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Jeremy Corbyn Slams Daily Mail And The Sun For ‘Nonsense’ Stories About Alleged Links To Communist Spies

Jeremy Corbyn has slammed the Daily Mail and The Sun for printing “nonsense” stories suggesting he was linked to Communist spies.

The Labour leader hit back as he was questioned about the claims made by a former Czech agent Jan Sarkocy that he was on the country’s payroll during the Cold War.

After a speech to the EEF Manufacturing conference about Brexit and the City, Corbyn was quizzed by reporters about allegations that his office has dismissed as a “ridiculous smear”.

A reporter from the Daily Mail asked: “Mr Corbyn, you say you want these business leaders to put their trust in you to run the country how can they do that when serious questions remain about your past?

“And will you give permission for your Stasi file to be released to help clear things up?

In his first public remarks on the claims, a clearly irritated Corbyn replied: “Thanks for your question, I’m very sorry that the Daily Mail has reduced itself to reproducing some nonsense that was written in the Sun beforehand”.

He was applauded by some in the audience of businesspeople as he replied.

When another reporter was called by the convenor of the Q&A, Corbyn added: “I thought we were having questions from employers not the media.”

Corbyn last night threatened legal action against a Tory MP who had claimed he was a “commie spy” who sold secrets to Eastern Bloc states.

Tory vice chairman Ben Bradley deleted the tweet after the Labour leader instructed lawyers to purse a libel claim.

      

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Japanese Company To Build Sustainable Skyscraper Made Out Of Wood

Japan will soon be home to something pretty remarkable, a 70-storey skyscraper made almost entirely out of wood.

Designed by Sumitomo Forestry and the architecture firm Nikken Sekkei, the W350 tower will be a flagship of sustainability thanks to its unique construction that use some 185,000 square meters of wood.

If that wasn’t enough, the skyscraper will feature trees, gardens and foliage on every single level and will contain up to 8,000 homes.

W350 isn’t just a statement of what sustainable buildings could look like it’s almost to commemorate the company’s 350th anniversary.

Compared to concrete and steel buildings which can contribute to global emissions, this wooden structure will be able to absorb carbon, rather than emitting it out into the atmosphere.

While high-rise wooden buildings certainly aren’t new, they are complex and expensive. In fact the estimated cost of the W350 is expected to be around £4bn, almost twice the cost of a conventional skyscraper at the same height.

Sumitomo Forestry have scheduled the building to be completed by 2041 with the expectation that advances in construction techniques will have allowed the cost of wooden skyscrapers to drop considerably.

W350 is by no means the first wooden skyscraper, with the current wooden height record going to the Brock Commons Tallwood House student accommodation in Vancouver.

Tallwood House - currently the tallest mass timber building in the world - which opened in July 2017.

Finished in July 2017, Tallwood House is currently the tallest mass timber building in the world and is home to some 400 students from the University of British Columbia.

      

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David Davis And Boris Johnson Are The ‘Ronaldo and Messi’ Of Brexit, Says Michael Gove

David Davis and Boris Johnson are the “Messi and Ronaldo” of the Cabinet, Environment Secretary Michael Gove claimed today as he set out his red lines for Brexit.

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Gove heaped praise on his Brexiteer colleagues in a show of unity before a crunch get-together at the Prime Minister’s country home to thrash out the UK’s plan for leaving the EU.

The Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary have given speeches in recent days on their vision for the UK after it leaves the EU, but Gove – one of the leading figures in the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum – has not been included on the so-called ‘Road to Brexit’ rostra.

In an interview just minutes after addressing the National Farmers Union conference in Birmingham, Gove said he was happy to play second fiddle to his colleagues as he compared them to the two best footballers in the world.

But while he has not been given the opportunity to deliver a Brexit speech of his own, Gove set out his own negotiation red lines to HuffPost UK – making clear the UK’s fishing waters and other agricultural crown jewels are not offered up to Brussels as a trade-off for the City of London to get special access to the EU.

He also insisted that he and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox were “singing from the same hymn sheet” when it comes to maintaining animal welfare standard in any post-Brexit trade deals, after farmers at the conference raised concerns over a race to the bottom culture once the UK leaves the EU.

When asked if he was a “bit annoyed” about not receiving top billing ahead of a meeting of the Cabinet’s Brexit subcommittee’s meeting at Chequers on Thursday, Gove replied: “Not at all.

“Why would you want to be on the pitch when you’ve got two of the best strikers on your team already out there?

“I’m more than happy. DD and Boris are big hitters. They are the Messi and the Ronaldo of the Cabinet, and as for me I’m just a journeyman so I’ll carry on doing my job.”

<img src="http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5a8c2b0a2000004d00eaf669.jpeg" data-caption="Brexit Secretary David Davis is like Messi, says Gove.” alt=”Brexit Secretary David Davis is like Messi, says Gove.” data-credit=”ROLAND SCHLAGER via Getty Images” data-portal-copyright=”ROLAND SCHLAGER via Getty Images” data-provider=”getty” data-provider-asset-id=”921208356″ data-has-syndication-rights=”true”>

Gove said the fact the Defra Secretary – “which currently happens to be me” – is part of the 11-person strong Brexit sub-committee shows are seriously the Government is taking the rural economy in its talks with the EU.

When asked if the UK’s fishing waters were going to be traded away as part of a deal to get better access for the financial sector, Gove was definitive.

“No,” he said.

When asked if that had been agreed by Cabinet, Gove replied: “It’s been agreed by the strategy and negotiation sub-committee that one of the most important things is that we take back control of our territorial waters, that we leave the Common Fisheries Policy.”

