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Mini heatwave UK: What is a mini heatwave? Will there be one this weekend?

The current cool front will ease off before Saturday, becoming warm and windy in parts of the country. The warm weather is expected to last just for a day, and then by Monday temperatures will, unfortunately, drop again. The latest forecast has sparked discussion if there will be a mini heatwave.

What is a mini heatwave?

A mini heatwave is not a meteorological term and is in this case only used to describe the unseasonably hot weather expected on Sunday.

To be a heatwave, the weather needs to stay above the threshold for a certain period of time.

The Met Office writes on its website: “A heatwave is an extended period of hot weather relative to the expected conditions of the area at that time of year, which may be accompanied by high humidity.

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“A UK heatwave threshold is met when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold.”

Heatwaves are most common in the summer when high pressure develops across an area.

The Met Office added: “High pressure systems are slow moving and can persist over an area for a prolonged period of time, such as days or weeks.

“They can occur in the UK due to the location of the jet stream, which is usually to the north of the UK in the summer.

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“This can allow high pressure to develop over the UK resulting in persistent dry and settled weather.

“The UK heatwave threshold is met when a location records a period of at least three consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures meeting or exceeding the heatwave temperature threshold.”

The heatwave threshold varies from county to county.

This weekend’s spell of warmer weather is too short to qualify as a heatwave.

While not quite reaching the temperatures required for a heatwave by official standards, it pivots from the cold spell earlier in the week and last weekend, and will see the warmest temperatures of the year to date.

Full forecast for today and the weekend:

Today:
Windy in the far north, particularly for the Northern Isles, with frequent wintry showers.

Mostly cloudy elsewhere but dry for most away from the high ground in the west. Cold in the north.

Tonight:
Widespread frost in the north and northeast with wintry showers persisting in the far north.

Winds gradually easing. Cloudy and less cold in the south and west

Friday:
Wintry showers in the far north of Scotland which will gradually easing during the day, lasting longest for Shetland where it is still windy.

Otherwise fairly cloudy but mostly dry. Colder than Thursday for most.

Saturday to Monday:
Mostly dry with sunny spells. Becoming warm, but also windy.

Outbreaks of rain moving east later Sunday and into Monday with sunshine and showers expected to follow.

Heatwaves are becoming common in the UK, with 2018 being one of the longest and hottest ever recorded.

It was so intense that woodland wildfires broke out near Manchester and there were severe crop shortages for several months.

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Coronavirus: GP surgery sparks fury after sending ‘do not resuscitate’ form to patients

The GP surgery in South Wales, Lynfi Surgery, sent the letter to those patients with severe health conditions, which include cancer and motor neurone disease. It left some patients feeling “worthless” and like they had received a “death warrant”. The letter made it clear that some patients with severe health conditions will not be offered hospital admission, nor a ventilator bed, if they were to contract COVID-19.

Patients of surgery who received the letters described how it was “like having a death warrant being sent by the grim reaper”, especially as the death toll from COVID-19 has reached 2,352 in the UK.

It said: “We would therefore like to complete a DNACPR form for you which we can share with the OOH [out of hours] GP services and which will mean that in the event of a sudden deterioration in your condition because of a Covid-19 infection or disease progression the emergency services will not be called and resuscitation attempts to restart your heart or breathing will not be attempted.”

One recipient of the letter said: “It not only greatly upset me but my family and close friends.

“It was like having my death warrant being sent by the grim reaper.

“It made me feel worthless. I’ve lived with cancer for eight years and I want to live another couple of years. I’m not digging my grave yet.”

The UK’s Resuscitation Council has said on their website that the form is there to stop someone from suffering for longer than they need to and allow them to die a “dignified death”.

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They said: “When someone’s heart and breathing stop because they are dying from an advanced and irreversible condition, CPR will subject them to a vigorous physical intervention that deprives them and those important to them of a dignified death.

“For some people this may prolong the process of dying and, in doing so, prolong or increase suffering.”

This comes as some hospitals in Italy are reportedly not intubating patients over the age of 60.

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Doctors in Europe have been forced to make decisions about who should receive healthcare.

The letter has states that the surgery will not “abandon” patients, but they need to be “frank”.

It said: “We will not abandon you but we need to be frank and realistic about what the next few months holds for all of us.”

