Posted on

Gogglebox’s Sid Siddiqui apologises as coronavirus forces him off show


Gogglebox’s Sid Siddiqui apologises to fans (Picture: Channel4)

Gogglebox’s Sid Siddiqui has apologised to viewers after the coronavirus lockdown forced him off the show.

The 73-year-old normally appears alongside his two sons Baasit, 34, and Umar, 41.

However, as his age lands him in the high-risk category, the star has been self-isolating amid the pandemic, leaving his family to keep the show going from their house in Derby.

Taking to Twitter, the fan favourite explained his absense to his 76,000 followers.

‘A big hi to all my friends,’ Sid started his message before adding: ‘I don’t feel you’re fans but my best and close friends.

‘I am sorry for my absence from #Gogglebox, your kind and beautiful messages always overwhelm me with touch of sadness.’

Coronavirus lockdown has forced him off the show (Picture: Twitter / @GoggleboxSid)

He closed off the tweet with: ‘These difficult times will pass. Please #bestrong #besafe.’

And Baasit also issued a similar response after being inundated with support over the weekend.

‘A massive massive thank you to all of you for all the #Gogglebox love,’ he wrote.

‘I won’t lie, I’m missing [Sid] like crazy but the rest of the cast and the incredible hard-working crew make me so proud to be on your telly during some pretty testing times! #thankyou.’

As it stands, more than 16,000 people have died from coronavirus with over 120,000 cases recorded in the UK.

The Tapper family have been struck down with Covid-19 (Picture: Channel 4)

Sid’s message comes shortly after Amy Tapper reassured fans her family was doing well following reports her dad Jonathan was fighting for his life in a battle against Covid-19.

Jonathan, who also has diabetes, was rushed to hospital where the 52-year-old’s family, who were also infected by the virus, feared as his symptoms worsened. 

However, his daughter has now provided an update where she told fans that the ‘fam is well and healthy.’

Speaking about how Jonathan’s illness began his wife, Nikki, told the Daily Star: ‘One night Jonathan came home from work and was unable to move.

‘He had a cough and high temperature. He laid down on the sofa and – with no exaggeration – he stayed there for two weeks in our lounge room.’

More: Coronavirus

Jonathan was ‘still too sick’ to speak about his ordeal himself, and is said to be afraid of relapsing as he continues to battle the virus. 

He is currently resting at home in order to get back to full health.

Gogglebox returns on Friday at 9pm on Channel 4.

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

MORE: Dwayne Johnson says being ‘caring and empathetic’ is how he gets through lockdown with wife

MORE: Race Across The World viewers baffled by dog wearing sunglasses: ‘Was I imagining things?’



Coronavirus latest news and updates





Source link

Posted on

Coronavirus forces San Francisco to put homeless into hotels


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The coronavirus crisis is beginning to do something the city of San Francisco has been unable to accomplish for years – move homeless people off the streets and into shelters, including some of the city’s now-empty hotels.

People line in a sidewalk filled with tents set up by the homeless, amid an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, California, U.S. April 1, 2020. Picture taken April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Faced with the prospect the virus could rip through the nearly 10,000 people who live on the streets or in shelters, city officials are securing 4,500 rooms for those who need to self-quarantine. The rooms would also be for homeless residents who need to isolate themselves and cannot be sent back into the community without risking infecting others.

The hotels may additionally house high-risk individuals among the 19,000 people living in single-room occupancy (SRO) buildings with shared kitchens and bathrooms who similarly cannot self-isolate.

At least 160 people who either tested positive for the coronavirus or were awaiting results were being referred to hotels as of March 25, city officials said.

“The hospitals will not discharge them to the street,” said Trent Rhorer, executive director of the city’s Human Services Agency. “They’ll only discharge people who are able to self-quarantine.”

Progressive San Francisco lawmakers want to triple the number of rooms to 14,000, enough to shelter all of the homeless and some additional people from the SRO buildings.

On Thursday, lawmakers said the first known case of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, had been confirmed in a homeless shelter and reiterated their demand to put residents into private rooms.

