Dominic Grieve Says He’s Received Death Threats Over Brexit Rebellion As He Questions Daily Mail Reporting

The senior MP who led the Tory rebellion over Brexit has admitted receiving death threats as a result of his position as he criticised the Daily Mail‘s reporting of the vote.

Dominic Grieve, the ex-Attorney General who led 10 fellow Conservatives to vote against Theresa May to give parliament a “meaningful” vote on the Brexit deal, warned of a “febrile” atmosphere that meant detail of the debate was being overlooked, and that it meant any questions raised about quitting the EU was deemed “sabotage”.

The MP told the Guardian this results in “some people expressing themselves in terms that at times include death threats”, and that he had death threats via voicemail and email.

He added: “The form of reporting that the Daily Mail adopts is an incitement to obscuring what the issues actually are. That then adds to the atmosphere.”

The Mail was accused of putting MPs at risk of abuse after it slammed the Tory rebels as “self-consumed malcontents” on its front page, asking: “Proud of yourselves?”

The government was narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill last night after a group of Conservatives sided with the opposition and voted in favour of giving MPs a meaningful vote of the exit deal agreed with Brussels.

According to the newspaper, the Tory rebels, which also included Anna Soubry, and Nicky Morgan, have betrayed “their leader, party and 17.4 million Brexit voters”.

Splashing the photos of the MPs across its front page, the Daily Mail lambasted the group for pulling the rug from underneath EU negotiators and increasing the possibility of a “Marxist in No.10″.

Critics condemned the story as “outrageous and irresponsible”, calling the treatment of the rebel MPs “bullying”.

Yes. We put our country first exerting British principles of democracy and free speech. You should try it sometime.

— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) December 14, 2017

A spokesperson for the Daily Mail said the accusations were “preposterous”.

“Is it now being suggested that because the Mail supports the British public’s decision to leave the EU it should be forbidden to report debates in Parliament?”

Many of the MPs featured in the splash have hit back at the story, with Soubry agreeing that she is indeed proud of her decision to rebel.

“We put our country first exerting British principles of democracy and free speech,” she rebuffed. “You should try it some time.”


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NASA And Google’s AI Discover First Solar System Other Than Our Own With Eight Planets

NASA has revealed that by utilising Google’s artificial intelligence researchers have discovered the first known solar system with as many planets as our own.

Using a system called machine learning, Christopher Shallue a senior software engineer at Google AI was able to effectively teach a computer to look through the vast amounts of data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and then identify a planet.

In this instance the computer was able to discover a brand-new planet called Kepler-90i. This increased the number of known planets in the Kepler 90 system to eight bringing it level only to our own solar system for having the most number of known planets.

The discovery confirms that sadly, our solar system is not as unique as we think and that stars are more than capable of supporting large numbers of planets.

Andrew Vanderburg, astronomer and NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas, Austin believes that this could in fact just be the start for finding more planets in the Kepler 90 system.

“It’s very possible that Kepler-90 has even more planets that we just don’t know about.” he explained.

“In fact it would be surprising if there weren’t anymore planets.”

NASA believes that Kepler-90i is a smallish rocky planet that orbits its host star in just 14.4 days.

Unfortunately it’s not a planet you would want to visit either with temperatures reaching a scorching 800-degrees on the surface.

What’s really incredible about Kepler-90 as a system though is how all its planets are aligned with the star.

“The Kepler-90 star system is like a mini version of our solar system. You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched in much closer,” said Vanderburg, a NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow and astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin.

How does Kepler discover new planets?

Despite being one of the most advanced pieces of equipment in space, Kepler’s ability to discover new planets stems from a remarkably simple trick.

When we look towards a star system we have the potential to glimpse something known as a transit. This is when any planet orbiting the star passes in front of it from our point of view.

What’s perhaps even more remarkable is that just by looking at this data scientists can determine its size, distance from the star and even some basic information about its composition and atmosphere.

Kepler has been so successful at capturing these transits that many of the new discoveries we’ve made by trawling through the vast quantities of data that Kepler has captured in the past.

How did Google’s AI discover a new planet?

Well as mentioned above we know that we can find planets by looking at dips of light coming from stars.

Unfortunately for humans Kepler has looked at over 200,000 stars which means there is a frankly staggering amount of information to sort through.

As such humans can only process so much information which meant that more often than not our planetary discoveries were made only by looking at the most visible dips of light.

Shallue realised that much in the same way that he could teach a computer to learn the difference between cats and dogs he could teach it to notice the difference between something that wasn’t a planet and something that was.

“In my spare time, I started googling for ‘finding exoplanets with large data sets’ and found out about the Kepler mission and the huge data set available,” said Shallue. “Machine learning really shines in situations where there is so much data that humans can’t search it for themselves.”

Using machine learning he ‘fed’ the computer some 15,000 samples of what we knew to be planets. The computer used these 15,000 samples to effectively teach itself how to work out when a dip is a planet and when it isn’t.

Having tested that his software could identify a planet with around 96% accuracy he started feeding it actual data collected by Kepler that hadn’t yet been seen.

What it found was Kepler-90i.

What’s next?

It’s a testament to the sheer amount of data that Kepler was able to collect which means that even now after its mission has ended we are still making major discoveries like this one.

Now that Google’s engineers have shown how machine learning can have a positive impact on the search for new planets Shallue intends to start putting it to work on the entire Kepler dataset.

“These results demonstrate the enduring value of Kepler’s mission,” said Jessie Dotson, Kepler’s project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

“New ways of looking at the data – such as this early-stage research to apply machine learning algorithms – promises to continue to yield significant advances in our understanding of planetary systems around other stars. I’m sure there are more firsts in the data waiting for people to find them.”      

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Grenfell Families Reveal What Today’s Memorial Service Meant To Them

Exactly six months have passed since a devastating blaze ripped through Grenfell Tower in north Kensington.

The 24-storey building has come to symbolise more than a preventable tragedy that killed 71 people and left scores more homeless. It is now a symbol of a community united and of the startling inequalities in one of London’s richest boroughs.

Four attendees told HuffPost UK what today meant to them, and where survivors and bereaved families go from here.

Judy Bolton

Judy Bolton lost her uncle in the fire.

