2 min read
Conservative grandee Francis Maude has been drafted in to review the Cabinet Office in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Financial Times reports that the former Cabinet Office minister — who pushed for major reforms to the civil service during his time in David Cameron’s government — has been asked to review the central department’s performance and relationship with the rest of Whitehall.
The Cabinet Office co-ordinates work across government and is responsible for supporting the Prime Minister and tracking the implementation of key government commitments.
But its performance during the coronavirus pandemic has angered some government insiders, with one Whitehall official telling the FT that it “simply collapsed when faced with the enormity of coronavirus”.
Lord Maude, now a Conservative peer, drew the ire of some civil servants during his time as Cabinet Office minister for a sweeping reform programme aimed at improving Whitehall efficiency.
Some of his key innovations, including a controversial system for ranking the performance of officials and plans to beef up the external support available to ministers, were pared back after he left office.
But he oversaw major changes to the way Whitehall runs digital services and buys in goods and services from the private sector.
According to the FT, current Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has asked the Tory veteran to review the efficiency of the department, as well as its work on project management, reining in departmental spending, property management and human resources.
A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: “Lord Maude is conducting a short review on how to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government functions and spending.”
The Conservative peer is not expected to be paid for his role, and he is expected to work alongside the Cabinet Office’s top official Alex Chisholm.
The move is the latest sign that wide-ranging changes to the structure of Whitehall are planned in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser and a longstanding critic of the civil service, has reportedly vowed a “hard rain is coming”, while the Prime Minister last month argued that parts of government had “seemed to respond so sluggishly” to the crisis.
The Culture Secretary Has Told Netflix To Put A Warning Into “The Crown” Telling Viewers The Drama Is Fictionalised
3 min read
The culture secretary Oliver Dowden wants Netflix to place a warning at the start of episodes of “The Crown” telling viewers the drama is fictionalised.
He said people could be in danger of thinking the events depicted in it are a wholly accurate version of what happened after a number of complaints about the new series of the hit show.
The minister is expected to write to the streaming service requesting a message is placed on screen, echoing a similar suggestion from Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday Mr Dowden said the series, which stars Olivia Colman as the Queen, was a “beautifully produced work of fiction”.
But he raised concerns younger viewers who do not have prior knowledge of some aspects might mistake the fictional representations for an accurate version of what happened.
There has been criticism of how various members of the Royal Family have been depicted, including Prince Charles after the latest episodes show the tensions in his marriage to Princess Diana.
And the widow of an army officer killed in an avalanche at a Swiss ski resort said she was “very upset” to learn the disaster features in the new series.
Sarah Horsley, whose husband Major Hugh Lindsay, a friend of the Prince of Wales and a former Queen’s equerry who died in 1988, asked The Crown’s producers not to include it, and was “horrified” when she was told the episode was going ahead.
Mr Dowden told the Mail on Sunday: “It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that.
“Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”
Last week Earl Spencer told ITV’s Lorraine: “I think it would help The Crown an enormous amount if, at the beginning of each episode, it stated that: ‘This isn’t true but it is based around some real events’.”
He added: “I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair.”
But actress Emma Corrin, who plays Princess Diana, has defended the show, saying: “I think for everyone in the The Crown, we always try and remind everyone that the series we are in is fictionalised, to a great extent.
“Obviously it has its roots in reality and in some fact, but Peter Morgan’s scripts are works of fiction.”
She added: “At the same time, I understand why people would be upset, because this is history… and even with Diana, you know, it’s still very much fresh, I suppose, everything that happened. So I do really understand if people would be upset.
“But obviously, for all of the cast, we just want to constantly remind people that we approach these people that we play as characters, which is why it’s such a joyous job, because Peter [Morgan, the show’s creator] writes such rich and complex characters, and as an actor it’s such a joy to be able to really bring a lot to them.”
Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr share an engaging draw in ‘exhibition’ bout
Mike Tyson said he will “continue to go further and do more” in the boxing ring after his return to the sport ended in an engaging draw with Roy Jones Jr.
The 54-year-old former world heavyweight champion ended 15 years of inactivity to take on 51-year-old Jones in a high-profile pay-per-view ‘exhibition’ – but fears the pair would serve up a some form of money-making farce were not realised as they did enough to provide entertainment.
While rap artist Snoop Dogg said it was like watching “two of my uncles fighting at a barbecue” during his stint as a ringside commentator at the spectator-less Staples Center in Los Angeles, former world champions including David Haye, Lennox Lewis and George Foreman expressed satisfaction.
