HuffPost UK - Athena2 - All Entries (Public)

HuffPost UK - Athena2 - All Entries (Public)

17/08/2018 01:18 PM
Tshan Henry Charged After Woman, 22, Dies In Hit-And-Run In Stockwell
Man, 27, charged after a woman died in a hit-and-run in Stockwell earlier this month.

A man has been charged after a woman died in a hit-and-run in Stockwell earlier this month.

Tshan Henry, 27, has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, driving a motor vehicle dangerously, failing to stop after a road accident and failing to report a road accident.

The victim, a 22-year-old woman, was hit in Clapham Road in the early hours of Sunday, August 5.

Later that day a blue Mercedes C-class was located nearby.

Henry will appear at Camberwell Magistrates’ Court in custody on Friday.

17/08/2018 01:14 PM
Motorola P30 Comes Under Fire As 'Shameless Rip' Of iPhone X

Can you spot the difference? On the right is Apple’s flagship handset the iPhone X while on the left is Motorola’s newest phone the Motorola P30.

Some have even gone so far as to call it a “shameless rip” of Apple’s flagship phone.

While the P30 certainly shares the “notch” at the top of the screen, Motorola certainly aren’t the only company to have used this design in their phones.

Despite this many believe that Motorola’s phone goes far beyond simply using a few of the same design choices. Technology blogger Marques Brownlee tweeted: “Introducing Motorola P30 Pro: Our most shameless rip yet.”

Writing on the technology site Trusted Reviews, writer Alan Martin called the decision “disappointing”.

“What’s particularly disappointing about this is that Motorola has been amongst a minority of companies that are happy to innovate in the smartphone space,” writes Martin.

He then went on to suggest that Motorola also took some further inspiration for one of its colour choices from Huawei’s P20 Pro which again, does share some small similarities to the design of Apple’s flagship phone.

US tech site The Verge said the P30, “looks exactly like an iPhone X with a Huawei paint job.” It even went a step further and asked Google’s AI to identify an image of the P30 and found that Google thought it was in fact an iPhone X.

For now the phone is being exclusively launched in China and Motorola hasn’t confirmed any plans to release it anywhere else.

17/08/2018 01:04 PM
Leicester Sex Assault: Third Man Arrested After 'Horrific' Playground Attack Leaves Woman Fighting For Life
A 50-year-old woman was attacked near a children's playground in Leicester on 3 August

A third man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and serious sexual assault after a “horrific” attack left a woman fighting for her life in hospital. 

The victim, who is in her 50s, was discovered near a children’s play park off Cedar Road, Leicester, at 4.45am on 3 August.

In the early hours of Friday morning, Leicestershire Police said the 24-year-old suspect, of no fixed address, was located in Stoke-on-Trent and arrested.

A 16-year-old boy and 56-year-old man have also been arrested in connection with the crime, but the older man has since been bailed. 

Crime scene investigators conducted a detailed examination of the scene, which had been cordoned off, and CCTV footage was viewed as part of the inquiry.

The force said inquiries are continuing and the victim remains in a stable condition in hospital.

Speaking on Thursday before the arrest, Detective Inspector Mark Sinski, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit for major crimes, said: “Our thorough and detailed investigation into what happened during the early hours of 3 August is continuing and there are still a number of lines of inquiry that we are following.

“Today, officers have been deployed to the area around the park to ensure that no stone remains unturned in our investigation.

“This has included searching drains in Cedar Road and the surrounding area to see whether anything can be recovered that will help us in catching the person responsible for this brutal attack.”

He added: “We owe it to both the victim and the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to find the person responsible for this horrendous crime.”

Hundreds of leaflets were handed out in and around Cedar Road calling for the public to help trace the offenders.

17/08/2018 01:00 PM
Boohoo Accused Of 'Photoshopping' Size 10 Model To Make Her Appear Thinner

Clothing retailer Boohoo has been accused of “photoshopping” a size 10 model to make her waist appear thinner in a product photo on its website.

Ella Thorpe, 25, from Manchester, was shopping online when she spotted a difference between two photographs of the same model wearing the same skirt on Boohoo’s website.

She told HuffPost UK she assumed the company had made an “error” by uploading “both the original and edited version”.

“The product description on their app states that the model is a size 10, so why they felt the need to slim her down is a mystery,” she told HuffPost UK.

A Boohoo spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “We thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. At Boohoo our customer commitment is to provide great fashion for all shapes and sizes. We want to do all we can to use our voice to promote body positivity whilst expanding our ‘fashion for all’ offer even further. We are looking into what has happened in this instance.” 

It is unclear whether Boohoo had altered the original image to make it smaller or to make it bigger.

However, Thorpe told HuffPost UK that the apparent alterations meant Boohoo was not sending a positive message to young women about body confidence. She also pointed that out in the image featuring the smaller waist, the model’s right earring appeared to have been edited out.

“I think as a brand with such a big influence on young women in particular, who stock clothes for a range of body types, including plus size, Boohoo shouldn’t be altering the body shape of any of their models,” she said.

“The fact they felt the need to edit the waist of a size 10 model is completely unacceptable. Many women of all ages feel pressured to look perfect... If a brand like Boohoo that claims to represent and support ”#AllGirls” is slimming down a model who is three dress sizes smaller than the UK average, what kind of message does that send out?” 

It is not the first time that Boohoo has been criticised over body image. HuffPost UK has seen several tweets by customers in the past week claiming to be unhappy with the apparent size of its plus-size models.

They claimed featuring women who were not, in their opinion, representative of average plus size women was “damaging” and “disappointing”.

Last year, the company was also criticised by customers for featuring a model who they claimed was a size 12 to showcase its plus size range. It was also slammed at the launch of its #AllGirls inclusive campaign in 2017 for featuring only one “curve” model. 


17/08/2018 12:46 PM
Scottish Council Becomes First To Offer Free Sanitary Products In All Public Buildings
North Ayrshire Council offers free sanitary products in all of its public buildings 

A Scottish council has become the first local authority in the UK to offer free sanitary products in all of its public buildings.

Women across North Ayrshire will be able to access a free supply of tampons and sanitary towels in libraries, community centres and public offices.

The move aims to address the growing issue of “period poverty” which sees women and girls across the country forced to use unsuitable items or nothing at all to manage their periods because they cannot afford the necessary products.

A study by girls’ rights charity, Plan International UK, found 45 percent of respondents living in Scotland said they had no choice but to use makeshift sanitary wear including newspaper and socks in place of sanitary towels and tampons because of financial difficulty.

The council has already made the headlines on the issue when it became the first local authority in the UK to introduce free sanitary products within its secondary schools, at a cost of around £35,000 a year. 

Since spearheading the initiative last August, young woman have benefitted from more than 13,000 free sanitary towels and tampons while at school.

Their decision to extend the programme into the wider community will see the introduction of free sanitary products in up to 100 of its buildings and is anticipated to cost around £30,000 per year.

Women will be able to access the sanitary wear via vending machines located in the toilets.

Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “Sanitary products are a necessity, not a choice. I wish for no woman or girl here in North Ayrshire to find themselves in the embarrassing and often degrading situation of having to use improper sanitary protection simply because they cannot afford it.

“After all, periods are not exempt from poverty – they don’t take into account what is in your pocket or purse. Therefore it is absolutely right that we should look at ways in which to tackle this gendered inequality.”

Monica Lennon MSP, a leading figure in the fight against period poverty, is currently progressing the Sanitary Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill which, if introduced, would create a statutory duty for free provision of sanitary products across the country.

She added: “Councillor Cullinane and North Ayrshire Council are leading the way on ending period poverty. Access to sanitary products should be a right, regardless of your income, which is why I am moving ahead with plans for legislation to introduce a universal system of free access to sanitary products for everyone in Scotland.

“I’m delighted that North Ayrshire will extend free sanitary product provision to all of its public buildings and I hope other organisations will follow their lead. No-one should face the indignity of being unable to access these essential products to manage their period.”

Meanwhile in March the Scottish government announced that a pilot project to provide free sanitary products to women from low-income households in Aberdeen would be extended.

An additional £12,000 was made available to continue the scheme run by social enterprise Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE.)

17/08/2018 12:42 PM
Jess Glynne Is 'Sorry' Jet2 Passengers Have Been Subjected To Hearing Her Song On A Loop

Jess Glynne has joked she is “sorry” that her song has been torturing Jet2 passengers. 

The singer hilarious responded to recent criticism from those flying with the airline, who have complained of being subjected to hearing ‘Hold My Hand’ on a loop while on board. 

Jess Glynne

Appearing on The Official Vodafone Big Top 40, she said: “I’m gonna just say to Jet2 and to everybody out there, look - I didn’t make them do it like that.

“I agreed to, you know, let them have my song and, you know, I apologise if it annoys you!

She continued: “Thing is I understand though, when you hear something over and over again and apparently they play it like seven times before they take off so… You know, it’s a lot!

Jess even admitted she hadn’t been invited to fly with Jet2 herself, despite them using her number one hit for their marketing campaign.

“Why haven’t they invited me?” she joked. “Take me away guys!

“Maybe I’ll just book a flight soon on Jet2. Just sing it. Get the little mic thing and be like right guys, I got a little treat for ya’.

“I’m gonna maybe see if I can do that! Next time someone’s flying to Majorca, it’ll be me on the mic!”

The airline previously stood by their decision to play Jess’s song multiple times during their flights, with a spokesperson insisting “the concept is very popular with customers”.

“We receive a huge amount of positive feedback about both the advert and the song,” they said. 

In another tweet responding to a disgruntled passenger sent from the official Jet2 account, a rep also said: “We’re sorry to hear that you’re not a fan of the song and we’ll be sure to pass this on to the team! We find Jess Glynne gets us in the holiday spirit.”

To hear Jess Glynne’s interview in full, tune in to The Official Vodafone Big Top 40 on Sunday from 4pm.

17/08/2018 12:41 PM
Dream Jobs You Never Knew Existed

17/08/2018 12:34 PM
A Sea Turtle Comeback, 30 Years In The Making

17/08/2018 12:30 PM
'Celebrity Big Brother' Fans Disappointed Over Difference Between 'Media Storms' Of Male And Female Housemates

Some ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ fans have taken issue with this year’s line-up, largely due to the differences between the male and female contestants.

This summer’s series has an ‘Eye Of The Storm’ theme, with each of the famous contestants having been at the centre of a “media storm” to some degree.

However, Thursday night’s launch show had a lot of viewers questioning Channel 5’s definition of a “media storm”, noting that the famous men and women were in the house for different reasons.

Dan Osborne is among this year's housemates

Among the male housemates are former ‘TOWIE’ star Dan Osborne, who was sacked from the reality show after an audio recording of him threatening the mother of his child was unearthed. 

Hardeep Singh Kohli, meanwhile, was suspended from ‘The One Show’ for six months due to allegations of sexual harassment, after which his contract was never renewed.

Also on the line-up is footballer Jermaine Pennant, who was charged with drink-driving in 2005, while already on a driving ban, and spoke recently of his regrets about the way he’s treated women in his past.

Jermaine Pennant enters the house

The female housemates include US actress Kirstie Alley, who discussed her feelings about being fat-shamed in the media while discussing her own “media storm” and soap star Roxanne Pallett, who spoke about being trolled in the wake of her recent car crash.

The line-up also includes model Chloe Ayling, who was drugged and kidnapped last year after being led to believe she was taking part in a photo-shoot in Milan, only for the media to doubt her story upon her return.

Model Chloe Ayling is also on the line-up

This disparity between the men and women’s media storms left a bad taste for some viewers, particularly in the wake of the Me Too movement, with many questioning why many of the men were allowed on the show…

Earlier this year, ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ ran a series with the theme ‘Year Of The Woman’, to commemorate 100 years since the first women in Britain were given the right to vote.

The series was won by drag performer Courtney Act, who won over the public as she educated her fellow housemates about issues relating to gender and sexuality.

17/08/2018 12:13 PM
‘University Challenge’ Stars Eric Monkman And Bobby Seagull Land Their Own BBC TV Show

If, like us, you’re still not quite over the fact that ‘University Challenge’ breakout stars Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull are no longer on our screens, then please take a seat, because we have news that is about to make your week, possibly year.

The dynamic duo have gone and landed their very own TV series.

‘Monkman And Seagull’s Genius Guide To Britain’ will see them travelling up and down the UK in search of hidden gems of British ingenuity.

Eric Monkman (left) and Bobby Seagull.

The pair were the breakout stars of the last series of ‘University Challenge’, gathering a huge social media fandom over the course of the series.

While Seagull’s cheeky grin, amazing name and supportive leadership won him scores of devotees, viewers could not get over Monkman’s bellowing voice, incredible enthusiasm or his striking similarity to Coronation Street’s Roy Cropper.

But it was the pair’s incredible bromance that really cemented their place in our hearts, despite being on opposing teams.

Canadian Monkman captained Wolfson College Cambridge to show’s final in 2017, where they lost to Balliol College Oxford.

In the semi-final, Wolfson beat Emmanuel College Cambridge, which was captained by Seagull, but the two team leaders ended up becoming mates.

Speaking about their new TV series, Monkman said: “Curiosity is an approach to life. The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know.

“My admiration for British genius is one of the major factors that led me to study in the United Kingdom. I look forward to learning more about Britain’s scientific discoveries and to sharing what I learn with everyone.”

Seagull added: “The beauty of our friendship is that we’re both driven by the same thing - a curiosity about the world.”

He also revealed he had turned down a spot on the last series of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, admitting he was “very flattered” but that it was not a “right fit” at the time.

“Who knows in the future?” he added.

It’s not the first time the friends have teamed up to present a show. The brainy twosome also fronted the BBC Radio 4 show ‘Monkman and Seagull’s Polymathic Adventure’ last year.

17/08/2018 12:00 PM
Refugee Rocket Scientist Lands Three Interviews After Job Search Goes Viral

A 22-year-old refugee has landed three interviews after his job search went viral on Twitter.

Mohamed Elbarkey has a degree in rocket science and after applying for 70 roles with no luck, he decided to take to the streets and stand in Canary Wharf with a sign explaining that he was looking for work.