A spokesperson for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said: “A letter was recently sent out from Llynfi Surgery to a small number of patients.

“We have been made aware that the letter has caused upset to some of the patients who received it.

“This was not the intent and the surgery apologise for any distress caused.

“Staff at the surgery are speaking to those patients who received the letter to apologise directly and answer any concerns they may have.”

The UK Government has called for more ventilators to treat patients.

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Yob dragged from car and strapped to stretcher after spitting on police – video

The incident in Tenerife prompted a full-scale alert, not just once but twice within 48 hours. The 41-year-old man, understood to be Spanish, had only just been released by the courts for screaming at passers-by that he had the coronavirus and would infect them all. He then did exactly the same thing a day later, again spitting at the Civil Guard and local residents.

The man is now facing prison for aggressive behaviour, disturbing public order,  assaulting the police, causing damage and injuries and flouting Spain’s State of Emergency laws.

The police had to call in the special biological and chemical defence team, with full protection gear and masks as a result of the incidents in the town of Buenavista del Norte in the north of Tenerife.

The video shows how the man was pulled from a police car and pinned to the ground whilst medical staff fitted him with a mask. He was then strapped to a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance.

“In both the first and second arrests, this 41-year-old man spat and attacked the civil guards who had to intervene,” said a police spokesman. “The detainee screamed that he had the virus and threatened agents and residents with infecting them. “

After the first arrest, the man underwent a coronavirus test which proved negative.

He has now appeared before the courts for the second time and has been remanded in custody.

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China’s crippling fears Donald Trump will use coronavirus to wreck Beijing economy exposed

On Monday, the World Bank warned that the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout could cause China’s growth to come to a standstill while driving 11 million more people in East Asia into poverty. Aaditya Mattoo, World Bank chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific, said that the country was on the brink of “an unprecedented global shock, which could bring growth to a halt and could increase poverty across the region”. Even damning forecasts from two months ago appear to be underestimating the significant consequences of the crisis on China.

The World Bank predicted in January that China’s economy would grow by 5.9 percent this year, which would have been its worst performance since 1990.

But estimates now suggest an even bleaker outcome after record contraction in manufacturing activity in February while industrial production fell for the first time in 30 years.

The East Asia and Pacific region, excluding China, could see growth slow to 1.3 percent in the baseline or contract 2.8 percent in the more pessimistic scenario as compared to 5.8 percent last year, the report said.

The economic downturn has come as a result of strict lockdowns and travel restrictions bringing movement of goods and people to a halt.

And now, economist Professor Iain Begg tells Express.co.uk that the country is fearing another form of financial hit – this time dealt by Mr Trump.

He said: “Having been on Chinese television and been asked about this, it is clear the country is worried about this.

“They are even more worried in the shadow of a Trump initiated trade war that he will use it as a further pretext to clamp down on free trade.

“That’s going on in the background anyway, but that may be accelerated by the perception that when you have such integrated supply chains you become dependent.

“That’s going on in the background anyway, but that may be accelerated by the perception that when you have such integrated supply chains you become dependent.

“I don’t think China is unduly worried about it, they recognise the situation as a threat but they will adapt to buying more from countries from the US.”

After criticising China over the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump has reportedly tried to sure up trade links with Beijing.

White House officials say Mr Trump continues to emphasise farm product sales to China, even as he grapples with the most significant crisis of his presidency and a looming presidential campaign, CNN reports.

Americans vote in the US election this year, meaning Mr Trump will be looking for progress with China’s President Xi Jinping to secure a foreign policy boost and maintain voters’ confidence.

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However, the coronavirus crisis has had a negative impact on his hopes of reelection.

Oxford Economics expect the US economy to shrink at an annual rate of 12 percent between April and June, JP Morgan Chase predicts a second-quarter contraction of 14 percent while Goldman Sachs warns of a huge 24 percent slide.

Meanwhile, Analyst Alan Abramowitz warned that such an economic downturn added to the President’s already negative net approval rating could “very likely doom Trump’s chances of winning a second term” based on historical trends over 11 previous elections.

In his reports, Mr Abramowitz adds: “A major recession would likely result in an Electoral College landslide for Trump’s Democratic challenger, especially if it is accompanied by a further decline in the president’s approval rating.”

