• Jeremy Corbyn’s close aides will accept no-deal Brexit and 'don’t give a toss' about Labour members' views, says Margaret Beckett
    News
    The Independent

    Jeremy Corbyn’s close aides will accept no-deal Brexit and 'don’t give a toss' about Labour members' views, says Margaret Beckett

    Jeremy Corbyn’s close aides will accept a no-deal Brexit and “don’t give a toss” about Labour members’ support for a fresh referendum, a party heavyweight says.In a stinging attack, Margaret Beckett condemned “the leader's office” for the paralysis in the shadow cabinet, which again failed to agree a shift to fully back a Final Say public vote.Labour MPs are furious about what one called the “muddle and confusion”, which they blame for putting the UK at greater risk of a Boris Johnson government crashing out of the EU in October.But Dame Margaret, a former foreign secretary and temporary Labour leader, argued the “stumbling block” was not Mr Corbyn himself, but “the leader's office”.Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Dame Margaret said: “I'm beginning to think that some of them do actually want Britain to leave the EU no matter what.“They don't give a toss about what the British people now want or what Labour members think is in the country's interests.“They just are determined to make sure we don't do anything to impede Britain leaving, if necessary with no deal.”Asked who she meant, Dame Margaret added: “I think there are people very close to him, with great influence with him, who are and have been from the beginning passionately opposed [to EU membership].“He wants to keep the party together as much as possible and present a united front on the issue.”Some have referred to “the four Ms” in Mr Corbyn’s team, all known opponents of a fresh Brexit referendum and some of whom have a long antipathy to the EU.They are Seamus Milne, his director of communications, Karie Murphy, his chief of staff, Andrew Murray, his political adviser, and Len McCluskey, the head of the powerful Unite trade union.At Tuesday’s shadow cabinet, Mr Corbyn refused to budge on his stance that “any deal” to be “put to a public vote", which could mean a general election or second referendum. Frontbench supporters of another referendum are desperate for Mr Corbyn to start campaigning for it – and to guarantee Labour would back Remain if it took place.They were alarmed, last week, when the leader said any referendum ballot paper should contain “real choices for both Leave and Remain voters”.He also floated the option of copying Harold Wilson’s approach, during the 1975 referendum, when the then-leader took no active position, allowing both wings of his party to fight it out.

  • Maisie Williams lands first role away from Game of Thrones
    News
    The Independent

    Maisie Williams lands first role away from Game of Thrones

    Maisie Williams has lined up her first major role since the ending of Game of Thrones – and it couldn’t be further away from Arya.The actor, who played the character on the HBO series since 2011, will appear in new Sky comedy series Two Weeks to Live.Written by Gaby Hull (Cheat), the six-part series will follow Kim Noakes (Williams), a strange misfit who, after being whisked away to a remote rural life following the death of her father, attempts to assimilate into the real world. Her path soon crosses with two others and, before too long, the trio find themselves on the run from a murderous gangster and the police with a massive bag of stolen cash. Responding to her casting in the series, Williams said: “Looking forward to getting into something new, I think Two Weeks To Live has really great potential and I want to make something incredible with this wonderful team.”Two Weeks to Live is the latest in a string of recent commissions from Sky.Forthcoming releases include Catherine The Great starring Helen Mirren, Code 404 with Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays, Brassic with Michelle Keegan and Hit Men, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins’ first scripted comedy series.Last week, a Reddit user pointed out that Arya's final scene in Game of Thrones was essentially revealed back in season six.Game of Thrones is available to view on NOW TV.

  • Mel B claims her ex Stephen Belafonte stopped her speaking to her family
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Mel B claims her ex Stephen Belafonte stopped her speaking to her family

    Spice Girl Mel B and her sister Danielle Brown have opened up about ending their 10-year feud following the end of Mel’s marriage to Stephen Belafonte.

  • Why is the Irish backstop such a key issue in Brexit talks?
    News
    PA Ready News UK

    Why is the Irish backstop such a key issue in Brexit talks?

    A business group has been set up by the Government to look into alternatives.

