NOROVIRUS reponsible for Vomiting Epidemic in the U.K.

By SOPHIE BORLAND | MAIL ONLINE | NOVEMBER 27, 2012

Britain is in the grip of a winter vomiting outbreak which has already seen many thousands fall victim to the debilitating virus.

Cases of the bug have surged to a  five-year high and the health service  has reported outbreaks at dozens of hospitals.

Front-line health workers are being struck down by the virus, leaving overstretched departments badly under-staffed.

Experts say the norovirus bug has arrived early this year and have warned the problem will worsen over the winter.

Figures from the Health Protection Agency show the number of confirmed reports of the virus – where samples have been sent by hospitals or GPs to laboratories for tests – is up 52 per cent on last year.

There have been 1,975 cases since July – compared to 1,301 this time last year.

However, this is a just a tiny fraction of the real number because the vast majority of victims do not report their symptoms to their GP. In addition, there have now been 53 outbreaks at NHS trusts across the country.

This includes 45 hospitals which have been forced to close off wards and find space for patients elsewhere while they carry out a deep clean of the wards.

The black dotted line shows how norovirus laboratory reports have been higher for the past five weeks compared with any year since 2007 when testing methods changed

Last night microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington, based at the University of Aberdeen, said: ‘This year it seems to have taken off earlier than in previous years.

‘No-one can predict what it’s going to do except that we are going to have a reasonably hard time of it, I am sure. It would be grossly optimistic to suggest otherwise.

‘It’s a nightmare because wards are closed, it’s a nightmare because staff are off, who are essential. And it’s obviously a nightmare for any patients in hospital who get it who are already pretty sick.’

The HPA figures show the number of wards closed because of the virus is a third higher compared to this time last year, when 33 were shut.

Norovirus is normally brought into hospitals by patients, visiting relatives or even staff. It is also linked to outbreaks at schools and is responsible for many hospital admissions for young children.

The elderly are also vulnerable because they can become dehydrated quickly and end up requiring more hospital treatment.

It is extremely contagious and is often spread by touching the same doors or stair rails as someone with the virus. Experts also say that when a patient vomits, there is a strong chance anyone else in the room will be infected.

It puts the NHS under huge strain because hospitals have to close wards – which limits the number of patients that can be admitted.

Hospitals then have to find space elsewhere in the hospital for all those patients on the ward while it is thoroughly cleaned. Staff must also ensure that any patient with the virus is kept in isolation.

One of the worst-hit is Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital which has closed four wards and is advising visitors to stay away. It confirmed it was aware of four members of staff off-sick with the virus.

Warwick Hospital also confirmed six wards were affected – although not all were closed – and said that three nurses had the illness. It has banned visits to the six wards.

Other hospitals which have outbreaks include Solihull in the West Midlands, East Surrey Hospital, Weston General Hospital in Weston-super-Mare, and Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire.

John Harris, an expert in norovirus at the HPA, said: ‘Everyone can help to minimise the risk of outbreaks at their local hospital by not going if they have the typical symptoms of a norovirus infection.’

He said one of the reasons behind the 2012 surge may be that laboratory techniques are better at detecting norovirus.

Experts do not know why norovirus has arrived early but its spread is extremely unpredictable.

Although it is known as the winter vomiting bug, it can be caught all year round. Scientists say it is more prevalent in colder, wetter months because people spend more time closer together indoors.

UK Austerity to cut 10 billion pounds in Social Benefits

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | OCTOBER 9, 2012

The British Minister of Economy, George Osborne, said Monday that he intends to cut another 10,000 million pounds in spending by cutting the expenses on social benefits by 2016-17. Osborne said the goal is to reduce the deficit.

While speaking to a crowd of Tories, Osborne said that he wants to eliminate aid to large families and housing subsidies for people who are under 25 years of age.