Stringent stay-at-home orders have greatly reduced travel, leaving the city’s hotels nearly empty. The hotel industry has asked city leaders how housing the homeless would work, including issues on potential property damage and whether California laws could give homeless guests tenancy rights after 30-day stays.

A move to hotels may be the most aggressive intervention in years to address homelessness in the liberal-leaning Bay Area. Between 2015 and 2019, the homeless population in San Francisco grew nearly 30%, according to city figures.

OVERDOSING IN THE TENDERLOIN

In San Francisco’s central Tenderloin neighborhood, tent encampments still lined the streets after city officials issued stay-home orders on starting March 17.

On a recent evening shortly before 10:30 p.m., Tenderloin firefighters and police clad in protective masks knelt over one man, administering naloxone nasal spray to treat an overdose. The sixth of the night, officers said.

“People are supposed to stay in, but I don’t see how that’s possible when there’s a lot of us around,” Jackie Cismowski, 28, who has been homeless off-and-on since 2012, said as she walked in the Tenderloin wearing rubber gloves and an N95 mask.

To give the homeless more room to spread out, city officials are converting an upscale tennis club in the South of Market neighborhood and part of the Moscone Center, a venue for glitzy technology conferences, into shelter facilities.

About 60% of 50 hotels that met with the city about housing the homeless and first responders signed up for the city’s program within days of its announcement, said Kevin Carroll, president and chief executive of the Hotel Council of San Francisco.

City officials said San Francisco already has 1,055 rooms under contract, but declined to release the names of hotels in the program, saying that doing so could violate health privacy laws and stigmatize the properties.

Anand Singh, president of United Here Local 2, the union that represents more than 14,000 San Francisco hospitality workers, said he knew of two local budget hotels near the Tenderloin that have signed on to take quarantine guests.

Singh said the city is providing training and protective gear for union cleaners at the hotels.

Slideshow (25 Images)

“You could end up in a situation where these crucial facilities … that are intended to stop the spread of COVID-19 could instead lead to outbreak clusters,” Singh said.

Louis Charles Brown, 51, who lives in a building with shared bathrooms in the Tenderloin, paced the streets recently, trying to warn his neighbors about COVID-19.

“This will kill you and it ain’t a joke,” Brown said. “They need to open up a church, quarantine and do something, because they say it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Reporting by Nathan Frandino, Shannon Stapleton, Katie Paul and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Source link

Posted on

U.S. forces again blocked Russian military patrols in northeast Syria – Defence Blog


U.S. forces again blocked Russian military patrols from entering the Kurdish-controlled areas in the vicinity of the town of Tel-Tamr, in the northern countryside of Al-Hasakah.

According to press reports, American military personnel again have allegedly blocked Russian military convoys trying to gain access to key oil fields in Al-Hasakah province, and the Russian forces then apparently turned back and returned to their home base.

Several armored vehicles carrying American soldiers stopped Russian military vehicles west of Al-Hasakah province while they were trying to reach the M4 highway to reach key oil fields in the province.

The tensions between U.S. and Russian military forces in northeastern Syria have been escalating as both sides try to gain control over key oil fields in the region.

According to Al-Masdar, the U.S. and Russian forces have repeatedly blocked one another from using the roads under their control in northeastern Syria, creating a cold-war-like situation in the Al-Hasakah Governorate.

Although U.S. President Donald Trump declared a decisive victory over the Daesh terror group and launched American soldiers’ withdrawal process in December 2018 – saying defeating Daesh was the sole reason for American presence in the country – the Trump administration adjusted that mission last year by assigning several hundred U.S. troops to remain to guard oil fields from the terror group, which used Syrian fuel as a key income source during its rise.

* If you wish to report grammatical or factual errors within our news articles, you can let us know by using the online feedback form.





Source link

Posted on

Iraq clashes: 12 dead, hundreds wounded as protesters battle security forces


Nine protesters were killed in the capital Baghdad and three others in the southern city of Nasiriyah, about 350 km south of Baghdad, according to the statement.

