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Why Julian Assange Is In Court After Nearly A Decade In Exile

By Sarah Turnnidge

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in court on Monday for the first day of an extradition hearing that could see him sent to the US to face espionage charges.

Assange has been in the UK since 2010. For seven years, he claimed asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, but he was arrested in April.

Controversially, he remains in custody. This is why.

Who is Julian Assange, and what is WikiLeaks?

Assange, 48, from Townsville, Australia, founded the website WikiLeaks in 2006.

The organisation describes itself as “a multi-national media organi[s]ation and associated library” which “specialises in the analysis and publication of large datasets of censored or otherwise restricted official materials involving war, spying and corruption”.

It is stated on the website that WikiLeaks has published more than 10m documents and associated analysis – the best known being the trove of documents published in 2010 that consisted of confidential documents from the US military.

Assange is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak the documents.

The leak made headlines worldwide when it revealed footage that showed US soldiers shooting 18 civilians dead from a helicopter in Iraq.

Prior to WikiLeaks, Assange and a friend had been accused of hacking activities as long ago as 1995 – for which he was fined several thousand Australian dollars and managed to avoid a prison term on the condition that he did not reoffend.

He went on to work as a researcher, mostly into the subversive elements of the early internet, and undertook a course in physics and maths at Melbourne University.

Why is he in prison now?

In the simplest terms, Assange is currently being held on remand – that is, awaiting trial – in Belmarsh prison, where he has been since September 2019.

But he was in fact already in jail, having just finished a 50-week sentence for breaching bail conditions by claiming refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange was first arrested in the UK back in 2010, when Sweden issued an international arrest warrant because two women had made allegations of rape and sexual assault. He has always claimed that sex in both cases was consensual.

He was released on bail as the investigation continued. But fearing that Sweden could extradite him to the US if he entered the justice system, he sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London – where he would remain for seven years.

The preliminary rape investigation was dropped in 2017 because Swedish authorities were unable to proceed for as long as Assange remained inside the embassy. It was reopened again in May 2019 when Ecuador’s government abruptly withdrew his asylum status.

But just six months later, the sexual assault and rape claims against Assange were dropped, with Sweden’s deputy chief prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson saying the memories of witnesses had faded almost a decade on – even though the complainant’s evidence was still deemed credible and reliable.

Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaking his bail conditions and was due to be released on September 22, but was told he would be kept in custody ahead of a US extradition hearing due to concerns about him absconding once again. Which brings us more or less up to date, as the hearing began on Monday.

What is this hearing about?

Assange is appearing at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday for the start of his extradition hearing, during which lawyers for the US authorities will put forward their arguments for why he should be sent to America. It is pretty much the scenario he had tried for so long to avoid while seeking refuge in the embassy.

The US wants to try Assange on espionage charges – 18 in total – relating to the publication of the US documents in 2010. These charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.

Monday’s appearance marks the start of a week of legal arguments, before the hearing is adjourned. Three weeks of evidence are then scheduled to begin on May 18.

The decision, which is not expected until months later, is likely to be appealed against by the losing side, whatever the outcome.

Why is his extradition so controversial?

US authorities claim the information published by WikiLeaks in 2010 put American lives in danger. But those in support of Assange say he is a journalist who was working in the public interest and that his extradition would contradict both free speech rights and freedom of the press.

Hundreds of people – including Assange’s father and celebrities such as designer Vivienne Westwood and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters – gathered in central London on Saturday to demand his release.

More than 40 international legal experts have written to prime minister Boris Johnson demanding the “rule of law be upheld”, claiming he has not had proper access to his legal team.

The letter was handed in to 10 Downing Street on Saturday and also urged the British legal community to act “urgently” to secure Assange’s release.

Supporters of the WikiLeaks founder also appeared outside the court in Woolwich on Monday morning with placards bearing the messages: “Don’t shoot the messenger, free Assange” and: “Free Julian Assange, Nobel Peace Prize nominee.”

One of his supporters, Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis, said Assange was in a “very dark place” due to spending more than 20 hours a day in solitary confinement, and called for the extradition to be stopped “in the interests of 300 years of modernity, 300 years of trying to establish human rights and civil liberties in the west and around the world”.

Didn’t Donald Trump offer to pardon him, anyway?

The suggestion that Trump offered to pardon Assange first emerged during a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on February 19.

Assange’s barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC highlighted evidence alleging former US Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher had been to see Assange in August 2017, while he was still in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Fitzgerald said Assange was told Trump would offer a pardon – if Assange agreed to say that Russia had not been involved in the leak of Democratic National Committee emails.

Unsurprisingly, almost as soon as the claims were heard, they were strongly refuted by the White House, with press secretary Stephanie Grisham telling reporters: “This is absolutely and completely false.”

The president “barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject,” she said.

“It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never-ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.”

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/who-is-julian-assange-extradition-us-wikileaks_uk_5e53a1f8c5b629695f5d2b47


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Italy Cancels More Sporting Matches As Coronavirus Claims Sixth Victim In North Of Country

By Nadine White

Italy has postponed two further sports fixtures as authorities battle to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the north of the country, which has so far killed six people, according to reports.

Teams were due to compete against Welsh club Ospreys and Irish side Ulster on Saturday in the annual Guinness PRO14 rugby union matches.

But on Monday it was announced they would not go ahead.

Some 50,000 people in Italy are affected by a lockdown in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto.