More worrying for Trump, polling released last week showed that just 37 percent of Americans said they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they are hearing from Trump, while 60 percent admitted they had not very much or no trust at all in what he said.

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Macron crisis: France plunged into chaos as police threaten to stop enforcing lockdown

French President Emmanuel Macron has been rocked by a “state scandal” after French police unions vented their anger at the lack of protective gear during the coronavirus outbreak. The leading French police unions have come together to issue a dire warning to the French government, warning President Macron that they will refuse to enforce the lockdown if the police are not given protective gear. This comes after a 51-year old gendarme became the first member of the French force to die of the virus.

The officer, a married father of three, died at his home in Val-de-Marne, in the greater Paris region, after contracting coronavirus.

It also follows government orders for police officers to hand over their own supply of protective masks to health workers.

In response, all the country’s police unions, representing every level of the French force,  issued a “solemn threat”.

They threatened to suspend confinement checks on members of the public unless they have access to protective masks.

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They added: “If protective means are lacking in the force, police officers will only conduct truly urgent missions and will no longer undertake confinement checks.”

Frederic Lagache, a senior Alliance union official explained: “There is no reason why we should be victims of a government failure to plan.

“We want to carry out our duties to their fullest, but need to be able to guarantee our own safety.”

Christophe Crepin, from the France Police – Policiers en colere union, told RT: “Security officers, police and other people, who uphold law and order in the country, need to be protected.

“This virus doesn’t distinguish between police, medics and other citizens.”

On Friday, the French prime minister extended its stay-at-home coronavirus lockdown until at least 15th April, as he warned: “We are only at the beginning of the epidemic.”

He raised the alarm over an “extremely high” surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

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He warned that the situation would be “difficult in the days to come”. 

He said a likely spike in cases will put the country’s health system under ‘tremendous strain’.

Under the current restrictions, people in France must stay home unless they carry a travel pass explaining where are they going and why.

On Friday, France reported 299 coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours -with the total death toll standing at 1,995.

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Melania Trump: FLOTUS slammed for giving “tone death” advice to working from home parents

Many people are currently extremely concerned about the covid-19 pandemic that has claimed many lives in the US. However, Melania Trump has been updating Twitter on her mission to help children use social media in a responsible manner.

While a record 3.3 million have signed up for unemployment provisions and New York hospitals treating patients in parking lots, Melania continues to discuss her “Be Best” campaign.

The FLOTUS tweeted: “While most children are at home during this challenging time, they tend to be on social media throughout the day.

“Parents, please be sure to check on them regularly to be sure they’re practising online safety.”

Some of Melania’s Twitter followers replied with their opinions on the subject.

One said: ”I’d check on @realDonaldTrump then, Mel. He’s making everyone less safe by being online.”

Another replied: “I’m sure everyone is grateful to be receiving parenting advice from you.”

A third commented: “Kids here are currently home until at least May 15th and yet your husband wants to send everyone back to work in 2 weeks. What are parents supposed to do then? How can that #BeBest for children? I don’t expect an answer.“

Children are currently at home as schools are shut, as the nation is told to keep indoors.

Many parents have had to work from home and teach their children after their offices shut.

Meanwhile, Trump has activated emergency powers under the Defence Protection Act to make the companies produce essential equipment, in this case ventilators.

The president invoked the Korean War era act which allows a president to force companies into making ventilators for national defence.

At least 104,000 coronavirus cases have been discovered in the US which is the most in the world.

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However, Italy and China have the most reported deaths.

On Friday Trump said in a statement: “The virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course.”

He also raged on Twitter that General Motors “must’ open their “stupidly” abandoned plant and begin making ventilators.

GM has now said they will build at least 10,000 ventilators by April.

It is not clear when the first announcement will be given however based on a news release sent out last week from the White House.

The PSAs will address the “important ways Americans can protect themselves and those most at risk” from contracting and spreading the coronavirus, according to the release.

Melania’s Be Best platform will celebrate its third anniversary in May, which is centred around children’s health and wellbeing.

“I think this would be a great time to remind Americans about the ‘Be Best’ campaign,” said Katherine Jellison, a professor of history at Ohio University.

