• New prime minister could 'chicken out' of putting Brexit plan to Commons until autumn, under Tory plans
    News
    The Independent

    New prime minister could 'chicken out' of putting Brexit plan to Commons until autumn, under Tory plans

    The Conservatives are under fire for a shock plan that would allow the new prime minister to “chicken out” of putting their Brexit plan to the House of Commons until the autumn.Opposition MPs spoke out after aides to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were told the winner of the Tory leadership race would not move into No 10 on Tuesday 23 July, as widely expected.Instead, Theresa May proposes to make a final appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions the following day before resigning – just one day before MPs depart for their long summer recess on 25 July, they were reportedly told.Labour has vowed to table a vote of no confidence, which could be staged on that Thursday, but, otherwise, there would no reason for the new prime minister to appear before MPs.Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat leadership contender, told The Independent: “It would be outrageous if the new prime minister chickened out of facing the Commons before the summer recess.“Three years on from the referendum, a new prime minister can’t just slink off to the beach. We need to know the plan on Brexit.”And Chris Bryant, a senior Labour MP, said: “Neville Chamberlain tried that trick of sidelining parliament with a long summer recess in 1939 and it didn't end well.“It would be a disgraceful dereliction of duty to send parliament off the moment there’s a new prime minister and I confidently predict the House would vote against the summer recess motion if they tried that trick.”The Conservative Party has refused to answer enquiries from The Independent about Ms May’s departure plans, beyond saying it would be “in the week beginning” 22 July.However, Brandon Lewis, the party chairman, said the resignation could be at “the end” of that week – while Mel Stride, the Commons leader, refused to guarantee the new leader would be in place before the recess.Parliament is not due to return until 3 September, for under two weeks, before another three-week break for the party conference season.If, as in previous years, the Commons does not sit again until around 8 October, there will be little more than three weeks until the current Brexit deadline of Halloween.Both Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt have threatened to let the UK crash out of the EU on that date, if they have failed to strike an improved deal – while EU leaders have insisted there will be no renegotiation.Both David Cameron and Tony Blair enjoyed a swansong prime minister’s questions, at which MPs paid tributes – and, in the Labour leader’s case, applauded.Ms May is known to be keen to point to a “legacy” beyond her Brexit failure, even to the point of a bust-up with her chancellor over her attempt to spend billions in her final days.Labour could yet back away from a no-confidence vote in July, given it is unlikely to succeed while Mr Johnson – if he wins – is arguing he will seek a deal to avoid a crash out.It could also backfire by giving the incomer a boost, while rebel Tories are more likely to join a no-confidence vote in the autumn, if a no-deal Brexit is fast approaching.

  • Brexit: alternative to Irish backstop 'feasible in three years'
    News
    The Guardian

    Brexit: alternative to Irish backstop 'feasible in three years'