Mary Engleheart, who works for the International Rescue Committee, then saw Mohamed – whose family came to the UK after fleeing Libya when he was just three years old – and posted a picture of him on Twitter.  

Her post was retweeted thousands of times and many Twitter users also replied, asking for a copy of Mohamed’s CV.

Just three days later, Mary revealed Mohamed has three job interviews lined up.

“Thank you everyone for this outpouring of support to #GetMohamedAJob,” she wrote. “Proud today, as every day, to #StandWithRefugees.”

Mohamed has also set up his own Twitter account for any potential employers to get in touch.

Writing in a blog published on HuffPost UK on Thursday, Mohamed explained why he decided to take an alternative approach to job-hunting.

“The idea of standing outside with the sign came from a picture I saw of a man called David Casarez who did the same in Silicon Valley,” he wrote. “He ended up being approached by a lot of companies. I decided to put my suit on and try my luck - hoping that maybe one executive in the City would stop to give me advice or perhaps an interview.

“A job in finance would be ideal for me because I’m fascinated in the way that world events can drastically affect financial markets.

“I’m particularly interested in using Artificial Intelligence and my Space Engineering degree has given me the experience coding. Now I want to apply these skills to the financial sector.”

17/08/2018 12:00 PM
Ariana Grande's New Album 'Sweetener' Has A Touching Tribute To The Manchester Attack Victims

Ariana Grande has left a touching tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack on her latest album, ‘Sweetener’.

The last song on the 15-track album, ‘Get Well Soon’, has 40 seconds of silence at the end to bring the run time up to 5:22.  

The silence is a deliberate acknowledgement of the Manchester bombing, which took place at her concert on 22 May - aka 5/22- last year. 

Sweetener is Ariana's fourth album

The actual song, created by Ariana’s friend Pharrell Willaims, lasts for four minutes and 42 seconds and focuses on Ariana’s struggles with anxiety after the attack.

She previously said in a tweet about the song: “I felt like I was floating for like 3 months last year and not in a nice way.

“Like I [was] outside my body? Was very scary and I couldn’t breathe well. So it’s about that and lots of voices in my head singing. I hope it comforts people who hear it.”

The attack saw Salman Abedi detonate a suicide bomb, which killed 22 victims and injured 139 people, many of them young teenagers.

Just weeks later, Ariana hosted a benefit concert in Manchester and raised over £10 million for the victims of the attack.

‘One Love Manchester’ featured artists multiple high profile audiences and victims of the attack were given free tickets.

17/08/2018 11:57 AM
Canadian Schoolgirls Sneak Out Of Sleepover And Board A Night Bus 'To London'
The map the 

Two Canadian schoolgirls were intercepted by police after they snuck out of a sleepover and boarded a night bus, in a bid to travel 4,600 miles to London.

Armed with a hand-drawn map, the adventurers, aged 10 and 12, were spotted boarding a bus in their pyjamas just outside Vancouver shortly before midnight on Monday.

Their excursion in Burnaby was short-lived, however, as the young travellers caught the attention of the driver, Ed Boleak. 

He sensed “something didn’t seem right”, so called the Transit Police. 

Constable Cho and Constable Cantera arrived a short time later to pick the girls up and return them to their “anxious parents”.

The force later posted a picture of the children’s map on social media. It detailed their home location, the night bus stop, an area they could stop for a snack and the UK capital – just a scribbled line away.

“The two girls had been having a sleepover when they snuck out of the house to go on an adventure that included following a hand-drawn map for the journey,” Transit Police BC wrote on Facebook. 

“Unfortunately they didn’t realize how much potential danger they were putting themselves in, or the distress they were causing their parents.”

Police thanked Boleak for being watchful and calling them and urged others to be vigilant and contact authorities if something seems amiss.

The driver said of his efforts: “I’m glad to hear that it’s all good, but this is something we all would have done.”

17/08/2018 11:45 AM
'Strictly Come Dancing' Raises Eyebrows Over Ashley Roberts' Inclusion

Questions about particular ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ contestants’ dance experience are raised every year, but never more so than after the announcement Ashley Roberts is to be a contestant.

Eyebrows were raised when she was unveiled as the latest signing for the new series on Friday morning, given just how much experience she already has as a dancer. 

Fans of the BBC ballroom show bemoaned the fact Ashley spent years as a dancer and singer in the Pussycat Dolls, which eventually lead to her serving as a judge on ‘Strictly’ rival ‘Dancing On Ice’ for two years.

However, there were some who insisted Ashley’s prior experience didn’t matter, given the style of dance on ‘Strictly’ is different to what she has performed in the past:

Ashley is not the only contestant who has faced accusations of having too much talent on the dancefloor to compete on the show. 

Earlier this week, Faye Tozer of Steps fame fended off criticism of her appearance, saying on ‘The One Show’: “Even though I have got some experience, I don’t have any ballroom experience, so I’m really excited get my teeth into that, dance with a partner and be whisked around the floor.

“I think you’ll find a few of us have [dance experience]. It’s what makes it an interesting competition.”

The pair are joining TV personality Katie PiperSteps singer Faye Tozer, actor Danny John-JulesCapital Radio host Vick Hope, cricketer Graeme Swann,This Morning’s media Dr Ranj, YouTuber Joe Sugg and documentary presenter Stacey Dooley on the line-up. 

There’s still no official word on when the 16th series of ‘Strictly’ will kick off, but if the dates follow the same pattern as 2017, we should expect it to launch on Saturday 8 September, before the first live show on Saturday 22 September.

17/08/2018 11:44 AM
Jeremy Hunt Backtracks After Warning UK Would 'Regret' No Deal Brexit 'For Generations'

Jeremy Hunt has rowed back on his suggestion a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a “mistake we would regret for generations”, after a backlash from anti-EU MPs.

The Foreign Secretary made the initial comments during a trip to the Netherlands on Thursday after being asked about negotiations.

Hunt said leaving the EU without a trade deal would be akin to a “messy ugly divorce”, adding: “That’s what we all want to avoid.”

He also suggested the government’s negotiating position could be watered down in order to secure an agreement.

On Friday morning Hunt sought to dampen down his comments by tweeting  that Britain would “survive and prosper” without a deal with the EU. 

Hunt made the comments to ITV News after a meeting with the Dutch foreign minister as part of a three-day tour of Northern Europe.

Asked about the possibility of ‘no deal’, the former health secretary said: “It would be a mistake we would regret for generations, if we had a messy, ugly divorce and would inevitably change British attitudes towards Europe.”

He also refused to accept the government’s negotiating position agreed at Chequers was a “take it or leave it” offer to Brussels.

Hunt said: “It is a framework on which I believe the ultimate deal will be based and I’ve been to several countries and met seven foreign ministers and am meeting more in the weeks ahead, and I’m getting a strong sense that not just in Holland, but in many of the places I’ve visited, that they do want to engage seriously to try and find a way through to try and get a pragmatic outcome.”

His comments drew criticism from Brexit-backing Tory Conor Burns, who described the apparent drive to reach a deal with the EU at all costs as “barmy”.

He said: “The thing that we want to avoid for ‘generations to come’ is being locked into a permanent orbit around the EU where we end up with a deal but don’t have a seat around the table.

“Many of us still believe what we have been defending for the last two years, which is the Prime Minister’s line that no deal is better than a bad deal. It’s nothing to be afraid of.

“They seem to be prepared to sell the reservation in the long-term to avoid disruption in the short term. It’s barmy.”

Negotiations between the UK and Brussels recommenced this week, although Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier are not involved in the latest round of discussions.

Officials are focusing on the Irish border issue and future relations between the UK and the EU.

17/08/2018 11:31 AM
Euston Station Closed For Next Three Weekends – Including Bank Holiday Monday
Euston Station will be closed for three weekends this summer.

Euston Station will be closed for the next three weekends – including Bank Holiday Monday – while engineers work on a major rail route.

The busy station will be shut on August 18 and 19, August 25 to 27 and September 1 and 2.

West Coast main line passengers are being urged not to travel on these dates as engineers replace the north Wembley junction, one of the major intersections on Europe’s mixed-use railway. 

No trains will run on the West Coast main line, including services to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.

Virgin trains will be running services north from Milton Keynes Central on these dates, but there will be no southbound service from the Buckinghamshire station.

Rail operators said the three-week summer period was considered the least disruptive for the work to be carried out. 

Shops in the station and access to the London Underground will remain available during the closure. 

If customers have to travel, they are advised to expect busier trains and longer, diverted routes.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “There is never an ideal time to shut the railway but these three weekends are the least disruptive times to do it.

“We have worked together for the past three years with train operators to carefully plan this closure of the railway in a way that minimises impact on customers.

“It’s vital the track at north Wembley is replaced to continue to safely meet the huge demand of passenger and freight rail services on the West Coast main line. This work will result in better, more reliable journeys in future.”

Andrew Conroy, customer experience director for London Northwestern Railway said: “Our aim is to keep people moving if they have to travel on these dates. Improvement works are never convenient for anyone, but we have a tried and tested plan for operating buses to connect with alternative routes to and from London when Euston is closed.

“We still advise customers to travel on alternative days as these options will take significantly longer.”

17/08/2018 11:24 AM
Firm Running Collapsed Genoa Bridge Ordered To Pay For Rebuild
The company behind the Genoa bridge has been told to rebuild it at their own expense following its collapse

The Italian government has demanded the firm in control of the Genoa bridge rebuild at its own expense after its collapse on Tuesday claimed at least 39 lives. 

The transport ministry told Autostrade per l’Italia to complete the job within a limited timeframe and also wants it to foot the bill for restoring buildings and other areas damaged when a 260ft (79m) span of the Morandi viaduct crashed to the ground during a torrential downpour. 

Autostrade – which says it made regular, thorough safety checks – has been given 15 days to prove it met its contractual obligations.

The firm is expected to hold an extraordinary board meeting next Tuesday to discuss the disaster, Reuters reported on Friday.

The company, 88 percent owned by holding company Atlantia and controlled by Italy’s wealthy Benetton family, has become engulfed in a political row over its motorway concessions.

Shares in Atlantia fell by as much as 25 percent as investors spooked by threats of government retaliation dumped their stock on Thursday.

In a statement, the Italian transport ministry said Autostrade must prove it carried out required work to ensure the proper functioning of the bridge and avoid accidents. 

Deputy Transport Minister Edoardo said: “The options we’re looking at are the full revocation, the revocation of just the A10 section or a penalty, but a 150m euro ($170m) penalty is too low.”

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio warned the state would have to take over the country’s motorways if concession-holders could not do the job properly.

Fifteen people remain badly injured following the disaster that saw motorists plunge 150ft (45m) to the ground below.  At least seven people have been pulled from the rubble alive, but more are thought to be missing.

While the political and financial consequences of the tragedy are yet to be determined, miraculous tales of survival have emerged.

Dad-to-be Gianluca Ardini has told how he clung to wires on the collapsed bridge for hours, despite having a dislocated shoulder. 

The 29-year-old said thinking of his unborn child gave him the “strength to survive”. His 28-year-old girlfriend, Giulia Organo, is eight months pregnant. 

Ardini was making his last delivery of the day when the bridge collapsed. His colleague, father-of-four Luigi Altadonna, fell to his death.

Gianluca Ardini and his girlfriend Giulia Organo

Organo was quoted in Italian media reports as saying: “It’s been a miracle, that’s all I can say. He held on to two wires for dear life.”

She continued: “In September he’ll be a father. I believe this is one of the reasons why he held on.”

Earlier this week, former Italian football player Davide Capello told of his disbelief at surviving the disaster, saying the collapse felt like an “apocalypse” unfolding before his eyes.

The 33-year-old, a goalkeeper who used to play for Serie A side Cagliari, said he was able to clamber out of his vehicle, which was “attached to a pylon”, and make his way down to rescuers waiting below. 

“I was able to get out... I don’t know how my car wasn’t crushed. It seemed like a scene from a film, it was the apocalypse,” he said. 

17/08/2018 11:19 AM
Ariana Grande's 'Sweetener' Has Its Moments, But Is Disappointingly Bland - HuffPost Verdict

K E Y   P O I N T S

S N A P   V E R D I C T

The ‘Sweetener’ album campaign got off to a strong start, with near-unanimous praise for lead single ‘No Tears Left To Cry’, an unapologetically joyful track which saw the singer sensitively moving on from the darkness of the past 12 months of her life.

‘No Tears…’ left fans excited for what was to come, but when ‘The Light Is Coming’ - the first of Pharrell Williams’ contributions to be heard by fans - debuted, it got a decidedly more mixed reception, largely thanks to a bewildering sample looped throughout the track.

At this point, it became more apparent that ‘Sweetener’ would be a mixed bag, particularly when the intriguingly-titled ‘God Is A Woman’ was revealed to be a guitar-led sultry ballad which, while it has received the thumbs up from the majority of fans, still wasn’t quite what anyone expected from the singer behind some of the biggest pop hooks of recent times.

‘Sweetener’ is now out, and the bad news for anyone put off by ‘The Light Is Coming’ is that Pharrell is all over this album, and ‘The Light Is Coming’ is very much the mood throughout.

Of the first seven songs on the album - of which one is a 30-second acapella intro, and another is the already-heard single ‘God Is A Woman’ - Pharrell took on producing duties on seven of them. And while we’re all for artists trying something new (we’d have loved another ‘Into You’, but let’s be real, the song wasn’t a huge hit, why would she use that as her inspiration moving forward?), the experimental R&B sound on ‘Sweetener’ grows tiresome pretty quickly. It’s a sound she’s flirted with on her previous albums, but she’s jumped into it feet-first this time around, and we’re not convinced this is a good fit for her.

‘Blazed’, the first of Pharrell’s tracks on the album, is fun enough, if not a little indistinctive (it’s not hard to imagine this having been lifted from Miley Cyrus’s ‘Bangerz’, on which Pharrell also contributed) but by the time we’d sat through the repetitive ‘R.E.M.’ and ‘Sweetener’, we were ready for some choruses we can get stuck in our heads the same way we did with her Ariana’s last album, ‘Dangerous Woman’.

