Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Articles on this Page

(showing articles 1 to 50 of 50)
(showing articles 1 to 50 of 50)

Channel Description:

HuffPost UK - Athena2 - All Entries (Public)
    0 0

    I co-run a support group for parents of children with cancer. Every week we have many applications to join, and every week we hear the same stories as our own, all those years ago when our own children were diagnosed.

    From our experience, parents - most often mothers - are sent away by GPs who lack the awareness to refer the child for tests that would define, one way or another, what should happen next. We are told we are anxious, neurotic, hormonal, asked about our cycles, our stress levels, our other children, our child’s anxiety, our relationships, diet, sleep, work, and debt. The unhappy child with the symptoms is simply the recipient of our projections, which makes it even harder to take when you do, eventually, get referred and are told how “early diagnosis can make so much difference” in tones that suggest you haven’t spent the last several months just spitting in the wind.

    Then you have to break the news to your family, employer, school, and anyone else who needs to know that from right now until some unspecified future point, you are not available. The reactions are mixed, some doubting, some hostile, and usually based on images of smiley bald kids they’ve seen on telly, and the much-quoted “80% survive” statistic. That also means that 20% still don’t survive, and if 10 - 11 kids a day are being diagnosed with cancer or leukaemia in the UK, then by extension, that means that every day, two children die.

    This is in stark contrast to the widely made assumptions: “Children can’t get ‘full blown’ cancer”; “At least they won’t have adult chemo”; “They can cure all that now,” and other really wrong statements, repeated to us as facts, by people who’ve never met childhood cancer head on.

    They can get real, proper, life-threatening cancers, and it’s true that they don’t have adult chemotherapies, but that’s not because they’re not needed. Children’s cancers are very different to adult cancers. There are just as many variants (200+) and they are age-specific (some children are born with cancer, some occur in pre-school children, some only occur up to age 14, and others occur in the teens - 24 age group, with some overlap), with largely unknown causes, and as children grow so quickly, their cancers are faster-growing and more aggressive than similar cancers in adults.

    It’s been reckoned that children’s chemotherapy begins at <80% of the safe dose for their BMI, while an adult begins treatment at c20% of the maximum safe dose; it’s actually calculated using the patient’s surface area, although children still receive a proportionally higher dose. Margins for error or adjustment are slim. Worse, because of the advances in targeted treatments of adult cancers, immunotherapy, and newly developed drugs, there is an assumption that children are benefiting from the same science, so there’s no need for specific research into their cancers - which is simply wrong.

    Some drugs developed for one type of cancer in adults have eventually been found to be effective in the treatment of entirely different cancers in children, but we don’t know how many could be used to treat our kids, because the drug companies don’t need to test a drug for its potential to treat a cancer other than the one is was specifically developed for. All drugs developed for adult cancers are supposed to be trialled for use in kids and teens too, but since there is often little or no correlation between adult and childhood cancers, the drug companies are able to make use of a loophole that allows them to miss out this vital step and simply take the drug to market.

    In the last 30 years, huge strides have been made in the treatment of adult cancers, while many kids cancers are still being treated with drugs developed in the 60s, 70s  and 80s. The imbalance is pretty horrific, as is the treatment, which far from beingtargeted, is more like a medical equivalent of bombing Dresden. Some, like my own son, don’t die of cancer but from the effects of treatment and so their deaths are not recorded as cancer deaths, which skews even further the statistics so many are happy to quote. For some children, their cancer has no treatment at all: 80% is a mean average, taken across the whole spectrum of cancers affecting three distinct age groups from birth to 24 years, of kids who survive five years past the end of treatment. They may do so with lifelong disabilities and the constant risk of secondary cancers and relapse, and to be clear, if they die in the sixth year post-treatment, they still count as “survivors” and that’s a bitter pill indeed.

    This September my colleagues and I will be making a big deal out of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the annual Glow Gold campaign. For the rest of the year, as well as providing support and advice to parents, we push for greater awareness so that more of our children will have a future.

     


    0 0

    When Jeremy Corbyn walked up to the Pyramid Stage of Glastonbury in 2017, he was met by tens of thousands of enthusiastic and hopeful festival goers. In his speech, he drew a picture of a better future for everyone - for the many. He called for unity and advised Donald Trump to build bridges, not walls.

    A year down the line, unity is nowhere to be seen and his lethargic leadership is literally building walls in his own party. Corbyn faced rebellion from both sides. His order to abstain on the vote on the Lords’ amendment on EEA membership sparked defiance from 75 pro-EU MPs, among them Chris Leslie and Chuka Umunna, who voted for the amendment. At the same time 15 Labour MPs, such as Caroline Flint and Gareth Snell, broke ranks by voting against the amendment.

    Nor is Corbyn delivering for the many. His amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill was Labour’s unrealistic try at having its cake and eating it. Much like the desperate attempt to recreate the experience of Glastonbury with the flop of Labour Live, Corbyn’s amendment tried to recreate all the advantageous aspects of the existing relationship with the EU, with none of the responsibilities.

    Corbyn needs to realise that whatever trade deal the UK strikes with the EU will be less advantageous than EEA membership. UK membership of the EEA would help solve the Northern Ireland border issue post-Brexit and, if the UK must leave the EU, it would vitally protect Britain’s economy by securing its place in the Single Market, which countless jobs and livelihoods depend on.

    Instead of hollow words, Corbyn should deliver on what he promised at Glastonbury - to stand united against the Brexit fiasco the Government is creating. The Tories are making a real mess of Brexit. Yet instead of showing real leadership by joining the Liberal Democrats in opposing the Government, and supporting a referendum on the final deal, Labour is idly standing by.

    This left-wing ‘messiah’ needs to stop making promises to Britain’s youth and recognise his complicity in the Brexit project is sabotaging their life chances. Corbyn’s leadership is not creating a better future. His order to abstain on this crucial amendment, on one of the centrepieces of Brexit legislation was an irresponsible, prejudiced and short-sighted move, at the expense of Britain’s best interest. Our country and our people deserve better.


    0 0

    David Dimbleby is to leave Question Time, the BBC’s flagship politics programme, at the end of the year, the broadcaster has announced.

    Dimbleby, who has chaired the debate show since taking over from Sir Robin Day around 25 years ago, said it was the “right moment to leave”, adding he will return to his “first love” of reporting.

    The 79-year-old is the longest-serving presenter of Question Time, and was preceded by Peter Sissons and Robin Day.

    His decision leaves a vacancy for one of the most prestigious jobs at the corporation, with contenders likely to include A-listers including Huw Edwards. Nick Robinson, Emily Maitlis and Victoria Derbyshire and rising stars, such as Emma Barnett.

    Dimbleby said: “At the end of the year I will have been chairing Question Time for a quarter of a century and I have decided that this is the right moment to leave.

    “It has been a privilege to work for a programme which brings voters face to face with those in power.

    “I am grateful to the production teams and to the BBC who have made this possible.

    He added: “It has been exhilarating following the twists and turns of British politics from John Major in 1994, through the Blair and Brown years to Cameron and May.

    “I am not giving up broadcasting. Instead, after years in the studio, I now plan to return to my first love: reporting.”

    His first Question Time was January 13, 1994, and his final broadcast will be on  December 13, 2018.

    Dimbleby started broadcasting for the BBC over 57 years ago as a news reporter in Bristol after leaving Oxford University, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics.

    He has presented political programmes such as Panorama and chaired the leaders’ debates in the run-up to the general elections since 2010.

    The journalist has been the BBC’s anchorman for all general elections since 1979, as well as for the Budget and local, European and US elections.

    In 1975, he presented the BBC’s coverage of the first referendum in Europe, a role he repeated in 2016 for the EU referendum.

    He has been the BBC’s commentator for many state occasions and continues to commentate for the annual Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph.

    Paying tribute to his time hosting the programme, Director General Tony Hall said: “David has been at the helm of Question Time for over 25 years: a brilliant champion of the public and the audiences’ friend – getting the answers they want on the big and difficult issues of the day.

    “Always a commanding figure, David has ensured Question Time has not only stayed relevant through the years, but a must watch for those interested in politics and current affairs.

    “David may be stepping down from Question Time, but he isn’t stepping down from broadcasting.  He is a titan in British broadcasting.  The BBC and the public are extraordinarily lucky to have him in what are – to say the least – interesting times politically and socially.  We look forward to working with him on other projects in the future.”


    0 0

    David Dimbleby is to leave Question Time at the end of the year, with the broadcaster saying it was “the right time” after 25 years in the chair.

    During his time as host, the programme has delivered countless extraordinary moments as his tenure coincided with the rise and fall of Tony Blair, the Iraq War, the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, the Scottish referendum, Brexit and more.

    The Dimbleby era appears to have a series of defining characteristics, and here are just seven.

    The audience ...

    There were many special audience members, but one stands out.

    With the Scottish referendum approaching, Question Time witnessed its most spirited contributor: the self-professed “passionate highlander” Nigel from Inverness.

    His memorable intervention could have been ripped from the script of Braveheart - bit only if William Wallace was in favour of the unity of England and Scotland, which he probably wouldn’t have been.

    Nigel boomed: “I was born in Inverness, I’m a passionate Highlander, and I love Scotland. I will take a stand to keep the United Kingdom together. I will give my life for my country as my grandfather did in the First World War.”

    Dimbleby, wisely, made no attempt to shut it down as the peroration went on.

    Social media ...

    New life was breathed into Question Time in the social media age, with most on Twitter being sure to point out on Thursday night how they will never watch again.

    But some took a simple pleasure from the ‘Dimblebot’ Twitter account, a basic robot that has been supplying commentary in ‘all caps’ along to the BBC’s show (and everything else) for years now. 

    The real-world Dimbleby acknowledged his existence after John Prescott brought up the online phenom on the show.

    He said: “We’e having as serious discussion here, but I do know I’m called a Dimblebot and I know there’s a Dimbledance - I can do it too.”

    The controversy ...

    In 2009, BNP leader Nick Griffin’s appearance caused a huge national debate over whether the BBC was giving a platform to extremist, racist views, or if the far-right’s claims needed to be challenged.

    Griffin gave a shaky performance as the BNP leader dominated the programme that was dedicated almost exclusively to his far-right policies.

    He criticised Islam and suggested that many people find “the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy”.

    The BBC later revealed Question Time had pulled in 7.8million viewers, three times the usual figure.

    But by the general election a year later, the BNP was on its way down.

    Despite promising a “political earthquake” in Barking, east London, the BNP leader suffered a humiliating defeat, beaten into third place by Labour MP Margaret Hodge in the constituency.

    The no-nonsense chair ...

    Sometimes the crowd would go too far. But in what appeared to be a Question Time first, an audience member was once kicked off the programme by Dimbleby for repeated heckling of guests.

    The unidentified man from the Plymouth audience - resplendent in a Liquorice Allsorts shirt - earlier in the show argued how the “Tories and Blairites” were the big losers in the general election after Labour Party surge under Jeremy Corbyn.

    But after bellowing “tax the rich” at Tory minister David Liddington and making loud interventions when anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller was speaking, the veteran broadcaster had had enough.

    “Listen, I think you ought to leave, you know,” the presenter demanded, and off he went.

    The risk of embarrassment ...

    Politicians always took a risk in appearing.

    Take Ed Miliband, who survived his 30 minutes with the live Question Time audience ahead of the 2015 election - only to nearly came a cropper at the end when he tripped off the debate stage.

    The no-nonsense chair (panelist model) ...

    Sometimes the panelists were just as ‘enthusiastic’ as the audience.

    During a highly-charged debate over Brexit in Darlington, ardent Remainer Terry Christian - dubbed the “most hated man on television” following his stint as host of the infamous 90′s show The Word - repeatedly spoke over Dimbleby and fellow guest Richard Tice, earning heckles of “shut up” from the audience. 

    But it was the panel’s chair who finally ended Christian’s tirade over the potential drawbacks of leaving the EU. 

    “Okay, let’s stop, stop, stop, stop, stop please,” Dimbleby demanded. 

    “It’s getting boring, you’re getting boring,” he continued, chanting “boring, boring”. 

    The celebrities/UKIP ...

    A common concern among commentators is how Nigel Farage appears to always be on the programme.

    In 2014, there was the perfect storm of celebrity (which again often annoyed the purists) and Ukip when Russell Brand clashed with the Ukip leader, with the comedian calling Farage “a pound shop Enoch Powell”.

    But it wasn’t much of a spectacle, and things only livened up when a shouty blue-haired woman aimed some insults at Farage, calling him a “racist scumbag” and shouting something about his “rich banker friends”.

    Brand didn’t come off much better, stumbling when questione why the comedian would not stand as an MP if he cared about politics and politicians so deeply.

    Brand replied: “I would stand for parliament but I would be afraid I would become one of them.” He was booed.


    0 0

    The House of Lords is “totally failing” to represent UK regions, with most peers living in and around London, according to a new report. 

    The Electoral Reform Society has released new analysis as MPs prepare to debate a petition calling for the abolition of the upper chamber - signed by 170,000 supporters. 

    It shows that of the 564 peers whose place of residence is known, 306 (54%) live in either Greater London, the South East or the East of England, with 25% living in the capital itself.

    The East Midlands, West Midlands and North West are all under-represented, with just 5% of peers living in the North West, compared to 11% of the public.

    Electoral Reform Society chief executive Darren Hughes said: “These figures reveal the appalling centralisation of Parliament’s second chamber. This London-dominated house totally fails to represent huge swathes of the UK.

    “Regions including the North West and the Midlands are not only under-represented, but those peers who say they live there do not represent each region’s diversity – whether in terms of their politics or otherwise.

    “The Lords is looking increasingly like just another Westminster private members’ club – and it’s not hard to see why when the system is so unbalanced.”

    Representation in the Lords broken down by region.

    Just one peer - former trade unionist Baroness Blood - has a background in manual work, having been an employee at a linen mill, while 39% have previously worked in politics.

    In total there are 235 former politicians, 68 political staffers and 13 civil servants on the red benches and despite attempts to diversify the chamber, numbers are on the rise.

    In 2015 there were 220 ex-politicians, but the number increased to 235 after the last round of new introductions were announced - now accounting for 29% of the total.

    Other common professional backgrounds include business and commerce (70 peers), legal professions (55 peers), and banking and finance (49 peers).

    There are also more than 30 ex-journalists and dozens of former trade unionists.

    Hughes, who spearheads a campaign for the Lords to be completely reformed with the introduction of elected peers, added: “Adding to the detachment between the House of Lords and UK citizens is the fact that so many peers are former politicians.

    “When the PM can stuff a so-called scrutiny chamber with whoever they want, the result is that it fails to reflect the nation.

    “That won’t be solved by bunging in a few more unelected cronies. Instead, a fairly-elected chamber of the regions would ensure guaranteed, proportional representation and a strong voice for all parts of the UK.”

    Theresa May shelved plans for Lords reform earlier this year - despite Parliament’s Lord Speaker’s Committee putting together a 40-page report on how the chamber could be cut down without the need to pass new laws.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to abolish the “undemocratic anachronism” completely should the party win the next election, replacing it with a fully elected second chamber. 

    A House of Lords spokesperson said: “Members of the House of Lords come from across the UK, but are not representatives of geographical areas.

    “Members are appointed by virtue of their experience and represent nearly every profession including law, nursing, teaching, defence, engineering, music, television, and politics.

    “No other senate in the world has such diverse members, or as broad a range of expertise. All members use their wealth of experience to debate crucial issues, and hold the government to account.”


    0 0

    Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, which conducted the research.

    Nearly 80% of council workers have no confidence in the future of local services because of spending cuts, new research reveals.

    The study, carried out by Unison, one of the UK’s largest trade unions, revealed that staff felt councils had been left unable to meet the demands of local communities due to government cuts.

    Staff have been left to “pick up the pieces” due to local services “collapsing”, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said, adding that the current situation was “chaos”.