  • Boris Johnson could ignore efforts to block no deal, says Raab
    News
    The Guardian

    Boris Johnson could ignore efforts to block no deal, says Raab

    Dominic Raab, right, is backing Boris Johnson for Tory leader after Raab was knocked out of the race. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/ReutersBoris Johnson would be able to ignore parliament’s efforts to stop a no-deal Brexit and blame the EU if it refuses to give the UK a better deal, one of his supporters has said.Dominic Raab, who is backing the frontrunner after being knocked out of the leadership contest, said any motion from MPs against a no-deal Brexit would have “zero legal effect” and could be overridden.He also said it would be “the EU’s fault” if Britain leaves on World Trade Organization terms because it was possible to strike a better Brexit deal before the end of October if there was sufficient political will.In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Raab argued that leaving the EU without a deal would not be a problem, partly because the general agreement on tariffs and trade (Gatt) could be applied to create a standstill on tariffs with the EU.Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, and Liam Fox, the trade secretary, have said it is not possible for the UK to trigger this unilaterally. But Raab said Carney was not a lawyer and claimed that “legally it could be done and the question is whether there is the political will”.Gatt XXIV, or article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is a piece of international trade law from 1947 which pre-dates the existence of the World Trade Organization (WTO).If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then by default it means the end of tariff-free trade between the two parties. Some supporters of a no-deal Brexit have claimed that the UK can use Gatt XXIV to implement a period of up to 10 years where trade between the UK and EU continues under existing arrangements while a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) is negotiated. Under the WTO’s most-favoured nation rule (MFN), if the UK offered tariff-free access to the UK market to the EU, it would also have to do so to the US, China and every other trading partner. With Gatt XXIV, Brexiters say, the UK can maintain its existing tariffs and quotas as part of a ‘standstill’ arrangement. However to invoke Gatt XXIV, both the UK and the EU have to agree an ‘interim arrangement’ leading towards a FTA within the 10-year time limit - and that agreement has to meet the conditions and approval of the WTO. The UK cannot invoke article 24 unilaterally, and even if it could, it only applies to goods, and not to services. In 2017, services made up 79% of the UK’s economic output. In previous cases where the article has been used, the two sides had a deal in place, and it was used as part of a process of implementing new trade arrangements. It has never been used to replicate something of the scale and complexity of the EU and the UK’s trading relationship - and if the UK truly leaves the EU with no deal, then there is no interim arrangement to apply Gatt XXIV to. Martin BelamHe batted away suggestions that parliament would find a way to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, arguing it was necessary to end the “pantomime” over leaving the EU.Raab claimed there would be only a “vanishingly small” number of Conservative MPs willing to vote down their own government to prevent no deal, as they would conclude that the risk of a Jeremy Corbyn government was greater.In a separate interview, Rory Stewart, another former Tory leadership contender, said he would vote with opposition parties to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October. But he would not go so far as vowing to vote down the government to prevent no deal, as “a dozen or so” Conservative MPs are prepared to do according to the defence minister Tobias Ellwood.Stewart said: “I would definitely vote against a Conservative government to stop a no-deal Brexit. I wouldn’t vote to bring down a Conservative government. I don’t want Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister. I would be working with colleagues to use the legislative instruments in order to stop a no-deal Brexit.”This month, the Tory MP Oliver Letwin said parliament had run out of options for preventing a no-deal Brexit, after a motion he helped to table aiming to tie the next prime minister’s hands on the issue was defeated by 11 votes.But Stewart, who voted with the government in that vote, insisted parliament had not exhausted all options to prevent no deal.Stewart, who said he was backing Johnson’s opponent, Jeremy Hunt, said: “Parliament is against no deal. It is only the legal default because parliament made it the legal default. Parliament can unmake it the legal default. There are many, many opportunities in legislation that have to brought forward, that could be amended in order to stop a no-deal Brexit.”Stewart appeared resigned to accepting that Johnson would become the next prime minister. But he said Johnson would let all his supporters down because he would not be able to stick to his promises.He said: “Boris is pretending that he has a magic solution where he can take people out [of the EU without a deal] and is not going to damage them at all, and it’s going to be terrific. That’s very clever, because it is resonating with people. But the reality is that he can’t do it and he’s going to let people down.“He’s going to let down the remainers that support him, who somehow think he’s going to finagle it. He’s going to let down the hard Brexiteers because he’s not going to come out on 31 October. The problem is that on 1 November he’s going to end up with a lot of disappointed and frustrated people.”

  • 2020 Ford Puma compact crossover revealed with lots of tech
    News
    motor1

    2020 Ford Puma compact crossover revealed with lots of tech

    Massaging seats and Ford's CoPilot360 system are just some of the available features.