Enter Max Martin and Ilya Salmanzadeh, who arrive on track eight with the first of their songs that isn’t a previous single and isn’t a 30-second mood-setter, ‘Everytime’. Unfortunately, while the song is noticeably more melodic and catchy than what comes before it, it’s still more understated than we’d have liked.

The closest ‘Sweetener’ comes to an ‘Into You’ moment is on ‘Breathin’, a track on which Ariana coaxes herself through an anxiety attack, which she previously revealed she suffered from in the wake of Manchester. The song builds and builds, and it’s not tough to imagine this will be the album cut that goes off the most on the inevitable ‘Sweetener’ tour.

Similarly, album closer ‘Get Well Soon’ - which would probably have served better as its opening song - sees Ariana once again singing about her mental state after the terror attack at her concert, switching between her own voice (“my body’s here on Earth but I’m floating”) and that of the people around her (“girl what’s wrong with you? Come back down”).

Both of these are album highlights, along with the Imogen Heap-infused ‘Goodnight N Go’ and the singles we already know and love, but they’re not enough to make up for an album that pretty much passes you by without making much of an impact.

‘Sweetener’ isn’t absolutely terrible, it’s just largely unremarkable… but in the fickle world of mainstream pop, sometimes that’s worse.

S T A N D - O U T   T R A C K S

‘God Is A Woman’


‘No Tears Left To Cry’

‘Goodnight N Go’

‘Get Well Soon’

T A K E   H O M E   M E S S A G E

We’re not suggesting Ariana Grande should have resorted to repeating herself and released ‘Into You 2.0’ just to please pop fans on Twitter, but we’d have preferred a bit more ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ than the repetitive Pharrell-fest we’ve been given.

17/08/2018 11:02 AM
UK Weather: Storm Ernesto Set To Unleash Heavy Rain And Strong Winds

The hot temperatures are here to stay, but forecasters have warned people to be prepared for heavy rain and thunder as Storm Ernesto hits this weekend.

The remnants of the tropical storm are expected to be officially classified as a “post-tropical cyclone” by the time they reach the UK, after coming across the Atlantic at high speed, the Met Office said on Friday.

Ernesto is expected to hit the west coast of Ireland on Saturday night, moving across Scotland and northern England as Sunday morning approaches.

Downpours are expected to start overnight, continuing until Sunday, and the National Hurricane Center currently predicts wind speeds could reach 40mph.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge told HuffPost UK: “Ernesto is moving quickly towards the UK, but it will be degrading as the sea-surface temperatures are only 21°C and cannot support a tropical storm and it will transition to a fairly low-key mid-latitude low-pressure system.

“This system will run towards Ireland and the UK, bringing some rain and stronger winds. The impacts from Ernesto will be minimal.”

The Met Office’s UK forecast states that “the north will be windy, with patchy rain” tomorrow, but “further south, winds will be much lighter, with a fair amount of warm sunshine, though patchy rain may affect western hills”. They do not currently have any weather warnings in place. 

Temperatures across the UK and Ireland are expected to remain in the low-20s, though they will drop to around 17C in Scotland.

This weekend won't be the best time to hit the beach. 

The heat will then return in the middle of next week, with temperatures creeping back into the mid-20s in the south and midlands. The north east and Scotland will stay at around 19C.

The Met Office forecast for next Thursday reads: “There will probably be a good deal of dry, bright or sunny weather, especially in the south, while the far west and northwest will have some thicker cloud and rain at times.”

Last week, the remnants of Storm Debby caused severe rain in the south, which prompted one group of inventive Londoners to create a bridge over a waterlogged street.

So far in 2018, a number of unexpected weather events have caused disruption in the UK, the biggest being the “beast from the east”, which brought numerous transport systems to a standstill as temperatures plunged.

17/08/2018 10:56 AM
Tory Minister Rory Stewart Promises To Quit If He Does Not Reduce Prison Violence

Conservative justice minister Rory Stewart has promised to resign if the level of drug use and violence in prisons has not reduced by this time next year.

He made the vow as he launched a £10m blitz to raise standards in 10 facilities that have been hit by “acute” problems.

Speaking to the BBC on Friday morning, he said: “I will quit if I haven’t succeeded in 12 months in reducing the level of drugs and violence in those prisons. I want to make a measurable difference. 

“I believe in the prison service. I believe in our prison officers. I believe this can be turned around. I want you to judge me on those results. And I’ll resign if I don’t succeed.”

Figures published last month showed self-harm incidents and assaults in jails were at record levels, while finds of drugs and mobile phones increased by 23 percent and 15 percent respectively in the year to March.

Stewart added he was not talking about a “minor reduction” in drugs and violence.

“I’d want you to feel that this had been a substantial reduction and that it was going in the right direction,” he said.

Under the new scheme, £6m has been earmarked to bolster physical security with drug-detection dogs, body-scanners and improved perimeter defences.

Three million pounds will be spent on improving the fabric of the chosen jails, including repairs to basic infrastructure such as broken windows.

The third strand of the programme will see £1m spent on bespoke training programmes and interventions for governors, with a staff college model inspired by the military set to be developed.

17/08/2018 10:45 AM
Blaming The Jewish Community For Labour's Anti-Semitism Crisis Is Unacceptable

Thirty years ago, working for a group of housing organisations fighting homelessness in the Midlands, I joined the MSF union, now part of Unite.

I believed then, as I do now, in the labour movement values of solidarity, collective action and standing up for your fellow workers.

But I also believed in fairness and equality. And I believed in standing up to racism too. And when a community finds itself on the receiving end of prejudice and hatred, I know whose side I’m on.

So the sight of someone like Len McCluskey, the most powerful man in the Labour Party and the leader of Britain’s largest union - my union – telling off the leadership of the Jewish community is just disgraceful. 

How could he accuse Jewish leaders of intransigent and truculent hostility?

It is completely unacceptable for McCluskey to blame the leadership of the Jewish community for the failure to resolve the crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

The Jewish community have been caused immense distress and offence, Labour MPs like Chuka Umunna are right to demand it is sorted out and they must not be silenced on this.

Of course the party must adopt the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and all its examples, but the refusal to do so is just the latest example of the problem, not the actual cause of the crisis.

Jewish MPs and members have been subjected to the most appalling abuse. Senior figures have claimed Hitler was a Zionist or said the Jews financed the slave trade. Labour candidates have denied or questioned the Holocaust.

People have denied Israel’s right to exist, claiming the very idea of a Jewish State - not just the policies of its government or the actions of its military, but the simple idea of a homeland for the Jewish people - is a racist endeavour. Others have drawn outrageous comparisons between Israel and the crimes of the Nazis, without caring at all how horrendous it is to tell Jewish people they are behaving like the evil regime that murdered so many of them. 

Jeremy Corbyn himself defended that grotesque racist caricature in East London.

After that the party told the Jewish community it knows more than they do about anti-Semitism by refusing to adopt the standard definition.

And now we’ve seen how Jeremy, the self-proclaimed “militant opponent of anti-Semitism”, has spent so much time associating with or defending all sorts of extremists and in some cases anti-Semites and terrorists.

And every time he has spoken since he has made matters worse by refusing to acknowledge the scale of the crisis, address his role in its development or deal with it properly.

Thousands of Jewish people including Auschwitz survivors - many of them lifelong Labour supporter and many of them on the first protest of their lives - assembled in Parliament Square to plead with the Labour Party to listen and act.

The leadership of the Jewish Community’s mainstream organisations set out a series of perfectly reasonable demands which the party has so far refused to address. 

So of course they’ve got to adopt the full IHRA definition and examples, but they need to go much further if they expect anyone to listen to them on this

They need to listen seriously to Jewish people, respond properly to the community’s requests and they need to kick people responsible for racism out of the party for good.

That might begin to persuade people they are serious about tackling this crisis.

Ian Austin is the Labour MP for Dudley

17/08/2018 10:30 AM
National Allotment Week: Why You Should Get Your Kids Into Gardening (And How To Do It)

Giving children the chance to connect with nature has a wealth of benefits, from aiding their physical and mental wellbeing to understanding where the fruit and vegetables they eat come from. Luckily there are a number of ways to get children interested in their local green spaces, from visiting allotments to school and community gardening groups. 

Allotments are famously coveted spaces – there are around 330,000 plots across the UK and many come with a waiting list – but a number of them will be open this weekend for National Allotment Week, running until 19 August.

People will be able to drop in, speak to regulars about what they grow and what advice they have, and take part in community events from barbecues to tombolas, at one of their local events. 

For families who may have access to a plot, the National Allotment Society says that the majority of sites welcome the opportunity for children to spend time there learning about how food is produced and being able to spend time outdoors. 

The society suggests that providing children with a small area of a plot to look after can help them to feel independent, while using a raised bed will make the area easier for them to manage.

As children may find it hard to handle the small seeds that adults can easily plant, the society suggests going for larger seeds such as broad beans, sunflowers, pumpkins and potatoes instead, while growing herbs like mint, lemon balm and lavender will be good for the scents they produce – just make sure children wash their hands afterwards as some seeds and bulbs can be poisonous to eat. 

And it’s not just children who can benefit from allotments. A recent survey of the National Allotment Society’s members found that just 30 minutes of gardening on a plot can burn 150 calories, while a properly managed allotment can produce enough food for a family’s weekly shop. But even if you’re not green-fingered enough to grow all of your own food, your allotment can still be a great place to be outdoors and see other people, as a quarter of members said they go to their plot to socialise.

“There is a wealth of scientific research that shows that gardening and growing can have huge benefits to children’s development and health. An allotment is sometimes the only way children and their families can access space suitable for growing,” Sian Creagh-Osborne, awards programme manager at food and farming charity the Soil Association told HuffPost UK. Creagh-Osborne works on the charity’s ‘Food For Life’ programme, which works with hospitals, care homes, nurseries and schools to teach people about where their food come from and how it’s grown and cooked, and to champion healthy food.

“At Food For Life we focus on ensuring children understand healthy sustainable food, so they want to eat it – and growing is a huge part of that,” Creagh-Osborne said. She added that recent research from the University of the West of England found pupils who grew their own veg in school were more likely to increase their fruit and veg intake, become more aware of the links between food growing and the environment, and have better attention and attainment levels in school.

Schools can be a place for families and children to get access to the benefits of outdoor growing, too. Ingrid Chen, gardening lead at Columbia Primary School, said they started with just patch of grass over two years ago, and have “built and improved this garden with help from pupils, their families and more recently the wider local community”.

The school is one of 69% of primary schools that take part in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardening, which has been running since 2007 and provides free resources and support for getting children green-fingered.

“It’s a fantastic resource to enhance classroom-based activities in all areas of learning, as well as a lovely opportunity for children to care for a green space and observe nature which many do not otherwise have. It’s now a community hub, and hopefully the launch pad for the next generation of gardeners,” Chen said.

Over 34,500 primary and secondary schools and youth groups are part of the campaign, and a significant number have said that gardening enabled young people to connect with nature, and had improved their mental and physical wellbeing.

17/08/2018 10:21 AM
Surgeons Remove Contact Lens Lodged In Woman's Eye For 28 Years

Surgeons have removed a contact lens that was stuck in a woman’s eye for nearly three decades.

The patient went to her GP in Dundee complaining of swelling in her left eye and was left astonished when an MRI revealed a long-forgotten lens had been lodged in her eye socket for 28 years.

Now 42, the woman was unable to account for the foreign body, though her mother was able to recall her being hit in the eye with a shuttlecock when she was 14 – with both assuming the impact had simply knocked the lens out.

It has now been removed by surgeons, who reported the case in the BMJ. Dr Sirjhun Patel said: “We concluded that the lens migrated into the eyelid following trauma and was dormant for 28 years.

“The patient assumed the lens fell out and was lost; however, it can be inferred that the lens migrated into the eyelid and resided there. During surgery, an encapsulated cyst was found. On removal, the cyst ruptured and a hard contact lens was extracted.”

It follows another ocular oddity where a pensioner scheduled for cataract surgery in 2016 was found to have a total of 27 contact lenses in one of her eyes.

The 67-year-old patient had been unaware the lens were missing, telling surgeons at Solihull Hospital she thought the discomfort she was feeling was due to old age and dry eye.

The case, reported in Optometry Today, was reported as the largest number of mislaid contact lenses ever seen.

Specialist trainee ophthalmologist Rupal Morjaria said: “None of us have ever seen this before.

“It was such a large mass. We were really surprised that the patient didn’t notice it because it would cause quite a lot of irritation while it was sitting there.”

The patient, who had been wearing monthly disposable contact lenses for 35 years, had not been attending regular eye test appointments.

She told specialists she felt “a lot more comfortable” after the lenses were removed.

17/08/2018 10:13 AM
Why School Uniform Is So Important For Kids

My early years were chaotic with many periods of emergency residential placements before I was fostered by a loving family. I grew up without the sense of identity experienced by many of my peers, and education was often a struggle, it was difficult to fit in and I was regularly seen as “the kid that was in care”. I’ve seen first-hand the struggles that many of the children in the UK are going through today, and as I got older I always knew that I wanted to do something to help children that were in a similar position to where I had been. In my teens I was fortunate enough to be adopted by the same family who had fostered me and who continued to show me how much better life could be. I believe from my own early experiences, that disadvantaged children often suffer with little opportunities, especially in education, and I wanted to change that.

I began my career as a residential social worker, working directly with disaffected young people, initially I worked closely with those that suffered with disabilities, and as I worked my way up to the residential home manager, I supported various legislations that would aim to protect these children. In my personal life, I was just about to get heavily involved in the family business – a school wear supplier in Margate, now as a director of the business, I knew that I could use my position to help the local community, and its children in education.

My father had owned the business for six years, and through it, he helped instil a sense of pride that a school uniform can bring to a child – we fought to raise uniform standards and accessibility for families from every background. I was confident that the business could be an important part of the community, helping and supporting parents and children alike.

As I grew within the business, more and more young people would visit the store each year that were clearly impacted by social media, struggling with body image, gender, poverty and broken homes – designing uniforms for them provided a focus, it enabled them to feel pride in themselves and provided something to be proud of. A newfound confidence came hand-in-hand with a new school uniform, the fear of ridicule from peers, something that I experienced when younger was alleviated for them. Here, we empower children, we make them feel important, feel a worth and a sense of belonging – no extortionate cost, just understanding, empathy and accessibility.

