General 2020

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"In the middle of a British swampland, not far from the Innercity, is a rectangular iron gate. Beyond its rusted bars is a collection of radio towers, abandoned buildings and power lines bordered by a dry-stone wall. This sinister location is the focus of a mystery which stretches back to the height of the Cold War."

Oh, OK :

"It is thought to be the headquarters of a radio station, “MDZhB”, that no-one has ever claimed to run. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn."


"Lift-off on Wednesday is timed for 16:33 EDT (20:33 GMT / 21:33 BST)."



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Monotone Rainbows

"In a historic moment a decade in the making, the skies above North Yorkshire will light up on Wednesday when the launch of a rocket born from a groundbreaking public-private partnership returns the United States to the business of human spaceflight."

“I was sitting having dinner with my daughter in the garden when the head appeared. It looked normal so I didn’t take much notice but then the body came out... it was pandemonium..."

"Mounds of litter were left behind at the scene including dozens of small lnitrous oxide capsules, the gas is inhaled to try and make users feel euphoric and relaxed. It is not illegal to possess the cannisters but is illegal to sell them. They can be very dangerous when inhaled causing extreme dizziness."

"“By being stuck at home, creatives have either blossomed or been crushed by the pressure to make art – no distraction, plenty of time and the inspiration of the change in situation. But social distancing has changed how we can view art: galleries are closed, interaction and participation is unsuitable – we have to find other ways to keep the discussion going in the situation we are in – proving a unique challenge.”"

"“This is a moment when we can all look and be inspired,” Bridenstine said. “We have a moment in time when we don’t just have to reflect on how difficult things are right now, we can talk about how bright things are going to be in the future.”"

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Orbit Tax

"The growing weight of debris crowding space near to Earth is a classical example of the Tragedy of the Commons, say researchers..."

"You'll be able to watch the SpaceX launch live here and on's homepage, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). But NASA's webcast won't be the only game in town..."

"Scientists have proposed introducing a new "orbit tax" to tackle the growing problem of debris or "space junk" encircling the Earth."

"Wednesday's session, due to begin at 16.00 BST, will be the first time that the PM has faced questions from MPs since the allegations against Mr Cummings emerged at the end of last week."

"Physical distancing goes against adolescent impulse, says Loades: to assert themselves as individuals, away from their parents; to spend time with their friends, to take risks, to act without thinking of consequences.

“We’re asking teenagers to be very responsible and mature, and to make sensible decisions for the greater good of society,” she says. “I think that’s probably quite a conflict.”"

"The bulk of the hearing will be devoted to the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including testing, PPE, schools and the economy, with the section on Mr Cummings' actions due to last less than 30 minutes."

"Although it can seem like an endless void from Earth, the truth is our near-space area is getting quite crowded, warns a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There are many old satellites and both natural and man-made debris crowding low-Earth orbit. Every time a new satellite is launched it adds to the risk of a collision."

"800,000 school leavers and graduates in the UK. The Resolution Foundation thinktank" predicts the “corona class of 2020” are the group most at risk of unemployment, and face long-term damage to their career and pay prospects."

Mind the gaps..

"According to the new study by economists, the most effective way to solve the problem of space junk isn't to try and capture this debris or try to make old satellites crash to Earth."

“through adversity comes strength”

“A lot of people are realising that politics affects you on a daily basis, even if it doesn’t feel like it.”


"They used to go to Wetherspoons to do their homework ..."

Sounds like a plan... ;-)

Cotton Eyed Joe...


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A Market Square

"Bauer bought radio stations, including Yorkshire Coast Radio, Minster FM and Stray FM, last year and have today announced they will be rebranding them and integrating them into their Greatest Hits Radio network."

"The integration of stations will mean that Dearne FM (Barnsley), Rother FM (Rotherham), Trax FM (Doncaster and Bassetlaw), Minster FM (York), Stray FM (Harrogate), Yorkshire Coast Radio (Bridlington), Ridings FM (Wakefield) and Pulse 2 (Bradford / Huddersfield) will "rebrand" as Greatest Hits Radio.

