'I won't be the last female PM'

Theresa May has made a tearful statement in Downing Street announcing her resignation.

  • Who is Doria Ragland? Meghan Markle’s mom’s wedding, age and all you need to know
    News
    Evening Standard

    Who is Doria Ragland? Meghan Markle’s mom’s wedding, age and all you need to know

    The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle appears to have a very close relationship with her mother, Doria Ragland. Ragland has been a reassuring presence at Markle’s biggest royal moments thus far: her wedding (where she walked arm-in-arm from the church with Prince Charles) and the birth of her first born, Archie. She was also at her daughter's side when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex introduced Archie to Prince Phillip and the Queen. Ragland, 62, was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1956. Her mother worked as a nurse while her father was an antique dealer. Ragland’s family moved to Los Angeles when she was young where she attended high school at Fairfax High School. She worked as a makeup artist after her graduation and met her ex-husband Thomas Markle while working on TV show General Hospital. Ragland worked as a travel agent and went on to earn a social work license. She married Thomas Markle in 1979 and divorced him in 1987 after Meghan Markle’s birth.Up until days before her daughter’s wedding in 2018, Ragland worked as a social worker at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Clinic in Culver City, L.A. Her interest in social justice clearly impacted her daughter as Meghan is also a huge advocate for humanitarian issues, like women’s rights. In 2017, Markle wrote an op-ed for Time on the stigma surrounding menstruation, and since becoming a royal has continued her philanthropic efforts by working with organizations like the Hubb Community Kitchen, a kitchen ran by those who survived the Grenfell Tower fire.Markle wrote about her mother’s lifestyle on her old blog, The Tig. One post read, “Dreadlocks. Nose ring. Yoga instructor. Social worker. Free spirit. Lover of potato chips & lemon tarts. And if the DJ cues Al Green’s soul classic ‘Call Me,’ just forget it. She will swivel her hips into the sweetest little dance you’ve ever seen, swaying her head and snapping her fingers to the beat like she’s been dancing since the womb. And you will smile. You won’t be able to help it. You will look at her and you will feel joy. I’m talking about my mom.”Ragland teaches yoga in Los Angeles and influenced Markle to start practicing at the age of seven. Markle is now a yoga fan, but it hasn't always been that way. “Yoga is my thing,” Markle told Best Health. “I was very resistant as a kid, but [my mother] said, ‘Flower [Ragland’s nickname for Meghan], you will find your practice — just give it time.’ In college, I started doing it more regularly.”In addition to yoga, Ragland also loves running – in fact, she has run in the L.A. Marathon. Despite the huge life change undergone by her daughter in the last few years, she and Markle are still close. The Duchess had her mother closely involved in the royal wedding planning – Markle flew out to L.A. to explain to her mother how the big day would go, according to royal contributor Omid Scobie. “It was in Los Angeles that she arrived equipped with sketches from the wedding and of the wedding dress itself, so she could really give her mom some insight on how the big day will look,” Scobie said on Good Morning America.Ragland was staying with Meghan for the birth of Archie, and she was even included in the official royal statement, which read, “The Duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland, who is overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild, is with Their Royal Highnesses at Frogmore Cottage.”

  • News
    Sky News

    Man, 64, arrested over death of footballer Emiliano Sala

    A 64-year-old man has been arrested over the death of Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala earlier this year. Police said he was from North Yorkshire and was detained on suspicion of manslaughter by an unlawful act. Sala, a 28-year-old Argentine striker, was killed when a private plane taking him from France to the UK crashed in the English Channel north of Guernsey on 21 January.

  • Killing Eve, sausages and the sexual politics of meat
    News
    The Conversation

    Killing Eve, sausages and the sexual politics of meat

    What's with all the sausages in Killing Eve? It's a thriller that gives butchery a new meaning.