“I think that the run up to the service itself we’ve been just so very busy, I haven’t had time to think.

“And this morning getting ready I actually was in tears. I was in tears because this is the one time where everybody – the bereaved, the survivors, the wider community, the firemen and everybody – will come together for this day of remembrance.

“And I was looking through photos and the order of service from my uncle’s funeral and it just really brought it all home to me. It just made it all very, very real.

“And that, even though this is a remembrance, coming in this morning as we were driving in, we could see the tower and again (I was) crying.

“Because this should never have happened. I want to know why my loved ones and why our community have been torn apart like this with no answers.

“And six months on, no homes. Are we really that worthless? So for me, I’m actually really proud to be here today, and to actually feel part of this community to remember this day, but emotionally it is quite hard.”

“And the world is watching and I hope that people understand the plight that we are in right now.

“This is 2017, England and this shouldn’t have happened.’

Karim Mussilhy

Karim Mussilhy lost his uncle Hesham Rahman.

Speaking about the moment school children placed rose petals in the cathedral: “It was very difficult to stay strong.

“And the royal family being there as well, we appreciated that a lot.

″[It is] a day to remember our loved ones and to remember that great disaster and to hopefully try to learn from it and move on from it so that we are not sitting here in the future remembering other ones that lost their lives.”

“Our friends and family should never have died… but it’s great that we are all here together, remembering them.”

Speaking about what it was like to come out of the cathedral to face the photographers today: “It was a very special moment for us to all be together with pictures of the loved ones that we lost and to be shown as a unified community – family – which is what we are.”

Clarrie Mendy

Clarrie Mendy lost her cousin Mary Mendy and Mary’s daughter Khadija Saye.

Speaking before the service: “I hope there are some spiritual words of wisdom and healing and I just hope there aren’t going to be empty words and that they are going to be followed up meaningfully.

“And I pray to god, if there’s a Father Christmas, make sure every survivor is housed this Christmas.

“That’s what I’d like to see. Words are wonderful but I want to see the action behind it as well. I was here for the rehearsal yesterday [Wednesday]. It was very emotional. There were beautiful words.”

Speaking after the service: “We all know what happened, it was just an injustice. It didn’t need to happen.

“It was incompetence, greed.. disregard, and we need to bring this into the first part of the public inquiry.”

“Had they [the residents] been listened to, I wouldn’t be here today.

“I just pray that this is a wake up call for the nation and a shake up call for the government and let them be seen doing the right thing. Talk is cheap. Action is what we need.”

“It’s been six months and nothing’s been addressed. It was illegal to give people these keys to a house in such a condition. That’s against your basic human rights.”

“This service has been good but it’s really invoked a lot of anger. It’s brought it all back to people and here we are six months later and still nothing has happened.”

Shah Aghlani

Shah Aghlani lost his mother, Sakina Afrasibi, and his aunt, Fatima Afrasibi.

“It was a day to remember and for the community to come together again.

“And we saw the communities from all faiths together here.

“It was an excellent service. I think it was a good remembrance, very touching.”

“We hope for change.”      

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MPs Demand Amazon Investigates Reports ‘Dangerous’ Drivers Work 12 Hour Days

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MPs have demanded Amazon investigate reports that drivers delivering its parcels are regularly working shifts of more than 12 hours without a break, forcing some to urinate in bottles.

The chairs of the Commons Business and Work and Pensions Committees, Rachel Reeves and Frank Field, have asked the web giant’s UK chief Douglas Gurr to respond to a newspaper investigation into working conditions for those delivering orders.

The Sunday Mirror reported earlier this month that drivers were delivering as many as 200 Amazon boxes a day with little or no break.

The situation becomes so bad that drivers admitted they go to the toilet in plastic bottles as shifts regularly last longer than 12 hours.

Some said they often ignore speed limits in a desperate bid to meet targets set by the retail giant and its partners.

While others revealed they take home less than £160 a week, below the legal minimum for full-time workers.

In the letter, Reeves and Field write: “Regardless of the formal status of couriers delivering on behalf of Amazon, we would welcome your confirmation that you are investigating these issues and ask that you inform us what actions you are taking to ensure that those couriers contracted to deliver on behalf of your company are working safely and receiving fair pay.”

And Reeves told HuffPost UK that the Christmas rush for presents risks making things worse still.

“Amazon drivers should not be working for 12 or 14 hours a day,” the Labour MP for Leeds West said.

“It’s dangerous for them and it’s dangerous for us.

“And I’m worried that in the run up to Christmas the pressure on drivers will increase.”

Amazon UK did not respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.


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French Crash: Four Teenagers Killed And Seven Injured As Train And School Bus Collide In Perpignan, Southern France

Four teenagers were killed and seven seriously injured after a train and a school bus collided outside the town of Perpignan in southwestern France on Thursday, the interior ministry said.

TV images showed a long line of ambulance and emergency service vehicles near the crossing where the collision occurred.

Prime minister Edouard Philippe described the crash as a “terrible accident” and said on Twitter he was heading to the scene, more than 850 km (530 miles) from Paris.

The interior ministry said seven people in the bus, which was carrying teenagers aged between 13 to 17, were seriously injured among the 19 aboard.

An SNCF spokeswoman said the train was running at 80 kilometers an hour at the time of the accident and 25 people were on board. Three of those were slightly injured.

France has suffered several train incidents in the past few decades. In 2013, a train derailment in central France killed at least six people.

One of the deadliest was in 1988, when a commuter trainheading into Paris’ Gare de Lyon crashed into a stationary train, killing 56 people, after its brakes failed.      

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Dear Theresa… My Response to Theresa May’s Letter to EU Citizens

Dear Theresa

I am writing in response to your Open Letter. Unfortunately the agreement reached last week is ‘too little, too late’, and your open letter adds insult to injury to millions of people after nearly 18 months of anxiety and uncertainty. I have lived here for 27 years – my entire adult life – and have a family, friends and a business here. I do not feel reassured. I am more terrified and angry than ever.

For a start, it is simply not true that protecting our rights – and the rights of British Citizens living in other EU countries – has always been your stated first priority. On 4th July 2016, you stated that you would not guarantee us the right to remain in the UK post-Brexit, but that this would be part of the negotiations and would depend on whether UK citizens in other EU countries would be able to remain there. When in May this year the EU27 offered a far more comprehensive, simple and fair deal for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, you did not accept this, leaving not only us, but your own citizens in a worse position as a result.

