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Infected blood scandal payments could run into billions, report suggests | Contaminated blood scandal

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Compensation for victims of the infected blood scandal could run into billions of pounds after a government commissioned report suggested thousands of people should receive minimum payments of £100,000 each.

Sir Robert Francis QC, was asked to make recommendations for a framework for compensation and redress for people infected after being given factor VIII blood products that were contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C imported from the US in the 1970s and 1980s, or after being exposed to tainted blood through transfusions or after childbirth. It has been described as the biggest treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

In his study, published on Tuesday, Francis says there is a compelling case for awarding interim payments as soon as possible to those previously accepted as eligible for support.

He says: “Many wish to be able to settle their affairs before they die. Challenging though it is to do this before the scheme has been set up and is fully operational, and before the conclusions of the [public] inquiry are available, I suggest that such a payment should be made now, reflecting the minimum any infected person could be expected to receive under the scheme. I have suggested this is unlikely to be less than £100,000 in any case.”

While Francis says that it is not currently possible to know the number of people who may be eligible for compensation were a scheme to be set up, it has previously been suggested that as many as 30,000 people became severely ill as a result of the scandal, with approximately 3,000 having died to date. If tens of thousands of people received £100,000 each it would take the total compensation into the billions.

However, the Factor 8 campaign group has disputed that such a high number of people were infected and noted that some believe it was invented to “make the scandal appear to be ‘too expensive to compensate’”. It says that as of 2015, 5,500 people had accessed financial support, which would have included widows, children, infected partners and other estate beneficiaries as well as those infected.

Jason Evans, whose father died after receiving contaminated blood and who founded the Factor 8 campaign, welcomed the report, adding: “What’s important now is that we have time to fully read and consider it. As yet there is no commitment from government that compensation will happen and it’s important for all those impacted to understand this. I believe it would bring some sense of security if the government were to make such a commitment before the inquiry reports next year.”

The report recommends that victims should be compensated, among other things, for physical and social injury, stigma and social isolation, the cost of care and loss of income. It also recommends that partners, children, siblings and parents of infected people as well as other family members or very close friends who suffered mental or physical consequences should be admitted to the compensation scheme.

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Kate Burt, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: “Thousands have died waiting for the government to do the right thing – now the time has come to act.”

Des Collins, senior partner at Collins Solicitors, legal adviser to more than 1,500 victims of the infected blood scandal, also urged swift action but said it was “undoubtedly an historic day for the many campaigners who have fought so hard for up to 40 years”.

The government said analysis of Francis’s findings “cannot be completed hurriedly”.

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Readers sound off on Trump’s campaign, nuclear power and airborne warfare – New York Daily News

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Opelika, Ala.: Re “Still full of Donsense” (Nov. 17): Former President Donald Trump announced his 2024 run for the White House. This wasn’t revelatory to anyone who has stayed abreast of Trump’s public career. He’s an inveterate and insatiable attention craver, and his official announcement guarantees he’ll get just that until November 2024. He’s always wanted the world as his audience and lusted for attention that few men in history ever receive. Furthermore, he embodies the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

Trump has long proved he’s the king of mendacities. He’s the punchline to “when is Trump lying?” — when he opens his mouth. Thus, it was expected that Trump, encrusted with lies, would launch his 2024 presidential bid. He announced his candidacy while submerged and swamped in legal jeopardy. Of course, the legal issues were incited by his political foes. Oh boy. He faces a federal indictment threat because classified documents were found at Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s rationale was that he declassified the documents after he vacated the White House.

The Trump Organization is on trial in Manhattan for criminal tax fraud. Allen Weisselberg, the organization’s chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges in August. A case over journalist E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegation is also looming. Trump’s bluster and bravado notwithstanding, he’s sweating about the probes concerning the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

All this toxic waste flows from what Peter Wehner described as Trump’s full-spectrum corruption. Marc D. Greenwood

Larchmont, N.Y.: Donald Trump’s excuse for meeting with the white supremacist Nick Fuentes is that he didn’t know who he was and that Kanye/Yeezy/Ye brought him to dinner as his plus-1. The bigger question is why the hell would Trump invite Kanye/Yeezy/Ye to his house for dinner in the first place? Was he looking for a cheap pair of Adidas? Steve Michaud