Prior to Monday’s developments, authorities had already placed restrictions on public gatherings and sporting events there and in Emilia-Romagna.

A Women’s Six Nations game and four Serie A football fixtures were postponed over the weekend.

And Venice’s famed carnival events were cancelled as the number of infected people in the country soared past 200 – the largest number in Europe and the third highest global tally, behind China and South Korea. The sixth death was reported by the Italian state broadcaster RAI but has yet to be confirmed.

The carnival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors to the lagoon city, would have run until Tuesday.

In addition, fixtures in Italy’s national rugby championship – Top 12 – and all domestic rugby activities have also been postponed ahead of next weekend.

Monday’s announcement means Ospreys will no longer play Zebre at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma on Saturday. Nor will Ulster face Benetton at the Stadio Monigo in Treviso later the same day.

“To ensure the safety of our players and spectators, PRO14 Rugby fully supports the preventative measures taken in Italy and will adhere to the directives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local authorities,” read a statement on the PRO14 website.

“The current restrictions are in place until March 1 and PRO14 Rugby will remain in contact with the FIR [Italian Union], Zebre Rugby Club, Benetton Rugby and World Rugby to monitor [the] situation on a daily basis.”

Contingency-planning around the rescheduling of the Round 13 games – Zebre Rugby Club v Ospreys and Benetton v Ulster – are currently underway.

— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 24, 2020

Milan-San Remo, one of the biggest one-day races in the cycling calendar, could also be in doubt.

Mark Cavendish is among the riders targeting the “monument”, scheduled for March 21.

Mauro Vegni, race director for RCS – which organises the event – told Eurosport: “Our hope is that they can stop or slow down the rate of contagion and we can come back to a normal situation. This is for all Italy and Italian people before we think of the races.

“We’re involved with several events coming up. We’re still optimistic with regard to the first two races – Strade-Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico – if nothing more happens of course, but Milan-San Remo is in a different situation. That’s because it involves an area in Lombardy that has quite a lot of problems at the moment.

“We’ve still got three weeks to go and we hope that the situation gets better. Otherwise it’s difficult to think about a Plan B to be honest.

“If the area of Lombardy remains in the same situation, where the race starts in Milan, I think we must fear that the national health administration and the Italian Olympic committee might ask us to cancel Milan-San Remo.”

The latest WHO report has listed 78 countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Concern was also on the rise in neighbouring Austria, which halted all rail traffic to and from Italy for several hours after suspicion that a train at its southern border with Italy had two passengers possibly infected with the virus on board, authorities said.

The Foreign Office has not advised Britons against travel to Italy, but has updated its website with factual information about the situation there.

There are no figures as yet as to whether any Britons are affected by the lockdown and are stuck in Italy.

People in the affected areas are being told to follow public health advice from local Italian authorities.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/italy-cancels-football-matches-amid-coronavirus-concerns_uk_5e53c79cc5b629695f5d8cd0


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A Saharan Sandstorm Has Turned The Canary Islands Red And Stranded Brits

By Chris York

British tourists are slowly returning home after a Saharan sandstorm blowing across the Canary Islands over the weekend turned the popular holiday destination into a Mars-like dystopian landscape.

Red clouds of sand grounded planes flying into and out of the Spanish archipelago’s airports. Departures from Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma and North Tenerife were able to take off on Monday morning, but those departing from South Tenerife continued to be grounded.

Earlier, customer service staff at the airports told the PA news agency they had remained open for passengers – despite there being no flights to board.

Passengers wait at Tenerife South Reina Sofia Airport.

Passengers posted photographs of people sitting on the floor waiting for more information.

A passenger covers his nose and mouth in a cloud of red dust at the airport in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Greg Horsman, 29, was on holiday with his girlfriend and friends on a Tui cruise and was due to fly home to Manchester on Saturday evening.

But they were forced to stay in Gran Canaria for another two nights due to the storm.

A couple walk across a bridge in a cloud of red dust in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

He told PA: “It’s frustrating. We’re just ready to be home.”

Two people in carnival dress walk across a bridge in a cloud of red dust in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Graham Whiteman, 30, arrived at Las Palmas airport at 5pm on Saturday night, but discovered his Tui flight back to Doncaster – which he was due to be on with his fiancee and her family – had been cancelled.

He said: “We were told we needed to check the boards for updates.

“We didn’t get any and then at 1.30am we found a Tui rep, who then sorted us out with a hotel room on the other side of the island at 4am.

“We got an email at 7.58am saying a coach would be leaving the hotel at 8.30am to take us to the airport and we’ve been here ever since.”

A passenger plane finally takes off from the Santa Cruz de Tenerife airport on Monday morning.

Tim Crew, 69, had booked a holiday to Lanzarote with his family after cancelling their previous holiday to Hong Kong and Thailand because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Their BA flight out of Gatwick Airport on Sunday has been cancelled and the family has been booked into a hotel.

He said: “It’s one of those things, really. If no one had talked to us and if there had been obvious problems and culpability, I’d probably be quite annoyed.

“But everyone’s done the right thing. The pilot came out a few times and told us in person and apologised, saying they had no more news at the moment and they were going to send us to a hotel.

“It’s not great – it’s not how I planned it [and] it’s not what I want – but these things happen.”

Two people in carnival dress stand beneath a cloud of red dust in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

A spokesperson for Tui said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to customers for the disruption caused by the adverse and changeable weather conditions in the Canary Islands on February 22 and February 23.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority and we are working tirelessly to find the best solutions for all our customers.”