The protection afforded to us by the ECJ will be very limited after March 2019. It will rely on UK courts asking the ECJ for an interpretation of the law, as opposed to citizens being able to appeal to the ECJ directly, and will only last for 8 years. You say that the agreement will be written into British law, but it is not possible for one parliament to bind subsequent parliaments, so this can always be repealed in future, as is indeed stated in clause 36 of Friday’s joint report.

We shouldn’t have to apply for ‘settled status’, it should be done by declaration, and free of charge. And frankly, with the Home Office’s track record of errors and rejections for permanent residence document applications, how will any new system be able to cope with registering 3m EU citizens in the planned timescales? After Brexit, an erroneous rejection could result in having our bank accounts frozen, jobs terminated, accommodation lost and, ultimately, forced removal from the country. I do not relish being at the mercy of your ‘hostile environment’.

So no, Theresa. I do not feel reassured. I will not sit back and meekly wait. I will keep protesting, I will keep campaigning, and I will keep speaking up to stop you treating us like disposable commodities.

Frederika Roberts,

Worried EU Citizen and Citizen of the World      

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Breastfeeding Vouchers? I Vouch For Feeding Equality

On Tuesday 12th December, the Victoria Derbyshire programme featured a segment dedicated to discussing the idea of offering new mothers financial incentives for breastfeeding. They wanted the opinions from women who would be directly affected if this scheme was rolled out nationally.

Here’s the background:

New research from the University of Sheffield and the University of Dundee has found rewarding breastfeeding mothers with monetary vouchers at various stages may significantly increase low breastfeeding rates. The study offered shopping vouchers worth up to £120 if their babies received breastmilk (breastfeeding or expressed milk) at two days, 10 days and six weeks old. A further £80 of vouchers was available if their babies continued to receive breastmilk up to six months. The trial saw an increase of six percentage points in the areas where the scheme was offered, compared with those areas where the scheme was not available. Full details can be found here.

The producers of the show contacted my support network, ‘Don’t Judge Just Feed’, knowing this idea wouldn’t sit well with myself, or any other mother who was unable to breastfeed their child for that matter. Speaking openly about the physical and emotional damage which results from breastfeeding campaigns is very much taboo. Everyone knows successful breastfeeding is a desire for many women and it is the only method of feeding which is promoted by governing and health bodies. Only someone with a formula pushing agenda would be ruthless enough to speak against these drives? Actually no. I actively speak up about the damage caused by the majority of breastfeeding campaigns because I have been a victim of the emotional scarring they cause.

So they invited me to be a mother on the panel. There I was, sitting awaiting for the cameras to roll and I had a head full of information, opinions and statements I wanted to say. I think I managed to convey 3% of what I intended to. Various factors including time, the questions and my nerves contributed towards this outcome. So this is where I fully unleash my thoughts.

To introduce a scheme that only pays breastfeeding mothers is demeaning and a punishment to those who rely on bottle-feeding. It is an appalling initiative that will increase the divide and needless viewpoints of ‘good vs bad’ that exist between infant feeding methods.

It is ableism as its worst. It rewards those that have the ability to produce sufficient milk for their baby and that’s it. It assumes all women can produce breastmilk; they can’t. It assumes all mothers can produce the right amount of milk to sustain their baby; they can’t. Imagine if people were rewarded for walking due to the health benefits; anyone immobile wouldn’t qualify for the initiative. There would be uproar due to the unethical and cruel discrimination. The same applies here.

Being bribed to feed your baby breast milk will not solve the problems with tongue tie, poor latch, insufficient milk supply; just some of the many reasons mothers are unable to successfully breastfeed. The lure of money may even tempt mothers to keep trying to breastfeed even when supply issues are present running the risk of undernourishment which heightens risks of complications and life threating conditions that can develop. Research collated and promoted by the Fed Is Best Foundation show that underfeeding a baby in the first few days of life can result in long-term neurological damage, hypoglycemia and extreme jaundice. A monetary incentive could only heighten cases of undernourishment and newborn readmissions.

If this incentive was approved and transpire, the increase in breastfeeding rates would be at the detriment and wellbeing of mothers who struggle or were unable to breastfeed. There would undoubtedly be an increase in post-natal depression episodes in the UK, promotions like this cause damage and result in mothers using the NHS for mental health services.

How about we stop putting the responsibility of successful breastfeeding on mothers. It’s not their duty to provide breastmilk, it’s their duty to ensure their child is loved, nurtured and FED. Stop the pressure on exhausted new mums and turn it on the policymakers and politics to enable women to achieve their feeding goal. Funds towards infant feeding services and education, physical help, tongue tie diagnosis programmes in the first few days after birth and how about properly funded maternity and paternity leave? Maybe we should start focusing our efforts on promoting maternal mental health and wellbeing alongside infant feeding initiatives so that we achieve safely nourished babies that aren’t at the expense of the mother’s happiness. This would be money well spent and a sure way to increase the desired breastfeeding rates.

Even with my limited expression of the many views I have against this new research, I’m thrilled to say there was an overwhelming response from the public in alliance with my viewpoint. So thank you to Victoria Derbyshire and all her team for knowingly opening the discussion surrounding infant feeding with a focus and desire to be inclusive and respectful towards all methods of feeding. Finally there has been a positive step forward when it comes to campaigning for mindful infant feeding initiatives.      

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How The #MeToo Campaign Highlighted Society’s Spiritual Sickness

I wrote this post around 18 months ago, way before the Harvey Weinstein news that opened up the floodgates for people to speak in a franker way than ever before. At the time, I thought it was too much. I mean, I write about creativity, and personal development, and wellness – where does harassment come into that?

But in hindsight, I realise that many women fear creatively expressing themselves, because it may cause them to be sexualised. And now that TIME Magazine has revealed the ‘silence breakers’ as their 2018 Person Of The Year, it’s time I broke my silence too.