Staten Island: To Voicer Raquel Hanon: I hope you were kidding or being sarcastic in your statement about Donald Trump. Were you sleeping through the insurrection? Did you not hear him say that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Ave. and shoot someone and, even worse, he could sexually abuse women at no cost to him? He is a criminal who should be put away. He is an egomaniac and manipulator and should be prosecuted and held responsible for everything that he did. If you or any other everyday person did what he did, including hiding taxes, you would already be sitting in a jail cell. So wake up and smell the coffee. He divided this country. He should never be president again. Natalie Johnson

Saratoga Spring, N.Y.: To Voicer Eugene Rodriguez: You are spot-on about how destructive a conservative GOP House majority will be for the next two years. Your list of disasters omitted one more: After they have destroyed all the progress we have made, they will blame the Democrats for everything they have done. When will we ever learn? Bob English

Fayetteville, N.Y.: The Daily News argues that nuclear should be part of New York’s future energy mix (”Power, heat and light,” editorial, Nov. 28). You called Indian Point’s shutdown a “setback,” claimed renewables are ramping up at “a snail’s pace” and predicted that without nuclear energy, we’re in for a “bleak era of green blackouts.” Evidence doesn’t support this. Renewables and energy efficiency totaling more than twice Indian Point’s power are coming online in New York within three years. By 2030, they will have replaced Indian Point five times over. Most blackouts occur from distribution bottlenecks, not lack of power. Wind and solar plus storage improve reliability via microgrids, while nuclear does nothing for grid resilience. Nuclear generation cannot rapidly adjust to match wind and solar’s variable outputs. Nuclear power plants require steady offsite power that increases reliance on fossil fuels. Nuclear disproportionately impacts vulnerable communities. It is a poor decarbonization strategy and New York shouldn’t invest in it. Hilary-Anne Coppola

Bayside: The mayor is going on vacation to Qatar? Who is paying for this? Is he bringing a high-priced security detail? Is he the mayor of New York City or a tourist? Problems are everywhere in the Big Apple and all this guy wants to do is party. Why did I vote for him? No hope and no change from the prior idiot who ran the city into the ground. Bring back Mike Bloomberg. Timothy Collins

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Brooklyn: So the mayor is now going to Greece for a conference while crime is off the hook here. Who pays for that trip? This photo-op mayor knows how to waste money. How much did he waste on the shelters on Randalls Island? Yet his top priority is to move 250,000 city retirees to a new Medicare Advantage plan, which is all about denying care. I guess he needs the money to give another friend a top-paying city job. What a joke. Andrew Cioffi

Fresh Meadows: Your editorial “A surgical intervention” (Nov. 26) supports changing Law 12-126 to impose a Medicare Advantage plan on city retirees to save NYC money. While acknowledging recent reports showing deficiencies in Advantage plans, you ask retirees to depend on “binding assurances that it [NYC] will use its institutional weight to keep private providers in line.” Well, we depended on NYC’s assurances that we would have our current insurance when we retired and look how far that got us! Also, there are better ways to save the city money than on the backs of its retirees. The city could self-insure its retirees and hire an outside party to administer the plan. It could closely monitor overcharges by hospitals and doctors, etc. Instead, it chooses to reward insurance companies rather than its retirees. Mayor Adams expressed sympathy for retirees as a candidate, calling the proposed change a “bait-and-switch.” As mayor, he has evidently made new friends. Robert Cowen

Brooklyn: Don’t blame the sky, the beautiful sky / for the horror that lurks below / Where sticks and stones and bombs and drones / are coming from, only heaven knows / The sun shines over all of us / coming from the heavens above / shining on a world still fighting / between the worlds of hate and love / Don’t blame the sky for the horror / dropping down from the clouds / The beautiful blue sky blankets us all / but can’t stop the maddening crowds / If only people could see / that with hate, you always fall / Don’t blame the sky, sometimes it cries / for a world that doesn’t care at all. Janis Feldman

Kew Gardens: New York City has always had affordable housing. What do people think housing projects are? In the ‘50s, I lived in the beautiful, well-kept Williamsburg Houses in Brooklyn, next to wonderful, caring neighbors. It was affordable. I graduated high school, went to work and moved out of the projects and into my own apartment. My parents stayed and lived very happily until they moved to Puerto Rico. Stories about living in housing projects have changed a lot. Enough said. Gladys Garcia de Birkenhead

