Gef’s Daily Roundup

Sky Lantern Ban

A ban on the outdoor release of sky lanterns and helium balloons, which gained Royal Assent in July, will safeguard wildlife, combat litter and prevent avoidable fires. The Sky Lanterns and Balloons Prohibition Bill 2020 makes the sale, including online purchases, and supply of the Chinese style lanterns illegal. It also prohibits the outdoor release of lanterns and helium filled balloons – with the exception of weather balloons – and means anyone doing so faces a fine of up to £500.

Martin Perkins MHK, who introduced the bill, said: ‘Lanterns and balloons can entertain us briefly when they take off, but are an absolute disaster for wildlife, farm animals and marine life, when they come back down. Although the sale of sky lanterns has been prohibited here since 2015, these new legal powers go way beyond that and it is great news for our precious Biosphere.’

Royal Show

The Royal Manx Agricultural Show takes place this weekend, after a forced break last year, with entertainment including Steve Colley, sheep dogs and show jumping. The show officially opens at Knockaloe in Patrick on Friday at 9.30am and continues on Saturday from 9am. The show is one of the biggest events of the Manx summer and sees farmers from all over the island showcase their best livestock in a bid to see them crowned Supreme Champion, with Ballacricket’s cow Caibre Glauco Rolls winning the title in 2019.

Russian Spy

A British man in Germany has been arrested on suspicion of being a Russian spy. The man, who has only been identified as 57 year old ‘David S,’ works at the British embassy in Berlin and allegedly passed documents, reportedly relating to counter-terrorism, on to Russian intelligence at least once for an ‘unknown amount’ of money. The arrest was part of a joint investigation between German and UK authorities with London’s Met police confirming the involvement of their Counter Terrorism Command. The man, who was hired at the embassy as a local staff member, is due to appear before an investigating judge on Wednesday.

Gurkha Veterans

A group of Gurkha veterans are currently on hunger strike outside of Downing Street as part of a protest over their pensions not being equal to that of the British soldiers they fought alongside for two decades. Gurkhas are a group of soldiers from Nepal who have fought alongside the British Army since 1947 and received the right to live in the UK after a campaign led by actress Joanna Lumley in 2009. Gurkhas who retired before 1997 currently receive a far lower pension then the rest of the British Army with the Gurkha Pension Scheme based on Indian Army rates designed for retirement in Nepal, where the cost of living is far cheaper then in the UK. The group of two veterans, Dhan Gurung and Gyanraj Rai, and one widow, Pushpa Rana Ghale, have been on hunger strike since Saturday morning. A gazebo erected to provide them shelter was taken down by the Met Police who said it was ‘in breach of local bylaws.’

Google Pay

Google has developed a pay calculator which would see US employees who work from home receive a permanent pay cut. The ‘Work Location Tool’ will see employees’ pay dependent on where they live and if they decide to work remotely, other big companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter have offered similar plans. Some have said that the decision raises alarm over who will feel the biggest impact, with smaller organisations like Reddit and Zillow claiming that paying all employees the same no matter their location improves diversity.

Love Island

The ITV2 dating show Love Island has received a record 25,000 complaints to Ofcom after a row between two contestants. The argument between couple Faye Winter and Teddy Soares saw her verbally attack him after seeing footage from the show’s ‘Casa Amor’ week, which often sees couples fall apart as contestants are unfaithful after being placed in separate villas. Viewers have protested the footage, which was edited to show Teddy appearing unfaithful, for being misleading to Faye who has admitted to having trust issues and has since apologised for her behaviour. The show has previously been under scrutiny after the suicides of host Caroline Flack after media attention over an arrest and two previous contestants, attributed by many to intense social media abuse brought about by their involvement in the competition. Ofcom said they have not made a decision on whether to launch an investigation.

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