The last time I was mistaken for a prostitute was nearly six years ago. It was a February morning, on a weekday, and my husband and I were shopping in Oslo for some glasses. With so many frames on offer, he was taking a long time to choose. The shop was stuffy, so I stepped outside for a few moments. And that’s when two men cornered me to find out ‘how much’. The time before that I was crossing the road to get to our hotel in Addis Ababa. Then there were a cluster of times before that in my home town of Harrow, several years before. Always in broad daylight.

I suspect some of the men thought they were chatting me up. But many curb crawled me when I was minding own business, simply walking home. During one particularly unpleasant occasion, two men shouted abuse at me when I refused to engage with them, and instead took a phone call from my agent. This was yards away from my childhood home in a London suburb.

At the time I was modelling (along with being a journalist, songwriter and some-time actress). I had recently represented Great Britain in the 2003 Model of the Universe competition. And although I specialised in hair and beauty, my nine years of going to castings gave me an insight into the underbelly of the entertainment industry.

I once went to a modelling casting and secured a well-paid gig. A couple of days later, the casting director invited me to a pool party, saying it would be a ‘chance to get to know each other’ before the gig. Of course, alarm bells started ringing and I politely declined the invitation. Later that day, his colleague called back. The conversation was curt: ‘I was no longer needed for the job’.

I have other stories like this, all variations on the same theme – a young, creative girl tries to navigate an industry where the power balance is skewed. I believe that to be truly healthy and happy, we need to be creative. I have found my happy place in being an author and creative writing coach. But how many women feel safe to truly express themselves when doing so could mean they end up in a vulnerable position?

In my case, I’m sure that some men may have thought they were just being forward. But often, it was frightening. The ‘chat-up’ lines, the tone, the intention – all of it was incredibly aggressive.

The only explanation I can find is that these men have dehumanised women. And this is just one expression of it.

I believe that the type of man who does this is the type who looks and in the mirror and literally cannot stand what he sees. Not because he thinks he’s ugly, but because he hates himself on a deep and fundamental level.

I think this type of behaviour is evidence of a spiritual sickness. A denying of yourself. A violent rejection of yourself as a human being with thoughts, feelings, skills, talents, strengths and weaknesses. If someone truly loved and respected themselves would they holler at some young girl walking by the road and then aggressively pursue her, crawling inch by inch with every step she takes?

I think not. And the stories in the #MeToo campaign have highlighted this. But I also believe treating all women as ‘hoes’ is just one expression of this sickness.

Bullying, control, manipulation and lack of empathy are other unpleasant symptoms that are rampant in our society across both genders. And they are symptoms of people who view others as objects.

This is a sad state of affairs and less of a gender issue than a human one. After all, we’re raising children to be like this. We’re not dealing with our issues and instead we’re pushing them down our bloodlines. The cure is for people to learn to truly love and respect themselves and to pass that down the generations instead.

In 20 years’ time I want my daughter to be able to go shopping, take calls on her mobile and enjoy life – without being harassed. I hope she never has to explain that she’s not for sale.


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A Tax On Single-Use Plastics Won’t Prevail Over Convenience Culture – But It’s A Start

The finale of the BBC’s brilliant Blue Planet II was probably David Attenborough’s most important appearance on our screens to date.

“Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us.”

If anyone can influence the masses, it’s Attenborough – a man with the ear of the nation, and the strong and stable reputation of which most politicians can only dream. His parting message left viewers in no doubt that the essential job of saving and protecting our oceans rests on all our shoulders.

The series was the latest milestone in what has been a breakthrough year for ocean campaigners – particularly around the plastic pollution crisis.

Following on from Philip Hammond’s announcement of the consultation on a plastic tax in last month’s budget and a number of other big media moments throughout 2017, it seems the issue is finally getting the attention it deserves.


But while public awareness is growing quickly, and we can all now agree that plastics present a vast and critical threat to marine life, we still feel a long way from consensus on how best to tackle the problem.

It is a big and complicated challenge that comes in two parts: we’ve got to rid our oceans of the plastic that’s already there, and put a stop to more finding its way in.

The clean-up of existing waste needed is no mean feat. Eight million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean every year. That’s one rubbish truck every minute. If we keep going as we are there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. It’s going to take more than a few beach clean-ups to get rid of it all, and large-scale technological solutions are still in their relative infancy.

Stemming the flow of plastics into our oceans is possibly an even greater challenge. Single-use plastics are embedded in our everyday lives. As it stands, it’s perfectly normal to use a plastic cup for 10 minutes and then throw it away. Fundamentally, we need to create a new normal. To tackle the problem effectively would be to drive behaviour change on an almost unprecedented scale.

It’s this behaviour change that will prove most critical. Yes – we have a clean-up job to do. But the one thing all marine scientists agree on is that the best way to get rid of the plastic in our oceans is to stop putting it there in the first place.


So how do we get there? Crucially, we can only truly understand how to change behaviours when we learn what it is that drives them.

The battle against single-use plastics isn’t really a battle against single-use plastics at all. It’s much bigger than that. The battle is against a culture of convenience that is shaping the world we live in today.

Plastics – and single-use items in particular – are probably the biggest and best example of a convenience culture that has grown exponentially over the last 50 years. And with technology now taking on the mantle, it is here to stay. Just ask Alexa.

When you start looking at the plastic problem in this context, you begin to appreciate why consensus on a solution is so hard to find. All of a sudden, a plastic tax feels a bit like taking a knife to a gunfight.


In reality, it’s likely that nothing short of an outright ban will enforce the change that is needed. With France already leading the way with a ban on plastic cups, cutlery and plates from 2020, equivalent legislation in the UK and other countries doesn’t feel out of the question.

Nonetheless, a tax on single-use plastics would mark great progress. It is real action. And an important step beyond governments and corporations massaging their egos with panel debates, white papers and green rhetoric. At the very least, it will keep the issue in the headlines and maintain pressure to find the right solution.

In the meantime it should inspire the rest of us to start taking real action of our own, too. Let’s find reusable alternatives for single-use plastics in our everyday lives. Support campaigns. Join conservation groups.

Because as Britain’s favourite naturalist reminded us, we all need to be part of the solution: “Never before have we had such an awareness of what we’re doing to the planet and never before have we had the power to do something about that.”


