‘Let the Bodies Pile High’

Not often we start the roundup with an off island story but this is potentially massive. On the front of the Mail today (I know, but stick with it) they claimed PM Boris Johnson said he would rather see ‘bodies pile high in their thousands’ than put another lockdown in place. But then ITV’s Robert Peston has doubled down on the claim. Peston says he has spoken to two people who say Johnson said it. Writing on his website, Peston said: ‘I am told he shouted it in his study just after he agreed to the second lockdown “in a rage”. The doors to the Cabinet room and outer office were allegedly open and supposedly a number of people heard. 

‘I am bothering to repeat this assertion about what the prime minister said because two eyewitnesses – or perhaps I should say “ear witnesses” – have corroborated the Daily Mail’s account to me. Also these sources insist they did not brief the Mail, so that suggests there are three sources.’

The BBC has since also spoken to people who confirm this version of events.

Downing Street has denied the allegations but some of the PM’s political rivals are saying if he did say it, he must resign. 

Sewage

Manx Utilities has announced a second call for sites, this time in the Peel, St John’s and the Central Valley areas. They are seeking suggestions for sites suitable primarily for a local sewage treatment works serving Peel and possibly also St John’s. Sites for locating pumping stations between Peel and Douglas in the Central Valley are also being sought but would only be needed if a local solution could not be found or if that option was more cheaper.

This is part of a full re-appraisal of options for the Peel area, which will include investigations into the viability of pumping into the established IRIS scheme at Meary Veg. 

Chairman Tim Baker said: ‘We remain committed to providing a solution that will bring an end to the disposal of raw sewage into Peel Bay. The ‘call for sites’ process is now being utilised in Peel, as we have in Garff, and will ensure that we have explored all potential site options to enable us to deliver on our promises as soon as possible.’

Attempts for sites at Peel and Laxey have both been unsuccessful in recent months for Manx Utilities, with the knockback in Sunset City coming after the gov demolished a historic house to make way for a treatment works which it withdrew before it could be rejected.

Sea Swimming

Port St Mary RNLI is asking people to take care when sea swimming off the Costa Del Ellan Vannin, after its volunteers were called to rescue a person in Castletown Bay this weekend. The volunteer crew were paged by Belfast Coastguard after they received a radio distress call from a solo open water swimmer, who had found themselves in difficulty in the bay on Saturday evening.

In the meantime, a vessel which was moored in Castletown Bay and had heard the distress call and located the swimmer and took them aboard and subsequently handed them over to the RNLI for a checkup.

Lifeboat Operations Manager Sarah Keggen said: ‘We’re pleased that the casualty was recovered safe and well, and wish to praise them for being equipped with a hand-held VHS radio which enabled them to call for help when they realised they were in difficulty. It’s vital when partaking in activities around the sea that you carry a means of communication and always let someone ashore know when and where you are going and when you are expected back. Should you get into difficulty call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Domestic Abuse

Following a question from Douglas Central MHK Ann Corlett about progress being made to enable a discreet portal to provide info and help for victims of domestic abuse, Justice and Home Affairs Minister Graham Cregeen said his dept has ‘made good progress’.

He added: ‘Officers from my department have engaged with Hestia who provide the Bright Sky app and website which powers the online space portal. I can confirm that Hestia has kindly agreed to carry out development on their service to allow Isle of Man postcodes to be recognised which then enables Isle of Man users to search for services relevant to them locally. My department has provided Hestia with contact details for services which meet the criteria set out by Hestia and we are now waiting for them to be uploaded. We have an agreement that the government website will host the online safe spaces portal and we will be approaching other organisations to seek their agreement to implement the portal once we have confirmation the service is live.’

Jersey is Open

Our friends in the Channel reopened their borders with the rest of the British Isles today, with the introduction of its traffic light system. This means those travelling to Jersey face different isolation and testing rules based on where they have been in the British Isles. If, for example, you find yourself in a green area like the Isle of Man, we could travel to Jersey and take a test on arrival, providing that comes back clear, that is your isolation done. Jersey’s traffic light system works by gathering the data for the number of cases in an area. This daily case data is then used to calculate a 14 day case notification rate per 100,000 population for the most recent 14 day period for which data is available. Areas are then categorised as:

  • Green if the rate is below 50 per 100,000
  • Amber if the rate is between 50 per 100,000 and 120 per 100,000
  • Red if the rate is over 120 per 100,000
States of Jersey’s traffic light map

The 14 day case notification rate is calculated by taking the number of daily cases in an area in the past 14 days and dividing this number by the total population that lives in that area. This is then multiplied by 100,000 to allow comparisons between areas of different sizes.

Iranian Hell

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to another year in prison after being found guilty of propaganda activities against the regime in Iran. The British-Iranian charity worker was also given a one-year ban from leaving the country. Her lawyer said she had been accused of taking part in a demonstration in London 12 years ago and giving an interview to the BBC Persian service.

Man Buys Google (sort of)

A web designer from Argentina managed to buy Google’s domain name in the country for the princely sum of £2 after an unknown error. Nicolas Kurona, aged 30, said on Wednesday night, when he was designing a website for a client he started getting messages on WhatsApp that Google was down. 

He told the BBC: ‘I entered http://www.google.com.ar into my browser and it didn’t work,” he said. “I thought something strange was happening.’ He decided to go on to the Network Information Center Argentina, the organisation responsible for operating the .ar country code domains. He searched for Google and up popped Argentina’s Google domain available for purchase. Google has since taken back its domain from Mr Kurona, but noone is really certain how the domain came up for purchase as it was not due to expire.

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