I have done a lot in my career to help young people and struggling families, but working alongside the schoolwear association to launch the ‘Every Child Is Worth It’ campaign has been very special. I know a platform such as this can positively impact on thousands of children, it can support and change minds in an industry that has a long-term impact on families across the UK.

More and more young people are now struggling with their mental health, in a recent FOI request by the NSPCC, it revealed that in 2017/18, 18,870 children under the age of 11 were referred to specialist help for conditions, including anxiety and depression. A study by Oxford Brookes University ran a series of focus groups with students aged 13-17 to uncover their perceptions around wearing a uniform - feedback from the teenagers revealed they valued a consistent dress code that meant they didn’t have to decide what to wear each day to school, or worry about whether they would be bullied or criticised by their peers. The study found that a uniform promotes commonality among pupils, improves concentration and fosters a sense of pride, especially when they wear it in public.

Historically, there has been a culture of over-priced school uniform and an elitist attitude towards the accessibility of a quality school uniform. A school uniform will never be a ‘cure’ for children struggling with their mental health, But, if I can help these young people in anyway that I can, then I will.

School can be an incredibly challenging period in many young people’s lives, and anything that can be done to support these children, should be embraced by anyone that can help.

17/08/2018 10:11 AM
‘Britain’s Got Talent’: Man Charged With Murder Of 2018 Finalist Simone Kerr Of B Positive Choir

A man has been charged with the murder of Simone Kerr, who appeared on this year’s series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

The 31-year-old nurse, who was a member of the NHS choir B Positive, was fatally stabbed at her home in Battersea, south-west London on Wednesday.

Simone Kerr has died after being stabbed

Police and emergency services, including an air ambulance were called to Grayshott Road just after 12.30pm on Wednesday.

Desmond Sylva, 40, was charged with her murder on Thursday night. He will appear before magistrates in Wimbledon this morning (Friday 17 August).

Scotland Yard confirmed that are not looking for any other suspects. 

As a member of B Positive, Simone made it through to the final of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in June, after being chosen as the judges’ Wild Card act.

The vocal harmony group’s rendition of ‘Rise Up’ had the judges, Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Williams, and the audience in tears.

They eventually lost out to Lost Voice Guy in the live final.

The nurse from London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital had previously revealed how her six-year-old son Kavele died from sickle cell disease in 2015. She joined the choir soon after his death to help raise awareness about blood conditions and the need for more donors.

Writing in a blog on the NHS website, she opened up about her son’s condition after he was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at birth.

She said: “I got to spend six wonderful years watching Kavele grow and though there were a handful of hospitalisations in his short life, I was positive that he would live a full life into adulthood. I lost him in 2015.”

Simonne added: “Singing can be such an uplifting experience so joining the B Positive choir seemed the obvious way to raise awareness of the urgent need for more young and black people to give blood while doing something positive and motivational.”

A ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear that Simonne Kerr has died. Our thoughts and condolences are with Simonne’s family and friends during this difficult and devastating time.”

17/08/2018 10:09 AM
House Of Fraser Apologises After Cancelling All Online Orders
House of Fraser has cancelled all orders placed online

House of Fraser has apologised to customers after cancelling all orders placed online due to “significant delays” with deliveries.

The beleaguered retailer said it had wiped all orders that had not already been sent to customers and would be issuing refunds.

The move comes after the chain’s website was taken offline amid complaints from customers about delayed deliveries since the company was bought by Sports Direct last Friday.

The issue reportedly stemmed from a dispute involving employees at a key warehouse.

House of Fraser said on Thursday that it had been experiencing issues.

“We have taken the decision to cancel and refund all orders that have not already been sent to customers,” the department store said on Facebook.

“We didn’t take this decision lightly, but since we cannot give our customers clear assurances of when their orders will be delivered, we believe cancellation is the best option.

“All customers affected will receive an email about the cancellation and refund in the next couple of days.

“Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused and thank you from everyone at House of Fraser for your patience at this time.”

Several customers who had placed orders days ago were angered by the announcement.

One said on Twitter: “Absolutely disgraceful. Ordered a £90 purse last Thursday. Yes a week ago for my daughters birthday. Not 1 email concerning delivery or info and now order cancelled and you say email in a few days!!! Get my money back ASAP.”

Another said they had been told by email that items from their husband’s suit would not be delivered.

They tweeted: “This was for our holidays! I don’t have time to go back to Edinburgh with the trousers which are now totally useless! What do you suggest I do!”

A message posted on the retailer’s website said it was “working hard to make some improvements”, telling customers it will be “back up and running as soon as possible”.

The Times reported that employees at a key warehouse supplying products to House of Fraser stores and online shoppers had downed tools in a wrangle over delivery payment terms with Sports Direct.

The paper said it understood that workers at the chain’s distribution centre in Wellingborough had been told by XPO Logistics, which operates the site, to stop accepting goods and processing deliveries, leading to product shortages in some House of Fraser outlets.

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley said his ambition was to turn the department store into the “Harrods of the high street” after buying the firm from administrators earlier this month.

The £90m rescue bid saw Sports Direct acquire all 59 House of Fraser stores, the brand and all of the retailer’s stock.

17/08/2018 09:44 AM
Packing Hacks For Last-Minute Business Trips
Hands up if this routine sounds familiar. Run around the house, throw whatever’s at hand into a case and stuff it all in, then turn up to the destination to find you’ve packed pretty much nothing you need.

Business trips aren’t like standard holidays, where if you forget something there’s plenty of time to replace them. Not to mention the spontaneity and speed that’s often so integral to those who travel regularly for work.

To make sure you’re never left with plenty for the seaside but nothing for the actual city you’re in, follow our expert tips on packing smart, light and ready for maximum productivity (while leaving space for those essentials to make the most of your much-needed downtime).
Travel drawer. Haven’t got one? Get one. Here’s where your passport lives. Where all the necessary documents go as soon as you print them out. Do not use this drawer to chuck in loose coins, scrap pieces of paper, or any number of other junk that clutter up your other drawers. Its sole purpose for existence is to store your travel essentials (otherwise known as capsule packing, rather than a literal time capsule).
Business trips tend to be short and swift. Even if work pay for extra baggage allowance, standing around baggage reclaim is a needless chore. Invest in an expandable size carry-on with extra compartments, including dedicated laptop protection, full-zip interior with cross-straps and divider for organisation, and inner and outer pockets. If you feel like treating yourself, get one like the Bluesmart One with a full suite of tech features, including GPS tracking and built-in charging ports.
Every wire and cable you need (other than perhaps your costly laptop charger), buy an extra set. Place them in a see-through bag and place in the Travel Drawer. When your sister borrows your phone charger and it disappears forever, don’t replace it from the drawer – get a new one. Come travel day, you don’t want to scrambling behind computers or under the telly collecting wires.
Go online and type in ‘custom travel bottle set’, find one that catches your eye, order it. When it arrives, fill them with your favourite toiletries, then add a toothbrush and toothpaste and pop it all in a TSA-approved see-through toiletry bag. You remember where to store it, right? Come travel day, make it the last thing you pack, so it’s among the first thing you take out during check-in.
'Bare necessities’ doesn’t mean no luxuries. The difference between an enjoyable stay and feeling out of sorts is to pack a few things that make you feel at home. An AeroPress to ensure you have your favourite coffee in the morning, for example. And it needs to be said because so many forget – pack all your entertainment devices. It’s better to have Netflix and not need it, then to need Netflix and not have it.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fair amount of time for leisure during a business trip, you can have bulky items such as golf clubs and skis sent to your hotel through companies such as Luggage Free. The same applies to anything else you might need but don’t have the time or space to take with you. Depending on where you are in the world of course, most hotels will be happy to sign for a next-day delivery package on your behalf.
Pack an outfit you can wear to a meeting that will work just as well for dinner. Gym wear that won’t look out of place by the pool. Invest in a multi-season jacket. You’ll check the weather, of course, but it pays to take a shawl or a scarf in case you’re expecting heat but get cold, and something summery in case of vice versa.
You could rush to the dry-cleaners, wait to collect, then annoy whoever is sat next to you on the plane by hanging your garment bag in their space. Or you can save space and time by simply wearing it. Sure, you don’t want to risk crumpling it, but that’s what the hotel dry cleaning service is there for. When you arrive, change into something comfortable and hand it in, so it’ll be pressed and pristine for when you need it.
The checklist is an obvious one, but do you actually have one? Keep a list of your favourite things on your phone or pinned where you can see it. Come packing time, tick them off as you pack them. For essential items such as contact lenses and sanitary pads, pre-pack a little pouch and store it... you guessed it. In the Travel drawer.
Hands up if this routine sounds familiar. Run around the house, throw whatever’s at hand into a case and stuff it all in, then turn up to the destination to find you’ve packed pretty much nothing you need.

Business trips aren’t like standard holidays, where if you forget something there’s plenty of time to replace them. Not to mention the spontaneity and speed that’s often so integral to those who travel regularly for work.

To make sure you’re never left with plenty for the seaside but nothing for the actual city you’re in, follow our expert tips on packing smart, light and ready for maximum productivity (while leaving space for those essentials to make the most of your much-needed downtime).
Travel drawer. Haven’t got one? Get one. Here’s where your passport lives. Where all the necessary documents go as soon as you print them out. Do not use this drawer to chuck in loose coins, scrap pieces of paper, or any number of other junk that clutter up your other drawers. Its sole purpose for existence is to store your travel essentials (otherwise known as capsule packing, rather than a literal time capsule).
Business trips tend to be short and swift. Even if work pay for extra baggage allowance, standing around baggage reclaim is a needless chore. Invest in an expandable size carry-on with extra compartments, including dedicated laptop protection, full-zip interior with cross-straps and divider for organisation, and inner and outer pockets. If you feel like treating yourself, get one like the Bluesmart One with a full suite of tech features, including GPS tracking and built-in charging ports.
Every wire and cable you need (other than perhaps your costly laptop charger), buy an extra set. Place them in a see-through bag and place in the Travel Drawer. When your sister borrows your phone charger and it disappears forever, don’t replace it from the drawer – get a new one. Come travel day, you don’t want to scrambling behind computers or under the telly collecting wires.
Go online and type in ‘custom travel bottle set’, find one that catches your eye, order it. When it arrives, fill them with your favourite toiletries, then add a toothbrush and toothpaste and pop it all in a TSA-approved see-through toiletry bag. You remember where to store it, right? Come travel day, make it the last thing you pack, so it’s among the first thing you take out during check-in.
‘Bare necessities’ doesn’t mean no luxuries. The difference between an enjoyable stay and feeling out of sorts is to pack a few things that make you feel at home. An AeroPress to ensure you have your favourite coffee in the morning, for example. And it needs to be said because so many forget – pack all your entertainment devices. It’s better to have Netflix and not need it, then to need Netflix and not have it.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fair amount of time for leisure during a business trip, you can have bulky items such as golf clubs and skis sent to your hotel through companies such as Luggage Free. The same applies to anything else you might need but don’t have the time or space to take with you. Depending on where you are in the world of course, most hotels will be happy to sign for a next-day delivery package on your behalf.
Pack an outfit you can wear to a meeting that will work just as well for dinner. Gym wear that won’t look out of place by the pool. Invest in a multi-season jacket. You’ll check the weather, of course, but it pays to take a shawl or a scarf in case you’re expecting heat but get cold, and something summery in case of vice versa.
You could rush to the dry-cleaners, wait to collect, then annoy whoever is sat next to you on the plane by hanging your garment bag in their space. Or you can save space and time by simply wearing it. Sure, you don’t want to risk crumpling it, but that’s what the hotel dry cleaning service is there for. When you arrive, change into something comfortable and hand it in, so it’ll be pressed and pristine for when you need it.
The checklist is an obvious one, but do you actually have one? Keep a list of your favourite things on your phone or pinned where you can see it. Come packing time, tick them off as you pack them. For essential items such as contact lenses and sanitary pads, pre-pack a little pouch and store it... you guessed it. In the Travel drawer.

17/08/2018 09:29 AM
My Wife Was Imprisoned For Speaking Out Against Sexual Harassment In Egypt

As a human rights researcher, I’ve interviewed so many people who have been detained, including their family members. Every interview is heart-breaking, but I never fully appreciated their pain until I experienced it myself.

Seeing it and living it is a thousand times worse than I could have ever imagined.

When my wife Amal was arrested, I was shocked and gutted. She didn’t do anything that was dangerous. She didn’t commit any crime at all. She was just speaking out against sexual harassment. But in Egypt, if you speak out as a survivor, you’re the one who will be punished, not the perpetrator.

Everyone knows sexual violence exists in Egypt and across the world. But in my country, abuse has become so common that it goes unreported. If someone refuses to accept it, they become the odd one out. That’s what happened to Amal. She decided to take a stand and share her story – and now she’s being punished for it. 

Since my wife’s arrest in May, I have been appealing against her detention. She was granted release on bail in the first case, where she is accused of posting a Facebook video condemning sexual harassment. Then, she has been held in pre-trial detention for “belonging to a terrorist group”, “using a website to promote ideas calling for terrorist acts”, and “intentionally disseminating false news that could harm public security and interest”.

Now she’s been put on trial, even though the exact charges are still unclear. Her first hearing was on 11 August in front of the Maadi Misdemeanours Court in Cairo.

These charges do not have any foundation. They are absurd and ridiculous.

Amal is currently being held in prison. Although she has the essentials she needs to survive, I am worried about her.

Yes, she’s a strong woman who dreams of becoming an actress. She is sociable, straight-talking, honest, and loves to laugh. But prison can destroy even the strongest of people. 

Amal suffers from depression and she isn’t receiving the medication that she needs. Recently, she experienced complications with her left leg and it took over two weeks for the prison to find the right medication. Neither of us understand why she’s there – and the fact she’s set to stand trial for having an opinion is ridiculous. We are human beings with the right to share ideas and communicate our hopes and fears so we can change our lives for the better. We should be given the opportunity to speak freely and together.

