The Guardian
The Guardian
Is our solicitor wrong when she says we owe £10,500 in stamp duty?
We are replacing our main residence but my husband owns a buy-to-let flat Q My husband and I are due to exchange on a house today and we were under the impression during the four-month conveyancing process that we would not have to pay stamp duty because we were buying a replacement for the main residence we had sold. Our solicitor, however, has told us we are liable for £10,500 of SDLT as my husband owns a buy-to-let flat (it was his previous residence when we met five years ago) but I think she is advising us incorrectly. Based on an article of yours a few years back, and the government guidelines detailed in it, I think we should still be exempt as we are replacing our main residence with this sale and purchase. Is it as simple as that? FSA Yes, it is that simple and the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) guidance published in March 2016 has not changed. Under the heading “higher rates for additional properties”, it says: “You will not pay the extra 3% SDLT if the property you are buying is replacing your main residence and that has already been sold”. In your case, because you have sold your main residence and are buying a new one to replace it, you should not have to pay the higher rate of SDLT. To confirm this, you might want to get your solicitor to use the SDLT calculator mentioned in the guidance. Continue reading...
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Vulnerable person cut off from landline and broadband for weeks
TalkTalk service was cut off when the road was dug up and Openreach has not fixed itI am writing on behalf of an 84-year-old friend who lives alone. Just before Christmas, on 21 December, his landline and broadband both stopped working, and, ever since, we have been trying to get him reconnected. It seems that the road was dug up and the workmen managed to mix up the phone lines. All his landline calls are going to another house’s voicemail.We called his supplier, TalkTalk, and someone was sent out on New Year’s Eve. We were told that the road will have to be dug up again, but nothing has happened. Continue reading...
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Now the vaccine is here, I feel a sudden urge to make the most of lockdown | Emma Brockes
It is easier to weather the first flush of a crisis than beat out time in its dying days – but some good can come of this momentFor the last week or so, a new type of text has been reliably coming in, in various states of excitement and relief, from friends – medics, teachers – sending photos of their vaccination certificates. Some received stickers after the jab, rather as one does after voting, bearing the legend: “I got my Covid-19 vaccine”. One wonders if, in the design departments of the large New York hospitals, there was a temptation to round out that statement with the exclamation mark we’re all surely feeling.It is tremendously good news, obviously, that despite continuing problems with rollout, more than 370,000 people in New York have been vaccinated up until the end of Saturday. It also raises to the level of frank incredulity the cognitive dissonance of this bizarre period. While a tiny proportion of the population is now safe from the virus, in a single week in January, more than 3,000 people died of Covid in California alone and infection rates in the US – as in Britain – remain staggeringly high. A new president will soon be inaugurated, but the old one continues to foment trouble. Things are, assuredly, looking up. Meanwhile, members of the National Guard sleep on the floor of the Capitol. Continue reading...
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NGOs demand action not promises as EU accused of ‘failing to protect seas’
Environmental groups propose urgent plan to stop overfishing and safeguard marine life, as existing laws go unenforcedA coalition of NGOs is calling for an urgent ban on destructive bottom trawling in EU marine protected areas, after the failure of member states to defend seas.The ban is part of a 10-point action plan to “raise the bar” to achieve biodiversity targets, which they say will not be met by current promises, such as last year’s high-profile pledge by world leaders at the UN summit on biodiversity in New York to reverse nature loss by 2030. Continue reading...
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Havana: a virtual tour through food, music, films and books
Travel vicariously through the arts, culture and cuisine that give the city its beauty and rhythmA 1950s highway, bleached to sepia by the Caribbean sun, leads from Cuba’s Santa María beaches through palm and hibiscus. It passes close to the fishing village of Cojímar, crests a small rise and there is Havana, sweeping frontage wounded but upright against the turbulent waters of the Florida Straits.During Havana’s first centuries, its vast natural harbour was filled with Spanish treasure ships waiting to be shepherded home against British and Dutch wolves. Alexander von Humboldt, visiting in 1800, wrote of “gazing upon the fortresses crowning the rocks east of the port … and the city itself half-hidden by a forest of spars and sails of shipping.” Continue reading...
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Monday briefing: Benefit cuts risk 'levelling up' plan
Thinktank warns PM’s flagship pledge is in jeopardy … over-70s will be offered vaccine from today … ‘justice’ for NavalnyMorning everyone: I’m Martin Farrer and these are the top stories to start your week. Continue reading...
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TV tonight: Glenn Howerton returns with another series of AP Bio
More goings on from Whitlock high school’s science department. Plus: Junior Bake Off. Here’s what to watch this evening Continue reading...