    Report on keeping border open, backed by Nicky Morgan and Greg Hands, suggests special economic zones. Alternative arrangements for keeping the Irish border open in the event of a no-deal Brexit or the collapse of future trade talks with the EU could be up and running within three years, a report concludes. The interim report by a non-government organisation calling itself the Alternative Arrangements Commission will be unveiled at a special conference on the Irish border in London on Monday. Their conclusions suggest that the UK would only need the Irish border backstop contained in the withdrawal agreement until 2022, if work on such arrangements started today. Backed by remain-voting Conservative party MPs Nicky Morgan and Greg Hands, the report makes eight interim recommendations following consultation with business, politicians and economic experts, including commercial interests in Northern Ireland. It suggests special economic zones “covering frontier traffic and national security offer potentially valuable solutions” which it said would respect the realities of the border. The report addresses key issues including the vexed question of health checks on any live animals, animal or plant produce crossing the border, including milk, pigs and sheep. The report says “sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS)” tests could be carried out by mobile units away from the border. This would require politicians in the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) to accept checks on farms and in food-production plants and related facilities, something they have opposed so far. Among the other recommendations are the creation of a multi-tier trusted trader programme for large and small companies, with exemptions for small companies. This was proposed by the government in August 2017 and dismissed by the EU. One of the major challenges for the EU and the UK in keeping the border invisible is the issue of standards on food and food processing currently governed by EU regulations. Under mandatory EU rules checks have to be done at the border at special inspection posts with facilities for lab testing and refrigeration to guard against cross-border infection on everything from salmonella to mad cow disease. Such are the rules that in the event of no deal, the EU milk from Northern Ireland will not be permissible in cheese, butter or infant formula made south of the border from day one, potentially devastating the dairy sector which sends 30% of its milk to the republic. Morgan and Hands say in the foreword to the report that the interim recommendations reflect the commission’s commitment to find solutions “compatible with any of the potential Brexit outcomes” including the current withdrawal agreement. The report found that any alternative arrangements must recognise “the supremacy of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement” (GFA) and the preservation of the common travel area. They should also recognise the need for a trade policy in the UK that is independent of the EU, and the need to ensure east-west trade flows as easily as possible. The report also states that all future proposals “must be based on consent”, one of the central tenets of the GFA and a recognition of the two heritages in Northern Ireland. Common all-island regimes should continue and where possible “built upon”. Special arrangements such as special economic zones and common SPS regimes could “potentially span not only the island of Ireland” but also Britain with a common rule book, like the Australia-New Zealand Food Safety Area. The report suggests such an arrangement would allow Ireland to break the EU’s common rule book if the UK diverged from EU standards and regulations. This would, for instance, apply if the UK decided to do a trade deal with the US enabling chlorinat ed chicken to enter the country. This, it notes, would need checks in harbours, ports and airports in Northern Ireland to protect the entire island of Ireland, but this should be a decision for the Northern Ireland assembly. This scenario is predicated on Ireland having a side deal with the EU for a common rule book on the two countries and suggests Ireland would have the unilateral power to deviate from this, even though the EU is based on a system of rules that apply to all member states and not just one. Last October the DUP rejected any checks at ports or airports in Northern Ireland, arguing it would cut the region off from the rest of the UK, while the Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, struck a similar position saying the government would “never ever allow a border down the Irish Sea”. And last week the government finally released a mapping exercise which showed the extent to which the border issue impacted non-trade issues with 142 issues including healthcare for heart patients. The commission was set up by Prosperity UK, an organisation created in 2017 that describes itself as an independent platform bringing together business, academics and policymakers to look constructively at the UK’s future outside the EU. It said it welcomed the opportunity for feedback so it could “refine” its recommendations. Northern Ireland Retail Consortium director, Aodhán Connolly aid economic freezones would create borders within borders. He expressed scepticism about how the alternative arrangements could comply with the December 2017 joint commitment between the EU and the UK to avoid “a hard border, including any infrastructure or related checks and controls”. “The solutions proffered add complexity and costs that will make business in NI less competitive and in some cases unviable. But with all that said this is a step forward and it provides some much needed informed debate on the issue,” he added.

  • Good Omens: Netflix jokes about cancelling ‘blasphemous’ Amazon Prime show after petitioners target wrong streaming service
    News
    Evening Standard

    Good Omens: Netflix jokes about cancelling ‘blasphemous’ Amazon Prime show after petitioners target wrong streaming service

    Netflix has responded after it was targeted by a petition to cancel the Amazon Prime series Good Omens.More than 20,000 people have signed the petition accusing the show of “mocking God’s wisdom”.But after the campaign targeted the wrong streaming service, Netflix UK promised to stop the show as they jokingly tweeting: “OK we promise not to make anymore," and later added: "It's not our show.”Amazon Prime later replied to the joke, commenting that they were going to cancel Stranger Things, one of Netflix’s biggest shows.Followed by a winky face emoji, Amazon Prime Video US said: "Hey @netflix we'll cancel Stranger Things if you cancel Good Omens."Channel 4 also weighed in saying: "For the avoidance of doubt, we won't make any more either." For the avoidance of doubt, we promise not to make any more either. — Channel 4 Press (@C4Press) 21 June 2019The mistake has now been corrected on the petition webpage, which was launched by the Christian group called the Return to Order campaign.In a statement they wrote: “Due to an oversight by Return to Order staff, this petition originally listed Netflix as responsible for the offensive series "Good Omens." Amazon Video released the series on May 31.“We regret the mistake, and the protests will be delivered to Amazon when the campaign is complete.”The Amazon series is based on a novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, where an angel and demon comically try to sabotage the coming of the end of times.The Return of the Order called the series “another step to make Satanism appear normal, light and acceptable.”Organisers have listed ways they say the show “mocks God’s Wisdom” which includes the fact that “God is voiced by a woman” (Frances McDormand).The petition also takes issue with the antichrist’s portrayal as a “normal kid” and the angle and demon being “good friends”.“In the end, this is a denial of Good and Evil: morality and natural law do not exist, just humanitarianism and an ultimately useless creed,” the petition says.“This type of video makes light of Truth, Error, Good and Evil, and destroys the barriers of horror that society still has for the devil.”

  • Michael Jackson's legacy "will continue", according to sister Janet Jackson
    News
    Digital Spy

    Michael Jackson's legacy "will continue", according to sister Janet Jackson

    "I love it when I see kids emulating him."