    The research, released on Monday, shows that 50% of council workers are thinking of leaving their jobs for less stressful work elsewhere.

    The survey of 21,000 local government employees working across all services reveals that 67% said residents do not receive the help and support when they need it and 54% are not confident that vulnerable residents are safe and cared for.

    Issues raised by the staff who took part in the survey include stories of families living in mouldy, overcrowded properties, fly-tipping being left for weeks and a rise in rodent populations.

    Other concerns raised include vulnerable children, young people and adults not getting the help and support they need.

    Unison’s Prentis said: “This disturbing survey should ring alarm bells in Whitehall and also alert ministers to the crisis happening in councils up and down the country.

    “Local authorities have had to cut so many vital services that they have now reached a point where vulnerable children and the elderly struggle to get the help that they need, entire communities are suffering, and the public are being put at risk.”

    Unison’s survey shows that 83% of staff felt that reductions in government funding for local authorities in England have had a negative impact on their ability to do the job as well as they can.  

    A total of 53% of workers believe that their council no longer delivers quality services and 48% said that their employer doesn’t make the right decisions for the public.

    Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds are concerned about the financial situation of their council.

    The biggest challenges facing local authorities, according to council workers, was a lack of front line staff, adult social care, safeguarding children and young people, a lack of housing options and road repairs.

    Prentis added: “With cuts to road and bridge maintenance, potholes in roads are left unfilled, and bridges are at risk of crumbling. Crematoriums are not maintained, streetlights stay broken, and parks are in disrepair as councils don’t have the equipment or the staff to adequately maintain them.

    “There are now over one million people with an unmet need for social care because councils don’t have the resources to support them. Now is the time to reverse these cuts and invest in local government once more or the very fabric of our society will come unstuck.”


    0 0

    Eight men were arrested after a violent protest at Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Stadium in Ashton-under-Lyne on Saturday

    Up to 30 protesters stormed a cycling festival in Greater Manchester on Saturday in an “appalling” display of violence that led to eight arrests.

    Greater Manchester Police said nine people were hurt after the protesters began throwing bottles, food and beer kegs at the Eritrean event at Curzon Ashton’s Tameside Stadium.

    The Eritrean Cycle Festival was attended by hundreds of people, with singing, dancing and appearances from cyclists who appeared at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the 1960 Games in Rome.

    It is thought the demonstrators were protesting against the Eritrean government and event organisers said their actions put young children in danger. 

    Organiser Goitom Seyoum told the BBC the event had “nothing to do with politics” and was simply a celebration of Eritrean cycling.

    The 48-year-old said: “We had African champions here and people who appeared at the Olympics.

    “It was a peaceful protest at first and then they barged in throwing bottles, food and beer kegs.

    “It was outrageous - there were children in buggies and people cut and bleeding.

    “This was supposed to be a festival but now we leave with a sad feeling. Young children were put in danger by these cowards.”

    The arrested men were held on suspicion of public order offences after riot police were called to the stadium in Ashton-under-Lyne.

    Chief Inspector Andy Harty said: “The vast majority of people attending the event today were innocent people, including children, who sadly got caught in the middle of this appalling act of violence.

    “This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and I want to assure the residents of Tameside that we are doing everything we can to bring any offenders to justice.”


    0 0

    My name is Usman and I came to the UK from Pakistan in 2007 on a study visa. In 2015, the Home Office locked me in what it calls an immigration removal centre. A removal centre – or detention centre as they are more commonly known – is basically a prison. You are made to live in a cell in a secure building behind razor wire fences with guards watching and regulating your every move, stopping you from leaving.

    But there are two big differences between detention centres and prisons: first, the Home Office can hold you in detention centres for as long as it wants, without a time-limit. And second, people like me who the Home Office locks up haven’t been convicted of any crime.

    Being in detention was terrifying and stressful. Despite being surrounded by dozens of other people – guards and detainees – I felt very alone. I didn’t know when I would be released and my life was on hold. I was powerless.

    Looking back though, I feel lucky. I was released after around two months behind bars. I applied for asylum while I was in detention, putting my case together myself, gathering the evidence that the Home Office required to prove I needed to stay in the UK for my safety.

    I’d been locked up originally because I had overstayed my study visa. I feared returning to my home country, where my religious beliefs would put my life in danger. Confronted with the reality of being deported, I put in an asylum claim and I was quickly accepted. It sounds straightforward now, but the whole process was filled with fear and uncertainty.

    When I was released, I was walked through the main concourse of the detention centre by a pair of uniformed guards, towards the main entrance and exit. People, locked up in cells like I had been, were on my left and right. They congratulated me as I walked through, reaching through and patting me on the back in solidarity. Many of them I had become friendly with during my stay.

    But looking up and catching their eyes I could see that while they were happy for me, they couldn’t help feeling envious and therefore ashamed. If they could have switched places with me, they would have – and I don’t blame them. My sense of relief at being released was overpowering – but I felt a quite physical guilt at the people I was leaving locked up behind the detention centre’s tall concrete walls. I remembered the hopelessness of indefinite detention all too well.

    I knew that once I was free I needed to do two things: get my life back on track and use my experience of being locked up to campaign for an end to detention. Only once you’ve spent a night in a cell without knowing how many more nights lie ahead can you truly understand the stress it puts people under.

    A Group 4 security officer walks down one of the corridors of Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, Europe's largest detention centre for illegal immigrants, in Bedford January 17, 2002

    So I set about finding myself a new life in the UK. My passion is marketing, so I tried to enrol at Birkbeck to study for a masters. But I couldn’t provide all the paperwork they asked for – some of it was still in Pakistan and I couldn’t return home to collect it. After a long back and forth with the admissions office – who weren’t used to dealing with people like me who have to leave their life’s paperwork behind – they agreed that by circumstances were extenuating and I was admitted onto the course.

    Working through the charity Chatterbox, I also spend a couple of evenings a month teaching Londoners how to speak my native tongue, Urdu. I enjoyed teaching people my language but it was also a chance to share my story and the horror of detention. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool we have.

    Another passion of mine is nature, so I organise nature walks for friends and colleagues; in April a small group of us did the five-hour walk from Chesham to St Albans in the sun. Walking in the fresh air looking at plants and the landscape is a great pleasure for me, a reminder of my freedom.

    I also volunteer with Refugee Week, the annual festival running from 18-24 June bringing communities together to celebrate the contribution of people who’ve come to the UK as refugees. Giving talks at schools, community centres and occasionally in Parliament, I feel proud to act as an example of what the whole country can gain by giving people, wherever they come from, a chance to live in dignity and contribute their skills and experience to their community.

    When I was locked up, I couldn’t contribute anything to society and as a person I couldn’t grow. I still had dreams, skills and aspirations but I couldn’t do anything about them. When I go round the country now, volunteering and working for my causes, I try to remember the people who are still locked up and still have their lives on hold – and I hope that one day, we’ll be able to talk about them and their lives after detention too.

    Refugee Week, the UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees, celebrates its 20th anniversary between 18-24 June. For more information on Refugee Week and their Simple Acts initiative, visit the Refugee Week website


    0 0

    Mexico football fans’ excitement at their team’s shock win over defending World Cup champions Germany is believed to have caused a minor earthquake.

    Tremors were recorded in Mexico City after Hirving Lozano fired the winning goal past German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in Russia, according to seismic monitoring agency Simmsa.

    Mexico won the Sunday afternoon match 1-0.

    “The earthquake detected in Mexico City originated artificially,” the Mexican engineering and mining firm said.

    “Possibly by massive jumps during the goal...of Mexico in the World Cup.”

    The agency said at least two sensors detected the tremors inside Mexico City at 11.32am Mexican time.

    Spectators watched the match on a big TV screen in the central Zocalo square and after the game they gathered around the iconic Angel of Independence monument waving Mexico flags.

    Mexico's Hirving Lozano celebrates scoring their first and winning goal against Germany at the World Cup in Russia

    National team coach Juan Carlos Osorio said the win was the result of six months’ planing and added that he told his team to “play with the love of winning rather than the fear of losing”.

    “We started drawing up a plan six months ago, we had to change some parts because of injuries, but basically using players who are very fast down the flanks,” he told reporters after the match.

    “We decided on (goalscorer) Hirving Lozano as he is our fastest player. We broke out in fast attacks, and we had numerous real chances to open the scoring before we actually did.”

    Mexico fans celebrate their team's victory in Russia

    The Colombian coach, who has had a testy relationship with the Mexican media, lauded his players for their effort and also launched an aside at his critics.

    Osorio said he had tried to shield players from the criticism that had come his way, so they could concentrate exclusively on the match.

    “I tried to make sure that the pressure is all on me, so that all they have to do is go out and do what they did today,” he said. “If we win, the credit goes to the players and if not, it’s my fault ...and that’s the world of football.”

    Mexico face South Korea on Saturday, before taking on Sweden on 27 June. 

    England kick-off their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on Monday evening. 


    0 0

    What do we do after Brexit?

    It’s such an obvious question. Shouldn’t it be the main question that we as a country ought to be asking ourselves, and, if not, shouldn’t it at least be higher up the list? While conversations about cabinet strife and devolution are important it seems odd that so little attention is being paid to the nuts and bolts of what Britain does post-Brexit.

    It is especially disheartening because there is such an obvious solution that, if we get it right, will benefit Britain, our potential partners, and the world. There is a group of countries that we could join with and with whom a close bond already exists. Britain’s future will depend on our ability to bring together Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and ourselves into a working partnership based on free movement and trade. For a post-Brexit Britain, the best future is a #CANZUK one.

    The potential for CANZUK is extraordinary. The four countries contain over 132 million people, according to the UN, and account for more than 10 per cent of global GDP – a staggering amount of economic activity, especially considering that the group only has 1.7% of global population. These four nations are culturally influential, highly economically developed, and our societies are underpinned by liberal democratic principles. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom all protect minorities, including LGBT people, and are bound together by the Enlightenment tradition. This is not to mention the history that, regardless of its historical morality, forms the kind of bond between countries that cannot be destroyed but which are ideal foundations on which to build.

    The four CANZUK countries also have much in common in cultural terms. We have similar business practices, watch a lot of the same TV, visit the same websites, and listen to much of the same music as one another. Many of us have families who live in the other CANZUK countries and we are all led by the same head of state – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We already have a ‘personal union’ – if our nations are not primed for further cooperation, which ones are? In fact, according to the campaign group, CANZUK International, there is extensive public support for a CANZUK free trade area in all four countries. In New Zealand it is as high as 82 percent while 76 percent of Canadians are in favour, as are 73 percent of Australians – there’s even 68 percent public support for the it in the United Kingdom.

    Support for CANZUK has also been expressed by several key politicians from across the nations. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has been making some very positive sounds on trade, particularly with Britain, even going so far as to promise that a trade discussion between the two countries would begin the “day after Brexit”; while former Australian PM, Tony Abbot, has called for freer movement between his country and Britain. On an academic level, the influential Adam Smith Institute think-tank has also thrown its considerable intellectual weight behind building the alliance.

    For anyone who has found the recent politics to be depressing, the possibility of a CANZUK agreement provides the perfect antidote to their understandable doldrums. There is massive potential for economic cooperation, promoting human rights, building global security, enforcing standards, working with other international organisations (including the European Union), and encouraging the sharing and developing of ideas, technology, principles, and best practice. The CANZUK nations already cooperate extensively together and have achieved much; imagine how much we could achieve with more focus and deeper cooperation. This is surely a cause to be optimistic – and we can all share in it expressed in our common language.

    United as they are by history, common law, security concerns and practices, language, mentality, culture, and a dedication to the fairness and work ethic that are characteristic of Western liberal democracies, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom already do so much together. A free movement and trade area would help to that capacity to achieve and would, if done correctly, avoid unneeded and unwanted bureaucracy.

    The CANZUK proposition is backed by the most convincing political, economic, philosophical, and even moral arguments available and there is evidence to suggest that the people of each country support it. If enough political will can be found to get behind CANZUK, not only will Britain be lifted out of the uncertain gloom that the way Brexit has been handled has created towards a bright future, but we will be joined by three of our oldest, dearest, and most reliable allies in a modern partnership that stands ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that such a future will bring.


    0 0

    ‘EastEnders’ actor Christopher Timothy has revealed that he has been privately dealing with prostate cancer in the last 10 years.

    Christopher is best known for his portrayal of Ted Murray in the BBC soap, and has spoken for the first time about his illness, revealing he kept it private even from his children, as they had recently lost their mother.

    Speaking to the Express, he said: “I had prostate cancer but I’ve been clear for five years. There were only one or two people who knew.

    “At the time I discovered that I had prostate cancer, it was not long after my first wife had died, so my children had lost their mum. I felt that to tell them that I had prostate cancer, while I knew that I had it and there was a threat of some sort, I felt that it would be wise not to make things worse for them.

    “The death of their mum was a shock and my eldest daughter said at the funeral, ‘Please look after yourself, Dad.’ I realised then that it was right not to tell them.

    “But I did tell them when I was given the all-clear.”

    Christopher, who is now working with the charity Prostate Cancer UK to raise awareness of the disease, urged any men with “concerns”: “Don’t be embarrassed, go and be checked. And people who have heredity connections should not think twice about it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and it doesn’t hurt.

    “I don’t know whether having cancer has changed my attitude to life. I can’t even say that now I live every day to the fullest… I think I always have, really. At the end of the day, I always want to feel I’ve achieved something. Now, I feel fine, really fine. I’m pretty happy, too. And I’m very fortunate.”

    Christopher in character as Ted in 'EastEnders'

    Christopher joined ‘EastEnders’ last year, having previously starred as James Herriot in the comedy-drama ‘All Creatures Great And Small’.

    His soap character, Ted, was dealt a blow earlier this year, when he discovered that his beloved wife, Joyce, had died suddenly in her sleep.

    For more information, visit the Prostate Cancer UK website.


    0 0

    K E Y   P O I N T S

    • Sandra Bullock leads an all-star cast alongside Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. 
    • Her character, Debbie, is the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) from the rebooted ’Ocean’s trilogy
    • The new heist involves a robbery at the star-studded Met Gala 
    • Anna Wintour and Kim Kardashian are among the many (many) A-listers who make cameo appearances 
    • The film is already out in the US, where it took more than $41 million during its opening weekend.

    S N A P   V E R D I C T

    Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we?

    ‘Ocean’s 8’ looks fantastic. The scenes at the Met Gala are seriously impressive (and jam-packed with celebrity cameos), with director Gary Ross receiving assistance from Anna Wintour for the recreated event.

    Cate Blanchett’s wardrobe is a work of art in itself, and the fast-paced heist is shot brilliantly, looking seriously slick.

    The cast are phenomenal; they’re all hilarious with razor-sharp wit and such obvious chemistry that will leave you laughing at the sight of reports claiming the actors didn’t get on.

    Rapper and comedian Awkwafina is fantastic as pickpocket Constance and Anne Hathaway sends up half of Hollywood with her portrayal of image-obsessed actress Daphne Kluger. 

    Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bulllock) has the swagger of her now-deceased brother and Rihanna is as great as you hoped she’d be, playing the mysterious Nine Ball.

    But the plot itself doesn’t quite match up. Stellar performances can only take a film so far and sadly, ‘Ocean’s 8’ lacks a script as punchy as the all-male original. 

    There’s never any real sense of jeopardy and when the twists come, they arrive thick and fast, leaving the second half of the film feeling a little rushed (And let’s just not mention James Corden’s insurance investigator role).

    Is it a fun watch anyway? Yes, absolutely. It’s easy to follow, you’ll laugh a lot and never quite work out what the thinking was behind Helena Bonham Carter’s Irish accent.

    But if you were hoping for a story as witty and clever as the women in the cast, you’re going to be left disappointed.

    B E S T   L I N E S

    Tammy (Sarah Paulson) explaining things to her kids: 

    This is mummy's very special work trip."