  • The Londoner: Chuka goes silent on Change UK
    News
    Evening Standard

    The Londoner: Chuka goes silent on Change UK

    Chuka Umunna hasn’t talked to any of his old colleagues in Change UK since he quit the party to join the Liberal Democrats. “He hasn’t spoken to any of us,” one Change UK source said, adding: “He owes us an explanation. In February he was adamant along with the rest of us that British politics was broken and that included the Lib Dems.” There was though, they said, “no ill feeling” towards the Streatham MP. “More than that it’s a great disappointment.” A spokesperson for Mr Umunna (pictured) said this morning: “He has huge respect for Change UK and wishes them well.”Rancour between Change UK and the Lib Dems, which was intensified by Umunna’s defection, began during the European Election campaign, The Londoner understands. “Dirty tricks” angered Change UK, the source said. They pointed to how the Lib Dems “got the number-one candidate on our list in Scotland to defect to them. He was in a conference call with our candidates at about 10 o’clock the previous night. He didn’t say a word.”The Liberal Democrats also said they “had offered us an alliance of some kind”, but, the source said, “there was never any discussion about a joint list. It wasn’t possible with the European elections.”“When these things were happening some of us wanted to call this out, but our then interim leader Heidi Allen and our spokesperson Chuka argued that we would be damaging the Remain cause.”Added to this was frustration after interim leader Allen encouraged tactical voting before the poll. But the source lamented there was nothing anyone could do: “Heidi couldn’t have been stopped — she was acting entirely on her own.”As for Allen, who has returned to being an independent, there are thoughts she might join the Liberal Democrats herself. “It’s almost certain,” a source said. “I can’t see the logic of her position that she can’t stand as a candidate for us. I assume it will be orchestrated to fit in with when or if Jo Swinson becomes leader.”Some Cold comfortCulture Secretary Jeremy Wright told the audience at last night’s UK Music summer party that Coldplay’s music “resonates” with him. But “I’m not just talking about song titles like Don’t Panic and Everything’s Not Lost. It’s sometimes the specific lyrics: ‘Revolutionaries wait for my head on a silver plate, just a puppet on a lonely string, oh, who would ever want to be king?’” Wright intoned. “That is either really good advice to Conservative leadership contenders or,” he added, pointing to the next speaker, “it’s a really good introduction to my good friend Mr Tom Watson.”\---Labour MP Chris Bryant spent his teenage years holidaying with none other than future Bond star Daniel Craig. The pair were in Valencia with the National Youth Theatre, where Bryant said “we had a very enjoyable time”. Craig was “very different then. He used to smoke and he wasn’t buff,” Bryant told The Londoner. “I was the only one who went on to politics,” he added, admitting to one major flaw: “Notwithstanding my ability to cry on cue, I was a terrible actor”.\---ACTOR Michael Sheen has no time for Twitter trolls who criticise him for sharing fan fiction on the site. “If you don’t like it you are most welcome to very f**k off”.Erin and the V&A revellers seek shelter, mousse and RuinartDespite the deluge, the V&A’s John Madejski Garden was packed with partygoers last night for the museum’s annual summer party. Guests including Felicity Jones, Erin O’Connor, Zadie Smith, Cressida Bonas and Lady Amelia Windsor circulated and sheltered inside the gallery’s ornate halls when the rain started to fall. Handsome waiters offered Ruinart, and there was a run on the crystal bowls of chocolate mousse (The Londoner, sadly, didn’t get any). We grabbed Graham Norton by one of the three bars, who told us his dream guests are Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, and the secret to his success is smooth-talking. “Flattery’s always a good ice-breaker.” Meanwhile, host with the most, museum director Tristram Hunt admitted the do was “stressful” to organise, though he was delighted by the pedigree of the guests. Anyone missing? “The difference between this year and last year is no Nick Clegg this year. We’ve muddled through.”SW1AWhat will Theresa May, below, do when she finally stands down as Prime Minister? One minister teasingly suggested to her that she could take up a job in Europe. “She loved it,” the minister reports, “she said, ‘Hell yeah!’” Perhaps she could replace Michel Barnier as the EU’s chief negotiator? She does know a lot about the other side.\---He may be out of the leadership race but Rory Stewart is still walking. “Thank you all very much indeed,” he told supporters in a Twitter video last night. He invited them to join him at the Southbank Spiegeltent at the Underbelly Festival where he launched his campaign to “keep the conversation going” and declared that “we’re uncovering something extraordinary in British politics”. Certainly. \---Yesterday was “bring your family to work day” at No 10. Comms chief Robbie Gibb brought his two daughters along but Larry the Cat sunk his claws into his eldest.Disconnected Jack’s phone-free futureMusician Jack White has “never owned” a mobile phone and finds it “funny to walk down the street” because “everyone [using one] sort of looks silly”. The White Stripes star admits that he was an “anomaly” but predicted that in the future phones could be replaced by “a microchip behind our eyeball”. White also tells Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s podcast that fans react well to his ban on phones at his gigs. “It’s shocking how much people love it... it brings up all these questions: so you need someone to tell you you can’t actually use it?”Quote of the day“We’re the Gallaghers. We’re not the f***ing Waltons”Liam Gallagher has a timely reminder for critics of his unconventional family