Gove’s delivered his speech to the NFU as David Davis was addressing Austrian business leaders in Vienna – vowing that fears the UK would be plunged into a “Mad Max-style” dystopia were unfounded.

The Environment Secretary praised Davis’ “rather vivid” remarks, and when it was put to him that Brexit Secretary was mischaracterising the fears of Remainers, he added: “I don’t want to get into personality politics but there are some people in other parties who say that Brexit is inevitably going to lead to a race to the bottom and what he did was he pointed out how wrong and misguided that analysis is.

“He did so brilliantly and vividly.”

In the questions session after his speech, in which he talked up the need for increased broadband and 4G coverage in the countryside, concerns were raised over whether lower-quality produce would flood into the UK as part of post-Brexit trade deals.

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Gove insisted there would no compromise on standards and the person responsible for negotiating those trade deals, Liam Fox, agreed with him.

“Liam and I not only finish from the same hymn sheet we finish each other’s sentences because we are so in accord on all of these issues,” he said.

      

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Looks We Love: Alexa Chung’s Colourful Raincoat at London Fashion Week

We Love…

Alexa Chung, looking pulled-together in a block colour rain coat, pre-catwalk on 17 February. Chung wore the vibrant red coat on the front row of Christopher Bailey‘s swan song collection for Burberry, over a dark slogan t-shirt, jeans and black boots – allowing the bold colour to do the talking.

Why it Works…

Opting for a coat or jacket in a saturated hue is smart idea because it’s fuss-free: your top layer is the look. Its simplicity means the look is easily achievable and – even better – it’s great for staying warm without sacrificing style.

The block colour coat was seen on the catwalk shows of some of London’s leading designers, from Pam Hogg to Simone Rocha, TOGA and Martin Margiela.

Pam Hogg showed us how it's done with this hot pink leather coat during her show this London Fashion Week. Fashion cult favourite TOGA also offered a block coat, this time in natural green leather. Simone Rocha's green rain coat gives a nod to Victoriana ruffles while tooting the block trend. 

Also Spotted on:

A very happy fashionista, who was photographed ‘street style’ looking like Chung’s coat style-sister.

Follow their lead

Get your hands on this useful trend through high street steals like this gorgeous ‘Noisy May’ rain coat from Asos (£38). For a spring-friendly block effect, this yellow faux suede coat is a great find at £29.99. For something slightly more luxe, try this faux fur appliqué parka from Mango (£99.99).

      

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What Lorde And Other Adult Acne Sufferers Want You To Stop Saying

Adult acne is on the rise, but despite its prevalence a lot of people are still clueless about how to talk about it.

In a recent Instagram story, singer-songwriter Lorde said she was sick and tired of receiving unsolicited advice from people about the best way to get clear skin. “You know what sucks? When you’ve had acne for years and years and years, done all the drugs, tried all the things, and people are still like: ‘You know what worked for me, moisturising’,” she said.

The 21-year-old isn’t the only one who’s been on the receiving end to these kinds of comments. We spoke to adults affected by acne to find out what they wish other people would stop saying.

‘Have you tried drinking more water?’

“People love to suggest this as if it’s some absolutely groundbreaking miracle cure that no one has ever heard of,” says Sarah Harris, 27, from London.

“Yes, staying properly hydrated is important for healthy skin. But it is so unbelievably patronising to suggest I’m not aware of the health benefits of water (if anything, many acne sufferers probably know far more about skin health than you do – having a chronic condition does that). Drinking more water alone is not going to cure my acne.”

‘Make sure you shower.’

“I had adult acne for 10 years. Over this time the unqualified ‘advice’ I received stretched from being told to cut out dairy to making sure I shower enough,” says Tome Levi Perrin, 28, from London

“While the first stems from plain ignorance and nutritional trends, the latter is just downright offensive. A note to the general public: When someone is struggling with their skin, the personalised advice of a dermatologist is the only one they value.”

‘Wear less make up.’

“I have had a lot of people say this to me, but there is so much more to acne than just cleansing your skin,” says Holly Whiting, 24, from Leicester. “For instance my acne is hormonal and as a result of PCOS, so any amount of make up is unlikely to make a difference.

“Unsolicited advice can make us feel like people think we aren’t taking care of ourselves and our skin, but we’re probably making more of an effort than anyone else.”

‘Just put honey and turmeric on it.’

“Sadly for most chronic acne sufferers, there’s no cure for acne, just methods on how to keep it under control,” says Dinuki Suraweera, 32, from Philadelphia.

“So if you’re fortunate enough to be someone who only gets a pimple once a month, please use wisdom before advising a chronic acne sufferer to ‘just put honey and turmeric on it’.”

      

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Black Panther Is A Win For Black Identity

The last time I watched a film that stirred so much emotion in me was Still Alice. Julianne Moore is excellent and the loss of control over our mind is not a reality any of us wish for. It will leave anyone who sees it somber and reflective – just go and watch it. Then came Black Panther this past weekend. Differently from Still Alice, Black Panther made me want to find the closest cylinder-like object, stomp it into the streets and praise the ancestors.

There are no prerequisites to the power you create from uncovering and having possession of your own identity. The nature of being a person that has equally close ties to their Nigerian ancestry and their Britishness has and continues to define how I view the world. And how I view the world effects how I view politics.

So when people discuss the importance of Black Panther, a film where the titular character’s primary concern is sustaining his family legacy and upholding his country’s honour, we should not let the connection this bares to non-fictional, literal, and in-your-face politics be lost on us.