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The Great British Art Tour: chiaroscuro illuminates a Cornish card game
With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights and hidden gems from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: A Game of Cut-Throat Euchre from Penlee House Gallery & Museum, PenzanceEuchre, a five-card trick game traditionally played by four players, is still played in Cornwall and the south-west of England, where local people are immensely proud of their heritage. The game was exported by migrant Cornish workers, and there are Euchre leagues in Canada and the US as well as Australia and New Zealand.Frank Gascoigne Heath’s work was completed in 1909 and joined Penlee House’s collection in 2017. Painted with great fluency and an impressive use of chiaroscuro, the work is significant for both its style and subject matter. It bears the hallmarks of the first-generation Newlyn School ethos of painting “plein air” social realism, which focused on ordinary people doing everyday activities, and it is a remarkable and arresting example of the Newlyn School painters’ concern with representing scenes from modern life. Continue reading...
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Fewer than one in 10 police officers fired after gross misconduct finding
Figures from England and Wales raise questions about IOPC’s efficiency as police forces’ watchdog Fewer than one in 10 British police officers found to have potentially committed gross misconduct by the watchdog are dismissed, the Guardian can reveal.Figures released by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) show 641 officers in England and Wales may have so seriously breached standards that they were liable to be sacked between 2015 and 2020, but just 54 (8.4%) were fired after disciplinary action was conducted internally. Continue reading...
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The joy of steps: 20 ways to give purpose to your daily walk
Has the novelty of a prescribed stroll long since worn off? From tracking animals to uncovering hidden history, here’s how to discover a new world in your neighbourhood The weather is rubbish, there is nowhere to go and, bereft of the joys of spring, the daily lockdown walk can feel pointless. But, of course, it is not: the mental and physical health perks of exercise are immune to seasonal changes. We need to gallivant around outside in daylight so that our circadian rhythms can regulate sleep and alertness. (Yes, even when the sky is resolutely leaden, it is still technically daylight.) Walking warms you up, too; when you get back indoors, it will feel positively tropical.But if meeting these basic needs isn’t enough to enthuse you, there are myriad ways to add purpose to your stride and draw your attention to the underappreciated joys of winter walking. Continue reading...
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'Another rocky road': UK theatre bosses eye 2021 with resilience and realism
Artistic directors at four venues look ahead to what challenges this year might bringNikolai Foster, Curve, LeicesterLast year we cancelled five productions which was heartbreaking but we learned a lot about resilience and are so determined now. When we thought we were coming out of lockdown we planned to stage Sunset Boulevard. We have a 350-seat space and a 970-seat auditorium and are able to fly out the dividing walls to create a 1,500-seat arena with a socially distanced audience of 500. Then Leicester went into tier 3 so we reconceived it for film. We asked ourselves how we could create something original: we didn’t just want to archive a piece of theatre. The production has now been seen in 36 countries. Continue reading...
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UK gambling firms accused of exaggerating scale of black market betting
Report by PwC under fire as industry expects tougher regulation in upcoming government reviewGambling firms have been accused of concocting a “dodgy dossier” to exaggerate the scale of black market betting, in an attempt to influence an upcoming government review expected to result in tougher regulation.Gambling industry figures recently seized on a report claiming that 200,000 people in the UK spend £1.4bn on black market sites every year, warning that tougher regulation could drive more people into the arms of “unscrupulous” operators. Continue reading...
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Uighur campaigners to target 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics sponsors
Activists will write to companies in bid to persuade them to use their influence with Chinese governmentCampaigners fighting against the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China are to target private companies sponsoring the Beijing Winter Olympics in an attempt to persuade them to use their influence with the Chinese government ahead of the 2022 event.Uighur campaigners in 10 different countries are coming together to write to companies asking them to use their platforms to educate and inform the world of the persecution under way in Xinjiang province. The first to be targeted is the chief executive officer of Airbnb, Brian Chesky. Continue reading...
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Noel Clarke: 'Would I play Doctor Who? There's a conversation to be had'
He has played a pivotal role in bringing black drama to British screens – but Noel Clarke must still battle for recognition. As his hit cop show Bulletproof returns, he talks about fighting prejudice, returning to the Tardis – and saying no to America“I would love to stay out of the papers,” says Noel Clarke. “I don’t even like speaking to journalists.” It’s not what an interviewer wants to hear, but in this case it is understandable. Whether he’s pointing out his omission from a movie poster, or simply finding himself the subject of an article about how the 45-year-old has maintained his six-pack, Clarke’s name is never out of the headlines for long.His aversion to the press does perhaps explain why he has embraced social media – despite Clarke’s belief that Twitter contains “the worst of humanity”. “I love all the platforms I have, even if Twitter can be vile,” he says. “I’m older and wiser now. You have to be really offensive or catch me on a bad day to get me to bite back. When I was younger I bit back all the time. People would review stuff and I’d be like, ‘I’m coming in to find you.’” He laughs – although it’s clear that though age might have calmed him, there’s still much that he finds grating about the industry he works in. Continue reading...
