Colors: Blue Color

Nagpur in western India is to be the first major city in the country to return to a complete lockdown amid a sharp spike in coronavirus cases. The week-long lockdown, which starts on 15 March, will extend to adjoining areas of the district as well.

Maharashtra state, where Nagpur is located, has always been a Covid hotspot, with the highest number of active and confirmed cases in India. The country has recorded more than 11 million cases and 157,000 deaths so far.

Caseloads have declined sharply in recent months across the country, but six states, including Maharashtra, have been reporting a fresh surge. Amaravati district, also in Maharashtra, was put under a week-long complete lockdown in February due to a spike in cases.

Scientists fear that new variants could be one of the reasons for the uptick in the state. The other is laxity in following Covid-19 safety protocols. Lack of masking and social distancing, and poor test and trace has all added to the spike in Maharashtra, Dr Sanjay Oak, a member of the state's Covid task force, said recently.

This comes early on in India's vaccination drive, which began in January. More than 20 million people have been given at least one dose of a Covid vaccine so far. The drive will continue in Nagpur as planned, state cabinet minister Nitin Raut said. "Except for 25% attendance in government offices and industries, all other establishments and non-essential shops will remain closed," he added.

Essential services such as hospitals and grocery shops will remain open. While restaurants will be shut, home delivery will be permitted. Police have been ordered to impose a strict curfew. The Maharashtra state government is also watching four other districts that, along with Nagpur district, are contributing to more than half of Maharashtra's current active caseload of 106,070.

"We will take a decision in the next two days and the lockdown will be imposed wherever required," Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said. Nagpur district has been reporting more than 1,000 cases daily for nearly two weeks now - and it added more than 2,000 cases in the last 24 hours.

Among the districts, it currently has the country's second-highest active caseload - 13,800. Pune, also a district in Maharashtra, is at the top with more than 21, 200 active infections.

Brazil's iconic Maracana stadium is to be named in honour of the country's legendary footballer Pele. The move follows a vote by the Rio de Janeiro state legislature to change the venue's name to the Edson Arantes do Nascimento - Rei Pele stadium.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento is the 80-year-old's full name, while Rei means king in Portuguese. The Rio de Janeiro's state governor must approve the name change before it becomes official.

Pele, who won three World Cups as a player for Brazil, scored his 1,000th goal at the stadium in 1969 when playing for Santos against Vasco da Gama. The Maracana held the 1950 and 2014 World Cup finals, as well as the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics.

Some fans, however, are not happy because Pele never played for its local teams and he does not hail from Rio de Janeiro. 

The deputy responsible for the project said: “It is a worthy homage to a man who is recognised the world over for his legacy in Brazilian football and for the corresponding services rendered to our country.”

The home stadium for two local football clubs, Fluminense and reigning champions Flamengo, more than 200,000 spectators are reported to have been in the stadium to watch Uruguay beat Brazil in the 1950 final, although its capacity is now 78,838. It was named after Mario Filho, a journalist who lobbied for its construction in the 1940s, but was known as the Maracana after the area in which it is located.

The legislature said the football stadium will be renamed but the larger sports complex around the ground can retain its current name. The bill now goes to interim governor Claudio Castro, who has 15 days to decide whether to sign it into law. 

The giant 78,000-seat stadium's history is also loaded with trauma for Brazilians. It opened in 1950 for the World Cup, hosting Brazil's heartbreaking 2-1 defeat by Uruguay in the final - an event still sorrowfully remembered as the 'Maracanaco,' which roughly translates as 'Maracana death blow.'

The only player in history to win three World Cups - in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – and considered by many to be the greatest footballer in history - Pele is credited with restoring Brazil's football pride in the aftermath.

Buckingham Palace has said that the race issues raised by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their interview with Oprah Winfrey are concerning and are taken very seriously.

In a statement, the Palace said "recollections may vary" but the matters will be addressed privately. After Meghan, The Duchess of Susse, told Oprah that Harry had been asked by an unnamed family member how dark their son Archie's skin might be, The Palace responded by saying the Sussexes would always be much loved family members. The response from Buckingham Palace came after crisis meetings involving senior royals.

The Palace had been under growing pressure to respond to the interview in which Meghan - the first mixed-race member of the modern Royal Family - made the comments about their son's skin colour. Prince Harry later clarified to Oprah that the comments were not made by either the Queen or the Duke of Edinburgh.

