• Joe Swash shares hilarious image of an exhausted Stacey Solomon
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Joe Swash shares hilarious image of an exhausted Stacey Solomon

    Stacey Solomon has been struggling to sleep since the birth of her third child Rex, and boyfriend Joe Swash has now shared an image of her crashed out out on the sofa.

  • Jessie J opens up on 'pressure' of Channing Tatum relationship
    News
    Evening Standard

    Jessie J opens up on 'pressure' of Channing Tatum relationship

    Jessie J has said the paparazzi put pressure on her relationship with Channing Tatum by photographing them before they were official.The notoriously private couple have been dating since around October last year, but have remained tight lipped on their romance.But Jessie J opened up to The Times of London, saying: “Chan and I got photographed before our relationship was even a thing and that created such pressure.”She revealed the couple recently enjoyed their first holiday together, but declined to give any more details.“We’ve needed time to get to know each other,” she said. “We’ve just had our first holiday together, which was wonderful, but that’s all I’m saying.” Asked what qualities she looks for in a man, she replied: “I always look for a guy with a good sense of humor and good morals. And hygiene. A man who showers is very important.”Tatum recently posted a naked picture of himself in the shower after he lost a bet with the Price Tag singer during a game of Jenga.“I lost a game of Jenga to Jessica Cornish,” he wrote on Instagram. “The loser (me) had to post a picture the other person (Jessica Cornish) picked... Smh and fml... I’m never playing Jenga with her ever again.”Jessie made clear her appreciation for the post, telling Tatum “sharing is caring”, before adding a fire and heart-eyes emojis.The pair first made headlines after Jessie was spotted showing her support for the star at his Magic Mike Live show in London last year. He was also pictured at one of her gigs in London.She last week broke her silence on their relationship, saying she is “very content with life”.Quizzed on her love life by Dan Wooton on Lorraine, Jessie J laughed and said: “No comment. I am just very content with my life. Everyone deserves happiness.”

  • Woman in her 80s seriously injured in crash with Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s convoy
    News
    The Independent

    Woman in her 80s seriously injured in crash with Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s convoy

    A woman in her 80s is in a serious condition in hospital after an accident involving the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's convoy.William and Kate were on their way to a ceremony in Windsor on Monday when a marked police motorbike in their convoy was involved in a collision with the woman on Upper Richmond Road, Richmond, south-west London.The woman was taken to hospital in a critical condition, Scotland Yard said.The duke and duchess are “deeply concerned and saddened” by what happened and have been in touch with the woman who they say is called Irene, Kensington Palace said.The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the circumstances of the collision which involved a motorcycle attached to the Royalty and Specialist Protection Command. An IOPC spokesman said: “The woman, in her 80s, suffered serious injuries and was taken to a London hospital where she remains in a serious but stable condition.“In line with procedure, the Metropolitan Police Service referred the collision to the IOPC.“Our staff attended the scene of the incident and after careful consideration, we have launched an independent investigation.“The investigation is in its very early stages and the officer involved is assisting our enquiries as a witness.“Our immediate thoughts are with the injured woman and her family and those affected by the incident.”Kensington Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were deeply concerned and saddened to hear about the accident on Monday afternoon.“Their Royal Highnesses have sent their very best wishes to Irene and her family and will stay in touch throughout every stage of her recovery.”It is understood that the couple have sent flowers.The accident took place at around 12.50pm on Monday when the royal couple were on their way to Windsor for the St George’s Chapel service commemorating the Order of the Garter.Earlier this year, the Duke of Edinburgh, 98, surrendered his driving licence after a crash at Sandringham.Philip flipped his Land Rover Freelander on January 17 after colliding with a Kia as he pulled out onto the A149 in Norfolk.Press Association

  • Jeremy Corbyn to change Brexit position and 'back second referendum in all circumstances’
    News
    Yahoo News UK

    Jeremy Corbyn to change Brexit position and 'back second referendum in all circumstances’

    The Labour leader is set to back a move to change the party’s Brexit policy.

  • Corrie's Bethany issues a warning over Adam Barlow
    News
    Digital Spy

    Corrie's Bethany issues a warning over Adam Barlow

    She fears her mum has chosen the wrong man.