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/saharan-sandstorm-canary-islands_uk_5e53c5bcc5b6a4525dbe22c7


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Body Of Boy, 13, Pulled From Flood-Hit River Near Bishop Auckland

By Kate Forrester

The body of a teenage boy, believed to be aged 13, has been pulled from a river.

The discovery was made by Durham Police in the River Wear, near Bishop Auckland, on Monday.

“A multi-agency search operation was launched last night following reports that a person had gone into the river near Toronto Bridge,” a spokesperson for the force said.

“Sadly, the body of a teenager was found in the river this morning. Formal identification has yet to take place, but it is believed to be the body of a 13-year-old boy.

“His family have been informed and our thoughts are with them at this tragic time.”

Police said the death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.

“We would like to thank our colleagues from Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, National Police Air Service (NPAS) and the coastguard for their assistance during the search,” the force added.

The River Wear burst its banks at Durham earlier this month when Storm Dennis hit the region, flooding parts of the town centre.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/body-of-boy-13-pulled-from-river-near-bishop-auckland_uk_5e53ce05c5b629695f5da056


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'Pre-Diabetes' Cases Reach Record High – Why Is It Such A Problem?

By Natasha Hinde

A record number of people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the NHS has said.

Around two million people have the “pre-diabetes” condition known as non-diabetic hyperglycaemia – and the scale of the problem is likely to become worse.

So why is non-diabetic hyperglycaemia an issue, what’s causing it and can it be prevented?

What is it?

If you have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, you have raised blood glucose levels – but not in the diabetic range. Think of it as your body offering up a warning sign.

People with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as other cardiovascular conditions.

The growing number of people with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 extra people suffering a heart attack in 2035, predictions show, and more than 50,000 experiencing a stroke.

Why care about pre-diabetes?

Just like type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes is largely preventable – or at the very least, you can slow it down. NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said people simply need to take “small, common-sense steps” to control their health.

“Unless many more of us make a change,” he continued, “obesity-related illnesses will end up costing hundreds of thousands more lives and billions of pounds in higher treatment costs.”

People can find out if they have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia through blood tests that determine the levels of glucose in their blood. There aren’t any symptoms, so you won’t know you have it unless you get a blood test.

How can it be prevented?

A key way to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and pre-diabetes, is to manage your weight. If you’re overweight, losing just 5% of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet can also help – a Mediterranean diet is a good place to start. Or, try a veggie or vegan diet.

Diabetes UK suggests aiming to eat foods with less saturated fat, salt and sugar, as well as at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Meanwhile, have fewer red and processed meats, refined carbs (white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice), sugary drinks and fries.

You should focus on becoming more active – find something you enjoy though, otherwise the chances of you sticking to it will be slim. A sedentary lifestyle is linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The chief medical officer’s physical activity guidelines suggest that every week, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity (brisk walking or cycling) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity (running).

Chris Askew, chief executive at Diabetes UK, estimates more than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes − and the devastating complications it can lead to − could be prevented or delayed by making these changes.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/non-diabetic-hyperglycaemia-impacts-2-million-brits-why-is-it-such-a-problem_uk_5e5394c3c5b6b82aa6558ab4


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Pete Buttigieg Helps 9-Year-Old Come Out To The World In Emotional Exchange

By Sanjana Karanth

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg shared a heartfelt moment on Saturday when a young boy asked the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor to help him come out to the world.

“Thank you for being so brave,” 9-year-old Zachary Ro wrote in a question read during the openly gay candidate’s rally in Denver. “Would you help me tell the world I’m gay, too? I want to be brave like you.”

Zachary, who reportedly attended the rally with his parents, then joined Buttigieg onstage and gave him a bracelet as the crowd responded with loud applause.

“I don’t think you need a lot of advice from me on bravery. You seem pretty strong,” Buttigieg told the child. “It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay, let alone to go out there and tell the world. And to see you willing to come to terms with who you are in a room full of 1,000 people, thousands of people you’ve never met, that’s really something.”

Powerful moment (better audio): 9 year old Zachary Ro of Lone Tree asks @PeteButtigieg how he can be brave and tell people he is gay too pic.twitter.com/1aUbYM8cDM

— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) February 23, 2020

The former mayor then told Zachary that he does have some tips for him “that might be useful.”

“The first thing is that it won’t always be easy, but that’s OK because you know who you are. And that’s really important, because when you know who you are, you have a center of gravity that can hold you together when all kinds of chaos is happening around you,” Buttigieg said.

“The second thing I want you to know is that you’ll never know who’s taking their lead from you, who’s watching you and deciding that they can be a little braver because you have been brave,” he continued.

Buttigieg came out in his 30s after he returned from deployment in Afghanistan and had already been elected mayor. The Indiana native told his coming-out story at a Democratic debate last year, marking the first time in US history that the public had heard a presidential candidate publicly talk about their coming-out experience.

“When I was trying to figure who I was, I was afraid that who I was might mean that I could never make a difference,” Buttigieg told Zachary. “And what wound up happening instead is that it’s a huge part of the difference I get to make. I never could’ve seen that coming. And you’ll never know who’s life you might be affecting right now just by standing here, right now. There’s a lot of power in that.”