The statement, which came a day and a half after the interview was first broadcast in the US, said: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

It is understood the royals wanted to carefully consider their response and to give the British public an opportunity to watch the interview first when it was broadcast. The royals are said to consider this a family matter and to believe they should be given the opportunity to discuss the issues privately.

Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou has been announced the 2020 winner of the $5m (£3.6m) Ibrahim prize for African leadership.

Mr Issoufou has served two five-year terms as president from 2011 to 2020. He is set to be succeeded by former interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, who won the presidential election last month. The prize committee praised the Nigerien president's leadership after inheriting one of the world’s poorest economies.

It said that he fostered economic growth, shown unwavering commitment to regional stability and to the constitution, and championed African democracy. Mr Issoufou is the sixth recipient of the Ibrahim Prize.

He has tweeted that the prize honours all Nigerien people. "I consider this award an encouragement to continue to think and act in such a way that promotes democratic values and good governance, not only in Niger, but in Africa and around the world," he added.

“Over the coming week, as we celebrate the friendship, spirit of unity and achievements of the Commonwealth, we have an opportunity to reflect on a time like no other.

“Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the Commonwealth, stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory, notably by those working on the frontline who have been delivering healthcare and other public services in their communities. We have also taken encouragement from remarkable advances in developing new vaccines and treatments.

“The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others.

“The need to maintain greater physical distance, or to live and work largely in isolation, has, for many people across the Commonwealth, been an unusual experience. In our everyday lives, we have had to become more accustomed to connecting and communicating via innovative technology – which has been new to some of us – with conversations and communal gatherings, including Commonwealth meetings, conducted online, enabling people to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues and counterparts, who they have not been able to meet in person. Increasingly, we have found ourselves able to enjoy such communication, as it offers an immediacy that transcends boundaries or division, helping any sense of distance to disappear.

“We have all continued to appreciate the support, breadth of experiences and knowledge that working together brings, and I hope we shall maintain this renewed sense of closeness and community. Looking forward, relationships with others across the Commonwealth will remain important, as we strive to deliver a common future that is sustainable and more secure, so that the nations and neighbourhoods in which we live, wherever they are located, become healthier and happier places for us all.”


Caribbean women are being celebrated for their tremendous efforts in helping the region's countries and territories combat and recover from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement marking International Women’s Day on March 8, 2021, Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), called for a greater commitment to equality, asserting that Caribbean women have been at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, working tirelessly to ensure hotel and tourism facilities and communities remain safe and secure during the pandemic.

“Our colleagues in the tourism and hospitality sectors are exemplary and effective leaders in protecting our destinations and strengthening our communities during this extraordinary time,” Ledesma stated. “Many of them worked with significantly reduced resources for much of the pandemic … they should be recognized alongside their colleagues in health care, caregiving, and community organizing for their effective mobilization to resist the pandemic.”

Observing this year’s theme, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, Ledesma noted that while the tourism sector in the Caribbean has made strides in recognizing the value of women, more remains to be done to build an effective enabling environment for women to assume more leadership positions: “The responses of the region’s tourism sector to the crisis reinforce our contention that the different experiences, perspectives and skills women bring to the table strengthened markedly the Caribbean containment of the novel coronavirus.”

According to the United Nations, the majority of countries that have been more successful in stemming the tide of COVID-19 and responding to its health and broader socioeconomic impacts are headed by women. For instance, Heads of Government in Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Slovakia have been widely recognized for the rapidity, decisiveness and effectiveness of their national response to COVID-19, as well as the compassionate communication of fact-based public health information. Despite these impressive facts, women are Heads of State and Government in only 20 countries worldwide, with only a handful of females holding such positions in the Caribbean.

Ledesma noted that gender diversity at all levels of management and leadership positions also provides competitive advantages. “This has been confirmed during the pandemic response, so we need to create the right conditions to ensure the outstanding contribution of women to the health and safety of the region will be enlisted and installed in the highest executive levels of hospitality and tourism organizations,” she stated, adding that CHTA continues to invest in the next generation of female leaders through its Young Leaders Forum initiative.

According to the CHTA leader it is time to move “forward together” beyond COVID-19: “We have to tap into the wealth of experience and strength women have displayed during this global crisis, and we must ensure the perspectives of women are integrated into the formulation and implementation of policies and programs at all stages of the ongoing pandemic response as well as our recovery.”