  • Peter Ball, former C of E bishop jailed for sexual abuse, dies at 87
    News
    The Guardian

    Peter Ball, former C of E bishop jailed for sexual abuse, dies at 87

    Peter Ball, 83, pictured arriving at the Old Bailey in London during his trial in 2015. Photograph: John Stillwell/PAPeter Ball, the disgraced former Anglican bishop who was sent to prison for sexually abusing vulnerable young men, has died at the age of 87.Ball, who was a friend of the Prince of Wales and other influential members of the establishment, was jailed in 2015 – more than 20 years after allegations were made against him that were largely ignored or downplayed by the church.Peter Hancock, the bishop of Bath and Wells and the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, said: “We have been made aware of the death of Peter Ball and our prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected by this news.”Ball, who was bishop of Lewes and bishop of Gloucester, served 16 months of a 32-month sentence for sexual offences against 18 young men.He had resigned as a bishop and accepted a police caution in 1993 after allegations were made, but was allowed to continue officiating in the Church of England.Last month, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) said the Church of England had put its own reputation above the needs of abuse victims in the Ball case and there had been a a serious failure of leadership by the former archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.The inquiry also found misguided expressions of support for Ball by Prince Charles and other members of the establishment when the bishop was accused of sexual offences.Ball had “sought to use his relationship with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to further his campaign to return to unrestricted ministry”, the 250-page report said. The Duchy of Cornwall bought a property to be rented by Ball after he resigned as a bishop.The prince’s actions “could have been interpreted as expressions of support for Peter Ball and, given the Prince of Wales’s future role within the Church of England, had the potential to influence the actions of the church,” IICSA said.In a written submission to the IICSA, Prince Charles said he had been deceived over a long period of time “about the true nature” of Ball’s activities, but denied he had sought to influence the outcome of police investigations.At Ball’s sentencing, Mr Justice Wilkie said Ball had abused his position as a senior member of the established church. “You pursued selected individuals to commit or submit to acts of physical or sexual debasement under the guise of it being part of an austere regime of devotion,” he said. “These acts were committed at your suggestion for your own sexual gratification.”Neil Todd, who made the first allegation of abuse in 1993, attempted suicide three times and went on to kill himself in 2012.The Church of England commissioned an independent review into its handling of the Ball case, which concluded that the church “appears to have been most interested in protecting itself”.Church leaders are expected to make contact with survivors of Ball’s abuse following his death.

  • Caroline Flint Suggests 26 Labour MPs Could Back A Tory Brexit Deal
    News
    HuffPost UK

    Caroline Flint Suggests 26 Labour MPs Could Back A Tory Brexit Deal

    Labour’s Caroline Flint tells Marr that the number of Labour MPs preparedto back the government’s Brexit deal “will go up” in the futurehttps://t

  • Five people quizzed in Patisserie Valerie probe, Serious Fraud Office says
    News
    PA Ready News UK

    Five people quizzed in Patisserie Valerie probe, Serious Fraud Office says

    The arrests took place on Tuesday but did not include former chairman Luke Johnson, according to the Sunday Times.

  • Politicians need to move fast as Facebook & Co move into finance - BIS
    News
    Reuters

    Politicians need to move fast as Facebook & Co move into finance - BIS

    Politicians need to quickly coordinate regulatory responses to new risks from technology companies like Facebook moving into finance, though banks won't be squeezed out anytime soon, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said on Sunday. The social media group's announcement last week that it wants to expand into payments and launch its own coin Libra has focused minds of regulators and central bankers, the BIS said. Such a move by Big Tech mixes extensive data on individuals with activities that could potentially undermine financial stability, the BIS said.

  • Indian slum tour becomes country's most popular tourist attraction
    News
    The Telegraph

    Indian slum tour becomes country's most popular tourist attraction

    A tour of one of the world’s biggest slums has been voted tourists’ most popular attraction in India, according to a travel site.

  • Robert E Lee statue removed from Dallas park sells for more than $1.4m
    News
    The Independent