With Buttigieg being the first openly gay presidential candidate in the country’s history, the candidate’s campaignhas faced homophobic comments ― mostly from the right ― on whether the US is ready for, or even wants, a gay president.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh recently made homophobic remarks about Buttigieg kissing his husband on the debate stage and questioned on his show how it would play out with voters if the former mayor is the presidential nominee.

“I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband,” @petebuttigieg responds to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s recent comments. “I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.” #CNNSOTUhttps://t.co/bOje6TVl1spic.twitter.com/icNbNMetlw

— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) February 16, 2020

Buttigieg responded to Limbaugh’s comments last week, saying he does not take “lectures on family values” from the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient who is known for his hateful positions on marginalized groups.

“Well, I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband,” the candidate told CNN of Chasten Buttigieg. “Onstage, we usually just go for a hug. But I love him very much, and I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.”

About 78% of Americans said they would vote for someone who is gay or lesbian if the person is a party’s “well-qualified” presidential candidate, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this month.

Buttigieg said that while he can’t promise Zachary it will always be easy, “I can promise you that I’m gonna be rooting for you.” The two were then joined onstage by Chasten Buttigieg, who walked Zachary back to his parents.

“I think you’ve already got it together, so I’m excited to see what you’re going to do as a leader,” the former mayor told Zachary. “Just promise me you won’t run for president until after I’m done because I think you might be strong competition.”

I caught up with 9 year old Zachary after he was brought on stage and asked @PeteButtigieg his question. His dad told me off camera he was proud of his son. pic.twitter.com/CsO60aQiUh

— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) February 23, 2020

Zachary told a KDVR-TV reporter after the event that the former mayor gave him “some really good advice.” The reporter said Zachary’s father told him he was proud of his son.

“I just feel inspired by Pete being openly gay and running for president at the same time,” Zachary told the station. “Someday I wanna be like him.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Pete Buttigieg came out in his 20s. He was 33.

Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/pete-buttigieg-9-year-old-coming-out_uk_5e53a209c5b6b82aa655b94f


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Tesco Launches Plasters In Diverse Skin Tones. Here's Why That Matters

By Rachel Moss

Tesco has become the first UK supermarket to launch plasters in a diverse range of skin tones. The plasters come in dark, medium and light shades and will be available online and in store from Monday.

The supermarket said it developed the plasters after an employee saw a viral tweet in which a Black man said he was “holding back tears” at finding a plaster that matched his skin tone after 45 years.

Paulette Balson, chairwoman of the ‘BAME at Tesco’ network, said: “No UK supermarket had ever stocked plasters in a range of skin tones before and we saw this as an opportunity for Tesco to lead the charge and make a genuine difference.

“Through our research within the network, we know how emotive a product like this can be. For example, one colleague reported that their child had felt self-conscious wearing a plaster on their face to school recently, because it didn’t match their skin tone and stood out.”

To date, plasters or bandages in diverse skin tones have not been sold at a major UK supermarket, with just a small number of independent businesses selling them online.

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  • Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/tesco-launches-plasters-in-diverse-skin-tones_uk_5e53931fc5b629695f5cfa71


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    The 8 Best Pram, Carrycot and Car Seat Travel Systems, Recommended By Parents

    By Victoria Richards

    HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change.

    All The Gear, No Idea is a regular series from HuffPost Finds where we feature product recommendations for parents, by parents.

    There’s not much more baffling when you’re preparing to become a parent for the first time than pram paraphernalia.

    And if you’re anything like I was – seven years ago, with a tiny, squirming new baby – you’ll soon realise that you don’t just need a pram, at all. You need a pram that fits a carrycot and a car seat… in one.

    As I soon learned, it’s much easier to move your sleeping baby from the pram to the car while keeping them in their car seat, rather than having to pick them up to transfer them to the car. That way, screaming lies. Shudder.

    Travel systems might be more expensive than a stroller or single pram (and if you can beg, steal or borrow the components separately, then do so), but if you’re looking for a new purchase, then go for an all-in-one. Trust me.

    They work like this: you have a pushchair chassis (ideally compact, study and lightweight) that can hold either a carrycot or the pushchair’s standard, forward-facing seat.

    There will usually be adaptors included (or sold separately) to fit a rear-facing car seat, too – and all three can be changed around at the click of a button.

    Sometimes the car seat is included in the price of the travel system, but most simply include the adaptors to fit the most commonly-known brands, such as Maxi Cosi or Britax (meaning you can use it with a second-hand or borrowed car seat to save money).

    Here are the best of the bunch, as recommended by HuffPost readers who’ve been there.

    Baby Jogger City Mini Single i-Size Complete Travel System, The Baby Room, £531.99

    Baby Jogger City Mini Single i-Size Complete Travel System, The Baby Room, £531.99

    This complete Baby Jogger travel system can be used from birth. It comes with a compact carrycot, a City Go i-Size car seat and adaptors, allowing you to change easily from car to stroller. It comes with a lifetime frame warranty and a one-year textiles warranty, too.

    Review: Lucy Tran, mum of two

    “The Baby Jogger pushchair collapses in one quick easy movement and can be used from birth. It has a carrycot and a normal pram attachment, and you can also use it with a car seat. It’s very sturdy. I’ve used it every day for five years! It’s been on loads of long-haul flights and is still as strong as ever. It’s medium range price, too, so excellent value for money.”

    Buy it here.