  • Kylie Jenner denies bragging about her wealth at Met Gala
    News
    Evening Standard

    Kylie Jenner denies bragging about her wealth at Met Gala

    Kylie Jenner has denied former professional baseball star Alex Rodriguez's claim she bragged about her wealth at the Met Gala.In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Rodriguez, who is engaged to Jennifer Lopez, said he was on a table at the A-list event with Jenner and her supermodel sister Kendall.He told the outlet: "We had a great table. We had Kylie and Kendall. Kylie was talking about Instagram and her lipstick, and how rich she is."Cosmetics entrepreneur Jenner, 21, has now denied Rodriguez's claims.She tweeted: "Umm no i didn't. We only spoke about Game of Thrones." Umm no i didn’t. We only spoke about Game of Thrones 🤷🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ https://t.co/EnItnYlq0R — Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) June 25, 2019According to Forbes magazine, Jenner is the world's youngest self-made billionaire thanks to her Kylie Cosmetics business.She first found fame starring in her family's reality TV show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, before capitalising on her huge social media following to build her own business.The mother of one, who is in a relationship with rapper Travis Scott, started her cosmetics line in 2015 with three lip kits. It is now worth an estimated 900 million US dollars (£709 million), according to Forbes, with the rest of Jenner's wealth coming from endorsement deals with companies including sportswear giant Adidas.The Met Gala attracts some of the biggest names in showbiz when it is held at New York City's Metropolitan Museum Of Art on the first Monday of May each year.

  • The 20 greatest Glastonbury performances ranked, from Oasis to Dolly Parton
    News
    The Independent

    The 20 greatest Glastonbury performances ranked, from Oasis to Dolly Parton

    A 40-minute blast of pure, undiluted zeitgeist. A gigantic crowd stretching away over hill and vale. A generation’s prejudices and expectations overturned like a flick of dust off the shoulder. A setlist chiselled into quicksilver by Zeus and carried to the stage by a choir of winged roadies. Or maybe just the Dalai Lama, blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.These are just a few of the reasons why a gig playing out on the hallowed grounds of Worthy Farm might go down in Glastonbury folklore – one of those iconic moments that don’t just make the weekend, but mark out the evolution of pop culture. Glastonbury is where musical history is made and cultural colossi are crowned on a near-annual basis.So, as the festival approaches its 49th year this month and with headliners Stormzy, The Cure and The Killers hoping to storm into the uppermost vanguard of Glastonbury legends, here’s our rundown of the sets that almost toppled the Tor.Click through the gallery to see the 20 greatest Glastonbury performances, ranked

  • Glastonbury weather: This year's festival could be hottest ever
    News
    The Independent

    Glastonbury weather: This year's festival could be hottest ever

    Glastonbury is back in business this year and the full lineup has been announced, so the biggest question remaining is whether the weather will be any good.With Stormzy, The Cure and The Killers all set to headline the Pyramid stage, festival-goers are keen to know if the British summertime will deliver a beautiful setting for performances from the world’s best live acts... or if they’ll need to pack a raft and some wellington boots instead of sunglasses and shorts. The Met Office's Aidan McGivern previously said that this could be the hottest Glastonbury on record, with hot and humid air arriving from Europe predicted to push temperatures past the festival’s previous record of 31.2°C in 2017. Temperatures are now expected to hit 24°C for those arriving early today (Wednesday 26 June), and 25°C on Thursday with sunny skies.Temperatures will peak at 27°C on Friday 28 June, before a slightly cooler weekend as temperatures drop to 25°C on Saturday and 19°C on Sunday, still with clear skies throughout. Make sure you pack your wellies, however, as the site is reportedly muddy after rainfall earlier this week. And definitely take plenty of sunscreen, drink lots of water, and wear protective headgear to reduce your risk of heatstroke.

  • Nearly a year after currency crisis, unemployed Turks still 'can't dream'
    News
    Reuters

    Nearly a year after currency crisis, unemployed Turks still 'can't dream'

    Murat Abi found employment in construction after moving to Istanbul from eastern Turkey four years ago, including at the city's new airport, which the government heralded as a pillar of the country’s economic might. Turkey’s unemployment rate has spiked to close to its highest levels on record. The economy tipped into recession late last year brought on partly by years of major building projects cheaply funded by foreign credit that became hard to maintain after the collapse of the Turkish lira.

