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MEDIA SCAN: The End Of Free Covid Tests and Kate@40

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that there will be a “rocky few weeks ahead” for the National Health Service (NHS) as Covid cases continue to soar in the country … A special news summary by Kaliph Anaz

Despite leaving the post as vaccine minister, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi is back on spearheading the campaign to tame Covid crisis. Mr Zahawi told the Sunday Times that the country is “witnessing the transition of the virus from pandemic to endemic.” The paper also speculates that free lateral flow tests could end in weeks. But a government source told BBC that no decision had been taken and free tests will remain in place as long as they are needed. Opposition politicians have criticised the suggestion of stopping the free tests. Rules on self-isolation for people in England infected with Covid changed last month, dropping from 10 days to seven. Now the government is planning to slash that into five.

The Sunday Times on January 09

The United States also shortened the self-isolation window to five days.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that there will be a “rocky few weeks ahead” for the National Health Service (NHS) as Covid cases continue to soar in the country.

Speaking during a visit to a hospital in London, Javid said these are “challenging times” for the health service and the “best thing” people can do is get their booster jab, reports Xinhua news agency. Javid’s remarks came after two major incidents were declared in England due to pressures caused by the Omicron variant’s spread. The country also reported a further 229 deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 150,222, with 18,454 patients still in hospital.

 Another top story today is the 40 birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge. She marked her 40th birthday by releasing three glamorous portraits of herself. Pictured in different Alexander McQueen dresses, Kate posed for fashion photographer Paolo Roversi.

Asian Lite today released a special story penned by veteran journalist Ashis Ray to mark the 50th anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Rahman’s release from a prison in Pakistan. On 8 January 1972, under irresistible international pressure, Pakistan was compelled to release Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Rahman. Sheikh Mujib, who had been incarcerated in West Pakistan for nine months and had been sentenced to death for allegedly waging war against Pakistan.

STORY LINK: 8 JANUARY 1972: Bangabandhu’s Release From Pakistani Prison

ENTERTAINMENT

The Tom Holland-led ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ may be leaping from one box-office record to the next in this time of the pandemic, but audiences in the UK and Ireland have shown their loyalty to their favourite spy, James Bond, by ensuring that British actor Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007, ‘No Time to Die’, tops the 2021 charts.

According to data released by the media measurement and analytics company, Comscore, and reported by ‘Variety’,  the year’s UK and Ireland box-office was led by ‘No Time to Die’, which is the No. 3 film of all time with 96.5 million pounds, behind ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (123.2 million pounds) and another James Bond movie, ‘Skyfall’ (103.2 million pounds).

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, which is still running in cinemas, is No.10 in the all-time chart with 74.8 million pounds and is most likely to overtake 2019’s ‘The Lion King’ (76 million pounds) and will then challenge ‘Titanic’ (80.2 million pounds) for the eighth position, reports ‘Variety’ quoting Comscore data.

 Cinemas in the U.K and Ireland were closed for the first 19 weeks of 2021 and allowed to reopen from May 17, but unlike 2020, which had repeated closures, 2021 did not see any enforced shutdowns since reopening.

Meanwhile, filmmaker Wes Anderson has been roped in to direct an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar’, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, for Netflix.

According to sources, Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel and Ben Kingsley have joined the cast, with production expected to start this month in London, reports variety.com.

First published in 1977, ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More’ is a collection of seven short stories crafted by British author Dahl for older children. Cumberbatch will play Henry Sugar, the protagonist of the titular story, which poses the question: “If you could see with your eyes closed would you use your power for good or for personal gain?”

The new movie marks Anderson’s second outing with Dahl’s classic works after the filmmaker crafted ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’ into a stop-motion film in 2009 and co-wrote the screenplay with

 News of the project follows the streamer’s acquisition of the Roald Dahl Story Company in September 2021, when plans were announced for the development of an extensive universe of animated and live-action film and television projects, as well as publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater and consumer products.

BOX OFFICE

 The U.K./Ireland Top Ten, according to Comscore data for 2021, were:

1. ‘No Time To Die’ (Universal): 96.5 million pounds

 2. ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ (Sony): 74.8 million pounds — still on release

 3. ‘Dune’ (Warner Bros): 21.8 million pounds

 4. ‘Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings’ (Disney): 21.2 million pounds

 5. ‘Peter Rabbit 2’ (Sony): 20.4 million pounds

 6. ‘Black Widow’ (Disney): 18.8 million pounds

 7. ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ (Sony): 18 million pounds

 8. ‘Free Guy’ (Disney): 16.8 million pounds

 9. ‘Fast & Furious 9’ (Universal): 16.4 million pounds

 10. ‘Eternals’ (Disney): 14.8 million pounds

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