I must stay strong for Amal and our two-year-old son. When I visit Amal in prison, I do my best to keep her morale up – as well as my own. It’s been incredible to see how people are rallying behind Amal and calling for her release. Supporters from Amnesty International have been writing letters – and it’s heartening to see how many people are standing in solidarity with us. It gives both of us the energy to continue. With so many people behind us, we don’t feel isolated and we won’t give up.  

Living in limbo is frustrating for all of us. My son and I keep hoping Amal will be released, and when she’s not, it’s heart-breaking and the cycle starts all over again, especially now her case is going to trial.

The Egyptian authorities have been using these charges against critics and journalists in an attempt to silence them. My wife was brave in speaking up about her experience of sexual harassment in Egypt and should be applauded for her courage – not put on trial. 

17/08/2018 08:57 AM
Barack & Michelle Obama Remember Aretha Franklin, The Queen Of Soul

17/08/2018 08:51 AM
Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet Might Cut Your Life Expectancy, Major Study Warns

If you’re cutting out carbs and replacing them with meats and cheeses you might be doing yourself more harm than good.

According to a new 25-year study of 15,000 people, eating animal proteins such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese in place of carbs is linked to a slightly increased risk of death. 

[READ MORE: Do you really need to cut out carbs to lose weight?]

Moderate carb intake - where people ate between 50-55% of energy from carbs - was found to slightly lower the risk of death compared with low (30% or less) and high (65%) carb diets. 

Replacing carbs with plant-based proteins like nuts, however, was found to slightly reduce mortality risk.

The researchers estimated that from the age of 50, the average life expectancy was an additional 33 years for those with moderate carbohydrate intake – four years longer than those with very low carbohydrate consumption, and one year longer than those with high consumption.

Dr Sara Seidelmann, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who led the research, said that low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with protein or fat were gaining widespread popularity as a health and weight-loss strategy but that its data suggested animal based low carb diets “might be associated with shorter overall life span and should be discouraged.”

“Instead, if one chooses to follow a low carbohydrate diet, then exchanging carbohydrates for more plant-based fats and proteins might actually promote healthy ageing in the long term,” she said.

17/08/2018 08:43 AM
Extreme Weather Breaking Records

17/08/2018 08:39 AM
Union Boss Len McCluskey Slammed For 'Disgraceful' Attack On Jewish Leaders After Wreath Row

Len McCluskey has been accused of launching an “unfair and unwarranted” attack on Jewish leaders after the union boss claimed that Jeremy Corbyn was being unfairly treated in his attempts to resolve Labour’s anti-Semitism row. 

Writing for HuffPost UK, the general secretary of the Unite union and close ally of the Labour leader hit out at what he calls the “intransigent hostility” of Jewish community leaders and claimed the more Corbyn sought to “build bridges” the “worse the rhetoric has become”.

After the blog was published on Thursday, the Board of Deputies, which is the main representative body of British Jews, said McCluskey’s “attack on the Jewish community is both unfair and unwarranted”.

The spokesman added: “We have had a deluge of words from the Labour leadership.

“It is about time that the party resolved this crisis by taking the firm and decisive action which the communal leadership set out for them in detail months ago.

“They have so far failed to do what is right.”

Corbyn and the party have been engulfed in controversy after failing to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in its entirety.

The Labour leader has also come under fire for attending a controversial event at a Palestinian Martyrs Cemetery in Tunis in 2014.

Labour MP Ian Austin, who is also being investigated over his behaviour during a row about the party’s anti-Semitism code, branded McCluskey’s blog “disgraceful”. 

He said: “It is outrageous to blame the Jewish community for the immense distress they feel and the offence that’s been caused.

“Labour MPs are right to demand it is sorted out. We won’t be bullied into silence on this.”

McCluskey wrote that Labour risked descending “into a vortex of McCarthyism” and accused  “Blairite” Labour MPs of exploiting the anti-Semitism row to provoke a split in the party.

He added that the problem of anti-Semitism in the party was “not manufactured but has certainly been wildly exaggerated by now”.

“I am at a loss to understand the motives of the leadership of the Jewish community – the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Jewish Labour Movement,” he said.

“They raised entirely proper concerns, but have simply refused to take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

McCluskey said Corbyn’s attempts to resolve the situation had been met with hostility by the Jewish community. 

“What is the response from the leading Jewish community organisations to this record of reaching out, of understanding, and of action? Intransigent hostility and an utter refusal to engage in dialogue about building on what has been done and resolving outstanding difficulties,” he said.

“I therefore appeal to the leadership of the Jewish community to abandon their truculent hostility, engage in dialogue and dial down the rhetoric, before the political estrangement between them and the Labour Party becomes entrenched.”

The union boss said the leadership of the Jewish community should “grasp the hand stretched out towards them”.

McClusky further accused the three newspapers; the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and Jewish Telegraph; that claimed Corbyn was an “an existential threat to Jewish life” of a “thoroughly irresponsible act of fear-mongering”.

However, he acknowledged that Labour should now adopt all eleven IHRA examples as not having done so was “insensitive”, something that the Board of Deputies acknowledged in their criticism of his blog.  

But McCluskey warned there remained “free-speech problems” with the example concerning ‘Israel as a racist endeavour’. 

“While rooting out the anti-Semites, we cannot descend into a vortex of McCarthyism, however much Labour’s opponents might enjoy the spectacle,” he said.

The Unite leader used his blog to accuse Chuka Umunna and other Labour MPs of using the row over anti-Semitism as a method to “provide rocket fuel for a split in the Party”. 

“Let those few Labour MPs looking to break away from the Party do so on an honest basis, embracing capitalism, the free market and the alliance with Trump’s America, and not pretend that Labour is something it is not, an institutionally racist Party,” he said.

In response, Umunna said he would not be “bullied into silence” by McCluskey.

Dame Margaret Hodge, who faced a disciplinary investigation after a confrontation about anti-Semitism with Corbyn, also rounded on McCluskey’s comments about McCarthyism.

She said: “I find that offensive, I think that’s trivialising the issue of anti-Semitism to pretend that somehow we’re using that for cheap party political purposes. I’m not, and I think most of those colleagues who are with me, Jews and non-Jewish MPs feel exactly the same as I do.”

In an interview with Sky News, the former Labour minister told how when she learned of the investigation she “kept thinking what did it feel like to be a Jew in Germany in the Thirties”.

17/08/2018 08:28 AM
'Strictly Come Dancing': Pussycat Dolls' Ashley Roberts Joins Line-Up

Former Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts has been announced as the ninth celebrity taking part in this year’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

Ashley confirmed her involvement in the show on Friday morning, revealing that she was convinced to take part by a number of her famous friends, who have been involved in the show in the past.

“Daisy Lowe loved it, Flacky [Caroline Flack] said it was one of her favourite projects,” she recalled. “Pixie [Lott] and Laura [Whitmore] loved it! So I’m excited to dive into my own experience.”

Ashley Roberts

Best known as a member of the all-singing, all-dancing Pussycat Dolls, Ashley has since found fame here in the UK thanks to her appearance on ‘I’m A Celebrity’.

Following this, she began presenting segments on ‘Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’, after which she served as a judge on two series of ‘Dancing On Ice’... which we’re sure ‘Strictly’ fans might have something to say about it, given how contestants with previous dance experience have been treated in the past.

Ashley and her former PCD bandmates

The announcements around this year’s ‘Strictly’ line-up began on Monday, when TV personality Katie Piper, Steps singer Faye Tozer and ‘Red Dwarf’ actor Danny John-Jules were all confirmed over the course of the day.

Since then, five more contestants were revealed prior to Ashley’s announcement, including YouTube vlogger Joe Sugg, radio personality Vick Hope, TV doctor Ranj Singh, cricketer Graeme Swann and documentary presenter Stacey Dooley.

More announcements are expected in the coming days, with further rumoured celebrities including veteran presenter Anneka Rice, Blue singer Lee Ryan and former soap star Samantha Womack.

17/08/2018 08:15 AM
I Will Never Forget The Day My Infertility Was Diagnosed, Nothing Makes The Pain Bearable

I will never forget the day my infertility was diagnosed, I’ve never felt pain like it. The sense of loss was totally overwhelming. I cried more tears than there are drops in the ocean. My heart sank like a stone to the very tips of my toes. I found myself grasping for air like a goldfish in the last few moments before it dies. I experienced a loud, deafening ringing in my ears and my vision started to blur. Nothing makes this pain bearable. Its hold never leaves you but slowly you learn to live with it. 

We decided quite early on to break the news to our family and friends. Although we were able to deliver the devastating news relatively quickly, the repercussions of a diagnosis like this ripple through years like an earthquake. My self-esteem hit rock bottom. I was so ashamed of my infertility and somehow felt less of a woman. I found myself wanting to withdraw from those close to me, comparing our lives to others and worrying constantly that more bad news was on its way.  

David and I are childhood sweethearts, celebrating our 26th anniversary this year. Together we survived 15 operations and seven rounds of IVF. We did acupuncture, tried every supplement going and embraced every crazy diet you can think of. I read books, blogs and spoke to friends in similar situations, which brought me great comfort. Our quest took us all around the world but eventually I came to the slow and painful realisation that my body was our biggest obstacle to becoming parents. For the first time in my life I felt totally inadequate, frightened and beaten. This was a fight we just couldn’t win – it was like trying to quickstep in suffocating quick sand. 

Fortuitously it was at this low point in our lives that we were introduced to Surrogacy UK, our lifeline. A place we trusted and felt safe. The day we first met our surrogate Kirsty, was the day we started to breathe and sleep again. We found new strength and a tiny glimmer of hope appeared on the horizon like a white dove after a long, bitter war. The rest as they say may be history but we remain eternally grateful to Kirsty, her family and everyone else who helped us along the way especially Jayne Frankland, Jessica Hepburn and my mum who never gave up hope.  

We could write a book about the lessons we learned but we wanted to use this opportunity to share some of these insights. Educate yourself about your own fertility and don’t delay starting the family you’ve always wanted, the risks are too great. Practice forgiveness and be kind to yourself. Look after one another, your partner carries you on their shoulders when your legs fail. Be prepared to fail, repeatedly, but remember the difference between falling down and refusing to get back up because one is much more dangerous than the other. Live full, energetic and fulfilled lives whilst you’re waiting – don’t sit at home on the sofa mourning a different life, as this invites misery and often ends in divorce. Pursue your passions with purpose – these pleasures can bring a welcome distraction but you may also find that they take your life in a completely different direction. No one wants to talk his or her fears but it is essential that we do. The most important thing I’ve learned about fear is that it has two meanings – forget everything and run, or face everything and rise. Before you choose your own interpretation, know that fear kills more dreams than failure ever could.  

The truth is David and I have won the lottery. This experience has shaped us into two very fortunate, resilient and grateful people. We’ve tested our family ties and friendships to their limit and we’re delighted to say they’ve not just survived, but blossomed. Most importantly of all through surrogacy we’ve been privileged to witness first hand, humanity at its very best. Surrogacy is such an incredible selfless act, it has restored my faith in something that I had believed all my life, which is that good things happen to good people.  

Primrose is the 151st baby born to Surrogacy UK. It’s thanks to this charity that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting some phenomenal women and bonded with some good friends for life. I’m incredibly proud to be still very happily married and we are truly blessed to have Primrose who radiates joy, as she is loved so much, by so many.  

And for those women still struggling or scared by infertility I ask you to reflect upon this: yes we are damaged, broken and unhinged but so are shooting stars and comets. Surrogacy rocks. 

17/08/2018 08:02 AM
Sniffer Dogs And Body Scanners To Target Prison Drugs And Mobile Phones In £10m Initiative

New body scanners and sniffer dogs will be introduced in 10 of England’s “most challenging” prisons in a £10 million project to combat drugs and mobile phones.

The prisons where the initiative is being rolled out are described as having “acute problems, including high drug use, violence and building issues”, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said on Friday.  

They are Hull, Humber, Leeds, Lindholme, Moorland, Wealstun, Nottingham, Ranby, Isis and Wormwood Scrubs.

Prisons located in clusters have been selected as part of a targeted approach against the supply of drugs in those areas, the MoJ said.  

The project will also see perimeter fences improved, while residential areas in the prisons will be standardised to meet new decency and cleanliness standards.

The sniffer dogs involved will have been trained to detect new psychoactive substances, such as Spice, and the body scanners will be capable of detecting packages inside the body.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “With more than 20,000 prison officers, 84,000 prisoners, and over 100 prisons, it is vital we set challenging standards so prisons are places where offenders can turn their lives around.

“With the right leadership on the ground, and support from the centre, these 10 prisons will pave the way for a new approach, a new ethos and a new direction.

“We need to make these prisons calmer, more orderly places and in the end that comes down to challenging and managing prisoners consistently, firmly and fairly. And we will put our support and training behind our prison officers to make that happen.

“No-one can hope to change an entire system overnight. But through these vital improvements to 10 prisons, we can set a course for the rest of the estate to follow – leading us to a system that truly rehabilitates, cuts reoffending and ultimately keeps the public safer.”

Of the £10m, £1m has been set aside for bespoke staff training programmes and a staff college model based on the military will be developed.

The project is described as a bid to “develop a new model of excellence” for UK prisons.

The money comes in addition to the £30 million investment announced by the Justice Secretary in July.

17/08/2018 07:37 AM
Ariana Grande’s Impression Of Celine Dion During Her ‘Carpool Karaoke’ Is Uncannily On Point

Ariana Grande is the latest megastar to get comfortable in the passenger seat of James Corden’s motor for ‘Carpool Karaoke’.

Not only did the 25-year-old US star belt out some of her biggest hits with the ‘Late Late Show’ host, including ‘Side To Side’ and ’No Tears Left To Cry, but she also put to bed some of the most ridiculous rumours about herself.

There was also the startling revelation that she had a ‘Jaws’-themed birthday party when she was just 2 years old (!), before stopping off for a Starbucks with James (Grande, obvs) who carried her into the coffee shop on his back (well, we’ve all heard *those* rumours).

But the most jaw-dropping moment comes when Ariana does the best impression of Celine Dion - complete with hilarious spoken intro.