Pulse 1 will retain its local branding, though, while becoming part of the wider Hits Radio Network."

"On Wednesday Mr Trump threatened to "strongly regulate" or even "close down" social media platforms...

"Twitter has tightened its policies in recent years as it faced criticism that its hands-off approach was helping fake accounts and misinformation to thrive.

Some of America's biggest technology companies have also been accused of anti-competitive practices and violating their user's privacy. Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon face antitrust probes by federal and state authorities and a US congressional panel.""

“Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world.”

"... censoring a social media platform would not be the "right reflex" for a government concerned about censorship."

Wireless Nights

"Some buildings could be surplus to requirements at a later date as fewer studios are required. Bauer has confirmed to RadioToday that it will operate ‘regional broadcast centres’, but says it will maintain a local presence in many areas for newsgathering and sales operations."

Never Mind...

Mind the gaps ..

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A Sound Factory

"Dragon, atop the powerful nine-engine Falcon rocket, lifted from the launchpad on schedule at 3.22pm ET, creating thick plumes of smoke and fire as it climbed over the Atlantic. 

“Thank you for the first human ride for Falcon 9,” co-commander Doug Hurley said from the flight deck after Dragon reached orbit. “It was incredible … appreciate all the hard work and thanks for the great ride to space.”

"The capsule reached orbit 12 minutes later, and will spend 19 hours chasing the space station 250 miles above the planet before docking on Sunday. Hurley and Bob Behnken, veterans of space shuttle missions, will join their Nasa colleague Chris Cassidy, already resident with two Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS."

"The new capability the CEO is offering will end the reliance of Nasa on Russian rockets and capsules to get its people to the International Space Station (ISS)...

"Past leaders put the US at the mercy of foreign nations to send our astronauts into orbit. Not anymore," he said. "Today we once again proudly launched American astronauts on American rockets - the best in the world - from right here on American soil."

"One of their first tasks in orbit was simply to name their ship - in the tradition of past US spacefarers, all the way back to the Mercury programme. Radioing down to Earth, they announced it would be called Endeavour.

Doug Hurley said: "We chose Endeavour for a few reasons: One, because of this incredible endeavour that Nasa, SpaceX and the US have been on since the end of the shuttle programme back in 2011. The other reason is a little more personal to Bob and I. We both had our first flights on shuttle Endeavour and it just meant so much to us to carry on that name."

Endeavour was the ship commanded by British explorer James Cook on his voyage to Australia in the late 18th Century."

“This is a dream come true for me and everyone at SpaceX, the result of a tremendous number of smart people working tremendously hard to make this day happen.”

"It hasn't all been plain sailing ...

"“The joke we make is that at Nasa, failure is not an option,” said Jeff Hoffman, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a former Nasa astronaut...

And for strategic and geopolitical reasons it’s good to have our own human launch capability.”"

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An Androgynous Blitz

"In an open letter to the public, the Chinese telecoms company says it is "as committed as ever" to provide "the best equipment" to the UK's 5G mobile and full-fibre broadband providers."

"Community papers are part of the fabric of many small towns and, despite widespread closures, some are determined not to stop the presses.."

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Musical Bubblegum

"A man who searched for 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories online has been jailed for setting fire to a phone mast...

When they looked through his mobile phone, they found searches about 5G technology, including posts on internet forums, as well as pictures and videos of phone masts in the local area."

"That view may or may not be correct, time will tell."

Oooh Arrgh  :-)

"The Daily Deaths..."

""More than ever all members of the public are dependent on technology, including their mobile phones, to keep in touch with loved ones.

"People may also need their phone lines to contact the emergency services when they are in need and stupidity like this could put someone's life at risk.""


An “assassin’s mace” ...

"A goofy sense of humour.."

WTF.... Oh OK:

"Many quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the search and others depleted their life savings. At least four people are believed to have died searching for it."

Keep Busy...


"It may be smelly, but it’s so important.”

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The Penny Drops

""Lots of people would say 'well if we shut this down earlier, then people would get tired of the restrictions earlier on' and then there would be less compliance later on.

There's lots of different reasons why you'd make certain decisions, not all based on a certain scientist's perspective.

