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Britain shuts down for the Queen’s funeral: Bin collections, driving tests and hospital appointments cancelled



• Major supermarkets will close on September 19 for the Queen’s funeral

• Services to be delayed include hospital appointments and bin collections

Bin collections, driving tests, hospital appointments, cinemas and major supermarkets are among the businesses and services which will be halted as the country marks the Queen‘s funeral on Monday.

Costa Coffee is one of the latest chains to announce its closure, following confirmation from supermarket giants Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi, Morrisons, Iceland, Lidl, Poundland, and M&S that they will shut.

All driving tests in England, Scotland and Wales have been cancelled on the day of the Queen’s state funeral, the DVSA has confirmed.

Candidates who are booked in for practical tests on September 19 will have them postponed and be given the next available date.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich were one of the local councils who confirmed bin collections next week will be delayed following the funeral of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Local councils have begun announcing delays to bin collections on Monday as the country grinds to a halt for the Queen’s funeral (stock image)

‘This is due to the bank holiday, and to allow staff, like the rest of us, to pay their respects to our late monarch,’ they said.

There will also be no North East Derbyshire District Council bin collections on Monday. Collections would resume on Tuesday, Councillor Ross Shipman confirmed.

Thousands of patients have had hospital appointments cancelled because of the national bank holiday, according to openDemocracy.

Major cinema chains including Cineworld, Odeon and Showcase will shut their sites on September 19 in a mark of respect.

English Heritage, which cares for historic monuments and buildings including Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Eltham Palace and the Roman forts on Hadrian’s Wall, said all of its sites would be closed.

And Center Parcs will shut for 24 hours from 10am on Monday, ordering devastated holidymakers to leave their sites.

Mass cancellations compounded with backlogs caused by the pandemic could mean long waiting times for the next available driving tests.

A DVSA spokesperson said: ‘Our thoughts are with His Majesty King Charles III and the Royal Family at this sad time.

‘In line with National Mourning guidance our services will continue during the mourning period.

‘We are suspending all but our most essential our services on 19 September due to the Bank Holiday and State Funeral, allowing individuals, businesses and other organisations to pay their respects to Her Majesty.

‘We are contacting all our customers affected.’

By the end of May, some 530,387 learners were waiting for an available test slot, according to AA Driving School.

The driving test backlog has increased by 34,263 at the end of May 2022 compared to a year earlier, data provided by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency following a freedom of information request showed.

Lily Paterson-Neil, 19, from London, had her practical driving test booked for September 19 before heading off to start university later this month, but this has now been cancelled.

She has not been given a new date but fears it could take ‘months and months’ until a new test becomes available.

She said: ‘Because of the backlog it was hard to book a test originally.

‘I’m not hopeful I’ll get a new date any time soon, because everything is so majorly booked up, months and months in advance.

‘I don’t see how they are going to find a slot to fit us in. I’m thinking it will take at least a couple of months, maybe even Christmas time.’

DVSA’s chief executive, Loveday Ryder continued: ‘We’re working hard to provide more tests, and we’re starting to see that work pay off with more tests available to book.

‘But also we’re asking learners and instructors to do their part to help in making sure everyone who is heading for a driving test appointment is fully prepared, has got the right car, the right documents and knows the time, date and location of their test.

‘By working together, we’ll see the right people coming for their test, the pass rate increase and waiting times drop.’

The DVSA said it was trying to bring average wait times down to less than 10 weeks by the end of the year.

Non-urgent procedures and appointments at some NHS trusts will be postponed, according to reports.

One pregnant woman told openDemocracy that her appointment at a London hospital trust had been cancelled.

‘I’m really disappointed,’ she said. ‘Yes, it’s a routine scan, but that’s another week or two until I’m seen and wondering whether my baby is healthy – which means quite a lot of anxiety, sitting and waiting.’

She reportedly received a text message from the NHS which said: ‘We regret that due to unforeseen circumstances, your appointment to see a member of the team in the Fetal Medicine Centre on Monday 19th September has been cancelled. A new appointment date will be rescheduled shortly.’

Many Twitter users have been claiming their hospital appointments have been cancelled.

One twitter user named Corry wrote: ‘My breast cancer appointment on Monday was also cancelled today. LUCKILY my consultant is going to call me tomorrow instead.

‘My heart breaks for those left waiting. The wait is agonising enough without it being delayed because of someone else’s funeral.’ (Daily Mail)

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President Joe Biden tumbles, falls during graduation ceremony



President Joe Biden took a face-first tumble on Thursday after tripping over an obstacle on stage at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, but he appeared unhurt.

Biden, 80, who had delivered the commencement address to graduates of the military academy, had just shaken hands with a cadet and begun walking back to his seat when he fell.

Air Force personnel helped him back up and he did not appear to require further help.

As he rose, Biden pointed to the object that had apparently caught his foot. It resembled a small black sandbag on the stage.

White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt tweeted shortly afterward that “he’s fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands.”

Biden is the oldest person ever in the presidency and is seeking a second term in the 2024 election. His official doctor’s report this year declared him physically fit and he exercises regularly.

In November 2020, shortly after winning his election against the incumbent Donald Trump, Biden broke his foot while playing with a pet dog.


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Good sex secret to my long life — 102-year-old woman



•102-Years Old Joyce Jackman
A 102-year-old British woman, identified as Joyce Jackman, has attributed her longevity to good sex.

Jackman, who celebrated her 102nd birthday on May 9, stated that “good sex and good sherry” leads to long-term satisfaction, NY Post reports.

According to her, a combination of both has helped her live for over a century.

Speaking about her birthday celebration, the centenarian said, “I had such a lovely day.

“I can’t believe I’m 102. It must be all the chocolate I eat that’s helped!”

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Arrested Asiana Airlines passenger gives reason for opening plane door midair



The Asiana Airlines plane landed at Daegu with its door open

A man who opened an emergency exit on an Asiana Airlines flight in mid-air felt “suffocated” and wanted to get off quickly, South Korean police said on Saturday.

The plane was carrying nearly 200 passengers as it approached the runway on Friday at Daegu International Airport, about 240 kilometres (149 miles) southeast of Seoul, on a domestic flight.

When the plane was around 200 meters (650 feet) above ground, the man who police said was in his 30s without providing further details, opened the exit door.

The passenger was taken in by Daegu police for questioning and told officers he had been “under stress after losing a job recently”.

“He felt the flight was taking longer than it should have been and felt suffocated inside the cabin,” a Daegu police detective told AFP.

“He wanted out quickly”.

The passenger faces up to 10 years in prison for violating aviation safety laws.

A video clip shot by a nearby passenger showed wind ripping through the open door, with fabric seat-backs and passengers’ hair flapping wildly as some people shouted in surprise.

Another video shared on social media showed passengers sitting in the emergency exit row next to an open door being buffeted by strong winds.

A dozen passengers were taken to hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties but there were no major injuries or damage, according to the transport ministry.

“It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board,” a 44-year-old passenger told Yonhap.

“I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this.”

A transport ministry official told AFP that this was “the first such incident” they were aware of in Korean aviation history.

Experts say South Korea’s aviation industry has a solid safety record

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