These cuts would be in addition to the reduction of 18,000 million pounds taken from government obligations through the approval of a bill announced in 2010, which affected pensions and subsidies and has involved hundreds of thousands of layoffs in the public sector.

In his speech to the militants “Tories” who met during the annual Conservative Party gathering, the Minister of Economy insisted on saying that while the wealthiest people should bear the  brunt of the crisis, it is also “fair” that the cuts are distributed throughout the whole population, including citizens who are dependent on state-sponsored programs. Osborne refused in multiple occasions to impose higher taxes on the richest people in the UK.

He promised however, to limit the income of citizens receiving social benefits, as well as aid given to the unemployed, the young, single mothers, disabled and low-income families; so that these people do not receive anymore help than those who go out looking for work.

Osborne announcement of the reduction of social benefits was immediately received with criticism dependent groups, while the minister said he will rule out raising taxes on high incomes. How is it that the wealthiest will bear their brunt of the crisis then?

He also dismissed the idea of ​​a new tax on mansions of more than two million pounds (2.47 billion euros), an idea first introduced by the Liberal Democrats, partners in the coalition government.

The minister warned the people that he would combat tax evasion in order to increase revenues. He said that he would fight “mercilessly” tax evasion and penalize those who attempt to evade payment by way of accounting maneuvers.

“We will finish what we started,” Osborne said to his fellow party allies, as he reminded the crowd about the government’s plan to reduce the deficit and debt which he associated with cutting help to the neediest people, while the size of government remains the same.

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Fear Narrative Heightened Weeks Before Olympics

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JULY 5, 2012

The prospect of a terror attack before or during the London 2012 Olympic games have been raised today as British police stopped and held a bus that traveled from Birmingham to London due to a report that suspicious behavior had been observed in the bus. Police closed both directions of highway M6 motorway and illegally searched all passengers, reported CNN International.

Soon after police checked the bus and its passengers, fears of a supposed terror threat was dismissed. This event is an example of how heightened the fear narrative is despite the fact that most of the supposed potential terror threats are nothing else than wild guesses by civilians, passengers on a bus or a train moving in or out of the the British capital, where the Olympic games will be held this summer.

In another event that has not been confirmed to be related to the bus incident, police arrested six people in a London apartment, who were held as suspects of terror. Although the identities of the supposed suspects were not revealed and it’s not clear whether the operation that led to the capture of the six people has concluded, police have said that such arrests are not related to measures to keep the city of London safe in anticipation to the Olympic games. An muslim activist confirmed that all of the arrested were British-muslim.

While no one was directly labeled as a suspect of strange behavior, much less arrested or charged with a crime in the bus incident, police took the liberty of searching through people’s possessions, in an attempt to show that security previous to the London games is aware even of the least important detail in order to prevent what authorities security experts and some authorities say could be an imminent terror attack on London, without showing any proof of it.

“We are assisting police with their inquiries into an allegation made against a passenger,” the spokeswoman said as the dramatic incident unfolded. “Importantly, we are not treating this as a counterterrorism incident,” Staffordshire police said in a statement. “Given the nature of the report we responded swiftly and proportionately, treating the information as credible and extremely (serious). Our utmost priority was the safety and security of those people on the coach and those traveling on the motorway,” it said.

In the case of the apartment searches, a neighbor of one of the raided apartments told AP that police entered a property located near Abbey Road, just a mile away from the Olympic Park. “Five loud bangs in quick succession were head as police destroyed the front door to let themselves in. “One young man taken on foot to a waiting ambulance.” said John Smallshaw, who lives across the street. None of the police actions that occurred Thursday rendered anything worthwhile to be reported on as the main stream media concludes that the operations were preventive, isolated incidents.

The Terror that is being let loose

While police in London and in cities around the capital parade their preparedness to keep people safe during the Olympic games, statements from a more reliable source is alerting of possible staged terror events in London during the Olympic games. “A number of preliminary indications point to the possibility of a staged false flag event being carried out at this year’s London 2012 Olympics,” says Patrick Henningsen whose media outlet, Infowars.com received testimony this week of the potential for a false-flag terror event in London this summer.