    Debbie Ocean’s pre-robbery pep talk:  

    Somewhere out there, there’s an eight-year-old girl in bed dreaming of being a criminal. Do this for her.”

    W A T C H   T H E   T R A I L E R . . .


    0 0

    1. INTENTION TENSION

    England expects every member of the national football team to do his duty tonight (see below for how MPs and peers are clearing the decks for the 7pm kick-off). But just how Theresa May will do her duty by the English NHS is the hot political topic today. We love an anniversary in Britain, from the 52 years of hurt since England last won the World Cup, to the 70 years since the founding of a health service free at point of need. And Prime Ministers, like England managers, know they risk a fierce public backlash if they put a foot wrong.

    The Prime Minister has her well-trailed Big Speech on a ten-year NHS funding plan today, and to underline the importance of the moment there is a Cabinet meeting at 10am beforehand. The overnight extracts included her pledge of £20bn extra for the health service but had this telling line: “This money will be provided specifically for the NHS. And it will be funded in a responsible way.” ‘Specifically’ suggests some kind of hypothecation, so will we get either a National Insurance rise or some other device? The ‘responsible’ bit is the hard bit – is it spending cuts, tax hikes, borrowing or all three? The PM gave a hint of the tax rise on LBC, saying “we as a country will contribute a bit more”.

    May broke down her £20bn figure into “£394 million a week”, even more than that infamous Boris Bus pledge in the EU referendum. Presentationally at least, it looks like Boris Johnson won his battle to get the Government to deliver on what many Leave voters wanted. The IFS ridiculed the idea of a ‘Brexit dividend’ (the PM didn’t use the phrase, but the No.10 Twitter feed did), but even Jeremy Hunt persisted on the Today programme with the argument that not paying ‘subscriptions’ to the EU would save us billions. Hunt, a former Remainer turned Brexit-deliverer, clearly hasn’t ruled out a long shot at Tory leader one day. (Hunt sounds a bit like Prince Harry, it seems. Meghan Markle’s dad told GMB this morning that Harry saw Brexit as “something we have to try…I think he was open to the experiment”). Having refused to quit in the reshuffle, Hunt has since got his way on NHS funding, and on visa caps on doctors and nurses. He’s undoubtedly one of the more powerful ministers in the Cabinet right now.

    As for the key question of tax rises, Hunt said this morning that “we are clear there will be an increased burden of taxation”. That was even more unambiguous than anything May said yesterday. The Health Secretary claimed this was consistent with the Tory manifesto. Yet that manifesto stated: “It is our firm intention to reduce taxes on Britain’s businesses and working families.” Will voters feel misled, having been told the Conservatives ‘intended’ to cut taxes but in fact had to put them up? Or will the public swallow the rise, given they constantly tell pollsters their priority is the NHS?

    Ministers have more wriggle room because Philip Hammond scrapped the Osborne-era 2015 promise not to put up NI, income tax and VAT. Hunt said on Today there will be “discussions…with Parliamentary colleagues” about possible NI rises. One problem for the Tory brand over the longer term is making uncosted spending commitments, something it used to hammer Labour over. With voters’ trust in statistics and politicians’ promises lower than ever, and a few Brexiteers saying some things (ie national sovereignty) matter more than money, some Tory MPs fear that the party is giving up its hard-won reputation for economic orthodoxy - and paving the way for Corbyn’s Labour party to tear up the rules of the game.

     

    2. COLLAPSED BUNG

    With the England match scheduled for 7pm, the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) has rather sensibly decided that it will hold a mere ‘business meeting’ rather than its full meeting tonight. And in the House of Lords, I’m told Labour will start proceedings on the EU Withdrawal Bill by urging peers to consider taking the big votes before the rest of business, by 6.30pm, “in the national interest” (code for ‘cmon, there’s a match on’).  

    Tory peer Lord Hailsham will table this morning a replacement “manuscript” amendment based on the compromise plan Dominic Grieve thought he’d agreed with the PM last week. The aim is to allow Parliament more of a say if there is a ‘no deal’ scenario on Brexit. Given the large rebellions previously in the Lords, there’s likely to be another Government defeat tonight and then all eyes will be trained on Grieve and his ‘group’ (as he calls the Remainer rebels) for the return of the bill to the Commons. A new report by consultants Oliver Wyman suggests households could be £1,000 worse off under a ‘no deal’ scenario. Though Grieve says he sometimes wakes up “in a cold sweat” thinking about that outcome, few in No10 believe it will come to that.

    Grieve finally raised the stakes on BBC’s Sunday Politics, warning “we could collapse the Government”. That raised temperatures among Brexiteers and the PM’s loyalists, but given the way the former Attorney General feels he was misled, it’s no surprise. Grieve insists he wants an ‘advisory’ vote rather than ‘directing’ ministers, so could we see one last tweak from the PM later this week? Brexiteer backbenchers will be wary of any bungs given to their enemies, though, especially as the whips are confident they’ve peeled off some rebels. I note the Sun on Sunday yesterday reported that May met some Labour Leave MPs last Monday. They could be crucial again this week.

     

    3. TIME OFF IN LOO

    Many Tory MPs will tell you that it wasn’t just voter unease over the NHS that came up on the doorstep in the general election. School cuts were a frequent topic, not least as a union-backed website pointed to specific funding reductions in every single postcode. And although not as life-and-death and headline-grabbing as health, both parties know that education spending is a big issue for many key voter groups in target marginal.

    The issue reignited late last week when the local paper in the PM’s Maidenhead constituency revealed that a primary school had been forced to appeal to parents to crowd source essentials like pens, paper - and loo roll. St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School, which has suffered £70,000 in funding cuts, sent an Amazon wish list link to parents. HuffPost has found similar Amazon wish list pleas to parents across the country, including pencils, rubbers and even wall clocks.

    The Government is repeating its defence that core school funding will rise to a record £43.5bn by 2020. Yet similar protests didn’t work in the last election. I reported during that campaign that schools had used JustGiving pages to fund whiteboards and computers, and some had even been forced to cut the length of the school day to save money. This is not an issue that’s going away, especially if any NHS increase further squeezes education spending.

     

    BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR...

    Watch this Lego cherry blossom tree go up in Japan.

     

    4. SKIRT HURT

    Tory veteran Sir Christopher Chope has told his local paper the Bournemouth Echo that he is not “a dinosaur”, despite his blocking a private members’ bill that aimed to make ‘upskirting’ a criminal offence. After an avalanche of criticism, including from his fellow Tory MPs, he added that “it’s very depressing some of my colleagues have been perpetuating” the idea that he was in any way supportive of those who secretly take photos up a woman’s skirt. That hasn’t stopped some pranksters this morning placing women’s knickers outside his Commons office.

    And there’s no doubt Chope’s objection, based on his principle that Governments shouldn’t use backbench time for their own ends, has caused the party serious reputational damage. David Lammy wondered what Chope had done in his Parliamentary career to merit a knighthood at all. The PM herself yesterday said she was ‘disappointed’ by his actions. And former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans told Westminster Hour last night he was so “angry” he’d written to the Procedure Committee chairman to review the arcane ‘Object’ procedure. He also wants a review of the practice, used by the SNP, to try to halt PMQs last week.

     

    5. PUMP PRIMER

    The last time Philip Hammond dared try to hike national insurance (for the self-employed), he felt the full backlash of White Van Man. And if there are tax rises for the NHS coming down the track, ministers may want to at least try to sweeten the pill by reassuring motorists of all kinds that it’s doing something about ‘rip off’ motorway petrol prices. The Sun reports today it could be three years before there’s a full probe into the practice.

    The paper reveals that officials from the Competition and Markets Authority have told Transport Secretary Chris Grayling it could take that long for any formal investigation to start. Grayling earlier this year suggested drivers were being ripped off by as much as a tenner-a-tank. It looks like he may now try to get action sooner, but it’s unclear what power he has to do so.

     
     

    If you’re reading this on the web, sign-up HERE to get the WaughZone delivered to your inbox.

    Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Paul Waugh(paul.waugh@huffingtonpost.com), Ned Simons (ned.simons@huffingtonpost.com), Kate Forrester (kate.forrester@huffingtonpost.com) and Owen Bennett (owen.bennett@huffingtonpost.com)

     
     

    HuffPost is part of Oath and on 25 May 2018 we will be introducing a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy which will explain how your data is used and shared by Oath. Learn More.

    If you’re reading this on the web, sign-up HERE to get The Waugh Zone delivered to your inbox.

    Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Paul WaughNed SimonsKate Forrester Rachel Wearmouth and Owen Bennett.

    To pitch a blog post on HuffPost, email Charlie Lindlar or the blog team.


    0 0

    Newlywed Prince Harry is supposedly “open to the experiment” of Brexit, according to his father-in-law.

    Thomas Markle – who has not met the Prince – also claimed he himself was urged by the royal to “give Donald Trump a chance”

    Speaking to Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Markle, who did not attend his daughter Meghan’sroyal wedding last month, admitted: “I sort of disagreed with that.”

    When asked about details of the Brexit conversation, he said: “It was just a loose conversation… I think he (the Duke of Sussex) was open to the experiment.”

    A spokesperson for Kensington Palace had no comment on the claims. 

    Markle was unable to walk the Duchess of Sussex down the aisle after undergoing heart surgery just days before the wedding, but said he was “honoured” that Harry’s father, the Prince of Wales took on the job on his behalf.

    “I can’t think of a better replacement,” he told the programme.

    Markle’s operation came shortly after allegations surfaced that he had staged photographs with the paparazzi.

    He said he had apologised to both Harry and Meghan for causing them embarrassment in the run up to the wedding.

    “I realised it was a serious mistake. It’s hard to take it back,” he added.

    Markle said that he opted to take part in the interview because he wanted people to know he is a “normal guy” and because he wants to have a good relationship with Meghan and Harry.

    He said: “Over the last few weeks, everybody has had different opinions, some people said I was faking my heart attack, some people said I was skipping out, all kinds of stories were coming out about me, negative ones.

    “But I just want people to know I’m a normal guy, I’m a retired man and I was living a quiet little life and this happened, and lots of things happened around it, and I’ve tried to survive through that, but more than anything I don’t want my daughter or new son-in-law to be hurt by any of this.

    “I want to have a nice, normal relationship with my royal family as well now.”


    0 0

    Jeremy Hunt has admitted any so-called Brexit dividend, if it materialises, would not be “anything like enough” to fund the government’s proposed increase in NHS funding.

    The health secretary confirmed on Monday morning this meant taxes would be increased to pay for the pledge.

    Theresa May is set to announce the NHS will receive an additional £20bn a year, or £384 million-a-week, in real terms funding by 2024.

    But Downing Street’s suggestion the extra funds can come from money saved by not having to contribute to the EU budget has been rubbished by experts and some of her own MPs.

    Hunt said this morning the government would not set out precisely how the extra money would be found until the Budget in the autumn.

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the health secretary said there would be “three sources” of money.

    “One of them is, as you were talking about earlier in the show is the fact that we won’t be paying subscriptions to Brussels by the end of this period,” he said.

    “But that alone won’t be anything like enough, so there will also be more resourcing through the taxation system, and also through economic growth.”

    He also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “huge, very difficult” discussions with the Treasury “went to the wire” until Chancellor Philip Hammond was certain that the additional spending was affordable.

    “We are clear that there will be an increased burden of taxation,” he confirmed.

    Story continues below poll...

    Sarah Wollaston, the Tory chair of the Commons Health Committee, branded the idea there would be a Brexit dividend “tosh”.

    Philip Lee, who quit as a justice minister last week in protest at May’s Brexit policy, dismissed the idea any money saved from being in the EU could be used to pay for the NHS.

    “As a GP, I‘m happy to see more money for our health & social care. We need to spend more as our population ages,” he tweeted.

    “But we must be honest about how we are going to pay. There is no evidence yet that there will be a ‘Brexit dividend’ - so it’s tax rises, more borrowing or both.”

    Paul Johnson, director of the well-respected Institute for Fiscal Studies, also dismissed Downing Street’s promotion of the idea leaving the EU would give the Treasury more money to spend.

    “There isn’t a Brexit dividend,” he said on Sunday. “If you look further down the road, yes, we’ll stop paying money to the European Union, but the economy’s already shrunk a bit as a result of the vote; the Government has accepted that.

    “Actually the public finances will be £15bn or so worse off, not better off, so there really just isn’t money there for a Brexit dividend.” 

    May will use her speech in London to say the NHS has a special place in British life, hailing the work of those who treated victims of the Manchester Arena attack last year.

    The prime minister will also recall her own reliance on the NHS for help when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, saying: “I would not be doing the job I am doing today without that support.”

    Of the increased investment, Mrs May is set to say: “The NHS will be growing significantly faster than the economy as a whole, reflecting the fact that the NHS is this Government’s number one spending priority.

    “This must be a plan that ensures every penny is well spent. It must be a plan that tackles waste, reduces bureaucracy and eliminates unacceptable variation, with all these efficiency savings reinvested back into patient care.”


    0 0

    A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

    Today, I can breathe again.

    Today, we confirmed our choice of school for Joseph for Year 7.

    Today, I realised that I am no longer fearful of the future and accepting that next year Joseph will be educated within a specialist provision.

    And that’s actually fine.

    I’ve spent many years wondering where Joseph will be educated and terrified of him moving away from mainstream. Something I opened my heart about last  in When The Mainstream Runs Dry – Autism and Schools

    Educating EssexYorkshireJoseph

    Why? Because it confirmed that Joseph had additional needs that couldn’t be met within a mainstream provision. Because it confirmed that Joseph had a disability and finally, because it brought back memories from my own childhood where there was a stigma attached to the children who were picked up by the bus.

    Some people further down the line than me may laugh and wonder why after all these years I had not realised that Joseph does in fact have a disability. Of course I know that he does but you spend years convincing yourself everything can be normal when actually, life as you know it is very much normal.

    The other part to this is that many autistic people are educated successfully within a mainstream provision. For most of those, it’s likely that they don’t have a learning difficulty too. You see, that’s the other thing I’ve also come to terms with. Being autistic means Joseph struggles with comprehending the world around him but an associated learning difficulty means he has a reduced intellectual ability, it takes him longer to learn and he may have trouble coping independently.

    All of those things made it hard to digest that by yet another label, Joseph’s future seems to have a negative slant, simply by the mention of these words.

    Very early on I saw specialist as a failure on our part. I didn’t see it for what it was, a provision that has expertise in getting the best from a child with a moderate learning difficulty. An educational establishment that have enhanced skills to teach a child who may ordinarily struggle within another setting.

    I didn’t wake up one morning and embrace this lightbulb moment, it’s been a steady burner and I’m pleased that Joseph will see out his time with his peers and move at the end of Year 6.

    We earned that right

    Visiting a high number of schools in a couple of authorities hasn’t been the best of experiences. I’ve visited ones that have given me warm feeling inside, knowing that Joseph would feel happy and settled there and I have visited ones where I wouldn’t leave our cats (that incidentally I don’t like). Don’t worry, the local authority have received my feedback around those.

    I’ve felt a huge amount of pressure to make the right decision, despite other people being part of the decision-making process. And even when those who have visited with me have given their opinion and their own preference, I didn’t feel like it was the right decision.

    So after more visits and more discussions, we finally did it today. A decision that collectively we have made and we’re more than happy with. There are no guarantees that the school we’ve selected, he will even be placed in. We do know that if it goes tits up, we made the right decision based on the information we’ve had. We know that we can’t predict the future and we can’t second-guess how Joseph will react to his new learning environment but we’ll stick with it and we’ll give it a bloody good go.

    From here on in, we’ll be looking at how Joseph transitions to that new school as he’ll have visits to get him used to a new school and new people. We’ll start discussing with him what happens when he gets to a certain age and he’s ‘too big’ for his current school. Everything within our power, will be done to make it work and with a school that has a tag line of “we are a ‘can do’ school”, I have every confidence it will indeed work.