The President of the Senate, Alhaji Ahmad Lawan, has felicitated with Nigerian women as part of their International Women’s Day celebrate this year’s.

Lawan, in a statement in Abuja by his Special Adviser (Media), Mr Ola Awoniyi, described the theme of this year’s celebration, “Choose to Challenge”, as apt in reminding the society of the pivotal roles women play in the family and the nation.

“Women play indispensable roles in private and public lives and deserve full support and respect of society for those roles.

“Our women also deserve support and encouragement to participate without discrimination or inhibitions in governance and public affairs in general. “Our public policies should, therefore, deliberately seek to get the best from them for the peace and progress of our country,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said the National Assembly would always promote and defend the rights and interests of the Nigerian women and fight anything that stood against their wellbeing and aspirations.

Pope Francis has discussed the safety of Iraq's Christian minority with one of Shia Islam's most powerful figures, on his landmark trip to the country. Like many communities in Iraq, Christians have been hit by waves of violence over the past two decades.

The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, spiritual leader of millions of Shia Muslims, said the talks had emphasised peace. The meeting was seen as a highly symbolic moment in the Pope's visit.

The Pope is on his first international trip since the start of the pandemic - and the first ever papal visit to Iraq. Covid-19 and security fears have made this his riskiest trip yet.

The 84-year-old leader of the Catholic Church earlier said that he had felt duty-bound to make the "emblematic" journey, which will see him visit several sites over four days in Iraq.

Iraq's Christian minority has experienced considerable violence since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

Receiving the Pope at his home in the holy city of Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Sistani affirmed his concern that Christian citizens should live like all Iraqis in peace and security and with their full constitutional rights. Pope Francis thanked the ayatollah for having raised his voice in defence of the weakest and most persecuted during some of the most violent times in Iraq's recent history, the Associated Press reports.

The Shia leader's message of peace, he said, affirmed "he sacredness of human life and the importance of the unity of the Iraqi people. Audiences with the reclusive ayatollah are rare but he received the Pope for around 50 minutes, talking without face masks. Pope Francis later travelled to the ancient city of Ur, where the Prophet Abraham - central to Islam, Christianity and Judaism - is believed to have been born.

The pontiff said: "From this place, where faith was born, from the land of our father Abraham, let us affirm that God is merciful and that the greatest blasphemy is to profane his name by hating our brothers and sisters."

About 10,000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel are being deployed to protect the Pope during his visit, while round-the-clock curfews are also being imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus. Some Shia militant groups have reportedly opposed the visit, suggesting the tour amounts to Western interference in the country's affairs.

Hunger and famine will persist and there will be unequal recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic unless more women in rural and urban areas hold leadership positions with increased decision-making power, say the heads of the three United Nations’ food agencies ahead of their joint International Women’s Day event tomorrow (March 8).

The event, co-organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), will focus global attention on the vital role that empowered female farmers, entrepreneurs and leaders need to play so that women can contribute on equal terms to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in creating an environment to eliminate poverty, enhance productivity, and improve food security and nutrition.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said: “The world is home to more than 1.1 billion girls under the age of 18, who have the potential of becoming the largest generation of female leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers ever seen for the better future. Yet, women and girls continue to face persistent structural constraints that prevent them from fully developing their potential and hinder their efforts of improving their lives as well as their households and communities.

“Women and girls can play a crucial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular in transforming our agri-food systems. We all need to work together to spark the necessary changes to empower women and girls, particularly those in rural areas

Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, said:  “It is essential that women are not only in more leadership positions, but that they are consulted and listened to, and integrated in all spheres and stages of pandemic response and recovery.

“Investing in rural women’s leadership and involving them more in creating our post-COVID future is critical to ensure their perspectives and needs are adequately considered, so that we can build back better food systems where there is equal access to nutritious food and decent livelihoods.”

“Women and girls make up half of our global community and it’s time this was reflected in leadership positions at every level,” said David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP. “We know from our work around the world that when women and girls have better access to information, resources and economic opportunities, and are free to make their own decisions, hunger rates fall and nutrition improves not only for themselves but also their families, communities and countries.”

Women’s leadership is particularly important in rural areas of developing countries, where the voices of the 1.7 billion women and girls who live there are often overlooked. Sixty percent of women in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa work in agriculture – yet they have less access to resources and services than men, including land, finance, training, inputs and equipment. In addition to their agricultural work, women are overburdened with domestic chores and caring for their families – roles that have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, women are more negatively affected by the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including losing livelihoods and experiencing decreases in their personal incomes. Ensuring that women have a greater voice is not only a matter of gender equality. Women leaders can advocate for women to have better access to and control over assets and productive inputs, thus boosting their productivity and incomes, leading to food security and increasing their employment opportunities and real wages.