There were glimpses of the past as Tyson swayed from the hips, ploughed forward and tried to unload shots, while Jones sought to move fluidly, though he was visibly drained by the halfway stage.
Tyson landed a couple of eye-catching left hooks, some solid body shots and unquestionably forced the pace. Many on social media felt he had won well but the judges – not employed by the sanctioning body but by the WBC to offer added entertainment – thought otherwise.
Tyson said he was happy with the draw and made clear his future pursuits would not be in a professional capacity: “This is bigger than championships, we are humanitarians, we are helping people. I’m happy I got this under the belt and I’ll continue to go further and do more.”
Jones, a former four-weight world champion, said he would talk to his family before considering fighting again, and added: “I don’t do draws but the dude is so strong, man. When he hits you, his head, his punches, his body shots, everything hurts. I’m cool with the draw.”
So did it work?
Former heavyweight champion Foreman tweeted it was the “best exhibition I have ever seen”, Haye said the event was “competitive” and former world super-middleweight champion Richie Woodhall said the pair “didn’t disgrace themselves in any shape or form”.
What an ‘exhibition’ would look like was up for debate. The California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the fight, had required two-minute rounds instead of the usual three minutes, larger than normal 12-ounce gloves and had said neither fighter could seek a knockout. In a bid to make make the bout safer for the 50-something fighters, the commission even stated a winner would not be named.
Ultimately when the bell sounded Tyson tried to fight aggressively, Jones looked to survive and tie his rival up a bit and any fears they would walk around and do little were quickly overcome.
Music artists including Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg performed in a bid to add to the pay-per-view offer, and moments before his ring walk Jones questioned the small ring in use, stating: “It’s like they are feeding me to the bear.”
Moments before he walked to the ring in his glory years Tyson was known to punch holes in changing room walls. Here, he admitted to fears moments before his ring walk as he stated: “I’m just pushing myself. Whatever I’m afraid to do, I do.”
Jones’ energy tank looked close to empty by halfway but Tyson – who will give some of the reported $10m (£7.5m) he earned to charity – appeared well conditioned over the eight rounds.
UFC president Dana White watched and said: “Time is undefeated and takes us all down. Fighting is a young man’s game. Mike looked awesome tonight. I was blown away. It exceeded my expectations.”
Since his first heavyweight world-title win aged 20 – a record that still stands – Tyson has been in prison for rape, battled drug and alcohol abuse, been bankrupt, acted in films and fronted his own one-man show.
Despite scandal and chaos he has stayed relevant and fans posted images of the hell-raising figure they hoped they may see moments before a ring return that had been anticipated by some and ridiculed by others.
While it was acceptable and entertaining, it is hard to see how repeat editions can prove as enticing. This was largely all about seeing if a 54-year-old former champion had anything left.
Tyson showed he did. He was in shape, he punched with menace and it can be argued some high-profile professional fights have offered less in terms of entertainment.
Whether there was enough quality, risk and drama on offer to keep people paying to watch more is another matter.
‘Snoop Dogg wins’ – reaction
- Watch 13 FA Cup second-round games on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and app this weekend. Find out more here.
Whole Foods sent some customers a disconcerting email about their turkey
A “small number” of fresh market turkeys that were purchased from Whole Foods “did not meet our high expectations for quality,” the letter from Amazon customer service said. The note stressed there was no known food safety or health risk with any of the turkeys, but still, its recipient would be given a $50 Amazon gift card credited to their account.
“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and are grateful to be a part of your holiday feasting,” the email said.
Reached for comment by CNN, Whole Foods confirmed that it had “discovered a small number of fresh turkey products in our South region that did not meet our high expectations for quality.”
“While these products do not pose any known health risks, we know how important holiday meals are to our shoppers and have proactively contacted customers who potentially purchased one of these turkeys,” the company said.
Stores in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, as well as two in the Florida panhandle were impacted, Whole Foods said.
The company assured that not all fresh turkey products were affected, nor did it say what, exactly, went wrong.
Whole Foods was also seen responding to some customers on Twitter re-affirming that the turkeys were safe to eat, and pointed them to US Food and Drug Administration guidelines for safely roasting a turkey.
The FDA’s website says fresh turkeys shouldn’t be bought more than 1-2 days before they are cooked. The guidelines say ovens should be set to no cooler than 325, and a whole turkey is safe when its cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.
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