STURGEON’S OFFER: Scottish first minister invites Remainers to settle in Scotland if independence occurs

Aberdeen, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via PATRICK GRAFTON-GREEN and Evening Standard

The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has invited residents of the other parts of the UK who were disappointed with the outcome of last year’s Brexit referendum to settle in her country, as she petitions for a new referendum on Scottish independence.

In a report by London-based newspaper The Evening Standard, the first minister announced an open invitation to the forty-eight per cent of Britons who voted ‘yes’ to staying in the European Union to relocate to Scotland, which plans to rejoin the EU should the outcome of the second ‘indyref’ be in favour of Scotland departing the United Kingdom and going it alone. Sturgeon presided over the first referendum, in 2014, which saw fifty five per cent of voters opt to stay in the UK, and forty-four per cent lean towards independence.

 

 

Sturgeon has expressed that those who have experienced discomfort with the actions of Westminster could relocate to Scotland and be part of a “outward-looking, compassionate country”. The open invite is the latest in a war of words between Sturgeon and UK prime minister Theresa May, who is open in her desire to realise Brexit and complete EU withdrawal by 2019. May has condemned Sturgeon for demanding a new referendum before Brexit negotiations with Brussels are complete, and has refused to give federal government permission for it to go ahead, angering Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party (SNP) which she heads.

In an address she made at the SNP conference in Aberdeen recently, Sturgeon has said that her party will completely guarantee the rights of EU nationals residing in Scotland. This is at odds with May’s approach, where she has refused to give a final ruling on EU settlers’ status in a post-Brexit Britain. May’s critics have accused her of using European nationals in the UK as a ‘bargaining chip’ in order to force the EU to guarantee settlement rights of Britons living in countries like France and Spain. At the address, Sturgeon also said that Scotland had potential for massive opportunities, and criticised the Conservative Party, who are the dominant political party currently in the UK, claiming they were trying to interfere with Scotland and accused them of maintaining a condescending attitude towards the country since the 1980s.

Sturgeon also criticised Westminster for its attitude towards Europeans living in the UK, saying “You cannot lecture others about politics not being a game while you are using the lives of human beings as pawns,” to Prime Minister May.

She told the conference: “Imagine what will happen if Scotland chooses to stay.

“We will become a magnet for talent and investment from all across the UK.

“So let me issue this open invitation today – Scotland isn’t full up.

“If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster Government is taking, come and join us.

“Come here to live, work, invest or study.

“Come to Scotland – and be part of building a modern, progressive, outward-looking, compassionate country.”

SOURCES:
Sonel BC.
BritCits, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/britcits1/
“Nicola Sturgeon tells UK residents: Move to Scotland if you don’t like Brexit” – Patrick Grafton-Green, EveningStandard – News – Politics (18 March 2017) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-tells-uk-residents-move-to-scotland-if-you-don-t-like-brexit-a3493366.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Welcome to Scotland sign A1 road.jpg” – Amanda Slater via oxyman, Wikimedia Commons (14 September 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Welcome_to_Scotland_sign_A1_road.jpg

 

A BEACH IN LONDON?: Rooftop Beach to return to Brixton this May

 

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

For Londoners, a trip to the seaside usually means a forty-plus minute drive through heavy traffic and with screaming friends/kids/radios to the Essex coast or Brighton, but from this May, you can be beside the seaside on a rooftop in south London, courtesy of Brixton’s Rooftop Beach. This event brings together sand, sun, buckets, spades, street food and seasonal cocktails for a fun day out without having to book the coach.