    Bugaboo Donkey 2 Twin Travel System, Bugaboo, from £1,430

    Bugaboo Donkey 2 Twin Travel System, Bugaboo, from £1,430

    Bought new, Bugaboo comes with a three-year warranty. This version includes two pushchairs (each 74cm wide), which weigh 15kg. It folds down in one piece, and the seats are designed to hold infants weighing up to 22kg per seat. There’s a roomy storage basket under the seats that can hold up to 28 litres (10kg). Adaptors are compatible with Chicco, Britax-Romer and Maxi Cosi car seats.

    Review: Hannah Hearne, mum of three

    “I love it! You buy an adapter and can slot car seats in. You can buy a single or double adapter, so you can have one or two car seats at the same time. It looks huge, but it’s really easy to manoeuvre – so much easier than the single Britax I had for baby number one. The downsides are that it’s wide, and sometimes you struggle to get through doors, so I spend a lot of time telling people off for their premises not being accessible! But I’m still using it and the twins are two-and-a-half, now.”

    Buy it here.

    ABC Design 2018 Salsa 4 Pushchair & Carrycot (Piano), Amazon, £459

    ABC Design 2018 Salsa 4 Pushchair & Carrycot (Piano), Amazon, £459

    This doesn’t come with a car seat included but can be adapted to fit Maxi Cosi, Kiddy and Cybex car seats on the same chassis. The carrycot and seat unit are available from birth and can fit infants up to 25kg. The carrycot can also be used for overnight sleeping, meaning you’ll be saving on the cost of a Moses basket. It also includes a matching rain cover, cup holder and mosquito net.

    Review: Sian Kneller, mum of one

    “I had an ABC Design travel system – the Turbo 6 – and found it solid and well-made and easy to fold down. They look elegant and have good storage capacity, such as a basket and clips for a changing bag. I never see it on any comparison sites – maybe because it’s a German brand.”

    *The Turbo 6 is no longer available, but we checked the specifications and found them comparable to this model by the same manufacturer.

    Buy it here.

    Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller, Kiddies Kingdom, £265

    Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller, Kiddies Kingdom, £265

    This is the only car seat in the world with integrated wheels. The Doona goes from seat to stroller in seconds. It’s suitable from birth until 13kg. This version comes with a free rain cover, worth £24.99. We’ve never seen a product like this before – and couldn’t stop watching this video.

    Review: Holly Whiteford, mum of one

    “The Doona was the best thing I’ve ever bought. My son is too big for it now and I miss it every single day! It just made everything so much easier. I never had to get the pram out of the car when I was quickly popping to the shops or doing the school run, and I didn’t have to transfer my sleeping son from car seat to pram. I would recommended it to every new mum!”

    Buy it here.

    Stokke® Xplory® Black, Stokke, from £671.30

    Stokke® Xplory® Black, Stokke, from £671.30

    The Stokke stroller looks different to any other on the market – because of its height. The idea, the manufacturers say, is to raise your baby higher “to promote eye contact and connection”, which we love. Suitable from birth, the Stokke is a travel system when combined with the additional Stokke Xplory carrycot (£125, buy it here) or the Stokke® iZi Go™ X1 car seat by BeSafe® (£229, buy it here) – which can be used without need for extra adaptors. Or, you can buy the adaptors as accessories for use with other car seat models, such as the Chicco (£42, buy it here).

    Review: Laura Johns, mum of two

    “The Stokke is more expensive than other travel systems, but as soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it. It’s slim and sleek and you can easily take it into shops without worrying you’re going to knock everything over! I’ve used it for both children and found having conversations with them while they were in it really easy, because they were almost at my eye level.”

    Buy it here.

    Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle Complete Travel System, The Baby Room, £722

    Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle Complete Travel System, The Baby Room, £722

    If you like going off-road, this might just be the travel system for you. It’s touted as an “all-rounder for parents who want flexibility” – and promises a one-hand fast fold, a conveniently located hand-braking system, rear wheel suspension and 12-inch air-filled tyres. This package comes with the ‘Protect Car Seat and Carrycot’, as well as car seat adaptors, a shopping basket, storage pockets and a bottle holder. It has a warranty for up to three years.

    Review: Carla Pedonomou, mum of four

    “I love the Mountain Buggy because it’s great for taking the kids to school and for taking the dog for a walk. It has inflated wheels and is excellent for the forest. We live right by the woods and we’re always in there.”

    Buy it here.

    iCandy Raspberry Pushchair in Chrome/Bloomsbury Black, John Lewis, from £580

    iCandy Raspberry Pushchair in Chrome/Bloomsbury Black, John Lewis, from £580

    The iCandy is aimed at urban parents, because it’s lightweight (just 6.6kg), compact and nimble – perfect for nipping in and out of busy streets. The pushchair is light and easily foldable, and comes in a 3-in-1 design to adapt to a car seat, a carrycot and a reversible seat position. The reclinable seat can also be adjusted to three different positions: to sit the baby up straight when awake, recline when relaxed or lie flat when asleep. The baby faces the parent and there’s a concealed storage pod which holds weight up to 5kg. There’s an optional Raspberry Universal carrycot (sold separately for £180, buy it here). Car seat adaptors are sold separately and the iCandy fits a range of car seats, including Maxi Cosi, BeSafe and Kiddy Evolution. It comes with a five-year guarantee.