    Robert E Lee statue removed from Dallas park sells for more than $1.4m

    It happened by city decree in the dark of night, or by civic demand at the hands of protesters. When the movement to reckon with Confederate symbols swept the nation, monuments that had long stood in city parks and on college campuses were suddenly dismantled.There was often no clear plan for the future, and few long-term solutions have emerged.Now, one city has settled on an unusual answer: Sell the statue to the highest bidder.A bronze statue of Robert E Lee on horseback that had sat in a Dallas park until 2017, sold on an online auction for more than $1.4m (£1.1m).The sale came with one crucial condition: The statue cannot be displayed publicly in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.[[gallery-0]] The auction is among the first of its kind since the movement to remove Confederate monuments picked up speed, first in 2015, after a white supremacist killed nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and then in 2017, when a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to the death of a counter-protester.But while the Dallas case may offer other cities a potential way forward, it also highlights the logistical and ethical challenges of transplanting statues that are often physically enormous and remain viscerally controversial. This week, a Confederate monument in Nashville was sprayed with graffiti that read, “They were racists”.Many Confederate statues being debated today did not originate during the Civil War era, when Southerners built obelisks in cemeteries and other tributes with themes of mourning. The towering figures of individual soldiers and monuments in public squares generally came later, historians say, during the rise of Jim Crow laws and subsequently during a backlash against desegregation.“That is when you are simultaneously seeing the dedication of these monuments,” said Christy Coleman, the chief executive of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia. “They are not separate things. They are a reassertion of the ideal.”In Dallas, the Robert E Lee monument, which was unveiled in a 1936 ceremony attended by President Franklin D Roosevelt, was part of the “Lost Cause” movement.The movement played down slavery’s role in the Civil War and romanticised the Confederacy as noble and heroic.“It shall stand here on this busy corner of our city as a perpetual memorial to the character, valour and achievements of this matchless leader of our own Lost Cause,” the mayor of Dallas said at the time, according to a copy of the dedication program.The city ordered the statue’s removal in 2017 amid a national wave of unrest over Confederate statues.Initially, a task force recommended that the statue be donated to a museum or educational site, where it could be displayed in full context. But no local options proved appropriate, said Jennifer Scripps, the director of the office of cultural affairs in Dallas.Ultimately, the city decided to sell the statue, which was made by Alexander Phimister Proctor.“It was clearly worth money,” Ms Scripps said. “To put it in a crate for perpetuity, was that the best use of a taxpayer asset? But I think you have to do it very carefully.”Officials set the price at $450,000, the amount it cost to remove the statue. A bidding war broke out among online buyers, driving the price over $1.4m. The winner was identified as Ron Holmes, a local real estate lawyer bidding on behalf of his firm. He did not return requests for comment, and it is unclear whether he bought it for himself or a client.In one instance in Kentucky, a Confederate monument was moved to another, more welcoming town. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, there are reportedly plans to move a Confederate monument to a cemetery. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, officials still haven’t decided what to do with “Silent Sam” nearly a year after the statue was toppled by protesters.Baltimore is asking for a detailed plan from anyone interested in acquiring Confederate monuments that city officials had removed under the cover of darkness in 2017.The city wants to know who the new owner will be and what that person or institution plans to do with it, including where it will be stored and how it will be put in historical context, said Eric Holcomb, the executive director of Baltimore’s historical and architectural preservation commission.“It’s really important to us that these monuments get into the right hands where they can be used for a discussion for healing,” he said.The city has received requests from “pro-Confederate institutions”, whose approach runs counter to the commission’s goal of placing the artefacts in full context, Mr Holcomb said.He said other groups had expressed interest as well, but acknowledged that it was a difficult issue and that “a lot of organisations are not very receptive right now.”In Memphis, the fate of Confederate statues is tied up in court. Tennessee is among the few states with laws shielding Confederate tributes, but two statues in Memphis were removed after the city transferred ownership of the land to a nonprofit group, Memphis Greenspace.The statues are in “an undisclosed location” while that decision is challenged in court, said Van D. Turner Jr, the president of the group, who is also a commissioner in Shelby County, Tennessee.Museums are often suggested as an ideal location to preserve and contextualise Confederate statues. But even that solution has proved tricky.The American Civil War Museum has had to turn down requests for it to accept Confederate statues, which are expensive to care for and already fill the museum’s hallways, Coleman said.“Frankly, we really need to balance out our collection as it is,” she said, noting that the museum’s mission is to explore the war from multiple perspectives.There are also practical considerations: Some monuments are huge and do not easily fit indoors.Paul C Gramling Jr, the leader of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has sued to protect Confederate statues, is opposed to removal in all cases. Saying that Confederate monuments honour the dead, he suggested that discussions about what to do with them were like asking: “We took the tombstone off your grandfather’s grave, now what do you think we should do with it?”But if a statue cannot stay up, he said, it should be offered to the descendants of the Confederate soldiers to which it paid tribute.For Ajume H Wingo, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies democracies, the fate of the statues matters less than how they are removed.“Justice must be seen to be done,” said Mr Wingo, who argued that the statues should not be taken down covertly, but rather in public ceremonies that are as prominent as their original unveilings.He suggested a symbolic, if not literal, torching of Confederate statues. “That is how you take the power of it,” he said.New York Times