  • News
    Reuters

    Unauthorised drone flying disrupts flights at Singapore airport

    One of two runways at Singapore's main airport closed for short periods on Tuesday and Wednesday because of "confirmed sightings of unauthorised drone flying", the aviation regulator said. Around 37 scheduled departures and arrivals were delayed at the popular Changi airport, with one scheduled arrival diverted to Kuala Lumpur, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement. CAAS said a multi-agency team including airport staff, the armed forces and police was activated to try to track down the source of the intrusion.

  • Avengers: Endgame to be re-released with brand new footage
    News
    The Independent

    Avengers: Endgame to be re-released with brand new footage

    It’s official. The Avengers: Endgame story isn’t over – the comicbook blockbuster will be re-released with new footage next weekend.Speaking to Comicbook.com at a Spider-Man: Far From Home press junket, Marvel boss Kevin Feige confirmed the exciting news. When asked about the likelihood of a re-release, he said: “We are doing that”.“I don’t know if it’s been announced,” he added. “And I don’t know how much... Yeah, we’re doing it next weekend.”This move could be a strategic one to push Endgame to the top of box office records. Thus far it has made $2.743bn (£2.43bn), according to ComicBook.com, but the real aim is to edge out James Cameron’s Avatar from the top spot, which holds the record of $2.788bn (£2.47m) at time of writing.Spider-Man: Far From Home is due out in cinemas on 2 July.

  • Radioactivity levels abnormally high in France’s Loire river
    News
    RFI

    Radioactivity levels abnormally high in France’s Loire river

    French nuclear watchdogs warned on Tuesday that they had registered abnormally high radioactivity levels in part of the central River Loire downstream from five atomic reactors.The unusually high levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen released from nuclear reactors, was found in January 2019 in the waters at Saumur, a city of about 27,000 inhabitants on the Loire between Angers and Nantes.The isotope, which occurs rarely in nature, was present “nearly systematically in the river and drinking water,” according to the Association for Radioactivity Monitoring in the West (ACRO), an independent nuclear watchdog whose laboratories are based in Normandy.“In January, the concentration in the waters of the Loire reached 310 bequerels per litre,” the group said in a joint statement with France’s Stop Nuclear Network. A bequerel (Bq) is a unit of measurement of the activity of radioactive materials.According to France’s Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), “the code of public health sets a reference of 100 Bq/L for tritium,” which when surpassed, “entails a complementary investigation into the radioactivity of the water”.Radioactivity levels went undetectedHowever, ACRO said that neither the IRSN nor any other official monitor spoke of or detected the abnormal level, despite its own finding that tritium is present over nearly 400km of the Loire“Is it due to an incident?” the group asked, calling on authorities to carry out “an investigation to determine the origin of this exceptionally high level”.The statement cites nuclear reactors as the source of the elevated levels of tritium, which occurs rarely in nature.At the town of Châtellerault on the Vienne, a tributary of the Loire, “river and drinking water have been contaminated with tritium in every monthly sample since last December,” the group says.Nuclear safety body says no health risk“There is no risk to the environment or the public,” assured France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), which added that the IRSN would carry out investigations to determine the source of the tritium.A 2010 report on nuclear safety concluded safety authorities underestimated the toxicity of tritium, the only radioactive element whose emissions were increasing in France.The report, by a scientist of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, also warned about a “flagrant” lack of data on the “carcinogenic effects of tritium”.