So what we really do is look at the situation and make sure we make the best decisions moving forward.

The only way you can properly make a postmortem of this situation is probably 12-24 months down the line.

I think then we'll understand what we got right, what we got wrong and learn from it.

But I think in my view, the government acted with the best of intentions to work as hard as it could what they thought was the best strategy.""

We didn't have enuff room for 'election' ...

I hear drums ;-0

That was quite a flyover...

Big Ears.

"This is the backdrop for the Labour Together report on the 2019 defeat, which we are publishing tomorrow..."

Hmmm ...

'verisimilitude' ... Good old Google ;-0

Ah So... The Thirty Nine Steps...

Shine on You Crazy Diamond.


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Acoustical Engineering

 "If you have to do a lockdown that's confined to a business or an organisation, it's relatively easy to do and we do that all the time. The more challenging situation is if you have a more widespread lockdown where you close schools, healthcare facilities and shops.That requires a much different approach and a greater sense of engagement with multiple sectors.The other relative unknown is what are the enforcement powers and where do those sit? Because local authorities do not currently have widespread powers to enforce a lockdown."

"I’m still trying to get my head around the idea of responding to widespread protests calling for human dignity and fairer policing with “yeah but what about our statues, though”; the idea that in the midst of all of this, the inanimate objects that most weekends get urinated on by town drunks are somehow more important and worthy than social justice and human life. But then I suppose we are living in 2020 – and it is naive of me to be surprised by anything any more."

"... they say they have nothing to add."

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An Agglomerate

"Back in March, 60% of safety testing on things like fire systems and platform doors had been completed."

"They may not be little green men. They may not arrive in a vast spaceship. But according to new calculations there could be more than 30 intelligent civilisations in our galaxy today capable of communicating with others.

Experts say the work not only offers insights into the chances of life beyond Earth but could shed light on our own future and place in the cosmos.

“I think it is extremely important and exciting because for the first time we really have an estimate for this number of active intelligent, communicating civilisations that we potentially could contact and find out there is other life in the universe"

"There is no doubt that many in the transport industry have doubts about the feasibility of mass transit.

Not only are there concerns about funding but will these big infrastructure projects still be needed in the future?

Particularly if behaviour has changed and we see more home-working for example, or people staying local."

"The glow comes from oxygen atoms when they're excited by sunlight.

"You'd never plan a mission to go look for this kind of thing. Today, we have to be very clear about the science we're going to do before we get to Mars. But having got there, we thought, 'well, let's have a look'. And it worked.""

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Fruit Picking

"Less sea ice also means more sunlight entering the water, leading to larger blooms of the plankton that the krill feed on."

"The private network, which will be installed by September, will link the centre with a site run by Cambridge company TWI to allow the two to work together on welding electric batteries. The motor and battery needed for an electric vehicle require 1,000 welds and could generate half a million pieces of data every minute, according to Ford, which cannot be supported by existing factory systems."


""We are working with councils across England to pedestrianise areas, and proposed planning freedoms will mean that outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales and summer fairs will not need a planning application, transforming the way people currently shop and socialise.""

Wonders where all the 'transient' tourism workers will 'magically' appear from?

"The "open your mind" sample was taken from the original total recall movie :)"


"This Bill is the next step to enable people to socialise this summer, and enjoy the best of British hospitality in a temporary secure way - helping businesses get back on their feet and employees return to work."

Any doubt the operators will be retaining their wonderful employees ...?


"Penguins didn't exist until Morgan Freeman narrated this movie."

Retail Therapy.

Oh, OK: -00

Keep it clean ..

YAwwwn ...

It is, wot it is.

I, Stan.

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Barking up the Wrong Tree

"The council is to send Mr Stanyon’s report to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP along with the concerns about the BID regulations.

During the Audit Committee meeting, the councillors heard that the council is still legally obligated to collect the levies from businesses as the Government did not pass legislation during the pandemic that would allow payments to cease."

Anyone for Bingo?

"The planning system has historically cast developers and politicians in poacher and gamekeeper roles. But in recent years an increased focus on financial negotiations between public authorities and developers has made simple yes/no decisions into more complex transactions, sparking concerns the system lacks transparency and is vulnerable to corruption...