The Rooftop Beach, organised by fresh pop-up bar maestros Brixton Rooftop, takes place from May 26 to 29, 2017 over the Bank Holiday weekend. The event is a reincarnation of Brixton’s hugely successful Brixton Beach, a 1980s Miami themed occasion held in 2016 by the same people behind local events South Pole Saloon, Brixton Beach Boulevard and Big Apple Brixton. South Pole Saloon was rated “Best Pop-Up London 2015” by Design My Night. As the clocks turn back and the summer cranks up, the Rooftop Beach will feature bars and music, all on a few tonnes or so of imported sand for that squishy sandy feeling between your toes, minus getting tangled up in seaweed or a lost jellyfish. The beach’s massive interest among people looking for their next eclectic social fix can be gauged from their Facebook page alone, where 5,700 people have planned to attend with another 35,000 interested in visiting, so this promises to be a roadblock

The beach is part of a contemporary pop-up trend of temporary entertainments and establishments that have become a hallmark of city life in London. In the past years, temporary beaches have become a feature on the banks of the River Thames, for instance, drawing in thousands of tourists, office workers and locals looking for an easy way to enjoy the beauty of the coast without having to travel far or book off two weeks from work.

The Brixton Rooftop Beach is tickets only (see sources below) and takes place at Brixton Rooftop’s HQ at Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH London, United Kingdom.

 

SOURCES:
“The Rooftop Beach is back in Brixton!” – Brixton Rooftop, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/events/292095127872148/
“RA: Brixton Rooftop” – Brixton Rooftop, RA/Resident Advisor Ltd. https://www.residentadvisor.net/promoter.aspx?id=68709
“About” – Brixton Rooftop, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/pg/BrixtonRooftop/about/
“BRIXTON BEACH BOULEVARD” – designmynight London https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/pop-up/brixton-beach-boulevard
Sevim Tonbul.
IMAGE CREDITS:
“Ruislip Lido” – diamond geezer, Flickr (2 June 2013) https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgeezer/9061773614

PASSENGER PLANES: The story

VIJAY SHAH (writer) and SUNNY ATWAL (contributor)

From the earliest days of human civilisation, people have dreamt of taking to the skies. Our ancestors watched birds, insects and bats dominate the world above us, and imagined that one day, they too could travel above the ground and above the clouds.

The desire for flight was a dream of many ancient peoples. The Hindu epics of ancient India, particularly the Vedas, mentioned flying machines known as vimanas, airborne chariots of the gods. The Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus, prisoners of the island of Crete who made a bid for freedom with wings made from eagle feathers and wax, only for Icarus to fly too close to the sun, melting his wings and falling to his demise. The Saqqara bird, a bird-shaped model made from sycamore wood, dating from 200 BC and found in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Pa-di-Imen in 1898, is in the shape of a falcon, but with wings uncannily similar to that of a modern glider aircraft.

However it was not until the technological awakening that accompanied the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century did flight by humans become more than just the stuffs of whimsical legends. At the turn of the 20th century, the skies above Europe and North America were dominated by the dirigible, also known as the airship or Zeppelin. These huge balloons, filled with hundreds of tonnes of hydrogen, became the first commercial success of the new aviation industry, ferrying both passengers and cargo across the world. The airship was prominent enough by the 1910s, that during the First World War, the Germans fitted out fleets of Zeppelins with bombs for attacks on cities in the U.K.

 

 

Sadly the popularity of airships as passenger transportation came to a sudden end with the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, when the passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg, which was on a Transatlantic route from Frankfurt, Germany, to New Jersey, USA, crashed as it moored at the Lakehurst Air Naval Station. The Hindenburg burst into flames and was burnt to a shell, killing 36 people. The ill-fated aircraft, which had previously undertaken several journeys across both Atlantic Oceans, was carrying 36 passengers and 61 crew. For a long time, this was the worst air disaster in history.

As the use of airships declined, a new beast was taking to the skies. The first manned flight was the simple wooden biplane flown by the American Wright brothers in 1903. The brothers, Orville and Wilbur, first began experimenting with gliders at their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio in 1896, and by 1902, had made more than 700 successful flights with their homemade glider, using the gentle winds at a beach in Kitty Hawk. On December the 17th, 1903, Orville Wright sat in the cockpit of his biplane in North Carolina, about to make aviation history. Though the flight was small in both elevation and duration, with the pilot travelling for 12 seconds at 20 feet height for a distance of 120 feet, an important milestone in human flight was marked for ever more.