Rockaway: New York media is essentially ignoring Stacey Pheffer Amato’s ongoing attempts to steal the rightfully won Assembly seat from Thomas Sullivan in the Rockaways. Will establishment politicians stop at nothing to retain power? Scott O’Keefe

Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Remember when mail-in votes were called absentee (or military) ballots and there were only a few thousand of them? Also, the election results came in that night. Hmm, the good old days. Pete McKenna

Astoria: Did we just forget about the border? How many illegal aliens did we let in unvaccinated, along with criminals and the mentally ill with everyone else so far? Nothing is ever said about fixing this problem. Our country is suffering because of this. What is it costing us? Wake up! Anthony Gigantiello

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The Guardian view on NHS strikes: a last resort and a cry of despair | Editorial

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Industrial action can have many causes, but there are two responses available to governments – negotiation or confrontation. Which path ministers take depends on a calculation about public opinion. Sympathy with the strikers will encourage compromise; suspicion that their demands are excessive permits intransigence.

Frontline health workers are generally held in high esteem, and the Covid pandemic reinforced national affection for the NHS. That sentiment will extend to support for striking nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but compassion will compete with anxiety about patient care. Mindful of that balance, the government has adopted a stance of calibrated intransigence, signalling readiness to talk, but not about the main issue – pay.

The government’s offer, a flat rate increase of £1,400 for most health workers, amounts to a real terms cut, given double-digit inflation. The Royal College of Nursing says that its members have suffered a 20% fall in incomes since 2010. The union is asking for a 5% pay rise on top of inflation.

The Department of Health and Social Care says public sector pay restraint is unavoidable in times of straitened national finances, and that the health service has been treated with relative largesse. Those arguments would carry more authority if constraints on the Treasury weren’t a result of the government’s own colossal mismanagement of the economy, and if the public sector was not still suffering from the effects of the last dose of Conservative austerity.

There is little flex in budgets because Liz Truss’s wild fiscal experiments ruined Britain’s credibility on financial markets. And there is less capacity to make do with less in the NHS because its staff have endured stress and falling living standards for years.

Those grievances were set aside during the pandemic – a commitment recognised in ritual clapping on the nation’s doorsteps. But applause doesn’t pay bills, as the nurses’ banners say. Critics of the strike might try to cast industrial action as an abdication of the duty to care, but the greater threat to safety is corrosion of working conditions and staff stretched too thin. Patients suffer most when nurses are forced out of the profession and none can be recruited.

The same applies to ambulance drivers, who have also voted to strike. These are workers with a vocation. They know better than their critics what is at stake when they withdraw their labour. That they feel compelled do it is a measure of desperation. It expresses fear of penury and also anger at the state of a health service where government reliance on the willingness of underpaid staff to go the extra mile has turned to cynical exploitation.

Whether the public sees it that way is hard to predict, not least because the mood around strikes and the government reaction will be shaped by disputes in other sectors. A winter of discontent will test the patience of people whose services are withdrawn. It will also compound the growing sense of national stagnation under a government that is weak and directionless.

Either way, the prime minister should not imagine that he can ride out the coming storm or deflect blame for disruptions and stoppages. There is room for debate over the methods by which health workers express their grievances, but little question over where the responsibility lies for a crisis that has been building for 12 years of Conservative government.

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Daily horoscope for December 1, 2022 – New York Daily News

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It might feel like one thing after another today! Romantic Venus in Sagittarius is forming a rare opposition to red-blooded Mars in Gemini at 12:28 am EST, creating tension between our wants and needs. Messenger Mercury will then argue with Neptune, making misinterpretation all too easy — luckily, a supportive sextile between Venus and Saturn should help us focus on the things that really matter. The Moon will slip into Aries later on, giving the end of the day an extra flare.

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March 21-April 19

Fabulous opportunities await you out in the great wide world, but more local action might require your attention first and foremost. Venus in your adventurous 9th house is opposing your ruler Mars in your community sector, which could make it seem like you have to deal with rather mundane issues instead of chasing after your heart’s desire. You could be pleasantly surprised when Mars stirs up its own excitement for you after all — don’t hesitate to go out on those adventures.