The CIL is a per-square-metre charge which councils have been able to apply to large projects since 2010...

But since planning changes by the coalition government in 2012, developers have also been able to complain to planners that their demands are eating too much into their profits. They are allowed to present financial viability studies, essentially spreadsheets based on often speculative and hard-to-check numbers which argue that if they spend too much on affordable housing, they won’t make enough money. These have often not been made public...

“The negotiations go on behind closed doors and thousands of units of affordable housing are at risk,” he said. “It is murky and not transparent. It also causes delay when the developers argue about not being able to provide policy-compliant schemes.”...

"At a council level, it is different. Council leaders and planning committee chairmen can be approached before planning applications are submitted. Developers know they have something councils badly need: cash."

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Comic Book Stuff

"Tuesday’s speech comes after a bruising few weeks for Johnson personally and his government, with poll ratings for both dipping dramatically as headlines were dominated by Dominic Cummings’ cross-country drive during lockdown, Johnson’s U-turn over free school meals, and allegations of cash-for-favours against Robert Jenrick."

"The $5bn (£4.1bn) deal with Ineos will see BP all but pull out of a sector expected to contribute to demand for oil over the coming decades.

BP boss Bernard Looney said the sale of the business, which employs 1,700 people, "will come as a surprise"."

Autism on Antibiotics ...

"Johnson rehashed one of his old campaign speeches for the relaunch of “Love Boris”. Only without the bits about Brexit, which was well and truly done now, given that this was the last day he could have asked the EU for an extension to the transition. Here was Boris at his most upbeat. His most vague. His most incoherent. God help baby Wilfred if Boris ever gets round to reading him a bedtime story."

Keep taking the tablets.


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All that Glistens


"At least $10bn (£7.9bn) worth of gold, platinum and other precious metals are dumped every year in the growing mountain of electronic waste that is polluting the planet, according to a new UN report.

A record 54m tonnes of “e-waste” was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21% in five years, the UN's Global E-waste Monitor report found. The 2019 figure is equivalent to 7.3kg for every man, woman and child on Earth, though use is concentrated in richer nations. The amount of e-waste is rising three times faster than the world’s population, and only 17% of it was recycled in 2019."

"“It doesn’t have to be this way,” she said. “Products could be designed to last, to be repaired and, just as crucially, to be upgraded. Ensuring the system keeps electronic products in circulation would create hundreds of thousands of jobs... There’s no excuse for leaving this scandal unaddressed.”"

The Ironic.

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Testing Times

"A council leader hopes the Welsh Government will back plans for a dragon-shaped island that could harness tidal energy within the next few weeks. Rod Stewart has said he wants to make tidal energy  in Swansea a reality.   The call comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce plans for investment to rebuild the economy after coronavirus."

Meanwhile, developers of the failed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon say planning permission is still active on the site.

Tidal Power plc launched a £1.2m fundraising scheme, selling shares, in December to pay for work needed to keep alive the planning permission, which otherwise would have lapsed at midnight on Tuesday.

Mark Shorrock, leading the project, said the demolition and site clearing work would "secure in perpetuity" the permissions around Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon....

Supporters have said the new scheme would not require the same level of taxpayer investment as the long-running Tidal Lagoon Powers £1.3bn plans project were rejected by the UK government as being too expensive back in 2018."

"The Grade II-listed Scarborough Spa is a throwback to the town's past as a fashionable spa destination. It was where the original spa waters could be sampled, and the building includes a theatre, Grand Hall with seating for 2,000 people, promenade lounge and open-air sun court. It is home to the renowned Scarborough Spa Orchestra and hosts the Scarborough Jazz Festival.

The smaller Whitby Pavilion is a Victorian theatre and cinema. It is famous for its association with the Whitby Goth Weekend, which ended in 2019. Both buildings are owned by Scarborough Council."