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Government would recover 81% of cost of pay rise for NHS England staff – report
Study commissioned by NHS unions argues initial cost would be offset by increased tax revenues Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage A substantial pay rise for NHS staff in England battling the coronavirus pandemic would cost the exchequer only a fifth of the headline price tag and boost Britain’s struggling economy, according to a report.Setting out the economic case for raising the wages of England’s 1 million nurses, midwives, health professionals and NHS support staff, researchers from the London Economics consultancy said 81% of the cost of a 5% or 10% pay rise would be recovered by the government. Continue reading...
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New No 10 team take on Cummings' legacy of chaos and acrimony
Tories cautiously optimistic about Dan Rosenfield and Allegra Stratton, who want to press reset on PM’s tenureA subtle signal was sent across Whitehall last week when Tom Scholar, once identified by aides loyal to Dominic Cummings as on the notorious “shit list” of senior civil servants, was reappointed as permanent secretary to the Treasury.It appeared that the war once waged against opinionated mandarins was over, and the threats of a revolution had left the building with Boris Johnson’s senior aide. Continue reading...
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Families of citizens dying after contact with police still await justice
Relatives of Darren Cumberbatch and Rashan Charles distrustful of IOPC’s ability to hold police to accountRelatives of people who have died after contact with the police have told of their distrust in and dissatisfaction with the ability of the complaints system to help deliver justice.“I feel the IOPC is there to shut families up and make us believe there is a thorough investigation,” said Carla Cumberbatch, sister of electrician Darren, who died at the age of 32 in July 2017 after he was punched up to 15 times, beaten with a baton, sprayed with CS gas and Tasered multiple times by officers. Continue reading...
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England wrap up seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in first Test
Day five: Sri Lanka 135 and 359 all out; England 421 and 76-3Tourists seal victory with minimum of fuss at GalleEngland needed little more than half an hour to wrap up a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka on the fifth morning in Galle, as Jonny Bairstow and debutant Dan Lawrence knocked off the remaining 36 runs to secure a 1-0 series lead.The pair had resumed first thing with England 38 for three, their pursuit of 73 having wobbled the previous evening when Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Joe Root all fell in quick succession as Sri Lanka’s spinners induced a spell of panic. Continue reading...
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Man found living in Chicago airport for three months 'due to fear of Covid'
Aditya Singh allegedly stayed in secure area of O’Hare international airport after becoming too afraid to return home to CaliforniaCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA man has been living in a secure section of Chicago’s international airport for three months, apparently telling police he was too afraid of coronavirus to return home to Los Angeles, according to multiple reports.The 36-year-old man, Californian Aditya Singh, was arrested this weekend and charged with criminal trespass to a restricted area of an airport, a felony, and theft, a misdemeanour, the Chicago Tribune reported. Continue reading...
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Alexei Navalny: calls grow for release of arrested Russia opposition figure
US and European figures call for Kremlin critic’s immediate release after he was detained on return to MoscowThe United States and Europe have condemned the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was detained when returning to Russia for the first time since a suspected poisoning by the FSB last year.Joe Biden’s incoming national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called for Navalny’s immediate release, adding that the “perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable”. Continue reading...
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Emicida, a rapper on a mission to recover Brazil's black history
Musician and maker of ‘heroic’ Netflix documentary warns his country is on a dangerous path When the black Brazilian rapper Emicida imagines his country’s whitewashed history, he sees a textbook missing a succession of key pages.In his songs and on stage, the São Paulo-born musician tries to correct that skewed telling, remembering the lives and times of black Brazilian academics, artists and activists in the hope of changing Brazil’s future. Continue reading...
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Chinese miners trapped by blast a week ago are alive – state media
At least 12 of 22 gold miners survived the blast in eastern Shandong province, note sent to surface suggestsTwelve workers trapped underground after an explosion at a gold mine in eastern China a week ago are still alive, according to a note retrieved from the site, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing local authorities.A total of 22 workers were trapped in the Hushan mine, in Shandong province, after the blast on 10 January. It was not until 30 hours later that the accident was reported, however, leading to severe criticism of those responsible and the sacking of two senior local officials. Continue reading...
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Sri Lanka v England: first Test, day five – live!