Eleven years later, the first ‘airliner’ appeared. The Sikorsky Ilya Muromets, which was a large model of biplane built by Russians, made its maiden flight on December 10, 1913. Historians largely consider the Sikorsky the first definitive passenger plane, as it has a separate cabin for travellers, with on board facilities such as toilets, bedrooms, and even a set of wicker chairs. It was frequented by the wealthy elite of pre-Soviet Russia but its time was cut short by the outbreak of the First World War, otherwise Russia would have probably become a world leader in intercontinental aviation.

The United States, now a dominant force in commercial aviation in terms of plane manufacturing, quickly picked up where the Russians left off. The first U.S. commercial plane was a Curtiss JN 4, operated by the Elliott Air Service, which was used as a touring plane as well as for training.

Commercial flights for tourists began to appear by the 1930s, with the establishment of national airlines with their own fleets of branded planes, as well as the first full-scale construction of airports for handling holidaymakers and their cargoes. Flights at that time though were incredibly expensive, with only the very rich being able to afford the fares. A transatlantic flight from London to New York costed in the region of £300,000. Nevertheless, new airlines began to spring up, such as Imperial Airways (the forerunner to current flag bearer British Airways) in the U.K., Lufthansa (which still operates) in Germany, KLM in the Netherlands, and America’s United Airlines. Planes moved into having multiple engines which allowed for larger craft carrying more passengers.

By the end of the 1940s, the first true jet, the de Havilland Comet (DH 106 Comet) was developed and flown here in the U.K. in Hertfordshire. Debuting in 1952, the early jet became renowned for its comfortable and quiet passenger cabins, however its success was impeded by numerous faults, flight problems and Comets falling apart during test flights. The Comet was however the first multi-passenger aircraft bearing a strong resemblance to today’s planes, with a separate cockpit, galley, washroom facilities and seats separated by a central aisle for passengers and crew to walk down.

The Fifties and Sixties saw not only the consolidation of the modern airline industry as we know it, but also the appearance of the first ‘package holidays’ offering people on more modest incomes to travel to holidays, opening their world to a luxury previously only afforded to aristocrats and flight engineers. In the U.K. tour operators started offering cheap breaks to places like Spain and Italy.

The Seventies saw the dawn of the aircraft we know and love today, the Boeings and Airbuses. The Boeing company, with roots dating back to the wooden biplane era of the 1910s, began constructing airliners in 1958, with its first model christened the 707. In service until 1979, the Boeing 707 could carry up to 219 passengers. It beacme a hit commercially and dominated the nascent air travel industry, ushering in the ‘Jet Age’.

Planes began to get a lot more interesting when Concorde landed in March 1969. The Anglo-French creation was the world’s first supersonic jet, with a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h at cruise altitude), with seating for 92 to 128 passengers. Frequented by British Airways and Air France, who were the sole permitted users, Concorde, with its distinctive pointy nose and highly aerodynamic wings, could reach the US in half the time of a competitor airliner, and it became a by-word for airborne luxury. The plane last flew in 2003.

 

 

Nowadays most commercial jets are from the Boeing hangar, comprising 777s, 727s and 767s. The European consortium Airbus has recently challenged Boeing’s supremacy, and is also the company that has heralded what could be the biggest change to the jet industry since the Jet Age began.

Airbus is the firm behind the A380, which is quite unique among modern plane in that it has two floors, a double-decker structure, similar to buses like London’s Routemasters. The A380 was born from top-secret plans first begun in the 1980s for a future series of ultra-high-capacity airliners (UHCA). At a cost of €8.8 billion, the first delivery of a live A380 took place in 2007, with Singapore Airlines the buyer, and the 200th was sold in 2016. Most of the main parts of the aircraft’s fuselage and operational elements are constructed in four countries (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) and many of these parts are so large that special transportation equipment had to built to carry them to various plants.