April 20-May 20

A windfall is appearing on the horizon! It might be easier to make ends meet than you originally anticipated as Venus in your 8th House of Shared Resources finds common ground with Mars in your income sector, which could offer you a few helping hands. Mars could have you spending more than usual, but if you realize you need a bit more cash to get everything you want, Venus wants to bring any necessary assistance your way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

May 21-June 20

People probably want the best for you, even if you don’t quite see it at first. Venus in your partnership sector is adding a bountiful touch to your relationships, and you’ll be on the receiving end of her gifts as she opposes heated Mars in your sign. Someone could pinpoint exactly what you need and offer it to you, so be bold about asking for aid if necessary. You’re working extra hard as you host Mars, so it’s okay if others pick up some slack.

June 21-July 22

The cosmos is emphasizing self-care at this time. Venus is in your 6th House of Wellness, doing her best to ease your mind and your body, and this is heightened as she makes a strong opposition to Mars in your subconscious sector. The red planet has been stirring up issues behind the scenes, perhaps resulting in overwhelming insomnia or exhaustion, but Venus is going to do what she can to make sure you’re getting proper rest. You’ve earned yourself a spa day!

July 23-August 22

Pursuing your passions might become something of a group effort. There is a powerful angle between bountiful Venus in your lucky 5th house and energetic Mars in your social 11th house, so while Venus will want to do nothing but indulge, Mars will be bringing other people into the mix. You’ll need to make sure you don’t strong-arm anyone into getting your way. That said, as long as you handle the situation diplomatically, there isn’t any reason you can’t get exactly what you want.

August 23-September 22

Taking it slow right now is easier said than done! Venus in your homey 4th house is giving you the urge to nest and spruce up your living space, but today she is also coming into opposition with Mars, currently in your career sector. A professional matter could demand your sudden attention, forcing you to jump up off the couch and away from your domestic inspiration. Tend to any important issues involving your career or reputation before you get back to lazing around.

September 23-October 22

You don’t have to go far to find happiness today, Libra. Your ruler Venus is dancing through your local 3rd house, bringing exciting experiences right to your front door. That in mind, her rough opposition to Mars in your expansion sector could make it feel like you’re too focused on the old and not enough on the new. Don’t feel bad if you choose to repeat your pleasures rather than seek out new ones. There’s nothing wrong with having established favorites.

October 23-November 21

It’s a good day to count your blessings. Venus in your money sector is doing all she can to indulge you and your wallet, but you might have to deal with a financial issue when she opposes Mars in your intense 8th house. A big bill could arrive, or perhaps someone close needs to borrow some funds, but with Venus involved you’ll probably end up with more than enough to comfortably meet your needs — and those of anyone else. Be reasonable, but generous.

November 22-December 21

Life is presently a matter of give and take. You’re prepared to show off your best side with Venus visiting your sign, but you ought to be careful about who you’re showing that side to. When Venus disagrees with Mars in your partnership sector, you may feel like the playing field isn’t as even as you’d like or that you’re not receiving your fair dues. Be upfront about your needs, but make sure you’re giving as much as you think you are.

December 22-January 19

Your dreams can take you far, but hopefully not at the expense of reality. Venus in your fantastical 12th house is opposing warrior Mars in your responsible 6th house, so even if you feel the urge to tap out, something will most likely call your name in the here and now. Perhaps a co-worker or client creates a problem that only you can solve. Once you take the time to consciously handle the issue, you should be able to get back to daydreaming.

January 20-February 18

Going with the herd might require a bit of extra effort at the moment. In particular, a potent opposition between Venus in your 11th House of Groups and Mars in your 5th House of Personal Passions could create some tension for you. People might request your presence, even as Mars tempts you to focus only on yourself. At least give others a chance — you may realize that they actually have wonderful opportunities to offer you, if only you let them.

February 19-March 20

You can move mountains currently, Pisces — though such feats might have to wait for some domestic duties. It’s easy to show off your talents as Venus tours your professional 10th house, but when she opposes Mars in your home sector, watch out for fires you’ll need to extinguish before you can return to your official duties. If a family member or roommate creates a headache for you, don’t burn yourself out trying to deal with it, but don’t let any issues keep simmering, either.

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