  • New way of measuring earthquakes 'may unlock holy grail of where and when they will strike'
    Yahoo News UK

    New way of measuring earthquakes 'may unlock holy grail of where and when they will strike'

    New way of measuring earthquakes 'may unlock holy grail of where and when they will strike'

  • The Guardian view on Heathrow expansion: stop it to save the planet
    News
    The Guardian

    The Guardian view on Heathrow expansion: stop it to save the planet

    Aviation efficiency gains and innovation will not be enough to limit emissions growth. Demand for air travel needs to be damped. “Come on, stop calling us polluters.” That was the shocking message of denial from the head of the International Air Transport Association at a summit that took place this month as it emerged that rising numbers of passengers are shunning flights because of the climate emergency. Consumers are voting with their feet. Too many perhaps for barely profitable airlines, but too few to shift the corporate inertia surrounding an environmental crisis. The trend may accelerate as planetary disaster unfolds. The industry needs a better strategy than burying its head in the sand. With ice sheets vanishing from the roof of the world and fjords disappearing in the North Atlantic, Big Air must first accept the scale of the problem. Aviation needs to be part of the global commitment to phase out fossil fuels and limit catastrophic temperature rises. Industry emissions are growing faster than original forecasts. This year, for the first time, global aviation emissions passed the one gigatonnes of CO2 mark. The industry contributes about 3% of annual global emissions but could be a 10th or more of the total by 2050. The second step needed is a radical new plan that goes far beyond the current Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. This scheme only covers 75% of the industry, and experts calculate that a significant reduction of emissions from flying will be needed by 2030 to keep warming below 2C. Although there’s been a buzz about electric planes, they cannot provide all the answers. Replacing fuel tanks with heavier batteries would not make sense for long flights. Even if some travellers are thinking again, passenger growth outpaces the drop in carbon emissions from greener technology. That is not to say cleaner fuels are not needed. It’s just that such innovation won’t be enough on its own. The demand for air travel needs to be damped. This is easier than one might imagine. Frequent flying is a minority sport: 75% of all flights in the United Kingdom come from 15% of the population. It is the better-off who can afford to fly all year round. They are behind the 40% rise in holiday flights in the last decade – an astonishing 11m extra trips. To get a feel of the civilisation-wide significance of climate change, think about this fact: a UK resident making a single transatlantic round trip emits as much CO2 as they would in two months of everyday life. To change passenger behaviour might need taxation. A recently leaked EU report suggested that increasing the cost of jet fuel tax by 10% would cut the number of travellers by a similar amount. There might be a case for the first trip or two in a year to be lightly taxed and for subsequent ones to face steeply rising levies. If the UK government was serious about the climate emergency it would think again about a third runway at Heathrow. Pressing ahead with it, or any runway, would make a mockery of Theresa May’s promise to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of this century. The government’s climate advisers said we could hit that target and still be flying in 2050. The aviation sector, they calculated, would account for 31 megatonnes of CO2. If a third runway at Heathrow goes ahead that will shoot past 40 megatonnes of CO2. The polluter ought to pay. The cost of absorbing the equivalent of airline emissions should be raised to make airport expansion less attractive. Although MPs did vote for the third runway, in a few years’ time the transport secretary will have a chance to block Heathrow’s proposals. To save the planet, whoever is in the post should do so.

  • One of India's biggest cities has almost run out of water
    News
    The Independent

    One of India's biggest cities has almost run out of water

    One of India’s largest cities, home to nearly five million people, is running out of water as the main reserve is drying up. Satellite surveys from June 2019 show Chennai’s main rain-fed reservoir Lake Puzhal is a fraction of what it was this time last year. All four of the city’s primary reserves are almost dry, meaning that four million people are dependent on non-potable water collected from makeshift wells. The Chennai Metro Water has cut the water it provides by 40 per cent. Shortages started several weeks ago and the government has been heavily criticised for relying on the arrival of the monsoon instead of taking action. The rains are unreliable and have been late for several years in a row. The delayed monsoon has left millions of people without water as devastating heatwaves sweep across the country, killing hundreds. Poor urban development in Chennai also means water is not recycled and rainwater is not collected. Earlier this month in Churu in Rajasthan, the temperature hit 50C which is just shy of India’s all-time high recorded in 2016.The health ministry issued advice for staying safe in rising temperatures. They included avoiding the sun between noon and 3pm and refraining from drinking alcohol, tea and coffee.The heatwave is part of a trend of rising temperatures in India.Last year was the sixth-warmest since national record-keeping began in 1901 and 11 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2004. The frequency of heatwaves is also increasing, a government minister told India’s parliament earlier this year.