Yes, we know this isn’t the first time Ari has shown off her seriously impressive imitation skills, but this is another level.

Watch Ari get her Celine on (and duet with James on a certain musical theatre number) in the full clip below.

17/08/2018 07:00 AM
From Flash Floods To Forest Fires – The Extreme Weather Breaking Records Worldwide This Summer

The UK has been hit by a dramatic heatwave this summer but compared to other climates, the weather here looks gentle. 

While Brits have battled to lay their hands on heavy-duty fans, around the globe numerous countries have been hit by forest fires.

Droughts in Australia have caused worrying conditions for the agricultural industry, while at the other end of the scale, India and China have faced record-breaking floods, with death tolls continuing to rise. 

In the past month alone, all of these locations have been hit by record-breaking weather events...  

Kerala, India

Kerala’s monsoon season runs from June to September every year, but 2018's floods have been the region’s worst since 1924. 

On Thursday, the death toll rose to 77 and officials have estimated that 50,000 people have been displaced. 

The Periyar river overflowing after Monsoon rains on 16 August.

A dozen of Kerala’s 15 districts were put on red alert and the army were deployed to rescue those in the worst-hit areas.

Kerala University has suspended all exams, which were due to take place this week, and Kochi International Airport will be closed for at least 10 days. 

Commuters travel on a truck in the Ernakulam district of Kochi.

Northern California, USA

The Mendocino blaze is the biggest wildfire in Californian history, having torn through more than 290,000 acres of land. 

The fire is the culmination of two blazes, the River Fire and Ranch Fire.

It’s destroyed almost 120 homes and experts predict it could take another two weeks for firefighters to fully extinguish the blaze. 

A tanker drops fire retardant on the fire near Lakeport, California, on 1 August.Firefighters defending houses from the blaze on 2 August.

New South Wales, Australia

NSW was recently declared “100% in drought” by Australian officials - and the conditions are expected to continue for another three months. 

An aerial photograph of a farm near Walgett, New South Wales.

Running the length of the UK summer, this winter in Australia has been particularly hard-hitting and numerous areas have record-low levels of rainfall.

Farmers have even been given permission to kill kangaroos to stop the wild animals from using valuable viable ground that could help livestock survive. 

This farmland in central New South Wales is usually home to wheat crops.

Australia has also battled bushfires, with blazes claiming homes on the south coast. 

A dried-up dam can be seen on one patch of land in north-western New South Wales.


At the other end of the scale, Argentina has seen temperatures hit record lows. 

In mid-July, two people were killed in the Santa Fe region after suffering from hypothermia. 

Fog covering Argentinian capital Buenos Aires in late June.

An all-time low of -25.4°C was recorded in the Patagonian ski resort of Bariloche in July.


In Sweden, freak wildfires have been burning above the Arctic Circle. 

So far this summer, firefighters have tackled more than 50 blazes, leading to huge evacuations.

A forest fire burns out in central Sweden.

Record high temperatures have been recorded in numerous Scandinavian countries, including Norway, where it recently reached over 31°C for the first time ever. 

Firefighters have used lake water to extinguish some of the fires.

Northern China 

Numerous regions in China spent much of late July submerged after heavy rainfall resulted in flooding. 

Cars were nearly fully submerged in Shenyang in 7 August.

In the Xinjiang province, 20 people died after floods caused by 110mm of rainfall in one hour. Prior to this, the highest record figure was 52.4mm in an hour. 

Residents in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, were warned that incredibly heavy rains were on the way.


The temperature in Tokyo hit 41.1°C – the highest ever recorded in Japan – on 23 July.

By that point, 44 people had already died from heat-related illness and measures including the cancellation of events and festivals were brought in.

People cool off in a Tokyo park on 22 July.

And it’s not just the capital city that has been affected.  In Ome, west of Tokyo, it was less than one degree cooler. 

A man attempts to cover his face in Himeji, Japan.

17/08/2018 06:00 AM
5 Cute Animal Pictures To End The Week: From Tiny Flamingos To A Very Podgy Cat

This week has been a bit grey after what felt like a very long (and sometimes unbearably hot) heatwave took over much of the UK.  

So to cheer you up, we’ve rounded up our top five cute animal pictures of the week to get you geared up for the weekend. 


1. Homeless Bruno, who has the best pose in town.

Isn’t Bruno just the best? He certainly has the baddest pose we’ve seen for a while. The 7-year-old moggie is homeless and weighs a whopping 25 pounds. Because he’s homeless he’s currently being looked after by Wright Way Rescue in Illinois, USA, who say he likes to be near people and talk “a LOT.”

He also likes to stand on his hind legs and be petted while he eats. 

Good luck Bruno, we hope you find your forever home soon.

2. Daisy and Luna, who are possibly the cutest duo we’ve ever seen. 

Daisy, the puppy with the white face, doesn’t like being in the car. So her pal Luna comforts her until they both fall asleep. What a good dog.

3. These 21 fluffy flamingo chicks that hatched at Chester Zoo.

21 Caribbean flamingo chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo since June, bringing the total number of flamingos currently at the zoo to 120. The team at the zoo have been busy hand-feeding them since and will give them round-the-clock attention for the next five weeks. 

The chicks are all white or grey in colour, resembling little balls of cotton wool, but they will each develop pink feathers at around six months old. 

4. This saucy little hound. 


5. This new breed of crocodile. 

Impersonating a crocodile is a rare skill, but this black and white pooch nails it.

The video, shared on Twitter, shows the dog floating around with his nose poking out of the water and it’s already been viewed more than 10 million times. 

17/08/2018 06:00 AM
Free Things To Do With Kids In And Around Birmingham

Birmingham offers a huge choice when it comes to finding fun and free days out with the kids.

The UK’s second largest city, Birmingham has an array of museums guaranteed to appeal to their sense of wonder, plus a whole host of green spaces for energetic kids to let off some steam. 

Here’s our guide to things to do and places to go in and around Birmingham, based on recommendations from local parents in the know. 

Cannon Hill Park. 

Places To Picnic

Birmingham is home to nearly 600 parks, but Cannon Hill Park came top in parents’ recommendations. 

“Cannon Hill Park is beautiful and one of my favourite places to visit with my family during the weekends,” says Emma Conway, otherwise known as blogger BrummyMummyof2 and mum to daughter Erin, seven, and son Ethan, five.

“There’s a nature centre, a lake, beautiful flowers, the MAC (Midlands Arts Centre with free entry) and some lovely playground areas.”

But, she suggests avoiding one part, or coming with a few quid: “There is a tiny toddler fair there all year round.”

New mum Muna Saleh always makes a beeline for Canon Hill with her five-month-old daughter Khatra. “There’s something for all ages - from watching the ducks to playing in the playground with nice clean picnic areas to relax in,” she says.

While Carly Joseph, mum to Marissa, two, and four-month-old Brody, says: “We live right by Sutton Park Nature Reserve near Sutton Coldfield. There are organised toddler walks every couple of weeks with the rangers, which are brilliant.” 

Blogger Emma also recommends Sheldon Country Park: “It’s a little farm and also you can view the airplanes taking and landing off from the airport, which my kids love.”

Likey Hills Country Park. 

Places To Run Free And Have Adventures

Lickey Hills Country Park is 10 miles south west of Birmingham and makes a lovely day out. A beautiful setting with walking, clambering and cycling trails, there’s also a children’s adventure playground that’s just the exciting side of scary. Families can also play on the tri-golf course and borrow rounders equipment and other games from the visitor centre. The view from Beacon Hill over the surrounding countryside is fabulous, and well worth the walk up.

At Sandwell Valley Country Park, just a mile from West Bromwich centre, there’s a fantastic adventure playground with climbing nets, a suspension bridge and a high-speed zip wire, as well as a water play area to cool off in.

‘Lord of the Rings’ enthusiasts may enjoy seeing JRR Tolkien’s favourite childhood play place (and the inspiration for the Old Forest) at Moseley Bog.

Places For Hands-On Fun

Get your kids off their screens and behind the scenes of TV at BBC Birmingham on level 7 of the Mailbox. You can have a go at presenting the news or weather, take a tour of the studios, watch presenters live on air and have a photo taken with the TARDIS or a Dalek. There’s no need to book.

Martineau Gardens is a community garden that’s a lot more than some raised beds and home-grown herbs and tomatoes, although keen mini gardeners are encouraged to help out. There’s a woodland, a nature trail, children’s play area, wildflower meadows, ponds, beehives and a bird hide. 

Why not take advantage of the glorious summer #heatwave and visit our Science Garden? It's free after 3PM every day! (Sunny weather not guaranteed, sorry 🙃) #science #sun #summer 🌞

A post shared by Thinktank Bham Science Museum (@thinktankmuseum) on

The Science Garden at Thinktank is an outdoor discovery space with 30 hands-on exhibits, including a human-sized hamster wheel and a square wheeled wagon. Give them all a whirl any day from 3pm to 5pm, when the Science Garden is free to enter.

Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary in Sutton Coldfield offers plenty of petting opportunities. The centre currently has 18 donkeys who are either out in the paddocks or in the yards, depending on the weather. Check the website before going for entry times.

Free Museums

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in Chamberlain Square is free to enter, although there are charges for temporary exhibitions. The museum is home to the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, as well as rooms dedicated to ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. 

The big hit this summer is Dippy on Tour, the 21 metre-long Diplodocus turfed out of the Natural History Museum (in favour of Hope, a Blue Whale skeleton) and the centrepiece of a whole exhibition showing how some dinosaurs evolved into birds. Tickets are free (until 9 September) but must be booked in advance.

When you come see #DippyOnTour the entrance is through the Gas Hall. Not sure where that is? T-Rex shows you how to get there in this video! For the full longer version head over to our Facebook page. #BirminghamUK #BirminghamMuseumAndArtGallery #dinosaur #museum #instamuseum #culturegram #gallery #trex #dinosaurs #tyrannosaurus #dippy #diplodocus #dippythedinosaur

A post shared by Birmingham Museum&Art Gallery (@birmingham_mag) on

There’s a special Dippy family space for younger children to do dino-themed jigsaws, dressing up and colouring in, while the Mini Museum is specifically designed for under fives, with storybooks, games and dressing up as an introduction to the museum’s art and history exhibitions.

Kids will love admiring the fangs of Smilodon, a sabre-tooth tiger at Lapworth Museum of Geology in the Aston Webb Building at Birmingham University. There are fossils galore, including the imaginatively named Roary, the young allosaurus.

Beaches In Birmingham (yes, indeed)

Birmingham may be landlocked in the middle of the UK, but you can still get out your bucket and spade at a number of man-made pop-up beaches every summer. They include the Costa del Solihull urban beach at the Touchwood shopping centre in Solihull, which runs through the summer holidays.

Alternatively, Bosworth Water Park at Market Bosworth, Nuneaton, is hugely popular with a golden sand beach, lakes, 50 acres of parkland to explore and and a pirate adventure playground.

17/08/2018 12:02 AM
Most People Lose A Loved One By 20, But We Still Don't Talk About Death Enough

The death of a loved one can be a life-changing experience, and yet a quarter of people in the UK don’t talk about the “taboo of death”, according to a study of 30,000 people. 

The findings revealed most people had experienced the death of a loved one by 20 and people started to consider their own mortality aged 26. It also found women (93%) were more likely to consider their own death than men (90%).

Despite this, there is a national taboo around death and it’s having a detrimental impact on our wellbeing, with many still struggling to open up and unsure what to do or say to others when they experience it.  

The study, of attitudes about death, was conducted by YouGov and the Co-op and supported by charities including Death Matters and Sue Ryder, the hospice.

“The fear of talking about death, both their own, and of those they love, means that people are not receiving the support they most need at the time, and following their bereavement,” Julia Samuel, author of the bestselling book Grief Works, said. “This support is the predictor of their outcome, for good or ill. When someone dies it is the love and support of others that enables us to heal and find a way of living again.”

Heidi Travis, chief executive of Sue Ryder, told HuffPost UK: “Death is an inevitable part of all our lives, and yet in modern society we have become far more distanced from the first-hand reality of it. It has become a taboo subject that many of us find difficult to broach.”

The survey also found that one on ten people had been burdened with the financial costs of a funeral. Of those surveyed who had arranged a funeral, the average cost was £3,259 and 81% had not saved up beforehand.

What can you do to help support someone experiencing loss?

The Co-op survey also asked people who have experienced bereavement to share the most and least helpful things people could do to help following a death. 

They said that avoiding the subject, people equating grief with their own, being avoided, being told to cheer up and being treated differently were least helpful.

The most helpful responses were people asking if they were OK, offering to do anything to help, sitting with them, asking them if they wanted to talk about it and being offered time off work were most helpful.

17/08/2018 12:02 AM
Two In Five Brits Confused About Common Cancer Symptoms

A staggering two in five Britons are confused about symptoms caused by the most common cancers in the UK, reveals new research by Bupa.

As a result, two in five (38%) people have never checked themselves and less than half (48%) look for symptoms of cancer at least once a month.

This translates to delayed diagnosis, with more than six million putting off going to the doctor and two million later going on to be diagnosed with cancer.

What was perhaps really striking was the variation in people’s knowledge depending on the type of cancer they were supposed to be looking for.

When it comes to the most common cancers, the difference in knowledge of symptoms was stark. Almost half (45%) of all women check for breast cancer at least once a month and one third (34%) of men say they regularly check for testicular cancer. Yet the research found that symptoms of bladder and pancreatic cancer are far less understood.

Of the most common cancers, the least understood was pancreatic with 68% admitting that they didn’t know any of the symptoms. Just under half don’t know the symptoms for bladder cancer, while 32% don’t know the symptoms for lung cancer.

“Half the population is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime making early diagnosis and treatment so important to improving someone’s outcome,” said Dr Luke James, Medical Director at Bupa.

Bupa’s official advice revolves around three simple points:

1. Change

Is something about your body different or unusual? Is something new, or does something feel ‘wrong’ to you? Trust yourself to know what is right and wrong and seek help.

2. Unexplained

Can you pinpoint why something has changed, why you are feeling physically unwell? If not, it is worth further investigation.