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Accidental Icon: 64 Year-Old Fashion Blogger Dominates Instagram With Her Fierce Looks

Lyn Slater is a model, professor, writer and Instagram sensation, who happens to be 64.

A champion of the #ageisnotavariable movement, Slater’s taste for quirky, yet timeless, fashion demonstrates how accessible true style really is.

She took the opportunity to blog (Accidental Icon) on the subject of personal style as an ode to the fact that, basically, nothing can stop you from slaying.

Slater’s blog is a way for her to express herself “in ways that include visual storytelling,” which enables her to “indulge [her] love of fashion.”

You only have to see the way she puts pieces together to understand her insta fame of 274K followers.

Slater spoke to HuffPost UK about her experience as an emerging style icon.

“The response to my blog and other social media has been such a wonderful surprise ,” she said. “I love that I have followers of all ages and from all over the world.

Slater credits her “general acceptance” of her age and the importance of being authentic to the way people are responding to her.

But her blog does not have a linear message or aim, other than to “express my views of fashion through my personal style and writing”.

“It has been a very nice, unintended consequence that I have helped people to feel less afraid of getting older,” Slater continued.

“And to see that opportunities present themselves during all stages of life, you just need to be open to them.”

Take a look at some of our favourite ‘accidental icon‘ outfits so far.


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The War On Domestic Violence: Time For Radical Reform

In the Queen’s Speech in June, the Government announced they would publish a draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill to ‘transform our approach to domestic violence’. The challenge is immense. Last year it is estimated that 1.2 million women were victims of domestic violence. Two women are killed each week by current or former partner.

Theresa May attaches ‘personal importance’ to tackling domestic violence – and has already led many measures in Government to try and confront it. However, despite the rise of interventions in domestic violent relationships – prosecutions for domestic violence has gone up by 29% from 2010 – the level of violence continues. There is a disconnect between action and results that requires a forensic focus.

Whilst continuing to encourage victims to come forward, policy must also focus on helping victims rebuild their lives. Often they have been solely reliant on the perpetrator – both emotionally and financially. The World Health Organisation says that women who experience domestic violence are twice as likely to experience depression. They have often been forced to move house or live in a women’s refuge to escape violence. According to Shelter, 40% of homeless women state domestic violence as a major contributor to their homelessness. Crucially, this vulnerability can lead to a vicious, self-perpetuating circle of violence – 73% of domestic violence incidents are experienced by a previous victim.

As a barrister regularly appearing in cases featuring domestic violence, I am shocked by the extent to which the justice system is isolated from other services. After interventions from the police, a decision from the CPS to prosecute and a conviction in a court of law after a trial, the victim can remain bewildered by the challenge they face. Too many times I have been asked by the victim, on conviction of a perpetrator, ‘well, what now?’.

The Government propose establishing a Commissioner focused on Domestic Violence to monitor agencies and raise awareness. This is a step in the right direction. However any new body must have the muscle to offer a comprehensive service for victims of domestic violence. This could begin with the presence of formal Advisers at every court to ensure victims receive the information required. These Advisers would be independent of the Local Authority, but have regular contact with social services and housing departments who would report to them. Such an organisation would not just offer practical help, but also ensure there is a single body that can track and monitor results for victims.

The establishment of a Commissioner for Domestic Violence and Abuse should be followed by a radical reform of the way our courts deal with these cases. The Commissioner’s body could mirror CAFCASS, a government-funded agency whose role is to ensure children are prioritised in family courts. In a family jurisdiction, the focus is the welfare of children. Although in criminal courts a fair trial is paramount, when that court does move to the issue of sentencing, a hearing should be held in a domestic abuse specialist court which would hold more powers including orders applied for by the victim.

The hearing could call for submissions from the Commissioner’s Adviser on the needs of the victims, which would include assessments for housing or employment advice, counselling or mental health support, drugs rehabilitation programmes and support for alcohol misuse. The court would not merely punish the offender, but offer practical, tailored support to the victim.

In court, I am often frustrated that offenders have their needs and background assessed by a probation officer for sentencing, while victims leave court alone. An interventionist approach would place renewed emphasis on the victim of domestic violence within our justice system. Although radical, the proposal is not dissimilar to that which intrigued Michael Gove, during his short spell as Justice Secretary, in his study of Texan court practice with Judge-led rehabilitative programmes.

Already there are suspicions that the Bill will fail to grasp the scale of the problem because there is not the political will for fundamental change. The situation – with lives ruined and lost – requires transformative reform of our systems. In France, President Macron has recently declared a ‘cultural war’ against violence towards women, with a five-year emergency plan that includes a simplification of the justice system for victims of rape and assault. Similar urgency, ambition and leadership is required here.

There will inevitably be naysayers – the courts are already struggling after significant cuts and local authority budgets are stretched – but the Government should aim high, consulting with the judiciary, legal groups and campaigners, to build a new mechanism to ensure victims of domestic violence are properly supported. Refocusing our justice system to ensure the victim’s needs are prioritised would be an important start in the war against domestic violence.


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What To Expect When You’re Expecting Chemotherapy

After the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis wears off, anxiety over upcoming treatment takes over. Whether you will have chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation or surgery, the fear of the unknown is very real. Luckily, that can be overcome – to some extent.

Here are a few tips that helped me get through cancer in one piece.


Prepare yourself for oncologist visits by writing down your questions and concerns before each appointment. Take a notepad and pen with you into the doctor’s office, find out what your treatment plan is and make sure to write down all the details. You will thank yourself for it later when you can’t remember how many cycles of what chemo you’re supposed to have when “chemo brain” hits or simply can’t remember because you were bombarded with so much information all at once. Do your own reading. Collect as many brochures as you can, read articles and ask your doctor or team about all the possible short and long term side effects you may encounter with your treatment and talk to other people who have gone through it. Walking into chemo without having an idea of what to expect is like walking the plank blindfolded. It is much easier to deal with side effects when you know what/when they will hit. If prepared, you may even be able to avoid some. After finding out that one of the drugs I was given caused my terrible mouth sores, I always asked the nurses for ice chips to chew on during my sessions.


