Home secretary Priti Patel has engaged in a war of words with an ice-cream manufacturer over the controversy surrounding migrants crossing the English Channel.More than 4,000 migrants have made the dangerous voyage across the world’s busiest shipping lane this year, with at least 597 arriving between Thursday and Sunday.The surge has been seized on by the media, which has sent reporters out to the Channel to monitor the crossings, with some receiving criticism for the tone of their coverage and accusing them of “voyeurism”. It follows Patel deploying the navy and a campaign by ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage highlighting the “invasion”.On Tuesday, the official Ben and Jerry’s UK Twitter account posted a series of tweets tagging the home secretary, which began: “Hey @PritiPatel, we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.” Hey @PritiPatel we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture. We pulled together a thread for you..— Ben & Jerry's UK (@benandjerrysUK) August 11, 2020 The ice cream maker also cited a HuffPost UK report that revealed the UK hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, despite the fact that “wars and violence continue”, it added.“What we need is more safe and legal route,” said Ben and Jerry’s. It continued by insisting that “stronger borders aren’t the answer” and urged ministers to talk to “expert organisations”, including charity Refugee Action.The thread ends: “Let’s remember we’re all human and have the same rights to life regardless of the country we happen to have been born in. “And once more for the back: PEOPLE CANNOT BE ILLEGAL.”In response to the thread, the BBC reported a “source” close to Patel branding the firm’s product as “overpriced junk food”. OOOF! Home Office source: “Priti is working day&night to bring an end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs&are of serious concern. If that means upsetting the social media team for a brand of overpriced junk food then so be it.” https://t.co/QIrfXOjZ5w— Chris Mason (@ChrisMasonBBC) August 11, 2020 The Home Office source told the BBC: “Priti is working day and night to bring and end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs and are rightly of serious concern to the British people.“If that means upsetting the social media team for a brand of overpriced junk food, then so be it.”Ben and Jerry’s was founded in 1978 by best friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in Vermont, US, and was bought by multinational company Unilever in 2000.Immigration minister Chris Philp on Tuesday promised a “new, comprehensive action plan” to stem the latest surge in migrant Channel crossings after talks with French officials.Philp and newly-appointed clandestine channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney travelled to Paris on Tuesday to seek stronger enforcement measures.It comes as lawyers representing asylum seekers who arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel on small boats launched legal action to halt their deportation, which is due to take place on Wednesday.Related... Using Navy To Stop Migrants Crossing The Channel Would Be 'Unlawful And Dangerous', Amnesty Warns Refugee Resettlement Scheme Still Closed Despite Record Channel Crossings Priti Patel Accused Of 'Sabre-Rattling' Over Reports Navy Could Turn Back Migrant Boats
Student leaders have urged the UK government to scrap moderated A-level grades in England after Scotland’s embarrassing U-turn.The National Union of Students (NUS) has called for UK education secretary Gavin Williamson to take “decisive action” after Nicola Sturgeon announced 124,564 computer-generated results north of the border would be binned and replaced by teacher assessments.Students will find out whether they have met the requirements for higher education in the rest of the UK on Thursday.Scotland’s education secretary John Swinney announced on Tuesday that exam results downgraded by a controversial moderation process would revert to the grades that had been assigned by students’ own teachers.He also confirmed marks that had been moderated upwards would not change.There had been outrage that students from poorer backgrounds in Scotland were hit hardest by downgrading.Exam boards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have moderated the grades submitted by schools and colleges to ensure this year’s results are not significantly higher than previous years.Larissa Kennedy, president of the NUS, said: “The Scottish government have taken decisive action to respond to this situation, which must now be reflected across the UK.“Students have worked incredibly hard throughout their education, and their efforts should be recognised. Now should be a time to celebrate their achievements rather than place a limit on their potential.”She added: “In these unprecedented circumstances the UK government should follow the lead of Scotland by scrapping moderated grades. This temporary measure must be taken to avoid a situation in which thousands of students do not receive the grades they deserve because of where they live.” Meanwhile, academics have warned that getting predictions right is a “near-impossible task” and have urged decision makers to back an admissions system based solely upon actual grades in future.A paper from the UCL Institute of Education says university applications should be delayed until students have received their A-level results to help remove potential inequalities.Researchers said they could only predict a quarter of pupils’ best three A-levels correctly – even after removing any opportunity for bias.High-achieving students in non-selective state schools are also more likely to be under-predicted at A-level compared to their grammar and private school peers, the study suggests.Academics – from UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities and Oxford Brookes Business School – studied data from 238,898 pupils’ GCSE performance to see whether they could accurately predict their subsequent A-level results.Among high achievers, the researchers found 23% of comprehensive school pupils were under-predicted by two or more grades compared to just 11% of grammar and private school pupils.Co-author professor Lindsey Macmillan said: “This research raises the question of why we use predicted grades at such a crucial part of our education system.“This isn’t teachers’ fault – it’s a near-impossible task. Most worryingly there are implications for equity, as pupils in comprehensives are harder to predict.”Related... Scottish Government U-Turns Over Students' Grades After Outcry Labour Demands SNP Education Secretary Quits After Poorer Pupils Have Exam Grades Lowered Government Under Pressure To Avoid Exam Results 'Disaster' That Hurts Poorest
Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now. The Covid-19 pandemic has been described as “devastating” for single parents as fresh data shows more than one million now rely on Universal Credit. New data, published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), reveals that 170,000 more single parents have been forced to claim the benefit in the first four months since the pandemic hit. Meanwhile, 285,000 parents part of a couple have enrolled for the benefit since the outbreak. The figures mean that 58% of all single parents and 10% of couple parents are now claiming UC, and charities are warning of a child poverty epidemic. Campaigners have repeatedly underlined that the disappearance of part-time work and gaps in childcare provision mean that single parents, who are predominantly women, have been hit harder by the economic impact of the virus.Government statistics show that overall a total of 5.5million people are now claiming UC.Chancellor Rishi Sunak now faces calls to lift the benefit cap and help single parents in order to ward off a fresh child poverty crisis. Victoria Benson, chief executive of charity Gingerbread, which supports single parent families, said the figures highlight “the devastating impact the pandemic is having on single parents”. She added: “We know single parents have been hit disproportionately hard as they are more likely to work in shut-down sectors, they are more reliant on part-time work and the gaping childcare hole in the government’s response to Covid-19 has forced many to stay at home as they can’t access childcare.“All of this has put many single parents on a fast track to unemployment. It is also no coincidence that the spike in single parents claiming UC has coincided with the largest decrease in employment in over a decade and the biggest fall in hours worked since records began – both of which were driven significantly by part-time workers becoming unemployed.  “Once again single parents have been marginalised and these figures are a stark reminder of how they have been disproportionately impacted by ruthless and out of touch government policies like the benefit cap. The government must act quickly to suspend the benefit cap, and put in place support for single parents who have lost their job through no fault of their own.” Save The Children, meanwhile, highlighted that the new ONS figures show that 400,000 more families with children are reliant on UC since Covid hit.Branding the safety net “inadequate”, Kayte Lawton, head of partnerships and impact for the charity called for a £20-a-week boost to the child element of UC and child tax credit. Our latest UK labour market statistics have been published https://t.co/8JV3zBC3RGpic.twitter.com/73Ye6Ytx9y— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) August 11, 2020“For a parent relying on Universal Credit, every day can be a struggle to keep your head above water,” she said. “Parents reeling from the effects of the pandemic tell us they’re having to make impossible choices – cutting back on food and other essentials, struggling to buy school supplies, or borrowing money from payday lenders or on credit cards to get by.“The government has put measures in place to help the economy ‘bounce back’ from this crisis, but they haven’t done enough to help struggling families and most children can’t ‘bounce back’ from growing up in poverty because the impacts are life-long.“Even before the crisis, our country’s safety net was failing too many children. Now there is a danger that even more families will fall through the net – and it is children who will pay the price, possibly for the rest of their lives.”The government, whose furlough “emergency wages” scheme ends in October,  has said it has a “plan for jobs” and will offer firms a £1,000 “bonus” if they keep staff on. It remains unclear what further measures the government may take this autumn. Related... No Cash, No Wi-Fi, No Help: One Mum's Story Reveals Sheer Inequality Of Home-Schooling Opinion: Our Post-Pandemic Future Depends On Putting Young People First In Any Recovery Plan Private Renters Handed Eviction Notices During Lockdown Despite Ban
Donald Trump continued his xenophobic warnings about China on Tuesday, claiming that if he loses the election, everyone in the US will have to learn to speak Chinese. “Look, China will own the United States if this election is lost by Donald Trump,” he said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “If I don’t win the election, China will own the United States. You’re going to have to learn to speak Chinese, you want to know the truth.”Demonising China has been central to Trump’s reelection campaign ever since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. The president and his allies have attempted to shift attention away from the White House’s actions by blaming China for the global pandemic.In late January, Trump put restrictions on travellers from China. And he has repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as the “China virus” and “kung flu.” Yet for weeks, beginning in late January, Trump still praised Chinese officials for their response to the virus. “China is working very hard,” he said on February 7. “They’re working really hard, and I think they are doing a very professional job.”“President Xi loves the people of China, he loves his country, and he’s doing a very good job with a very, very tough situation,” Trump added on February 18.National security adviser Robert O’Brien recently claimed that China is trying to hack into US election infrastructure in an effort to help Joe Biden win the presidency. The claim conveniently fits into another narrative that Trump has been pushing, which is that Biden is catering to Chinese interests. One ad from the Trump campaign, for example, alleges: “The coronavirus infected millions. Crushed the world economy. One nation deserves the blame: China. They lied about it. Covered it up. Joe Biden coddles China.”But according to The Wall Street Journal, officials familiar with the matter say that the “US doesn’t currently have intelligence showing that Beijing is directly trying to hack election-related systems.”The Biden campaign and Democratic groups have also gone after Trump on China, highlighting how he downplayed the severity of the coronavirus.“Donald Trump has been the weakest president in American history with respect to China,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said on Tuesday. “As the most devastating public health crisis in 100 years rapidly spread, he echoed Chinese Communist Party propaganda to downplay the threat and justify inaction ― disregarding warnings from the intelligence community and Joe Biden not to take their word. As a consequence of Donald Trump’s failures, by every metric, China’s position is stronger and ours is diminished.”The group Stop AAPI Hate has been tracking the harm caused by demonising China and comments like “kung flu.” According to a July 1 press release from the group, Asian Americans in California reported 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment over the previous three months.“A man kicked my dog and told me to shut my dog up and then spat at me,” one person reported, “saying ‘Take your disease that’s ruining our country and go home.’”This piece has been updated with comment from the Biden campaign.Related... Coronavirus Cases Hit 20 Million Worldwide As New Hot Spots Emerge In US Trump Schooled By Critics After Claiming '1917' Flu Pandemic 'Probably Ended' WWII Trump Removed From Press Conference After Shots Fired Near White House
Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now. All school leavers’ grades that were lowered by “biased” computer algorithms in Scotland last week will be withdrawn and replaced by teacher assessments, the SNP-led government has confirmed. The major U-turn by Scottish education secretary John Swinney comes amid mounting criticism that poorer students were hit hardest by modelling that gave them unfairly harsh results during the pandemic. The results for Scotland’s Higher awards were last week branded a “disaster” after the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) downgraded 124,000 results. Teachers, parents and pupils hit out at the SQA after the results downgraded teachers’ recommended awards for pupils from the poorest 20% of areas by more than 15 points, while recommendations for the best-off pupils were downgraded by just under 10 points.Swinney, who may still face a vote of no confidence in Holyrood over the issue, has now said all grades moderated down will be withdrawn and new certificates sent out. Meanwhile, no results that were moderated up will be cut back as Swinney said it would not “in any way be fair to do so”. The news will pile pressure on Gavin Williamson, England’s education secretary, to avoid a similar catastrophe south of the border when A-level results are published this week, amid concern the same modelling could be used. Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Swinney said he had “listened carefully to young people” and had moved to “fix” the problem quickly.He said: “Using powers available to me in the Education (Scotland) Act 1996, I am today directing the SQA to re-issue those awards based solely on teacher or lecturer judgement.“Schools will be able to confirm the estimates they provided for pupils to those that are returning to school this week and next.“The SQA will issue fresh certificates to affected candidates as soon as possible and, importantly, will inform Ucas and other admission bodies of the new grades as soon as practical in the coming days to allow for applications to college and university to be progressed.”He said that the SNP-led government was worried that accepting the original estimates from teachers “would run the risk of undermining the value of qualifications in 2020”.But he then added: “In the light of events, and of listening to young people, we now accept that concern, which is not without foundation, is outweighed by the concern that young people, particularly from working class backgrounds may lose faith in the education system and form the view that no matter how hard you work, the system is against you.“Education is the route out of poverty for young people in deprived communities and we cannot risk allowing that view to take hold.” He added that the coronavirus crisis had made 2020 “unique” for pupils. First minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday apologised to thousands of pupils whose results were downgraded by the moderation process and pledged they would not face an arduous appeals process.She accepted that the “burden has not fallen equally across society” and said” “We accept we didn’t get this right and I’m sorry for that.” As a result of the changes the new Higher pass rate is up 14.4%, the National 5 pass rate is up 10.7%, and the Advanced Higher pass rate is up 13.7%.Despite the U-turn, Swinney continues to face calls for his resignation including from the former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson. A total U-turn on the position Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney had doubled down on for days. Welcome relief for pupils who've been put through the wringer. But be in no doubt, this is a shambles & an honourable man would have offered his resignation. https://t.co/ujh6J2k0Rm— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) August 11, 2020Meanwhile, the news has been welcomed by campaigners, including teenagers hit by the estimated results. Erin Bleakley, 17, who organised a protest of around 100 students in Glasgow’s George Square against how the exam results were reached, said: “I think we would all like to say a generous thank you for not only the apology but the results being reverted back to teacher estimates.“I did not think this day would come.”Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Today’s decision by John Swinney creates huge problems for Gavin Williamson and the English government.“We now have two qualification systems required for entry into UK universities, operating on completely different criteria with wildly different pass rates. This can only increase the worries that students in England have about the fairness of the grades they will receive on Thursday.“It will also intensify the competition with English students for university places.”  Related... Labour Demands SNP Education Secretary Quits After Poorer Pupils Have Exam Grades Lowered Tories Hand Schools With Richer Pupils More 'Levelling Up' Cash Government Under Pressure To Avoid Exam Results 'Disaster' That Hurts Poorest