    Today, I am relieved and today I am looking forward to the next steps in Joseph’s bright future. Because, those negative sounding words don’t count for much in our home.

    We’ll write our own future which won’t be based on assumptions.


    0 0

    We’ll admit that when we heard that there was a sequel to ‘The Incredibles’ in the works, we were a little skeptical.

    Sure, it’s got a cult following on social media, and scene-stealer Edna Mode is one of the most underrated animated characters of the past 20 years, but when you’re reeling off a list of Pixar’s most memorable films, ‘The Incredibles’ doesn’t exactly come near the top of the list next to ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Finding Nemo’.

    Was anyone actually crying out for a second ‘Incredibles’ film?

    Well, it turns out that yes. Yes they were.

    Mr Incredible, voiced by Craig T Nelson

    Following its opening weekend in the US, ‘The Incredibles 2’ is already smashing records, reportedly drawing in as much as $180 million (roughly £136 million) in a matter of days.

    This figure marks the biggest debut for an animated film in US cinema history, even when adjusted for inflation (via Vulture), beating previous record-holder ‘Finding Dory’, which scooped $135 million (£102 million) when it debuted two years ago.

    Although it’s been 14 years since ‘The Incredibles’ first hit cinemas, its sequel picks up just three months after the last film, with the destruction caused by the showdown in the last film not exactly having put the superhero Parr family in good stead with the public.

    Icon, diva and legend, Edna Mode

    Reviews for the hit film have been largely positive, but UK fans still have a bit of a wait on their hands, as it won’t arrive in cinemas here until 13 July.

    Director Brad Bird - who also provides the voice of Edna Mode - has hinted that a third film could be coming, as delays to production meant certain aspects that he and his team came up with for ‘The Incredibles 2’ were ultimately not able to be used.


    0 0

    Caroline Flack may be engaged to Andrew Brady, but the ‘Love Island’ presenter has said she is “totally flattered” by contestant Alex Geroge’s confession he fancies her.

    So far this series, the A&E doctor has struggled to find romance, with viewers willing him to do well after being turned down by a number of newcomers to the villa. 

    During Sunday night’s show, Alex was having a conversation with his fellow Islanders about his ideal woman, when he named Caroline as being up there for him.

    'Love Island' host Caroline Flack and contestant Alex George

    While Caroline initially joked he was “too late” when the moment was brought up during spin-off show ‘Aftersun’, she later tweeted: “That was so fun thanks for tuning in .... and totally flattered by doctor Alex.”

    Caroline announced her engagement to former ‘Apprentice’ star Andrew in April after a whirlwind three-month romance, but is yet to set a date for her nuptials. 

    Caroline with fiancé Andrew Brady

    Meanwhile, ‘Love Island’ fans have seen Alex get excited about two new arrivals in the villa - new girls Ellie Brown and Zara McDermott. 

    He was seen giving them some of his best chat up lines as he hoped to become the final male Islander to couple-up with someone romantically. 

    However, it was previously revealed Ellie has some history with villa lothario Adam Collard, which could spell trouble for his own blossoming romance with Rosie Williams. 

    ‘Love Island’ continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV2. 

    For all of the best ‘Love Island’ content, memes and chat, join our dedicated Facebook group.


    0 0

    Dreaded by many and loved by few, exam season is upon us. In schools up and down the country teenagers will be frantically scribbling, busily revising and wracking their brains to get the grades they need to launch future careers.

    Elsewhere, across the country, parents will be engaging in age-old arguments on the value of the modern exam system, grade inflation, did they help their child enough and just which subject really is the most difficult?

    Lord Baker is one of these people. The former Education Secretary recently argued that the maths GCSE ought to be abolished in its current form. In its place he suggested a compulsory ‘core’ maths exam, focusing on basic numeracy, and a ‘further’ maths exam for the more mathematically gifted students that includes trigonometry, calculus and algebra.

    Whether his suggestion is workable, Lord Baker has made an important point: developing basic numeracy skills is absolutely essential for life. Being a dab hand at quadratic equations or Pythagoras’ Theorem is incredibly impressive, but equally important is having a good grasp of numeracy and its real-world applications, from percentages and fractions through to compound interest.

    Staying on top of your finances and developing effective budgeting skills is one such practical application. If we are to give our children the very best start in life possible, it is beyond essential that we teach them from a young age how to manage the money they are given.

    Steps have already been taken in the right direction in legislating to include financial literacy on the national curriculum. Since September 2014, children in key stage 3 (ages 11-14) are taught about the functions and uses of money, the importance and practice of budgeting, and managing risk. Pupils in key stage 4 (ages 15-16) are taught about income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent.

    Though great in principle, the experience of schools suggests we could, perhaps, be doing more in practice. With pressures on school resources and crammed timetables, financial literacy often gets squeezed out of the day.

    The groundwork has already been laid; it is a question of further incentivising the teaching of financial literacy. Maybe the solution is to create a compulsory financial literacy exam either as a separate module or as part of existing maths and general studies exams. Here students would be asked to demonstrate budgeting skills, explain the benefits and cost of different types of credit and (eventually) answer questions involving compound interest.

    Picture that: children leaving school with a deep and certified knowledge of money and how best to manage it!

    It’s also important to think about how financial literacy is taught, not just what is taught. In financial literacy lessons at present, is money still being taught solely in its physical form – cash transactions – rather than in its modern form – contactless payments and e-commerce – to fully equip children to join the cashless society? In IT classes, we wouldn’t just teach children how to use typewriters, so why would we allow the same to happen in financial literacy lessons?

    What’s more, we must ensure that financial literacy lessons are taught in a hands-on, practical, fun and accessible way. Children mustn’t come to see money as an academic discussion or as just an exam subject. After all, it is something they will be grappling with for the rest of their adult lives.

    Online shopping exercises, lessons in how to tell the difference between a BOGOF and 50% off and external speakers and trips to the local bank, for example, all bring the subject to life. Some schools, particularly those with enterprise or business specialisms, have already wound business and money management modules in to the curriculum.

    Whilst this debate rumbles on, perhaps we need to look beyond the school gates. Perhaps, in the meantime, we need to be doing more at home. Well, to begin with, why not start by:


    0 0

    One in five British festival-goers have experienced sexual assault or harassment at an event, according to new research.

    The figures rise to 43% for women under 40 and campaigners said the findings - believed to be the first of their kind - should be a wake-up call for the industry to start treating sexual violence as seriously as other crimes.

    The poll showed 22% of all Britons who have been to a festival faced some kind of unwanted sexual behaviour, rising to almost one in three of women of all ages (30%).

    The most common forms of unwanted sexual behaviour experienced by respondents were “unwelcome and forceful dancing” and sexualised verbal harassment.

    Eleven percent of women had experienced sexual assault while they were conscious, compared to 3% of men, and 4% of women said they were sexually assaulted while unconscious or asleep, compared to 2% of men.

    40% of women under 40 years old said they had been sexually harassed at a festival in the UK

    Only 2% of festival goers who were assaulted or harassed reported the incident to police, according to the figures, suggesting the issue is significantly under-reported.

    Separate data released in the Crime Survey for England and Wales in February showed more than 80% of victims of sexual assault did not approach the authorities for help. 

    The poll, in which YouGov surveyed 1,188 festival goers for the Press Association, also revealed:

    – 70%  of those who experienced sexual assault or harassment at a festival said the perpetrator was a stranger.

    – Just 1% of women reported sexual assault or harassment to a member of festival staff, either before or after the event, although 19% of men reported their experience to staff.

    – When people were asked how satisfied they were with how festivals they attended handled the issue, 45% said they did not know and 24% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, suggesting a lack of awareness around festival policies and safeguards. A total of 22% said they were satisfied and 8% said they were dissatisfied.

    Tracey Wise, founder of campaign group Safe Gigs For Women, said: “We have struggled to find anyone with any definite statistics on this before now.

    “It gives us something to show to festival organisers so we can say ‘you need to take this on board’.”

    Jen Calleja, a co-director of the Good Night Out Campaign, called the research “shocking but not surprising”, saying it “helps prove what we already know through anecdotal evidence”.

    “We know that the vast amount of harassment and sexual assault is not reported and we know this comes down to stigma, fear of not being believed and a minimisation of what harassment is,” she added.

    Beth Granter, a 35-year-old campaign manager with social network Care2, said she was flashed by a man at Reading Festival when she was 17.

    “He said something like ‘give us a shag’,” so she told him to go away and tried to laugh it off, she said.

    “Laughing was a defensive strategy to de-escalate the situation.”

    Granter said she did not report what happened but felt vulnerable for the rest of the festival.

    “I think this kind of thing happens more at festivals than in the street during the day, but I haven’t seen any evidence that it happens more at festivals than in nightclubs. I have lost count of the times I’ve been sexually assaulted in a nightclub,” she added.

    February’s Crime Survey statistics found one in five women had experienced some form of sexual assault since they turned 16.

    Paul Reed, chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, said festivals “have a duty to make their events as safe and secure and enjoyable” as possible, but that some responsibility also lies with festival-goers to report problems.

    “People shouldn’t feel that they need to tolerate the type of behaviour [at festivals] that they wouldn’t tolerate in the street,” he said, adding that raising awareness around the importance of consent and bystander intervention was paramount.

    “If people don’t intervene, then this behaviour becomes normalised,” he said.

    “The idea we want to put forward is that harassment is everybody’s problem, it’s not just the person who is being assaulted,” added Calleja.

    Hundreds of thousands of people flock to UK festivals every year but organisers of some of the UK’s biggest festivals – including Glastonbury, Creamfields and the Reading and Leeds festivals – declined to comment on the new figures.

    Somerset Police recorded two incidents of sexual assault, two incidents of rape and one incident of indecent exposure at last year’s Glastonbury Festival and some social media users reported instances of sexual assault at Manchester’s Parklife festival this year, on June 9 and 10.

    Parklife also declined to comment.

    Wise said: “[The figures] will be massively helpful, because at the moment I don’t think festival organisers do enough.

    “It would be good to get to the end of festival season and see festivals have taken this on.”


    0 0

    Three people have 

    Three people have died after being hit by a train at Loughborough junction in south London, British Transport Police said on Monday.  

    Officers were called to the junction, along with police and the London Ambulance Service,  shortly after 7.30am following a report that “multiple bodies” had been found.

    The three people discovered were pronounced dead at the scene and their deaths are being treated as unexplained. 

    The spot where the bodies were discovered is busy with freight trains during the night when the line is clear of passenger trains, but it is unclear when the victims were stuck. The Guardian suggested the accident is thought to have occurred at about 5am and that the victims were all men. 

    Some media have suggested that spray cans were found near the bodies, leading to claims the deceased might be graffiti artists. Authorities have not commented on that.

    Officers are working to identify the deceased and remain at the scene. 

    “A number of enquiries are also underway to establish the circumstances of how the people came to be on the tracks,” BTP said in a statement. 

    Detective Superintendent Gary Richardson said: “My team are now working hard to understand what happened and how these three people came to lose their life on the railway. 

    “My thoughts are with the family and friends of these three people.  

    “At this time, we are treating their death as unexplained as we make a number of immediate enquiries. I would ask anyone who was near to Loughborough Junction this morning, and saw something which they think might be relevant, please contact us as soon as possible.”

    Several Thameslink trains have been cancelled.

    Loughborough Junction station remained open but BTP warned services would be delayed while the scene was investigated and urged commuters to contact National Rail for all inquiries. 

    The station, between Herne Hill and Elephant and Castle, is served by Thameslink, and platforms and tracks are above ground level.

    Anyone with information about the deaths is urged to contact BTP by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 93 of 18/06/2018.  


    0 0

    The bodies of the men were recovered from the River Calder (file picture) 

    A father and son have died during a magnet fishing trip in Huddersfield.

    Their bodies were recovered by West Yorkshire Police on Saturday evening in the River Calder.

    The men have been named by the Huddersfield Examiner as Martin Andrews, 43, and his teenage son Jack, 19.

    The pair are believed to have been using magnets to trawl the canal bed in a search for valuable objects.

    Police were alerted after a local dog walker spotted their belongings by the water.  Their deaths are not considered to be suspicious. 


    0 0

    Victoria Beckham shared a touching poem her daughter Harper wrote for David Beckham on Father’s Day - a day on which many celebs offered us heartwarming insights into their family lives, including Jennifer Garner’s co-parenting tribute to ex Ben Affleck and John Legend’s praise for Chrissy Teigen never taking a break from “mummy duty” (ie.breast pumping).

    VB shared a photo of the poem titled ‘Thank you Daddy, I love you Daddy’ by six-year-old Harper on an Instagram story, as well as sharing a family photo of David and three of their children.

    One of the most touching lines is: “Thank you for all the the fun we have together, for hugging me until I almost burst.” 

    Harper’s poem reads: “Thank you Daddy for being kind and helpful, for helping me snow board and do tricks.

    “For helping me with my tricky homework, and for helping me paint pretty pictures.

    “Thank you for all the the fun we have together, for hugging me until I almost burst,

    “For playing football with me, and for going to smiggle with me.

    “Thank you Daddy for making me laugh, for playing the hand wrestle game, for telling me funny jokes, and for playing silly pranks on me.

    “Thank you Daddy for being you, for loving me with all your heart, for tickling me in bed, and for taking care of me. “Thank you Daddy for being the best in evr. I love you Daddy and hope you have a special day. Harper xoxoxoxo.”

    The other Beckham children also shared messages on Instagram. Brooklyn, 19, chose a black and white shot of his mum and dad and wrote: “Happy Father’s Day to the best dad in the world. Love you so much ” 

    A post shared by bb (@brooklynbeckham) on

    While 15-year-old Romeo shared a photo of him stood next to his dad, looking proud and also praised David for being the best dad in the world.

    A post shared by Romeo (@romeobeckham) on

    And 13-year-old Cruz wrote: “Happy Father’s Day to the best dad ever. Thank you so much for everything you have done, I love you so much.” 

    A post shared by Cruz Beckham (@cruzbeckham) on

    David himself shared a tribute to his own father and wrote: “Being a parent is the most special and the most rewarding role you could ever have, so cherish every single moment.” 

    A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on

    Other famous families sharing the Father’s Day love included:

    Chrissy Teigen, John Legend and their two children, two-year-old Luna and one-month-old Miles

    A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

    Never one to miss a beat John turned the focus back onto his wife and praised her for being on “mummy duty”, by expressing milk in the car while taking him out for a celebratory dinner.

    A post shared by John Legend (@johnlegend) on

    Emilie Goldblum, Jeff Goldblum and their children two-year-old Charlie and one-year-old River.

    Jennifer Garner and her three children with ex Ben Affleck, 12-year-old Violet, nine-year-old Seraphina and six-year-old Samuel.

    “Our kids are lucky to have a dad who looks at them the way you look at them and loves them the way you love them, ” she wrote.

    Busy Philipps, Marc Silverstein and their kids, nine-year-old Birdie and four-year-old Cricket.

    Busy wrote a post in praise of a reluctant father: “Marc wasn’t sure he wanted kids when we met. Then he thought one was enough. Good thing I’m bossy AF because no one was more meant to be a father than this guy. Happy Father’s Day to Marc, who is the greatest, most loving and most fun dad to our little girls and HFD to all you dads out there doing your dad thing.”

    A post shared by Busy Philipps (@busyphilipps) on

    Alicia Keys, Swizz Beats and their children, seven-year-old Egypt and three-year-old Genesis.

    A post shared by Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) on


    0 0

    As if student debt, unstable employment and sky-high house prices wasn’t enough to contend with, now millennials have to worry about of our future health, too. 

    We could be the first generation to have poorer health in middle age than our parents, new research from the Health Foundation suggests. The researchers looked at the prevalence of housing instability, financial hardship and relationship difficulties among people in their twenties and previous research on how such adversity can impact health.