Over-by-over updates from the final day’s action in GalleJonathan Liew: Bess impresses after a whirlwind journeyEmail Daniel with any thoughts | Tweet @DanielHarris 7.11pm GMT Morning! How are you? I’m dreadful thanks for asking, same as you – and just like you I’d not have it any other wayIn theory, this should be simple: England need 36 runs to win, and have seven second-innings wickets intact; easy. Yeah, just. At the wicket is an impetuous headbanger with a point to prove, and a debutant who’s never experienced anything remotely like this; with the ball are various spinners on home territory; and in between them is a pitch doing loads but not too much. Continue reading...
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Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Green, QAnon-backing Republican
Georgia congresswoman is banned for 12 hours after berating her state’s election officials and making baseless election fraud claimsTwitter has temporarily suspended the account of the Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, who has gained a large following on social media, in part by posting incendiary videos and comments.Greene, a Republican businesswoman, is the first candidate who expressed support for the baseless, far-right QAnon conspiracy theory to win a US House seat. Greene in November won the race for Georgia’s 14th congressional district after her Democratic opponent had dropped out. Continue reading...
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Inside an NHS hospital at the peak of the coronavirus crisis
As the latest wave of Covid infections hits hospitals, wards are nearing capacity and oxygen supplies are straining at the volume of new patients. The Guardian’s Helen Pidd spent a day at Milton Keynes University hospital to witness the crisis up closeAs patient admissions in England reach new levels, the Guardian’s Helen Pidd spends a day inside the Covid wards at Milton Keynes University hospital. She tells Rachel Humphreys how she donned her protective equipment in order to shadow the doctors and nurses fighting a gruelling battle against the disease, which is affecting patients of all ages. In the intensive care unit, patients requiring the highest level of treatment are receiving ventilation and support for multiple organs. It is a constant effort from the dedicated staff to monitor and maintain oxygen levels that can drop without warning. One patient, Dilip Sharan, tells Helen he has been on the unit for five days after testing positive for the virus shortly after Christmas. Continue reading...
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Police break up fight in London between 40 men involving knives and a sword
Two men in their 20s were arrested and remain in police custody after the incident in SouthallA brawl between 40 men using knives, bottles and a sword has been broken up by police in west London.Police initially reported that two swords had been used in the fight in Southall in the early hours of Sunday, but later corrected this to “at least one sword”. Continue reading...
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Indonesia earthquake: monsoon rains slow search for survivors as death toll passes 80
Heavy rain could lead to further collapses, rescue workers fear, as thousands of homeless seek refugeTorrential monsoon rains have hampered the hunt for survivors of Friday’s powerful earthquake on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, as the death toll rose to at least 81, with thousands left homeless.Excavators and cranes were deployed across the devastated seaside city of Mamuju, where buildings were reduced to a mass of twisted metal and chunks of concrete, including a hospital and the regional governor’s office. Continue reading...
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Palau's new president vows to stand up to 'bully' China
Former senator Surangel Whipps Jr promises to stand by allies US and Taiwan when he takes office on ThursdayPalau’s president-elect has vowed to stand up to Chinese “bullying” in the Pacific, and said the small archipelago nation will stand by its alliances with “true friends”, the United States and Taiwan.Fifty-two-year-old Surangel Whipps Jr, a supermarket owner and two-time senator from a prominent Palauan family, will be sworn in as the new president on 21 January, succeeding his brother-in-law Tommy Remengesau Jr. Continue reading...
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Bolsonaro rival hails Covid vaccinations as 'triumph of science against denialists'
São Paulo governor João Doria takes aim at Brazil’s president after his state beat federal authorities to secure first coronavirus vaccines Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBrazil’s first Covid-19 vaccine has been administered after more than 209,000 deaths, sparking an outpouring of emotion and a ferocious political skirmish that saw one of President Jair Bolsonaro’s key rivals accuse him of revelling in the “stench of death”.The China-made CoronaVac was injected into the arm of a frontline nurse in São Paulo at 3.30pm local time, after Brazil’s health regulator approved the emergency use of vaccines produced by China’s Sinovac and Oxford/AstraZeneca. Continue reading...
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Yan Bingtao wins Masters snooker title on debut as comeback stuns Higgins
Chinese 20-year-old was 7-5 down but wins 10-8Higgins lauds ‘fantastic’ performance from opponent Yan Bingtao was crowned the youngest Masters champion since Ronnie O’Sullivan in 1995 after sinking John Higgins 10-8 in Milton Keynes. The 20-year-old Chinese star rose to the occasion to see off the Scot, 25 years his senior, and claim the title in his debut appearance in the top-16-only tournament.It was a remarkably composed display from Yan, the world No 11, who twice hit back from two frames behind before seeing off the vastly experienced former two-times winner. Continue reading...
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