Police investigating the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence have declared the investigation “inactive” because “all identified lines of inquiry have been completed”. Met Police commissioner Cressida Dicksaid: “This was an appalling racist murder and I am sad that we have been unable to secure further convictions for Stephen, his family and friends.” She added: “The investigation has now moved to an ‘inactive’ phase, but I have given Stephen’s family the assurance that we will continue to deal with any new information that comes to light.” The investigation into Lawrence’s murder will be periodically reviewed “for any further investigative opportunities”, Dick said. She added: “We were able to secure two convictions following a determined investigation in 2012 but it is well known that other suspects were also involved in the events which unfolded that night and it is deeply frustrating that we have been unable to bring them to justice. “As a result of ceaseless campaigning for justice by Stephen’s parents, profound changes have happened in policing, the law and wider society. I pay tribute to them for their courage and achievements.”And today my thoughts are with them and all Stephen’s loved ones.”Lawrence was 18 when he was murdered during an unprovoked racist attack on 22 April 1993.He was with his friend Duwayne Brooks when he was attacked by a group of men on Well Hall Road in Eltham. In 2012, prime suspects Gary Dobson and David Norris were jailed for life at the Old Bailey after being found guilty of murder following a trial that hinged on tiny traces of forensic evidence found years after the crime.The decision to make Lawrence’s case inactive means that it will now be managed by officers within the Met’s Special Casework Team, with two officers from the investigation redeployed to the team. The case will also be subject to review every two years, the force said.In a statement, Stephen’s father Neville Lawrence said he was disappointed but not surprised to hear the news. “I had hoped that the conviction of two of the killers in 2012 would lead to new evidence coming to light and a prosecution of the other suspects,” he said. “This has unfortunately not happened and, over the last few years, I have had to come to terms with the reality that some of the killers of Stephen may never be brought to justice for what they did.” He added that the case “can never be closed to me”. Neville and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, have campaigned tirelessly for justice for their son.  Baroness Lawrence said “whilst the Metropolitan Police have given up, I never will”.In a statement, she said: “I am truly disappointed that those others who were equally responsible for my son’s racist killing may not be brought to justice.“I would like to thank Clive Driscoll who was the senior investigating officer responsible for the conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris which took place after almost 20 years of me fighting for justice. Having Clive Driscoll on Stephen’s case made all the difference to me and had he had the opportunity of continuing to investigate the murder there may have been more convictions.“I am very sad that a line has now been drawn into the investigation and that it is now in an ‘inactive’ phase. Despite this, I would still urge anyone who has any information that could help me get all of Stephen’s killers convicted, to come forward.“It is never too late to give a mother justice for the murder of her son. Whilst the Metropolitan Police have given up, I never will.”Related... On Stephen Lawrence Day, Coronavirus Reminds Us Black Inequality Is Still Endemic
Get the latest on coronavirus. Sign up to the Daily Brief for news, explainers, how-tos, opinion and more.Debenhams is set to cut 2,500 jobs across its stores and warehouses as the company looks to slash costs due to the coronavirus lockdown. A spokesperson for the business said the high street was “a long way from returning to normal”. “We have successfully reopened 124 stores, post-lockdown, and these are currently trading ahead of management expectations,” they said. “At the same time, the trading environment is clearly a long way from returning to normal and we have to ensure our store costs are aligned with realistic expectations.“Those colleagues affected by redundancy have been informed and we are very grateful to them for their service and commitment to Debenhams.“Such difficult decisions are being taken by many retailers right now, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to give Debenhams every chance of a viable future.”The news follows redundancies at a number of high street retailers, including 950 jobs at Marks & Spencer and 4,000 roles at Boots. Department store John Lewis also announced in July it would permanently close eight stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk. Related... Contact Tracers To Knock On Doors As Government Tries To Improve NHS Test And Trace Programme Coronavirus Cases Hit 20 Million Worldwide As New Hot Spots Emerge In US
Get the latest on coronavirus. Sign up to the Daily Brief for news, explainers, how-tos, opinion and more.Russia has become the first country to approve a vaccine against Covid-19,  according to its president Vladimir Putin.He announced on Tuesday that the inoculation, developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, had been granted regulatory approval after less than two months of human testing.Final “phase III” clinical trials for the vaccine, where it is given to large numbers of people, are still in process to establish whether it is safe and effective.But speaking on state television, Putin said the vaccine was safe and hoped the country would soon begin mass production.“As far as I know, a vaccine against a new coronavirus infection has been registered this morning, for the first time in the world,” he said.“I know that it works quite effectively, forms strong immunity, and I repeat, it has passed all the needed checks.”The Russian president added: “One of my daughters did the inoculation herself.“After the first injection, her temperature went up to 38, but by the next day it was just a little over 37.“In this sense, she took part in the experiment.”The Russian vaccine uses adapted strains of the adenovirus, a virus that usually causes the common cold. A second vaccine from Russia’s state research centre in Siberia is said to be close behind.Officials said they plan to begin vaccinating medical staff in August, with mass vaccinations expected at the start of next year.The announcement has been hailed in Moscow as evidence of the country’s scientific prowess, but there are concerns Russia is prioritising national prestige over science and safety.White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said he has doubts Russia has shown its vaccine to be safe and effective. Speaking to the House Select Subcommittee on coronavirus, he said: “I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they are administering the vaccine to anyone.“Because claims of having a vaccine ready to distribute before you do testing is, I think, problematic at best.”In Russia, a local association of multinational pharmaceutical companies warned allowing a vaccine for civilian use before clinical trials could put people at risk.“Why are all corporations following the rules, but Russian ones aren’t? The rules for conducting clinical trials are written in blood. They can’t be violated,” said Svetlana Zavidova, director of the Association of Clinical Trials Organisations.“This is a Pandora’s Box and we don’t know what will happen to people injected with an unproven vaccine.”China has already approved one Covid-19 vaccine for use in its military. It has also won approval to further test the jab in Canada.More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world. At least four are in final phase III human trials, according to the WHO.Related... Vaccine Expert Has Grim Prediction Of What Coronavirus Will Do 'For Years And Years' This Is Where We're At With Treatments For Covid-19 Right Now How Close Are We To Getting A Coronavirus Vaccine?