    They noted unstable unemployment (such as zero-hours contracts) or overcrowded housing (such as rented house shares) can increase stress and overall mental ill health. This in turn can fuel lifestyle-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease, as lower living standards trigger “unhealthy behaviours such as smoking and alcohol consumption”.  

    On top of that, the report suggests social media – something our parents never had to contend with – is having a negative impact on both our sleeping patterns and our self-esteem.    

    Young people today are much less likely than their parents or carers to own their own home and according to the report, those who do manage to fly the nest are likely to be living in the private rental sector, with four out of 10 30-year-olds living in rented accommodation.

    “This shift away from ownership has been significant and fast. It is also expensive,” it says. Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) spend almost a quarter (23%) of their income on housing, highlighting an increase from the 17% spent by baby boomers (born between 1954 and 1964) at the same age. 

    “Millennials are also more likely to live in overcrowded conditions. There is a link between overcrowding and mental ill health as a result of stress, tension, family break-ups, anxiety and depression, and chaotic and disturbed sleeping arrangements.”

    The researchers warn “inadequate support” for younger generations has meant as a nation, we’re “losing ground” on social progress. They identified four areas that can help young people secure the building blocks for a healthy future: emotional support, appropriate qualifications or skills, personal connection and financial and practical support.

    An accompanying poll asked 2,000 people aged 22-26 what extent they had these assets when growing up. Fewer than one in five (16%) felt they had access to all assets growing up, despite more than two thirds (68%) recognising they were all important.

    Although nine in ten  (90%) of people aged 22-26 said having emotional support is important, just under half (49%) felt they fully had this growing up. What’s more, the majority (92%) said having the opportunity to achieve the right skills and qualifications for their chosen career is important, but less than half (47%) felt they fully had the opportunity to achieve these.

    When it comes to personal connections, such as having the right relationships and networking opportunities, almost one third (31%) felt they fully had these growing up. Finally, three quarters (77%) said having financial and practical support from family is important, but less than half (46%) felt they fully had these growing up. 

    Commenting on the findings, Jo Bibby, director of health at the Health Foundation, said: “Young people today are facing pressures that are very different to those of previous generations. This new research demonstrates that many young people in the UK are not getting the support they need to make a smooth transition into adult life. This support is vital to securing the building blocks they need for a healthy future. Without it we are putting their future health at risk.

    “We hope that the work of the inquiry over the coming months will help us understand the reasons for this and identify the changes needed to address this worrying trend.”

    The inquiry team will now carry out a series of site visits across the UK to explore these issues further. A research programme led by the Association of Young People’s Health and the University College London Institute of Child Health is also underway. The inquiry will culminate in a series of policy recommendations in 2019.


    0 0

    A teenager was attacked with a knuckleduster before being sprayed with a noxious substance in Greewich (stock image)

    A teenager has been left with “life-changing” injuries after a “truly vicious assault” which saw him repeatedly punched in the face with a knuckleduster and sprayed with a noxious substance. 

    The 18-year-old was set upon in an unprovoked attack by three men on Bexley Road, Greenwich, after he got off a Route 286 night bus in the early hours of Saturday. 

    Met Police believe the teen tried to avoid the men, who began harassing him after he tried to move out of the way. 

    “A verbal altercation then followed during which the males swore aggressively at the victim, before one pulled out a knuckleduster and punched him repeatedly in the face,” the force said in a statement.

    “Another of the suspects pulled out a small bottle containing a clear liquid and threatened the victim before spraying it at him.”

    The alleged attackers ran off towards Avery Hill Road as the victim made his way to a  hospital in south-east London, where police were called shortly before 1am. 

    The victim suffered a fractured eye socket and a broken nose.

    Police said tests are ongoing to determine what the substance used in the attack was. 

    Detective Constable Dan Newbury, of Greenwich Borough, described the assault as “truly vicious”.

    “The victim was minding his own business on his way home when these three males have confronted him and left him with injuries that are possibly life-changing,” he said.

    The suspects are described as white and aged between 18 and 25 years old.  They were all wearing tracksuits.

    The man who punched the victim had short blond hair and was around 5ft 10ins tall. The second and third suspects were around 5ft 8ins tall and also had short blond hair.

    Police want to hear from anyone who was near Bexley and Avery Hill roads during the early hours of Saturday. 

    Anyone with information is urged to contact officers at Greenwich police via 101, quoting incident number 256/16 June.


    0 0

    Jeremy Hunt has said he supports changing the law to allow the use of medicinal cannabis oil after the drug was confiscated from a mother bringing it into the UK to treat her epileptic son.

    The health secretary said on Monday the government would launch a review into the current rules.

    “We are not getting this right and that’s why we are having this review,” he told ITV News. “We will try and conclude that process as soon as possible.”

    Asked directly whether he backed changing the law to allow the use of cannabis oil for medical purposes he said: “Yes.”

    He added: “We know there is strong clinical evidence that in certain situations cannabis oil can be very beneficial.”

    The oil is illegal in Britain but available elsewhere.

    Hunt was speaking after Home Secretary Sajid Javid intervened at the weekend to provide a 20-day licence allowing 12-year-old Billy Caldwell to be treated with cannabis oil for his epilepsy.

    Caldwell’s condition became “life-threatening” on Friday evening, just days after his mother, Charlotte, had a six-month supply of cannabis oils confiscated by customs officials at Heathrow Airport.

    Caldwell began using the banned substance in 2016 to control his seizures. But his latest supply was confiscated as his mother attempted to bring it back from Canada.

    The announcement prompted calls for an immediate decision in the case of 6-year-old Alfie Dingley, from Warwickshire, to grant him similar access to medicinal oils to treat his epilepsy.

    Like Caldwell, Dingley suffers a severe form of the disease. Alfie’s condition causes him to have up to 150 seizures a month.


    0 0

    ‘Loose Women’ anchor Andrea McLean has revealed a battle with a rare blood disease left her fearing for her life.

    Andrea underwent a hysterectomy in 2016, following a lengthy battle with debilitating endometriosis, and during the procedure, it was discovered that she had a rare blood condition

    During a consultation, she was then diagnosed with medium vessel vasculitis, an experience she told the Mirror made her “reevaluate things”.

    Andrea McLean

    “I suppose you could say it was a wake-up call,” she said. “I wrote down a list of ambitions that I hadn’t pushed myself towards through fear or lack of ­confidence.

    “I needed to face up to the reality I held myself back subconsciously because I was scared. And with the threat of serious illness hanging over me, I now knew that I couldn’t hold myself back any longer.

    “I didn’t want to look back on my life and wish I’d been brave enough to do something that was within my power to do, but a fear of failure held me back.”

    Andrea on 'Loose Women' with Nadia Sawalha, Ayda Field and Kaye Adams

    Describing how she channelled the fear her illness had caused, Andrea continued: When you think life is coming to an end, you’ve never wanted to live so much. I stopped being afraid of saying what I wanted. And I stopped caring what people thought of me.

    “I’ve been given a second chance and I’m not going to waste it. There’s a lesson for everyone there. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t give up.”

    Andrea previously discussed the illness on ‘Loose Women’, but held back on how fearful the disease had left her. She told The Mirror she’s now been given the all-clear.

    Shortly before her hysterectomy and medium vessel vasculitis diagnosis, Andrea spoke candidly on ‘Loose Women’ about her mental health, having struggled with postnatal depression after the birth of her second child.


    0 0

    Living life more sustainably has hit the big time. 

    Cutting down on carbon, tightening up our energy use and investigating alternative forms of power for our homes has sidled into the mainstream – with California recently approving a plan to require solar panels on all new builds from 2020. 

    The desire to buy from brands that put the planet first is expanding, fast: 66% of global millennials are willing to spend more on brands that are sustainable, according to the State of Fashion 2018 report by Business of Fashion. 

    Storming ahead are entrepreneurs, invested in marrying their ethics with their ambitions. To get some frontline knowledge on a more eco day-to-day, we asked them for their sustainability routines. 

    Edwin Broni-Mensah, founder of Give me Tap

    Give Me tap not only sells refillable water bottles to cut plastic waste – they also provide clean drinking water per bottle sold to someone in an African country, via 20% revenue donations. 

    Edwin’s sustainability routine

    “When I was at university, I started thinking about how to eliminate waste from plastic bottles, which is why I set up Give Me Tap. As well as always having a reuseable bottle, I refuse straws and plastic bags.” 

    “In 2016, I became vegan. I wanted to eat in a sustainable way, as well as thinking about the welfare of animals, which meant cooking a lot more at home and not eating packaged food. It was a mental shift, so not a big struggle, but I did find the social aspect of it hard. I’ve just spent three months in Thailand where it’s harder to stick to, though!” 

    “I try to support other social entrepreneurs and brands, thinking about how I spend my pounds. Small, mindful, purposeful steps contribute to a big difference – it’s about breaking habits.”

    Charlotte Instone, founder of Know The Origin

    Charlotte founded her sustainable, ethical fashion brand in 2016. Know The Origin crafts quality basics with a 100 per cent transparent supply chain. 

    Charlotte’s sustainability routine

    “I’ve made the commitment to only buy clothing from sustainable or ethical brands and there are so many out there!  Right down to my underwear I love finding new ethical brands that are changing the world by supporting women’s groups, supply chain practices or developing new alternative eco fabrics.” 

    “I know it sounds weird but most of the carbon footprint of our clothes happen when we get them home, by washing mixed fibre clothing we release micro beads into the ocean and also waste an incredible amount of water. I wash my clothes a lot less frequently and at 20 degrees it actually keeps them in better shape.” 

    “I subscribe to magazines like Ethical Consumer, Majestic Disorder and Ethos because I believe its really important to support small businesses that are reporting and educating on these topics. I I love using candles from places like LUZ LUX, which supports survivors of domestic violence.” 

    Phoebe Hunter-McIlvee, co-founder of Project-Pico

    Phoebe and her co-founder, Isobel Williams-Ellis, created their Fairtrade, organic underwear company in 2016.

    Phoebe’s sustainability routine

    “In the morning, I brush my teeth with my recycled yoghurt pot toothbrush and cycle to the studio. I put on my Pico pants. My favourite are our newest high waist style called the total eclipse, especially the undyed ecru ones. Then onto the clothes. Most of my wardrobe is courtesy of my mum and consists of things she has had since she was 18.

    I get a lot of satisfaction from taking my tiffin tin as my lunch box to the studio. We came back from our recent trip to India with lots of tiffin tins. They are an amazing alternative to using plastic Tupperware.

    “The studio is pretty kitted out, but if I’m out I have an amazing stainless steel water bottle that Isobel bought me, plus a bamboo spork and KeepCup at the ready. I always carry my opinel, too.” 

    John Pritchard, founder PALA

    PALA is an eyewear brand that provides eyecare grants to projects in countries across Africa. It was founded in 2015.

    John’s sustainability routine 

    “I’m up and out the door quickly in the morning – I have a quick shower the lasts no more than 3-4 minutes as I am mindful of water consumption.

    “I live and work in Brighton so there is rarely a journey that can’t be undertaken on foot. When I need to go further I use my bike, and further still my campervan, – she’s lasted 26 years. However, she’s old and is certainly no ‘eco-queen’ when it comes to her fuel and oil consumption. Two environmental choices at odds.

    “In recent years, I have reduced my overall meat consumption and stopped eating beef altogether. The facts behind its production are staggering.”

    Nonki Azaria, photographer and founder of Go Wildly And Slow

    Go Wildly And Slow is a lifestyle platform founded in 2016, encouraging readers to find a more meaningful pace in their lives. 

    Nonki’s sustainability routine 

    “My mornings are generally pretty slow. My husband and I will get up and one of us will make a big pot of coffee and sit outside for a few minutes if the weather allows. Starting the day with natural light and fresh air is a big change I’ve made to my life. We make a good, hearty breakfast using fruit and veg from our Oddbox. They deliver us a box of really delicious stuff that they rescue from going to waste each week – it’s all perfectly edible food that the big supermarkets reject for being too wonky and imperfect.

    “Another big change I’ve made is to my wardrobe – having given up fast fashion. I scaled back my wardrobe massively in the last two years, donating all the clothes that I hardly wore to charity.

    “I often spend my day working from home, but when I’m on the go or working at cafes with good wifi it’s really easy to get into the bad habit of buying food and drinks in single-use plastic packaging. To avoid the plastic trap I’ve started to pack a few essential things in my rucksack – a reusable water bottle, some reusable cutlery, a cloth bag for any shopping I pick up on the way home and my lunch in a Tupperware box.”


    0 0

    The underwear protest outside Sir Christopher Chope's Commons office on Monday morning

    Knickers, thongs and a suspender belt awaited Sir Christopher Chope when he arrived at his Commons office on Monday after he blocked legislation making upskirting illegal.

    The underwear was draped across the door of Chope’s office in protest at the Tory MP single-handedly preventing the act of taking pictures under someone’s clothing without their consent becoming a specific criminal offence.

    The protest mirrors one made outside his constituency office in Christchurch, Dorset, which appeared within hours of him objecting to a private members’ bill tabled by Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse on Friday.

    It is not known who carried out the stunt, but HuffPost UK can reveal one of the items still has the sales tag attached - suggesting it was bought specifically for the protest.

    However, other items did not have tags on them, suggesting the culprits may have had to sacrifice a degree of comfort to make their point.

    One source said scores of researchers and other Parliamentary workers had been visiting Chope’s office to take pictures of the protest.

    Sir Christopher Chope insists he is not a

    The 71-year-old MP insisted this weekend he was actually the victim, telling his local paper: “I feel a bit sore about being scapegoated over this.

    “The suggestion that I am some kind of pervert is a complete travesty of the truth.

    “It’s defamatory of my character and it’s very depressing some of my colleagues have been perpetuating that in the past 48 hours.” 

    He urged the government to find the “fastest, fairest and surest passage” for a bill banning upskirting, and accused ministers of “hijacking” backbenchers’ time with the Friday afternoon debate.

    The MP added: “I am not a dinosaur. I am very much alive and kicking. There are too few colleagues who are prepared to stand up for the rights of Parliament against the executive and that’s when the freedoms we cherish will be eroded.”

    Theresa May called the act “invasive” and “degrading” when she pledged to revive an attempt to ban it.

    Gina Martin, an upskirting victim whose petition to criminalise the act won her a legion of celebrity supporters and political backing, said Chope’s actions left her extremely upset.

    Culture Minister Margot James said the backbencher had brought the Tories into disrepute, while the Prime Minister expressed her “disappointment” at his move.

    London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “dismayed and appalled” and Labour MP Richard Burgon said he was “disgusted”.

    Without a specific law, victims in England and Wales must seek prosecution of upskirting through other legal avenues, such as outraging public decency or harassment.

    A specific law already exists in Scotland and the blocked bill would have seen upskirting offenders face a maximum of two years in prison.

    May reassured campaigners on Sunday that the government would provide time for anti-upskirting legislation to pass through Parliament.

    “It is an invasive, offensive act and we need to take action against it,” she added. 

    Bath MP Hobhouse, who had secured cross-party support for her bill, told Sky News: “I think it’s very frustrating and annoying that one MP can block a consensus that had been built over several months.”

    The Lib Dem press office added in a tweet: “Christopher Chope really is odious.”

    Home Office minister Victoria Atkins, also minister for women, and Tory MP Will Quince were among those who said “shame” when the bill was blocked by Chope.

    It only requires one MP to shout “object” when the title of a private member’s bill is read out to halt its progress.

    Hobhouse said it appeared Chope had objected to her bill “on a general principle that he doesn’t like private member’s bills”. 


    0 0

    Piers Morgan is facing a backlash on Twitter, with ‘Good Morning Britain’ viewers criticising the way he questioned Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas, during a live interview on Monday morning.

    During the tell-all chat, Thomas addressed numerous topics, revealing how he found out Meghan and Prince Harry were dating, what happened when he told her he couldn’t attend the wedding and even hinted at Prince Harry’s political views.