Whether you are a guy or girl, losing your hair may be one of your biggest fears. When I was diagnosed, I had been growing out my hair for over two years and found it difficult to part ways with it. So I cut it really short to prepare myself for the inevitable. If you have the guts to shave it all off, I salute you! Unfortunately, I didn’t have it in me to do so when it started falling out the first time; which turned out to be a lot more traumatizing than when I shaved it all off the minute it began to fall out the second time, after I’d relapsed.

On the upside, you can take this opportunity to experiment with wigs, headscarves and hats. Or, you can embrace your beautiful scalp and go bald!


If you’re expecting to live an absolutely normal life while undergoing treatment, you will be very disappointed, angry and frustrated if things don’t go as expected. While I encourage learning from other peoples’ experiences, it is just as crucial to remember that no two people react to the same treatment in the same way or in the same degree because each person’s body is UNIQUE. While for some chemo side effects are mild allowing them to go to school or work without too much trouble, many others have it harder, spending many days in bed after treatment with side effects much more difficult to manage. Best advice I can give you is to listen to what your body tells you and respect its needs.


A cancer diagnosis can make you feel like you’ve lost control over your body and life and that’s one of the hardest things to accept. Instead of focusing on things you can’t control and falling into a downward spiral, direct your energy onto things cancer has no control over, mainly attitude. Set small daily goals each day and achieve them. They can be as minor as getting out of bed, taking a shower or being able to squeeze in one meal a day despite the nausea. Small goals but they account for huge wins against cancer.

Document your good and bad days so you know when to expect them. Go out for a walk on the good days to recharge before the next session. Have something to look forward to when treatment is over because it will help keep you moving forward on those bad cancer days and as cheesy as it sounds, it will remind you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you want to learn more about my personal experiences, take a look at my blog!


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Britain First’s Jayda Fransen And Paul Golding Arrested In Belfast

The deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group has been re-arrested in Belfast.

It came minutes after Jayda Fransen, 31, appeared in court in the city accused of behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred.

Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) also detained the leader of the group, Paul Golding, who was there supporting his colleague.

Golding, 35, was detained by detectives investigating their speeches at the same Northern Ireland Against Terrorism rally in August.

Fransen, from Anerley in south-east London, has been charged with using words which were threatening, abusive or insulting during her speech in Belfast in the summer.

Outside court afterwards the 31-year-old said it was a “nonsense charge”.

“I criticise Islam and now they want to send me to prison for two years.”

Fransen was arrested by PSNI detectives in London last month. Her case was adjourned until later on Thursday to hear a bail application.

Around a dozen people in the public gallery watched her appearance.

A detective constable told the court she could connect the accused to the charges.

The court also heard from a lawyer: “The bulk of the evidence is presumably by way of video footage. There do seem to be transcripts of this speech which the Crown will say constitutes the offences.”

The officer said she was seeking conditions on the accused’s bail because of a planned rally on December 10 which was postponed.

“We were concerned that there would be further offences” she added.

She said the rally had been suspended but added that police wanted to prevent her participation in a public rally.

Fransen’s lawyer said: “This lady is as entitled to free expression within the law as anyone else. If there is an offence she will be arrested like everyone else.”

He said she had stood for election and was a politician.

“The idea that she be prevented from speaking in my respectful submission is completely disproportionate.”

The officer said police were seeking a further condition regarding the defendant’s use of social media and the likelihood of reoffending.      

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The Biggest Beauty Trends In Different Regions Of The UK, According To Amazon Fashion

Turns out we’re not all united when it comes to our beauty choices, there are big differences in the products we hanker after depending on where we live.

Amazon Fashion has compiled a list of the biggest grooming trends per region in the UK.

This line-up reveals how the nation beautifies itself in time for the Christmas season.

Bristol: Vegan mascara.

Bristol was voted the eco capital of Europe in 2015 and has managed to retain its title since.

Thus it’s not surprising that the most popular item for this region is a vegan beauty product.

Cardiff: Natural clear mascara and eyebrow styling gel.

Cardiff dwellers prefer a more natural aesthetic, choosing natural clear mascara and eyebrow gel to lengthen and strengthen for ultimate batting power.

Our friends up north like to stand out, with Coffin nails, Indian healing clay and mermaid glitter.
Glasgow: Men’s anti-shine powder.

Men’s anti-shine powder has gone up in sales by 300% in this area, according to Amazon, so you can expect your Glaswegian friends to be looking wonderfully matte in festive photos.

Liverpudlians like to look nice and tanned so their products of choice are self-tanning mousse and a post-tan protective onesie.
London: Men’s sea salt spray and Korres party survival kit

Its not surprising that styling spray made it somewhere on this list.

This Men’s sea salt spray is an apt staple for style-conscious men.

And with a calendar of endless events, seems Londoners don’t want to take their chances with their beauty habits so tend to opt for the Korres Party Survival Kit.

Manchester: Men’s caffeine shampoo and facial hair colour.

Mancunian males like to show off their manes after pampering with caffeine shampoo and touching up using moustache and beard facial hair colour. Who doesn’t?

Pressed powder is Newcastle’s most popular beauty item and, in our humble opinion, should be nationwide.
Nottingham: Conditioning foam perm.

According to Amazon, the 80s look is set to make a huge comeback in 2018 after it was seen heavily featured on catwalks during London Fashion Week.

Kudos to Nottingham for being ahead of the curve and latching on to this fabulous conditioning foam perm.

Oxford: Cream foundation contour palette

Those dwelling in the university city are apparently partial to a bit of contour.

Namely, the cream foundation contour palette, which can be found on Amazon.

At £3.36, it’s not surprising this is a go-to product.       

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Bullied 11-Year-Old Keaton Jones’ Mum Explains Why She Made The Video That Went Viral

The mum of an 11-year-old whose speech about getting bullied went viral has explained why she decided to make the video.

The clip showed Keaton, from Knoxville, US, describing how kids at school were bullying him, as he sat in the car with his mum because he was afraid to go to lunch with his classmates.

“They make fun of my nose,” he said in the video. “They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.”

Speaking about her decision to film her son while on ‘This Morning’ on Thursday 14 December, Kimberly Jones explained her original intention had just been to share it with his teachers.

The mum continued: “We discussed it weeks before to just put it on my very own Facebook page and raise awareness in our own community and hope maybe word got out and there could be a little something started to see what we could do to make some changes.”