  • Liam Fox 'tilting at windmills' over tariffs, say Tory Eurosceptics
    News
    The Guardian

    Liam Fox 'tilting at windmills' over tariffs, say Tory Eurosceptics

    Liam Fox says it would not automatically be possible to have a tariff-free ‘standstill’ after a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Rex/ShutterstockEurosceptic Conservative MPs have hit back at the trade secretary, Liam Fox, for “ludicrously tilting at windmills”, after he rejected Boris Johnson’s claim that exporters would be spared tariffs if Britain left the EU without a deal.The former foreign secretary has promised to take Britain out of the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal, “do or die”.And Johnson has suggested that in the event of a no-deal exit his government could seek to use article 24 of the general agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT) to secure a temporary standstill, while details of a new trade deal are hammered out.Fox is an enthusiastic Brexiter, but supports Jeremy Hunt against Johnson.He published a letter he had sent to a constituent on the jobs website LinkedIn on Tuesday, insisting it would not automatically be possible to have a tariff-free “standstill” in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.“It has been claimed that in place of the implementation period we could immediately establish an interim agreement under this provision. However, in this scenario, the UK would still require the consent of the EU to the terms of that agreement, with an agreed plan and schedule for implementation,” Fox said.“A ‘no deal’ scenario, by definition, suggests that there would be no mutual agreement between the UK and the EU on any temporary or permanent arrangement. In those circumstances Article XXIV cannot be used.”He added: “The European Union has made it clear on a number of occasions that full tariffs will be applied to the United Kingdom in the event of ‘no-deal’.”The risks of a no-deal Brexit are at the heart of the clash between the two men vying to become the next prime minister in just over four weeks’ time.Johnson has been backed by many of the “Spartans” in the Tory party, including the European Research Group (ERG) deputy chair Steve Baker, who refused three times to vote for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, and want to see it junked.But another vocal group of Conservative MPs, including Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve, have warned they are ready to bring down a future Tory government rather than allow a no-deal Brexit.Baker hit back against Fox on Wednesday, saying: “By stating the obvious, by repeating common ground as if there were any disagreement, Liam is ludicrously tilting at windmills. He’s done much to promote trade and freedom but I couldn’t be more disappointed in him here.”He highlighted tweets by his ERG colleague Marcus Fysh, who claimed Johnson would “offer” the EU a temporary, tariff-free standstill period; and expected that offer to be taken up.“As the draft withdrawal agreement will not pass, the EU will need to decide whether it wants to accept Boris’s offer of zero tariff trade to continue for the time being after Brexit on 31 October,” Fysh said.The two sides would then notify the WTO of their intentions, under Gatt 24.Gatt was the founding treaty of what became the World Trade Organization (WTO) – but trade experts say Gatt 24, as it is known, was only ever intended to operate where an outline trade deal has already been secured.Johnson conceded that point himself in an LBC interview on Tuesday, saying “there has to be an agreement on both sides”, adding that the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, was “wrong in thinking it’s not an option”.Johnson has won the support of the ERG by taking a firm stance on Brexit; but has also convinced moderate Tories, including the health secretary, Matt Hancock, that he will govern from the political centre ground once Britain has left the EU.

  • Austrian far-right leader searched on suspicion of forming terrorist group with Christchurch shooter
    News
    The Guardian

    Austrian far-right leader searched on suspicion of forming terrorist group with Christchurch shooter