    Thomas was paid an unspecified amount for the interview 

    However, numerous users were unimpressed with the way Piers conducted the interview, with one labelling the exchance “excruciatingly uncomfortable”:

    When Thomas mentioned he had spoken to Harry about Brexit, Piers pushed the former lighting director for more details. 

    “It was just a loose conversation,” he responded. “I think he [Harry] was open to the experiment.” 

    Thomas also explained why he decided to do the interview, telling Piers and Susanna Reid: “Over the last few weeks, everybody has had different opinions, some people said I was faking my heart attack, some people said I was skipping out, all kinds of stories were coming out about me, negative ones.

    “But I just want people to know I’m a normal guy, I’m a retired man and I was living a quiet little life and this happened, and lots of things happened around it, and I’ve tried to survive through that, but more than anything I don’t want my daughter or new son-in-law to be hurt by any of this.

    “I want to have a nice, normal relationship with my royal family as well now.”

    Thomas confirmed Harry and Meghan had no idea he was giving the interview 

    Meghan’s engagement to Harry thrust Thomas into the spotlight and he struggled to cope with the increased attention from the press.

    Just days before his daughter’s wedding, he was caught staging paparazzi photos and later told TMZ he would be not travelling to the UK for the ceremony, for fear of causing further “embarrassment” to Meghan and the royals.

    Addressing the staged photos on ‘GMB’, Thomas said: “I thought it would be a nice way of improving my look, but obviously that all went to hell.

    “I feel bad about it, I apologised for it. It was a mistake.”

    He later changed his mind and said he would travel to the wedding, but was left unable to do so after falling ill.


    0 0

    John Lewis is buying back your unwanted clothes, through a new app-based service that is set to help cut down on landfilled clothing.

    The brand is currently trialling a system where customers can select clothes they want to sell back on an app. It gives an instant update of how much you can get for each item and the balance is paid by e-voucher. The unwanted clothes will be resold or mended, so that they can be recycled into new products.

    It is estimated that 300,000 tonnes of clothes sent to UK landfill each year, according to WRAP – so it’s a real pressing issue. Here’s what other high street brands are doing to help you recycle your old clothes.

    M&S

    If you donate an item of M&S clothing to Oxfam, either in-store or at one of the charity shops, you will get a £5 M&S clothing and home voucher to spend in store. Clothing from other brands is also accepted at in-store collection points – but you don’t get vouchers for those, sadly. 

    Levi’s

    Since 2016, UK shoppers have been able to drop any brand of clean, dry clothing or shoes to a Levi’s store in exchange for a voucher offering 10% discount on a single, non-discounted item in-store. 

    H&M

    A seasoned player at the clothing recycling game, H&M has had collection points for unwanted clothes in stores since 2013. Regardless of the condition or brand of the clothing you drop off, you receive a £5 voucher off your next to use against a £30 shop.

    & Other Stories

    This brand, owned by the H&M group, offers a 10% off voucher to customers who trade in unwanted clothes in-store, which will go on to be recycled as raw material. It has been running this programme since 2015 and clothes can be any brand.

    Zara

    The European fashion brand is in the process of fitting collection points for unwanted clothes across all of its stores, globally. Pieces are donated to local NGOs, and there aren’t currently any discounts of rewards offered for donations.

    Find out more about which UK stores currently provide this service here.   

    HuffPost UK contacted The Arcadia Group about Topshop and Topman. A spokesperson said: “Topshop and Topman do not currently have a clothing recycling initiative, however we are actively exploring options in this space.”

    We also contacted ASOS and The Arcadia Group about Miss Selfridge, but have yet to hear back at the time of writing.


    0 0

    The bodies of a mother and her five-year-old son have been found at the cliffs of Beachy Head (file picture)

    The bodies of a five-year-old boy and his mother have been found at Beachy Head, East Sussex.

    The discovery was made at the cliffs near Eastbourne by coastguards and police at 7am on Monday.

    A Sussex police spokesman said the bodies were those of a 42-year-old woman and her son from Maidstone, Kent and confirmed an investigation has been opened.

    He said: “The deaths are not being treated as suspicious. Inquiries are at an early stage and no further information is available at this time.”

    It comes less than a week after three bodies were recovered from the same area, in separate unrelated incidents.

    Beachy Head cliffs are around 530 feet high and are a popular tourist spot.

    Useful websites and helplines:

    Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and Ireland (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).

    You can call Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

    Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk

    HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Monday-Friday 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.

    Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070.

    Rape Crisis services for women and girls who have been raped or have experienced sexual violence - 0808 802 9999


    Survivors UK offers support for men and boys - 0203 598 3898


    0 0

    If you thought our version of ‘Love Island’ was dramatic, it turns out it has nothing on the Australian incarnation. 

    The show has been making waves on both sides of the world after things kicked off in shocking fashion over the weekend when there was a physical altercation. 

    A huge brawl erupted in the villa (which is also based in Mallorca, like the UK show) between contestants Eden Dally and Grant Crapp, following the elimination of fellow Islanders Justin Lacko and Elias Chigros. 

    Things all kicked off on the Australian version of 'Love Island'

    In scenes reminiscent of Big Brother 5′s infamous ‘Fight Night’, the pair had to be pulled apart after squaring up to one another. 

    Grant had stepped in to defend his girlfriend Tayla Damir after Eden rowed with her and Millie Fuller about the exit of Justin and Elias, and as you can see from the footage below, the incident was explosive. 

    The video has been shared all over the internet, with fans of the UK show calling for ITV2 to air the Aussie version too:

    While there has been nothing on this scale on the British ‘Love Island’, it hasn’t been without its drama - we’re still living for the moment Rosie Williams confronted Adam Collard over his womanising ways. 

    Fans also raged when Eyal Booker dicked Alex George over as the pair both vied for the affections of Megan Barton-Hanson. 

    ‘Love Island’ Germany was the first international edition of the show, making its debut in 2017, with the Aussie version beginning last month. 

    ITV has also announced it has been commissioned in three more countries, with versions in Denmark, Finland and Norway all set to launch this year. 

    ‘Love Island’ continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV2. 

    For all of the best ‘Love Island’ content, memes and chat, join our dedicated Facebook group.


    0 0

    With increasing numbers of people renting and rent prices rising, a “rent-quake” has hit the UK, Shelter has warned. New analysis by the housing charity shows the amount of money being paid out by private renters is approaching parity to the amount being paid in mortgages

    Private renters in England alone are currently spending £41billion altogether in rent per year. If private landlords clubbed together this World Cup, they could buy the Brazil squad in just over a week, the England squad in seven days and the Tunisia squad in under 12 hours, the charity said.

    The most recent English Housing Survey, analysed by Shelter, identified a 345% increase in the total rent money paid out since the year 2000, compared to a 62% rise in total mortgage payments.

    In light of the figures, Shelter has called on the government to “give families protection from this rent-quake” by building “far more homes that are genuinely affordable to rent”.  

    In 2000, the total amount spent on private rents across the UK equated to just 27% of the total spent on mortgages. But in the period between 2015 and 2016, the total amount spent on rent had skyrocketed to be 75% of the total spent on mortgages.

    The figures come despite the fact homeowners still greatly outnumber private renters in the UK, with 63% of households made up of homeowners, compared to 20% private renters. However, the number of households that are private renting has risen by 74% in the last 10 years and rent itself continues to rise. 

    At the turn of the millennium, the average amount spent on renting was £92 per week, compared to the average mortgage payment of £76 per week. In the period 2015-2016, average weekly rent was £184, compared to an average weekly mortgage payment of £160. 

    The average proportion of income being spent on rent by private renters is now 41%. By comparison, mortgaged households pay on average 19% of income.

    In light of the analysis, Greg Beales, director of campaigns at Shelter, said: “A rent crisis has been creeping up on us for years, with rents soaring along with the number of people renting.

    “Consecutive governments have done little to stop it, leaving families right across the country struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

    “This government should step in and give families protection from this rent-quake by building far more homes that are genuinely affordable to rent.” 

    In response, a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) spokesperson said since 2010, the MHCLG has delivered over 357,000 new affordable properties.

    “We are determined to do more, and are investing a further £9bn in affordable homes, including £2bn to help councils and housing associations build properties for social rent,” they said. 

    “We are also committed to giving councils the power to borrow £1bn to build new properties in the areas were there are the greatest affordability pressures.

    “To help make renting fairer and more transparent, we are banning letting fees and cracking down on rogue landlords.”


    0 0

    A 12-year-old boy with severe epilepsy has been granted permission to take cannabis oil after suffering “life-threatening” seizures in hospital - however the decision by the Home Office will only enable him to take the drug for 20 days.

    Evidence suggests the oil - known as cannabidiol (CBD) - helps keep Billy Caldwell’s epilepsy under control. After the substance was confiscated at Heathrow on Monday, his mum Charlotte Caldwell faced a race against time to overturn the ban as her son’s condition deteriorated.

    Home Secretary Sajid Javid has since issued a temporary licence for Billy to be treated with the oil. But what actually is in the medicinal product, and how does it differ from other cannabis products?

    Billy Caldwell and his mum Charlotte.

    What’s the different between cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) oil?

    Cannabis is a plant which can be used as a psychoactive drug and is therefore illegal to possess or supply in the UK. Because people smoke it, it can be harmful to the lungs and it’s also been found to increase the risk of developing psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia.

    Contrary to what some may believe, CBD will not get you high. The primary psychoactive compound of a cannabis plant is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But CBD is a different compound altogether - there are 113 of them. CBD has been found to reduce seizures in cases of epilepsy, help with anxiety, treat chronic pain and act as an anti-inflammatory. 

    There have been some studies highlighting the benefits of CBD, however researchers suggest more clinical trials are needed. A 2017 study of 120 children with a rare, severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome found those taking CBD experienced a 39% reduction in seizures over a 14-week period. Side effects such as vomiting and fever were reported. A separate study of 15 patients taking CBD found the frequency of seizures decreased in 40% of the patients, 60% of the patients were seen to have control over half of their seizures and in 27% of them the seizures disappeared completely.

    Trials are under way to test cannabis-based drugs for other conditions including cancer pain, glaucoma, appetite loss in people with HIV or AIDs, and epilepsy in children, according to the NHS.

    Is CBD legal?

    In 2016, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA),  which licenses medicines in the UK, officially recognised products containing cannabidiol (CBD), that are used for medicinal purposes, as medicine.

    “Medicinal products must have a product licence (marketing authorisation) before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised in the UK, unless exempt,” it said in a statement. “Licensed medicinal products have to meet safety, quality and efficacy standards to protect public health.”

    There is currently only one licensed medicine in the UK called Sativex which contains both CBD and THC, and is not licensed for use in children. The drug is often used to relieve the pain of muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. Interestingly, Holland & Barrett currently sells a CBD oil which contains less than 0.05% THC. You can choose a CBD potency of either 2.75% or 5%.

    Why was Billy Caldwell’s CBD oil confiscated?

    The situation regarding Billy related to the personal importation of a product which is in breach of UK drugs legislation, according to MHRA. The supply of an unlicensed medicine which has been prescribed to fulfil an unmet clinical need requires an MHRA licence and, where the product contains a controlled substance, this also requires a Home Office licence. In this instance, the oil contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is illegal in the UK.

    Will the law change?

    The legal status of cannabis is the responsibility of the Home Office and any form of CBD oil must be licensed via the MHRA.

    Since Billy’s case came to light, Sir Mike Penning MP has called for reform of the system. The proposed chairman of the new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Medical Cannabis Under Prescription said: “It’s bizarre and cruel that we have a system that allows the medical use of strong opiates, but bars the medical use of cannabis. Medical cannabis is a health issue, not a misuse of drugs issue. It’s about patients and relieving suffering.”

    Actor Sir Patrick Stewart has hailed the benefits of medical cannabis for managing arthritis pain. Earlier this year he backed a petition calling on the Government to approve a license for medical cannabis. The petition was launched by the mum of 6-year-old Alfie Dingley, whose rare form of epilepsy sees him having 150 seizures every month. His family are currently trying to get the Home Office to extend the grant of medicinal cannabis to Alfie.

    Neil Clayton, lawyer and partner at Lime Clinical Negligence, tells HuffPost UK: “I come across loads of people who suffer considerably. At the end of the day you want people to receive the medication they need - and that does involve hard choices.”

    He adds that the Home Office needs to look into the medical benefits of cannabis further “because if they’re helping this child, then one would imagine that he’s not a completely unique case”.

    “It’s clearly a time where we need to try and take the emotion out of this and look at it from a purely medical perspective.”


    0 0

    Watery eyes, non-stop sniffling, sleepless nights: if you feel like your hay fever couldn’t get any worse right now, you’re not alone.

    Thousands of people across the UK are struggling at the moment - and Beverley Adams-Groom, pollen forecaster at University Of Worcester, tells HuffPost UK it’s because the weather’s been so nice recently.

    “We had very good conditions for the growth of grasses and other allergenic plants, allowing them to produce very high amounts of pollen,” she explains. “These conditions included plenty of warm temperatures and sufficient rainfall during late April and May. Coupled with that, in many regions we have good weather for pollen dispersal during the in-season period – warm, dry, sunny with breezes.”

    Adams-Groom explains that some people only get hay fever when pollen levels are very high, which is why more people seem to be experiencing symptoms. “This is because people vary in their response to the allergens, some suffering even at quite low levels, the majority suffering during high levels and some only at very high,” she adds.

    People who are allergic specifically to grass pollen will also be struggling as June and early July is when grass pollen is released. Birch tree and catkin pollen tend to be earlier, in mid to late April, and oak pollen in May.

    To top that off, people living in cities are at risk of even worse symptoms thanks to the combined effect of high air pollution and pollen. A survey by Boots, which dubs the issue ‘pollenution’, found 89% of people don’t realise their hay fever symptoms can actually be worse in the city than in the countryside. It estimates that London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow are worst affected.

    How to reduce symptoms:

    :: Shower before bed to get rid of any pollen lingering in your hair and clothes.

    :: Smear a small amount of petroleum jelly or a nasal barrier balm under your nose first thing in the morning.

    :: Wear sunglasses when out and about.

    :: Ditch the mascara or buy waterproof products to avoid panda eyes.

    :: Keep your windows closed in the morning and evening when pollen counts are highest - you can have them open between 11am and 4.30pm.

    :: Dry your washing inside so the pollen doesn’t stick to it. 

    :: Get changed as soon as you get home from work so you’re not traipsing pollen around the house.

    :: Cut down on alcohol, which can worsen symptoms of hay fever.


    0 0

    Downing Street has said the government will adopt a backbench attempt to crack down on upskirting, after a Tory MP singlehandedly blocked the move.

    Sir Christopher Chope mortified many of his fellow Conservatives last week when he objected to the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill making its way through parliament.

    On Monday morning knickers, thongs and a suspender belt were hung from his office door in Westminster by way of protest.

    Theresa May has called the act of taking a photograph underneath someone’s skirt “invasive” and “degrading”.

    The Prime Minister’s spokesman said today that the government would now turn Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse’s private members bill into a piece of government legislation and give it a second reading in the Commons before the summer break in July.

    Chope has complained he was “scapegoated” in the row and opposed the “vulgar, humiliating and unacceptable” act of upskirting.

    “The suggestion that I am some kind of pervert is a complete travesty of the truth,” he told the Daily Echo on Sunday.

    Chope said his objection to the Bill was based on on a long-held principle that has seen him routinely oppose backbench private members bills. 

    However his explanation did not cut it with many of his colleagues, as well as with opposition MPs.

    Tory backbencher Anne-Marie Trevelyan said it was “painful” to see him object the legislation.

    She told the BBC’s Daily Politics on Monday the term “upskirting” should be renamned “Choping”.

    Without a specific law, victims in England and Wales must seek prosecution of upskirting through other legal avenues, such as outraging public decency or harassment.

    A specific law already exists in Scotland and the blocked bill would have seen upskirting offenders face a maximum of two years in prison.