In the UK and across the world there have always been successful black people in all industries. In today’s world the fields of sports, entertainment and fashion most notably are densely populated with black people, black aesthetics and black culture. Yet outside of the strife and dedication of the individuals involved, it is of interest to me why I and so many others are more inspired about how the world could be from a reimagined realm created by Marvel and brought to life by Ryan Coogler, than in real life.

Okoye, played excellently by Danai Gurira, is the highest-ranking military figure in Wakanda. Having a black female character such as Okoye indirectly disparages and punctures a lot of what black women are told their capabilities can and cannot be, igniting change towards a time where we will no longer be speaking of the’ first black’ woman, or man to do anything.

Similarly Letitia Wright’s character Shuri is the mastermind behind the technological advancements that help her brother Black Panther/T’Challa to carry out his missions. It is my belief that this has all been designed deliberately for black people after 2018 years of modern history to recognize their individual role in constituting an identity built on afrofuturism that is unapologetically creative, powerful and addresses our economic, social and political development, in cooperation with other races.

Representation of this sort and on this level is a first of its kind. Black Panther is much more than the latest blockbuster, but a monumental shift in how the East and Western world view African culture. This film demands that its viewer witnesses the excellence, intrinsic value and stability of Wakanda that whilst fictional, is inspired directly from a collection of cultures across a herculean continent. The impact this could have on the identities on those who have ties to this culture, or a mixed culture should they be British for example, is again considered and poignant.

The creation, distribution and watching of Black Panther is one of the most positive approaches I have witnessed to date in further affirming my identity as an African, as a Briton, as a Londoner, as a black man, as a feminist, and so much more. Some may say the film and the commentary that’s followed are all too radical and unnecessary. It is my belief that this racially-inclusive piece of cinema, if we support it and allow it to continue to flourish has the potential to lead further into a multicultural world that is both solvent and concerned with the centering of all kinds of people.

      

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Justice Cannot Be Delivered On The Cheap

Martin Luther King once said: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’. The deep crisis the Conservatives have unleashed in our justice system should concern us all.

Our Criminal Justice System is supposed to create safer communities with fewer victims of crime. Prevention, policing and effective rehabilitation to reduce re-offending all have their part to play. But under the Tories, communities are becoming less safe. Crime is up. So is reoffending. It is the most vulnerable that pay the price.

Cuts have consequences and they are driving this crisis in justice. The Tories have slashed the Ministry of Justice budget alone by 40%, the deepest cuts of any department. On top of this are substantial reductions to police numbers and CPS budgets. Miscarriages of justices in rape and other serious cases risk becoming more likely. No wonder we are increasingly seeing senior legal figures warning of the justice system crumbling due to the catastrophic effects of chronic underinvestment.

Outsourcing and privatisation go hand-in-hand with cuts. You cannot hand over huge swathes of the justice system to mega-corporations and expect anything other than profit to be put first. And that’s what has happened with Carillion, G4S, Sodexo and others in charge.

Take probation. This is an area of the justice system that rarely gets the attention given to prisons or the police. But each year it manages over 250,000 offenders in the community, many after release from prison. This includes offenders convicted of the most serious offences such as those committed by John Worboys.

The Conservatives’ privatisation of most of probation along with chaotic reforms have proven a costly failure. It has also left us all less safe. Yet private sector failure is rewarded with more public money. Hundreds of millions of pounds in extra funding recently went to bail out the private probation companies. With reoffending rising and private companies failing to meet even basic performance targets, why are the Tories continuing to throw good money after bad? Surely it is time that public safety came before failed ideology?

In prisons, we have reached a tipping point where the general crisis has become an emergency. Shocking revelations of rat infestations and Dickensian conditions at Liverpool Prison marked a new low. Responsibility for the blocked toilets and smashed windows there rested with a private company after the Tories outsourced prison maintenance works. That shambolic policy is yet another contract with the private sector that hasn’t even delivered the promised financial savings.

Sadly, Liverpool is only one example of how Tory cuts and outsourcing undermine our prisons. Already this year the Sodexo-run Peterborough prison become the first women’s prison in years deemed not safe enough. And it’s now come to light that Carillion staff in prisons had not even undergone the basic suicide training all staff interacting with prisoners should have. Such training could have prevented the death of Sean Plumstead.

Prisons Chief Michael Spurr has identified the causes of the prisons emergency. He recently told the Justice Select Committee this wave of problems “coincides with a period where we’ve had to reduce costs substantially – a 24% reduction in our budget. It coincides with significant changes across the way we deliver services both in prisons and in Probation”. Those changes included axing thousands of prisons officers since 2010.

The Conservatives claim to be addressing these massive layoffs – the root cause of much of the unprecedented levels of violence and chaos in our prisons. But still prison officer numbers fell in the past year in one in five prisons. High security prisons fared even worse with one in three losing staff.

But our justice system is not just about building safer communities. It is there to defend essential rights that we must treasure in a civilised society.

Legal Aid was once a great pillar of the welfare state, established to ensure “no one would be financially unable to prosecute a just and reasonable claim or defend a legal right”. When people lack the resources to defend them, long fought-for rights become worth nothing more than the paper they are written on.

Tory slashing of legal aid has left many defenceless. People subjected to flawed benefits decision, those suffering at the hands of dodgy landlords or unscrupulous bosses have nowhere to turn. In 21st Century Britain justice is “unaffordable to most”, according to a senior judge.

With mounting evidence of failure, the government has belatedly announced a review into its legal aid policies (Though it is still refuses to even say how experts and users will be able to participate). But with the Ministry of Justice budget facing £800m cuts in the next two years this review will likely be a badly applied sticking-plaster rather than providing the substantial changes needed to guarantee everyone has access to justice.