  • University graduate in seven-year battle with Home Office after being ‘robbed’ of post-study visa
    News
    The Independent

    University graduate in seven-year battle with Home Office after being ‘robbed’ of post-study visa

    A graduate of a UK university is embroiled in a seven-year legal battle with the Home Office after the promise of a post-study work visa was “robbed” from her just weeks before she completed her degree. Mahe Henadeerage decided to leave Sri Lanka and pay tens of thousands of pounds to study in the UK after she was told she woud have two years to amass work experience after finishing her course. But in April 2012, the government scrapped the post-study work visa, which allowed international students to stay in the UK and work for up to two years after graduation. The Nottingham Trent graduate missed the application window for the “dream” opportunity as her degree did not end until May.Ms Henadeerage came to England to pursue a career in sustainable fashion, but the government’s reforms made it difficult for her to get a job as she had less time on her visa.Seven years on, her life is still in “limbo” amid a lengthy and costly battle with the Home Office.She was given hope in 2014 when a first-tier tribunal judge said there was an arguable case for leave to remain be granted on the basis of disruption to the graduate’s six-year plan.But the Home Office appealed the ruling and won. The 32-year-old, who has been in Britain for 11 years, is now waiting to fight her case once more in a new hearing in the autumn. Ms Henadeerage, who lives with her sister in the UK and who does volunteering work with a charity, is worried that she will be deported back to Sri Lanka where she no longer has a home or any family. “I am here in this country within the legal framework. England is my home now. I have not committed any crime. I have been a model citizen volunteering in my local community,” she said. “I feel like my entire future has been robbed. The best part of my 20s have been in limbo fighting for something that should’ve been an obvious solution.“This process has turned my life upside down. I feel so hopeless and I feel like my worth is nothing. I have lost so much in terms of my family’s money and my future I could’ve had, which I can’t get back.”Earlier this month, the home secretary said he backed an amendment tabled by former universities minister Jo Johnson to allow international students to stay in the UK for up to two years.Sajid Javid called for an end to the four-month restriction introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary, adding that it made no sense to send “some of the brightest and most enterprising people in the world straight home after their time here”.The government acknowledged the cap had caused issues earlier this year when it announced that it would extend the post-study leave period from four months to six months. But organisations representing universities and students say it does not go far enough, and they argue a two-year visa must be reintroduced to send a more “welcoming” message to overseas students. Manish Khatri, co-founder of the Post-study Work Visa Now campaign, said international students were now looking to study in Australia, Canada and the US, rather than the UK, because of the limited offer. On the six-month extension, he said: “I don’t think it will make a difference. The employer will look at it and see that they only have six months on their visa max. It doesn’t help much in the long run.”Even with the restrictions brought in by the Home Office in 2012, agents are still targeting young people overseas, who bring in large fees to UK universities, and promising them employability, Mr Khatri said. “Universities have to be clear about what they can offer. People that come here are told they will be able to find a job,” he told The Independent.Ms Hendareeage was one of the young people who decided to study in the UK after being “sold a dream of opportunity”. She was told that the country’s post-study visa would make easier to get a job. She added: “There needs to be some sort of accountability. You can’t swindle people. You can’t say there’s one thing and then when we arrive here with that trust it’s a different story.“They used the post-study two-year work visa as a marketing tool and a promotion. I felt like I had been tricked and robbed of the opportunity and money.”Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voice, said: “The damage to the lives of those thousands of students like Mahe denied the chance to work in the UK is immeasurable – but there’s a financial cost too that can be measured.”A recent report from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) estimates that £150m in revenue is lost each year because of the government’s restrictions on post-graduation employment in 2012.Ms Ramadan added: “If this government is serious about attracting international students – and we would remind them that they contribute far more to our country than cash – the insular, anti-migrant logic underpinning all UK immigration policy must be replaced with an open-minded attitude and a set of policies to match, starting with this visa.”Yinbo Yu, international students’ officer at the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “It is clear that the hostile environment has had negative economic, educational, and human impacts, in particular to students on the basis of both heritage and nationality. “We welcome international students and would encourage the government to make changes to ensure that they are treated in a way that is equitable and inclusive.”A Universities UK spokesperson warned an “uncompetitive post-study work offer” had curbed growth in international enrolments and called for an extension of at least two years. They said: “Universities UK has proposed an improved post-study work system for graduates, who are massive contributors economically and culturally. “While the government’s International Education Strategy is a positive step, we can do more to send a strong message of welcome.”A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK has a world class educational system, which continues to attract leading talent from across the globe.“There are no limits on the number of international students who are welcome to study here and this is evidenced by the fact that university student visa applications are at the highest level on record.“Our White Paper builds on our already strong student offer by extending the time students can stay post-study to find employment, going beyond the recommendations of the independent Migration Advisory Committee.”