My mother and father split not long after I was born. I never really got a chance to get to know my father, but my family always spoke highly of him. “We just weren’t meant to be together,” they’d say. This was something I could understand, so I never felt resentment or anger for his lack of contact and appearance in my life. Still, there was always this looming sadness. I wondered, “Does he think about me? Does he remember my birthday or how old I am? Does he miss me?”I thought of him during my first rock climbing competition, where I placed in the top ten in my beginner category.Completing my firefighter training, I thought of him.Riding the bus to compete in my first collegiate soccer game, I thought of him. Finally, passing my third attempt at a college math class and being done with the only subject standing between me and my bachelor’s degree, I thought of him.In all these moments of personal victory, I wished he were there. I wished I could tell him because in my heart I believed he would be proud. Three years ago, January 2018, I was 20-years-old. I had had what I think is his number in my phone since my mother gave it to me when I was 16. It wasn’t until this point that I felt I could use it. I sent a quick text. “Hey is this ...?” My heart raced with anticipation. I received a text back within seconds. “Yes. Who’s this?” I told him my name and waited some more. Finally, I received an overjoyed response. I was thrilled! Months passed, and we talked consistently. My fiance and I went to visit him. He and I sat across the table from each other, looking alike, and told stories from the past 20 years. He tells me that I have a new family to be loved by, that he’s been waiting for me to reach out, and whenever I need anything, he’s there. This is the dream. This is what I’ve been waiting for all of these years. A chance to tell him, “Look, look how good I turned out!” For him to be proud and smile the way I always envisioned he would. I feel like I’ve finally done the right thing, and, for once, it actually worked out. Little did I know what was coming. We were in contact for four months when one day I called him (at the usual time), and he sent me to voicemail. I figured, “I don’t know the guy that well. He could just be busy.” I waited three days. I sent a text. I received no response. I waited a week, then two. Then I called and texted again. No response. I waited a month, then finally told my mom about it. She was baffled, and together we waited longer. After a month and a half, I sent one of the hardest texts I’ve ever sent in my life.“Hey. I see what’s happening here. While I’m upset that you’re not talking to me, I want you to know that I am happy to have met you. I wish that we could’ve had a relationship, but I guess not. I’ll be fine without you. I didn’t need you for all these years, and I don’t need you now. I hope you have a good life. Goodbye.”I received no response.As you can imagine, I went through a few stages of grief. There was anger, denial, justification, then anger again, and then sadness. I ran through all possible scenarios for why he would’ve done such a thing. “Did he go on a trip with no cell signal? Did he get busy with work? Did he get in a car accident and was in the hospital? Did he stop liking me? Did he die?”As time went on, I realised I was never going to know the answer to these questions. What hurt the most was that I felt I had zero closure. Just a one-sided “goodbye” in a text to which I received no response.I was left with new questions that only replaced the old thoughts from before I met him. I had a chance to tell this man all of the things I always wanted to just to have him ghost me. I realised I was going to have to seek closure on my own, but even now I struggle to understand why someone would do this. The worst part was the buildup. You spend years wondering if this person really cares, and through trial and error, you come to find out he doesn’t.It’s amazing how something that was so brief can hurt so badly. The four-months-long father that I had became one of my triggers. I can be doing nothing, and if I think about it, I’ll just start crying. It’s a reflex.I spent so much time trying to tell myself, “It isn’t worth being sad over because some people go through much harder things in life, and mine is so trivial.” That’s not entirely true. I can feel for those people and still be sad about my own experiences.I learned through this that it’s okay to be sad, even if it seems ridiculous. Sadness is a basic human emotion, and feeling it is a part of life.Will I be sad my biological father isn’t at my college graduation? Yes. But will I be okay? Yes.Although I didn’t, and don’t, condone the cowardly way he disappeared, I understand that he hadn’t been a father for 20 years, and to suddenly have a grown-up daughter must have been intimidating. I ultimately took his silence as his saying he didn’t want to, or wasn’t ready to, be a father. Although I may never get the closure I need from him, every day I can work on finding my own sense of closure. Only time will heal the painful way he decided to exit. But regardless of whether he’s in my life or not, I will continue to take pride in who I am and what I do. While I may continue to think of him at important moments, I can be proud enough of my own accomplishments for both of us.This article first appeared on HuffPost PersonalHave a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on [email protected] from HuffPost UK Personal I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This, But I Missed My Commute I Live In Beirut. Our City Is On Its Knees, But We Will Not Buckle Can't My Socially-Distanced Gym Stay Like This Forever?
A student at City, University of London considered dropping out after a lecturer accused them of being “unprofessional” in front of a packed lecture theatre for wearing henna, which the tutor described as “weird brown stuff”. It is one of a string of claims of discrimination and microaggressions towards Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students that were shared with university bosses as City attempts to tackle racial injustices on campus. BAME staff were invited to share their experiences of racism at a so-called “town hall” meeting organised by the university on July 20, while City Students’ Union shared students’ anonymous accounts. The student wearing henna – which is a traditional practice at some Hindu, Sikh and Muslim weddings and other religious festivals – was told by their health sciences tutor that it would make their patients feel “uncomfortable”, the meeting heard. “It was a highly embarrassing moment for me and I seriously considered dropping out because I wasn’t good enough,” the anonymous student said. In a video created by the union that was shown at the meeting, a Muslim health sciences student described how she was forced to buy her own uniform for placement because of the university’s failure to understand “the issues faced by Muslim women”. After being told there was a “problem” with her clothing because she was wearing sleeves, she tried to explain the situation to her tutor. “I was met with a ‘deal with it’ attitude from my peers and tutor,” she said. “In the end, I had to spend my own money on buying disposable sleeves for myself because placements and universities do not have the knowledge or equipment to deal with it appropriately due to lack of diversity.” Another student described how, despite the fact that City is a diverse university, its journalism course is predominantly white. “It has been challenging to navigate complex and sensitive matters around race and gender when you are the only person in the room who has personal experiences,” they said.“We have felt isolated and like we didn’t belong on our course, which has had a detrimental effect on our work. “If City is truly dedicated to its pledge to stamp out institutional racism, it is important that they employ BAME members of staff, protect freedom of speech and encourage diversity of opinion.” City, University of London, has said it is dedicated to tackling racial injustices.  