3. Persistent

Have you been experiencing this or feeling unwell for longer than two weeks? Watch out for the symptoms that you can’t shake off. 

17/08/2018 12:02 AM
Have Women Fallen Out Of Love With High Heels?

Heels may have once been synonymous with feminine style, but it seems they may have finally been given the boot. 

Women are no longer head over heels with stilettos, as sales have fallen to just 22% in 2018, in comparison to 27% in 2018, according to new figures from Mintel.


Mintel reports that only one in five women (22%) purchased heels in 2018, which isdown from 29% in 2017. In direct correlation to the decline of the heel, more casual shoes have increased in popularity, with flat sandals (22%) now as popular as heeled shoes, according to Mintel.  

This decline is unsurprising given the rise of sportsluxe and streetwear, from high end to high street trainers have once again found their stride among everyday women.

From the graphic trainer to the simple tennis shoe, they’re now being worn with everything – from power suits to the most summery of day dresses. And we can’t get enough.

While for some, wearing trainers may seem scruffy, for the converted they offer an effortless look that is perfect for going from day to night. In 2018, wearing trainers to a bar wouldn’t be out of place. 

However, if you are looking to leg out to grab some trainers, late 1980s style of block colours will jazz up your feet such as these Adidas burnt orange trainers (£100) or pair of Gen-Z yellow Vans (£65). But if you’re looking for subtlety, these pastel Puma’s may be your friend (£89).

Be like Lily Allen and wear your trainers exactly how you’ve always been told not to. 

17/08/2018 12:02 AM
Make E-Cigarettes Available On The NHS, MPs Urge Government
The government is being used to make e-cigarettes available through the NHS to help smokers kick the habit (stock image)

The government has been urged to make e-cigarettes available on the NHS after a probe by MPs found many of the health concerns around ‘vaping’ are wrong.

A report published on Friday by Parliament’s science and technology select committee said the government should “urgently” review the approval systems for prescribing e-cigarettes, as “misconceptions” were stopping health bodies from tackling smoking as well as they could.

E-cigarettes, the report said, present an opportunity to “significantly accelerate already declining smoking rates”.  Smoking remains a leading cause of death in the UK.

The devices, estimated to be 95 percent less harmful than conventional cigarettes, are “too often being overlooked” as a stop-smoking tool by the NHS, the report said, while suggesting a relaxation of regulations around their licensing, prescribing, advertising, taxation and use in public places. 

The committee called on businesses, transport providers and local authorities to stop viewing “conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same” as there is no “public health rationale for doing so”. 

“If used correctly, e-cigarettes could be a key weapon in the NHS’s stop smoking arsenal,” committee chair and Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb said.

“E-cigarettes are a proven stop smoking tool and, while uncertainties undoubtedly remain about their long-term health impact, failing to explore the use of e-cigarettes could lead to the continued use of conventional cigarettes - which currently kill around 79,000 people in England every year.”

Norman Lamb, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said e-cigarettes could be a key weapon in the NHS’s stop smoking arsenal

The committee found that an “unacceptable” three quarters of NHS trusts are mistakenly concerned about ‘second-hand’ e-cigarette vapour and a third of mental health trusts ban the devices completely, even though patients would “benefit considerably” from using them.

“Many mental health trusts are misinformed about the dangers of e-cigarettes and are implementing unnecessary and inappropriate bans within their facilities,” the report reads. 

The committee said the restrictions were “extraordinary” given those suffering from mental health issues smoke “significantly more” than the rest of the population and are almost 2.5 times more likely to take up the habit.

“Those with mental ill health are being badly let down and NHS England appear to have failed to give this any priority,” Lamb said.

“NHS England’s default policy should be that e-cigarettes should be permitted in mental health units.”

Nearly 3m people in the UK are currently using e-cigarettes, the report claimed, and an estimated 470,000 are using them as “an aid to stop smoking”.

The Department of Health and Social Care estimates e-cigarettes contribute to between 16,000 and 22,000 people successfully quitting smoking each year “who would not otherwise have done so had they used nicotine replacement therapies or willpower alone”.

The committee is calling on the government to consider “risk-based regulation” to allow more freedom to advertise e-cigarettes as the “relatively less harmful option” and provide financial incentives, in the form of lower levels of taxation, for smokers to swap from cigarettes to less harmful alternatives.

It also wants rules governing their use in public places to be reconsidered, along with limits on refill strengths and tank sizes that “does not appear to be founded on scientific evidence”.

“The committee believes that the risk for smokers of continuing to use conventional cigarettes is greater than the uncertainty over the long-term use of e-cigarettes,” the report concludes.  

According to the report: “Expert opinion is that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco but not completely harmless. A range of toxicants have been found in e-cigarette vapour including some cancer causing agents but, in general, at levels much lower than found in cigarette smoke or at levels that are unlikely to cause harm.”

The Committee is recommending that:

- The government, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and the e-cigarette industry should review how approval systems for stop smoking therapies could be streamlined should e-cigarette manufacturers put forward a product for medical licensing.

- There should be a wider debate on how e-cigarettes are to be dealt with in our public places, to help arrive at a solution which at least starts from the evidence rather than misconceptions about their health impacts.

- The government should continue to annually review the evidence on the health effects of e-cigarettes and extend that review to heat-not-burn products.

- Further it should support a long-term research programme overseen by Public Health England and the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment with an online hub making evidence available to the public and health professionals.

- The limit on the strength of refills should be reviewed as heavy smokers may be put off persisting with them—and the restriction on tank size does not appear to be founded on scientific evidence and should therefore urgently be reviewed.

- The prohibition on making claims for the relative health benefits of stopping smoking and using e-cigarettes instead has prevented manufacturers informing smokers of the potential benefits and should be reviewed to identify scope for change post-Brexit.

- There should be a shift to a more risk-proportionate regulatory environment where regulations, advertising rules and tax duties reflect the evidence of the relative harms of the various e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn and tobacco products available.

- NHS England should set a policy of mental health facilities allowing e-cigarette use by patients unless trusts can demonstrate evidence-based reasons for not doing so.

- The government should review the evidence supporting the current ban as part of a wider move towards a more risk aware regulatory framework for tobacco and nicotine products.

* E-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes are substantially different products. A lit conventional cigarette contains tobacco and produces carbon monoxide, tar and smoke, whilst an e-cigarette does not contain tobacco and heats up its nicotine liquid rather than burning it, the report explains. E-cigarettes were first introduced to the UK market in 2007.

16/08/2018 11:32 PM
'Celebrity Big Brother' Fans Furious Over Stormy Daniels' Absence From Launch Night Line-Up

‘Celebrity Big Brother’ fans were not exactly best pleased to discover heavily-rumoured contestant Stormy Daniels was notably absent from the show’s launch night. 

The adult film star, who alleges to have had an affair with US president Donald Trump in 2006, was not one of the 13 stars who entered the house on Thursday, much to the chagrin of viewers. 

Stormy Daniels did not enter the 'Celebrity Big Brother' house on Thursday

Many complained of feeling short-changed over her lack of appearance, despite her name featuring heavily in the press in the lead up to the new series. 

However, some have speculated she could still appear at a later date: 

While Stormy denied she would be entering the ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ house, reports she had signed up still persisted. 

The Sun claimed she was being paid £750,000 for a week’s stay in the Channel 5 series, after being unable to afford her demands for the entire run. 

Given she was rumoured for a shorter stint, there is still plenty of time left for her to enter over the month-long series. 

A White House-inspired twist that unfolded on launch night also alluded to the -Trump-Stormy Daniels scandal.

Viewers saw saw Kirstie Alley elected House President, with ‘Coronation Street’ star Ryan Thomas becoming her Vice President. 

‘Celebrity Big Brother’ continues on Friday at 9pm on Channel 5. 

16/08/2018 10:58 PM
'Celebrity Big Brother' 2018 Line-Up Revealed, And There's No Stormy Daniels... Yet

‘Celebrity Big Brother’ has kicked off its latest series with 13 brand new housemates, although there was no sign of their rumoured star signing Stormy Daniels - at least for now anyway. 

The adult film star was notably absent as presenter Emma Willis unveiled new batch of famous(ish) faces during Thursday night’s live launch show, despite reportedly signing a £750,000 deal to appear. 

However, it still looks like Stormy, who is alleged to have had an affair with US president Donald Trump in 2006, could enter at a later date, with a special show called ‘A Storm Unleashed’ set to air on Friday. 

Stormy Daniels was notably absent from the 'Celebrity Big Brother' line-up, but she could still enter

While she has denied she is appearing, Stormy’s potential arrival would also tie in with a special White House twist that was unveiled at the end of Thursday’s launch. 

Earlier in the evening, viewers of the Channel 5 reality show saw the likes of US actress Kirstie Alley, ‘Coronation Street’ actor Ryan Thomas, ‘Human Ken Doll’ Rodrigo Alves and former Love Islander Gabby Allen enter the Borehamwood bungalow. 

Get to know all of the housemates a little better below...

Kirstie Alley

Age: 67

Famous for: Her role in the sitcom ‘Cheers’, in which she played the character of Rebecca Howe

Media storm: Kirstie has made headlines over the years for her fluctuating weight

She says: “I act a lot wilder and do a lot of things I wouldn’t do in the United States when I leave the country…you sort of feel uninhibited when you’re in another country, like you get a free pass to do stupid things. So I thought it sounded like a good idea to come over here and do stupid things.”

Ryan Thomas

Age: 34

Famous for: Playing Jason Grimshaw in ‘Coronation Street’

Media storm: Ryan was quite publicly made bankrupt

He says: “I’m doing ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ for a new challenge, new experiences and hopefully for people to see the real me.”

Dan Osborne

Age: 27

Famous for: Former reality star who appeared on ‘The Only Way Is Essex’. He is also known for his relationship with ex-‘EastEnders’ actress Jacqueline Jossa.

Media storm: Recordings of an argument he had with his ex partner were released in 2014, in which he threatened to stab her and he was axed from ‘TOWIE’. In June it was also reported that his wife had dumped him after learning he had cheated on her with a Miss Essex. 

He says: “It’s no secret that I’ve been through a storm in the media – the recordings of an argument that I had in a previous relationship, but if anything it’s made me a better person now.”

Gabby Allen

Age: 26

Famous for: Appearing on the third series of ‘Love Island’ where she coupled up with Marcel Somerville. 

Media storm: After it emerged Marcel had cheated on her in April, Gabby was once again at the centre of a media frenzy when reports suggested she had been romantically linked to former ‘TOWIE’ star Dan Osborne, who she will now be sharing a house with. However, both parties denied claims of an affair. 

She says: “I can’t wait for other housemates to learn about me as an individual and not in a relationship.”

Sally Morgan

Age: 66

Famous for: TV and stage psychic who says she saw her first spirit at the age of four

Media storm: She faced accusations of fakery when a report suggested she had used a hidden earpiece at one of her performances

She says: “In 2011 I went through the eye of the storm. I call it my personal tsunami.”

Rodrigo Alves

Age: 35

Famous for: Cosmetic surgery lover who calls himself The Human Ken Doll

Media storm: To date, Rodrigo has spent in excess of £500,000 to enhance and change the way he looks, including undergoing Botox, fillers, nose jobs, an eye and neck lift, calf shaping, a chin implant liposuction, a fake six-pack, facelifts and has even had ribs removed to get his ‘”ideal’ look. He nearly died after undergoing a procedure last year. 

He says: ”I am taking part as it’s the only show that is going to give me the chance to show the real me.”

Roxanne Pallett

Age: 35

Famous for: Playing the role of Jo Sugden in ‘Emmerdale’

Media storm: In July 2018 Roxanne was involved in a severe car crash

She says: “What followed the accident and the media frenzy was quite a lot of backlash online – I was trolled for not being injured enough…They absolutely contributed to a really difficult time.”

Jermaine Pennant

Age: 35

Famous for: English professional footballer who is best known for signing with Liverpool for a whopping £6.7m

Media storm: Since being in the public eye, Jermaine has hit the headlines for a number of reasons, including a drink driving ban, a stint in prison, and playing football whilst wearing a tag.

He says: “At this point of time in my career it will be great to come on the show, show people my personality, my character, try and change people’s views of me.”

Chloe Ayling

Age: 21

Famous for: Glamour model Chloe Ayling was forced into the spotlight after being kidnapped

Media storm: In 2017, Chloe was kidnapped by a man claiming to be part of a gang called ‘Black Death’. She was held captive for six days and the story hooked the nation with many questioning what really happened.

She says: “I feel the past year has been really tough with people not believing me, so this is a chance to turn it around and start a new life.”

Nick Leeson

Age: 51

Famous for: 20 years ago, he caused the collapse of Barings Bank

Media storm: During Nick’s early years at Barings he was making the company huge profits and earning bonuses of up to £150,000. In 1993 he made £10m for the company. Nick spent nine months battling the authorities and was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for forgery and fraud.

He says: “The media storm the ensued my going on the run from Singapore is something I suppose I’m still coming to terms with today.”

Ben Jardine

Age: 37

Famous for: Appearing on ‘Married at First Sight’, where he met his future wife Stephanie

Media storm: In March 2018, it was alleged he had been kissing other women during his marriage to Stephanie

He says: “I decided to take part to put the wrongs right - I don’t want to be portrayed as a love rat anymore.”

Hardeep Singh Kohli

Age: 49

Famous for: TV and radio presenter who is also known for both his comedy and cooking

Media storm: In 2009 Hardeep hit the headlines after he was suspended for six months from ‘The One Show’ after a complaint of inappropriate behaviour from a female researcher. He immediately apologised and the matter was taken no further. 

He says: “What I’ve been through doesn’t compare to the overwhelming majority of people’s experiences. But having said that, I am an Arsenal fan, and so I know true pain.”

Natalie Nunn

Age: 33

Famous for: She found fame in 2009 on US reality show ‘Bad Girls Club’, which centred around seven wild women and their daily altercations

Media storm: She’s reportedly had romances with Chris Brown, Wiz Khalifa and Rihanna’s brother, Rorrey Fenty.

She says: “Being a Bad Girl, it’s like every other day you wake up to something in the press and honestly I have learnt to adapt to it. At this point I just don’t care what they say.”