Film producer Ben Fellows, who had kept his real identity secret up until this point, revealed that G4S, a private security firm operating in London and that is supposed to help guarantee security during the games. Fellows first appeared on the Lou Collins Radio Show where he said that the current geopolitical environment lends itself to the execution of another false-flag event in London, just as it happened back on July 7, 2005. Mr. Fellows, who up until last week was know as Lee Hazeldean, infiltrated G4S in order to learn how the security firm worked and prepared to provide security for the Olympics.

From his work at G4S, Mr. Fellows found out about an existent plan to evacuate London that ran parallel to what he said were poor security preparations to prevent a possible terror attack in case someone or some group were actually preparing one. Ben Fellows is a film and television producer, and has worked with people like Stanley Kubric, the re-known film producer. According to him, the operations of G4S were a complete disaster, with telephone operators not knowing what they had to do or what to say, the use of metal detectors that failed to find metallic objects when they were tested, and personnel saying that they would turn off the metal detectors at peak times during the Olympics.

“They told us about the evacuation of London, and that if this were to happen, we would be responsible for looking after the public,” added Fellows during a radio interview. Fellows also spoke about the purchase of 200,000 casket linings, that are used to fit coffins in cases of mass death. “That to me got me thinking, why would you have that?” Mr. Fellows then contacted a man named Andy Davis from channel 4, who after having a talk with him said a report regarding G4S preparations and shortcomings before the Olympic games would be negative news and that they were not interested. Davis later said publicly that he did not know Fellows, despite the fact that he had met him months before their meeting.

Days after Ben Fellows went public on national radio in the UK and in the US, reports began to pop out about possible security problems just weeks before the opening of the Olympics in London. During one of his training sessions at G4S, Ben Fellows heard a trainer say that London would go through a defining moment in its history and that G4S and its personnel would be involved in the developments of such event.

Whether the small suspicious events or the defining event mentioned by Ben Fellows will actually translate into a terror attack is unclear at this point, but the fact that it’s been revealed that preparations are being made to participate in a significant, earth shaking event could help avoid such outcome. The only tangible result of the heightened terror threat alerts, including Thursday’s arrests and the detention and search of a bus on highway M6 is that British authorities are taking advantage of such events to justify the installation of a totalitarian style security grid which will not go away after the Olympic games are over.

In London, police and other law enforcement agencies are carrying out an unlawful power grab that includes the use of techniques such as behavioral profiling, under which anyone is a suspect if a police officer thinks he is, and nothing else. London has been surrounded by a missile shield system that is aimed at detecting and destroying a missile, should one be launched against the city during the games. Proof that there is the potential for such an event to occur is zero. London and most of the western world has been converted into a test field for psychological warfare in the wake of the 9/11 and 7/7 false-flag terror attacks that were used by governments to turn cities into prison grids.

London alone is today a militarized zone that is not only baseless but also exaggerated. Both British and foreign military men are distributed over London and locations around the city without a single valid justification. Foreign law enforcement includes 500 FBI agents as well as members of the  CIA, the secret service and MI6.

U.K. in First Double-Dip Recession since 1970s

The first double-dip recession since the 1970s forced Prime Minister David Cameron to defend his spending cuts in Parliament.

By JENNIFER RYAN | BLOOMBERG | APRIL 2012

Gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, when it declined 0.3 percent, the Office for National Statistics said today in London. The median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey was for an increase of 0.1 percent. A technical recession is defined as two straight quarters of contraction.

As an anti-austerity backlash gains ground in Europe, Cameron described the data as “disappointing” and pledged to support growth without backtracking on the U.K.’s biggest fiscal squeeze since World War II. The Bank of England is in the final month of its latest round of economic stimulus and the drop in output comes as prospects dim in the euro region, Britain’s biggest export market.

