comes the genre-defining epic that revolutionised adventure storytelling, rebuilt by Bluepoint Games with the power of the PS4 system.

“Follow the perilous journey of Nathan Drake across the globe, from humble beginnings to extraordinary discoveries. Meet an unforgettable cast of characters as Drake puts life and friendship on the line in a race against ruthless enemies to uncover unimaginable treasure.

“Uncharted The Nathan Drake Collection includes the single-player campaigns only for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.”


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Nicola Sturgeon to pile pressure on Boris Johnson by revealing independence plans IN DAYS | Politics | News https://mickleach.com/nicola-sturgeon-to-pile-pressure-on-boris-johnson-by-revealing-independence-plans-in-days-politics-news/ https://mickleach.com/nicola-sturgeon-to-pile-pressure-on-boris-johnson-by-revealing-independence-plans-in-days-politics-news/#respond Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:09:39 +0000 https://mickleach.com/nicola-sturgeon-to-pile-pressure-on-boris-johnson-by-revealing-independence-plans-in-days-politics-news/

A spokesman for Scotland’s First Minister and the SNP leader confirmed she will set out her Government’s plans next week. He said: “The First Minister will seek to update before the end of the month, as she indicated.” Nicola Sturgeon’s spokesman insisted ministers are still committed to holding a referendum this year, despite the latest refusal from Boris Johnson last week.

He said the SNP’s position was “endorsed” by voters in last month’s general election, when Scotland’s ruling party won 47 of the 59 seats available in the country.

The spokesman added: ”It will be an update following the Prime Minister’s reply to the First Minister, which was delivered this time last week.

“It will be an update from our side on how we intend to move things forward in light of that reply.”

Ms Sturgeon is continuing her campaign for a second referendum on Scottish independence – more than five years after the country voted 55 percent to 45 percent in favour of remaining in the UK.

He refused to elaborate further, only to add: “As we move forward, they will all become clear.”

He also launched a furious attack against Mr Johnson, and said: “I think you can either have democracy or you can have dictatorship, you can’t have both.

“If Boris Johnson wants to be a dictator that simply says ‘other people’s votes don’t matter, Scotland’s doesn’t matter, Scotland isn’t a nation’.

“That is a decision which cannot hold in my view, because it goes so much against the views of the people of Scotland.”


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Universal Credit: Parts of UK to be ‘significantly worse off’ after roll out, report finds | Personal Finance | Finance https://mickleach.com/universal-credit-parts-of-uk-to-be-significantly-worse-off-after-roll-out-report-finds-personal-finance-finance/ https://mickleach.com/universal-credit-parts-of-uk-to-be-significantly-worse-off-after-roll-out-report-finds-personal-finance-finance/#respond Tue, 21 Jan 2020 19:05:14 +0000 https://mickleach.com/universal-credit-parts-of-uk-to-be-significantly-worse-off-after-roll-out-report-finds-personal-finance-finance/

The impact of Universal Credit will be felt very differently in different places, according to new research by the Resolution Foundation which has been published today. The “Long and winding road” report notes that the new parliament will be a “critical period” for the roll-out of Universal Credit, with two-thirds of the six million families who will eventually be on Universal Credit moving across during this parliament.

The final phase of the roll-out involves the transfer of existing benefit and tax credit claimants onto Universal Credit, which the think-tank said is due to start later this year.

A pilot scheme for the movement of existing legacy benefits claimants who have not had a change in circumstances is currently taking place in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

The Resolution Foundation notes that following welcome reforms, which include the recent £1,000 boost to work allowance, the benefit is set to be “slightly more generous” than the legacy system it is replacing – provided take-up gains are achieved.

Changes to the work allowance levels which came into effect from April 2019, means Universal Credit recipients have since been able to earn an additional £1,000 a year before their Universal Credit is affected.

READ MORE: 1p saving challenge: How you could amass £600 in 2020 – starting from just 1p

 

It said families are set to receive £1 a week more on average.

That said, the left-leaning think-tank suggested the average figure “masks sizeable groups of families” who gain and lose out by large sums, in addition to significant geographical variation across the UK.

The report found that some parts of the country “will be left significantly worse off” as the switch to Universal Credit goes ahead.

Factors cited include local rent and earnings levels, and the characteristics of local populations.

The research found that in the Liverpool City Region (LCR) – which is one of the areas that has experienced the biggest Universal Credit roll-out so far, and in which a higher proportion of working-age families will end up on Universal Credit (31 percent) than across the country (compared to 24 percent) – just 31 percent of families will be better off under Universal Credit.

This compares to 52 percent who will be worse off in the region, the Resolution Foundation said.

In comparison, the national average is 46 percent losing out, and 39 percent gaining.

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According to the Resolution Foundation, the difference is largely driven by the fact that LCR has a “relatively high proportion of single parents, out-of-work single people and disabled people, all of whom fare badly under Universal Credit”.

Furthermore, Universal Credit’s greater generosity towards working families with high rents has less impact in this region, which has below-average rent levels.