  • Florence Welch: Touring’s lonely now I’m sober ... but the fans save me
    News
    Evening Standard

    Florence Welch: Touring’s lonely now I’m sober ... but the fans save me

    Florence Welch has said she finds touring lonely now she is sober and confessed that playing to huge audiences makes her “go into shock”.The singer, 32, gave up alcohol and drugs almost five years ago and said it had made most areas of her life “exponentially better”.With her band Florence + The Machine, Welch is about to embark on a summer of festival performances, including Barclaycard presents British Summer Time in Hyde Park on July 13. But Welch admitted it will be difficult leaving the comfort of her south London home.She told ES Magazine: “I’m basically a hermit. I go from trying to stay in south London as much as possible, pottering around … to this huge thing. In my first week of tour I go into shock. I get really freaked out and wonder how sustainable it is as a way of life. I can’t sleep and I’m calling my manager, like, ‘I just can’t do this. This is the last one’.“Then by the end I’m in the swing of it. It’s almost like an addictive cycle: the first week is like, ‘Oh my God, no, this is terrifying’. Then at the end, you’re like, ‘I can’t wait to go back and play’.”She added: “I’m grateful that I was able to get sober away from the public eye. Most of the things in my life have got exponentially better from not drinking, but it’s lonely being sober on big tours. But really it’s the people at the shows that save me.” The singer has spoken about her anxiety in the past and said sobriety has helped her deal with the condition. She added: “I think I’ve probably had it low-level, and sometimes extreme, for as long as I can remember ... Stopping drinking and taking drugs has had a hugely helpful effect.”Welch is also cautious about using social media, explaining: “I have to be really careful, especially when I’m lonely on tour, and you think that it’s going to help you feel less lonely. The ‘compare and despair’ thing is really difficult, and also the sense that you have to solidify your identity every day. That’s tricky because I need a lot of quiet time and time not to be exposed or in the spotlight. So every time I post a picture I have a small panic attack.” Welch admitted it was painful to be criticised for her personality rather than her music. She said: “I stopped doing as many interviews. I didn’t want the idea of becoming a personality to overshadow my music.”

  • Ben Nevis climber tells inquest of regret after friend’s fall death
    News
    PA Ready News UK

    Ben Nevis climber tells inquest of regret after friend’s fall death

    Patrick Boothroyd, 21, died after he and Leon Grabowski were caught in a mini avalanche as they scaled the Tower Gully.

  • Lord Alan Sugar reveals he could have died after doctors discovered fatal 'widow maker' heart condition
    News
    Yahoo Celebrity UK

    Lord Alan Sugar reveals he could have died after doctors discovered fatal 'widow maker' heart condition

    The Apprentice star made the discovery hours after going on a 25 mile bike ride with wife Ann

  • The best TVs for binge-watching, according to Netflix
    News
    The Independent

    The best TVs for binge-watching, according to Netflix

    You can binge-watch your favourite show on practically any device, but according to Netflix, there are a few TVs on the market that really improve the experience.For 2019, the streaming service recommends just three brands: Samsung, Sony and Panasonic.For Samsung, Netflix suggests the Q60R/Q70R/Q80R/Q90R/Q900R series, the RU8000, The Serif and The Frame devices.Sony’s Bravia X85G/X90G series and A9G series also made the cut, as did the Panasonic Viera GX700/GX800/GX900 series.The list of recommended televisions, a tradition since 2015, means the TVs are capable of a few key things - and have passed at least five of seven criteria.According to Netflix, the first requirement is speed - with a TV that is capable of waking up “instantly” and apps that are “ready to use right away” a necessity.Understandably, Netflix also has to open quickly, no matter if you’ve just turned on the TV or you are switching from a different app.Accessibility is also important, meaning Netflix requires its recommended TVs to have a Netflix button and an easy-to-navigate Netflix icon.Additionally, a high-resolution interface and the latest Netflix version are required.This year, the streaming service also included “Always Fresh” as a criteria, which means the TVs “update in the background, so the latest Netflix TV shows and movies are always displayed”.While the list is slim, Netflix states that “additional models and brands will be added as they become available and are designated”.Although your laptop may get the job done, these TVs are for if you really watch a lot of Netflix, or as Netflix describes, want a "faster, easier and better viewing experience from beginning to end”.

  • Johnson's apology for past 'offensive' remarks
    Sky video

    Johnson's apology for past 'offensive' remarks

    The former foreign secretary was pressed specifically on comments he made about women wearing burkhas.

  • 2020 Skoda Kodiaq facelift spied for the first time
    News
    motor1

    2020 Skoda Kodiaq facelift spied for the first time

    The largest of the three Skoda SUVs is getting ready for a mid-cycle refresh.

  • UN expert calls for Saudi crown prince to be probed over journalist’s death
    News
    PA Ready News World

    UN expert calls for Saudi crown prince to be probed over journalist’s death

    Jamal Khashoggi died at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.

  • Norwegian islanders hoping to go ‘time-free’ and banish clocks
    News
    PA Ready News World

    Norwegian islanders hoping to go ‘time-free’ and banish clocks

    Residents in Sommaroey will have 69 days of constant light in the summer and believe they are ill-served by traditional clock times.

  • Unilever boss says brands using 'woke-washing' destroy trust
    News
    The Guardian

    Unilever boss says brands using 'woke-washing' destroy trust

    Alan Jope said not backing up messaging could ‘further destroy trust in our industry’. Photograph: Richard Bord/Cannes Lions/Getty ImagesThe chief executive of Unilever has lashed out at companies that engage in “woke-washing” by using the language and imagery of worthy causes to increase sales, without backing up this rhetoric with action.Alan Jope, who holds the purse strings to a multibillion-dollar advertising budget for brands such as Dove, Persil, PG Tips and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, said: “Woke-washing is beginning to infect our industry.“It’s putting in peril the very thing which offers us the opportunity to help tackle many of the world’s issues.”Speaking at a conference in Cannes, the head of the consumer goods company said brands that highlight purpose but do not “walk the talk” could “further destroy trust in our industry, when it’s already in short supply”.He added: “Purpose-led brand communications is not just a matter of ‘make them cry, make them buy’. It’s about action in the world.”A host of major companies have come under fire over concerns that they are trying to cash in on causes seen as “woke” – a term that has come to mean worthy, or aware of social injustice.Last month, Marks & Spencer was criticised for launching a sandwich to mark LGBT Pride month.Burger King took the opportunity to sell milkshakes after McDonald’s halted sales of the beverage following a spate of incidents in which rightwing figures including Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had milkshakes thrown over them.But the fast-food chain was accused of condoning violence after tweeting: “Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun.” Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK justsaying — Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) May 18, 2019One of the most high-profile examples of woke-washing in recent years was an advert for Pepsi featuring Kylie Jenner that co-opted the imagery of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence in the US.Some fashion companies have been criticised for using plus-size models to cash in on sentiment around body positivity, despite offering very few clothes for people of a similar size.Earlier this year, the Guardian revealed Spice Girls T-shirts sold to raise money for Comic Relief’s “gender justice” campaign were made at a factory in Bangladesh where women earn the equivalent of 35p an hour.Mark Borkowski, a branding expert, said: “There’s nothing wrong with having a purpose and a drive, but it has to run through every element of your brand.“The younger generation are much more aware that they’re being marketed to. Every brand wants that immediate idea that’s going to lift them above the noise, but the messaging and authenticity – really making a change – isn’t easily achieved in the blink of an eye. We all end up even more cynical.”Unilever spends about £7bn a year on advertising and marketing and has previously spoken out about advertising standards. Last year, the company threatened to withdraw its advertising from platforms such as Facebook and Google if they failed to eradicate extremist content that “create[s] division in society and promote[s] anger and hate”.But the company has also been criticised for some its attempts to highlight social equality issues, particularly in relation to the Dove skincare brand.Dove apologised in 2017 after an advert showed a black woman appearing as white after using Dove body lotion, while Unilever also owns Fair & Lovely, a skin-whitening product sold primarily in India.Dove has also been ridiculed for instances of “femvertising” intended to promote body positivity but seen by some people as patronising.However, Unilever pointed to its “sustainable living plan”, which the company says is being applied to many of its 400 brands to limit environmental damage and help people improve their health and wellbeing.

  • EU preparing to downgrade Switzerland's single market access as warning to Brexit Britain
    News
    The Independent

    EU preparing to downgrade Switzerland's single market access as warning to Brexit Britain

    The EU is preparing to cut Switzerland's stock exchanges off from the single market, in part as a warning shot to Brexit Britain that it must play ball.Like the UK, Switzerland is renegotiating its relationship with the European Union – and a lack of progress on the Swiss side in implementing a new treaty has frustrated Brussels.With Brexit talks in the background, EU officials want to show they are serious about the integrity of the single market. “We simply cannot accept further attempts of foot-dragging and watering down internal market rules, especially in what is probably the decisive phase regarding Brexit,” Johannes Hahn, the EU Commission in charge of neighbourhood policy said in a letter reported by the Bloomberg news agency.The EU currently grants Switzerland "regulatory equivalence" in the financial sector, which allows firms to trade shares on the country's stock exchange. The EU recognition would automatically expire on 30 June if the Commission does not decide to extend it - potentially damaging Swiss stock exchanges to the benefit of other European ones.Since 2014, Switzerland and the EU have been trying to formalise their relations into a single agreement. The two powers' relationship is currently covered by around 120 separate and bespoke bilateral treaties.A draft treaty was concluded in November 2018, but the Swiss government has been demanding further clarifications before it signs of the agreement - on the issues of maintaining the current level of workers and wage protection, state subsidies, and citizens' rights. The treaty may end up being put to a national referendum in Switzerland, as is common there - its rejection would likely damage the EU-Swiss relationship. The situation in the Alpine nation situation somewhat mirrors that in the UK, where Theresa May negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the EU but has not been able to ratify it.

  • California utility company pays $1bn for deadly wildfire damages
    News
    The Independent

    California utility company pays $1bn for deadly wildfire damages

    A utility company involved in the deadly wildfires that ravaged California last year has agreed to pay $1bn (£793.8bn) to cover damages across 14 local governments. The settlement is just a fraction of the more than $30bn (£23.8bn) in potential damages Pacific Gas & Electric is facing in lawsuits filed by local governments, insurance companies and private property owners, however. High winds knocking down some of the company's power lines during hot, dry weather were blamed for starting several of the state’s most destructive wildfires.More than half of the $1bn in the agreement would go to four local governments impacted by a 2018 fire that killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes in Northern California.Another $270m (£214.4m) would go towards the town of Paradise, which was mostly destroyed in the blaze. Paradise had 26,000 residents before the fire and now has less than 3,000 people. It has reportedly lost more than 90 per cent of its tax revenue.“There is some relief and hope in knowing that we will have some financial stability,” Lauren Gill, the town manager, said in a statement. “We can’t do disaster recovery and rebuild the town if we don’t have people to do it.”The settlement also covers a 2015 fire in Calaveras County and a series of 2017 fires in wine country.PG&E filed for bankruptcy earlier this year The agreement would resolve claims from some local governments, but it still must be approved by a bankruptcy court. That likely won’t happen until lawsuits by insurance companies and private property owners are resolved.A spokesperson for the utility described the settlement as “an important first step [towards] an orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of wildfire claims.”Additional reporting by AP

  • Two Earth-like worlds that could support life found hiding near our solar system
    News
    The Independent