Research shows that if women farmers had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields by 20 to 30 percent and total agricultural output by 2.5 to 4 percent, lifting 100 to 150 million people out of hunger.

International Women’s Day, which takes place on Monday 8 March, offers a chance for people around the world to celebrate the efforts of women in a number of industries. It’s also a chance to reflect on how things have changed and developed in the world of business.

For example, in the US, there are now 114 percent more female business owners than there were twenty years ago. These businesses also generate $1.8 trillion a year. However, just seven percent of these businesswomen receive funds for their companies, while only 25 percent of them seek business funding.

At Birmingham City University Advantage, they have been striving to ensure businesses of all shapes and sizes, as well as business owners of any gender, are given the support that they need to grow. They also encourage female entrepreneurs and businesses to seek funding, ensuring they boost their brands and expand their profiles.

Veronika J turned to Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM) to help her pursue her goals of creating her own photography business. “I found starting out to be a challenge. I had no mentor and wasn’t sure where to access information,” she says. “That’s why I started looking for business startup advice opportunities. I was amazed that there are programmes offering various support that could help me make my dreams come true.”

HLSM has enabled Veronika to focus on her business growth, and she is looking forward to making a real difference. “I’m so grateful to have this fantastic opportunity for training and development to boost the skills which I lack,” she says.

Their business analysis tools help small businesses to identify areas for growth and understand any prevalent issues. Led by experienced business support expert Mark Gilman, the service includes the business diagnostic – an extensive questionnaire which results in a personalised report. It also boasts tailored support and one-on-one workshops.

One businesswoman to benefit from the business diagnostic is Jane Miller, a consultant and trainer in childcare and education with over 18 years of experience. She has worked with Gilman extensively over the years, and used our services once again during the Covid-19 restrictions to assess how her business could progress digitally.

“After lockdown, I realised my business wasn’t sustainable. I didn’t have a Plan B,” she says. “Since being in lockdown, I’ve had to start elements of my business from scratch by creating fresh online programmes.”

Jane believes that the business analysis tools helped provide a clearer idea of what she wanted. “The sessions helped me create new ideas,” she reveals. “I now have a clear purpose and vision. Plus, it’s all written down so I can review it at all times and build on it.”

Many other businesswomen have turned to our business services for advice, including

Birmingham City University alumni.

Nasra Hagri Mohammed graduated from BCU in 2012 with a degree in midwifery. After seeing the mental and physical struggles women face during pregnancy, Nasra founded Recognize, which provides wellness training and one-to-one support for perinatal women.

She credits the business analysis tools for providing clarity and forward thinking. “I’ve learnt it’s important to go back to basics and reflect on purpose, mission and values,” Nasra says. “I am now more visionary and can see where the company is heading.” Other female business owners have also benefited from working with STEAMhouse, which provides workshop facilities, small business funding, and invaluable advice and guidance.

Sonia Reynolds owns Zephlinear, a manufacturing company that provides educational design kits. These kits have proven popular with both hobbyists and those working in education, often being used to teach STEAM subjects. After seeking an interest in the growing electronic textiles market, Sonia decided this would be a great area to focus on. However, she lacked the knowledge and the funding to make it happen.

“STEAMhouse provided business support and financial funding, which included purchasing prototyping materials,” Sonia explains. “We attended scoping meetings organised by STEAMhouse, where we able to gain the right support and get a better understanding of the materials.”

Zephlinear are now finalising the presentation of three new e-textile kits. Sonia credits STEAMhouse for assisting in their progress. “Access to technicians, experts and development funding has allowed the business to advance quite considerably,” Sonia explains. “The support has brought strength to the business structure, as well as to future outputs.”

Romay Davis, a 101-year old grandmother who had been working at a Winn-Dixie grocery store in Montgomery, Alabama for over two decades, is being recognised for her outstanding service with a grant program named after her.

Davis, who turned 101 on October 29 last year, is still driving herself to the grocery store to work even in the middle of the pandemic.

Now, the Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion, and Diversity Grant Program has been launched to support non-profit organizations in the fight against racial inequality and social injustice. It also hopes to address racial disparities in education, food, and health care.