The Resolution Foundation has carried out in-depth interviews in LCR, focusing on recipients’ experiences of various aspects of the new system.

And, while those with IT skills valued Universal Credit’s digital focus, many said that the five-week wait for the first payment had put them under significant financial and mental stress.

Some reported that this wait had forced them to use food banks, and worsened existing mental health issues.

Others reported problems with the childcare element of Universal Credit, despite it being more generous than tax credits, the Resolution Foundation said.

Among the interviews, one single parent explained that paying childcare costs up front was hard, and said that reimbursements could be withheld if they forgot to obtain receipts on time.

Furthermore, the interviews revealed a “variable understanding” among recipients of exactly how taking on more work would affect their incomes.

Laura Gardiner, Research Director at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Welcome recent reforms mean that Universal Credit is now set to be marginally more generous than the benefits it is replacing.

“But this average hides a complex mix of winners and losers, with families in some areas of the UK faring particularly badly.

“As well as making reforms at a national level – such as helping families to overcome the first payment hurdle and offering more flexibility for those with childcare – policy makers across the country need to better understand the effect Universal Credit will have in different places.

“That understanding should be central to policy debates that are rightly focusing on what can be done to close economic gaps between parts of the UK.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Universal Credit has made life miserable for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

“It is time that the government listens to the warnings from by frontline staff and reports, like this from the Resolution Foundation, and implement serious reforms to make our welfare system more humane.

“Rather than penalising people for finding work and forcing them into crisis with the five week wait for a first payment, it should be reformed to offer a genuine safety net to struggling people.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Universal Credit supports more than 2.7 million people across every part of the country, introducing tailored support to replace a complicated old system.

“This report rightly recognises improvements we’ve made, like boosting work allowances for some families to £1,000 and making it much easier to apply online.

“People can find out how Universal Credit could help them at the Understanding Universal Credit website.”

The Resolution Foundation has said that now is the time for the government to make “vital improvements”. It proposed reforms, to take place at a national level, which should include “helping families overcome the first payment hurdle”.

The report authors added:

  • “The government should increase the proportion of new claims paid on time and in full; help families overcome the first payment hurdle by testing approaches like an interim payment for certain groups and backdating the start of claims; and carry the financial risk from late payments.
  • “Ensuring UC fits better with the lives of those who need it. In particular, reforms are needed to make the generous childcare support in UC more flexible and easier to navigate.
  • “Making UC more female-friendly. Boosting work allowances for single parents and second-earners would boost their work incentives and increase household incomes.”

The think-tank also said that policy makers need to consider the impact of Universal Credit at a local level.


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Black hole discovery: ‘Cosmic echolocation’ can now map black holes | Science | News https://mickleach.com/black-hole-discovery-cosmic-echolocation-can-now-map-black-holes-science-news/ https://mickleach.com/black-hole-discovery-cosmic-echolocation-can-now-map-black-holes-science-news/#respond Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:44:17 +0000 https://mickleach.com/black-hole-discovery-cosmic-echolocation-can-now-map-black-holes-science-news/

Material being sucked into a black hole spews X-rays  into space. Astronomers have now manipulated the echoes of this cosmic radiation to map black holes’ behaviours and immediate environments.

Black holes are unfathomably enormous, yet are surprisingly considered too small for astronomers to study their immediate environment.

However, experts can now survey black holes by leaning how matter behaves as it nears and enters these bizarre beings.

As material heads towards a black hole, matter heats up and emits X-rays.

The resulting X-rays echo and reverberate as they interact with nearby gas.

READ MORE: NASA unveils stunning photo of ISS transiting Sun

Dr William Alston from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, lead author of the new study, said: “Everyone is familiar with how the echo of their voice sounds different when speaking in a classroom compared to a cathedral—this is simply due to the geometry and materials of the rooms, which causes sound to behave and bounce around differently.

“In a similar manner, we can watch how echoes of X-ray radiation propagate in the vicinity of a black hole in order to map out the geometry of a region and the state of a clump of matter before it disappears into the singularity.

“It’s a bit like cosmic echo-location.”

Because the dynamics of in-falling gas are associated with the properties of the consuming black hole, Dr Alston’s team were able to calculate the mass and spin of the galaxy’s central black hole by observing the properties of matter as it spiralled to their doom.

The material forms a disc as it falls into the black hole.

Above this disc lies a region of hot electrons — featuring temperatures of around one billion C — called the corona.

While the scientists expected to see the reverberation echoes they used to map the region’s geometry, they also discovered something unexpected – the corona itself changed in size quickly, over a matter of days.

Dr Alston added: “As the corona’s size changes, so does the light echo—a bit like if the cathedral ceiling is moving up and down, changing how the echo of your voice sounds.

“By tracking the light echoes, we were able to track this changing corona, and — what’s even more exciting – get much better values for the black hole’s mass and spin than we could have determined if the corona was not changing in size.

“We know the black hole’s mass cannot be fluctuating, so any changes in the echo must be down to the gaseous environment.”


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