In July, the university approved an “ambitious” new equality, diversity and inclusion strategy and started the final steps to join the race equality charter. Shaima Dallali, who is vice-president for community and wellbeing at City Students’ Union, said the university must “work towards a fairer admission system, take reports of racist incidents seriously and take leaps, instead of steps, to rectify the BAME attainment gap”. Meanwhile, staff should take a “critical view” of their curriculum and make it “representative of our values and student body”, she said. Dallali added: “The world around is changing and a fairer society is on the horizon. In light of a global call for equality, the time for action is now and there is ample opportunity for the university to reflect on its practices as an institution. “It is a time for us to be introspective and innovate to become a leading institution for social justice which champions inclusion, diversity and equality.”Professor Zoe Radnor, who is City’s vice-president for equality, diversity and inclusion, said the university was “listening hard”, calling the meeting a “powerful experience”. “We are sorry that any of our students have had these experiences whilst at City,” she said. The meeting was one in a series of activities organised by the university’s executive committee to “signal their personal commitment to racial equality and to increase their understanding of racial issues experienced by students and staff”, she explained. “We recognise that the experiences discussed by our staff and students are difficult to speak about, even to such a small internal audience.“The president, the executive committee and I want to reassure all of our staff and students that we will listen to you, we will work to understand and we will support you.”The move by the university comes just weeks after it announced plans to rename its prestigious Cass Business School, whose namesake Sir John Cass was a “major player” in the transatlantic slave trade in the 17th century.The university announced in July it would ditch Cass’s name – which was added to the business school following a donation from the Sir John Cass Foundation in 2002 – saying the connection had caused “great pain and hurt” to students and staff. However, HuffPost UK reported how a group of business school graduates launched a petition demanding that the university either retain the Cass name – or compensate them for a loss of “value” to their degrees.The alumni said removal of the Cass brand would make their CVs less impressive.Related... 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Listen to our weekly podcast Am I Making You Uncomfortable? about women’s health, bodies and private lives. Available on Spotify, Apple, Audioboom and wherever you listen to your podcasts.How far would you go to save a friendship? A text message to share your feelings? Perhaps a letter, if you’re feeling really brave. What about therapy?  The latter might sound extreme, but with solo therapy and couple’s therapy becoming more normalised in the UK, perhaps it’s time we learned to sit down with our pals for some professional guidance, too.After all, the end of a longstanding platonic relationship can sting just as much – if not more – than a romantic one, which is why we’re exploring the topic of friendship breakups in the latest episode of Am I Making You Uncomfortable?, HuffPost UK’s weekly podcast on women’s health, bodies and private lives.In the episode, we discuss the myth of the ‘BFF’ and how not all friendships are destined to last forever. But we also pay homage to those mates that are worth fighting for and hear how therapy can salvage a challenged friendship.We’re joined in the episode by Aminatou Sow, who co-hosts the popular Call Your Girlfriend podcast and has co-authored the book Big Friendship, with her long-term, long-distance friend Ann Friedman.Aminatou and Ann value their friendship to such an extent, they went to friendship therapy when the cracks started to show. “We entered this period of a couple of years where we really missing each other and we were mis-communicating,” says Aminatou, who’s based in New York, while Ann lives in California. “There were a lot of things that were left unsaid, and I think that the overwhelming feeling for both of us was really like: ‘Is she doing that on purpose? What’s going on here?’ The friendship itself was becoming increasingly more fraught because there were so many things we were not talking about to each other.” View this post on InstagramA post shared by Aminatou & Ann (@bigfriendshipbook) on Apr 28, 2020 at 1:23pm PDTThe friendship hit crunch point when the pair were offered a new, joint work venture and realised they couldn’t face signing up. It was the catalyst for them to start talking honestly about their friendship. Aminatou describes it as a “relief” when she found out things weren’t working for Ann, either. They found a couple’s counsellor who was open to working with two dedicated friends and now recommend other pals to try friendship therapy. “The narrative needs to change, in that we need to understand that friendship is a relationship that belongs to the same place of importance as family bonds and as romantic relationships,” says Aminatou. “If you say to your romantic partner: ‘Hi, I’d like to discuss that status of our relationship,’ maybe it’s a little bit weird, but there is a social script for that. But if you say that to a friend, it feels very far out there, but I would really like to normalise that.”Friendship therapy is not common in the US, says Aminatou, and it’s practically unheard of in the UK. But it is available if you seek it out. “Relate counsellors are trained to support all types of relationships, including friendships, whether that’s by working with two or more friends together or with individuals,” confirms Dee Holmes who’s a counsellor at Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship support.“Whatever the relationship, there are often common issues when things get rocky like communication and self-esteem. Supporting people to understand themselves and others better and to resolve issues can only be a good thing.”It’s hard to make a general statement about what happens during friendship therapy as it will be tailored to the people in the session, explains Dr Miriam Kirmayer, our second podcast guest, who’s a Canadian clinical therapist specialising in friendship. However, it shares similarities to couple’s therapy.  “I’ll encourage clients to become more comfortable asserting certain needs or expectations, or boundaries, and really communicating that to our friends,” she says in the podcast.“I think what can happen when we’re so close with people, is that we expect them to be able to know what we’re feeling, and we expect them to be able to know what we need. That really ends up doing us a disservice.”A big emphasis during traditional couple’s therapy is exploring what each partner considers as “quality time” and making space for both needs to be met, adds Dr Kirmayer. She works with friends to also open up about this. “It really is a matter of finding ways to prioritise quality time in your platonic relationships,” she says. “For one person it might be a really intimate conversation and for somebody else it might be going out and doing the kinds of things that you really enjoy doing together.” The more communicative we can be about what we’re feeling and the changes we’re craving in a friendship, the more likely they are to happen, says Dr Kirmayer. While she believes friendship therapy is worth a shot for a deep friendship  that’s struggling, she acknowledges that not all platonic relationships will go the distance. “There are situations where we grow apart from friends, and I do think that there needs to be space where we normalise that process,” she says. “Not all friendships will last. In fact an overwhelming majority of friendships don’t last and that that’s okay. That doesn’t make the time we had together any less meaningful, and there’s room for learning in that.” But therapy did work for Ann and Aminatou, who describes their friendship as being “in a healthier place”.“I think that a really natural part of friendship is allowing yourself to grow,” she says, “but also allowing your friend to grow, and being open to the possibility that the people that you were when you met are not the people that you are currently, and are not the people that you will be in the future.”READ MORE: 7 Women On Their Most Memorable Orgasm: 'An Absolute Mind-Bending Sensation' Why We Envy People We Haven't Seen Since School Covid-19 Is Widening The Money Gap Among Friends And It Sucks
Crews from 10 fire engines are tackling a “severe” blaze on an industrial estate in Birmingham.West Midlands Fire Service tweeted: “We are answering high volumes of calls to an incident we are at on Tyseley Industrial Estate.“We have over 10 appliances in attendance.”The fire service urged people to keep doors and windows shut as it tried to bring the blaze under control.Images on social media show a thick column of smoke rising from the site, with the dark cloud visible from miles away.This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
