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Business

KFC slash price of £12 bargain bucket to £7 – but there’s a catch

There are few things better than digging into a KFC, especially at the end of a long week.

And now the kings of fried chicken have announced that it will be cutting the price of its bargain bucket as part of three new deals.

The fast food chain has slashed the price of its six-piece bargain bucket for £6.99 – down from £11.99. This saves shoppers £5 off the original price.


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Not only does the offer get you six pieces of Original Recipe chicken, but also four regular fries.

Alongside the bargain bucket discount, KFC has also slashed the price of another favourite: the Boneless Banquet.

With three mini millets, popcorn chicken, regular fries, one regular side, one dip and a drink, the fillet mega deal is reduced to £5.49, instead of the usual £6.49 – saving hungry customers £1.

The third deal is on KFC's eight-piece Boneless Dipping Feast – which has been slashed from £15.99 to £13.99.

Featuring eight mini fillets, popcorn chicken, original dips bar, four regular fries, two large sides and a large bottle of drink, there's enough to feed the whole family.

Annoyingly, the incredible offers aren't available until Monday, February 24th, and they'll be running until Sunday March 22.

Hungry customers will also need to be a member of KFC's free Colonel's Club loyalty programme and have the food chain's app on their phone.

You can sign up to the Colonel's Club via the app, or on the KFC website, while the app can be downloaded on Google Play or the App Store.

When claiming the offer, simply scan the KFC app at the counter and ask for your discounted food.

KFC currently has 900 stores in the UK. You can find your nearest branch by using its online restaurant finder.

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World News

South Korea sets ’emergency’ measures as coronavirus outbreak swells

Schools were shuttered, churches told worshipers to stay away and some mass gatherings were banned as cases of a new virus swelled Friday in South Korea, the newest front in a widening global outbreak.

The country said a total of 204 people were infected with the virus, quadruple the number it had two days earlier, as a crisis centered in China has begun strongly reverberating elsewhere.

The multiplying caseload in South Korea showed the ease with which the illness can spread. Though initial infections were linked to China, new ones have not involved international travel.

“We have entered an emergency phase,” Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun said in televised comments at the start of a government meeting on the health emergency. “Our efforts until now had been focused on blocking the illness from entering the country. But we will now shift the focus on preventing the illness from spreading further in local communities.”

Daegu, a southeastern city of 2.5 million that is the country’s fourth largest, emerged as the focus of government efforts to contain the disease known as COVID-19, and Chung promised support to ease a shortage in hospital beds, medical personnel and equipment. Mayor Kwon Young-jin of Daegu has urged residents to stay inside, even wearing masks at home, to stem further infection.

The first case in Daegu was reported on Tuesday. By Friday, the area had 153.

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World News

PETA says the word ‘pet’ should not be used for National Love Your Pet Day

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has said the word "pet" should be replaced in National Love Your Pet Day with "one that more clearly defines the bond" humans have with animals.

The organisation has already grabbed headlines with its claims that we should call animals 'companions' and people with pets to be called “human carers” or “guardians” rather than “owners”, so that they are seen as equals.

On its website, PETA says : "Referring to and thinking of animals not as sentient beings who have families, personalities, and emotions but rather as owned objects allows humans to justify using them in any way they see fit."

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On Thursday, social media was abuzz with people celebrating National Love Your Pet Day by sharing photos of themselves with their companions with the hashtag #LoveYourPetDay.

But PETA wants the event, held annually on February 20, to be renamed.

In a tweet, the organisation said: "We completely agree with the sentiment of #LoveYourPetDay BUT think #LoveYourCompanionDay would make for a much more respectful, kind and compassionate hashtag."

Speaking to Daily Star, Mimi Bekhechi, director of International Programmes for PETA, said: "Every day should be "Love Your Pet" Day if you're lucky enough to share your life with a dog, a cat, a rabbit, or another animal, but the word "pet" should be replaced with one that more clearly defines the bond.

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""Pet" can be used with love, but like the equivalent Spanish term, 'mascota', it emphasises a master-pet relationship, reducing animals with personalities and emotions to owned possessions instead of members of the family.

"Social movements have always had to appeal to people to stop using terms that are sexist or racist or that otherwise imply the subject is an accessory to the speaker rather than a whole, thinking, feeling individual like themselves.