She explained Keaton is yet to return to school after the video went viral worldwide.

“He didn’t want to go back to school,” she said. “After seeing how big it got, it seemed like maybe we should let it die down a bit before we made any decisions, so that we could have a reality of what life was going to be like.”

The mum went on to say how bad the bullying had got for her 11-year-old son.

“Keaton asked me not to do anything,” she added.

“We kind of talked about different things, and prayed about it, and went with different strategies, until it got to a point that there was absolutely no way that we could just keep our mouths shut anymore.”

Asked what he would say to the bullies, Keaton said: “Why do you do that? Why do you bully? What’s the point in it? It makes me feel awful.”

‘This Morning’ is on ITV on weekdays from 10.30am-12.30pm.      

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People Who Live To 90 And Over Share These Traits

If you’re looking to live to 100, you might want to take inspiration from Italian nonagenarians and centenarians.

A recent study of rural Italians aged 90 to 101 years old found people who lived longer shared a number of traits.

The study, published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, found people who lived longer were more likely to be positive and resilient. They worked hard, had a strong bond with family and religion, but also felt a need to be in control.

Researchers spoke to both the elderly, from nine villages in the Cilento region of southern Italy, and their children or other family members – 29 nonagenarians and centenarians and 51 family members aged 51-75 took part in total.

Family members were asked to describe their elderly relatives’ personality traits, and interviews were also conducted with the older individuals about their lives.

The results found that those ages 90 years and over had worse physical health but better mental wellbeing than their younger family members.

The main themes that emerged from the interviews included positivity (resilience and optimism), working hard, bond with family and religion, but also a need for control and love of the land.

Exceptional longevity – for example, living past 100 – was linked to a balance between acceptance of and grit to overcome adversities, along with a positive attitude and close ties to family, religion, and land – which all provided purpose in life.

One respondent, who had recently lost his wife of 70 years, said: “I was close to her during all her illness and I have felt very empty after her loss. But thanks to my sons I am now recovering and feeling much better.

“I have four children, 10 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. I have fought all my life and I am always ready for changes. I think changes bring life and give chances to grow.

“I have had a heart condition for which I have undergone surgery but I am now okay. I have also had two very serious car accidents and I have risked losing my life. But I am still here!”

He continued: “I am always thinking for the best. There is always a solution in life. This is what my father had taught me: to always face difficulties and hope for the best.

“I am always active. I do not know what stress is. Life is what it is and must be faced… always! If I have to say, I feel younger now than when I was young.”      

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Elf On The Shelf: Parents Warned Not To Put Elf Near Lamps Or Hot Areas After Pictures Show Him ‘Scorched’

Parents are being warned about where they place their Elf On the Shelf after one got burned through its back.

The Dublin Fire Brigade tweeted the warning on 12 December as a reminder to keep all elves – and decorations – away from the heat.

“Close one for this #ElfOnAShelf after she ended up on a lamp,” they wrote alongside the photo of the elf.

“The householder had done the right thing and purchased one with a CE mark. The elf resisted heat for 40 minutes.”

Close one for this #ElfOnAShelf after she ended up on a lamp. The householder had done the right thing & purchased one with a CE mark. The Elf resisted heat for 40 minutes. Keep all decorations away from heat

December 12, 2017
Parents have the option to buy different elf toys if they’re taking part in the December tradition, so it’s worth checking whether yours has a CE mark.

A CE mark means it’s a product that conforms with health, safety, and environmental protection standards sold within the European Economic Area.

Barrie Fire Service in Canada tweeted a similar warning on 8 December, showing further pictures of scorched elves.

“We know that the #elfontheshelf is famous for getting into mischief,” they wrote. “Please make sure you keep it away from anything hot. Lots of burned/scorched damaged elves out there.”

We know that the #elfontheshelf is famous for getting into mischief. Please make sure you keep it away from anything hot! Lots of burned/scorched damaged elves out there.

December 8, 2017
These two are enjoying the flames of their new found love and trying not to get burned! #ElphonseandEliana #elfontheshelf

December 21, 2016
HuffPost UK has contacted Elf on the Shelf in America, where the toy originated, as well as the UK distributor of Elf on the Shelf to find out whether the original elf has a CE mark and any further safety warnings they wish to issue.

We will update this piece upon their response.      

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Time For Action Against Shameless, Irresponsible Lenders Boosting Their Profits At The Expense Of Financially Vulnerable Customers

Given the huge importance of the credit card industry, the Financial Conduct Authority is right to look at its impact on consumer borrowing.

However, its proposals fall a long way short of fixing what is a broken market for those battling to pay off debt – a problem often exacerbated by sky-high interest charges.

Research by Citizens Advice reveals that nearly six million people had their credit limit increased without their consent last year. Worryingly, almost a third of those showing signs of struggling with cash problems were given a rise in their limit.

Only one in four credit card holders who were given a higher limit actually asked for it.

Customers trying to deal with debts were more likely to receive an increase as those in a better financial position.

And, 32% of credit card holders who were worried they could not repay their debts received an increase, compared to 23% of those who were confident they would be able to repay them.

The average rise in credit card limits was nearly £1,500, although one in ten received increases of £3,000 or more.

The research by Citizens Advice also shows that 48% of those finding their debts to be a heavy burden increased their spending following an unsolicited limit increase, compared to a third overall all. The FCA found that consumers who received a limit increase saw their balance increase by almost £500 at the end of the year.

These alarming findings appear to be shameless and irresponsible attempts by lenders to boost their profits at the expense of financially vulnerable customers.

This recklessness from the banking system is shared by the Government which has done little to deal with the deeply concerning problem of consumer indebtedness and the risk it poses to the wider economy.

There is clearly support for action as 85% of people do not believe that credit card companies should be able to make unsolicited increases to credit card limits.

Yet the FCA confirmed today that it won’t use its powers to end this practice, and has instead reached a voluntary agreement with credit card providers.

As part of this, lenders, will start asking new customers for their consent before raising limits, and give them the option to receive uninvited increases.

However, this approach is heavily reliant on consumers making accurate predictions about the state of their future finances – something that we know is very difficult, especially in the current economic climate.

While millions of existing customers will be given the option to ask their lender to require their consent, they will still receive unsolicited increases by default.