    Two Earth-like worlds that could support life found hiding near our solar system

    Two previously undiscovered Earth-like planets have been hiding in a solar system neighbouring ours, according to scientists.Their sun, known as "Teegarden's star", is only 12.5 light years from us. It is also one of the smallest and dimmest known stars – making it, and the planets that it supports, very difficult to spot.Because it is so dark, the star itself was only spotted in 2003, despite being so near to us. But it is also a relatively calm place, without violent solar flares or other activity that could wipe out anything that tried to live near it.Now, scientists who have been studying that dim star say there are planets floating around it that look remarkably similar to ours – and could have the perfect conditions to support alien life of their own, too.One of the two planets is said to be the most similar to our own ever to be discovered. That is calculated by how its size compares to the Earth and what the temperature might be like – although for now researchers only know its minimum mass, and not exactly how large it is.On that planet there could be flowing water and rocky worlds. But they stress how much is left to learn about the worlds, and many of the current calculations are done using estimates.Researchers say there is a 60 per cent chance of the planet having a temperate environment on its surface, and the temperature there is thought to be roughly in line with a day on much of Earth."The two planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system," lead author Mathias Zechmeister of the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Göttingen, said in a statement. "They are only slightly heavier than Earth and are located in the so-called habitable zone, where water can be present in liquid form.”Scientists are able to see the star from observatories on Earth. They hope to go on to further examine it, looking more at the activity and environment around it in the hope of learning more about how conditions could be on its planets.

  • Here’s why June is Pride Month and where we are today
    Zoomin.tv

    Here’s why June is Pride Month and where we are today

    Why is Pride celebrated in June? It all started with a gay bar defending itself…. And here’s where the world is today.

  • Eye on France: Children clobbered by chlorpyrifos!
    News
    RFI

    Eye on France: Children clobbered by chlorpyrifos!

    After glyphosate, the cancer-inducing weedkiller, the French papers look at chlorpyrifos, a commonly used pesticide suspected of pillaging our children's IQs.Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide which has been sprayed on European farms for the past half century, despite a staggering weight of scientific evidence suggesting that exposure to the stuff dramatically reduces the IQ of children. It also kills greenfly and caterpillars, which is why farmers like it so much.Unfortunately, chlorpyrifos survives on our spinach leaves, lettuce, potatoes and oranges. It is to be found in our kids’ urine, and in the umbilical cords of pregnant women.  Since 1965, evidence has been accumulating that this neurotoxin causes irreversible brain damage in youngsters, knocking 13 million points off the IQ of Europe’s children every year, and causing nearly 60,000 cases of mental deficiency.The economic cost is estimated at 146 billion euros per year.Chlorpyrifos is back in the news right now because, if Le Monde’s information is correct, the European Commission is considering a total ban on its use. Which is ironic, given that the commission has been avoiding a decision on this dangerous substance for the past two decades, accepting scientific evidence carefully selected and presented by the American manufacturer of the product, Dow Chemicals.The EU’s pesticides database shows that the chemical is approved for use until the end of January, 2020. Complete ban?Independent of Brussels, chlorpyrifos is banned by national governments in eight European countries at the moment. The French food safety agency has said the product poses no risks if used correctly. But they still felt it was wise to ban its use on all crops except spinach.Professor Barbara Demeneix, a specialist in chemical interference with the human nervous system, has trouble understanding the French position: “Chlorpyrifos is a nerve poison,” she says in Le Monde, “it affects the way the thyroid gland functions, so it could have an impact on brain development.”This chemical is from the same family as a nerve gas developed as a weapon during the Second World War. It kills creepy-crawlies by switching off a crucial transmitter in their central nervous system. Unfortunately, most animals, including us humans, make use of the same sort of nerve messenger.The crucial chemicals come from the thyroid gland, which is known to play a massive part in the development of the brain of the unborn child. Too few of them and the baby will suffer intellectual damage.Breaking our children's brainsIn the United States, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest a link between autism and exposure to high levels of the chemical. The state of California has banned the stuff completely.To quote a colourful passage from Le Monde: “The precise mechanisms are far from clearly understood, but there is no doubt that chlorpyrifos is housebreaking our children’s brains.”So, where does the so-called scientific community stand in all this?The short answer would seem to be, in the giant shadow cast by Dow.Buying the judge, the jury and the courthouseI say this because the Chlorpyrifos Task Force which is to advise the European Union on the advisability of future use of the chemical is run and financed by Dow. Worse, the country appointed to coordinate the inquiry is Spain, Europe’s top producer of citrus fruits. A series of tests in 2016 showed that 10 percent of Spanish fruit and vegetables contain traces of chlorpyrifos.Dow’s documents come by the ton, are densely technical, and would defeat even the most ardent expert. Surprisingly, the latest volumes include references to only 131 studies of the toxicity of chlorpyrifos, that’s 13 percent of all available research on the subject. Those that are mentioned were financed by, you guessed it, Dow Chemicals! Not surprisingly, the results of the studies cited are broadly positive.Only one piece of research which produced critical results is mentioned, and it is condemned by the Dow paymasters as inadequate, ill-informed and erroneous.Two projects, financed by Dow but which showed a dramatic and dangerous thinning of the brain area called the cerebellum in lab rats exposed to chlorpyrifos, were omitted from the completed submission.In simple terms, the European health authorities have based all their recent decisions on this chemical on an out-dated, biased and contradictory document produced and financed by the producer of the chemical in question.The EU will make its decision on the future of chlorpyrifos in the next few months. Le Monde says Dow will spend 1.5 million dollars in lobbying deputies this year.