More than 600 people have been killed in anti-government demonstrations that started in October, according to the IHCHR and Amnesty International.

Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gather in Baghdad on Friday.

Dozens of Iraqi security forces used live ammunition and tear gas as they worked to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in al-Khalani Square, Baghdad, on Saturday, according to activists in the area.

French charity says four aid workers missing in Iraq

Activists said the aggressive move came after Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced in a statement Friday night that he would no longer support anti-government protesters.

Hours later, hundreds of his followers left Tahrir Square in response to his statement.

Security forces fire tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters during clashes with anti-government protesters in Baghdad on Saturday.

Activists said security forces clashed with hundreds of protesters in the southern city of Basra after they tore down dozens of their sit-in tents. Hundreds of protesters in both Basra and Baghdad were dispersed on Saturday, and six protesters were wounded in Basra, according to activists there.

Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and Basra did not respond to CNN’s phone calls and requests regarding incidents in Baghdad and Basra.

“Unaccountability and indecisiveness are unworthy of Iraqi hopes, courageously expressed for four months now,” UN Special Representative for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, tweeted Saturday.

“While death and injury tolls continue to rise, steps taken so far will remain hollow if not completed. The people must be served and protected, not violently oppressed,” she said.



Source link

Posted on

‘We are hiring big time’: Calgary tech companies join forces to attract job seekers – Calgary


A Calgary-based group of tech companies held a hiring fair downtown on Saturday to help get the word out that the technology sector needs skilled workers.

Jason Moore was working as a geologist in Calgary for the past eight years until September when he was laid off.

“I left on good terms. They treated me very fairly but it was more just a side effect of what all of Alberta is going through at this time,” Moore said.


Tweet This

Moore is one of the hundreds of people who attended the first Tech West Collective hiring expo on Saturday. He now considers himself lucky. Moore is learning the world of coding and discovering a passion he never knew he had.

“I think one of the great things about coding is you get to build stuff, and you get to see if it works right away. It’s like the mouse pushing the button and you get the pellet,” Moore said with a laugh.

Story continues below advertisement


READ MORE:
Online tool launched to help oil and gas workers find jobs in Calgary’s tech sector

The Tech West Collective is a group of Calgary tech companies that have teamed up to help fill vacant positions.

“We are feeling a talent gap. Now we want to build up the talent pool,” said Tech West Collective organizer Kat Lesperance.

Lesperance works at Showpass, a Calgary-based tech company that provides ticketing solutions for event organizers. Showpass and Avanti Software are two of the seven members of the collective.

“We are hiring big time,” said David Owen Cord, Avanti Software co-CEO.

He said the company is looking for people of all backgrounds — not just tech-related positions.

“It’s been interesting because of the negative headlines here in Calgary and the layoffs that are going on but we are having a very different reality in the business we live in every day. One of our biggest challenges is actually filling the open spots that we are trying to hire for,” Owen Cord said.

Part of the problem is a lack of people with tech skills.

EvolveU is a non-profit educational institution that is helping job hunters transform their careers to adapt to the rapidly changing digital economy.

“There’s so much opportunity right now that people don’t even know about. That’s exciting for me and it’s exciting to watch the students go through the transformation,” said Jen Morrison, program manager with EvolveU, at the job fair on Saturday.

Story continues below advertisement


READ MORE:
Calgary working to attract tech talent

Members of the Tech West Collective said it’s time for tech companies to stop poaching talent from each other and get the word out that Calgary’s economy goes beyond oil and gas. Those transitioning from the energy industry said the job hunt in the tech world is more encouraging.

“There [are] more jobs than would be for my old profession. It’s not that they’re handing them out, but there definitely does seem to be more excitement and more opportunity and a desire for more people to enter this industry,” Moore said, adding that he’s taking courses at EvolveU.

According to Calgary Economic Development, the city has over 2,000 open tech jobs.




© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.







Source link

Posted on

20 Iraqi protesters shot dead by security forces within 24 hours – National


BAGHDAD — Security forces in Iraq shot dead 20 anti-government protesters in a 24-hour period amid spiraling violence in the capital and the country’s south, as Iran condemned the burning of its consulate.