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Russia missile threat: Vladimir Putin accelerates testing of deadly hypersonic weapon

The Zircon missile is Vladimir Putin’s deadliest seaborne weapon. It is a manoeuvrable, winged hypersonic cruise missile with a lift-generating centre-body. A booster stage with solid-fuel engines accelerates it to supersonic speeds after which a scramjet motor with liquid-fuel accelerates it to hypersonic speeds.

The schedule of the hypersonic missile’s test launches from naval ships will be tightened

Russian defence source

Sources closes to the trials programme said test launches from submarines would begin this year and run alongside launches from the warship Admiral Gorshkov.

The source told Russian news agency Tass: “The schedule of the hypersonic missile’s test launches from naval ships will be tightened.

“The Yasen submarines will begin firing drills this year, alongside the continuing series of launches from The Admiral Gorshkov.”

Another defence insider confirmed the plan, saying the missile’s first tests will be carried out from the submarine Severodvinsk.

The NPO Mashinostroyenia company, which designed the Zirkon missile, declined to comment.

The Zirkon’s maiden test launch took place in early January when the Admiral Gorshkov launched the terrifying weapon from the Barents Sea at a target on the coast 300 miles away.

The frigate is expected to make another three or four launches of the Zirkon by the end of this year.

The Northern Fleet’s commander, Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev, told the Russian daily Krasnaya Zvezda his submarines would conduct firing drills using the hypersonic missiles soon.

The plans for creating a hypersonic seaborne missile were unveiled at the beginning of 2011 by then Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir Popovkin. 

Flight tests began in 2015 and more than 10 test launches had been carried out by the end of 2018.

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In his message to the Federal Assembly in February 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Zirkon missile was capable of flying at a speed of Mach 9 and hitting surface targets on the sea and on the ground 620 miles away.

The missile is fired with the universal shipborne 3S-14 rocket launcher.

The powerful launchers are installed on Russian naval frigates, corvettes and Yasen multirole submarines.

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Coronavirus breakthrough: How COVID-19 could wipe itself out

The coronavirus challenge is affecting the daily lives of people all around the world. But as many Britons seal themselves away in their homes – in a bid to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 – others have chosen to disregard the rules. Health Secretary Matt Hancock described those ignoring social distancing measures as “very selfish” today. He fears that more lives will be lost if people do not take heed of the advice not to go within two metres of each other. Similarities have been made between coronavirus and Spanish Flu, which struck towards the end of World War 1. If history is to repeat itself, unearthed accounts claim that the modern virus may actually wipe itself out.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 5,600 people in the UK – resulting in the deaths of 281 and the recovery of 135, as of Monday morning.

Supermarket shelves have been raided for produce, hand sanitiser, other cleaning products and even toilet roll.

Panic-induced bulk buying has spurred a vicious cycle, where the public races to snap up supplies and shamefully some profit from price gouging practices in stores.

Social distancing measures including ‘work from home’ orders and self-isolation for those at the highest risk are hoped to cull the contagion and save lives. 

These practices have been proven to help reduce the risk – but pandemics of the past also suggest the ultimate end for coronavirus could be itself. 

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When the Spanish Flu outbreak reigned chaos from January 1918 to December 1920 it was believed to have wiped out a quarter of the world’s population. 

It was dubbed one of the deadliest viruses to hit humanity – killing off between 50 and 100 million people globally. 

There are many suggested reasons for why Spanish Flu was able to spread so rapidly – including government censorship, less advanced medicine and technology, war and more.

The vicious virus has been compared to the modern day coronavirus – but if natural selection plays its part, today’s pandemic may be its own worst nightmare. 

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According to a 2018 Smithsonian magazine article that analysed the Spanish Flu outbreak – it could be argued that natural selection may lead to the demise of coronavirus. 

Back in 1918, mass immunisation against the flu was not practiced in the same way it is today and so previous exposure was believed to have been vital to helping people to overcome the virus.

Those who had lived for longer and experienced different strains of the flu – prior to Spanish Flu – were better equipped to fight off the virus than their younger counterparts.

Additionally, while more lethal forms of the virus were able to “kill their host rapidly” – this also meant that host was less able to spread that deadly strain. 

The self-destruction of stronger strains could lead to “less lethal strains” of the “rapidly mutating virus” evolving and spreading among populations – which humans were more equipped to fight off. 