    0 0

    I have a love/hate relationship with ‘sitting Fridays’ in Westminster, where Private Members Bills and 10 minute rule bills alone are debated. Last Friday’s shenanigans demonstrated exactly why.

    These Fridays are an opportunity for MPs from the backbenchers to bring forward proposed law changes that the Government, for either one reason or another, will not deal with directly.

    The system is already geared up so that a bill can only pass if it has Government support, so in the instance of Chris Bryant’s ‘Protect the Protectors’ bill, which I had already tried and failed to introduce as a 10 minute rule bill, only if you can make a case to Government and demonstrate enough cross-party support, will you ever have a chance of using this particular platform to deliver law change.

    A campaign that I have been working on since my election in 2015 is seeking to highlight the inequality of the Government’s decision to set the age threshold for it’s so-called Living Wage at 25.

    Food isn’t cheaper for those under 25 and rent certainly isn’t, so on what basis can the Conservatives argue that this is fair? Well, there seems to be two different approaches.

    Matt Hancock, the current culture secretary who was Paymaster General at the time, told attendees at Conservative Party conference that young people are not productive enough to be paid the same as older workers, yet having asked this Government for the evidence, it was made clear that it collects no such figures on productivity.

    When I asked Chris Grayling for a debate on this very issue, I was told that it was a deliberate ‘incentive’ for firms to hire young people, yet the Federation of Small Businesses has warned it’s members against acting upon this incentive as they could find themselves in breech of age discrimination laws.   

    It’s an injustice that needs to be addressed and having asked questions, secured Westminster Hall debates and written articles about it to no avail, I was delighted to have been drawn in the Private Members Bill ballot with the chance to propose changing the law itself on Friday 6 July.

    Now I don’t think that Christopher Chope has been left in any doubt that his antics on Friday will not be tolerated by the public any longer, and for all his excuses, he knew exactly what he was doing and has been blocking worthy bills for years. The only sympathy I have with him is that he is far from the only one, yet has become the face of the scandal.

    There are several ways that Chope and his band of disruptive colleagues cause problems on sitting Fridays. They not only filibuster the bills at the top of the order, to talk them out, meaning that they run out of time often without a vote and so cannot not progress. Alternatively, on occasion if they do not like bills further down the order, they will ‘go-long’ debating the bills before it, so that those bills either get very little or not time at all.

    On the Friday just gone, Croydon North MP Steve Reed was the first up with his Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill which sought to introduce certain safeguards and best practice when using restraint and force with those undergoing a mental health crisis. Shipley MP Philip Davies spoke for nearly two-and-a-half hours to more than 100 amendments of the bill, pushing the time to the wire. For this reason, the bill only just survived its third reading but will now have to come back again on another day. It will come back on the 6th July - bumping my bill further and further down the list.

    It was only after the debates were over and the list of 26 other bills which could have been read that day but didn’t have time, were read out that Chope denied the ‘upskirting’ bill the chance to progress without further formalities. He also denied the ‘Finns Law’ campaign, Sir Oliver Heald’s bill seeking to improve the protections for Police dogs and horses like ‘Finn’ who was brutally stabbed in the line of duty, the chance to progress. 

    I have been working with young people, trade unions, and student movements to find ways to get the issue of fair wages for all ages onto the agenda in Westminster and to finally have the opportunity as a Private Members Bill was a big boost.  Thanks to the antics of the ‘Friday Filibusterers’ my bill, at fourth in the line-up, will now most likely be one more casualty of their egos.

    Holly Lynch is the Labour MP for Halifax


    0 0

    We Love…

    Beyoncé and Jay Z’s pastel suits in the ‘Apeshit’ video. Not only do the matching suits give us couple goals, but the symbolism in this shot is screaming, with Bey and Jay staring directly at the camera and the Mona Lisa’s gaze following the same path from behind them. This is the modern version of inscrutable beauty.

    Why It Works…

    With Beyoncé in a powder-soft bubblegum pink suit with a red belt - no shirt of course - this strong structure makes a statement about powerful femininity in fashion. Plus with Jay Z in a pastel turquoise double breasted number - also shirtless - this is the ideal summer trend that defies gender boundaries.

    Also Seen On:

    Actor Yara Shahidi wore pastel power suit with a kimono belt twist detail by Tory Birch to the MTV Music Awards on Sunday. Yes to everything in this picture. 

    A post shared by 2 AM 7 (@twoamseven) on

    Follow Their Lead:

    With pastel tones being a key trend, stay up to date with the Beyhive with this suit from ASOS. The blazer (£55) and trousers (£32) can be worn together or mix and matched with other colours you have in your wardrobe like this Simply Be sky blue option. The wide legged trousers are super flattering (£31.50) when paired with this long lined blazer (£49.50).

    For the guys, this millennial pink suit from Topman is ideal. The trousers are tailored (£40) and the jacket is in a skinny fit (£90). Or if you’re a bit cautious of bright colours, try the a colour like teal first. This one button blazer from NEXT for £75 with matching trousers (£49.50) will ease your way into the trend. 


    0 0

    For the first time in the UK, card payments have officially overtaken cash transactions.

    In fact the average adult made nine contactless payments per month last year and by 2027, the average adult is expected to make 22 contactless payments per month.

    This may not seem like a shock for those who are used to pinging contactless payments everywhere but to find out more we spoke to a random selection of people on the street and it became clear that cash is far from dead.

    We asked the public three questions: Do you have any cash on you? When was the last time you paid with cash? Does it surprise you that card payments had overtaken cash?

    Here are the responses we got.

    Adeeba, 22, medical physics student

    “I do have cash on me and although I bought something with cash two weeks ago I use my card for everything. I always have cash on me just in case though. It’s kind of obvious that everyone’s going contactless because it’s just so easy to use, with the Apple Watch etc.”

    Jack, 23, graduate student

    Jack, 23, graduate student.   

    “I always have cash on me as I tend to find these tiny little dining places or bars that are cash only and you’re screwed. So I always try to make sure I have at least £15 or so on me. You don’t want to run around on the street looking for an ATM or something. The majority of the stuff I buy is with contactless though.”

    Ying Hong, 25, student

    “I don’t have any cash necessarily on me now but I did have cash on Saturday. I sometimes have cash out to spend literally on food - street food - those kind of things but I tend to always use card. I’m not surprised at all that it’s overtaking cash as people just don’t have time.”

    Mounir, 37, owner of Lever & Bloom Coffee

    Mounir, 37, coffee stall owner

    “Personally, I use cash and card. So yesterday in Sainsbury’s I was just buying normal stuff for the house and I used cash because I had a tenner in my pocket. But yes, I can see card being much more popular now. With customers though it used to be 30-40% of customers paying with contactless but now it’s up to 60%. Especially in the UK contactless is very good. It’s better for business owners too, it’s quicker and when you do your banking you don’t pay any charges.”

    Utchanah, 64, security guard

    “Yes, I have cash on me - I bought breakfast, some coffee and some food this morning with cash. I don’t use cash very often though, instead I use card more and honestly I’m not surprised at all.”

    Elisa, 27, freelance illustrator

    Elisa, 27, Freelance Illustrator

    “So I bought a chocolate bar two days ago with cash so that’s why I have cash in my purse right now. I would say I use cash maybe once or twice a week and I will get cash out but it has to be for something specific. Any time I can pay on a card I would but at little corner shops you’re likely to get charged if it’s over £2 so that’s probably the only time I would use cash. No, I’m honestly not surprised that card has finally took over.”

    Mathias, 23

    “I have cash and this is typical for me. Using card or cash depends on what it is - with small things I will tend to reach for cash more than my card. I can see why this is happening in the UK as it’s so easy to tap everywhere - we’re getting that back in Malta now so not many people are using it but it’s slowly becoming popular.”

    Luke, 24

    Luke, 24, musician.

    “I don’t have any cash on me at all. I have literally nothing. I think I probably paid with cash a few days ago - I probably bought a drink from an off licence. I only ever carry cash or try to have it with me if I know I’m going out for dinner so I know I can tip - but by then it’s usually too late. I always end up thinking I should have gotten cash out but then every cashpoint seems to charge you. Yes, the majority of my payments are with card though I don’t have Apple pay as my phone’s too old but I do use contactless. It’s just so convenient.” 

    What’s in your wallet? Cash or card? Comment below. 


    0 0

    There is now more women solicitors than men in a landmark moment for the profession

    Female solicitors now outnumber their male colleagues for the first time ever in England and Wales, according to new Law Society figures.

    A 4% increase in those qualifying last year mean there are now 366 more women in the profession - at 69,995 - than men, who total 69,629.

    The landmark moment comes in the centenary year of the first woman being admitted to the roll of solicitors in England and Wales, and as a number of prominent law firms in the capital have been embroiled in sexual harassment claims.

    Law firms have also faced pressure around the gender pay gap, with some firms failing to release figures on equal pay, while others have exceeded the national aggregate median of men earning 18.4% more per hour.

    Law Society president Joe Egan said: “With more women than men and a steadily growing proportion of solicitors from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, it is more important than ever the profession recognises and rewards talent equally.”

    Egan said every step “towards greater equality” would benefit businesses, clients and solicitors and was something the society had actively promoted through its diversity charter and other measures.

    He added: “An important foundation is transparency, and this includes gender pay gap reporting. The Law Society supports the inclusion of partner pay alongside employee pay data in gender pay gap reporting as an important step towards greater equality.

    “This will give firms a useful benchmark and enable an evidence-based action plan to tackle inequalities.”

    Women now make up 50.1% of the 139,624 Practice Certificate (PC) holders, 48% of the 93,155 solicitors working in private practice and accounted for 61.6% of new admissions in 2016/17.

    Female PC holders are also on average five years younger than their male counterparts.

    The law profession continues to battle equal pay issues.

    Researchers claimed that, on present growth trends, within four years there would be about 10,000 more women practising in the profession than men. In 2010 women trailed men by the same figure, the Times reported.

    The profession is also becoming increasingly ethically diverse, the report said. Just over 71% of lawyers in England and Wales are white, compared with 87% of the UK population.

    Those with south Asian ethnic backgrounds make up the largest non-white group, accounting for 8.2% of the profession and solicitors from African and African-Caribbean ethnic backgrounds make up 2.2%, with other ethnic origins accounting for 2.5%. 

    The Law Society said 16.5% of PC holders whose ethnicity is known  are from BAME groups and almost two-fifths of those accepted on to first degree law courses for 2017/18 are BAME students.

    The decision by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to move its admissions data online meant many students were now not opting to record their ethnicity, making diversity more difficult to track. 

    “As a consequence, it will grow increasingly difficult to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion approaches,” Egan said.

    “As the professional body for solicitors, we want to see a sector that leads the way on promoting genuine equality across all workplaces. Transparency, monitoring and evaluation are essential components of any effective long-term strategy to achieve greater equality at all levels of the solicitor profession.”


    0 0


    0 0

    The partial building collapse in Brent Street, Hendon 

    Police and fire services are at the scene of a building collapse in Hendon, north London.

    Emergency services were called at 12.49pm after the brick fascia of a row of shops collapsed onto the pavement of Brent Street on Monday afternoon.

    A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said five people were evacuated from the area by the volunteer Orthodox neighbourhood watch charity Shomrim, and that crews escorted a further 15 people to safety.

    There are no reports of injuries and Brent Street will remain closed in both directions while the area is secured. 


    0 0

    ‘Love Island’ contestant Hayley Hughes has defended herself after being criticised for not knowing what Brexit was. 

    The 21-year-old model, who was kicked off the ITV2 reality series last week, made headlines when she asked her fellow Islanders if leaving the EU would mean the UK had fewer trees

    Hayley stood by her comments during an appearance on ‘Lorraine’ on Monday, claiming she believes not many people her age really understand Brexit either.

    Hayley Hughes appeared on 'Lorraine'

    After she was informed she might have been on to something as European Union chief Michel Barnier’s aide Stefaan de Rynck recently claimed that Brexit could impact trees in terms of trade deals, she replied: “I don’t really understand, if you want me to be honest.

    “I really don’t think many 21-year-olds know about Brexit.

    “But, obviously, because I’ve been the one to open my mouth and not just sit back, it’s me that has been judged.”

    During the interview, Hayley also addressed a similar facepalm-inducing moment on ‘Love Island’ after she admitted she didn’t know what an earlobe was when tasked with licking Adam Collard’s during a game of truth or dare. 

    She said: “What it was, in the moment, we were all playing the game and having a laugh, but I didn’t know if it was inside the ear at the time, or the earlobe.

    “So I’ve learned something.”

    Hayley left the villa on Friday after she and Charlie Frederick were the first couple to be dumped from the Island, following the solo departure of Kendall Rae-Knight the previous week. 

    ‘Love Island’ continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV2, while ‘Lorraine’ airs weekdays at 8.30am on ITV. 

    For all of the best ‘Love Island’ content, memes and chat, join our dedicated Facebook group.


    0 0

    Grenfell Tower Inquiry hears that Grenfell Tower external wall was 'entirely non-combustible' prior to refurbishment.

    The external wall of Grenfell Tower was “entirely non-combustible” before it was refurbished in 2012 and no provisions were made for disabled people to evacuate the 24-storey building in an emergency, the inquiry into the fire has heard.

    Speaking at the hearing on Monday, Dr Barbara Lane said there was “no evidence” that those involved in the refurbishment of the tower, completed in 2016, tried to find an “alternative approach” to comply with building regulations.

    Expert witness Dr Lane, a chartered fire safety engineer and director at specialist design group Arup, gave a presentation to the inquiry two weeks after her damning report highlighted a host of building safety hazards at Grenfell.

    Outlining the code of practice for fire safety guidance in the design, management and use of residential buildings, Dr Lane pointed to section 29.2 which states:

    External walls should be constructed using material that does not support fire spread and therefore endanger people in or around the building.

    Flame spread over or within an external wall construction should be controlled to avoid creating a route for rapid fire spread bypassing compartment floors or walls.

    This is particularly important where a stay put strategy is in place.

    Combustible materials should not be used in cladding systems and extensive cavities. 

    External wall surfaces near other buildings should not be used readily ignitable, to avoid fire spread between buildings.

    She told the inquiry that, prior to the tower’s refurbishment, the external wall of Grenfell was “entirely non-combustible”.

    Approved Document B of the building regulations lays down measures required to keep tall buildings safe from a blaze, including the ability to contain internal and external fire spread and the provision of access to emergency vehicles, the inquiry was told.

    Dr Lane’s report into the fatal blaze said Grenfell did not comply with these building regulations following a refurbishment.

    However, a provision states the document is for “practical guidance” and there “may well be alternative ways of achieving compliance”.

    But Dr Lane said during her presentation at Holborn Bars: “I have no evidence that such an alternative approach was considered in matters relating to Grenfell Tower and therefore will not mention the concept of an alternative approach again.”

    Addressing the issue of compartmentation, which is designed to keep a fire within the area where it originated, such as an individual flat, Dr Lane said there are no statutory regulations for residential buildings to put measures in place to aide the evacuation of people who ‘require assistance’, such as those who are disabled.

    Survivors and local residents marked the one-year anniversary of the blaze last week.

    Discussing the means of escape, Dr Lane said: “A person requiring assistance will also need to escape from their flat to the lobby.

    “Once they are out in the lobby, they are now separated from the immediate effects of the fire in the flat, however protection measures for the lobby are not intended to provide indefinite protection and it may not be safe for for a person to remain within the lobby.”

    Dr Lane outlined the following options available to a person requiring assistance to escape:

    • Escape using the stairs if they are able

    • Use an evacuation lift, with assistance from building management, if such assistance is available

    • Use the firefighting lift with assistance from the fire brigade

    • Be carried down the stairs by firefighters, building management staff or potentially their neighbours.

    “There is no provision required in the statutory guidance for residential buildings, unlike other building types, to provide equipment for those persons, so there is no provision made for them to either contact building management, should they even be present in a building, nor to communicate directly with the fire service present in the building,” she said.