Security forces Thursday fired live ammunition, killing four protesters and wounding 22 on the strategic Ahrar Bridge in Baghdad, security and medical officials said.

Violence across southern Iraq continued throughout the night, with security forces killing 16 protesters and wounding 90 since Wednesday evening. Protesters closed roads and a large number of police and military forces were deployed across key oil-rich provinces.






Nine dead in Iraq after protesters clash with security forces


Nine dead in Iraq after protesters clash with security forces

In Baghdad, protesters attempted to cross the Ahrar Bridge leading nearby to the heavily fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government. Protesters are occupying parts of three bridges – Jumhuriya, Sinak and Ahrar – all leading to the fortified area. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Story continues below advertisement

Protesters had set fire to the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf late Wednesday, in one of the worst attacks targeting Iranian interests in the country since the anti-government protests erupted two months ago. The Iranian staff were not harmed and escaped out the back door.

Anti-government protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, when thousands took to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite south. The largely leaderless movement accuses the government of being hopelessly corrupt and has also decried Iran’s growing influence in Iraqi state affairs.

At least 350 people have been killed by security forces, which routinely used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds, sometimes shooting protesters directly with gas canisters, causing several fatalities.


READ MORE:
1 killed, 21 wounded as violent protests continue in Iraq

Separately, the U.S. Embassy denounced a recent decision by Iraq’s media regulator to suspend nine television channels, calling for the Communications and Media Commission to reverse its decision. Thursday’s statement from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad also condemned attacks and harassment against journalists.



Local channel Dijla TV had its license suspended on Tuesday for its coverage of the protests, and its office was closed and equipment confiscated, according an official from one of the channels under threat. Other channels have been asked by the regulatory commission to sign a pledge “agreeing to adhere to its rules,” said the official, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisal.

Story continues below advertisement

The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s coordinated bombings in three Baghdad neighborhoods, which killed five people. That was the first apparent coordinated attack since anti-government protests began. The bombings took place far from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of weeks of anti-government protests that have posed the biggest security challenge to Iraq since the defeat of IS.

Tehran called for a “responsible, strong and effective” response to the incident from Iraq’s government, said Abbas Mousavi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, in statements to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the torching of the consulate, saying it was perpetrated by “people outside of the genuine protesters,” in a statement, adding that the purpose had been to harm bilateral relations between the countries.






Anti-government protests continue to escalate in Iraq


Anti-government protests continue to escalate in Iraq

One demonstrator was killed and 35 wounded when police fired live ammunition to try to prevent them from entering the consulate building. Once inside, the demonstrators removed the Iranian flag and replaced it with an Iraqi one, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.

A curfew was imposed in Najaf after the consulate was burned. Security forces were heavily deployed around main government buildings and religious institutions Thursday morning. The province is the headquarters of the country’s Shiite religious authority.

The consulate attack comes after days of sit-ins and road closures with protesters cutting access to main thoroughfares and bridges with burning tires. Protesters have also lately targeted the state’s economic interests in the south by blocking key ports and roads to oil fields.

Story continues below advertisement


READ MORE:
Anti-government protesters in Iraq burn down Iranian consulate: officials

In the oil-rich province of Nassiriya, 16 protesters were killed overnight and 90 wounded by security forces who fired live ammunition to disperse them from a key bridge, security and medical officials said Thursday. Demonstrators had been blocking Nasr Bridge leading to the city center for several days. Security forces moved in late Wednesday to open the main thoroughfare. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

In Basra, security forces were deployed in the city’s main roads to prevent protesters from staging sit-ins, with instructions to arrest demonstrators if they tried to block roads.

Basra’s streets were open as of Thursday morning, but roads leading to the two main Gulf commodities ports in Umm Qasr and Khor al-Zubair remained closed. Schools and official public institutions were also closed.

Protesters had brought traffic in the oil-rich province to a halt for days by burning tires and barricading roads.




© 2019 The Canadian Press







Source link