“This isn’t supportive of the fiscal consolidation program, so the government is likely to be concerned about that,” said Philip Rush, an economist at Nomura International in London. “The data were bad, and that supports the view that the Bank of England will do a final 25 billion pounds of quantitative easing in May.”

Bank of England policy maker David Miles had signaled yesterday that today’s result was possible, saying in an interview with Bloomberg News that a negative number “wouldn’t be a great surprise.”

U.K. 10-year gilts advanced immediately after the data were published before easing again. The yield rose 3 basis points to 2.123 percent as of 1:12 p.m. in London. The pound fell as much as 0.4 percent, then pared its decline to $1.6116.

Construction Slump

From a year earlier, the economy was unchanged in the first quarter. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 31 economists was for 0.3 percent growth from a year earlier.

The quarterly drop in GDP was due to a 3 percent slump in construction, the most since the first quarter of 2009, and a 0.4 decline in industrial production. Manufacturing contracted 0.1 percent and services, the largest part of the economy, expanded by 0.1 percent, boosted by transport, storage and communication.

The data contrasts with a report today showing confidence among manufacturers rose to the highest level in two years this month. The Confederation of British Industry’s quarterly gauge of factory optimism surged to 22 from minus 25 in January.

Separate surveys this month showed that growth in services, manufacturing and construction accelerated in March. The British Chambers of Commerce said the GDP data is likely to be revised higher by the statistics office.

‘Underlying Trend’

Surveys “have shown a more positive picture, and we believe these give a more accurate indication of the underlying trends,” Chief Economist David Kern said in a statement today. “We think it is likely that the preliminary estimate will be revised upwards when more information is available.”

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.1 percent today. Still, its 2.6 percent advance this year trails the 4.9 percent increase by Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index.

Rising energy prices, government spending cuts and anemic wage growth are squeezing U.K. consumers, creating a drag on the recovery. Pay growth slowed to 1.1 percent in the three months through February, less than a third of the inflation rate. An extra public holiday in June to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne may also depress economic output in the second quarter.

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Amazon sold £7billion in UK and paid no taxes

By IAN GRIFFITHS | THE GUARDIAN | APRIL 6, 2012

Amazon.co.uk, Britain’s biggest online retailer, generated sales of more than £3.3bn in the country last year but paid no corporation tax on any of the profits from that income – and is under investigation by the UK tax authorities.

Regulatory filings by parent company Amazon.com with the US securities and exchange commission (SEC) show the tax inquiry into the UK operation, which sells nearly one in four books sold in Britain, focuses on a period when ownership of the British business was transferred to a Luxembourg company.

The SEC filings, highlighted by Bookseller magazine, show that in the past three years, Amazon has generated sales of more than £7.6bn in the UK without attracting any corporation tax on the profits from those sales.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) refused to confirm it was investigating Amazon.co.uk, and its inquiries could be a routine audit. But Amazon’s tax affairs are being investigated in the US, China, Germany, France, Japan and Luxembourg.

Amazon, which launched in the UK in 1998, is the UK’s most popular retail website, with more visitors than Argos, Next and Tesco. It sells a vast array of goods other than books and recently won an award for offering the best customer service in the UK.

But the business that people voted for is not British-owned. The UK operation avoids tax as the ownership of the main Amazon.co.uk business was transferred to a Luxembourg company in 2006. The UK business is now owned by Amazon EU Sarl and the UK operation is classed only as an “order fulfilment” business. All payments for books, DVDs and other goods go directly to Luxembourg. The UK business is simply a delivery organisation.

The latest 2010 accounts for Amazon EU Sarl show the Luxembourg office employed just 134 people, but generated turnover of €7.5bn (£6.5bn). In the same year, the UK operation employed 2,265 people and reported a turnover of just £147m. According to the SEC filings, UK sales that year were between £2.3bn and £3.2bn. Amazon in the US has earned an average 3.5% profit margin over the past three years.

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