The A380, which resembles a chubbier version of a normal Airbus jet, can carry up to 888 passengers and can fly from Hong Kong to New York non-stop. The wings alone are an impressive feat of engineering, with 32,000 major parts, 750,000 rivets, 23 miles of wiring and, when assembled, a pair will have a span wider than a football pitch. Each plane costs USD $436.9 million (£359 million). It is much quieter inside than other commercial airliners, with fifty per cent less cabin noise, and has fifty per cent more space and legroom too. This fits up to 10 seats across in economy class. The two levels of the A380 are connected by wide stairways. Many are said to be equipped with bars, restaurants and duty-free shops. Planes owned by Emirates airlines come with showers and Qantas A380s are equipped with relaxing bar lounges. The plane’s wide aisles and plentiful space make it much easier for passengers to mingle and socialise, with 220 or so windows, providing a lot of natural light in the plane. It is also the greener alternative with the lowest cost per seat and the lowest emissions per passenger of any large aircraft. The planes also spend less time occupying runways in comparison to older models.

The A380 and its descendants could well be the future of air travel, drastically opening up international journeys to a wider audience and making an already small world seem even smaller.

SOURCES:
“Saqqara Bird” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saqqara_Bird
“Hindenburg disaster” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster
“The Wright Brothers – First Flight, 1903”, EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2003). http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/wright.htm
“Airliner” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airliner
“de Havilland Comet” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Comet
“Boeing” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing
“Boeing 707” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_707
“Concorde” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde
“Airbus A380” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A380
“Top 10 Most Commonly Sold Commercial Jets to Airlines” – Sammy Said, TheRichest (24 May 2013) http://www.therichest.com/business/technology/top-10-most-commonly-sold-commercial-jets-to-airlines/
“Wings of desire” – Aida Edemariam, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (23 February 2006) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2006/feb/23/theairlineindustry.travelnews
“The 10 best features of the A380” – Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi – Innovation Hub/Etihad Airways (14 November 2014) http://innovation.etihad.com/the-10-best-features-of-the-a380/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“Wright Brothers’ First Flight” – David Erickson, Flickr (8 August 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/e-strategycom/1053324103
mrminibike, Pixabay (20 July 2008) https://pixabay.com/p-788573/?no_redirect

INSTAGRAM: 18 facts and statistics you probably never knew

Instagram is currently one of the world’s most popular social networks by usage and membership. Owned by Facebook, and lovingly known by its fans as simply ‘Insta’, the site is a valuable treasure trove of pictures and memories and offers a glimpse into the lives of its 600 million or so active users. While Instagram has developed a reputation as a bit of a narcissist’s heaven with many users flooding it with selfies, posing like there is no tomorrow, it also has become a valuable resource for creatives such as photographers and graphic designers to showcase their work, and many celebrities use it to give their fanbase a way of keeping up to date with their daily goings-on. And of course, if you ever feel hungry or have no idea what’s for supper tonight, then Instagram’s impressive collection of food photos is the ideal place for culinary inspiration. Not to mention those awesome filters.

 

 

With the help of content, social media and online marketing blog The Social Ms, here are twenty facts and statistics about the photo-sharing network you probably had no idea about.

