A driver slammed into spectators Saturday evening at the start of a U.S. pride parade in South Florida, killing one man and seriously injuring another, authorities said. Officials said the other man was expected to survive.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dea…
Tourism bodies and travel companies have been quick to capitalise on the growing interest in long-distance remote working. Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Dominica, Dubai, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, and Mauritius: the roll call of destinations that have lately created new visas welcoming visitors to work or study, from a few months up to a couple of years, grows ever longer. Likewise, resorts and hotels worldwide are tailoring offerings with long-stay working guests in mind, offering ‘workcation’ packages and rooms that double as office suites.
“We’ve seen a surge in bookings for Airbnb-type properties,” says Tim Gunstone of bookings site, HotelPlanner. “This could indicate an emerging trend towards extended-stay telework nomadism — what some are calling the YOLO (you only live once) economy, where employees have a pent-up desire to get out of their homes and see the world, while still earning a salary.”
Original Travel, meanwhile, is refocusing some of its adventurous trips for this growing demographic with ‘working from home from abroad’ offerings that include such tempting spots as Paris, the Maldives and Indonesia.
With its relatively low rates of Covid-19, outdoors living and a wide choice of work-stay visas, the Caribbean is proving popular with British remote workers. Taking advantage of St Lucia’s ‘live it’ initiative for extended stays, are Jason and Heena Cornwell, a couple in their thirties who’d been on a Latin American overlanding trip travelling in Colombia when lockdown happened in 2020.
“If you had to get stuck, that’s the place,” laughs Jason. “But we were getting itchy feet. Once borders opened, we booked the first flight out, to St Vincent, which got cancelled the day before. With our bags already packed, we got the next available flight, which happened to be to St Lucia.”
The couple stayed from October to December, returning to the UK for Christmas, but having loved the island, went back to St Lucia in early 2021. “The companies we work with, UK-based nonprofits, have been really supportive,” says Heena. “Office hours vary, but we try to align ourselves to UK time, starting at 6am and ending early afternoon. Perhaps because of our backgrounds — Jason is British-Mauritian and I was born in India but moved to the UK in my early twenties — we’re interested in learning about different cultures. So, it was important for us to have time to get out and really explore the island. We’ve learnt all about local sea moss farming, had a tour with a mural artist, found out about an incredible local bakery and stayed at Balenbouche, an eco-cottage conversion of an old sugar plantation.”
Introductions made by locals and recommendations from friendly locals and ex-pats helped the couple line up these experiences. “You need to be confident,” says Jason, “go into local restaurants to chat to people — and that’s always where the best food is anyway.” The couple has decided to continue remote working while building their online resource for like-minded globetrotters, confusionofcultures.com. “Having worked for nonprofits, we’d like to take it further and use our skills to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with island businesses,” says Heena.
Life on the road, it seems, can take you in directions you never expected. In early 2020, Tom Bainbridge and Alison Melvin, a couple in their fifties, set off from London on a six-week European road trip in a specially converted van. “We wanted to stay on wild coastlines and hilltops where there’s nothing, so we needed to be self-sufficient and comfortable,” says Tom. And then lockdown happened. “Borders were closing pretty much just after we went through them each time,” he says. “But we were more than happy in the van.” The couple got as far as Portugal before parking up and staying put. “I run my own business, as a lawyer, so I had an understanding boss,” laughs Tom. “I worked in the van with solar panels for power, filling up the water tank every couple of days, using an MIFI box for internet connection for Zoom meetings. We had a proper bed. We couldn’t have been better set up, really. Ali is a yoga teacher and managed to start giving classes online.”
Home is now a dilapidated farm building in a remote part of rural Coimbra that the couple have decided to renovate. “It was land that my late husband and I had bought years ago,” says Alison. “I was intending to sell it, thinking it was madness to do anything else. But here we are! And we’ve learnt so much, not just Portuguese (we’re taking lessons online, and from our builder; we have a very odd vocabulary of technical construction terms), but also what matters in life. It’s about jumping in at the deep end and totally committing to wherever you are.”
Once lockdown is over, the couple will set off again, to explore the Iberian peninsula. “Living in the camper showed me that you can do a lot more with much less,” says Alison. “We only packed for a few weeks and have survived with the small bags we took away. All that stuff in our two flats back home? We don’t miss any of it.”
Don’t leave home without…
1. Buying travel insurance All our interviewees said they wouldn’t have done without it, and that while it was a little more expensive due to pandemic, most policies were no more difficult to set up than usual and covered most eventualities, even during a pandemic.
