Getting home for Christmas – whether by plane, train or automobile – has rarely been so challenging. We have the latest as Border Force officers go on strike, amid warnings that industrial action at our airports could go on for six months.
If travel chaos over Christmas isn’t enough, a union boss has said Border Force strikes could go on for six months. It comes as passport officials walked out on one of the busiest days of the year for airports. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) employed by the Home Office to operate passport booths took industrial action at Heathrow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester airports, and the port of Newhaven in East Sussex. Border Force strikes will take place every day for the rest of the year, except December 27. Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, predicted a “huge escalation” in industrial action in January across the Civil Service unless ministers enter into negotiations. He added that the union would keep supporting the strike action up to the end of its mandate in May. Around a quarter of a million passengers were expected to arrive on flights at affected airports on Friday, including approximately 10,000 people who landed at Heathrow before 7am. Travellers were warned to expect delays amid fears that long queues at passport control could lead to people being held on planes, disrupting subsequent departures.
In another winter transport headache, Crossrail services will also be brought to a standstill as staff strike for the first time since opening earlier this year. Members of the TSSA will walk out on January 12 in a dispute over pay and pensions. Union chiefs claim their members are on lower wages than outsourcers working on behalf of Transport for London. Find out which trains and flights will be affected by strike action this month here.
Ambulance strikes called off
Ambulance strikes planned for next Wednesday have been called off, amid fears of a backlash hitting the NHS at the worst time. Members of the GMB union were due to strike next week, between Christmas and New Year, with action planned at nine ambulance trusts in England. Health leaders have raised concerns that the coming days could be some of the darkest to date, as services struggle to recover from this week’s strikes, while dealing with surging flu cases. Today, the union said the action had been postponed until January because their members cared about patients. However, nurses in England will strike on January 18 and 19 in an escalation of the pay dispute with the Government unless negotiations are opened, the Royal College of Nursing announced.
‘Death of the Christmas card’
Postal workers represented by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) walked out for their fifth day of December action Friday, in a move which Royal Mail criticised as “a cynical attempt to hold Christmas to ransom”. The company said it will be doing all it can to deliver Christmas mail, revealing that the industrial action has cost it £100 million. There are even fears that the festive tradition of sending Christmas cards may soon come to an end. Industrial action, rising prices and a possible end to Saturday deliveries are set to hammer an industry that has long been on the decline. An estimated £1.7bn is spent annually on greeting cards in the UK – a figure that has remained static for the past five years.
The Government had been braced for disruption as a week-long strike by 1,000 passport staff at six airports began.
Families with young children, who cannot use electronic gates, were expected to bear the brunt of delays at border control, but there was no widespread disruption as travellers arrived home.
Military personnel and civil servants filled in for Border Force at major airports, including Gatwick and Heathrow, with passengers who had expected “carnage” suggesting border checks were quicker than normal.
Medical error | Six-inch metal forceps left inside patient
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised for the error which happened during a seven-hour abdominal procedure
Fraud trial | FTX founder’s girlfriend Caroline Ellison ‘sorry’
Sam Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend has admitted that what she did “was wrong” as she prepares to potentially testify against the former crypto tycoon in one of America’s biggest ever fraud trials.
Caroline Ellison, 28, told a New York court this week: “I am truly sorry for what I did. I knew that it was wrong.”
More than 240 million Americans were under weather warnings as temperatures plunged sharply in a matter of hours.
On Friday, 1.25 million homes and businesses across the country were without power.
Paris riots | Kurdish protesters clash with police after three killed
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, condemned the shooting, which left three people dead outside a Kurdish community centre and hair salon on Rue d’Enghien.
“The Kurds in France have been the target of an odious attack in the heart of Paris,” he wrote.
“Thoughts for the people who are fighting for their lives, their families and their loved ones. Thanks to the security forces for their courage and sang-froid.”
The Russian president on Thursday referred to the invasion of Ukraine as a “war” for the first time since he ordered Russian troops across the border in February.
Mr Putin insisted Russia’s goal in Ukraine was not “to keep stoking the conflict but, on the contrary, to stop this war”.
Nikita Yuferev, a councilman from St Petersburg, on Friday sent an official complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office, asking it to investigate Mr Putin’s remarks to assess if he had violated his own war censorship laws.
Saudi Arabia | ‘Plan to use Christmas as cover for mass executions’
Saudi Arabia is planning a Christmas execution spree while the West is distracted with festivities in a cynical attempt to avoid diplomatic “blowback”, the UK Government has been warned.
In a letter to the Foreign Secretary seen by the Telegraph, British MPs said the Kingdom would use Christmas as “cover for committing atrocities” – as was the case in 2016 when nearly 50 people, including children, were put to death around late December.
Around 60 people are known to be facing execution in Saudi Arabia according to human rights groups, who say the true figure is likely to be substantially higher. Death row prisoners are often beheaded with swords, hanged or put in front of firing squads.
Douglas Murray | No cause for optimism about broken Britain
Despair at the way the country is running isn’t a passing mood, it’s based on objective reality
Matthew Lynn | Britain should stay out of crazy green subsidy wars
We cannot win this row – and we don’t have the resources to compete effectively
Trade will be distorted. Competition will no longer be fair. Smaller countries will be squeezed out of the market, and it will end up costing far more than it should to combat climate change.
Telegraph View | Caught up in a swirl of Christmas light
In the battle between light and dark, warmth and cold, life and death, the bright side is that of humanity: the common cause of all mankind
Filippo Lippi’s tranquil Annunciation was painted on a wooden panel five feet across 570 years ago, in 1453, the same year as it happened that Constantinople, the great remnant of the Roman Empire, fell to Ottoman forces. But the painting speaks only of peace.
Letters | Church of England’s bureaucracy at expense of ministry
The bureaucracies of the 42 dioceses have grown commensurately. In 2018, the Diocese of Leicester had 108 employees. In 1926, it had only one: the bishop’s driver.
Meanwhile, the chronic paucity of clergy numbers is accentuated by the Church’s lamentable failure to train enough new recruits. Only an unspecified fraction of the 11 per cent portion of its triennial budget is to be spent on clergy training. And yet the Church has known for well over a decade that 20 per cent of its clergy are due to retire by 2025.
Thirty feet beneath the surface of the water tank, Ed Harris was pretty sure he was going to die. Desperate to breathe between takes, he had signalled for his air supply to be brought over. It was jammed in his mouth, upside down. Air rushed into his lungs, but so did water. “For a brief second,” Harris said later, “I thought, ‘This is it.’”
Business news: Backlash to Biden’s green tax breaks
The comedy special is as much a part of British Christmas as a family row and mountains of sprouts. This year, comedy shows from Motherland and The Detectorists to Mrs Brown’s Boys and Ghosts are returning with festive specials to round off 2022. To celebrate, we countdown the greatest 25 Christmas comedy specials of all time.
Christmas With The Royle Family (1999): Razor-sharp observations have never been better.
A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world.
We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".
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