  • Nigel Farage milkshake attacker Paul Crowther says he regrets his actions and wants to apologise to Brexit Party leader
    News
    Evening Standard

    Nigel Farage milkshake attacker Paul Crowther says he regrets his actions and wants to apologise to Brexit Party leader

    The man who “milkshaked” Nigel Farage today said he regrets his actions and wants to apologise to the Brexit Party leader.Paul Crowther launched a £5.25 Five Guys banana and salted caramel milkshake at Mr Farage as he campaigned in Newcastle city centre ahead of the European elections last month.The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to common assault and criminal damage at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and was fined £520, including £350 compensation for Mr Farage.Speaking to LBC on Wednesday, Crowther said the attack wasn’t pre-planned and wasn’t “the right thing to do”.Recalling the incident, he told presenter Nick Ferrari: “I’d gone for a milkshake. I was on my way back. I had seen a Brexit rally. Then he emerged from the crowd.“I don’t think anything went through my mind. It was a total loss of any kind of rationality or logic.“I do [regret my actions] and I do want to apologise to Mr Farage for what I did.”Crowther, who lost his job as a result of the attack, went on: “Despite my feelings about the man, logically would I say that’s the right thing to do? No, I wouldn’t.“I’m a very strong believer in democracy and the right to speak and I absolutely regret what I did.“I hadn’t been drinking, it was 12 o’clock! The only thing I had been drinking was milkshake.”The incident came during a spate of milkshake attacks on right-wing candidates including Ukip’s Carl Benjamin and English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson.Mr Farage said afterwards that “normal campaigning is becoming impossible”.Prosecutor James Long told the court on Tuesday that Mr Farage would not have known “whether it was a harmless liquid or something, in this day and age, far more sinister”.An online fundraising page to pay Crowther’s court costs has raised more than £1,700.Graeme Rayner, who set up the page, said Crowther supports the fundraising.Mr Rayner added: “Throwing a milkshake over someone is, in my opinion, relatively harmless.”The Standard has approached the Brexit Party for comment on Crowther's apology.

  • Tusk pushes against Franco-German tussle over top EU jobs
    News
    Reuters

    Tusk pushes against Franco-German tussle over top EU jobs

    BRUSSELS/PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) - European Council President Donald Tusk put pressure on EU leaders on Wednesday to swiftly agree on who should hold the bloc's top jobs but a tug-of-war between Germany and France was likely to prevent a deal at a summit on Thursday. The bloc's 28 national leaders meet in Brussels to haggle over who to put in the five prominent positions that would help the EU navigate through a raft of internal and external challenges in the coming years. "There are different views, different interests, but also a common will to finalise this process before the first session of the European Parliament," Tusk said in an invitation letter to the 28 national leaders.

  • UK weather forecast: Met Office issues flood warnings as heavy thunderstorms lash Britain
    News
    The Independent

    UK weather forecast: Met Office issues flood warnings as heavy thunderstorms lash Britain

    Rain, hail and lighting is expected to hit already-flooded parts of the UK bringing a renewed risk of floods, power cuts and travel disruptions.Tuesday saw torrential rain and thunderstorms lash the country – with the worst hit areas in the southeast suffering power cuts and severe flooding.Today, the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning, with thunderstorms forecast to linger until later this evening around many of the same areas.The flood-hit community of Wainfleet in Lincolnshire is within the Met Office’s warning area, but forecasters are optimistic the town will escape the worst of today’s storms.Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “A few showers are possible there, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to bear the brunt of the heavy downpours.”The town has already seen around 225 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of water pumped out to sea following severe flooding last week.Around 350 tonnes of sand and ballast were dropped in the area by RAF Chinook helicopters over the weekend.On Tuesday, Lincolnshire Police said almost 600 homes remained evacuated as the clean-up operation continued.Homes were left without power and roads were flooded in parts of the southeast, while Lenham in Kent saw 42mm of rain in the space of just one hour.The Met Office said the deluge in the village, which lies between Maidstone and Ashford, came between 11pm on Tuesday and midnight.Images and video on social media captured spectacular lightning in the skies over the region, while Kent Police’s Roads Policing Unit tweeted that the lightning was “very active”.Eastbourne in East Sussex is said to have seen about 1,000 lightning strikes in an hour.Other parts of the country will see a much brighter day on Wednesday, with sunshine expected in Scotland and Northern Ireland.The rest of England and Wales could see a damp start, before things brighten up later in the day.The weekend is also set to bring some respite from the recent downpours, with temperatures rising to as high as 23C (73F).Additional reporting by Press Association

  • Neighbours' Paul lies to Roxy in Vance aftermath
    News
    Digital Spy

    Neighbours' Paul lies to Roxy in Vance aftermath

    Will she be fooled by his false claims?

  • The Londoner: Leadsom blast at Commons bullies
    News
    Evening Standard

    The Londoner: Leadsom blast at Commons bullies

    ANDREA Leadsom has called for a rapid culture change at Westminster over bullying in her first speech from the backbenches after resigning as Leader of the House last month, saying current progress was “far too slow and not well enough resourced”. Other MPs echoed her call for action as they stepped up against harassment. Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said he hoped “the House will then act” on issues to do with bullying “before the summer recess”, which begins on June 24. Leadsom, left, who has become a staunch anti-bullying advocate, told the Commons yesterday about “some truly terrible stories” she had heard. She referenced “victims being quietly moved on; young women and young men being taken advantage of; complaints being left entirely unaddressed; and of mental health issues suffered by those who have been subjected to bullying”.In a debate on the implementation of the Cox Report, Leadsom called for a bicameral approach to bullying and harassment, and demanded fixed weekly meetings of the House of Commons Commission.Vicky Ford, the MP for Chelmsford, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Parliament hit out at “prevaricating and delaying”, which she said can “worsen the level of public confidence in the House’s ability to correct past errors and implement fundamental change”. Ford pointed out that research shows “Seventy-three per cent of both men and women [believe] that there needs to be change in how unwanted sexual harassment is dealt with in politics.” She warned: “If there are delays, they will only continue to undermine the legitimacy and authority of our own Parliament."While other MPs found themselves “frustrated” at how they “still have a long way to go” and said it was “to all our shame that we are not much further along than where we were eight months ago”, one current staffer told The Londoner that “from the top, this is extremely welcome”.Rory’s jibe comes back to bite himRORY Stewart made the Eurosceptic 92 group leadership hustings wait for him last week so he could make a quick appearance on Iain Dale’s LBC show. On air, Stewart described the European Research Group as “sinister”, assuming, says a source, that his comment wouldn’t reach the MPs in hustings. It did, of course. Stewart returned to face the MPs, where Marcus Fysh asked: “Am I sinister, Rory?” Stewart said he was “stressed” by long days of campaigning. “It’s a good thing there’s no stress in being Prime Minister,” observed an attendee.\---LBC’s James O’Brien says he had a hand in ending Dominic Raab’s leadership hopes. After Raab had a pop at O’Brien earlier this year, the presenter created a video montage of Raab’s finest moments that has now had almost four million views. O’Brien said: “I’m delighted to have brought Dominic’s evidence-free politics to a wider audience.”\---Long before rom-coms, Richard Curtis had another passion. The Beatles were the “single thing in the world I cared the most about” Curtis told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he once faked a temperature so he could stay in his dorm at school and listen to The White Album’s first broadcast. “I would do anything for The Beatles.”Russell looks on the bright side while Naomi snaps in the South of FranceAS THE BBC drama Years and Years concluded last night, its star Russell Tovey was at the Miu Musings at Spring fashion party at Somerset House. The actor recently said the show presents an optimistic vision of life in tragic times: “You still go past a shop and buy a nice pot to put a succulent in. You don’t stay in under the covers and slowly plan your death.” Fashion blogger Susie Lau and sprinter Dina Asher-Smith also turned up to celebrate. Meanwhile, in W2 a pre-opening drinks reception at the Serpentine Gallery celebrated the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Junya Ishigami. He was joined at the reception by fellow architect David Adjaye and Turner Prize-winning sculptor Anish Kapoor.Over on the French Riviera, Naomi Campbell was snapped snapping herself at a Spotify beach party in Cannes. The supermodel was taking a selfie with her monogrammed “NC” phone case.SW1AANNA Soubry, below, has been taking aim at former Tory colleagues. Unfortunately for Chuka Umunna, since he left Change UK — which he co-founded with Soubry — to join the Lib Dems, he’s in her sights too. Pointing out that Umunna left Labour and said he’d never help Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street, Soubry asked him: “Come a general election and your Lib Dem leader moves to prop up a Corbyn Government — which promise will you keep?”\---JESS Phillips points out a flaw in having Stanley Johnson on Newsnight. “If I ever rise to lofty heights I love the idea that anyone would ever ask my dad on the telly,” she tweeted. “Where is the value? My dad would obviously back me up and then tell you a charming story about the time I did an assault course aged four and how cheeky my kids are.”\---TENSION backstage at the Tory leadership debate last night — not least because there was only one bathroom available for the candidates and their teams.Michaela believes she’s maturing wellMICHAELA Coel says starring in BBC series Black Earth Rising, about the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, changed her forever. “I learnt to be curious, more than I was before,” she tells Variety. “I never know everything, and there will always be something I don’t know, so I should always be prepared to be wrong or to accept that I’m misinformed. I think it matured me, to really understand the implications of the work I make and the weight it carries in the world.”Quote of the day‘Word of the day: “cockalorum”, 18th-century speak for a self-important, strutting little man’Countdown presenter Susie Dent’s choice feels appropriate today

  • Marta for the win: Brazil star breaks football World Cup record
    AFP UK

    Marta for the win: Brazil star breaks football World Cup record

    Marta secures her place among the legends of football after the Brazilian becomes the World Cup's all-time leading scorer in the 1-0 win against Italy in Valenciennes. Her 17th goal moves her ahead of the Germany's Miroslav Klose in the record books.

  • UK accused of profiteering on Syrians' child citizenship fees
    News
    The Guardian

    UK accused of profiteering on Syrians' child citizenship fees

    The government profits from the children’s applications whether they are successful or not. Photograph: Katie Collins/PAThe UK government could profit by more than £5m by charging children who have fled war-torn Syria to apply for British citizenship, according to research.The revelation, based on the Home Office’s own data, has sparked accusations that the government is profiteering from vulnerable children and making a windfall profit by driving vulnerable families into debt.Campaigners point out that the government will profit whether the Syrian children’s applications are successful or not: if they are refused, applicants are not refunded. If children reapply for citizenship, the fee must be paid again.Valerie Peay, the director of the International Observatory of Human Rights, has called on the next prime minister to end the “practice of profiteering from vulnerable children”.The UK charges 10 times more than any other European country for child citizenship fees, at £1,012 per child, plus £19.20 to provide biometric information. They are charged an extra £80 if they turn 18 during the application process. The cost of processing the application is £372.The charges have increased 51% in the last five years, during the period when Theresa May’s Home Office instigated a “hostile environment” policy to reduce immigration numbers.“Let’s be clear,” said Peay. “Unlike any other EU country, the UK government is choosing to profit £640 on every child who is entitled to apply for British citizenship.“This action puts huge pressure on families. It can’t be right that a family with three kids will be expected to pay out £5,448 to try to secure them a safe future, with nothing guaranteed at the end of the process.“Rather than driving families into debt to make a profit, we are calling on the UK government to stop this practice and join the rest of the EU in their approach to humanitarian support.” The children, who have arrived in the UK since January 2014, can not yet apply for citizenship: they must wait for six years without access to most benefits before they can apply for full citizenship.But from next year, the first arrivals will be able to register. “With that influx of applications looming, the Home Office is set for a huge windfall due to the profit it makes on these forms,” said Peay.A Home Office spokesperson said: “These figures are speculative and hypothetical given that it is not mandatory to apply for citizenship in order to live, study and work in the UK. There is no fee for applying for settlement as a refugee or person who’s been given humanitarian protection.”But Peay said: “Without citizenship, you do not have the right to vote. You must pay international student fees for further education but are ineligible for student loans. You also face your leave to remain being withdrawn if you stay away from the UK for longer than two years.”

  • News
    Reuters

    FCA plans further crackdown on poor pension transfer advice

    Britain's financial markets regulator said it was taking further action against advisers providing poor advice to thousands of pensions savers looking to access cash in their pension pots. The Financial Conduct Authority said it was concerned firms were recommending that large numbers of consumers transfer out of their pension schemes despite warnings that transfers were likely to be unsuitable for most clients. The concerns were raised in an FCA study into defined benefit transfers published on Wednesday.

  • Cambridge slips to lowest-ever place in world university table
    News
    The Guardian

    Cambridge slips to lowest-ever place in world university table

    Cambridge University has fallen to seventh place. Photograph: Poohz/Getty ImagesBrexit and the financial squeeze affecting universities appear to be taking a toll on Britain’s universities, with many seeing their rankings in international league tables tumbling for the third year in a row.The latest international university league table compiled by data and research group QS downgrades two-thirds of the 84 UK universities ranked in the top 1,000, following similar declines in 2016 and 2017.While Oxford was one of the few bright spots – rising from fifth to fourth overall – its ancient rival Cambridge slipped from sixth to seventh, its lowest-ever position, as a result of steadily declining research performance, as measured by citations per member of academic staff.Ben Sowter, QS’s director of research, said the UK’s weaker performance this year was not a surprise, given the fall in the rankings seen each year since the Brexit vote and with many institutions making cuts due to financial uncertainty.“For decades, UK higher education has been one of the country’s finest exports to the world. The sector has produced outstanding research, fostered world-class teaching, forged transformational links to industry and welcomed millions of talented young people,” Sowter said.“To ensure that this privileged situation continues, it is essential that those with the power to do so redouble their efforts to improve teaching capacity so as to reduce the burden on passionate but beleaguered academics, reach a clear conclusion about the fee status of EU students post-Brexit and do their utmost to ensure that the UK remains a part of EU research collaboration frameworks into the future.”The changes means that Cambridge has now fallen behind ETH Zurich in sixth place, making the Swiss technical university the second-highest ranked institution in Europe after Oxford, which last year overtook Cambridge for the first time.Sowter said that Cambridge’s drop is not necessarily a sign that the institution is struggling, as it reflects a rebalancing of spending away from research towards teaching.“[This] should be perceived as a sensible strategic decision designed to ensure that Cambridge’s reputation for outstanding teaching and highly employable graduates continues into the future,” Sowter said.The compilers say the main problems for the UK are an average drop of 41 places in ratings from 44,000 employers around the world and a drop of 34 places in the number of students per staff member.Since the Brexit referendum, other EU universities have narrowed their gap with the UK by 28%. This is thanks to a slight improvement in their research performance, combined with a decline in UK performance.Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) retained the top spot for the eighth year, ahead of Stanford University in second and Harvard University in third, whose ranks remained unchanged. However, their success runs counter to the US’s worst-ever overall performance, with just 16% of institutions improving their rank.Just 12 UK universities improved their position, including Oxford and UCL, which claimed eighth place. The other UK universities in the top 20 were Imperial (nine) and Edinburgh (20), both ranked lower than last year.Outside of Europe and the US, the top two institutions were Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore in joint 11th place.China’s Tsinghua University climbed to the 16th spot, exemplifying the dramatic improvements in the performance of the nation’s universities in recent years. It now has 19 of the world’s top 200 universities, having had just 12 in 2016.The QS world rankings methodology is based on employer and academic reputation, class sizes, research output and international staff and students numbers. It is one of the most highly regarded international league tables, which have proliferated in recent years as universities compete globally to attract students and staff.In the Guardian’s own university league table, St Andrews climbed above Oxford into second place this year, just below Cambridge. But those tables use different metrics designed to gauge undergraduate courses, rather than research strength and global reputation.

  • Explainer: In India, all eyes on a monsoon that is critical for the economy
    News
    Reuters

    Explainer: In India, all eyes on a monsoon that is critical for the economy

    India's monsoon has progressed more slowly than usual after hitting the southern state of Kerala nearly a week late. Monsoon rains have been 44% lower-than-average so far in June, delaying the sowing of summer-sown crops and raising concerns that parts of the country could face a worsening drought. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast average rainfall in 2019, while the country's only private forecaster Skymet has predicted below-normal rainfall.

  • Universal credit adverts from government 'deliberately misleading', say charities
    News
    The Independent

    Universal credit adverts from government 'deliberately misleading', say charities

    A coalition of more than 80 benefit charities has submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority over government ads for Universal Credit which they claim are “deliberately misleading”.The complaint by the Disability Benefits Consortium alleges that the six-page advertorial – designed to look like a set of news articles – was “dangerous to the health and financial security of disabled people”.The £200,000 “Universal Credit uncovered” ad which has run weekly in the Metro newspaper since May promised to "set the record straight" about the flagship benefit, which is replacing a set of welfare payments including the Employment and Support Allowance for people with disabilities.One page listed a series of “myths” about the new system, including the claim that “Universal Credit doesn’t work”, adding: “Fact: it does.” Another featured an interview with a work coach and photos of claimants who were said to have benefited from universal credit.The Department for Work and Pensions said the ads drew on a survey of 6,000 claimants of whom 80 per cent were satisfied with the new arrangements.But the DBC said its own survey found that the majority of disabled people moved from ESA to Universal Credit now get less money than they did previously, in some cases a considerably lower amount.Some 70 per cent of the 476 respondents to the DBC survey said they were left struggling to pay for food, 35 per cent that they were forced to go to food banks and 85 per cent that their mental health had worsened.The DBC complaint accused the DWP of “puffery” in the ads, as well as concealing important facts such as the requirement for payments made in advance to be taken back from future payments within a fixed period.DBC policy co-chair Anastasia Berry, the policy manager at the MS Society, said: “These adverts, masquerading as facts in a national newspaper, are seriously damaging.“The DWP says that claimants can get an advance of their benefit to help them, but it’s really just a glorified loan – and one that must be paid back over mere months. The omission of this fact is a major cause for concern and, coupled with everything else, points to serious ignorance from the DWP. “The DWP must stop messing around with its colourful – not to mention, expensive - PR operation and focus on what really matters, which is ending the five-week wait and reintroducing disability premiums cut from the system. Until then, it’s not going to convince anyone that Universal Credit is working for disabled people.”A DWP spokesman said that all of the department’s advertising was “factual”.And the department questioned the validity of the DBC survey, saying there was “no proof” that those responding had ever received UC.“It’s likely that this unscientific and unrepresentative survey will only serve to discourage people from claiming the benefits they’re entitled to and it compares poorly to our survey of 6,000 people that shows 80% are satisfied with Universal Credit,” said the DWP spokesman.“All our advertising is factual and designed to increase understanding of Universal Credit. We consulted the Advertising Standards Authority prior to launching the partnership and have reflected their advice.”There was fury in May when the DWP ads first ran on the same day that MPs heard evidence of women on UC selling sex in order to survive.

  • Joe Garratt’s behaviour defended as he is separated from Lucie Donlan
    News
    PA Entertainment

    Joe Garratt’s behaviour defended as he is separated from Lucie Donlan

    Aspects of their romance were reported to Ofcom.

  • Bullied bisexual prison officer unlikely to work again, tribunal finds
    News
    The Guardian

    Bullied bisexual prison officer unlikely to work again, tribunal finds

    Subjected to a campaign of harassment by colleagues at HMP Woodhill, Ben Plaistow is likely to receive an exceptionally high compensation payout. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PAA bisexual prison officer is unlikely to ever work again because the harassment and discrimination he suffered at work has permanently damaged his health, an employment tribunal has found.In two judgments, it was revealed that Ben Plaistow, 41, is likely to receive an exceptionally high compensation payout when his case is finally settled later this year, not only because of the campaign of bullying and harassment his colleagues at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes conducted against him during his two years of employment there, but also because of a litany of failings by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), including the forging of documents submitted to the tribunal.“Perhaps most seriously, given the identity of the respondent [the MoJ], is the forgery by late production and backdating of documents designed to ‘plug gaps’,” the tribunal ruling states.It also refers to “corruption of documents by conflation, amendment or post-dated creation” and said the MoJ’s failings go “beyond error”.The colleagues were found to have engaged in a “campaign of victimisation” against Plaistow, with their conduct found to be “vexatious, disruptive and unreasonable”.Government lawyers involved in the case were also criticised for failing to demonstrate appropriate diligence and were accused of having “blindly” followed instructions from their MoJ colleagues.The judge, Michael Ord, sitting with two lay members in an employment tribunal in Cambridge, previously found that Plaistow experienced a campaign of direct discrimination and harassment because of his sexuality, and was victimised and unfairly dismissed because he complained about what took place.He was subjected to a catalogue of abuse including being called “poof”, “gay” and “vermin”, was pushed and slapped, and had a bottle of water squirted in his face.Plaistow was hired as a prison officer at HMP Woodhill in 2014 and was fired two years later after he was accused of gross misconduct. In December 2015, he was alleged to have used unnecessary force on a prisoner while breaking up a fight. The incident led to his suspension and subsequent dismissal.However, the tribunal heard he did not use unnecessary force. This was backed up by CCTV footage and witness testimony from the prisoner, who acknowledged he was at fault.Expert medical reports found that Plaistow, who was well-regarded by both the prison service and prisoners, was highly unlikely to ever work again. He has been diagnosed with PTSD, moderate psychological damage and paranoia as a result of “lengthy failings” by the prison service. One doctor who assessed him found his condition to be “chronic and permanent”.The payout he eventually receives will be based on a career-long loss of earnings; Plaistow had hoped to work until the age of 68, so is likely to have lost 27 years of his working life. Final calculations are still being worked out and will include the loss of his £31,660 a year net salary since his dismissal and into the future, as well as the loss of his pension.As well as awarding him £41,000 for injury to feelings, the top end of the top band in this category, the tribunal has also awarded him £15,000 aggravated damages and £8,000 exemplary damages. These damages are only awarded in rare cases. Aggravated damages are given when the employer’s conduct towards the victim has been humiliating and malicious and exemplary damages are a sign of great disapproval of the employer’s conduct.The tribunal found that the MoJ’s “conduct as an arm of the state in relation to this case has been unacceptable”.The tribunal raised further concerns about the training the MoJ promised to provide following the case, which it found to be “wholly unconnected” to the substance of the judgment, relating to discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation.“No steps have been taken at management level as to identification and eradication of such conduct amongst staff,” the tribunal heard.Until the MoJ was approached about the investigation by Plaistow’s lawyers, it had “taken no steps whatsoever to investigate the serious findings and matters of concern”, the tribunal found.The government department was criticised by the tribunal for not being able to say if anyone had been suspended pending an investigation or whether any steps had been taken to prevent officials from colluding during the investigation.An MoJ spokesperson said: “We do not tolerate any kind of discrimination in our prisons and take action to make sure all staff are treated appropriately and fairly.“A new staff network, ‘pride in prison and probation’, was set up in 2016 to support workplace equality and now has 5,000 members. We have noted the judge’s decision and are considering next steps, and a separate internal review is ongoing.”

  • Trust for vaccines higher in UK than most of Europe, major survey finds
    News
    The Telegraph

    Trust for vaccines higher in UK than most of Europe, major survey finds

    People in the UK trust vaccines more than European neighbours, with the French the most sceptical in the world, according to new research.

  • Trump refuses to apologise to wrongly accused men featured in Netflix drama
    News
    PA Entertainment

    Trump refuses to apologise to wrongly accused men featured in Netflix drama

    The then-New York real estate mogul called for the execution of the so-called Central Park Five.

  • Slowing business demand hits Whitbread's Premier Inn
    News
    Reuters

    Slowing business demand hits Whitbread's Premier Inn

    Whitbread's coffee sale has left it more exposed to increased competition from budget hotel groups and Airbnb as subdued economic activity and political turmoil force Britons to rein in spending. Short lead bookings refer to rooms booked only a week or so in advance, usually by business travellers, who contribute significantly to Whitbread's revenue. Originally a brewer, Whitbread is expanding its hotel business after selling Costa to Coca-Cola Co for 3.9 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) in a cash deal in January.

  • More than 70 million people now fleeing conflict and oppression worldwide
    News
    The Guardian

    More than 70 million people now fleeing conflict and oppression worldwide

    One in every 108 people were displaced in 2018, yet offers of resettlement were half level of previous year. The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 70 million for the first time since records began, the UN’s refugee agency has warned. About 70.8 million – one in every 108 people worldwide – were displaced in 2018. This includes people who were forced to flee their homes last year, as well as people who have been unable to return home for years. The figure is a conservative estimate, according to the study’s authors, because the impact of the crisis in Venezuela is still not known. “Year on year the international community is proving unable to make peace. You’ve got a number of regional conflicts, some of which have drawn in international actors. If you look around the world it’s very hard to see resolution to conflicts,” said Matthew Saltmarsh, of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. The figure of 70.8 million displaced people includes 25.9 million refugees, 41.3 million people displaced within their own borders and 3.5 million asylum seekers. Globally, children make up about half of the refugee population. An estimated 13.6 million people were newly displaced in 2018, according to the report. Last year was marked by sharp increases in people fleeing the economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. More than 4 million Venezuelans have now fled their country, according to the UN, with many travelling towards Latin America and the Caribbean. This marks a huge rise on 2015, when the number stood at about 695,000. It is the biggest exodus in the region’s recent history, and has left asylum procedures completely overwhelmed. Last year also saw increases in the number of people displaced in Ethiopia, where inter-communal violence in the south and west forced up to a million people to flee their homes. The new figures follow a decade in which the number of people forcibly displaced has soared rapidly, from 43.3 million in 2009. According to the report, five countries account for more than two-thirds of all refugees (excluding those defined as long-term Palestinian refugees): Syria (6.7 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million), South Sudan (2.3 million), Myanmar (1.1 million) and Somalia (0.9 million). On Tuesday, the International Rescue Committee warned that despite the record numbers of displaced people, the number of resettlement slots offered worldwide has halved between 2017 and 2018. “There are very few countries that have increased the number of resettlement slots,” said Nazanin Ash, vice president of global policy and advocacy for IRC. “Most countries have decreased or at least not met their [targets]. It’s having a devastating impact. Nothing has changed about these [displaced] populations – their need for safety has only grown, their vulnerability has only grown.” This week, the UK announced it would welcome up to 6,000 refugees in 2020 and 2021. “You could argue that the number could be higher,” said Saltmarsh, but he added that the UK’s resettlement programme was well run. For the fourth consecutive year, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 3.7 million people. The main countries of asylum for refugees were Pakistan (1.4 million), Uganda (1.2 million), Sudan (1.1 million) and Germany (1.1 million). Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population: one in six people in the country is a refugee. Ruth Tanner, Oxfam GB’s head of humanitarian campaigns, said that wealthier countries should be doing more. “One way the government can do this is by making fairer rules on family reunion so that refugees can live with their loved ones in the UK. Children should be with their parents and the government can help make that happen today,” she said.

  • Medical implants vulnerable to cyber attacks, experts warn
    News
    PA Ready News UK

    Medical implants vulnerable to cyber attacks, experts warn

    The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has published a new briefing note on ethical issues surrounding medical implants.

  • Survey shows crisis of confidence in vaccines in parts of Europe
    News
    The Guardian

    Survey shows crisis of confidence in vaccines in parts of Europe

    Just half of people in eastern Europe think vaccines are safe, compared with 79% worldwide. A global survey of attitudes towards science has revealed the scale of the crisis of confidence in vaccines in Europe, showing that only 59% of people in western Europe and 50% in the east think vaccines are safe, compared with 79% worldwide. Around the globe, 84% of people acknowledge that vaccines are effective and 92% say their child has received a vaccine. But in spite of good healthcare and education systems, in parts of Europe there is low trust in vaccines. France has the highest levels of distrust, at 33%. There have been major measles outbreaks in a number of countries, which have spread across the continent, linked to vaccine hesitancy. Dr Heidi Larson, the director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said social media was amplifying anxieties. While confidence in vaccines in the UK was higher than in some other parts of Europe, “where the UK is now I would say is vulnerable,” she said. The first Wellcome Global Monitor survey, which canvassed attitudes among 140,000 people worldwide, shows clear links between people’s trust in doctors, nurses and scientists and their confidence in vaccines. It also shows that mistrust in government institutions goes hand in hand with doubts about vaccines’ safety. A recent Guardian investigation looked into links between anti-establishment populist politics in Europe and anti-vax sentiment. “This first-of-a-kind global survey clearly shows that people’s beliefs about science are deeply influenced by their culture, context and background,” said Imran Khan, the head of public engagement at Wellcome, which commissioned the survey from Gallup. “We need to care more about these connections if we want everyone to benefit from science.” The link was clearest in the field of vaccines. “There are increasingly populations and entire countries around the world where confidence in vaccines is dropping and uptake is dropping. That does pose a huge public health risk,” Khan said. Larson said social media had become an amplifier of doubt. “Social media is highly volatile. It has totally changed the landscape.” She said it was hard for scientists to combat the spread of misinformation because often it was not public. Much of it had shifted into private Facebook groups and other similarly inaccessible forums. Larson said it could take years for the full effects of an incident undermining confidence in vaccines to be felt. Andrew Wakefield, the discredited gastroenterologist, published his paper claiming a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism in 1998. “It was five years before his report had its full impact on vaccine uptake,” Larson said. Bangladesh and Rwanda have the highest confidence in vaccines in the world, the Global Monitor shows. Rwanda also has the highest trust in its healthcare, at 97%, against a global average of 76%. “In developing countries, where deadly diseases like diphtheria, measles or whooping cough are more common, I’ve seen mothers queue for hours to make sure their child is vaccinated,” said Seth Berkley, the chief executive of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “It is in wealthier countries, where we no longer see the terrible impact these preventable diseases can have, that people are more reticent. This reticence is a luxury we can ill afford.” Northern Europe, which includes the UK, has more confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines than the western or eastern regions. In northern Europe, 73% of people think they are safe, the same figure as in northern America, and 84% think they are effective (83% in northern America). Only 65% of eastern Europeans think they are effective. In Ukraine, which had more than 53,000 measles cases last year, the figure is 50%. Larson said the UK was generally doing better than other parts of Europe, but she was concerned. “I don’t think we have an emergency today, but I want to anticipate where we are going,” she said. “Trends are important. We need confidence building and information targeted at the younger generation.” She said young parents needed to have their questions answered promptly and completely or they would look to social media instead. “There is a gap between the pace and availability of information from medical sources. People need to feel listened to. If they are not listened to, they lose trust.” Unicef said in March that measles cases around the world were surging to “alarmingly high levels”. The disease is highly infectious and in the developing world it kills one in 100 children who contract it. The Global Monitor found mixed feelings about science around the world. Half the world’s population said they knew little about science and 20% said they felt excluded from its benefits. Fifty-five per cent of people in France said they believed science and technology would lead to job losses in their area, as did 37% of people in the UK.

  • Oxford University given £150m by US billionaire to investigate AI in biggest ever donation
    News
    The Telegraph

    Oxford University given £150m by US billionaire to investigate AI in biggest ever donation

    Oxford University has announced its biggest ever cash donation after a US billionaire gave the institution £150 million to investigate the ethics of artificial intelligence.