Hot News on 16/05/2021

Remote working doesn’t have to mean your kitchen table. At these places you can work in comfort and stay in style

A perfect place to blend both work and play, Birch is a country house hotel with a dedicated co-working space in the Hub. The centre is lavishly endowed with power points, coffee machines, desks – and sofas. Put in as many hours as you like here and then relax by trying out one of the hotel’s many activities, from yoga to bread making and glass blowing. It’s all set in 55 glorious acres of Hertfordshire. Add to that superb food, a new lido and 141 bedrooms split between an original Victorian mansion and a new block – and it’s only 40 minutes from central London.
Doubles from £150 room-only, birchcommunity.com

India and Russia show what happens when authoritarians deny reality. The Trumpists would have the US follow suit

A hospital in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is being charged under the country’s National Security Act for sounding the alarm over a lack of oxygen that resulted in Covid deaths. The hospital’s owner and manager says police have accused him of “false scaremongering”, after he stated publicly that four patients died on a single day when oxygen ran out.

Related: Relief, reluctance and confusion: New Yorkers react to mask-free guidance

The number of identified cases of the B.1.617.2 variant in the UK has more than doubled in a week

The number of identified cases of the Indian variant in the UK has more than doubled in a week, from 520 to 1,313, according to the most recent figures. The areas with the highest numbers so far include Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen, Erewash in Derbyshire and Bedford, all in England, and Moray in Scotland.

Biggest change since 90s privatisation looks to halt franchise failures, reform fares and, for the Treasury, slash costs

Sweeping reforms to bring the railway’s track and trains together under a new Great British Railways will be set out this week – but reforms of fares will be limited, with the industry braced to have its budget slashed.

The Treasury is understood to be demanding cost cuts of between 10% and 20% after expanding its subsidy to the rail industry by £10bn during the Covid-19 pandemic as fare revenue dropped away. Unions have warned they will fight cuts to maintenance budgets and workforce terms and conditions.