    “The person can only make a personal 999 call. In other building types refuges with communication devices are required.”

    Last month the inquiry heard harrowing accounts from bereaved family members of disabled and elderly residents left unable to escape the blaze.

    Nazanin Aghlani told the Grenfell Inquiry that Kensington and Chelsea council’s rehousing team were partly to blame for the death of her mother, Sakineh Afrasehabi, for placing her on the 18th floor of the residential block.

    Aghlani said her mother’s “human right to escape” was impeded, with the council’s own housing department recognising in 2003 that she should not be living in a property higher than the fourth floor.

    Aghlani said her mother was partially sighted, and could only move around with the aid of a walker. 

    “I emphasise that was in 2003 ... After being refused many suitable properties, after 16 years of waiting, she was rehoused in 2016 into flat 151 on the 18th floor of Grenfell Tower,” she said.

    Dr Lane also addressed the “stay put” policy, which has become the focus of much debate since the fire.

    Her report published earlier this month said that residents should have been evacuated much earlier, after the stay put strategy failed within about 30 minutes of the first phone call being made to emergency services.

    “The statutory guidance makes no provision within the building for anything other than a stay put strategy. There is no means of warning nor a means to communicate the need to increase the areas to be evacuated,” Dr Lane told the inquiry.

    “As I explain in my report, I consider the building’s stay put strategy to have failed at 1.26am and that all events after that time occurred in the context of the total loss of the only safety condition provided for.”

    But she said the strategy was not one of “fire brigade policy”, adding that it is enshrined in statutory regulations.

    Dr Lane added that the “very basis” of the policy relied upon the success of active fire protection measures that proactively tackle blazes, such as smoke extraction systems; passive measures, such as fire doors and fire-resisting walls; and defence in-place measures, such as fire hoses.

    Such systems should allow a fire to be contained within the flat of origin, rather than spreading like it did in the disaster last June.

    “The statutory guidance makes no provision within the building for anything other than a stay-put strategy,” she told the hearing.

    The inquiry continues.


    0 0

    Donna Keogh went missing in 1998

    Detectives investigating a 20-year-old murder case have begun to excavate an area of waste ground.

    Donna Keogh has never been found following her disappearance from Middlesbrough in 1998, when she was just 17, and police subsequently said they were treating it as a murder investigation.

    Reports suggest Donna was last seen in Hartington Road in the Gresham area of Middlesbrough in April 1998.

    On Monday, Cleveland Police announced that they and a specialist search team had started excavation work on a former allotment site near Troon Close, Middlesbrough, in a bid to find new information.

    Detective Superintendent Michael Hunt said the force’s investigation had helped identify several areas where it will carry out “targeted searches in an attempt to find Donna and discover what happened to her in 1998”.

    Mr Hunt added: “Donna’s family desperately want to give her a proper funeral and finally lay her body to rest. Finding Donna continues to be a priority for the investigation team.”

    The force added that there is no set timetable for the excavation, and that it will be concluded once the site has been thoroughly examined.

    The case is one of three being re-investigated by Cleveland Police after it was awarded £3.77 million by the Home Office in 2017.


    0 0

    George Osborne's former chief of staff has called the Tory squeeze on NHS funding 'unsustainable' 

    George Osborne’s former chief of staff has admitted the Conservatives’ squeeze on NHS spending was “unsustainable”. 

    Rupert Harrison, who served as the ex-Chancellor’s right-hand man between 2010 and 2015, took to Twitter to call Theresa May’s £394-million-a-week funding plan for the NHS “a return to normality”. 

    On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced a £20 billion boost to the NHS budget by 2023/24. 

    But responding to a question from the Daily Mail’s Jason Groves about whether the hike would have taken place “on this scale” if Britain had decided against leaving the EU, Harrison wrote: 

    “Yes definitely - long period of restrain had to come to an end as was becoming unsustainable - this is a return to normality.” 

    Referring to the Treasury in a second tweet, he added: “They knew it was unsustainable but probably thought they could get away with top-ups for a while longer. Much better to have a longer term plan.” 

    Since the Conservatives returned to power in 2010, the NHS has received an annual budget increase of just over 1% - much lower than the 3.7% yearly average growth the service has experienced since it was founded in 1948. 

    May’s proposed plan involves a real terms annual boost of 3.4% between 2019/2020 and 2023/24, with the Prime Minister calling the NHS “the government’s number one financial responsibility”. 

    But shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Harrison’s comments showed the funding boost was an attempt by the government “to make up for years of cuts and squeeze which have pushed the NHS to the brink”. 

    Last week, his Tory counterpart Jeremy Hunt admitted government cuts to the social care system “had a profound impact on the NHS”.

    Theresa May has pledged a £20 billion budget boost for the NHS 

    At a speech at the Royal Free Hospital in London on Monday, May was asked whether it was a mistake to allow the squeeze on NHS resources to go on for so long. 

    Defending her party’s strategy, the PM said: “We have been putting more money into the NHS every year as a government. 

    “In 2010, that was despite the fact we were having to take some really tough decisions about public spending in order to deal with the deficit, in order to deal with the financial situation we had been left by the previous government. But we prioritised the NHS at that stage and continued to put money into it.” 

    May said that, when considering the “increasing pressures” on the health service, the government now needs to ensure the NHS is not “living year by year” when it comes to its budget. 

    She added that it would allow the health service to reform and transform the service it offers patients. 

    But the GMB union accused the Prime Minister of trying to push a “make-it-up-as-you-go-along gimmick” after “years of neglect”. 

    “Theresa May is all over the place on NHS funding,” said national officer Rachel Harrison. 

    “This desperate gesture won’t bring NHS funding anywhere near where should have been without years of Conservative cuts that have starved the health service.”

    The former organiser aded: “The NHS doesn’t need this kind of late night petrol station guilt gifting – it needs real long-term funding and a proper strategy.” 

    Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticised the Tory plans 

    Echoing the GMB’s criticism, Ashworth said people are “waiting longer and in pain because of Tory cuts to the NHS”.  

    “The Prime Minister couldn’t say today when this will improve and waiting lists will come down,” he added.

    “She also confirmed that social care, capital spending and public health will not see any increase as a result of today’s announcement.” 

    Labour would raise taxes for big business and the top 5% in order to top up NHS spending growth to around the 5% per year needed, Ashworth added. 


    0 0

    If you happened to watch the France vs Australia World Cup game at the weekend then you probably witnessed some history being made.

    France’s 2-1 win was thanks to the referee’s decision to award two penalties using an all-new technology known as the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

    While tennis, cricket and rugby fans will already know this technology well as Hawkeye, or the Television Match Official (TMO) this is the first time in history that football has finally allowed the feature to be used during a major tournament.

    To help cut through the noise and the controversy surrounding it here’s our simple explainer of what VAR is, what the rules are and how it works.

    What is VAR?

    VAR is a new video refereeing system for football that will provide refereeing support for all 64 games of the 2018 World Cup.

    To be absolutely clear, the VAR cannot make decisions during a game. Instead it simply supports the referee down in the stadium by providing them with real-time video analysis using a huge network of cameras including some pretty advanced 3D modelling software that can specifically check if a player is offside or not.

    The role of the VAR is to check for four specific infringements throughout the game:

    • If a player is offside during the game.

    • If a player has committed a penalty-awarding foul within the penalty box.

    • If a player has committed a bookable foul during routine play.

    • If a player has been wrongly cautioned or booked due to a case of mistaken identity.

    Who controls VAR?

    Unlike other video referee systems, just one team of four Video Assistant Referees provide support for all 64 matches. They do this from a centralised operations room located at the International Broadcast Centre in Moscow.

    Each of the four officials has a very specific job during the game and will focus on the following tasks:

    • VAR - This is the lead assistant referee who watches not only the main live feed but a quad-view split-screen monitor underneath giving them all angles of the game. They are the person who speaks to the referee in the stadium.

    • AVAR1 - This referee’s job is to look at the main live feed and alert the rest of the team if an incident has been selected for review or is being looked into by the officials down on the ground.

    • AVAR2 - The AVAR2′s role is to look at the TV programme feed (so what we see when we’re watching a match live) and to help factor any angles caught by this feed into the decision making.

    • AVAR3 - Finally, the AVAR3 has potentially the most technical job out of the four. Their responsibility is to constantly asses the match for any offside infractions and to alert the VAR to these as and when they’re spotted. They do this using a special piece of software similar to Hawkeye.

    How does VAR work?

    Quite simply, VAR works because it sees every conceivable angle of the football game at any one moment.

    During each game the VAR has access to a whopping 33 different cameras including eight super slow motion cameras, two ultra slow motion cameras, two Ultra-HD cameras and two specific smart cameras designed to detect when a player is offside.

    In addition to the normal cameras, the referee has access to 3D offside system that has been developed by Hawkeye (you might know them from tennis or cricket).

    The Hawkeye system uses laser tracking to overlay a virtual grid of offside lines onto the pitch. The grid is painstakingly calibrated by both Hawkeye and FIFA before each game so the referee’s can make their decisions with the confidence that if a player looks offside, they are.

    Once the VAR team has analysed a potential incident it can then speak directly to the referee and make their recommendation.

    The Referee then has the ability to head over to a special booth at the side of the pitch and see the same footage that the VAR team have presented on a high-resolution display.

    Finally, upon seeing the footage the referee has the ability to either stand by their original decision or agree with the recommendation of the VAR.


    0 0

    Never ones to do things the traditional way, Beyoncé and Jay-Z had a surprise for their fans over the weekend when they dropped a surprise collaborative album, ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’.

    Currently in the middle of their ‘On The Run II’ world tour, the couple performed in London on Saturday night, casually mentioning at the end of the show that once fans left the stadium, they’d be able to log onto TIDAL and hear nine brand new tracks (a censored version has been made available to stream to Premium Spotify members).

    Along with the album, Beyoncé and Jay-Z also released a stunning new music video for brand new track, ‘APESHIT’. Directed by Ricky Saiz, the clip was filmed at the Louvre and features some of the art museum’s most famous oeuvres.

    The video is a veritable feast for the eyes jam-packed with hidden details, and here are just seven things that might have passed you by...

    1. The significance of the location

    The fact that the ‘APESHIT’ video was filmed at the Louvre is, of course, incredible (seeing the Mona Lisa room completely empty, without a camera phone-wielding tourist in sight makes the video worth a watch in itself).

    But the choice of location becomes even more impressive when you consider the significance of two powerful black figures standing in such an iconic space, which many have pointed out often disregards both art made by and portraying people of colour…

    2. The Mona Lisa

    One of the most memorable shots of the ‘APESHIT’ video sees Beyoncé and Jay-Z standing in front of the Mona Lisa.

    However, what you might have forgotten is that the pair previously sparked a meme way back in 2014 when they shared their photos from a trip to the Louvre, the most famous of which saw them posing in front of, you guessed it, the Mona Lisa (Buzzfeed at the time said it might be the best picture of our generation… or any generation”, which seems ever so slightly dramatic in hindsight).

    3. Beyoncé’s position in front of ‘The Coronation Of Napoleon’

    In another of the video’s most iconic moments, Beyoncé and her dancers perform choreography in front of a huge painting of the crowning of Josephine by Napoleon.

    Given Napoleon’s prominence in French colonialism, fans of the singer have once again applauded her decision to celebrate both her own racial identity and that of her dancers with his painting in the background, particularly when you consider that her position in front of the artwork makes it look as though it’s actually Beyoncé being crowned.

    The fact each of the dancers are all wearing shades of “nude” that correspond to their specific skin tone has also been lauded.

    4. ‘Virgo’

    More of an obvious one, maybe, but this shot that will interest anyone who cares about astrology, when you consider that Beyoncé was born on 4 September, making her a Virgo.

    This isn’t the first time she’s referenced her astrological sign in her art, co-writing the song ‘Gift From Virgo’ on her debut solo album, ‘Dangerously In Love’.

    5. The Venus de Milo

    Much has been written in the past two years about Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s relationship, and whether or not the accusations of infidelity she made in her album ‘Lemonade’ would lead the two to split.

    While the overall message of ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’ would suggest that they’re fully ready to leave all of that in the past, particularly as they stand hand-in-hand in front of the goddess of love herself.

    6. Young men taking a knee

    As we’ve mentioned, the ‘APESHIT’ video is full of subtle political and social messages, but one of the more explicit images comes towards the end of the video, when a group of young black men are seen “taking a knee”. It’s a move football players began doing during the National Anthem in 2016, as a protest against the oppression of black people in the US, particularly police brutality.

    This shot airs as Jay-Z raps about having turned down the Super Bowl, saying: “Tell the NFL we’re playing stadiums too.”

    The NFL (National Football League) announced last year that any teams whose members took a knee during the national anthem would face fines, a move which drew negative criticism on social media.

    7. The Mona Lisa’s second appearance

    Da Vinci’s most famous work returns later in the video, in a scene which sees Beyoncé’s dancer, Jasmine Harper, using an afro pick to comb the hair of Nicholas $lick Stewart.

    The contradiction of this regular scene in front of the Mona Lisa has proved particularly poignant among viewers of the ‘APESHIT’ video, with many highlighting it as their stand-out moment:

    The couple clearly intended for this shot to stand out, as they also used it as the album artwork for ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’, and in still form, it’s easier to make out that the handle of the comb is a small Black Power salute.

    The Carters’ new album, ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’ is available to stream now.


    0 0

    Andy McDonald with his son Rory, who died age 16 

    A Labour MP who suffered the “unbearable pain” of losing a son to epilepsy has begged ministers to give doctors power to administer medicinal cannabis. 

    Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald, whose 16-year-old son Rory died in 2006, has written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid asking him to liberalise the law “in the hope that further deaths can be avoided”. 

    The Middlesbrough MP said that while he and his wife, Sally, did not rely on cannabis oil to treat Rory, they tried every possible medication regime to save their son, including the Ketogenic diet.

    But Rory eventually fell into “status” - a prolonged epileptic episode - and never recovered.

    The couple have a second son, Freddie, 23, who also suffers from epilepsy and requires round-the-clock care. 

    In his letter to the government, McDonald calls on ministers to take “all necessary steps” to ensure the “secure” supply of treatment. 

    He joins a growing coalition of MPs, doctors and medical experts who believe cannabis-derived substances can improve the lives of those living with intractable epilepsy. 

    He said: “I am firmly of the view that when paediatricians and neurologists are struggling with intractable epilepsy cases, if in their considered medial view, cannabis oil would be efficacious, then they should be permitted to administer it, safe in the knowledge that it is lawful to do so. 

    Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte. 

    “I make no comment about the administration of cannabis oil more widely and restrict my appeal to these highly specific cases, but speaking as a parent who lost a beloved son to intractable epilepsy I have to speak out in the hope that further deaths can be avoided and that families are spared the unbearable pain of losing a child.

    “I implore you to take all necessary steps to offer some hope to many families across the UK who are in similar situations to the distressing cases we have heard about over the last several days.”

    Javid raised hopes that the government would be willing to liberalise the law after he granted an emergency licence for Billy Caldwell, from Northern Ireland and said a review should be carried out “as quickly as we possibly can”.

    The 12-year-old’s condition became “life-threatening” last week, just days after his mother, Charlotte, had a six-month supply of cannabis oils confiscated by customs officials at Heathrow Airport.

    But Prime Minister Theresa May poured cold water on the idea of a full-scale review, despite Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirming he would support a change in the law.

    Asked about the issue following a speech on NHS funding in London, May said only that the option already existed to provide licences for the medical use of cannabis on the basis of clinical advice.

    “Do we need to look at these cases and consider what we’ve got in place? Yes,” the PM added.

    “But what needs to drive us in all these cases has to be what clinicians are saying about these issues.

    “There’s a very good reason why we’ve got a set of rules around cannabis and other drugs, because of the impact that they have on people’s lives, and we must never forget that.”