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Pound LIVE: GBP Sterling FIGHTS BACK after May suffers latest blow to Brexit deal | City & Business | Finance





The British currency rose by 0.32 percent to €1.1317 from an opening price of €1.1335. Pound Sterling had started the morning well and had risen to €1.1364 before falling sharply to €1.1342. But this is still a massive fall from the highs of €1.1408 hit on Wednesday.

The pound mounted a similar fightback against the US dollar, rising 0.15 percent to $1.2822 from its opening price of $1.2803.

The British currency had fallen sharply this morning to as low as $1.2788 before recovering as the morning progresses.

But this also marks a fall fro the highs of $1.2846 just 48 hours ago.

The currency is set to finish the week 1.2 percent lower versus the US dollar, which would be its third consecutive week of losses.

Traders are expecting the pound to remain volatile over the coming weeks as Brexit uncertainty continues.

On Thursday night, Theresa May‘s Brexit plans suffered another humiliating defeat in the House of Commons.

The latest defeat undermines the Prime Minister’s pledge to EU leaders to get her divorce deal approved if they grant her concessions.

Theresa May has promised that if parliament has not approved a deal by February 26, Mrs May will make a statement updating MPs on her progress on that day, who will have the opportunity to debate and vote on the way forward on February 27.

Britain is on course to leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal unless Mrs May can persuade Brussels to amend the divorce deal – primarily the Irish backstop – she agreed last year.

The pound begin to fall on Thursday before the crunch vote in the evening as several MPs stated their intention to vote against the motion.

Kristoffer Kjær Lomholt, a senior analyst at Danske Bank, told the pressure is rising on everyone involved.

He said: ”Right now it seems as though we have to get very close to the 29 March deadline (remember there is an EU summit on 21-22 March) or a small majority in the Commons will force May to ask for an extension of Article 50 by the end of this month. Pressure is rising on all.

As the Brexit crisis deepens, two of the world’s biggest banks gave starkly different views on what the final outcome from negotiations might be.

Goldman Sachs sees a 50 percent probability of thePrime Minister getting a divorce deal ratified, adding MPs would ultimately block a no deal Brexit if it came to that.

The lender also sees the probability of a no deal Brexit at 15 percent and the probability of no Brexit at all at around 35 percent.

Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients on Friday: “There does exist a majority in the House of Commons willing to avoid a ‘no deal’ Brexit (if called upon to do so), but there does not yet exist a majority in the House of Commons willing to support a second referendum (at least at this stage).

“The prime minister will repeatedly try to defer the definitive parliamentary vote on her negotiated Brexit deal, and the intensification of tail risks will continue to play a role in incentivising the eventual ratification of that deal.”

JP Morgan said it thought Mrs May will now seek an extension to the March 29 deadline.

Elsewhere, the pound was also able to bounce back off the news jumped one percent last month compared to December.

The rise was unveiled in figures released by the Office for National Statistics, after retail sales fell 0.7 percent in December, with discounts in clothing helping to boost sales.

Compared with a year ago, retail sales were also 4.2 percent higher in January. – the biggest annual rise since December 2016.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “January’s jump in retail sales shows that most households have maintained a happy-go-lucky mentality, despite the fraught political situation.

“While consumers’ confidence is down, this reflects rather fuzzy expectations that Brexit might be costly eventually.”


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Ottawa education workers still teaching special-ed students at schools want safety checks





Some Ottawa educators say they are concerned about the safety of classrooms that remain open in schools for special-education students.

Ontario elementary and secondary students have been sent home to study virtually because of the dangers posed by rising rates of COVID-19. However, special-education classes are still operating at many bricks-and-mortar schools.

The special-education classes include students with physical and developmental disabilities, autism and behaviour problems. Some don’t wear masks and require close physical care.

Two unions representing teachers and educational assistants at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board have sent letters to Ottawa Public Health expressing their concerns.

It’s urgent that public health officials inspect classrooms to assess the safety of the special-ed classes, said a letter from the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, which also represents the educational assistants who work with special-needs children.

“In the absence of reasons based on medical evidence to keep specialized systems classes open, we are unsure as to the safety of staff and students in these programs,” said the letter signed by president Stephanie Kirkey and other union executives.

The letter said staff agreed that students in specialized classes had difficulty with remote education and benefited most from in-person instruction.

“Our members care deeply about the students they work with and are not only concerned about their own health and safety, but also about that of their students, as they are often unable to abide by COVID safety protocols that include masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene, thus making it more likely that they could transmit the virus to one another,” the letter said.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has 1,286 elementary and secondary students in special-education classes attending in person at 87 schools, said spokesperson Darcy Knoll.

While final numbers were not available, Knoll said the board believed a large number of the special-education students were back in class on Friday at schools.

In-person classes for other elementary and secondary students are scheduled to resume Jan. 25.

The school boards provide PPE for educators in special-education classes as required, including surgical masks, face shields, gloves and gowns.

Several educators interviewed said they don’t understand why it has been deemed unsafe for students in mainstream classes to attend class, but not special-ed students.

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Ottawa sets record of 210 new COVID-19 cases following lag in data reporting





Ottawa has now broken its daily record for new COVID-19 cases twice in 2021, with 210 new cases added on Friday amid a lag in data reports from earlier in the week.

The nation’s capital has now seen 10,960 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports 977 active cases of the virus in Ottawa, a jump of more than 100 over Thursday’s figures.

One additional person has died in relation to COVID-19 in Ottawa, raising the city’s death toll in the pandemic to 395.

The record-setting case count comes a day after Ottawa reported a relatively low increase of 68 cases. Ontario’s COVID-19 system had meanwhile reported 164 new cases on Thursday.

OPH said Thursday that due to a large number of case reports coming in late Wednesday, the local system did not account for a large portion of cases. The health unit said it expects the discrepancy to be filled in the subsequent days.

Taken together, Thursday and Friday’s reports add 278 cases to Ottawa’s total, a daily average of 139 cases.

The new single-day record surpasses a benchmark set this past Sunday, when the city recorded 184 new cases.

Ontario also reported a new record of 4,249 cases on Friday, with roughly 450 of those cases added due to a lag in reporting in Toronto.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 also continues to climb in Ottawa. OPH’s dashboard shows there are currently 24 people in hospital with COVID-19, seven of whom are in the intensive care unit.

Three new coronavirus outbreaks were added to OPH’s dashboard on Friday. One outbreak affects a local shelter where one resident has tested positive for the virus, while the other two are traced to workplaces and private settings in the community.

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Ottawa family dealing with mould issue in apartment grateful for support





OTTAWA — An Ottawa family, who has been dealing with mould in their south Ottawa apartment, is grateful for the support they have received from the community.

“I would like to say big very mighty, big thank you to everyone,” says Nofisat Adeniyi.

Adeniyi lives with her three sons in a South Keys apartment. Her son Desmond turned to social media on Sunday to seek help for the family, saying they’ve been dealing with mould in their unit and it has taken too long to fix.

“I see my mom go through a struggle everyday; with three kids, it’s not easy,” says 16-year-old Desmond Adeniyi.

He setup a GoFundMe page to help the family raise money to move out. After gaining online attention and the story, which originally aired CTV News Ottawa on Tuesday, they have been able to raise over $30,000.

“Yes! I was surprised, a big surprise!” says Nofisat Adeniyi, “We are free from the mess that we’ve been going through.”

The family was so touched, they decided to pay it forward and donated $5,000 to another family in need, “A lady my son told me about,” says Nofisat Adeniyi.

The recipient wants to remain anonymous, but when she found out from Adeniyi, “She was crying, she has three kids; I remember when I was, I can feel what she’s feeling – because I was once in those shoes.”

CTV News Ottawa did reach out to the property management company for an update on the mould. In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for COGIR Realty wrote:

“We respect the privacy of our residents and are unable to disclose any specific information regarding any of our residents. We can, however, let you know that we are working with the residents and are making every effort to resolve this matter as soon as possible,” said Cogir Real Estate

The giving did not stop at just cash donations. “When I saw the segment, the thing that struck me the most was how easily the situation can be resolved,” says mould removal expert Charlie Leduc with Mold Busters in Ottawa.

Leduc is not involved in the case, but appeared in the original story, and after seeing the mould on TV wanted to help.

“This isn’t something that we typically do, but given the circumstance and given the fact that this has gone on way too long, our company is willing to go in and do this work for free,” said Leduc.

The Adeniyi family may now have some options, and are grateful to the community for the support.

“Yes, It’s great news — you can see me smiling,” says Nofisat.

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