"Blackjack and Pontoon have a few important differences ... in Blackjack ‘hit’ will let the dealer know that you want another card, but the same action is referred to as ‘twist’ in Pontoon. Similarly, ‘stand’ in Blackjack changes to ‘stick’ in Pontoon, and, if you want to ‘double down’ in Pontoon, you’ll want to say ‘buy’, which will double your bet and get you at least one more card."

Hmmm ...

"The firm behind proposals to create a tidal energy lagoon in Swansea bay has claimed that works it carried out shortly before development consent for the scheme was due to expire last week have secured approval for the proposal "in perpetuity", but both the local council and the government claim the permission has expired."

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A Vanishing Act

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Reflicks & Reflex

"Pools, gyms and sports facilities will be able to reopen and team sports and outdoor gigs resume in England, the culture culture secretary announces.

Beauticians, nail salons and tattooists can also reopen from Monday and indoor gyms, sports facilities and pools will be able to reopen from 25 July."

"The owner of Sky News - has been given the green light to start building a new "state-of-the-art film and Snuff studio", close to the famous Studios at North Bay Sands.

Known as the birthplace of Star Wars, some of the most iconic films in the world have been produced there, including Indiana Jones, Superman and - more recently - Paddington.

Ryndleside is also home to some of Britain's top TV shows, including EastEnders, The Crown and Strictly Come Dancing."

“In a devastating blow to President Thump and his enablers in the Cluster Party, the Supreme Court today upheld a fundamental tenant of our democracy that no one is above the law.”


""A lot of people didn't open over the weekend and there'll be some staged re-openings this week. For some pubs, if they've got a beer garden and they've got bigger premises, it's maybe easier. It's still complicated, but it may be easier - but some of our smaller cafes and restaurants might be on greatly-reduced capacity and they need our support. We can't just rely on our visitors.""

Should have gone to B&Q ;-)

Village People.

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A Wheel of Fortune

""So why, at a time when there is a call for decentralising the power of media and even politics, are we in danger of losing the very bedrock of our local identity... local radio?  "All this ironically in a week when Boris Johnson announced he was considering bringing Parliament up North to York for a while.  Well, I am sorry, radio bosses. It’s not good enough. It surely would have been possible to create at the very least a Yorkshire super station.""

"FIGHTER jets on practice manoeuvres put on a thunderous display over parts of Ryedale last night.

The planes could be heard shortly before midnight over north York, Malton and Norton and the area around the Howardian Hills.  On Twitter York Weather Stationer posted at 11.30pm: "Lots of late night aircraft activity! Euro fighter using York as it’s “mission” time. Quieten it down lads!""

"Operating at night is a perishable skill that has to be practiced and refreshed. Apologies in advance for any disturbance, and thank you for your patience and support."

Watch & Wait


"“Stop. Full stop,” congressman Adam Kinzinger said in a tweet. “The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue.”"


Ooops Again ...

"The campaign is over, and now it’s all about counting the votes. I’m not going to bore you with a long preamble here (for once).

Just read on for all the latest news from election night, and most importantly, all the results as they come in."

Go Biden takes Michigan...

"When a candidate wins the presidency, he or she needs to set up what's called a transition team to help prepare to take office in the following January.

As we know, there's no winner in this election yet, but both candidates say they're expecting to be victorious. Both want to set a narrative that the direction of the race favours them.

- Build Back Better. It states: "The crises facing the country are severe - from a pandemic to an economic recession, climate change to racial injustice - and the transition team will continue preparing at full speed so that the Biden‑Harris Administration can hit the ground running on Day One.""

"As ballot counting continues, so does the nail-biting...

Outstanding ballots seem likely to favour Biden, the BBC's US partner CBS reports. They are postal votes and of the 3.1 million postal ballot requests made in Pennsylvania, 63% were from Democrats."

""These attempts to subvert the democratic process are simply disgraceful," said Mr Wolf, a Democrat. "I'm going to fight like hell to protect the vote of every Pennsylvanian. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that every vote counts.""

Public Service Broadcasting

"As someone who has defended the freedom of the press and freedom of speech through thick and thin, were branches of the American media right to cut off the words of the sitting president?"

"Avoiding censorship, but also providing context or warnings which might encourage people to think for themselves, and to weigh what is being propaganda as opposed to sensible dialogue.