Davis is very much worthy of honour as she had achieved so much in her life. According to news outlets in the U.S. she was a World War II veteran before she pursued a career in fashion designing for 30 years. She also earned a master’s degree at NYU and became a taekwondo black belter.

Romay already retired in 1982 but decided to go back to work after her husband died in 2001. Winn-Dixie then hired her at the age of 80.

As Barbados continues to stamp its place among the world’s global business domiciles, the island will host the inaugural Barbados Risk & Insurance Management (BRIM) global conference next month.

Bringing together local, regional and international thought leaders on insurance, risk management and global business, the virtual conference is expected to attract over 200 industry professionals for the March 24-25, 2021 event. BIBA, the Association for Global Business, is hosting the conference.

Fresh from its staging of the highly successful Global Business Week 2020 Conference, BIBA rolled out plans for BRIM 2021 during a recent media launch, with BIBA President Derrick Cummins emphasizing that Barbados is one of the top tier domiciles for captive insurance companies globally.

A captive insurer is an insurance company that is wholly owned and controlled by its insureds, and its primary purpose is to insure the risks of its owners. At the same time, its insureds benefit from the captive insurer's underwriting profits.

In his remarks at the BRIM 2021 media launch attended by officials of BIBA, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and sponsors, Cummins said: “We have designed this conference as a must-attend event for risk, insurance, finance, investment, legal and any professionals aligned with the insurance sector, especially the captive industry.”

Among the many topics up for discussion at the conference are:

·         Risk Management Post-Pandemic

·         Emerging Markets – New Opportunities

·         New Initiatives in Captives - Covering Cyber Risk and Pandemic Risk

·         Risk Management & Climate Change

·         Managing Investment Portfolios for Captives, and Regulation in a Post-COVID World

Scheduled speakers at BRIM 2021 include:

·         Michael Serricchio, Managing Director of Americas, Marsh Captive Solutions

·         Daryl Senick, Partner and National Insurance Leader, BDO Canada

·         Elizabeth Emanuel, Technical Assistance Manager, CCRIF SPC (formerly Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility)

·         Professor Avinash Persaud, Chairman, Barbados Financial Services Commission (FSC)

·         Ben Arrindell, special advisor to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley on international business matters, and Deputy Chairman, Cidel Bank & Trust

Carmel Haynes, Executive Director of BIBA, described the conference’s target audience as those directly and indirectly involved in the insurance industry. These include insurers, actuaries, financial services professionals, attorneys-at-law, accounting professionals, and others in a service relationship with the insurance industry.

According to Cummins, as businesses and individuals grapple with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the insurance industry worldwide is experiencing a high demand for coverage. However, on the flip side, he said insurers were facing high capital adequacy requirements, “creating the type of hard market that leaves clients little room for negotiating on premiums, and insurers little appetite for writing new policies.”

Despite this, Ricardo Knight, BIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee Chair and Senior Vice President of Marsh Captive Solutions, said captive insurance business registrations continued to expand in Barbados.

“We are one of the Top 10 jurisdictions in the world. I don’t think we can speak to many industries in the world where Barbados is in the Top 10 of an industry which is growing during one of the harshest pandemics that the world has ever seen,” Knight stressed.

Statistics from the FSC show that Barbados has 279 captive insurance companies, the bulk of which are Canadian and American operations. Announcing their commitment to long-term sponsorship of the event, Jeanne Crawford, Senior Vice President of USA Risk Group, and Elliott Barrow, Vice President, Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor of RBC Dominion Securities Global, said they were pleased to be diamond sponsors of BRIM 2021.

“We are excited to be involved in this and be a diamond sponsor. This is long overdue, and BIBA has our full support and commitment for 2021 and beyond,” said Crawford.

Barrow, who described the captive insurance industry as a significant part of RBC Dominion Securities Global's portfolio, remarked: “It is an industry we are very excited to be a part of, and we will commit to being diamond sponsors. This is an important development for our industry and for Barbados.”

The staging of this conference is being made possible by Diamond Sponsors: RBC Dominion Securities Global, and USA Risk Group; Platinum Sponsor: London & Capital; Gold Sponsor: Strategic Risk Solutions; Silver Sponsor: Clarity Life; and Bronze Sponsors: Invest Barbados, Sagicor Life Inc, and Summit Asset Management.