    Review: Matt Thomas, dad of one

    “We chose it because it was lightweight and narrow (it fits through the tube barriers, not just the big gates), and we could use it with a car seat. It says you can use the buggy from newborn with a special pod, but I’m glad we bought the pram attachment which was nice and cosy. I like the fact it’s so manoeuvrable. There’s no bar, so the baby feels a bit out in the open sometimes, but there are other plus points – like a giant basket. We bring nets of logs home in it for the fire.”

    Buy it here.

    BABYZEN YOYO+ Pushchair, Black/Black, John Lewis, from £389

    BABYZEN YOYO+ Pushchair, Black/Black, John Lewis, from £389

    The BABYZEN YOYO+ is described as a “one pocket-rocker travel system”, eliminating the need for multiple strollers. Ideal for everything from everyday errands, to travelling by car, bus, train or plane. To use the YOYO+ from birth you’ll need to purchase the BABYZEN YOYO+ Newborn Pack (including carry-cot, sold separately for £190, buy it here). There’s also a coordinating car seat: the BABYZEN iZi Go Modular by BeSafe (sold separately for £240, including adapters, buy it here) – which you can connect to the stroller frame in just two clicks. If you want to use the pram chassis with other car seats – such as Maxi Cosi, BeSafe and Cybex – you’ll need these adaptors (sold separately for £53.96, buy it here).

    Review: Sarah Williams, mum of one

    “I absolutely love the Babyzen Yoyo. It’s my first baby and he’s very active. The Babyzen is perfect for him as it’s light and compact and I can get him in and out of it easily. It can go on the plane as hand luggage because it’s so small – which was handy on a recent long-haul trip to South Africa, as we could take it through the gate and on to the plane with us. It’s not hugely expensive. The only downside is that it’s not brilliant off-road.”

    Buy it here.

    HuffPost UK

    Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/best-travel-systems-pram-car-seat-carrycot-review-parents_uk_5df0c20ae4b01e0f29574bb8


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    My boyfriend’s wedding dress unveiled my own shortcomings over masculinity

    By Emily Halnon

    I’m quick to blame men for their toxic behavior, but in this case, I, the woman, was part of the problem

    My gaze scanned the colorful racks of clothing and stopped abruptly on something I’d never expected to see: my boyfriend was clutching a wedding dress – that he wanted to buy for himself.

    “Emily!” he cried with victorious glee. “I’ve found the one!”

    Continue reading…

    Via:: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/feb/24/my-boyfriend-wedding-dress-unveiled-shortcomings-masculinity


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    Love Island Crowns Its Winners Finley Tapp And Paige Turley In Emotional Final Dedicated To Caroline Flack

    By Matt Bagwell

    Finley Tapp and Paige Turley have won the first ever series of winter

    A post shared by Love Island (@loveisland) on Feb 23, 2020 at 2:44pm PST

    Siannise and Luke T came in second place, while Luke M and Demi came in third place and Jess and Ched were fourth.

    Earlier in the programme, Finn – a semi-professional footballer from Milton Keynes – had declared his love for Paige as the finalists made their declarations of love for each other.

    Breaking down in tears in the pre-recorded segment, he said: “Paigey, I want you to know I love you.”

    Paige, a singer from West Lothian who previously dated chart-topping star Lewis Capaldi, told him: “You brought out a side to me that no-one has ever seen.”

    The final episode of the winter series of Love Island came just over a week after former Love Island host Caroline Flack died at the age of 40.

    An emotional Laura paid tribute to the presenter earlier in the live final, held in Cape Town, South Africa, telling viewers that it has been “extremely difficult coming to terms with the loss of our friend and colleague Caroline”.

    She added: “We’re thinking of her family and everyone who knew her at this time.

    “Caroline loved Love Island, she loved love, and that’s why tonight’s final is dedicated to her.”

    A montage of footage from Caroline’s time hosting Love Island and companion show Aftersun since 2015 was played.

    An ITV spokeswoman confirmed earlier on Sunday that the finalists had been told of her death off camera before the live final.

    Ahead of the episode, Laura had tweeted a thanks to her boyfriend, Love Island narrator Iain Stirling, “for a brilliant series and helping me every step of the way”.

    She added: “Tonight’s show is dedicated to Caroline.”

    The final of Love Island tonight at 9pm. Big up to @IainDoesJokes for a brilliant series and helping me every step of the way. Tonight’s show is dedicated to Caroline ❤️

    — Laura Whitmore (@thewhitmore) February 23, 2020

    Caroline was replaced by her friend Laura on the latest series following the late star’s arrest on an assault charge.

    She was found dead at her flat last Saturday after taking her own life as she awaited trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

    At the end of the programme, Laura confirmed that the regular summer series of Love Island will take place in its usual location of Mallorca later this year.

    Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/love-island-final-2020-winter-finley-tapp-paige-turley-caroline-flack_uk_5e5378a2c5b6b82aa6554b3b


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    Coronavirus: China Revokes Wuhan Announcement Easing Lockdown

    By Nadine White SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 24: A disinfection professional 
wears protective gear spray anti-septic solution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) at a traditional market on February 24, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has raised the coronavirus alert to the

    An announcement that Wuhan would relax some of its travel restrictions and allow some people to leave was made without authorisation and has been revoked, local government in China has said.

    The city at the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak that has already killed more than 2,500 people said it would continue to impose strict controls over its borders in order to prevent the virus from spreading further.

    It said it had reprimanded the people responsible for the earlier announcement that healthy people would be allowed to leave if they had vital business.

    The earlier announcement came amid signs that the spread of the virus in China was slowing, with more than 20 province-level jurisdictions reporting zero new infections on Sunday and several regions lowering their emergency response levels.

    Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, has been under lockdown for a month. It reported 348 new infections on Sunday, and 131 deaths.

    The city alone has seen an accumulated 46,607 cases of infection, amounting to around 60% of China’s national total.

    South Korea’s fourth-largest city Daegu grew increasingly isolated as the number of infections there increased rapidly, with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air suspending flights to the city until March 9 and March 28 respectively.

    “If we cannot block the spread in the Daegu region in an effective way, there are high possibilities it would lead to a nationwide transmission,” Vice Health Minister Kim Kang-lip told reporters.

    In Europe, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said he would talk to his European counterparts soon to discuss how best to cope with a possible epidemic in Europe, after Italy reported a third death from the flu-like virus and 150 infections, from just three before Friday.

    “Tonight, there is no epidemic in France. But there is a problematic situation at the door, in Italy, that we are watching with great attention,” Veran told a news conference.

    In mainland China, where the virus originated late last year, more than 20 province-level jurisdictions including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as provinces such as Henan and Anhui, reported zero infections, the most since the outbreak began.

    China President Xi Jinping urged businesses to get back to work though he said the epidemic was still “severe and complex, and prevention and control work is in the most difficult and critical stage”.

    Yunnan, Guangdong, Shanxi and Guizhou provinces lowered their coronavirus emergency response measures from the most serious level, joining the provinces of Gansu and Liaoning to relax restrictions on movements.

    Excluding Wuhan, mainland China reported 11 new cases of coronavirus, the lowest number since the national health authority started publishing nationwide figures on January 20.

    The virus has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed more than 2,500 in China, mostly in Wuhan.

    Outside mainland China, the outbreak has spread to about 28 other countries and territories, with a death toll of around two dozen, according to a Reuters tally.

    Italy sealed off the worst-affected towns and banned public gatherings in much of the north, including halting the carnival in Venice, where there were two cases, to try to contain the biggest outbreak in Europe.

    Austria suspended train services over the Alps from Italy for about four hours after two travellers showed symptoms of fever. The train carrying about 300 passengers from Venice, Italy, to Munich in Germany was allowed to continue after the two tested negative for the new coronavirus.

    Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said a coronavirus task force would meet on Monday to discuss whether to introduce border controls with Italy.

    Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/coronavirus-china-lifts-lockdown-on-wuhan-as-global-cases-increase_uk_5e537539c5b6a4525dbd55c4


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    Michael Bloomberg Confirms He Used Prison Labor To Make 2020 Campaign Calls

    By Ja’han Jones

    Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been exploiting prison labor to make calls on behalf of his campaign, The Intercept reported on Wednesday.

    The Bloomberg campaign contracted a call center company named ProCom through a third-party vendor to conduct the calls, according to the report. ProCom operates call centers in New Jersey and Oklahoma, and two of its Oklahoma centers operate out of prisons.

    A source told The Intercept that some people incarcerated at the Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, a minimum-security women’s prison in Oklahoma that houses one of the call centers, have made calls for the Bloomberg 2020 campaign.

    “The people were required to end their calls by disclosing that the calls were paid for by the Bloomberg campaign,” reporter John Washington wrote. “They did not disclose, however, that they were calling from behind bars.”

    Bloomberg confirmed the report in a statement Tuesday but said he knew nothing about prison laborers being used to make calls on his behalf. He said he “immediately” ended the campaign’s relationship with ProCom and the vendor that acquired their services.

    Bloomberg campaign responds to that Intercept story. pic.twitter.com/CYdbcNwZev

    — Asma Khalid (@asmamk) December 24, 2019

    Bloomberg is among the pool of remaining candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, but he has failed to gain much traction since announcing his candidacy in November.

    The former mayor has not weighed in on a question that has been debated among the other Democratic candidates: whether he believes incarcerated individuals should be allowed to vote.

    Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/michael-bloomberg-used-prison-labor_uk_5e5378a8c5b6b82aa6554b50


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    WTF Is Hypnobirthing And Does It *Actually* Work?

    By Victoria Richards

    What actually is hypnobirthing?

    Hypnobirthing is basically a pre-birth preparation that tries to give pregnant women a positive view of birth – as well as a belief that it doesn’t have to be painful, states the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). The aim is a shorter, more comfortable labour, with less need for intervention. And the practice teaches women that pain is a fear response you can avoid by learning the right techniques. It’s usually taught face-to-face in classes – either over five to eight weekly sessions, or two longer daytime sessions. It can also be taught online.

    Katharine Graves, a hypnobirthing teacher who trained midwives at the Lindo Wing, where the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth, has been teaching the practice for 15 years – usually delivering classes over a two-day period. She says combatting the fear of mothers-to-be is the main objective.

    “As soon as a bump shows, you’re told horror stories,” she says. “You see traumatic births in the movies – fear is everywhere. We have limited resources in our hospitals and birth can often feel like a conveyor belt, with women put under huge pressure to be induced. They’re not told of the alternatives. Hypnobirthing gives you alternatives.”

    A common misconception about hypnobirthing is that women lose control of their thoughts and actions in a hypnotic state, the NCT says. “In fact, women who learn hypnobirthing use it to be less aware of external stimuli. They also learn to have a more focused attention and responsiveness to verbal or non-verbal suggestions. The idea is that these suggestions might make her feel safer, more relaxed and comfortable, and give her some relief from her pain.”