This is simply not good enough. People tend to stick with default options, meaning the problem and the risks will remain unresolved.

The voluntary agreement also includes a promise that borrowers who have been in persistent debt for over 12 months will stop getting unsolicited limit increases.

Although this is a welcome step, in practice it will only apply to a small number of people (those who are paying more in interest and charges than capital) and will exclude people who might be struggling but do not yet meet the definition of persistent debt.

Lenders have a responsibility to provide support to customers to help them clear their debts, rather than exacerbating their debt problems. Consumer credit grew by nearly 10% in the past year and is now at an eye-watering £205bn.

Credit cards account for a more than a third of this – and have been a driver of this worrying rise in debt along with personal contract purchase plans for cars.

Total household debt as a percentage of GDP (including mortgages) is approaching levels seen before the crisis, and has since late 2015 grown from 133% to 140% this year.

Insecurity in the jobs market, soaring inflation and stagnant productivity have meant that most people have not seen a real term wage increase since before the crisis.

Following the Office for Budget Responsibility’s productivity downgrade in November, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that wages will still be below their 2008 level in 2022.

The Government need to do more to ensure that wages start to rise again and benefits for those who are on low pay, disabled or out of work start to rise in line with the cost of living.

Whilst real incomes have fallen, the consumer spending that has fuelled growth has been increasingly funded by unsustainable levels of personal debt, storing up huge risks for the future.

The debt burden increasingly falls on consumers. With little competition in the market and the lack of regulation, banks and credit card companies are more than happy to take advantage.

Action is needed, but disappointingly the FCA’s proposed remedies fall woefully short of what is required. I encourage them to correct this when they publish their final policy statement next month.

Rachel Reeves is the Labour MP for Leeds West and chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee


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Laser-Powered Fusion Reactor Could Create Limitless Electricity Without Creating Radioactive Waste

Fusion has the potential to solve the energy crisis once and for all. By harnessing the same reaction that powers our own Sun we could create potentially limitless amounts of electricity without any of the harmful side-effects that come from burning fossil fuels.

Traditionally though fusion reactions still produce small amounts of radioactive material and despite being ‘short-lived’ they can last for almost a century.

Now though Heinrich Hora, a physicist from the University of South Wales has developed a new way to harness the power of fusion without using any radioactive materials and without creating any radioactive waste whatsoever.

How? Quite simply by using giant lasers.

By firing two almost unimaginably powerful lasers you can compress the nuclei in a hydrogen-boron reaction that generates no neutrons and therefore, no radioactivity.

In case you’re wondering why we haven’t done this before the reason has been that we simply didn’t have the ability to create lasers that were powerful enough.

The numbers involved in creating this reaction are just staggering. The temperature needed to kickstart this reaction is around 3 billion degrees Celsius or around 200 times hotter than the Sun.

If that wasn’t enough the lasers would need to be fired in pulses that last just a trillionth of a second.

Yet within that short amount of time the power of the last would be around a quadrillion watts.

In addition to being a genuinely clean form of energy production the reaction doesn’t have to rely on driving a turbine and creates electricity that can be directly harvested.

Of course the next step is turning all this into a reality, something that is closer to happening than you might think.

“If the next few years of research don’t uncover any major engineering hurdles, we could have a prototype reactor within a decade,” said Warren McKenzie, managing director of HB11, the spin-off company that now owns Hora’s patents.

“From an engineering perspective, our approach will be a much simpler project because the fuels and waste are safe, the reactor won’t need a heat exchanger and steam turbine generator, and the lasers we need can be bought off the shelf,” he added.      

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Vodafone Customers Can Quit Their Contracts For Free Thanks To A New Roaming Charge

Thousands of Vodafone customers have been given the opportunity to leave their phone contracts for free after Ofcom found the network was not meeting industry rules.

Earlier this year, the high-street mobile provider introduced a new roaming charge for people travelling to 60 countries outside of the European Union.

This ‘roam-further’ charge changed the way that holidaymakers were going to be paying for their phone bills, but according to Ofcom they did not sufficiently inform customers who could end up out of pocket.

Instead of being charged per text message sent, or call made, pay monthly customers would now be charged a flat fee of five pounds per day, every time they activated roaming abroad.

Obviously this change had the potential to impact customers who, for example, might only use their phone once a day when out of the country, and would expect to pay pennies for a text message rather than pounds.

All customers were informed of the impending changes in a text message between April and May 2017, and a select pool (those Vodafone predicted would be disproportionately affected) were sent a message and a link to their website.

On the website it specified the consumer rights and that they were able to exit the contract without penalty.

How do I leave my contract? Customers who are concerned they have also been affected by the Roam-further charge should contact Vodafone – 03333 040 191 from UK landlines or mobiles (standard call charges apply). Ofcom says if consumers have a complaint about contract changes, they should contact their provider in the first instance.
But, after complaints from customers, Ofcom decided that this message was not sufficient to meet strict rules about this sort of behaviour. They questioned the clarity of the message and whether it had been flagged to everyone concerned.

There were also questions asked about whether Vodafone had met the requirement to give 30 days notice of contract changes to customers.

After being pulled up on the shortcomings by the regulator, Vodafone agreed to send another text to customers who were originally contacted and to an additional group, clearly informing them of their rights in the body of the message.

They also committed to refund customers who had complained about being left shortchanged and updated their processes to ensure a similar problem doesn’t arise in the future.      

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British Fashion Council Is Launching A Helpline To Protect Models From Sexual Abuse

A new confidential helpline will enable models who have been sexually harassed at work to voice their experiences.

Set up by the British Fashion Model Agents Association (BFMAA) and spearheaded by Caroline Rush (who is the chief executive of the British Fashion Council), the agency aims to elevate the standards in the way models are treated when working.

Rush issued a statement saying that the #metoo campaign helped highlight the issues that exist in the fashion industry.

Thus, “there is no better time for the industry to work together to stamp out any form of maltreatment or abuse,” added Rush.

A committee of people will review any complaints made, after which the model would be advised on the best course of action to take.

Though it will only be staffed during working hours, models will be able to reach out on evenings and weekends during London Fashion Week.

If a model has been assaulted, they’d be advised to go to the police.

The helpline is: 020 7759 1996.      

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