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BBC Front Page News

Girl arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after teachers and pupil stabbed at schoolGirl arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after teachers and pupil stabbed at school

Pupils at a school in south-west Wales spend four hours locked down before being allowed to go home.

Watch: How runaway horses caused chaos in LondonWatch: How runaway horses caused chaos in London

Five Household Cavalry horses galloped across central London, colliding with vehicles and a cyclist.

US to send new Ukraine aid right away, Biden saysUS to send new Ukraine aid right away, Biden says

The president says weapons and equipment will be sent to Kyiv "in the next few hours", after approval from Congress.

Spain's PM halts public duties as wife faces inquirySpain's PM halts public duties as wife faces inquiry

Pedro Sánchez says he will "stop and reflect" on whether to remain in the job.

AskTen - Nine things you may not have noticed last week!

1. How to be successful. Success means different things to different people. Most often, though, it refers to reaching meaningful, worthwhile goals aligned with one’s values and fully realising personal and professional potential. Success is an ongoing process of growth rather than a fixed endpoint, as people’s goals and values tend to change over their lives. While complex, six key elements provide the foundation for nearly every success story. READ MORE

2. Record numbers out of work due to illness. The number of people out of work because of long-term sickness has leapt to a record high of more than 2.8 million. Economic inactivity, describing when an individual is out of work and not looking for a job, has been increasing steadily since the start of the Covid pandemic, pushed up by a greater prevalence of long-term illness. Before the pandemic 2.1 million people were classified as being economically inactive owing to long-term sickness. It means that there has been an increase of about 700,000 over the past three years, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. The Times

3. UK inflation falls as some food prices drop. Inflation has fallen to its lowest level in two-and-a-half years, driven largely by slowing food price rises. Prices rose by 3.2% in the year to March, down from 3.4% the month before, according to official figures. The cost of some items including meat, crumpets, chocolate biscuits, furniture and household items fell. However, petrol and diesel prices rose. Lower inflation does not mean prices overall are coming down, they are just rising less quickly. While the overall rate of inflation has dropped, goods in the shops are still much more expensive than they were two years ago. BBC

4. Jobs data sends mixed signals. A mixed picture has emerged from the latest UK labour market data released by the Office for National Statistics. On the one hand, wage growth exceeded expectations in the three months to February, with average earnings, including bonuses, up 5.6% compared to a year earlier. On the other hand, the labour market also showed signs of cooling down as unemployment rose to 4.2%. Additionally, the employment rate fell to 74.5%, while the share of working-age adults neither in work nor seeking jobs increased to 22.2%. Analysts suggest the weakening labour market could dampen wage growth and inflationary pressures in the coming months. The mixed data leaves the Bank of England facing a tricky balancing act as it weighs future interest rate decisions amid stubborn wage growth and rising unemployment. The Independent

5. What are the soft skills companies value most? From communication and conflict management to adaptability and strategic thinking, soft skills are sought after by employers as the building blocks of effective teamwork and organisational success. These skills and qualities enable you to be a productive and communicative team member, which is why employers seek these skills just as often as hard or technical skills. Many essential soft skills are valuable in the workplace. We have identified 10 of the most impactful soft skills you can have. What are the soft skills companies value most? Please kindly share your thoughts in our latest poll. VOTE HERE

 

6. Who will cut interest rates first? UK inflation fell to 3.2% in March, the lowest since September 2021, but the decline was less than expected. Meanwhile, continued wage growth and rising unemployment complicate the Bank of England's (BoE) decision on interest rate cuts further. In contrast, Eurozone inflation in March dropped to 2.4%, lower than forecast and tantalisingly close to the European Central Bank's (ECB) 2% target, setting the stage for a potential rate cut showdown between the two central banks. Investors are now asking: Who will pull the rate cut trigger first? The eurozone's stagnant growth and encouraging inflation data have set the stage for the ECB to cut rates as early as June. However, the BoE faces a tougher decision, with UK services inflation remaining high at 6.1% in February and wages still growing, rate cuts may be some time away. The Guardian

7. World’s busiest airports revealed. US airport Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has retained its top spot as the busiest airport in the world, a position it has held for more than two decades, except for the pandemic in 2020. However, with international travel driving the global air travel recovery, a new number two airport has emerged. Dubai – the busiest airport on the planet for international travel – climbed three spots in the Airports Council International ranking to become the second-busiest facility for passenger traffic overall. Atlanta still bested Dubai in total volume, but emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia Pacific are expected to field more than twice the expansion in aviation in decades to come. After Atlanta and Dubai, the busiest airports last year were Dallas/Fort Worth, London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda. CNN

8. Pothole damage at record high. Britain is in the midst of a "pothole crisis", according to the AA. The motoring organisation says it was called out 631,852 times in 2023 for "pothole-related incidents" – the most in five years. The organisation's research also shows that 96% of its 11,000-strong membership consider maintaining roads to be a top transport issue, and its president says that pothole damage is costing the UK's drivers nearly £500m each year. This may be a political decider in May's local elections, with both the Labour and the Conservative parties campaigning on promises to spend more money on fixing road infrastructure. Financial Times

9. Tenants facing ever-rising rents. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average rent paid in the UK rose by 9% in the year to February, the highest annual increase since records began in 2015. In England, average monthly rents hit £1,276, an 8.8% increase year-on-year. In Scotland, they rose by 10.9% to an average of £944, and in Wales by 9% to £723. The data for Northern Ireland lags the rest of the UK with the ONS reporting a 9.3% rise there over the year to December 2023. Daily Mail

10. The bottom line. The UK's unemployment rate in February was 4.2%, according to latest data from the Office of National Statistics. The sharp rise from 3.9% in January was unexpected, but analysts suggested that the "cooling effects of higher interest rates were leading to more redundancies and discouraging employers from hiring staff". The Guardian

Covid Updates for Oxfordshire

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