A man accused of murdering two vulnerable women and storing their bodies in a freezer had a history of abusing partners and was a registered sex offender, a court has heard.Zahid Younis, 36, known as Boxer, is accused of murdering Hungarian national Henriett Szucs and mother-of-three Mihrican Mustafa.Szucs had last been seen in August 2016 and Mustafa in May 2018.Their bodies were found in Younis’s flat in Vandome Close, Canning Town, on April 27 2019. Officers had been sent there to investigate after Younis was reported missing.Pc Omar Naeem said in evidence that he and a colleague had made a decision to force open the padlocked freezer because he had a “bad feeling” about what it contained.Southwark Crown Court heard that the two women had been subjected to “very significant violence” before their deaths and had fracture injuries associated with kicking or stamping.A series of shredded, handwritten notes, understood to have been written by Szucs, allegedly show the abusive and controlling nature of Younis.One read: “Make Boxer feeling better and help him to get back in he’s feet….Keep distance away from Boxer. Follow the things point to point what he says. Give him space, and show him respect.”Another said: “Broke my morning promises. I didn’t wake up in time was wrong and I didn’t change my clothes in time.“I didn’t listen to him when he try to do he’s best for me. Am sad and broke and feel low now. Learn my lesson again.”  In another she talked of getting some “really big slaps in the face” from the defendant.Younis has several previous convictions for assaulting partners.The court heard that when he was 17, Younis was controlling, violent and overbearing towards his then-girlfriend and would wait outside her house and escort her everywhere.In 2004 he married a 14-year-old in an Islamic ceremony at a mosque in Walthamstow.He was eventually jailed for 30 months for assaulting the teenager and unlawful sexual activity with a child, and was put on the sex offenders’ register.Prosecutor Duncan Penny QC added that in 2007, following his release from prison, Younis got into a relationship with a 17-year-old girl whose father had recently died.After four months, he moved into her flat.Penny said: “When the defendant moved in he sought to control her. He would keep the curtains drawn and would not allow her to go out by herself.”The jury was told the violence began with slaps, before escalating into punches and kicks, leaving the teenager with large bruises.The girl’s family eventually tricked Younis into allowing her to leave, the court heard, following an assault that fractured her arm in three places.He was later sentenced to four years and 11 months for two counts of wounding and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.Penny said: “In this case you may form the view that the evidence is capable of establishing that the defendant was skilled in separating women he was abusing from their support networks.”The trial continues, and is expected to last four weeks.Related... Man Charged With Murder Following Discovery Of Two Bodies In A Freezer Last Year Woman Found Dead In London Freezer Came To UK 'For A Better Life' Second Woman Named After Two Bodies Found In East London Freezer
Antonio Banderas has announced that he has tested positive for Covid-19.The Spanish actor revealed the diagnosis on Instagram on Monday, which was also the day he saw in his 60th birthday.Alongside a photo of himself as a child, he explained in Spanish: “I wanted to make it public that today, 10 August, I am forced to celebrate my 60th birthday in quarantine, after testing positive for the disease Covid-19, caused by the coronavirus.”He went on to say that he is feeling “relatively well, just a bit more tired than usual”, and is confident that he will recover from the illness “as soon as possible”.The Oscar-nominated star added that he plans to take advantage of his time in quarantine period by using it to “read, write, rest and make some plans to give meaning to my 60 years which I reach full with desire and excitement”.He signed off the message: “A big hug to everyone, Antonio Banderas.” View this post on InstagramA post shared by Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderasoficial) on Aug 10, 2020 at 5:19am PDTDuring the coronavirus pandemic, a number of high-profile stars have spoken publicly about having tested positive for Covid-19.Among the first to share their diagnoses were actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who contracted coronavirus in March while in Australia for work.The Forrest Gump star claimed last month that as one of the first celebrities to become ill with coronavirus, he felt like a “canary in the coalmine”.Fellow actor Idris Elba and his wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba also tested positive for Covid-19 in March, with the Luther star speaking more recently about the effect that contracting the disease so early in the pandemic had on his mental health.READ MORE: Idris Elba Describes Traumatic Impact Coronavirus Diagnosis Had On His Mental Health Linda Lusardi Reveals She And Husband Sam Kane Are Still Feeling Effects Of Covid-19 Alyssa Milano Says She 'Felt Like She Was Dying' During Covid-19 Battle
Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now. David Miliband has once again not ruled out a return to British politics, seven years after he quit the Commons and moved to the United States.In an interview with Times Radio on Monday, the former foreign secretary was asked if he would consider coming back.“I don’t want to get into the ruling in [or] ruling out, but there’s a new generation and I want to see them doing well, not badly,” he said.Miliband, having lost the 2010 Labour leadership race to his brother Ed, resigned as an MP in 2013 and now runs the International Rescue Committee (IRC) charity in New York.He has repeatedly left open the possibility of a return to parliament.As recently as October 2019, the former South Shields MP, told the South Shields Gazette: “We’ll see what life brings.”In February 2017 he told The Times: “What’s the point of saying never?”In June 2015, amid speculation there could be a party leadership contest after the EU referendum, he told CNN: “In terms of what I do next I’ll have to take some time to think about that.”In January 2015 when asked by Vogue he said: “Ummm… I don’t know, is the answer.”Miliband was a harsh critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader of the Labour Party.In today’s interview he accused Corbyn and his allies of being in “denial” about the 2017 and 2019 election losses.“When people got to look at Labour in 2017, we couldn’t beat the worst Tory campaign in history… and then when people got the full measure of Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, he led us to the worst election defeat since the 1930s,” he said.Corbyn unexpectedly denied Theresa May a majority in 2017, while Ed Miliband unexpectedly gave one to David Cameron in 2015 after five years of coalition government.Labour won just 203 seats last year, its worst total since 1935, though supporters point out Corbyn led the party to win more actual votes at both elections than it had done since Blair’s second victory in 2001.David’s brother Ed, who served as leader from 2010 until 2015, is now back in frontline politics as Keir Starmer’s shadow business secretary.Related... White House Inquired How To Get A New President's Face On Mount Rushmore Labour MP Dawn Butler Accuses Met Police Of Racial Profiling After Being Stopped By Officers