    Austrian authorities have searched the apartment of the Identitarian Movement leader, Martin Sellner, over his links to Christchurch shooter, Brenton Tarrant. Photograph: Roland Schlager/AFP/Getty ImagesThe Austrian identitarian leader, Martin Sellner, has been subjected to further searches by Austrian police in connection with the Christchurch shooter, according to Austrian media reports and videos on Sellner’s own YouTube channel.The investigation has also reportedly widened to include Sellner’s US-based fiancee, Brittany Pettibone, and her own alleged connections with Australian far-right figure Blair Cottrell.Austrian newspaper Die Presse reported on 18 June that two apartments in Vienna were searched by the prosecutor’s office in Graz, which has been investigating Sellner’s connections to the Australian, Brenton Tarrant, who is currently on trial for the murder of 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.In two German-language YouTube videos, Sellner offered his own account of the investigation. In the first, which he says was before an interview with police, Sellner says that police removed devices from his home, and that the reason was a “strong suspicion of forming a terrorist organisation with Brenton Tarrant”.In the second video, Sellner shows what he claims is an excerpt from the warrant police used in raiding his apartment. Visible on the warrant in German are prosecutors’ reasons for carrying out the search, including “The Manifesto the Great Replacement”, which was released by Tarrant, “the results of a financial analysis”, and the suspicion that Sellner was cooperating with Tarrant in a terrorist and “structurally fascist” organisation.Sellner was first connected with Tarrant after it emerged that the accused had made a €1,500 donation to Sellner’s Identitarian organisation. Die Presse reported that prosecutors were looking for “accounting records” and evidence of further donations from Tarrant to Sellner.Another newspaper, Der Standard, reported that the investigation had widened to include Sellner’s “partner”.Sellner’s fiancee, prominent far-right YouTuber and author Brittany Pettibone, announced on her own Twitter account on 18 June that she had been notified she was under investigation.According to Pettibone, the reason was an interview she had done with Cottrell in January 2018. That interview is still available on “alt-tech” video platform, BitChute. In it she describes him as an “anti-Islam activist” and discusses his conviction under Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act after he publicised a lurid Mosque protest in Bendigo featuring a mock beheading.Pettibone claimed that a second reason was that she received an email from a person she did not name asking if Sellner “could give advice to Blair Cottrell regarding building up the rightwing movement in Australia”.Sellner and Austrian prosecutors did not respond to requests for comment. When contacted, Brittany Pettibone declined to comment on the developments.When asked if they were aware of investigations into a possible organisational connection between Tarrant and Sellner, New Zealand police said via email they were making “a large number enquiries, both across New Zealand and internationally” but they were “not in a position to go into specifics around those enquiries”.In March, Austrian authorities commenced their investigation of Sellner’s connections with the Christchurch killer after it emerged that he had received a donation from Tarrant.Last month, authorities revealed that contacts between the two men had been even more extensive, involving friendly email exchanges and an invitation by Sellner for Tarrant to join him in a beer or coffee if he ever came to Austria.Sellner’s immigration status in the US, where he had planned to marry Pettibone this summer, was changed following that disclosure, preventing him from entering the country.Pettibone was the focus of controversy last month after she presented Sellner’s case to a meeting of a local Republican party branch in Idaho, where she lives.Sellner’s Identitäre Bewegung Österreichs (IBÖ) is part of a larger far-right Identitarian movement with branches in most western European countries, North America and New Zealand.Sellner has previously denied the attack and any connection to the suspect, releasing a video online saying, “I have nothing to do with the terrorist attack.”

  • Mexico power utility to seek 'fairer' deal over pipeline disputes
    News
    Reuters

    Mexico power utility to seek 'fairer' deal over pipeline disputes

    Mexican state power utility CFE said on Tuesday it will seek to negotiate a "fairer" resolution to contractual disputes with companies behind several pipelines yet to go into operation, and whose costs have been questioned by Mexico's president. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier this year vowed to respect contracts signed under the previous administration for the infrastructure, but the loss-making CFE is hoping to secure better terms for the projects. The dispute centres on seven projects undertaken by companies that include Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's infrastructure arm Grupo Carso, TransCanada Corp and Mexican energy firm IEnova, a unit of U.S. company Sempra Energy.

  • Teach children about dangers of 'sexting' and pornography at school, first official guidance on online education says
    News
    The Telegraph

    Teach children about dangers of 'sexting' and pornography at school, first official guidance on online education says

    Children should be taught about the dangers of “sexting” and pornography at school, the first official guidelines for online education say.

  • Glastonbury Festival to open gates to campers for 49th year
    News
    PA Entertainment

    Glastonbury Festival to open gates to campers for 49th year

    Thousands of fans will enter the 900-acre site to watch the performances such as Stormzy, The Cure and The Killers.

  • 'Turtle shell' scrums: barefoot rugby in Vietnam
    AFP UK

    'Turtle shell' scrums: barefoot rugby in Vietnam

    A group of youngsters get to grips with rugby in rural Vietnam - a country where few people have ever heard of the sport. They belong to Vietnam's only rugby program for locals, rolled out for kids in a remote commune where some players have to travel by boat to training sessions.