"So yes, let's love the animals in our homes today – and every day – but let's give them the respect they deserve by calling ourselves what we should be, their "guardians", and them our "animal companions."

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Business

King Dollar rules as virus threatens global growth

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A powerful surge in the dollar threatens to magnify the pain for companies and nations already struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

The U.S. dollar index has jumped 3.5% this year, taking the greenback to its highest level since 2017 and making it the best performer of all global currencies year-to-date.

(Graphic: King Dollar dominates – here)

The rally is being fueled by investors pouring money into U.S. stocks and bonds amid expectations that the country will be less vulnerable to the economic fallout from the coronavirus, which already threatens to dent China’s growth rate and push Japan and the eurozone into recession.

Investors seeking a comparatively safe place to put their cash amid uncertainty over the virus’ trajectory and economic impact are also piling into the dollar. That effect has been heightened in recent weeks as concerns over Japan’s economy have weighed on the yen, traditionally a popular destination for nervous investors.

Meanwhile, though yields on U.S. Treasuries have dipped, they continue to exceed those offered by other developed countries, increasing the dollar’s allure to income-seeking investors.

(Graphic: 10-year Treasury/10-year Bund yield spread – here)

“You get some of the best growth in the developed world, plus a yield,” said Clifton Hill, who oversees $101 billion as global macro portfolio manager at Acadian Asset Management.

Hill came into the year expecting a trade deal between the United States and China to benefit a wide range of assets around the world, but the strengthening dollar has pushed him to shift his view.

He is now betting the buck will rise against a range of Asian currencies including the Korean won and Thai baht, and positioned for a decline in various commodity prices, which tend to weaken when the dollar rises.

(Graphic: Surging dollar – here)

A stronger greenback is an unwelcome development for U.S. multinationals because it makes it more expensive for them to convert foreign earnings back into dollars.

Currency headwinds accounted for $11.55 billion in collective losses for North American companies in the third quarter of 2019, according to treasury and financial management firm Kyriba. Companies such as Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) have mentioned the strong dollar as a drag on their earnings.

“If we really start to see the dollar gain traction … that could potentially mean less fuel to sustain the rally we have seen in stocks,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

Companies in the materials and technology sectors are among the most exposed to currency headwinds, with around 50% of the corporations in both sectors deriving the greater part of their revenues from abroad, an analysis of Russell 1000 companies by Bespoke Investment Group showed.

By contrast, only around 5% of the companies in the real estate and utilities sectors receive the majority of their revenue from overseas, the firm said.

At the same time, the dollar’s strength is likely to increase the burden on developing countries, especially those more exposed to the economic effects of China’s coronavirus-led slowdown.

Total dollar-denominated debt held by emerging markets stood at $6.4 trillion as of the third quarter, according to the Institute of International Finance. That debt becomes more difficult for countries to service when the dollar rises.

(Graphic: Emerging markets total dollar-denominated debt – here)

On the other hand, a strong dollar will likely help the eurozone and Japan, as it pushes down their currencies. A weaker currency helps countries’ exporters by making their products more competitive abroad and makes it easier for central banks to spur inflation.

But the rising dollar’s potentially salutary effects on some foreign economies are unlikely to sit well with President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly complained that other countries are benefiting from a strong dollar at the expense of the United States.

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World News

Myanmar to court-martial more troops over Rohingya crackdown, army says

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s army said in a statement on Friday it would hold more court-martials over alleged abuses against Rohingya Muslims, after a government-appointed commission said soldiers committed war crimes against the minority.

The panel concluded, in a report published in January, that members of the security forces, among “multiple actors”, were responsible for war crimes and serious human rights violations during a military-led crackdown against the group in 2017.

The army said in a post on its website on Friday it had studied the panel’s report in great detail and was reviewing allegations.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape an army offensive launched in August 2017 that U.N investigators described as having been executed with genocidal intent.

The country is facing genocide charges at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, after Gambia, a mainly Muslim West African state, lodged a lawsuit last year.

Myanmar says the army was fighting a legitimate counter-insurgency campaign against militants who attacked security posts.

The government-appointed panel blamed Rohingya militants for attacking 30 police posts and “provoking” the crackdown, which it said did not amount to genocide.