  • Husband of jailed British-Iranian national enters day 8 of hunger strike
    News
    RFI

    Husband of jailed British-Iranian national enters day 8 of hunger strike

    London continues to call for the release of British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, while she and her husband embark upon a joint hunger strike in an effort to push Iran to release her.Sunday marked day eight in Richard Ratcliffe's hunger strike. His wife has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016 on charges of trying to topple the Iranian government. She is serving a five-year sentence.Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran visiting her parents when she was stopped at the airport before flying back to the UK.Her daughter was taken away and remains in Iran at the house of her grandparents.Ratcliffe has been denied a visa to Iran to visit his wife and daughter.Zaghari-Ratcliffe was temporarily released last year in August, but had to return shortly after.Hungry for actionThis is the second hunger strike by Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager at the Thompson Reuters Foundation, following the first one in January.Iran has refused repeated calls from Britain to release her.In protest against the refusal of Iranian authorities to release her, to grant Ratcliffe a visa to visit her or to allow the British embassy to check on her health, the pair went on hunger strike – Zaghari-Ratcliffe from within the prison and her husband outside the Iranian embassy in London. He has vowed to remain there in solidarity with his wife until she ends her hunger strike, or until she tells him to do otherwise.The hunger strike has been criticised by Iran’s ambassador to the UK saying it has made working there impossible and has put pressure on diplomatic staff.“He is now blocking the entrance of our embassy and the peace of mind of our staff is in complete despair,” said Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad.Boris Johnson blunderHer case wasn’t helped when then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told UK parliament that Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention on sedition charges was a mockery of justice as she had been "simply teaching people journalism" in Tehran.Her family strongly denied his claims and added that his comments only made the situation worse.With frontrunner Johnson in campaign mode to become the next prime minister, Ratcliffe broke his silence at his strike in front of the Iranian embassy to say he sees the former foreign secretary as a potential threat to national security.He said Johnson of making mistakes and false promises that enabled Iran to discredit any case in favour of his wife's release.In a video posted on social media, Ratcliffe pleaded that the incoming prime minster help his wife.An online media campaign called FreeNazanin continues to amass numbers in support of her release.

  • Senegal prepare to man up without Mané against Tanzania
    News
    RFI

    Senegal prepare to man up without Mané against Tanzania

    Senegal start their quest for a first Africa Cup of Nations title on Sunday without their skipper and star striker Sadio Mané. The 27-year-old Liverpool front man is suspended for the tie against Tanzania due to yellow cards picked up during the qualifiers for the 2019 tournament."We would have preferred to have him,” said stand-in captain Cheikhou Kouyate. “He's our best player but we have players to cover his absence."With Senegal 109 places above Tanzania in the rankings compiled by world football’s governing body Fifa, Mané’s absence on paper, should not prevent a comfortable victory for the Senegalese against a nation that has not appeared at the competition since 1980.But the opening games in Egypt have shown that such discrepancies can be misleading.Egypt struggled for fluency in their 1-0 win over Zimababwe side and Uganda made a mockery of the rankings during their romp past a much fancied team from Democratic Republic of Congo.PotentialSenegal coach, Aliou Cissé, has cannily reduced the pressure on his side in the prelude to the Group C match at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo."Our recent results show that Senegal is making progress,” said the former Senegal skipper. “But the statistics don't lead to victories. France were not top of the Fifa rankings and they were world champions." The 43-year-year old added: "Favourites are the teams who have won things.  Senegal have never won the Cup of Nations. Egypt have claimed it seven times. But we know our strengths and we are genuine challengers.”Cissé’s squad gave a good account of themselves at the World Cup in Russia in 2018. They missed out on a place in the last 16 due to the number of yellow cards the team had been given during the group stages.Surge"To get to the semi-finals of the Cup of Nations would be normal for this team,” said Cissé whose side reached the last four in 2017.Emmanuel Amunike, the Tanzania coach, said he was unconcerned by the huge gap between the sides in the rankings."Do not be surprised if you see some of these so-called big teams packing their bags early and heading home,” added the former Nigeria international.Tanzania’s last campaign at the Cup of Nations came in 1980 when it was an eight team affair. Their interest ended swiftly. They finished bottom of their group with one point.

  • Indian soldiers recover bodies of seven missing mountaineers
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    PA Ready News World

    Indian soldiers recover bodies of seven missing mountaineers

    Mr Moran's Scotland-based company said contact with the team was lost on May 26 following an avalanche.