 A board meeting of the National Health Fund (NHF), an agency of Jamaica’s Ministry of Health & Wellness, had just gotten underway. Businessman Christopher Zacca took the reins as he’d done at all the meetings since being appointed chairman in April 2016.

According to the minutes of the NHF board meetings obtained under the Access to Information Act (ATI), he’d announced he was stepping down as chairman to take a position in the private sector. Former Member of Parliament Gregory Mair, also present that day, was to take over. Other newly-appointed directors were in attendance as well since there had been three recent departures on the 10-member board.

“This meeting would primarily be for information gathering and transition,” the minutes recorded Mr. Zacca to have said while also revealing that the minister was expected to arrive later in the meeting. “All major decisions would be deferred until the next meeting of the Board.” At 8:55 a.m., Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton joined, and Mr. Zacca suspended the agenda and handed over to him.

It’s what happened after that could begin to shed light on whether Dr. Tufton had a role in influencing the awarding of millions of dollars to a company co-owned by Lyndsey McDonnough, said to be personally linked to Dr. Tufton, to execute his ministry’s healthy-lifestyles program, Jamaica Moves.  

Specialist family lawyer Laura Bond from national firm Clarke Willmott LLP examines the recent case of a housewife awarded compensation for the domestic chores she undertook during her marriage in China and looks at how the law compares in England and Wales.

The world’s media has become very interested in reports of a Chinese housewife receiving compensation on a divorce for ‘housework’ she did during the marriage. It certainly seems to be a positive, and some would say progressive, change for Chinese spouses. It is apparently the first award under a new civil code which came into force last month which gives a person the ability to seek compensation in a divorce if they are the primary carer for children or elderly parents, if they undertake most of the unpaid household tasks or if they assist partners in their work. The law previously meant that such an award could only be sought if the spouses had entered into a prenuptial agreement, which is uncommon in China.

In this case, the wife ‘Wang’ claimed that the husband ‘Chen’ went out to work for a salary but did not undertake any of the domestic chores at home, nor did he undertake any childcare responsibilities over five years of marriage. The Court in Beijing agreed that Wang was entitled to compensation and awarded her 50,000 yuan, just under £5,500, for her contributions to the marriage. The outcome in this case has received heated debate on the world’s social media. Whilst it is a victory in the Courts for Wang and represents deserved recognition for spouses worldwide of their contributions to the home and family, the sum she received has been widely criticised as being inadequate. 

It is clearly going to be difficult to estimate the value of contributions of a stay-at-home mum or dad. Is it even possible to put a monetary value on those contributions? Some have commented that the cost of a nanny in China costs around 50,000 yuan per year, so the compensation for five years of childcare plus the household chores for Wang does seem low by comparison. Others have also been quick to point out that many women give up their careers in order to raise children and support their husbands but are not able to claim compensation for that under current Chinese law. 

Very little other facts of the Wang v Chen case have been publicised, so it is unclear how the award of compensation compares to other assets or Mr Chen’s earned income. It therefore appears that the judgment is a welcome step in the right direction in Chinese law but many still feel that it does not go far enough and no doubt there will be future campaigns for the laws in China to go further when considering the respective contributions to a marriage. 

How does the law in England and Wales compare?

The law in England and Wales on divorce is very different to China and has been so for more than 20 years. The most important landmark decision on the matter of equality and contributions is the case of White v White which was decided in 2000. This case did not say that there would always be a presumption of a 50/50 split, but increasingly, unless there are good reasons to depart from equality, the Court will look to put the parties in broadly equal positions.

The guidance in White v White was confirmed in the slightly later case of Miller and McFarlane which considered various legal principles but there were two key features. The first was an express right to compensation for a party who has sacrificed their career to look after the home/children and to play a support role to the other spouse in their career. Where there is a right to compensation, the home maker or primary carer of the children may have a right to share in the income of the earning spouse for the foreseeable future. The House of Lords also confirmed there should be no discrimination between the breadwinner and the homemaker, however long the marriage, and as a result there should be a fair division of the assets accrued during the marriage, whatever the spouses’ respective roles.

The position for the home maker in England or Wales then is much more positive than for a person with the same role in China. Like China, the concept of ‘compensation’ does exist but it does go much further as the law is clear that the homemaker cannot be discriminated against simply because they have not earned money in the same way as their spouse. This principle is now firmly established in English law, and any arguments put forward by spouses who seek to suggest that the non-earning spouse should not be treated equally will usually receive short shrift from the Courts.    