  • Don't believe everything psychologists tell you about memory
    News
    The Conversation

    Don't believe everything psychologists tell you about memory

    Many psychologists claim memory is unreliable.

  • News
    Sky News

    Monsoon offers landlords profit-share deal in rescue bid

    Monsoon Accessorize, the struggling fashion retailer, is to offer landlords a share of future profits after snubbing their demands for an equity stake in the company. Sky News has learnt that a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposal to be published later on Wednesday will offer store owners up to £10m if Monsoon's profits beat internal forecasts in future years. The plan has been devised by advisers to Peter Simon, Monsoon Accessorize's founder, who has rejected requests by landlords to be handed a minority equity stake in the company.

  • How to make BBQ shallot and lamb flatbreads
    News
    The Independent

    How to make BBQ shallot and lamb flatbreads

    Lamb steaks marinated in lemon, garlic and oregano is threaded on to skewers with thick wedges of shallot in this recipe. These kebabs are great stuffed into some flatbread with tzatziki and salad.Serves 4 to 6Prep: 15 minutes plus marinating Cook: 10 minutes600g lamb leg steaks, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 tbsp olive oil 1 lemon, zest and juice 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tsp dried oregano 6 shallots, peeled and quartered through the root salt and freshly ground black pepperTo serve6 flatbreads, wraps or pitta bread a tub of tzatziki some slices of tomato and cucumberYou also need 6 skewers for the kebabs. If using wooden ones, soak them in water for an hour so they don’t burn on the grill.Add the lamb to a bowl and mix together with the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic and oregano. Season with a good grind of salt and pepper, stir well and cover with cling film. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours or longer if you have time.When you are ready to cook, you need to heat a barbecue until it is really hot. You can also cook these indoors on a cast iron griddle that’s preheated on the hob until smoking hot.Thread the lamb and shallot quarters onto the skewers and grill for about 8-9 minutes, turning a few times so they cook evenly.While the kebabs are cooking, warm the flatbreads or pittas by wrapping them in foil and laying on the grill, or warming in the oven.To serve, use a fork to pull the meat and shallot from each skewer and into flatbreads or pittas. Top with a little tzatziki and a cucumber and tomato salad and tuck in.Recipe from ukshallot.com

  • Draghi may just have tied hands of successor
    News
    Reuters

    Draghi may just have tied hands of successor

    Mario Draghi is seeing out the final weeks of his tenure in charge of the European Central Bank, but his overt hint of more stimulus to come could mean his influence is felt on ECB policy long after he has left the bank's Frankfurt home. Draghi leaves office at the end of October but a fresh round of stimulus in whatever form would set the direction of travel for much of the next year, thus making it difficult for a new ECB president to chart a new course even if they wanted to. Draghi said on Tuesday the ECB was prepared to cut rates or restart bond purchases in the absence of a clear improvement in the inflation outlook - complicated moves that are difficult to quickly undo without damaging the bank's credibility.