The army said it was investigating alleged abuses in two villages: Maung Nu, where residents told the panel as many as 200 Muslims were killed after taking shelter in a single house, and Chut Pyin, where dozens more are alleged to have died.

“The Court of Inquiry will investigate such incidents and the trial of Court-Martial will be followed in accordance with the law and in line with the processes of Military Justice,” the army statement said.

Two military spokesmen rejected several phone calls from Reuters on Friday seeking further comment.

‘BODIES PULLED APART’

Residents of Maung Nu told government-appointed investigators that soldiers besieged the village after militants attacked a nearby security post and stormed a house where many villagers were sheltering, killing as many as 200.

In Chut Pyin, residents said soldiers surrounded the village, used rocket launchers to set fire to houses and shot indiscriminately, killing scores, according to the January report.

Troops told locals, who allegedly participated in the destruction, to “systematically destroy the bodies” afterwards, one Buddhist resident told the government-backed panel.

“There were so many corpses in Chut Pyin village that when they were burnt, not all could be burnt down to ashes; some were buried, and some dead bodies were pulled apart by wild animals,” the resident was quoted as saying.

The army said in its statement it was still reviewing other incidents mentioned in the report by the government-appointed panel, which include an alleged massacre of Hindus by Rohingya militants calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which the group denies.

Myanmar has vowed to carry out its own investigations, saying international justice mechanisms violate its sovereignty.

The army began a trial in November of soldiers and officers from a regiment deployed to Gu Dar Pyin village, the site of another alleged massacre.

A statement on that trial will be released “in the near future”, the military said on Friday.

Seven soldiers jailed for 10 years for killing 10 Rohingya men and boys in the village of Inn Din were granted early release last November, after serving less than a year in prison.

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Business

Wall Street set to fall again as coronavirus spreads beyond China

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Friday as a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and elsewhere sent investors scrambling for safer assets such as gold and government bonds.

The risk-off mood was exacerbated by data showing Japan’s factory activity suffered its steepest contraction in seven years in February, underlining the risk of a recession in the world’s third-largest economy as the outbreak takes a toll on global growth.

With massive disruptions in supplies from China, parts shortages are hitting businesses as far away as the United States.

U.S. stocks fell more than 1% at one point on Thursday, with Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) taking the biggest hit.

Beijing reported an uptick in cases of coronavirus on Friday and South Korea reported 100 new cases that doubled its infections, while more than 80 people have tested positive for the virus in Japan.

However, hopes that central banks across the globe will take measures to counter a slowdown have cushioned global stocks and kept the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX near all-time highs.

“The economy here in the United States is doing well and people are worried about the next quarter earnings season and what kind of impact the coronavirus is going to have,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

At 8:38 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 95 points, or 0.33%. S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 11.5 points, or 0.34% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 29.75 points, or 0.31%.

Investors will keep an eye on IHS Markit’s U.S. manufacturing and services sector activity data for February, due at 9:45 a.m. ET, to gauge the impact of coronavirus on businesses.

A host of Federal Reserve officials including Dallas Fed’s Robert Kaplan and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester are set to speak later in the day.

Traders are looking for signs on whether the Fed will cut rates this year amid fears of the coronavirus outbreak denting global growth. However, recent data has suggested U.S. economy is showing no signs of losing steam.

Among stocks, Dropbox Inc (DBX.O) jumped 12.5% in premarket trading after it raised its outlook for operating margin, while Deere & Co (DE.N) rose 6.1% after an unexpected rise in first-quarter profit.

Sprint Corp (S.N) climbed 6.4% as it announced new merger terms with T-Mobile US (TMUS.O) that would reduce the stake of major Sprint shareholder SoftBank. T-Mobile shares dipped 0.9%.

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World News

Dozens of Rohingya face charges for illegal travel in Myanmar after fleeing Rakhine state

YANGON (Reuters) – Dozens of Rohingya Muslims, including two children, appeared in court in Myanmar on Friday, the latest group to face charges after attempting to flee conflict-torn Rakhine state.

The group of about 20 were among 54 people from the Rohingya minority arrested on Wednesday on the outskirts of the commercial capital Yangon while trying to leave for Malaysia, according to judge Thida Aye.

“The immigration officer submitted the case because they found no identification cards from these people,” she told Reuters.