  • 2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP is a limited edition 'Ring-raider
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    motor1

    2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP is a limited edition 'Ring-raider

    As expected, it breaks the previous record of its predecessor.

  • Essex Firefighters Smash Car Window To Rescue Toddler Left In Dangerously Hot Car
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    HuffPost UK

    Essex Firefighters Smash Car Window To Rescue Toddler Left In Dangerously Hot Car

    Firefighters were forced to smash the window of a car to rescue a toddler leftin a dangerously hot car at the weekend

  • Five-year-old becomes Britain's youngest certified beekeeper
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    The Telegraph

    Five-year-old becomes Britain's youngest certified beekeeper

    A five-year-old who keeps an impressive colony of 60,000 bees has become Britain's youngest certified beekeeper.

  • Millennium Mills fire: smoke billows from derelict building near London City Airport
    News
    Evening Standard

    Millennium Mills fire: smoke billows from derelict building near London City Airport

    Smoke is filling the sky above the Millennium Mills building as firefighters battle a blaze. London Fire Brigade is at the scene, near London City Airport, and stated half of a derelict factory is alight. A statement said: "Ten fire engines and around 70 firefighters have been called to a fire at a derelict factory in Mill Road in Silvertown."Around half of one section of the building is currently alight."Residents and businesses in the area are advised to keep windows and doors closed as a precaution while firefighters continue to tackle the fire."The alarm was raised at 6.05pm and the fire was under control by 8.49pm. The brigade said the location was reported to it as Millennium Mills. Millennium Mills is an old flour mill on the south side of the Royal Victoria Dock. It has appeared in numerous films and tv programmes. Scenes for Ashes to Ashes and Trance were shot at the location. It has also been used as a setting in music videos for bands such as The Smiths, Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay.

  • Jihadi Jack feels 'guilty' for his parents' conviction
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    The Telegraph

    Jihadi Jack feels 'guilty' for his parents' conviction

    A muslim convert known as Jihadi Jack has said he feels guilty about his parents' conviction of funding terrorism after they sent him cash.

  • Paris prepares pools, parks and 'cool rooms' for predicted heatwave
    News
    The Guardian

    Paris prepares pools, parks and 'cool rooms' for predicted heatwave

    Late swimming will also be allowed in La Villette canal basin. Photograph: SITTLER/SIPA/REX/ShutterstockParis pools will host night swimming, large parks will stay open all hours and special “cool rooms” will be set up in town hall buildings as French authorities fear for residents’ health during the anticipated European heatwave.The French capital still carries the trauma of the 2003 heatwave, which caused many thousands of deaths in France and so many deaths in the Paris area that morgues ran out of space.Elderly people and those living alone without contact with neighbours are a particular concern as the city increases emergency planning. There will be special phonelines, and “cool rooms” will be available between 2pm and 6pm across the capital.The Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said on Sunday that as many as eight major swimming pools would stay open after 10pm and swimming would be allowed in the canal basin at La Villette. She also said three temporary outdoor pools would be set up for in highly populated, lower-income areas of the city, which would be free to use.Paris has relatively little green space and has been working for years on how to “green up” and introduce more plants in order to counter the heat held by stone and concrete. Hidalgo told the Journal du Dimanche that 13 large parks would stay open all night during the anticipated heatwave because the temperature there would be one or two degrees lower than in the rest of the city. She said five more parks would be added if the heatwave continued. The city’s growing homeless population, which includes high numbers of migrants who sleep rough in groups of tents under bridges or by roads, is also a particular concern. Hidalgo said 5,000 reusable flasks of water would be distributed to people living on the street, and more than 1,000 drinking fountains added across the city. Aid workers would increase their rounds of the city to check on rough sleepers, she said.The homeless help centre at La Chapelle, an area with large numbers of undocumented migrants and refugees sleeping rough, “would stay open seven days a week, with a capacity for 400 showers a day”, she said. Campaigners have long complained that not enough year-round support is available for the city’s homeless.Hospital emergency rooms in Paris are braced for an increase of patients just as many have led strike action over insufficient resources.

  • In pictures: Action-packed day at ‘Glastonbury for dogs’
    News
    PA Ready News UK

    In pictures: Action-packed day at ‘Glastonbury for dogs’

    Ashton Court Estate in Bristol hosted a canine festival.

  • Aston Martin Valhalla Volante rendering is Heaven on Earth
    News
    motor1

    Aston Martin Valhalla Volante rendering is Heaven on Earth

    It looks like it was always meant to be a roofless wonder.