2. Being bank smart Unless you decide to stay long term, like most remote workers you’ll likely keep banking at home. Consider opening an account with companies such as Monzo or Starling, which don’t charge for foreign transactions or withdrawals.
3. Talking to your employer Trust is key to successful business relationships, so be clear about your intentions to work overseas, not least as it might have tax, insurance, business licence or data protection implications for both you and the company you work for.
4. Getting advice from an accountant Those temporarily working abroad and employed by a UK company will pay tax as usual through PAYE, and the self-employed will still need to declare their income as usual, regardless of whether that income has been generated in the UK or overseas. However, as every country has different tax rules, it’s best to seek the advice of an accountant.
5. Checking current travel restrictions During the pandemic, ensure that you’re allowed into your destination, and check if there are any test, vaccination or quarantine requirements for entry. If quarantine is up to two weeks, in a government-provided hotel, and you’re away for only a month or so, your destination choice might start to look less attractive.
6. Assessing rental income If you own a property and are renting it out while you are away, you’ll need to file a self-assessment tax return. Tax will be due only if your total untaxed UK income exceeds £12,500 during the financial year.
More criminals have been locked up this week as court cases conclude across Greater Manchester.
Jail terms were handed out to a rampaging knifeman who tried to stab a policewoman and a ‘manipulative and scheming liar’ who groomed two underage boys.
Those put behind bars over the past seven days also include a man who was caught trying to smuggle people into the UK inside sofas and a county lines dealer known as ‘Manc Dave’.
Prison sentences are handed out to the worst offenders each week and Manchester Evening News reporters are in court to cover the most serious cases.
Here are some of the criminals locked up in Greater Manchester in the past week.
Oldham man who tried to smuggle people into the UK inside sofas
A man who was caught trying to smuggle people into the UK inside sofas has been jailed.
Arman Yusuf Rahmani, 21, was once granted asylum in the UK after entering the country in the back of a lorry.
But within two years, the Iranian national had established a criminal network to facilitate foreign nationals illegally entering the country, the Home Office said.
Rahman, of Oldham, arranged for people to be hidden inside the base of second-hand sofas before being collected and transported from France or Belgium by oblivious ‘man with van’ drivers.
Between December 2018 and April 2019, Preston Crown Court heard he hired six different drivers advertising their services on social media.
He arranged for them to drive from the UK to the continent where they would collect the furniture and transport it back.
The drivers did not know people were hidden inside the sofas.
They were told not to help with loading the vehicles and were distracted while the loading took place.
Upon arrival at the UK border in France, Border Force officers searched the vans and found the people hiding inside.
All claimed to be Iraqi males, under 18 years of age.
Rahmani, of Ringmere Court, Oldham, was jailed for two years and seven months last week after admitting breaking UK immigration law.
After his sentence is up, he will be eligible for deportation as a Foreign National Offender, a Home Office spokesperson said.
County lines drug dealer ‘Manc Dave’
County lines drug dealer ‘Manc Dave’ was arrested after being caught in a police sting.
‘Dave’ – real name Matthew Johnson – moved crack and heroin from Manchester into the Peak District after buying a drugs hotline with a regular list of clients from another dealer.
But following a tip-off Johnson, 21, was stopped by police in a Ford Focus on the A6 in Chapel-en-le-Frith on May 20, this year.
When detectives opened the car door they found Johnson lying down with his hands down the back of his trousers trying to hide several wraps of crack cocaine.
He was eventually found to be carrying seven wraps of crack cocaine and £128 in cash.
Three mobile phones were also found in the car, including the hot line which was constantly ringing after officers seized it.
Numerous messages advertising ‘high quality’ heroin and crack cocaine for sale were later found on the phones.
Johnson, of Shelley Grove, Droylsden, gave a no comment interview.
He later pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply crack cocaine.
He was jailed for four years and four months at Derby Crown Court.
Man who had JD bag filled with £4k worth of cocaine and cannabis in his kitchen
Cocaine and cannabis worth over £4,000 was found stuffed in a JD Sports bag by police in the kitchen of a ‘persistent’ drug dealer.
Andrew Oldham, 39, from Harprurhey, was also found to have a set of electric scales and a list of debtors following the raid of his north Manchester home.
He has now been jailed for four years by a judge.
His home was raided and searched in February this year following intelligence gathered as part of Operation Sussex – which focuses on targeting gang-related violence fuelled by the sale of drugs in North Manchester Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.