Some were barefoot, others clothed in colorful head-scarfs, as they were ushered into the small courtroom in Yangon. A small boy was naked from the waist down.

Defense lawyer Nay Myo Zar said they had fled Rakhine state, the western region where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya live in apartheid-like conditions and have come under increasing pressure as government troops battle ethnic rebels.

More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape a military-led crackdown that U.N investigators have said was carried out with “genocidal intent” and included mass killings and rapes.

Myanmar says the army was fighting a legitimate counter-insurgency campaign against militants who attacked security posts.

Some 600,000 Rohingya remain in the country, confined to camps and villages where they are unable to travel freely or access healthcare and education. The vast majority lack citizenship.

The government says it is working on a national strategy to close camps and that Rohingya would not face movement restrictions if they accepted a so-called national verification card, which many reject, saying it labels them foreigners.

Rakhine state has for the past year been rocked by increasingly intense clashes between government troops and fighters from the Arakan Army, an insurgent group comprised of ethnic Rakhine, another mostly Buddhist minority.

Myanmar’s army said in a statement on Friday it would hold more court-martials over alleged abuses against Rohingya Muslims, after a government-appointed commission concluded soldiers committed war crimes.

For years, Rohingya on both sides of the border have attempted to flee for Thailand and Malaysia, some boarding boats organized by smugglers, a dangerous journey that has cost many lives.

On Thursday, 93 Rohingya arrested in November after they were found on a beach in the Irrawaddy delta region appeared in a separate court to face charges of traveling illegally, Radio Free Asia reported.

Hundreds more have been imprisoned in jails and youth detention centers across the country.

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Business

New £20 notes selling for more than £30 on eBay – the serial number to look for

People lucky enough to have got their hands on one of the first of the new, polymer, £20 notes are already cashing in – selling them for more than £30 each on eBay.

And so far, all the ones to be snapped up at more than their cover price have serial numbers that start the same way.

When the new plastic £5 came out, people rushed to get their hands on them to see if they had one of the coveted AA 01 serial numbers.

People lucky enough to find them were then able to sell them on eBay and Facebook Marketplace for hundreds and hundreds of pounds.

But that's not what's selling with the new £20 – instead it's the "AB" £20 notes that people are cashing in on.


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While the Bank of England has confirmed to Mirror Money that there are some AA notes out there, none have been tracked down yet and put up for sale.

However, 18 of the new £20s with an AB prefix to their serial numbers have already sold on the auction site – most going for more than £30.

One person has sold two "AB" notes for £75 (£32.50 each), another has sold 10 at an average price of £31 each and a third sold two sets of three for £99.97 (£33.32 each).

The better news is the Bank of England told Mirror Money that some AA notes would definitely be entering circulation – giving people another chance to find a £20 worth more than £20.

And they could pop up anywhere, with the Bank itself admitting it has no idea where they will be distributed as it simply doesn't store its notes by serial number.

What they'll go for if you find one is anyone's guess right now.

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Politics

Ireland in CHAOS: Who will be the next taoiseach as Leo Varadkar steps down?

On Thursday evening, attempts in the Dáil to elect a new taoiseach ended in tatters after voting fractured along party lines. Ireland’s parliament was attempting to elect a new prime minister after this month’s general election failed to produce a majority for any party.

There were four nominations for the post, including Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald, nominated by Sinn Féin.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan were also nominated by their respective parties.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald had the highest number of votes in her favour, with 45, but a majority would require 80.

Micheál Martin polled 41 votes, while Mr Varadkar received 31 votes, and Eamon Ryan was left with 12 votes in his favour.

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So what next?

Following the failure to choose a new taoiseach, the Dáil will be suspended for about a fortnight to allow negotiations on government formation to continue.

Mr Varadkar will continue as caretaker taoiseach until negotiations have completed.

He and the previous government will remain in place until a new government can be formed. 

Speaking after the result, Mr Varadkar said: “The responsibility is now on all of us to make sure we provide good government and indeed good opposition.”

In 2016, it took parties 70 days to agree a government structure, and things are looking set to be equally difficult now.

Micheál Martin criticised Sinn Féin for taking aim at his party’s policy on not going into government with it.

He said: “Some parties claim that they uniquely represent the people and deny the mandates of other parties.

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“We reject the idea that there is no limit to be set to the compromises that you should take.

“We believe that a new government must also show urgency in relation to Europe and Northern Ireland, as we can all see an enormous amount of work is required in relation to securing Northern Ireland’s special economic status and Dublin must return to being a leader in the work of challenging sectarianism and building reconciliation.”

However, Mary Lou McDonald said this election represented a turning point and that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, which have led every Irish government since the 1930s, were reluctant to give up power.

She said: Change also means that the old order must pass and you see, that’s really what the problem is here.

“Government formation is also about power and who wields it and the reality is that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have run the show for almost a century and they’re not minded to let go.”

Ms McDonald also said a vote for her party was not a “protest vote” but a vote for it to be in government.

Eamon Ryan said he respected the mandates that his colleagues from other parties had been given and those who voted for them.

There were demonstrations and celebrations outside the home of the Irish parliament in the hour before the 33rd Dáil sat for the first time, with protestors delivering messages about homelessness, healthcare, and the Middle East.

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Politics

Sturgeon shamed as SNP cuts force councils to fill £95million black hole with tax increase

SNP’s newly installed Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes outlined the Scottish budget for 2020-21 at the beginning of the month. Speaking earlier this week, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell claimed the proposals provided a “fair settlement” for local government, giving councils an increase of revenue spending of up to 4.3 percent in real terms. However, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), which represents Scotland’s 32 councils, branded the claims misleading, saying the rosy assessment fails to take into account growing demand on services.

While the draft budget for 2020-21 includes an additional £495million for local authorities for day-to-day spending, Cosla claims Scottish ministers have required them to carry out a further £590million worth of policy commitments, meaning a £95million budget shortfall.

Similarly, Cosla claims the £54million of new capital funding in the budget has been negated by £171million worth of Scottish Government commitments, adding up to a £117m cut to core capital budgets, equal to 17 percent.

As a result, a Cosla spokesman said, local authorities are being forced to push council tax bills up by five percent to help cover the shortfall.

Cosla’s resources spokeswoman Gail Macgregor said the funding settlement, as it stands, would impact on jobs and front-line services.

Speaking ahead of appearing at Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee on Wednesday, she said: “This draft budget will impact on jobs, front-line services and local government’s ability to address inclusive economic growth, child poverty, well-being and climate change, and does not address the growing demand most councils are facing in relation to services.”

She said Cosla had “campaigned hard in recent months for the Scottish Government to address falling local government budgets”, saying the organisation had lobbied ministers on this.

She added: “It is unfortunate that a sphere of government in this country has not been listened to.”

Cosla president Alison Evison said local authorities had already lost the equivalent of 10,000 full-time workers since 2010-11.

She warned: “The impact of this on communities is real and cannot continue.

“We are calling on Scottish Government and the Parliament to address these concerns, listen to our asks and prevent the loss of essential council services which communities rely upon.

“Make no mistake, councils and the services which communities rely upon will be at risk as a result of this budget.”

Speaking today, COSLA Environment and Economy Spokesperson Councillor Steven Heddle said: “Councils campaigned strongly for an increase in funding so that we can continue to develop local economies that provide fair and accessible work opportunities for everyone.

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“Regretfully, the Government has again ignored these warnings and failed to recognise the unique role councils play in growing local economies.

“We are the main employer in almost every local authority in Scotland providing a tenth of Scotland’s workforce. If any other part of the economy was facing the risks we are, the Government would step in.

“When councils have the money to invest in capital projects, the benefits are felt across communities – from training and apprenticeships to support for local supply chains – this year’s Capital Budget will mean these benefits will all be lost.

“Less core revenue funding for economic development support, planning and regulation will also hit communities hard.

“We are calling on the Government and the Parliament to address these concerns, listen to our asks and prevent the loss of essential council services which communities rely upon.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said councils will receive £11.3 billion in funding from the Scottish Government in 2020-21.

“The latest figures show that local government has £1.4 billion held in reserve that can be used at their discretion to support local services.

“Investing in vital public services, ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and tackling drug-related deaths are at the heart of our spending plans.

“As well as providing a real-terms increase in the local government revenue budget, our spending plans include an additional £500 million low-carbon capital investment and an additional £12.7 million to reduce the harm caused by drugs.”

(Additional reporting by Emily Ferguson)

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