Imagine going out on a hot summer day without worrying that your shirt will end up soaked in sweat under your arms, on your upper back, all down your abdomen, or all of the above. When you’re dressing for work or a social event (while wearing a mask, of course), it’s tough to make a personal style statement that’s not drenched in sweat.Sweating is going to happen, no matter what you try to stop it. In fact, we need it to happen. Perspiration helps the body cool down to a healthy temperature when we experience a rise due to external or internal heat. “Exercise, stress, weather or hormonal changes can increase the heat,” said board-certified dermatologist Kemunto Mokaya.We spoke with doctors and stylists to help you come up with a no-sweat strategy, from the inside out. Here’s their advice.In case you’re wondering why your armpits are such a sweaty problem...Eccrine glands, which are in charge of producing sweat, “are found all over your body, but are more concentrated in the armpits, palms and soles,” said dermatologist Ife J. Rodney, founding director of Eternal Dermatology and Aesthetics in Maryland.And then there’s the smell. Armpits also contain apocrine glands, which secrete an odourless substance that becomes smelly when it’s degraded by bacteria. Armpit hair takes the smell to the next level.“As a result of its location near hair follicles, in combination with bacteria, sweat in these areas typically smells worse,” said cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green. Other factors that can increase how much you sweat are medications, conditions like diabetes, cancer or thyroid imbalances, your body mass (“People with a larger body mass use more energy and produce more heat, even when resting,” Rodney said) and your genetics. Before you completely rejigger your wardrobe, you can try to control sweat from the inside out.The go-to product that every dermatologist recommends to prevent sweating is antiperspirant. Deodorant protects against odour, while antiperspirant protects against sweat and odour. It’s a controversial product because it contains aluminium, which is linked to both Alzheimer’s and cancer, but doctors we’ve previously spoken to agreed there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to prove it. (Keep reading below for a more natural approach.)Look for antiperspirant products that contain aluminium chloride, zirconium salts and aldehydes, which help stop you from sweating. Deodorants, on the other hand, only neutralise the smell of sweat. “Antiperspirants are first-line in management of excessive sweating,” Mokaya said. Green recommends Drysol, because it contains aluminium chloride hexahydrate, which works directly on the cells that produce sweat.For a natural approach, try an armpit detoxThere’s one big thing to note regarding antiperspirants ― their chemicals come with potential side effects, such as redness, itching, dry skin and even headaches. If you’re looking for a natural approach, try anarmpit detox.Armpit detox restores the natural microbiome of your underarm area, which can reduce the tendency for the body to perspire or sweat. J Ken, research and formulation chemist and owner of Daily Detox Hacks, recommends using 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, a carrier oil like coconut, and 2 or 3 tablespoons of essential oils like tea tree oil, which is a natural antibacterial agent.“Mix till you have the consistency of a stiff yogurt,” Ken said. Apply a thin layer on your armpit, let it sit for three minutes and cleanse with warm water afterward. “Repeat twice daily for between three and seven days.”  The best (and worst) colours and fabrics to conceal sweatFirst of all, there are products you can buy to make your clothes a little more sweat-proof. With disposable or multi-use cotton armpit pads like Purax Pure Pads, Lavince Sweat Pads and Dandi Patch, you just stick them inside your clothing to absorb sweat. There’s also clothing with built-in underarm pads, like Thompson Tee’s Sweat Proof undershirt.The colours that make armpit sweat even more pronounced are bright colours, greys and nudes. Embrace either really dark shades, like black and navy, or very light colours, like pure white, as they conceal sweat the best. “But you don’t have to give up wearing colour because you struggle with sweating, as long as you choose the right fabric,” said Shelby Goldfaden, manager of merchandising and product development with womenswear brand M.M.LaFleur. Go for natural, breathable fibres like cotton, bamboo or linen, which don’t trap heat.“Ideally, go for 100% cotton; not only is it better for your skin but it is also great for the environment,” said Amra Beganovich, style influencer and founder of New York-based digital agency A&E.Workout brands like Nike and Lululemon have perfected dry-wicking technical fabrics, which draw sweat away from the body and help it to dry quickly upon contact with the air. Aside from cotton and technical fabrics, your next-best bet is polyester, which both Goldfaden and celebrity stylist Amber Alexandria recommend for being lightweight and comfortable. And as for solids vs. prints, prints are clearly the best. Camo, tartan, gingham, houndstooth, floral patterns and the ever-popular tie-dye are great options for concealing sweat marks.Be tactical about the types of garments you wearWhile the concept of adding more layers may seem counterintuitive on a hot day (won’t more layers equal more sweat?), layers can be easily popped on to conceal sweat, and then taken off to cool down ― think lightweight shrugs or wrap tops. When styling multiple pieces of clothing together, just keep in mind the weight of the fabric. “Try a loose slip dress with side slits with a mesh bralette underneath, paired with a flat sandal or open-toe heel,” Alexandria suggested. Sleeved dresses with wide armholes are a great option, as they allow air to flow freely. “Something with a cap sleeve and lower armholes will help combat stains and keep you cool,” Goldfaden said.  You can also go for a sleeveless dress, as it provides more ventilation and keeps the area cooler, especially if it’s loosely fitted. ”One huge benefit of wearing sleeveless tops is the ability to rinse, wipe, pat dry and if need be, reapply deodorant to the area,” said personal and fashion stylist Lana Blanc. Goldfaden’s favourite is an easy shift dress. When buying bras, always go for the one with a thin band. “Bras with a thick band tend to make us sweat more, so try to opt for thin bras made from lace, mesh or cotton,” Blanc said.Finally, if you still wish to wear figure-hugging dresses and fitted garments, opt for a black sleeveless LBD with cutouts. “If loose tops are not your thing, go for a more fitted shirt in a lighter fabric,” Alexandria said. Related... Burying Poos And Finding Water: The Dos And Don'ts Of Wild Camping The Agony Of Breaking Up During The Coronavirus Pandemic Oversized Tent Dresses Are Everywhere - Here Are 6 To Buy
Every Monday we’ll answer your questions on Covid-19 and health in a feature published online. You can submit a question here. This week, HuffPost UK reader Jo asked: As Covid-19 spreads through water droplets, how can swimming pools possibly be safe?Swimming pools are back open in parts of the UK – but some people are sceptical of whether it’s safe to use them. So, what’s the deal?During the peak of the virus, no cases were reported of Covid-19 spreading in swimming pools or through water. But that doesn’t mean it’s without risks. “The risk is not from the SARS-CoV-2 virus surviving and transmitting through the water per se,” says Dr Julian Tang, associate professor in respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester. “The water itself, with the standard bleach or other detergent-based disinfectants, will be effective in killing this virus – it is lipid-enveloped and fragile.”The risk really occurs above the water, he says, from swimmers chatting at the end of their lanes when they’re within typical conversational distances of 0.5m to 1m. This is because the main route the virus spreads is in droplets propelled into the air when a person speaks, coughs, sings, sneezes or laughs.Submit a coronavirus health question to HuffPost UK.Professor Vincenzo Romano Spica is an expert in public health from the University of Rome and one of the lead authors of a paper on swimming pool safety during Covid-19. He tells HuffPost UK he believes it’s safe to go swimming – and he would feel comfortable going swimming himself, in Italy, where he lives.Chlorinated pools are considered safest, as they’re maintained and regularly disinfected, which can help to deactivate the virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests “swimming in a well-maintained, properly chlorinated pool is safe”.That said, there are some other key risk factors to think about first. Are cases in your area rising?A key thing to consider before reaching for your goggles is how many people in your local area (or the area where you plan to swim) have Covid-19.In places where cases are rising and lockdowns are being enforced, swimming pools would be more risky to visit than areas where there are a handful of cases. You can find out how many cases are in your local area.In Italy and other European countries where incidence is low, Prof Romano Spica believes it’s safe to swim. But in parts of the USA, India and other areas where outbreaks are emerging or present, it’s a no-go.Related... Coronavirus Is A Minefield. We’ll Help You Understand It. How busy is the pool?WHO recommends people avoid crowded swimming pools and keep at least one metre away from people who sneeze or cough. Among epidemiologists, two metres is still considered to be the optimum distance. Crowding and personal distancing are key factors, more than water, says Prof Romano Spica, so the emptier the pool is, the better. Under UK government guidance, leisure facilities should ensure an appropriate number of people are allowed in the swimming pool at any one time.How close are you to other swimmers?