  • People will intervene if they see someone being beaten up, CCTV study suggests
    News
    The Independent

    People will intervene if they see someone being beaten up, CCTV study suggests

    People are more likely to intervene when they see someone being menaced or attacked in the street than to walk on by, a study has suggested.Researchers examining CCTV footage of assaults and arguments from three countries found that in nine of 10 cases, passers-by offered help.They analysed 219 video clips from Lancaster, Amsterdam and Cape Town and found that the more people were around during an altercation, the more likely it was that someone would step in.“According to conventional wisdom, non-involvement is the default response of bystanders during public emergencies”, said the study's lead author Dr Richard Philpott of Lancaster University and the University of Copenhagen. People are given to ask, therefore, “Will I receive help if needed?” he added. “Challenging this view, the current cross-national study of video data shows that intervention is the norm in actual aggressive conflicts," he said. “The fact that bystanders are much more active than we think is a positive and reassuring story for potential victims of violence and the public as a whole.“We need to develop crime prevention efforts which build on the willingness of bystanders to intervene.”The help offered included gesturing for an attacker to calm down, physically blocking an aggressor or pulling them away, and consoling their victim.There was no difference in the rates of intervention between the three cities, scientists found.Dr Philpott added: “While having more people around may reduce an individual’s likelihood of helping - the bystander effect - it also provides a larger pool from which help-givers may be sourced.”

  • Action on air pollution works but far more is needed, study shows
    News
    The Guardian

    Action on air pollution works but far more is needed, study shows

    UK’s dirty air still ‘a public health emergency’ despite dramatic fall in death rates. Government action can cut air pollution, a long-term study has shown, with early deaths linked to dirty air in the UK falling by half between 1970 and 2010. But toxic air remains the number one environmental health hazard, with one in 20 deaths still attributable to small particle pollution alone. The researchers said urgent action was needed to deal with a public health emergency that caused harm comparable to alcohol. Cleaning up power stations and vehicles led to a fall in most pollutants in the four decades analysed. But ammonia from farms, which mixes with city air to form dangerous particles, has yet to be stringently tackled, the scientists said, and ozone pollution has risen. “The message is that air quality policies work, but at the same time the current burden of air pollution on health is still very, very substantial,” said Sotiris Vardoulakis of the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, one of the research team. “It is a public health emergency and we need to do something about that.” Even though air pollution has been falling over the years in the UK, understanding of the damage it causes to health is growing rapidly. A recent review found air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body, affecting physical, mental and reproductive health. In October, the head of the World Health Organization said dirty air was the “new tobacco”. In the UK, the main air pollutants are above legal or WHO limits in most urban areas, although experts agree there is no safe level. The research, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, used pollutant emissions data and modelling to calculate the concentration of air pollution across the UK over four decades. Researchers took account of variations caused by the weather, so the results showed the impact of clean air policies. Sulphur dioxide, a cause of acid rain, fell most sharply after coal power stations were targeted. More recent falls in small-particle pollution and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are produced by cars, track the rise of stronger European Union vehicle regulation. This has had an impact despite the widespread cheating by carmakers exposed by the Dieselgate scandal. The researchers found the proportion of all deaths attributable to small particle pollution fell from 12% in 1970 to 5.2% in 2010. The deaths linked to NO2 fell from 5.3% to 3.0% over the same period. The health impact remains at levels similar to 2010 today, with small particles and NO2 causing an estimated 36,000 early deaths a year. Prof William Collins of the University of Reading, who was not part of the research team, said the fall in pollution was a success story. However, “these past policies focused on the ‘low-hanging fruit’ and further improvements in mortality will be more challenging”. The environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “We have taken huge strides in tackling air quality over the last 40 years. But we know there is a lot more to do. We have clear plans in place to tackle roadside nitrogen emissions and agricultural ammonia and are working to accelerate progress.” The government’s latest clean air strategy was produced after the high court declared earlier plans illegal three times in succession. The government’s own research shows that charging people for driving polluting vehicles into urban centres is the most effective measure, but ministers have said this should be only a last resort. Vardoulakis said enabling more people to walk, cycle and use public transport more would make a big difference, and bring additional benefits. “These improve physical and mental health, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions” that are driving the climate crisis. Phasing out petrol and diesel cars in favour of electric vehicles is also important, though ministers have set a later date for this than some other countries. Mathew Heal of the University of Edinburgh, one of the research team, said eating less meat would also help. “It is generally accepted that meat production requires a lot more energy and nitrogen emissions.” He said the study gave confidence that pollution-reduction policies worked. “People have to make sacrifices sometimes to fit in with legislation and it is good to tell the public that some of those sacrifices are having a benefit.” A significant amount of air pollution blows in from other nations. For example, 40-50% of small particles come from overseas, mainly France, Germany and the Benelux countries, and from shipping. Many UK air quality regulations derive from EU rules. “International cooperation will be needed to give people in the UK truly clean air to breathe,” said Collins. The situation after the UK leaves the EU is unclear, according to Heal: “What happens after Brexit? Who knows?”