A new vision is needed. Labour will invest in police and prison officers. We will oppose the building of more private prisons and the use of PFI in our justice system. We will bring the discredited outsourcing of prisons maintenance works back in house. We will tackle injustices caused by this government’s cruel legal aid policies. And we will restore probation to the award-winning service it once was by returning it to the public sector where it will focus on reducing crime not making profits. In short, we will begin to fix a system broken by Conservative attempts to deliver justice on the cheap.

Richard Burgon is the shadow justice secretary

      

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Why Demanding Compensation Over the Lecturers’ Strike is Misguided

Across the country, members of University and Colleges Union (UCU) are preparing for fourteen days of strike action across four weeks. As a University of Bristol (UoB) student I will be affected by the action. Appearing on my Facebook feed, is a petition by students asking for compensation for contact hours lost. Based on arbitrary figures and simplistic mathematics signers of the petition are failing to see the bigger picture of the strike action and why this request is not what our lecturers need when facing dramatic and damaging changes to their pensions.

The suggestion you can simply divide our annual tuition fees by the number of contact hours per annum fails to account for the complex management of a university institution. By their own admittance in a recent report published by UoB, arts student fees are propping up more expensive courses such as medicine or chemistry that require specific equipment and resources for their education. Our tuition fees are too high, but they don’t simply cover the cost of contact hours but a far wider range of services and resources essential to our university experiences, like sports, buildings, health services etc. The mathematics involved is far more complicated than these petitions discuss and their calls for hundreds of pounds or so of ‘lost’ money is detrimental to wider cause of lecturer wellbeing.

Further the request for compensation is individualistic and doesn’t recognise our place in a wider community. If lecturers feel happy in their jobs, secure in their future and supported by their employer, they will be enthusiastic educators. We should not quantify the quality of work environment for the individuals who have dedicated their lives to our education and improving knowledge on wide range of topics. We are more than consumers and this argument for compensation reduces both ourselves as students and our lecturers, we are members of a community that should be based on support and knowledge, not capital.

No one wants to strike. No lecturer is opting for a day of unpaid leave where they can’t contribute to the lives and learning of their students. The UCU have voted overwhelmingly in support of strike action because they see no other option to oppose the changes to their pensions now the negotiation table has been closed. They are losing financially not just for those days they strike but are staring down the barrel of huge losses in years to come. They do not need our personal calculations of what we may ‘lose’, attacking and victimising the individuals who will help us not only in our university lives but in securing our own careers to come. They need our support.

To argue that these calls are placing pressure on the university takes away from the focus and purpose of these strikes. If you truly want to support them write to the university in support, speak to your lecturers and give them positive messages of encouragement, join the picket line. Loud, vocal support is what they need, they need to see the we understand these strikes are an attack on all of us who are part of this university. Lecturers’ job security is being put at risk, and that is an attack on all of us part of this institution. I stand with my lecturers in their fight.

      

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Sky-High Fees Means The Government Needs To Act Fast – Or Many Students Will Fail To Pay Off Their Loans

Theresa May’s calls for a review on the cost of higher education comes not a moment too soon. University provides many people with a great start in life, but there’s no doubt that the current levels of debt some graduates are finding themselves in are quite onerous, and in many cases, they will never be paid back in full before they are written off.

Students really need to be asking themselves whether they really wish to get into such debt so early in their lives, given that they also have to plan for other large financial commitments such as getting onto the property ladder or saving for a pension. The Prime Minister’s announcement about ending attitudes which favour university over high-quality technical qualification solutions may provide many thousands with some food for thought.

Graduate debt spiralling out of control

Since tuition fees were first brought in during 1998, graduate debt has risen rapidly to its current level of around £50,000 (accelerating to £57,000 for poorer undergraduates who receive higher maintenance loans), while the overall current outstanding value of all tuition fee and maintenance debt has now hit £100 billion.

Under the current system, student loans are repaid through a deduction of 9% on any earnings over £21,000. Taking an example of a graduate on a very generous starting wage of £41,000, the annual interest applied to their debt is currently 6.1%, which means many will not complete their payments within 30 years (after which time the remaining loan is written off). Assuming their salary kept pace with current inflation and rose by 3% each year – after 30 years they would have paid a whopping £118,853, but would still have an outstanding debt of over £17,000.

The income threshold above which students will need to start making repayments is set to rise to £25,000. However, assuming the same example of a graduate starting on £41,000 who therefore now needs to make repayments initially on £16,000 worth of earnings (assuming the interest rate remains at 6.1%), that same graduate would have an outstanding debt of nearly £48,000 at the end of their 30 year repayment schedule.

For those undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who are coming out of university with £57,000 debts, following a same earnings pattern would in fact result in their student loan debt rising to £58,496 at the current 6.1% interest rate level after 30 years, while their remaining debt after the income repayment threshold rises to £25,000 would be nearly £90,000 after 30 years.

University not the only solution

Unless radical reforms are indeed brought in, with so much student debt likely to ultimately be written off over the coming years, will future Governments be able to fund the gap?

With many companies nowadays seeking a diverse workforce, being a university graduate is not the only entry route into the career of your choice. In addition, choosing a non-university pathway can help young people avoid these significant graduate debts, and instead allow them to gain the skills while earning a wage in the workplace.

      

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Are All University Courses Born Equal?

Theresa May’s decision to charge students less for ‘softer’ arts degrees that don’t translate to good job prospects is entirely logical but, if it goes ahead, such a drastic change will destroy many universities, leaving them underfunded, worthless and no longer viable.

I agree in principle that incurring a 50K debt on a course that leads to a 20K job makes no sense economically, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a student graduating with a Chemistry degree (usually) has better, well-paid job prospects than a young person with a qualification in Film Studies.

However, for the Tories to decide to mess around with fees now, when universities have expanded arts courses and recruited heavily for those in order to subsidise more ‘serious’ courses, which need specialist equipment and highly-qualified lecturers, would spell disaster. As Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK told The Sunday Times: “Unless the government replaced the money, it would mean bigger class sizes, poorer facilities and less student choice.”

Arts courses would disappear as students – even those with a burning passion to study the subject ­– would perceive the ‘bargain bin’ qualifications as sub-standard and a waste of money.

Universities would have to look elsewhere for funding. That would be higher fees for some or by recruiting overseas. Education Secretary Damian Hinds has suggested the latter, which is odd considering May’s immigration policy. So, what are we saying? We’ve got some courses here that aren’t worth much to British youngsters but we’d happily charge you, Chinese student, a fortune to come over and study them? Does he really think international students are that daft? Of course not. They’ll look to Europe, Australia, Canada or the US for their education. It’s inevitable some of our universities would close.

Higher education would be seen entirely in monetary value. Or, even worse, be valued by the government. Hinds has come up with an over-simplified tick box to determine how courses are assessed.

What is the cost of the course to the university? Fine. This is measurable. What is the benefit to the student? Now, can the government really attribute a value to each student, assume their aims and ambitions and then dictate what is or isn’t allowed to be studied? And finally, what is the benefit to the economy? Is this in monetary terms or cultural benefit? I assume learning in any fashion is of benefit. Our Chemistry graduate may go on to develop a cure for cancer whereas our Film student could direct a movie that gives people an awful lot of pleasure.

Equally, both students could end up working in a bar.

Education is such an integral part of society that this proposed change, from one extreme to another, will do more damage than good. In my view, such changes should be brought in gradually, over time.

      

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Women Who Think They’re Gluten Intolerant Could Have Ovarian Cancer, Charity Warns

Women who experience persistent bloating are more likely to change their diet by cutting out gluten or consuming probiotic yoghurts than visit their GP. But regular bloating is a major symptom for ovarian cancer, Target Ovarian Cancer has warned, meaning women may unknowingly put their health at risk by delaying a medical appointment.

New research from the charity found half (50%) of UK women said they would do something with their diet, whereas one in three (34%) said they would see a doctor if they were concerned about bloating.

Previous research by the charity found just one in five women can name persistent bloating as a symptom of ovarian cancer – an alarmingly low rate of awareness.

Two thirds of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer once the cancer has already spread, making it harder to treat.

The research also showed that women over 55 – who are most likely to develop ovarian cancer – are least likely to google their symptoms. The charity said this could be leaving them at risk of a delayed diagnosis. Just one in three women over 55 (34%) would google the causes of bloating, compared to almost two thirds of 18-24 year olds (64%).

Raising awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms is the first critical step, ensuring women know the potential significance of continued bloating and seek medical advice, the charity said. This awareness gap means that women are not visiting their GP promptly, not being sent for the correct ovarian cancer tests quickly, and risk missing out on a crucial early diagnosis.

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “A probiotic yoghurt should not be preventing a woman from visiting the GP promptly if something is worrying her. Women should not be risking their lives because of the enduring awareness gap around the symptoms of ovarian cancer. If women know ovarian cancer symptoms such as persistent bloating and are able to link them to ovarian cancer early on, lives will be saved.”

Laura Everley, 38, from Crawley, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014. She said: “Before I was diagnosed I was experiencing all of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, including bloating. I thought that maybe I might have irritable bowel syndrome because there are similar symptoms. I’d even tried going gluten free, but it had made no difference. The idea of cancer hadn’t even entered my head. You just never dream this is going to happen to you.”

      

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Donald Trump Attacks Barack Obama In Tweet That Defies Logic And Facts

Donald Trump has continued to push the boundaries of the absurd by blaming Barack Obama for not doing something he actually did which he himself is guilty of.

Confused? Here’s the tweet.

Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 19, 2018

As the fallout from last week’s Special Counsel indictments charging 13 Russians with a concerted effort to tamper with the 2016 US election, Trump has continued with his theme of blaming everyone but the actual Russians.

His latest attack on President Obama ignores two pertinent facts.

Firstly, Obama did do something. In the final days of 2016, upon learning of the alleged hacking of the Hillary Clinton campaign he ordered 35 Russian diplomats be expelled from the US and placed sanctions on nine other Russians.

This move sparked a minor diplomatic crisis and prompted Vladimir Putin to respond by expelling 800 American diplomats from Russia in August of last year after Trump had taken office.

Instead of criticising the move, he actually thanked Putin as it “cut down our payroll”.

Secondly, since Trump became President there have been more indications that Russia has actively tried to undermine American democracy, culminating in last week’s indictments.

Last year, both the House and the Senate unanimously authorised a new round of sanctions designed to punish Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.

The legislation was signed reluctantly by Trump, who wanted warmer ties with Moscow.

Then, last month, the White House refused to impose the measures.

Adding to Trump’s woes yesterday, he came dead last in the 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey.

Lincoln, Washinton and Franklin D. Roosevelt took the top three spots with a scores of 95.03, 92.59 and 89.09 respectively.

Trump scored 12.34. The score is out of 100.

Richard Nixon, the only US president forced to resign by scandal, scored over three times higher with 37.18.

      

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Sam Faiers Sparks Concern With Baby Neck Float, So Are They Safe?

Sam Faiers has sparked concern among her fans after sharing a photo of her daughter with a baby neck float in the water.

The 27-year-old, who is mum to three-month-old Rosie and two-year-old Paul with her partner Paul Knightley, posted the video of her youngest floating in an inflatable pool at home.