But switching away from the sitting president in his evermore incoherent ramblings is a different matter. Contradicting him is one thing, shutting him down is quite another.

Of course, from my own personal and political point of view, shutting him up was a godsend. But that is not what was at stake. In a democracy, and through public dialogue, it is always worth remembering that one day the boot might be on the other foot.

Where there is clear incitement or direct evidence of causing others harm – whether through hate speech or encouraging disorder – the position is much clearer.

Never have we needed to be able to trust the mainstream media, print or broadcast, more than we do today. Rooting out untruths – whether through factual inaccuracy, by accident or design – is an essential feature of a free press."

"From the editorial staff of major US broadcast networks, through to the standards set by public service broadcasters, getting the balance right is the stuff of which our democracy is made.

These days we test our freedoms on almost a daily basis – truth struggles to have its voice heard over the cacophony of opinion.

But, in the end, a free society stands or falls by how we deal with the right to express our thoughts, to share our differences and to do so with respect and a willingness to change our mind as well as seeking to change the hearts and minds of others."

"When people around the world think of Britain, they think of the Royal family, and the Premier League. And they think of the BBC. From the moment its first radio transmitter crackled into life a century ago, our oldest broadcaster has been a steadfast national institution, a champion of British values across the globe. But 100 years on, it’s time to ask what we want from the BBC of the future...  it has provided a national gathering place for millions tuning in to hear government updates...   to some stark realities. The first is the utter transformation of the media landscape. The rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime and others has lobbed a grenade into the system – upending the way most of us consume our favourite shows.

The second is the growing number of questions the BBC faces over some of its key commitments. Is the Beeb continuing to deliver value for money for licence-fee payers? Is it keeping the British public’s confidence when it comes to its impartiality, and does it truly represent the nation?

By the latter, I mean the entire nation. Someone switching on their TV from their semi in Bradford should feel just as represented by the Beeb as a person watching in their Islington townhouse. Instead, a growing number of viewers feel harangued or ignored when they tune in – and not just by the news output, but by its drama and comedy too.

So, as negotiations over the level of the next licence fee kick off, I have formally written to the BBC asking them for answers to six key questions. Those include: how will it make savings, including around talent pay levels? How will the next licence-fee level affect the vulnerable, the elderly, and those on the lowest incomes? And how will it use its global might to fly the flag for Britain?

However, the BBC is just one piece of a bigger puzzle. The world has changed, and every broadcaster needs to change with it. So I’m taking a close look at the future of our entire public service broadcasting system...

Today I am pulling together a team of broadcasting and tech heavyweights to help us shape the future of public broadcasting. This 10-strong panel won’t just be tiptoeing around the edges. They have been tasked with asking really profound questions about the role these broadcasters have to play in the digital age – and indeed whether we need them at all. It is a crucial task, given how central public service broadcasters are to our entire creative ecosystem.

Together, they employ more than 20,000 staff, and indirectly support the employment of tens of thousands more. They helped drive £3.3 billion in revenue last year, and they beam the best of Britain – our culture, our talent, our castles, churches and more – into homes around the world.

We’ve got to get this right. Public service broadcasting has already lived, adapted and thrived through a hundred years of history. It’s time to start thinking about what it does next."

"These days we test our freedoms on almost a daily basis – truth struggles to have its voice heard over the cacophony of opinion.

But, in the end, a free society stands or falls by how we deal with the right to express our thoughts, to share our differences and to do so with respect and a willingness to change our mind as well as seeking to change the hearts and minds of others."

"In a speech on Sunday, Prince Charles will also call on the UK and Germany to "reaffirm" their bond as they "begin this new chapter in our long history"."

"Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall flew to Berlin Brandenburg Airport on Saturday evening in the UK's ministerial RAF Voyager jet - the first time it has flown dignitaries since a makeover costing almost £1m.

The prince, who celebrated his 72nd birthday on Saturday, was presented with a birthday cake during the flight."

"MP for Scarborough and Whitby Robert Goodwill asked everyone to "comply" with lockdown rules after 100 people gathered at a wake in his constituency..."