  • A grim border drowning underlines peril facing many migrants
    News
    AOL.com

    A grim border drowning underlines peril facing many migrants

    *Warning: Graphic content*MEXICO CITY (AP) - The man and his 23-month-old daughter lay face down in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande, his black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments.The searing photograph of the sad discovery of their bodies on Monday, captured by journalist Julia Le Duc and published by Mexican newspaper La Jornada, highlights the perils faced by mostly Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty and hoping for asylum in the United States.According to Le Duc's reporting for La Jornada, Óscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, frustrated because the family from El Salvador was unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities and request asylum, swam across the river on Sunday with his daughter, Valeria.He set her on the U.S. bank of the river and started back for his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, but seeing him move away the girl threw herself into the waters. Martinez returned and was able to grab Valeria, but the current swept them both away.The account was based on remarks by Ávalos to police at the scene - "amid tears" and "screams" - Le Duc told The Associated Press.Details of the incident were confirmed Tuesday by a Tamaulipas government official who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, and by Martinez's mother back in El Salvador, Rosa Ramirez, who spoke with her daughter-in-law by phone afterward."When the girl jumped in is when he tried to reach her, but when he tried to grab the girl, he went in further ... and he couldn't get out," Ramirez told AP. "He put her in his shirt, and I imagine he told himself, 'I've come this far' and decided to go with her."【ギャラリー】Warning: Distressing images7From the scorching Sonoran Desert to the fast-moving Rio Grande, the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border has long been an at times deadly crossing between ports of entry. A total of 283 migrant deaths were recorded last year; the toll so far this year has not been released.In recent weeks alone, two babies, a toddler and a woman were found dead on Sunday, overcome by the sweltering heat; elsewhere three children and an adult from Honduras died in April after their raft capsized on the Rio Grande; and a 6-year-old from India was found dead earlier this month in Arizona, where temperatures routinely soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.The search for Martinez and his daughter was suspended Sunday due to darkness, and their bodies were discovered the next morning near Matamoros, Mexico, across from Brownsville, Texas, several hundred yards (meters) from where they had tried to cross and just a half-mile (1 kilometer) from an international bridge.Tamaulipas immigration and civil defense officials have toured shelters beginning weeks ago to warn against attempting to cross the river, said to be swollen with water released from dams for irrigation. On the surface, the Rio Grande appears placid, but strong currents run beneath.'I begged them not to go'Ramirez said her son and his family left El Salvador on April 3 and spent about two months at a shelter in Tapachula, near Mexico's border with Guatemala."I begged them not to go, but he wanted to scrape together money to build a home," Ramirez said. "They hoped to be there a few years and save up for the house."El Salvador's foreign ministry said it was working to assist the family including Ávalos, who was at a border migrant shelter following the drownings. The bodies were expected to be flown to El Salvador on Thursday.The photo recalls the 2015 image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean near Turkey, though it remains to be seen whether it may have the same impact in focusing international attention on migration to the U.S."Very regrettable that this would happen," Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday in response to a question about the photograph. "We have always denounced that as there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or crossing" the river.There was no immediate comment from the White House.U.S. "metering" policy has dramatically reduced the number of migrants who are allowed to request asylum, down from dozens per day previously to sometimes just a handful at some ports of entry.The Tamaulipas government official said the family arrived in Matamoros early Sunday and went to the U.S. Consulate to try to get a date to request asylum. The mother is 21 years old and the father was 25, he added.But waits are long there as elsewhere along the border - last week a shelter director said only about 40 to 45 asylum interviews were being conducted in Matamoros each week, while somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-1,700 names were on a waiting list.'It's a horrifying image'It's not clear what happened to the family at the U.S. Consulate, but later in the day they made the decision to cross. The Tamaulipas official said the father and daughter set off from a small park that abuts the river. Civil defense officials arrived at the scene at 7 p.m. Sunday and later took the wife to the shelter."I was drawn to the girl's arm on her father," Le Duc said as she described arriving at the scene. "It was something that moved me in the extreme because it reflects that until her last breath, she was joined to him not only by the shirt but also in that embrace in which they passed together into death.""It's a horrifying image," Maureen Meyer, a specialist on immigration at the Washington Office on Latin America, which advocates for human rights in the region, said of the photograph. "And I think it speaks so clearly to the real risks of these U.S. programs that are either returning people back to Mexico seeking asylum or in this case limiting how many people can enter the U.S. every day."The United States has also been expanding its program under which asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their claims are processed in U.S. courts, a wait that could last many months or even years.This week Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, the same state where Matamoros is located, said it will become the latest city to receive returnees as soon as Friday.Many migrant shelters are overflowing on the Mexican side, and cartels hold sway over much of Tamaulipas and have been known to kidnap and kill migrants.Meanwhile, Mexico is stepping up its own crackdown on immigration in response to U.S. pressure, with much of the focus on slowing the flow in the country's south."With greater crackdowns and restrictions," said Cris Ramon, senior immigration policy analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank in Washington, "we could see more desperate measures by people trying to enter Mexico or the U.S."