In the kitchen, officers found the plastic drawstring bag filled with over £4,000 worth of drugs, individually packaged ready for distribution.
It was the second raid at the house following another warrant executed in April last year.
On that occasion, officers found over £1,500 worth of Class A and Class B drugs, as well as a mobile phone containing “orders”.
A month earlier during a stop and search close to his home, Oldham was found in possession of nearly £400 worth of cannabis and over £4000 in cash.
Oldham, of Kingsbridge Road, Harpurhey, was charged with possession with intent to supply Class A and B drugs, following the more recent find, and with possession with intent to supply Cannabis, following the searches last year.
Rampaging knifeman who tried to stab a police woman
A female police officer was saved by her lip balm as she bravely helped to subdue a rampaging knifeman who tried to stab her.
Her colleague was slashed eight times in his leg as the pair stopped 25-year-old Mahar Mansour with another officer.
They had rushed to Harpurhey in the early hours, after receiving reports he was armed with a knife and damaging cars.
She suffered cuts and soreness but miraculously avoided more serious injury after the Vaseline she had in her pocket took the brunt, as Mansour swung his arms at her while armed with a knife.
Later, she noticed marks in the Vaseline container, which corresponded with holes in her trousers.
Both officers went to hospital but were not seriously hurt.
Mansour who sought asylum in the UK after becoming a ‘political prisoner’ in Syria, suffers from mental health problems exacerbated by the coronavirus lockdown, Manchester Crown Court was told.
He has been jailed for two years.
Teenager with 80 cannabis plants after flat fire
A 19-year-old has been jailed after being found in a flat with 80 cannabis plants, following a fire in the building.
Fire crews, police and ambulance were rushed to the blaze in Vine Street, in the Whelley area of Wigan on May 18.
Luftim Hallaci had only moved into the building four days prior after being ‘promised a job’, prosecution barrister Mark Friend told Bolton Crown Court.
When firefighters entered the flat to rescue Hallaci, they found a cannabis farm and alerted police.
Along with 80 plants, it was discovered that electricity was being extracted illegally.
After receiving treatment from paramedics, Hallaci was arrested.
During his interview, he told police that he arrived in the UK on the back of a lorry in August 2020.
He spent around nine months in London, before being promised a job in Wigan.
Hallaci, who has no previous convictions, told police that his job was ‘security’ at the flat in Vine Street and admitted that he was aware of the presence of cannabis plants. However, he said he had no connection to them.
At a plea and trial preparation hearing Hallaci pleaded guilty to production of a Class B drug.
Sentencing Hallaci to six months in a young offender institution the judge said: “In my view, the offending is so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.
“You will serve half of the sentence in custody and then be released, notionally, on licence.
“I say notionally because the authorities can now determine whether or not you should be deported back to Albania.”
Jekyll and Hyde ‘devil’ drunk who carried out terrifying attack on partner
A ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ drunk who launched a terrifying attack on his partner has been forgiven by her.
Marvic Mhlanga, 44, was described as a ‘devil’ by the woman when he drinks, but said he was a ‘decent guy’ when sober.
Fuelled by Special Brew, painter and decorator Mhlanga stamped on her chest and kicked her face while she was on the floor and choked her by standing on her neck.
He then attacked her with a knife to the head, leaving her with a permanent scar.
She said she ‘hated’ Mhlanga for the attack, but ‘in time has decided to forgive him’, Manchester Crown Court heard.
The woman said she ‘doesn’t want to live her life in hatred’, and ‘hopes he has learnt his lesson’ while in prison.
During the attack in February, he stamped on her chest, kicked her in the face and stood on the side of her windpipe.
Mhlanga, of Mere Avenue, Salford, was jailed for 18 months after admitting section 20 wounding.
Man who threatened to burn a house down before hiding from police in a cupboard
A man who threatened to burn his neighbour’s house down with his children inside before hiding from arrest in a bedroom cupboard has been jailed.
Paul Brooks, previously of Shaw Street, Royton, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court Minshull Street after pleading guilty to four offences.
The 30-year-old appeared before Mr Recorder Eric Lamb, who heard how Brooks had driven his car at his neighbour, before threatening to burn his house down.
Jack Troup, prosecuting, told the court that Brooks had been waiting outside his neighbours home on April 25, making “offensive gestures” towards the man inside after mistakenly believing his neighbour had attempted to run him off the road.
Later that day, the victim went outside to call his five-year-old child inside when he saw Brooks speaking with two of his neighbours.