“Little Monday evening swim,” Faiers wrote on Monday 19 February. “Paul loved his neck float when he was a little baby, so does Rosie by the looks of it. I got Rosie’s little neck float from Amazon and the inflatable pool I found online.”

Some fans were wary of the safety of the float. One wrote: “Be careful with the neck float, there was lots of issues with them in the UK when they used to be a big thing.”

Another person commented: “The rings can cause brain and spinal problems. I would be careful.”

And another wrote: “I normally love Sam but this has made me very anxious. Babies have been badly injured due to these neck rings.”

So are these neck rings safe? In April 2017, the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), an independent charity, and Birthlight, a non-profit organisation focused on the health of pregnant women and new families, highlighted the “damaging” effects placing babies in floating neck rings could have on their physical, neurological and emotional development.

In a report they released at the time – ‘Hidden Risks Of Floating Neck Rings For Babies‘ – co-author Shawn Tomlinson, STA baby swimming tutor, said: “A neck ring creates a vacuum where the baby is incapacitated and cannot connect with anyone or anything. There are no safe boundaries [for babies] to touch or feel.

“Self-expression through body language, which the water ideally facilitates, is lost because movements are restricted.”

Self-expression through body language, which the water ideally facilitates, is lost because movements are restricted.”Shawn Tomlinson, STA baby swimming tutor

Francoise Freedman, founder of Birthlight explained that when babies hang vertically in water with their heads supported by a semi-rigid foam structure – particularly those under five months – concern arises about compression of the soft vertebrae in their necks, and strain in ligaments and muscles.

“Infant development proceeds from the head down and head control is the first huge task babies master in their early months, followed by rolling,” she said. “The main body movements that help babies to achieve these first milestones are restricted by neck rings.”

Both STA and Birthlight said they were “united” in saying that this activity involving neck rings “cannot be promoted for routine use without serious warnings to all parents”.

      

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When Should You Worry About Your Child’s Attachment To Comfort Items?

Many parents will feel a twinge of concern if their five-year-old can’t sleep without his dummy or their teenager refuses to throw out the tattered blanket she’s had since she was a baby. The topic of comfort objects is hotly debated, with some arguing that the attachment to objects from babyhood is childish, unnecessary or even harmful.

So when should you worry about your child’s reliance on comfort items? And how can you encourage them to let go?

The truth is that even adults have attachment objects. How many get comfort from a favourite jumper? Or hoard treasured objects from loved ones without second thought? After all, . Read the original article.

      

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Babies Born In UK More Likely To Die In First Month Than Cuba and Latvia, UNICEF Report Finds

Babies born in the United Kingdom are more likely to die in the first month than if they were born than Latvia, Lithuania, Cuba or Montenegro.

These were the results of a Unicef analysis – ‘Every Child Alive‘ – that found every year, 2.6 million babies around the world die before they are a month old.

The most dangerous place for a baby to be born was Pakistan, where one in 22 babies die within their first month. The safest place was Japan, where one in every 1,111 babies die within a month.

In the UK, one in every 385 babies die within the first month of being born.

“While we have more than halved the number of deaths among children under the age of five in the last quarter century, we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old,” said Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF’s executive director. “Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly, we are failing the world’s poorest babies.”

Globally, in low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate is 27 deaths per 1,000 births, the report states.

In high-income countries, that rate is three deaths per 1,000. Newborns from the riskiest places to give birth are up to 50 times more likely to die than those from the safest places.

The report stated more than 80% of newborn deaths were due to prematurity, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis.

“These deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition,” they stated.

“However, a shortage of well-trained health workers and midwives means that thousands don’t receive the life-saving support they need to survive.”

In response to the findings, Dr Clea Harmer, chief executive at Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said: “The rate of babies dying in the first month of life in the UK has remained almost static for three years with little progress on reduction. Many of them are born too early in pregnancy, but we don’t always know how to prevent prematurity.

“Inequality continues to be an issue in England where there’s a noticeable north-south divide with the rate of babies who die in the first month of life in the north of England being almost double that of the rate in the south. Women who live in the most socially deprived areas are at higher risk of their newborns dying, and smoking is also a factor as 20% of women whose newborn dies are smokers.

“Fundamentally though we need more focus on delivering vulnerable babies in the right place with the right care if we want to save more lives.”

The report also noted that eight of the 10 most dangerous places to be born are in sub-Saharan Africa, where pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance during delivery due to poverty, conflict and weak institutions.

“If every country brought its newborn mortality rate down to the high-income average by 2030, 16 million lives could be saved,” they wrote.

Highest newborn mortality rates:

1. Pakistan: 1 in 22

2. Central African Republic: 1 in 24

3. Afghanistan: 1 in 25

4. Somalia: 1 in 26

5. Lesotho: 1 in 26

6. Guinea-Bissau: 1 in 267.

South Sudan: 1 in 26

8. Côte d’Ivoire: 1 in 27

9. Mali: 1 in 28

10. Chad: 1 in 28

Lowest newborn mortality rates:

1. Japan: 1 in 1,111

2. Iceland: 1 in 1,000

3. Singapore: 1 in 909

4. Finland: 1 in 833

5. Estonia: 1 in 769

5. Slovenia: 1 in 769

7. Cyprus: 1 in 714

8. Belarus: 1 in 667

8. Luxembourg: 1 in 667

8. Norway: 1 in 667

8. Republic of Korea: 1 in 667

UNICEF is launching the global campaign Every Child ALIVE to demand solutions on behalf of the world’s newborns. The charity is issuing an urgent appeal to governments, health care providers, donors, the private sector, families and businesses to keep every child alive by:

:: Recruiting, training, retaining and managing sufficient numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives with expertise in maternal and newborn care;

:: Guaranteeing clean, functional health facilities equipped with water, soap and electricity, within the reach of every mother and baby;

:: Making it a priority to provide every mother and baby with the life-saving drugs and equipment needed for a healthy start in life; and

:: Empowering adolescent girls, mothers and families to demand and receive quality care.

      

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May’s Offer On Higher Education Will Satisfy No One

Theresa May’s Review of Post-18 Education and Funding has taken as long to come to the stage as some ageing rock star’s farewell tour. The lengthy leaks that preceded her speech confused rather than clarified, and the Review’s ‘terms of reference’ did the same.

The irony of the Prime Minister speaking at a Further Education college while omitting any strategy for 16-18 year olds apparently eluded her. Although she spoke about shiny new Institutes of Technology, what the FE sector desperately needs now, after almost eight years of Tory-led rule, is genuine parity of esteem – long discussed but not delivered – for its students and staff.

The Prime Minister talked about lifelong learning, but with no recognition of the havoc the Tories have created since they came to power in 2010: tripling HE tuition fees, scrapping maintenance grants and introducing Adult Learning Loans, half of which have been handed back unused to the Treasury. The Open University, part-time courses and lifelong learning across a swathe of universities have fallen victim to years of relentless Tory cuts.

Her reluctance to back maintenance grants, as well as the way she ducked and dived around questions from the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, painfully revealed the hollowness of the Prime Minister’s speech. Even as she reluctantly acknowledged the issue, she implied it was a problem for universities and colleges to address rather than government.

Theresa May has openly admitted students face “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world” and by doing so highlights what nearly eight years of a Tory-led Government has left us with

By contrast, Labour has had a firm commitment on reintroducing grants for nearly two years now; a fully funded and costed policy, along with reintroduction of the Education Maintenance Allowance, both of which gave a helping hand to young people before the Tories scrapped them.

Labour’s emphasis on maintenance grants is now being echoed by a rainbow coalition across the education sector: Universities UK and Million Plus, the (Conservative) Chair of the Education Select Committee and the recently published report of Treasury Select Committee, also chaired by a Conservative MP. Even the Vice-Chancellor of the private University of Buckingham, Sir Antony Seldon, has chipped in his support.

Many across the Higher Education sector are warning that access and participation funding for disadvantaged young people could be cut to pay for whatever new proposals the government pushes. A token reduction in fees, without matching the new funding Labour offers would take billions out of the sector while students would still face massive debts. That option, trailed by the government over the weekend, will satisfy no one.

If Theresa May really wanted to break down the ‘false boundaries’ between HE and FE she talked about, 16-18 year olds would be in this Review. It is Labour that promised in our manifesto to set up a Commission to align HE and FE, making the UK fit for purpose for the challenges we face into the 2030s. It is Labour that has talked about allowing credit accumulation across HE and FE to reflect the revolving mix of skills and learning that both young and older learners will need to have. It is Labour with our new National Education Service that has the narrative and vision to achieve this, alongside our promises on HE and FE fee abolition.

Theresa May has openly admitted students face “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world” and by doing so highlights what nearly eight years of a Tory-led Government has left us with: an unprecedented HE student debt levels among the UK’s competitors and a mess in lifelong learning. Theresa May has forfeited the right to address those challenges.

Gordon Marsden is a shadow education minister and Labour MP for Blackpool South

      

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Fergie Addresses Controversial National Anthem Performance: ‘I Honestly Tried My Best’

Fergie has spoken out following her polarising performance of the US national anthem over the weekend.

On Sunday night (19 February), Fergie was invited to perform the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at the NBA All-Star Game, making the rather unusual choice to remix the iconic song in a jazzed-up style.

Her artistic choice, not to mention her less-than-stellar delivery, didn’t sit well with all viewers, though, with the former Black Eyed Peas singer now having had her say over the performance.

Fergie at the All-Star Game” alt=”Fergie at the All-Star Game” data-credit=”Allen Berezovsky via Getty Images” data-portal-copyright=”Allen Berezovsky via Getty Images” data-provider=”getty” data-provider-asset-id=”920325604″ data-has-syndication-rights=”true”>

In a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter, Fergie said: “I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA.

“I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

However, Fergie isn’t the only singer whose national anthem performance didn’t exactly win unanimous praise.

At the Super Bowl earlier this month, singer/songwriter Pink was forced to speak out to defend herself when her version of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at the opening of the football game proved to be divisive, pointing out she’d been suffering from the flu in the lead-up to the big night.

Beyoncé also took a lot of criticism when her version of the national anthem at Barack Obama’s second inauguration was eventually revealed to have been a lip sync to pre-recorded vocals.

Silencing her detractors, weeks later at a press conference for the Super Bowl, she gave an impromptu a capella version of the song, and in typical Beyoncé style, it was pretty much note perfect.

Listen to Fergie’s version in full below:

      

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KFC Crisis Battle Of Puns Threatens To Distract From Actual Job Losses

The ongoing KFC crisis that has seen fried chicken fans across the country left bereft of their favourite meal has descended into a battle of puns between the fast food giant and a union trying to highlight the real-life consequences for hundreds of staff.

Problems arose at the weekend after the chain switched its delivery contract from Bidvest Logistics to DHL, forcing the majority of its 900 outlets in Britain to shut.

The restaurant’s Twitter account announced the news yesterday with jovial tweets playing on an age-old joke.

The Colonel has an update…

More info – https://t.co/mLELSs6TaYpic.twitter.com/WEOz6jExHC

— KFC UK & Ireland (@KFC_UKI) February 19, 2018

Since then the public reaction has been one of comical dismay.

*opens coat*
‘I’ve got popcorn chicken, zinger burgers and big bottles of Fanta. Bargain Buckets? Come back in half an hour mate, twenty quid, no questions asked…’#KFCCrisispic.twitter.com/fkFXowUf0T

— Ian McDougall (@IanMcDougall1) February 19, 2018

But a statement from the GMB Union spells out the human cost of the crisis – 255 jobs lost and KFC staff around the country not being paid.

Unfortunately, they chose to highlight this in a press release riddled with chicken puns.

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer said:We tried to warn KFC this decision would have consequences – well now the chickens are coming home to roost.

“Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them.

“It’s an absolute cock up. KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre – where conditions are an utter shambles.

“Three weeks ago KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.

“KFC’s bird-brained decision has caused untold misery to customers, to Bidvest workers and restaurant staff who are not being paid.

“Now they’ve been left with egg on their face.”

It’s funny, until you remember all of their staff on zero hours contracts won’t be paid this week.#KFChttps://t.co/AxNKKAgPBl

— James Doleman (@jamesdoleman) February 19, 2018

I hope staff in all branches, including franchises are now getting paid during the closure. #kfchttps://t.co/ah3zZSlB0S

— Jim McMahon MP (@JimfromOldham) February 19, 2018

Courier company DHL is responsible for the error. A DHL spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “Due to operational issues a number of deliveries in recent days have been incomplete or delayed.

“We are working with KFC and our partners to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

In the meantime, the jokes won’t be stopping.

When there’s no fried chicken and you have to eat your kid instead.#KFCCrisispic.twitter.com/tsDYMAhrMn

— New Town Flâneur (@NewTownFlaneur) February 19, 2018

Frrrrreeeeedom!!! #KFCCrisispic.twitter.com/p9ZqMlrOgp

— The_Gwarve (@Andythegwarve) February 19, 2018

Police arrest man responsible for the KFC disaster. You heard it here first. #KFCCrisispic.twitter.com/w9AwsktNfL

— Cal (@Panayisalad) February 19, 2018

KFC and Bidvest Logistics have been contacted for comment.

      

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LGBT People Forced To Go Through ‘Second Coming Out’ When Their Partner Dies

Paula (left) and Joanna Sedley Burke

“After your wife dies it feels like all you do is tell people your wife is dead,” says Joanna Sedley-Burke, 49, who lost her wife Paula, 45, to undiagnosed pneumonia in April 2017. “People assume you are straight but you constantly have to say, no, I meant my wife. It is exhausting.”

Joanna lives in the home she shared with Paula in North Stifford, Essex, near to the Basildon hospital where her partner of 20 years died unexpectedly less than a year ago. Being LGBT has compounded the pain of her grief, she explains. She feels like she has to “come out all over again”. And she isn’t alone.

A member of a bereavement counselling Facebook group, set up by WAY Widowed And Young for people under 50 who have lost a partner, Joanna has found other same-sex widows experiencing this second coming out period.

A 2016 study, published in the Palliative Medicine journal, found that LGBT couples experience additional “stressors” during bereavement such as homophobia, failure to acknowledge the relationship, legal and financial issues and the ‘shadow’ of HIV.

Jonathan David Brown, 34, who lost his husband Martin, 36, three years ago when he suffered a heart attack caused by arterial sclerosis, says the lack of community has been a struggle. “Because same-sex marriage is relatively new, most gay people who are married have still got their husband or wife. There are only a few who have been bereaved.”

“There are fewer people going through this process and there is less support,” says Joanna, who contacted Stonewall in the aftermath of her wife’s death but was told there was nowhere they could recommend to help. “Nothing can prepare you for the death of your soul mate.”

HuffPost UK contacted Stonewall for statistics on the number of people affected by this issue but a spokesperson said they didn’t have any.

Jonathan (left) and Martin Brown

Both Paula and Martin died unexpectedly, although Paula had been ill for many years – forced to retire from her career as a Microsoft software engineer when diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

Whereas Martin, an NHS mental health nurse “died out of the blue” in the middle of the night when he had a heart attack next to Jonathan in bed. “The police man gave me his wedding ring and I had to sign for it. He told me where Martin’s going, you can’t have any jewellery.”

The police man gave me his wedding ring and I had to sign for it. He told me where Martin’s going, you can’t have any jewellery…”Jonathan

It was only in April 2017 that those in civil partnerships were given access to government bereavement support payments, and today couples co-habiting are still are not permitted them.

Luckily in Joanna and Martin’s case both couples were married (and Joanna says most of her personal affairs had joint names assigned to them). Martin also receives his husband’s NHS pension payments.

“I had people asking was she my daughter or mother when presented with the death certificate,” says Joanna. “A client at work said – I didn’t know you were gay. And even the hospital referred to me as husband at one point in the medical notes.

“Being gay in this situation for me feels different, whether that is politically correct to say it I guess doesn’t matter,” adds Joanna.

Joanna and Paula at their wedding ceremony, The Ritz, 2006

Joanna says that she hopes the younger LGBT generation won’t have to deal with the same issues and will be afforded a greater support network around grief and the loss of a partner. “We have the right to marry and therefore seeing a puzzled look on someone’s face is something that organisations really need to think about now.”

Georgia Elms, chair at WAY, says: “WAY would like to reach out to people from the LGBT community to let them know that there is support available through our peer-to-peer support network, which is open to anyone aged 50 or under who is overcoming the loss of their partner – whatever their sexual orientation, male or female, married or not, with or without children.”

Useful websites and helplines:

      

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