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    Ikea joint venture BoKlok has built 11,000 homes across Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. Photograph: Heinz-Peter Bader/ReutersHomebuyers in a town where properties typically cost almost 12 times local salaries may soon have a low-cost option from Ikea after a UK council agreed to work with an affordable housing developer co-owned by the retailer.Worthing council has signed up with BoKlok, a company jointly owned by the Swedish retailer and construction firm Skanska which specialises in factory-built housing that can be constructed at a low cost.The firm sets property prices so that buyers have money left to live on after they have paid their housing costs, and its website says “a single parent can afford to buy and live in a newly built two-bedroom BoKlok apartment”.It has built 11,000 homes across Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway, and is keen to break into the UK after a false start more than a decade ago.Previous plans for a development in Tyneside were scaled back when the financial crisis hit, but its latest effort is a collaboration with Worthing council, which believes it can achieve more affordable homes through the deal than if it sells the land to a conventional developer.Councillors in the coastal town have voted to work on a plan that would see 162 flats built on land that it owns.The latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2018 average house prices in Worthing were 11.7 times average salaries, compared with a figure of 7.8 times across England and Wales.In a report, the council said that access to homes was challenging for those on the average salary, which was £25,458 in 2015 – with only one-bedroom properties within reach, it noted.Under the plans the council will license the developer to use the land rather than selling it off, charging it an annual ground rent.In return it will get 30% of the properties to use as affordable housing to rent to local people, while the remaining properties can be sold by BoKlok based on its “left to live” affordability model.This looks at how much residents can afford to pay after tax and monthly living costs have been deducted, and usually assumes that people can use about 33% of their take-home pay for a mortgage.The council, which has more than 1,300 households on its housing waiting list, said its analysis suggested the land could be used for 45 homes with just 13 of them available for affordable rent.The company said it has “scrutinised our costs and trimmed them to the bone,” but there are no compromises on quality.Flooring and wall tiles are included in the price, and homes are fitted with an Ikea kitchen. Worthing council’s plans show-homes that range from one-bedroom apartments measuring 50 sq metres (538sq ft) to three-bedroom apartments of 74 sq metres (800sq ft).Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing borough council’s executive member for regeneration, said: “In this current market it’s extremely tough for local people who are in full-time work to get on the housing market.“This proposal could change that, giving these hard-working individuals a genuine chance to buy their own home without having to move out of the town.”Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDeskIf the plans go ahead work on the site will begin in September 2020, with the first homes would be delivered and assembled the following January, and ready to move into in April 2021.Further homes may follow, with the council and BoKlok agreeing a programme to provide 500 homes in the borough.The project is one of a range of ways councils are working with developers to create more affordable homes for local people. Croydon council has set up a company called Brick by Brick which is building homes for social rent subsidised by homes sold on the open market.