After attempting to drive into his neighbour, Brooks shouted out of the car “I’m going to smash the window on your car and burn the house down with your kids in it”, before driving away.
The next day, at around 10pm, Brooks returned to the car park, and a witness heard two loud bangs coming from the area, before looking out and seeing the man next to his neighbour’s car.
Brooks had smashed the front window, and hit the rear of the car, causing around £400 in damages.
Brooks was sentenced to three terms of six months, to run concurrently, for attempted assault containing actual bodily harm, threats to commit criminal damage, and criminal damage to property.
An additional sentence of three months imprisonment was passed down for assault upon an emergency worker.
Brooks will serve half of his nine month sentence in prison, before being released on licence, and will be ordered to pay a statutory surcharge.
‘Predator’ who groomed two underage boys after they responded to his job advert
A ‘manipulative and scheming liar’ groomed two underage boys after they responded to a job advert on Facebook.
Callum Townsend was 25-years-old and living in Oldham when he posted the listing in October 2018, asking people from all walks of life to apply for employment at a new café in the town centre.
A woman messaged Townsend and asked if the work would be suitable for her 15-year-old son.
At this point, he asked for the boy’s phone number, prosecution barrister David Toal told Bolton Crown Court.
Townsend spoke to the boy on Whatsapp, before moving the conversation to Snapchat – where messages disappear a short time after being sent and received.
Speaking over several days, the conversations became “overly friendly” according to Mr Toal.
Townsend initiated conversations on topics such as masturbation and asked the 15-year-old for a photograph in his underwear.
The court heard that Townsend has previous convictions in his home country of Northern Ireland for harassment, sexual harm prevention order breaches, and fraud.
Some of his previous convictions related to him posing as a teenage girl to speak to teenage boys online.
Townsend initially did not turn up for his trial but after he was arrested and brought before the court, he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual communication with a child, one count of enticing a child to send an indecent image, and one count of attempting to entice a child to send an indecent image.
Townsend was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment and was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.
Man caught with £1.2m of cocaine hidden in food boxes
A drugs mule was caught at an airport with £1.2 million of cocaine hidden in food boxes which he claimed were for his brother in Manchester.
Eric Appaih, 49, has been jailed for six years after he flew in 33lb of the Class A drug from Accra, Ghana, to Heathrow Airport on April 30 this year.
Officers discovered the haul after searching his suitcases, which were full of boxes that appeared to contain food, such as plantain, which he claimed were for his brother, who lives in Manchester.
Inside were a total of 15 packages of cocaine with a wholesale value of £570,000 and an estimated street value of £1.2 million, while
Isleworth Crown Court heard that it was Appaih’s sixth trip from Accra to Heathrow since November 2019.
He was sentenced to six years in jail on Thursday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to importing cocaine.
Judge Christine Agnew QC told him: “You will appreciate that the importation of Class A drugs into any country simply contributes to the scourge of drugs generally, and the courts must and do treat those who import drugs very seriously.”
The court heard that Appaih ran an import/export business buying electronic goods such as fridges and televisions in the UK and selling them in Ghana.
Man who put wheelie bin against his mum’s front door and drove into it
A man put a wheelie bin against his mum’s front door before driving into it in a moment of ‘incredible stupidity’.
Stephen Wood, 51, of Atherton Road, Hindley Green, then stole a box from the house containing a number of valuables and at least £10,000.
It followed an argument between the pair, prosecution barrister Thomas Sherrington told Bolton Crown Court.
Wood visited his mum, in Wigan, on February 17, but was asked to leave her house after a row.
She locked him out but a short time later, Wood returned and started kicking the front door and shouting abuse through the letterbox.
He also threatened to break the front door down.
Wood then got a green wheelie bin and put it against the front door, before driving into it and knocking the door of its hinges – it’s estimated that the damage caused was around £1,500.
He went upstairs and stole a box, which he knew to contain valuables and savings, before driving off.
Two days later, police found the car and £10,000 was still inside.
Wood’s mum believed there to be £20,000 in total but Wood said he did not spend anything and no other money was recovered.
When police arrested Wood, he was also in possession of a Stanley knife.
At the first opportunity, he pleaded guilty to criminal damage, theft, and possession of a bladed article.
He was jailed for 28 months.
Taxi driver cornered by paedophile hunters after driving 45 minutes to meet ’13-year-old girl’ for sex
This is the moment paedophile hunters corner a taxi driver from south Manchester who had driven nearly 50 miles to meet a ’13-year-old girl’ for sex.