  1. By the end of 2016, Instagram reported it had 600 million active users, that is, people who use their accounts and upload photos or images. This is an additional 100 million shutterbugs joining the service since September 2015
  2. Instagram has a rapidly increasingly ‘growth base’ with rises of 15 per cent, and there is no sign of it slowing down. In the United States alone (its biggest market), the number of users is expected to hit 116.3 million (34.8 per cent of the then population) and become the second-most popular social network, overtaking Twitter, fellow photo social network Pinterest and micro-blog Tumblr, according to recent figures by eMarketer.
  3. Not surprisingly, just like all social networks, Insta is a hit with the young ‘uns. For all age groups of Internet users, 28 per cent use it, 55 per cent of people between the ages of 18-29 are Insta-fanatics, forming its largest demographic, according to the Pew Research Center in the US. The centre also reported that 52 per cent of teens aged between 13 and 17 were also fans of Instagram.
  4. Instagram has good product loyalty. Fifty-nine per cent of its users post daily, and another 17 per cent use it at least once weekly, according to the Pew Research Center.
  5. The site has enjoyed massive growth rates in some subjects, according to MediaPost. Beauty (74% growth rate), ‘big box’ (128%) and household goods (149%) have been some of the most popular topics, at least for businesses using their Instagram accounts to promote their goods to private users. For the rest of us, I assume selfies probably have a growth rate of 100,000 per cent (I kid).
  6. Instagram is big money for marketers. In 2015, it netted advertising revenue of USD $500 million (GBP £407 million). It is expected that this year, Insta will make more money from its advertising platform on American mobile handsets than Google and Twitter, claims eMarketer.
  7. Although Instagram is US-founded and run by a big American tech company, most of its success has been from outside. Eighty per cent of its users are non-American.
  8. Over 80 million photos are uploaded per day. There is believed to be more than 40 billion images crammed into Insta’s servers and users generate an astonishing 3.5 billion likes per day, says ClickZ.
  9. The most prestigious account, going by popularity and celebrity anyway, is the one owned by U.S. singer Selena Gomez. She has 99.5 million followers allegedly.
  10. The most liked photo over all of Insta was one by reality show star Kendall Jenner. The picture of her lying on her back, eyes closed with her hair spread out and arranged into hearts got 3.5 million likes.
  11. If you post a photo, fifty per cent of comments will appear within six hours, meaning a good post will stick around and not get lost in the noise.
  12. Instagram is quite secure, with only eight per cent of its accounts said to be fake, according to an unnamed Italian security firm.
  13. Like any social network, people sometimes do get bored of posting or other things happen in their life that pull them away. The same Italian firm discovered that nearly 30 per cent of account are rarely used or inactive, usually posting one post per month or less, according to Business Insider.
  14. For businesses, Insta is marketing gold. Forrester published stats that suggest people engage with brands ten times more on Insta than they do on Facebook. Facebook ads are annoying, I grant you that.
  15. One-third of Instagram users have used their mobile to purchase a product online.
  16. Fifty-three per cent of Instagrammers, as fans are sometimes called, are following brands.
  17. As humans love seeing faces, this fact is probably not surprising, but selfies and group photos on average are 38 per cent more likely to get liked, than other kinds of pictures, such as inanimate objects.
  18. The most Instagrammed food is… pizza.

 

SOURCES:
HEM Bloggers List, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-bloggers-list
Susanna Gebauer‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/dreckbaerfrau
“20 Instagram Facts And Statistics You Should Know” – Susanna Gebauer, The Social Ms/Friendly Fellows UG (haftungsbeschränkt) (23 September 2016) https://blog.thesocialms.com/19-instagram-facts-and-statistics-you-should-know/
IMAGE CREDIT:
freestocks.org via Pexels (13 January 2016) https://www.pexels.com/photo/lg-smartphone-instagram-social-media-35177/

AUROVILLE: A unique city

Auroville, a young city lying around 10 kilometres from the former French colony of Puducherry (Pondicherry), now an Indian union territory, is an important hub of Hindu spirituality, which draws in thousands of people from all over the world. Set deep in the forests straddling the border of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, Auroville’s buildings are laid out in a unique formation reminiscent of the stars of a galaxy. Designed by architect Roger Anger, Auroville takes its name from Sri Aurobindo, a great philosopher and was established in 1968 by The Mother, also known by her birth name Mirra Alfassa, who was a close disciple of Sri Aurobindo and who hailed from France. