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BBC Front Page News

Top A-level grades fall in first exams since Covid

About 36% of grades are A* and A – with most applicants assured of university or college place.

Rishi Sunak: I can still win Tory leadership race

The former chancellor brushes off polls suggesting his rival Liz Truss is the clear frontrunner.

Train strikes: Passengers face disruption as rail services hit

Half of Britain's lines are shut and some places have no trains at all, as 45,000 workers walk out.

Ukraine war: Drone pilots mark targets for new offensive

Small units play a key role in targeting Russian armour as Ukraine attempts to retake Kherson.

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


1. How to get the pay rise you want. As prices spiral, wages are struggling to keep up. Asking for a pay rise can be tough. We all feel undervalued sometimes, but before you go in with all guns blazing, take the time to work out how your salary really ranks. That way, you will be cool, calm and collected in the meeting – and armed with the facts you need to make your case. READ MORE >>

2. The cost-of-living crisis. Rising energy and food costs, driven largely by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompted a bleak forecast from the Bank of England last week. It warned that Britain was set to fall into a year-long recession this autumn, during which households would suffer the biggest squeeze on living standards since comparable records began. Unveiling a half-percentage-point interest rate rise to 1.75% – the biggest hike in 27 years – the Bank predicted that inflation would hit a 42-year high of 13.3% in October, up from 9.4% today. Daily Express

3. Water leaks double during heatwave. The number of leaks detected by some water suppliers has more than doubled since the start of the heatwave, as the drought continues to hit UK supplies. Firms have said the earth drying out has caused damage to underground pipes, putting additional strain on an already creaking water system. And the Environment Agency has warned that the country's infrastructure needs upgrading, or Britain faces the prospect of water shortages in the next 25 years. Meanwhile water companies have paid £3 billion in dividends this year to shareholders and have debts of more than £60 billion, with interest bills alone ballooning by nearly £1 billion last year. The Daily Mail

4. Working from home does damage your mental health. Working days that bleed into the evening. Endless Zoom meetings and passive-aggressive emails. Noisy neighbours, children, chores and walking the dog. The delights of working from home will no doubt be familiar to many in post-lockdown Britain. Prior to the pandemic, only one in eight of us were home-workers, and in many cases this was only some of the time. In what has been the biggest gear shift in employment for decades, today just under half of Britain’s working population – about 13.4 million – have swapped the office to work from their living rooms, kitchens and home studies. The Daily Mail

5. Wave goodbye to Sunday anxiety. If your Sundays are filled with dread about the coming week, you could be feeling Sunday anxiety. There could be many reasons to feel this way, but you don’t have to waste an entire day off worrying about the future. Here’s how: [1] Finish all your tasks before the weekend. [2] Plan events you can look forward to in the coming week. [3] Jot down your worries as this can help you resolve the issues. Editor

 6. Your dream remote work location. As the ability to work remotely has become more commonplace, many are choosing to take their office further afield, whether a different city or an entirely different continent. The summer has also seen many extend their holidays, adding on remote workdays to make the most of a new location. Where would you like to set up your home office? Choose from our list of the 10 best cities for remote work in the world, or simply choose your own location and tell us why. Share your dream work destination in our latest poll. VOTE HERE >>

7. Thinking can be as tiring as manual work. Experts believe they have discovered why a long, hard day of thinking can feel as exhausting as a day of manual labour. A new study has found that people feel tired after intense mental work because it causes potentially toxic by-products to build up in the prefrontal cortex part of the brain. This self-poisoning process makes continuing to think very difficult, and manifests as fatigue, tiredness and difficulty in making decisions, as the body and mind both need a break to excrete the toxins. Current Biology

8. 'Challenging’ books removed by unis. Universities are removing books from reading lists to protect students from “challenging” content. The 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, has been “removed permanently” from a course reading list at Essex University because of concerns about graphic depictions of slavery. The play Miss Julie, by August Strindberg, has been withdrawn by Sussex University because it includes discussion of suicide. The Times

9. Coke’s newest flavour? Dreams. There’s cherry Coke, there’s vanilla Coke, and now there’s Dreamworld Coke. Coca-Cola’s newest limited-time flavor launches Aug. 15 and takes “inspiration from the Technicolor world of dreams.” It’s the latest Coca-Cola product to come with a QR code that leads customers to an augmented reality “music experience” that includes digital avatars and could be Coke’s way of testing the waters of the metaverse. Coke has previously launched similarly outlandish products like space-flavoured Starlight and pixel-flavoured Byte, which both offered online experiences. CNN

10. The bottom line. The UK's highest earners, many of which are concentrated in the City of London, have seen inflation-beating pay rises in 2022, while wages for the lowest-paid workers have "flatlined". That's according to research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which highlighted that the top 10% of earners saw annual pay growth of around 10% in recent months. However, the UK's lowest earners saw their pay increase by just 1%. iNews

6. Inflation pushes retirees back to work. The impact of Covid and inflation are reshaping the workforce, with many forced out of retirement due to living costs. Chronic illness has shrunk the labour market significantly keeping people from seeking or returning to work. But the number of over-50s looking for work has risen to levels last seen pre-pandemic, with more than half the rise among men over 65. Polling shows the cost of living is to blame, with most "unretirees" doing it for financial reasons. Research also shows a third of people – and half of under-50s – believe they will never get a state pension. The Financial Times

7. Are hybrid workers happier? Hybrid work arrangements make people less likely to quit, research shows. Quit rates are down and satisfaction is higher at a range of global firms that offer hybrid work options, with attrition falling 35% at one tech firm. Surveys have shown that workers prefer hybrid work, citing benefits such as less frequent commuting and better work-life balance. It's these advantages that lead us to believe hybrid work will thrive, even in the face of economic downturn. Do you think hybrid work is now key to staff retention? CONTACT US >>.

8. Long Covid bill revealed. Long Covid is costing the UK £1.5bn in lost earnings per year, according to a new study. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that 110,000 of the two million people suffering from long Covid – which is when symptoms have been reported for at least three months – were signed off sick over the last 12 months. The findings will “heap further pressure on the government to tackle a problem which is expected to grow further as infections rise again”. The Independent

9. Charles accepted £1m from Bin Ladens. Prince Charles accepted a £1m payment from the family of Osama bin Laden. The Prince of Wales secured the money from Bakr bin Laden, the patriarch of the Saudi family, and his brother Shafiq - half-brothers of the founder of al-Qaeda who masterminded the September 11 attacks. Charles reportedly accepted the money despite objections of advisers, with one household staff member “shouted down”. A Clarence House spokeswoman said: “The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund has assured us that thorough due diligence was undertaken in accepting this donation.” The Sunday Times

10. The bottom line. The IMF said it expected the UK to slow down markedly in the second half of the year, and slashed its growth forecast to 3.2% in 2022. The picture next year is forecast to be uglier, with growth of just 0.5% – the weakest of the G7 economies. The fund identified the UK and the eurozone as places where cost-of-living pressures had particularly intensified. The Daily Mail

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