Dad Naveed Ashraf, 37, from Levenshulme, drove to Kidsgrove in North Staffordshire with a pizza for the ‘girl’ and was later found to have condoms and viagra in his car along with red roses and a gift bag.
However, the girl, who he had previously been messaging for several months, was in fact a decoy set up by the group Justice4Kids who then filmed him arriving at the meeting point and confronted him.
The shocking footage begins with the exposers arriving at the scene on January 3 this year and quizzing the married dad-of-two being about his online sex chats with the young girl.
In the 40-minute film – which was live-streamed on Facebook – the defendant looks sheepish as his reaction to the questioning is filmed.
A camera is shined in his face as a man explains he is to be arrested for online grooming and trying to meet a child.
Ashraf, of Longden Road, Levenshulme, was jailed for three years at this week after pleading guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity; attempting to arrange or facilitate sexual activity with a child; and two charges of possession of an indecent image of a child.
He was also made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.
HGV DRIVERS are being driven from the industry by rigid working conditions, red tape, poor facilities, and easier job prospects elsewhere.
The SF has been told that Brexit and a lack of foreign workers can’t be solely blamed for the rise in driver shortages and that an overhaul of the sector is needed in order to attract and retain a future workforce.
Managing Director of Annandale Transport Co Ltd in Dumfries and Galloway, David Hyslop, claimed that there are so many rules and regulations in place which are turning people away from the industry.
“The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is constantly breathing down the necks of drivers,” said Mr Hyslop. “There is no flexibility and any slight deviation from driving limits can result in an instant fine in excess of £100, irrespective of the circumstances.
“There is a total lack of joined up thinking between the authorities and the industry, and the public have absolutely no idea of the challenges threatening logistics in the country,” he stressed. “I would say there is a 20% shortage of workers right now across the board.
“People don’t want to work weekends or outside the 9 to 5, but the food chain operates seven days a week.
“People don’t realise that supermarkets, dairy farms, abattoirs etc all need drivers to transport produce to and fro. These supply chains will come to a halt without drivers.”
He added that he lost four drivers in the last month and said it was due to poor conditions at service stations: “Facilities in this country are disgusting. It makes drivers feel devalued and they are sick of it. Things need to improve and for the government to recognise how important drivers are if there is to be a future in the industry to speak of in five years’ time.”
WM Armstrong is one of the largest livestock hauliers in Scotland and Managing Director, Jennifer Whyberd added that the labour pool has depleted due to European drivers returning home, IR35 tax implications and the surge in home deliveries over the past year and increased competition to find drivers.
“During the pandemic everyone started to turn online for their groceries and garden furniture amongst other items, and this has added pressure to an already diminishing labour pool,” she explained. “Drivers are seeing opportunities to operate smaller vans with less restrictions and are turning away from HGV’s.
“With more jobs to fill, drivers are able to move around which is leading to inflation of wages, haulage companies are having to pay more, and this is going to be felt further down the line to consumers too.”
Armstrong’s employs 200 drivers and Jennifer Whyberd said “driver’s wages have increased in recent times and a driver can pick and choose the work and shift pattern to suit their circumstances. Pay rates vary around the country with drivers earning £30-£40,000 a year. It’s a well-paid job today and its up to employers to look after their drivers and work with the RHA to ensure proper facilities and secure parking are available out there on the road, and ensure that our drivers are recognised as the key workers they are.
“There needs to be more flexibility in the industry, it is not the length of the hours but the flexibility which goes with them. We need to create a more family friendly industry which will also attract women and open up a whole new drivers pool.”
Alex McDonald was a self-employed lorry driver with 40 years in the trade but quit last year, citing low pay and poor conditions: “It is a load of rubbish to say there are no drivers, there are plenty of certified drivers, just not enough willing to do the work for low rates.
“The service stations closed during the pandemic and HGV drivers had no facilities available to them on the road. Even before the pandemic the services were shocking. I have friends driving lorries in Germany and France who say the services are like four-star hotels because they value the role they play in keeping our supply chains moving. This country doesn’t deserve decent drivers because they don’t treat them right.”
Reuters VideosWeek ahead: Fed chief returns to Capitol HillThere’s no rest for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. After hashing it out with fellow policymakers, now he’s talking things out with lawmakers. The Fed Chief back on Capitol Hill – vi…
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For a look at how dramatically U.S. oil consumption is roaring back, consider this: Bennie Baucham, a trucker for four decades, hasn’t been this busy in years.