The law here not only prevents discrimination against a homemaker but also supports the idea of income sharing into the future, via spousal maintenance, sometimes known as alimony. This is not something which applies in every country in the world and the law in England and Wales is largely seen as particularly generous in its maintenance awards. In particular, it is possible for a divorced spouse/civil partner in England and Wales to claim financial support for the rest of their life under the terms of a ‘joint lives’ maintenance order. In many other countries this concept either does not exist at all, or the length of time for which maintenance can be ordered is limited. It is however the case that joint lives maintenance awards are becoming less common and there is a move towards encouraging spouses to become financially independent after the divorce. 

A homemaker spouse or civil partner in England and Wales is therefore likely to be treated more favourably by Courts here, and their contributions given greater value than on a divorce than they would in China or many other countries. In England and Wales, a homemaker spouse also has the ability to claim ongoing maintenance, potentially for many years to come. If Wang had been able to seek a divorce here then, depending on the other circumstances in the case, her award on the divorce is likely to have been higher than she received in China.

The law in England and Wales is particularly favourable to homemakers and the primary carers of children.  As a result, many people in that role would favour divorcing here if they are able to do so and can meet certain criteria. One of the most important considerations on a divorce/dissolution of a civil partnership is to understand where best to start divorce proceedings, so any party in the position of home maker and who has a connection to England and Wales should seek legal advice as to whether they could potentially benefit from our generous divorce laws. This should be done at an early opportunity as case proceedings need to be issued here before the other party issues elsewhere – often known as a ‘jurisdiction race’. 

The law has become further complicated by the changes to international law after Brexit, so it is important to seek advice from a solicitor who specialises in family law.  Our team at Clarke Willmott all have experience of international law and can advise on issues relating to jurisdiction.  

One of the Hidden Figures who helped the NASA space agency reach for the stars has been honoured by naming its headquarters in Washington DC after her.

In 1958 Mary W Jackson became the agency's first Black female engineer, and through her work opened the door for more women to follow in her footsteps. And in doing so she was breaking boundaries herself.

A mathematician and aerospace engineer, she was part of a group of women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space playing a key role in the early days of NASA, doing the complex calculations that made space travel possible.

Ms Jackson died at age of 83 in 2005 and in 2019 she was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the nation’s highest civilian honours.

Now the name of Mary Jackson, one of the inspirations for the book ‘Hidden Figures,’ officially adorns the space agency’s headquarters in Washington. NASA officially named its headquarters in the nation's capital after the agency's first Black woman engineer, with a ceremony honouring her legacy.

NASA’s acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk said during a virtual ceremony: "With the official naming of the Mary W. Jackson NASA headquarters, we ensure that she is a hidden figure no longer.

“With the official naming of the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters, we ensure that she is a ‘Hidden Figure’ no longer.” Members of her family also attended the building’s renaming ceremony.

Ms Jackson's groundbreaking achievements was highlighted in the 2016 Margot Lee Shetterly book, ‘Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race’ which was turned into the Oscar-nominated movie ‘Hidden Figures’ later that same year.

A big iceberg approaching the size of Greater London has broken away from the Antarctic, close to Britain's Halley research station. Surface instruments on the Brunt Ice Shelf confirmed the split.

There is currently no-one in the base, so there is no risk to human life. The British Antarctic Survey has been operating Halley in a reduced role since 2017 because of the imminent prospect of a calving.

The berg has been measured to cover 1,270 sq km. Halley is positioned just over 20km from the line of rupture. BAS has an array of GPS devices on the Brunt. These relay information about ice movements back to the agency's HQ in Cambridge.

Officials will be inspecting satellite imagery when it becomes available. They will want to see that no unexpected instabilities emerge in the remaining ice shelf platform that holds Halley.

Prof Adrian Luckman has been tracking satellite images of the Brunt in recent weeks and predicted the calving. "Although the breaking off of large parts of Antarctic ice shelves is an entirely normal part of how they work, large calving events such as the one detected at the Brunt Ice Shelf on Friday remain quite rare and exciting," he said.

"With three long rifts actively developing on the Brunt Ice Shelf system over the last five years, we have all been anticipating that something spectacular was going to happen. Time will tell whether this calving will trigger more pieces to break off in the coming days and weeks.

“At Swansea University we study the development of ice shelf rifts because, while some lead to large calving events, others do not, and the reasons for this may explain why large ice shelves exist at all," he said.