16/08/2018 10:00 PM
Boris Johnson Urged To Consider Another Bus Tour To Campaign For Brexit

Boris Johnson’s allies will urge him to launch another bus tour to stir up opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit plans at a crunch meeting of eurosceptics next week.

HuffPost UK has learned the former Foreign Secretary, who quit the Government over its negotiating stance with the EU, will be pressured into hitting the road in the run up to the Conservative Party conference in September.

The roadshow would focus on firing up grassroots Tories to oppose May’s so-called ‘Chequers Agreement’.

Johnson will hold a meeting with his closest allies next week to thrash out the details of the roadshow, but an influential pro-Brexit MP confirmed to HuffPost UK the idea of replicating the bus campaign used in the 2016 EU referendum campaign would be on the table.

It seems Johnson would require some persuasion, with a source close to the former London Mayor ruling out another bus tour. 

Johnson will be urged to go on tour by other Tory MPs who share his concerns the Chequers Agreement will leave the UK tied to EU rules on goods and agri-foods without having any influence on those laws.

Asked about the plans for a new bus tour, a senior Tory Brexiteer MP confirmed that was one of the options being considered, adding: “There’s a lot going on, people are trying to work out what can be done without tearing the party in two.”

A source close to Johnson admitted the planning meeting is scheduled for next week, saying: “Something is definitely in the offing. We want to make it clear that we are still campaigning for a proper Brexit.”

Johnson is already planning to cause a stir at the four-day Tory party conference in Birmingham, scheduled to start on September 30.  The Sun has reported he will deliver a key-note speech at a fringe meeting – likely to become the main event for anti-Chequers Tories at the gathering.

One ally of Johnson told the Sun: “Boris has always been the biggest draw at party conference.

“He will make the fringe meeting look like the conference hall and the conference hall will look like a fringe meeting.”

Johnson’s presence on the Vote Leave bus became one of the most iconic images of the 2016 EU Referendum campaign.

The bus was emblazoned with the slogan “We send the EU £350 million a week – let’s fund our NHS instead” – a claim that was contested as the figure did not reflect the money returned to the UK from Brussels.

Johnson has always stood by the £350million claim, and doubled down on it in an article for Telegraph in September last year.

UK Stats Authority chief Sir David Norgrove accused Johnson of a “clear misuse of official statistics” by quoting the number, as it does not include any money the UK gets back from the EU in the budget rebate or other spending programmes.

Tom Baldwin, Director of Communications for the People’s Vote campaign, called for Johnson to go on an “apology tour” of the UK for his part in the original Brexit campaign, and then suggested “a period of silence from this poundshop Trump would be most welcome.”

He added: “For him to now be considering a new bus tour to try and re-sell his Brexit snake-oil is a disgrace. And like a true snake-oil salesman, he should be met at every stop of his proposed tour by crowds of outraged protestors demanding he makes amends.”  

Since quitting as Foreign Secretary in July, Johnson has generated controversy with his interventions on Brexit and Islam.

The Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP used his resignation speech to claim May’s plan for Brexit would leave the UK in a “miserable permanent limbo” - adding it was “not too late to save Brexit”.

In an article for the Telegraph earlier this month, Johnson provoked controversy when he described the burka as “ridiculous” and “weird” and said women wearing them looked like letter-boxes or bank robbers.

Johnson was ordered to apologise for the comments by Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis, with the Prime Minister saying his remarks “clearly caused offence”

After HuffPost UK published this article, a source close to the former Foreign Secretary issued a statement ruling out replicating the 2016 campaign strategy.

“Mr Johnson is categorically not going on a bus tour - any suggestion to the contrary is entirely wrong,” the source said.



16/08/2018 09:01 PM
'Celebrity Big Brother': Stormy Daniels, Trump And The Story That Led To Her Rumoured Appearance

Stormy Daniels may have tried her best to try and convince ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ fans she isn’t going into the house, but the rumours will just not go away. 

The adult film actress is thought to be making an appearance on the Channel 5 reality show, after reportedly being paid a record-breaking £750,000 to stay for just a week. 

Stormy Daniels

Of course, it is not difficult to see why bosses were keen to break the bank to secure her - even if it is not for the full series.

Her name hasn’t been far from the front pages in recent months thanks to a worldwide scandal, which saw her claim she had an affair with US president Donald Trump back in 2006. 

If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the story, here’s the lowdown on Stormy... 

Before The Headlines

Stormy Daniels was born Stephanie Clifford in 1979 and brought up in Baton Rougue, Louisiana. 

She made a move into world of adult entertainment at the age of 17, after she began stripping at a local strip club. 

Soon after, she began using her stage name, which was inspired by her love of Motley Crüe, whose bassist, Nikki Sixx, called his daughter Storm. 


In 2002, she began working with porn studio Wicked Pictures after she was cast as the lead in a film called ‘Heat’. Two years later, she went on to become a director for the company. 

Her rise within the porn industry continued, and she has made over 180 films to date, for which she has won a number of industry awards. 

Stormy is a huge name in the porn industry

However, she has also broken through into the mainstream thanks to small roles in 2005 film ’40 Year Old Virgin’ and 2007′s ‘Knocked Up’. 

She’s also featured in HBO sex documentaries ‘Real Sex’ and ‘Pornucopia’, as well as playing a pole dancer in Maroon 5′s video for ‘Wake Up Call’. 

But undoubtedly the reason why she is now best known is thanks to a media storm involving the US president... 

A Trump Storm

Earlier this year, Stormy was the subject of an international scandal when she became involved in a legal battle with President Donald Trump over an alleged affair. 

Stormy claimed she was hushed up after she and the US president had an alleged relationship in 2006 - a year after he married wife Melania.

Stormy claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006

In an article The Wall Street Journal published in January, it was claimed Trump’s personal attorney paid Stormy $130,000 (£102,000) shortly before the presidential election in 2016 to stop her from talking about her alleged affair with Trump. 

After originally denying making the payment, - even producing a letter allegedly signed by Stormy denying the affair and the payment - Cohen later claimed he paid the sum out of his own money and it was unconnected to the president. 

While Trump has always denied the allegations of a relationship with her, Stormy filed a lawsuit against him in March, claiming a non-disclosure agreement she had signed was invalid because he had not personally signed it. The papers also stated Cohen had “scared her into not talking”. 

Trump’s lawyers responded by launching an order stopping Stormy from disclosing “confidential information” related to the nondisclosure agreement. The order itself was supposed to remain private, but Stormy’s legal team branded it “bogus”. 

It later emerged that “the president repaid” Cohen the money had had given Stormy, but insisted he did not know “the specifics”.of the arrangement. 

Stormy’s lawyers also argued that by Cohen admitting that he had paid her money to Daniels, he’d invalidated the original NDA.  

Behind Closed Doors

Stormy with ex-husband Brendon Miller

Stormy has been married three times, splitting from her most recent one, porn star Brendon Miller, earlier this year when he alleged she had been unfaithful to him and filed for divorce. He later sought a restraining order against her, marking the end of their three-year marriage. 

The couple also share a daughter, who was born in 2011. 

She was previously married to adult actor Pat Myne from 2003 to 2005, before going on to wed Mike Moz in 2007, who she split from in 2009. 

16/08/2018 08:12 PM
Margaret Hodge Likens Labour's Disciplinary Investigation To Nazi Germany
Margaret Hodge

Dame Margaret Hodge has likened a Labour Party disciplinary investigation into her conduct to the persecution faced by Jews in Nazi Germany.

In an interview, the former Labour minister told how when she learned of the investigation, which was launched after a confrontation about anti-Semitism with leader Jeremy Corbyn, she “kept thinking what did it feel like to be a Jew in Germany in the Thirties”.

Dame Margaret, who confronted Corbyn in the House of Commons over his handling of anti-Semitism in the party, said that the saga had left her with a “feeling of fear”.

Speaking to Sky News, the MP for Barking said: “On the day that I heard that they were going to discipline me and possibly suspend me, it felt almost like, I kept thinking what did it feel like to be a Jew in Germany in the Thirties?

“Because it felt almost as if they were coming for me. It’s rather difficult to define, but there’s that fear, and it reminded me of what my Dad used to say. My Dad came out of Germany, so he had to leave Germany, he went to Egypt.”

She added: “When I heard about the disciplinary action, my emotional response resonated with that feeling of fear that clearly was at the heart of what my father felt when he came to Britain.”

Dame Margaret also told how the “cult of Corbynism” had allowed anti-Semitism to bubble to the surface within the party.

She said: “I’ve never seen it like this, and I think it’s a bit scary as well. We’ve got this sort of growth of populism.

“Whether it’s Trump, whether it’s Boris Johnson, and now whether it’s the cult of Corbynism, which allows these attitudes to emerge and that’s what scares me.

“I wasn’t alive in the 1930s, there’s probably very few people around who were, but it sort of makes you feel if you don’t stand up against it then what are you allowing to occur.”

Dame Margaret also rounded on Unite boss Len McCluskey, who in a blog for HuffPost UK accused Jewish community leaders of “intransigent hostility” to Mr Corbyn.

She said: “I find that offensive, I think that’s trivialising the issue of anti-Semitism to pretend that somehow we’re using that for cheap party political purposes. I’m not, and I think most of those colleagues who are with me, Jews and non-Jewish MPs feel exactly the same as I do.”

A Labour Party spokesman, responding to the interview, said: “Jeremy is determined to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, so Jewish people feel it is a warm and welcoming home.

“The comparison of the Labour Party’s disciplinary process with Nazi Germany is so extreme and disconnected from reality it diminishes the seriousness of the issue of anti-Semitism.

“We all need to work together to build support and confidence in the Labour Party among Jewish communities in Britain.”

16/08/2018 07:34 PM
Camberwell Stabbing: Six Arrested After Knife Attack In South London
Police officers outside Landor House, Camberwell, London, after four people were taken to hospital with stab wounds. Five males have been arrested

Four teenagers, aged between 15 and 16 years old, have been stabbed on a south London housing estate in the latest wave of violence in the capital.

Officers were called to playing fields outside Landor House in Camberwell at around 5.25pm following reports of a stabbing. 

Witnesses have said a teenager cried “help, help” before the four young men were stabbed.

One of the teenagers is in a critical condition and a second is serious but stable. The two others were not seriously injured. 

Six males were arrested and are being held in custody.

The crime scene – littered with bloodied clothing, trainers and medical equipment – is just a short walk from Warham Street, where 23-year-old drill rapper Sidique Kamara, also known as Incognito, was stabbed to death on August 1.

A 25-year-old woman, who did not want to be identified, told the Press Association: “That particular one, I hope he does live but by the looks of it and the way the ambulance had to struggle I would give it just an 8% (chance). It was very traumatising.”

A witness of Thursday’s quadruple stabbing said he did not think any of those involved lived on the estate.

“Ten minutes before the stabbing I saw a whole heap of youths run down that way,” said the man, who asked not to be named, indicating towards the crime scene.

“Then 10 minutes later I heard people shouting and bawling out the back there.

“When I looked round the back there, I saw the youth come running from the block.

“He came to the corner and dropped. He was holding his belly and all of his intestines were falling on the ground.”

Another neighbour, who did not give her name, described seeing boys running on the grass opposite her flat shortly before the stabbing.

“There were four or five black boys running. All of a sudden I could hear, ‘Help, help’,” she said.

“I have walked up and as I did I have seen the police running.

“One of the police officers got a first aid bag and I saw one of the boys lying on the floor.”

Harriet Harman, MP for Camberwell and Peckham, said she was very concerned by the quadruple stabbing and is in contact with police and councillors.

Witnesses described a large police presence minutes after the incident as officers and medics from the London Ambulance Service arrived on the scene.

Superintendent Annmarie Cowley said: “This incident is in its very early stages and at present we cannot speculate on what the nature of it may be.

“What we can say for certain is if there needed to be an example of the utter senselessness of knife crime, then this is it.

“Four males are in hospital, and at this stage we cannot say how serious their injuries are. It is beyond comprehension.”

She added that legislation has been invoked to grant officers powers to deter further trouble overnight.

16/08/2018 06:52 PM
Simonne Kerr: Man Charged With Murdering Britain's Got Talent Star
Detectives outside a property on Grayshott Road in Battersea, south-west London

A man has been charged with murdering a nurse who performed on Britain’s Got Talent in an NHS choir.

Desmond Sylva, 40, was charged on Thursday over the death of 31-year-old Simonne Kerr who was found fatally stabbed in her home in Battersea, south-west London, Scotland Yard said.

The nurse at Guy’s Hospital, near London Bridge, appeared on the talent show with the B Positive Choir to encourage blood donations after her young son died from complications of sickle cell disease.

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele

The haematology and oncology nurse at the time told how the performances gave her strength after losing her son Kavele to the a blood disorder.

“When I’m with the choir, I look either side of me and see new friends who have been affected by the same disease which took Kavele,” she said, according to the Daily Mirror.

“They know the physical and emotional pain of it. We support each other and there’s a real family vibe. When we sing, we don’t just rattle through a song. We sing with real feeling that comes from the bottom of our souls.”

The judge’s praised the group’s successful performance in this year’s series, with Simon Cowell calling it “amazing”, David Walliams “inspiring”, and Alesha Dixon said it was “one of the most soulful, honest, authentic performances that we’ve had on the show”.

Ms Kerr, who carried the disease but was not affected, lost Kavele in 2015 at the age of six and joined the choir to raise awareness of the importance of blood donors, the NHS said at the time.

She qualified as a nurse in January and joined the hospital the following month.

Sylva, who lived in the same address in Grayshott Road, will appear at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Officers said Ms Kerr, whose death sparked the 90th homicide investigation in the capital this year, was living in the flat but was originally from Wembley, north-west London.

Police were called shortly before 12.40pm on Wednesday to the Victorian terrace but she was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of paramedics.

Vickie Foot, a 43-year-old who lives nearby, described the killing as “absolutely shocking” and said she saw the arrest.

Police reassured residents, telling them: “It’s not gang-related.”

Scotland Yard said detectives are not looking for any other suspects.

The woman’s next-of-kin have been informed and a post-mortem examination was due to take place on Thursday.