The Smithsonian wrote: “This is predicted by models of natural selection.”

While the previous pandemic was particularly dreadful, it is argued that we are in a considerably better position than we would have been during the early-1900s.

Today, scientists are more capable of handling large numbers of sick and dying patients, and antibiotics have dramatically advanced.

This coupled with the “common-sense practices” of self-isolation, social distancing and hand-washing – will all help in humanity’s fight against coronavirus. 

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Croatia earthquake: Massive 5.3 quake sparks widespread damage and panic – at least 1 dead

A strong earthquake has struck Croatia and its capital Zagreb, triggering widespread damage and panic across the country. The huge 5.3 magnitude quake, which could be felt across five different European countries, has left at least one person dead. A 15-year-old teenager was pronounced dead after being pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building. 

The quake hit the country amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis that has wreaked havoc across Europe and has mandated social distancing guidelines. 

According to local residents, the earthquake struck just as more restrictive measures to combat coronavirus were coming into effect.

In the wake of the earthquake, Croatia’s Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic urged people in the streets to keep social distance from each other.

The country has so far struggled to contain the spread of coronavirus, with at least 206 confirmed cases of the virus and one death.

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Images from the destruction revealed cars completely crushed under the falling debris and collapsed buildings.

Electricity and internet services were also cut off as a result of the devastation.

The panic send many people into the streets, and the resulting damage caused several fires across the country’s capital. 

The Zagreb Fire Department said the firefighting and rescue operations were ongoing at several locations.

The Institute for Urgent Medicine, an emergency hospital, confirmed that one child had been admitted with head injuries from a falling roof.

One witness said: “It lasted over 10 seconds. By far the strongest I have ever felt.”

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EU split unmasked: How ECB’s coronavirus plan is driving wedge between states

ECB President Christine Lagarde announced a huge bond-buying programme this week worth £680billion as she looked to stimulate the European economy amid the coronavirus crisis. But the move may cause division in the bloc, according to Professor Iain Begg of the London School of Economics. He told Express.co.uk: “In political terms there has been a strong resistance, especially from Germany and some of the other creditor countries inside the eurozone to this action by the European Central Bank.

“It was very much seen in the days of Mario Draghi (former President of the ECB) as something he was doing as it suited Italy, and was against German ethos of having monetary stability.

“So you might see that kind of objection resurfacing not immediately, but a few months down the line you could see opposition to what Christine Lagarde did from German sources.”

Professor Begg highlights that relations in Europe on the economic front are still not completely healed after the 2008 financial crash and the subsequent crisis in the euro.

The Greek financial crisis, for example, erupted in 2009 when the worldwide recession of 2008 triggered further weakness in the Athens economy.

Despite austerity measures, Greece required huge bailout loans in 2010, 2012, and 2015 from the International Monetary Fund, Eurogroup, and European Central Bank.

Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Cyprus were also unable to repay debts without the assistance of other countries, the European Central Bank, or the International Monetary Fund.

As a result, Professor Begg tells Express.co.uk some in the central banking sphere are not in favour of more drastic quantitative easing.

He said: “There are two things going on here. One is for several months now the central bankers have been saying ‘we’ve done our bit!’

“Not just in relation to the health crisis, but also dealing with the slowing down of the economy after 2008.

“But the fiscal authorities – state governments – have been deficient in what they have done, they haven’t stimulated the economy appropriately.

“You had calls from Draghi when he left office last year saying ‘we must do more on fiscal policy’ and Lagarde has continued that theme.”

The economics expert from Chatham House also claims that there is disagreement in the EU as to whether the bloc should respond as one or on a national level to the coronavirus economic crisis.

Professor Begg continued: “There is also a debate on the fiscal side on whether it should be at the member state level or the Europe collectively needs more of a federal budget to be used for stabilisation processes.

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“Say that expression to anyone in Germany and they just roll their eyes and say: ‘No way are we going to allow a macroeconomic budget at European level because it will just be exploited by the feckless Southern Europeans.’

“There is a clear sentiment in Europe that they need to pull together on this.

On the other hand, the other problem is you will see a resurfacing of concerns by those who think European actions have gone too far.

“But it may also be the case that petty squabbles will be be put aside, leaders will say ‘why are we arguing about this, we are in a crisis.'”

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