“It’s possible that exposure may occur in adjacent lanes if swimmers are too close together,” says Dr Tang. He offers the example of an infected swimmer coming to the surface and exhaling strongly before taking their next breath, just as another swimmer comes the other way and passes them, inhaling strongly before their next stroke. There would be potential to breathe in the virus.“But the frequency of this type of encounter would be rare,” he points out, “and if the lanes are wider and each swimmer stays within the middle of their lane, this reduces the transmission risk further as this is effectively a form of social distancing.”Related... Here's Some Serious Pool Porn To Get You Through The Heatwave What is the pool used for?Find out what the pool is used for before you decide to visit. If, for instance, the pool is used for exercise and sport, there’s likely to be greater physical distancing (as there’ll hopefully be lanes in place) and not as many people using it. It’s also less likely there’ll be bodily fluids knocking around than, say, a pool on holiday. But on the other hand, pools that form part of residential complexes or are aimed at allowing people of different ages to sunbathe, refresh, play and socialise, can often result in overcrowded conditions, which would pose more of a risk. There’s also more of a chance that people will be shouting and laughing – both of which can spread the virus to people nearby.Indoor vs outdoor pools – which is best?HuffPost UK reader Brian asked whether it’s safe to go swimming in indoor pools. In the UK it’s deemed safe to swim in indoor pools, which opened at the end of July. But outdoor pools are considered safer.“Outdoor pools have the advantage of sunlight and wind to destroy the virus and/or blow it away before it reaches the other person,” says Dr Tang. Dr Tang adds that swimming indoors (or outdoors) wouldn’t be high risk if the lanes are wider, with only one swimmer per lane; and if swimmers don’t talk to each other at the end of their lanes, or before entering or after leaving the pool. He concludes: “Being antisocial is being safe!”If you’re worried about transmission in an indoor setting, arrive in your swimming gear, so you don’t have to use changing rooms, and take your own equipment/aids. This is advised by Swim England. Use hand sanitiser before entering and when leaving the pool, too. To protect others, in the event that you might be asymptomatic, you could consider wearing a face cover when you’re not using the pool.If you feel nervous about returning, phone your leisure centre beforehand to see what practices they have in place to keep people safe. You could also ask what the least busy times are to visit, for peace of mind. Related... 10 Of The UK's Best Outdoor Swimming Pools To Live The Lido Life How Likely Is A Second Wave – And Can It Be Prevented? The London Marathon Is Cancelled. Here's How Runners Feel.
Linda Lusardi has said she and her husband Sam Kane are still feeling the after-effects of Covid-19, almost five months after first being diagnosed with the illness.The couple were both taken to hospital in the middle of March, after showing symptoms of coronavirus, with Linda remaining under medical care for a little longer than Sam.During that time, he regularly posted updates about her condition, claiming at one point she’d been taken to “death’s door” during her illness.After leaving hospital near the end of March, Linda has now told The Sun that she is still feeling the effects of Covid-19 five months on, which has included “distressing” hair loss on her part.She explained: “Sam’s had heart palpitations quite badly, and he’s under a cardiologist at the moment. They can’t see anything specifically wrong.“I’ve had some hair loss which has been a bit distressing.”The former glamour model and Loose Women panellist added that she’d also struggled to get her energy levels back to how they were before she contracted coronavirus, but noted: “I’m getting there. Every week’s a bit better.”She added: “It’s quite frightening when they’re talking about the long-term effects and how it can damage your kidneys and your liver and so on. But I’m just glad I’m here.”Linda also spoke about the mental and emotional effects of Covid-19, saying: “The mental trauma of it has touched us all even though it was me who was sick. My children had to deal with the fact they might lose both of us and then me, and the mental effect it’s had on us has been very traumatic really.“I think we’re still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a little bit.”Idris Elba, who also contracted coronavirus early on in the pandemic, recently made similar comments about how the illness had affected his mental health.“Mentally, it hit me very bad, because a lot was unknown about it,” he told Radio Times. “I felt very compelled to speak about it, just because it was such an unknown.“So the mental impact of that on both myself and my wife was pretty traumatic.”READ MORE: Alyssa Milano Says She 'Felt Like She Was Dying' During Covid-19 Battle Pink's Husband Recounts Singer And Three-Year-Old Son's 'Intense' Coronavirus Battle Linda Lusardi Breaks Down In Tears As She Discusses Coronavirus Battle On Good Morning Britain
A group of Utahprotesters accused of splashing red paint on and smashing the windows of a goverment building could face life in prison after a local prosecutor elevated their charges.A group of protesters allegedly vandalised the office of Salt Lake County district attorney Sim Gill in Salt Lake City last month after Gill cleared two officers of wrongdoing in the police killing of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal.Carbajal was fatally shot running away from police on May 23. Officers fired at Carbajal 34 times, but Gill determined they were justified because Carbajal repeatedly dropped and picked up a gun while fleeing, according to Gill’s investigation.The lack of charges against the officers sparked multiple protests, culminating in a standoff between riot police and around 300 protesters on July 9. Someone smashed windows and threw red paint on Gill’s office. Riot police eventually showed up and dispersed the crowd, The Washington Post reported.Gill has now charged seven people with felony rioting, which carries a sentence of five years to life behind bars under a gang enhancement upgrade. Critics accused Gill of filing excessive charges and questioned why he was allowed to file the charges, given the conflict of interest. The vandalism was carried out against Gill’s office building, and Gill was called out by name that night by protesters, The Salt Lake Tribune pointed out: “So far, Alcalá, Marvin Oliveros, Madalena McNeil, Madison Alleman, Viviane Turman, Michelle Mower and Emanuel Hill have been charged with criminal mischief, which normally tops out as a second-degree felony, but prosecutors argued the charge should be upgraded using a ‘gang enhancement.’“The seventh defendant, Hurija Mustafic, was charged with two misdemeanour counts of alleged assault against a police officer.”Brent Huff, a lawyer who represents Alleman, argued that the charges were “retaliatory.”Jesse Nix, a lawyer who represents Turman, called the charges “despicable” and “an absolute conflict.” “I’m disappointed that they didn’t recognise the conflict and send it out to someone else to decide what to charge,” Nix told the Tribune. “Because right now, it feels like Sim Gill is upset at the damage to his beautiful building so he’s going to do everything he can to scare protesters.”Gill told The Daily Beast he was handling the case because of staff shortages but said other prosecutors would handle the case going forward. He added that those prosecutors could decide to remove the enhancements.McNeil is facing several felony charges in connection with allegedly buying the red paint used to deface the building and trying to shove a riot police officer, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast.“I’m not scared because I think that I did anything wrong, because I know that I didn’t,” McNeil told The Daily Beast. “But it would be very foolish of me to look at the potential for life in prison and not be scared. When I heard about that [the charges], I realised that in the eyes of the state, I had become an enemy for exercising what is supposed to be a protected right.” Related... 'Detrimental' Changes To GCSE English Literature Exams Risk Teaching 'White Is Right' Hundreds Join Protest Against Police Brutality In Tottenham Elderly Woman Threatened With Deportation Gains Support Of Black Lives Matter Protesters
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