    What do women learn?

    Mum-of-three Siobhan Miller had a positive experience of hypnobirthing – and later went on to become a teacher. Common techniques women learn, she explains, include an introduction to the science and biology around labour and birth, followed by relaxation exercises – such as breathing in for four, and out for eight, in blocks of four – throughout a contraction.

    There is also mindfulness involved, guided meditation, ‘light touch massage’ which can be done by a partner, and information on induction and intervention. Women are encouraged to make simple decision-making frameworks, weighing up the benefits and risks. They’re also taught what to expect from labour and how to deal with additional challenges, such as haemorrhaging.

    So, does it really work?

    Zeenath Uddin, head of quality and safety at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says there is evidence that women feel more “confident, relaxed, less fearful, focused, and more in control when using hypnobirthing” – but it’s important the technique is taught by competent practitioners.

    “Many midwives are qualified and trained to do this,” Uddin says. “What is most important is women are getting all the available information when it comes to pain control and birthing techniques so they can make an informed choice that is right for them. We do know that for many women who use hypnobirthing it works and enables them to manage their pain in labour quite effectively.”

    Not many studies have looked at the effects of hypnosis in labour and childbirth – although one review found that hypnosis might reduce the overall use of pain relief during labour, except for epidural use.

    Miller, who founded The Positive Birth Company and has written a book about the benefits of hypnobirthing, can also attest to the benefits. She had her first baby when she was 21. It was a long process, involving a cascade of intervention – and she suffered from postnatal anxiety for a year after. When she fell pregnant again, seven years later, she thought there had to be a better way. She was doing a Masters degree in psychology, and was interested in the power of the mind. So, she went on a two-day hypnobirthing course.

    “It’s very common for women who’ve experienced birth trauma to seek control… so I went on to plan a home birth with my second child, and used the techniques I’d learned through hypnobirthing,” she says. “It was life-changing. It lasted just two hours 20 minutes. I felt euphoric when he was born – elated, capable, strong and empowered – and my sense of confidence carried on. I felt like I could do anything, simply because I gave birth on the sofa!”

    After she trained as a teacher, Miller offered an online hypnobirthing course. In the first month, she says 15,000 women signed up. “It was overwhelming,” Miller says. “But it just went to show how many women wanted something different to help them take back control of their birth experience.”

    Miller believes the techniques can also be used by women having surgery – “If you’re having a C-section, these are techniques that can help you feel calm and grounded and confident. You can even have your own music playing, but lots of women don’t know that. As the saying goes: ‘If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.’”

    Does it work for everyone?

    Lots of women share their positive stories of hypnobirthing – but it doesn’t work for everyone. The NCT says there can be a difference between what you expect to, or hope, will happen during labour and the reality of your birth experience. It can also take time to learn about hypnobirthing, practise it and master the breathing, visualisation and self-hypnosis techniques.

    London-based mum Nicola has previously blogged about it not working for her. Despite being a “huge advocate of hypnobirthing during [her] pregnancy”, and reciting the affirmations “word for word” by the time she was 40 weeks pregnant, things didn’t go to plan.

    “The line that was ringing in my ears the whole way through, the line that ‘empowered’ me to refuse the stretch and sweeps and induction was: ‘my body and baby know what to do’,” she wrote on her blog. “I had listened to it twice a day for months, I believed it. I can now confirm neither my body nor the baby knew how to get things started!”

    Others have also shared stories of hypnobirthing not working for them online – but like everything in life, it’s different for everyone. What works for you, might not work for someone else. Find out more about hypnobirthing on the NCT website.

    Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/wtf-is-hypnobirthing-and-should-i-try-it_uk_5e4e6d45c5b6d3f9c6c523ef


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    8 Tips To Make Weeknight Family Dinners Easier

    By Kate Auletta

    For many parents, weeknight family dinners can be hard to swing. Between kids’ commitments and parents’ work schedules, getting dinner on the table so you can all eat together is often a challenge.

    There are, of course, innumerable
    27 Baby Names That Have Been Banned Around The World

  • Stop Flaking. Just Say Yes Or No To Social Plans

  • Life In Foster Care Is Isolating, Frightening And Lonely. But I’m Proof You Can Survive
  • Also on HuffPost

    Via:: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/8-tips-to-make-weeknight-family-dinners-easier_uk_5e4ff423c5b629695f59bb80


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    Should we ration fashion? Lessons in sustainability from the second world war

    By Clare Farrell

    Fashion culture now would benefit from studying the ‘make do and mend’ attitude of the second world war, says Extinction Rebellion co-founder Clare Farrell

    • Read more from the spring/summer 2020 edition of The Fashion, our biannual style supplement

    A wartime-style economy is often cited as a potential path towards meeting our international carbon emissions agreements. In debates about the fashion industry, the idea of a shift as radical as the one that took place in the second world war is frequently mooted in conversations about sustainability.

    Clearly this is a problematic comparison. It is important not to romanticise the violence of war or glamorise the reality of political states of emergency. But there is a reason the idea keeps being raised. The war is the most recent time in which the economy was overhauled in the face of an existential threat. It is the closest demonstration we have that quick, radical change is possible if we all come together.

    Continue reading…

    Via:: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/feb/24/should-we-ration-fashion-lessons-in-sustainability-from-the-second-world-war


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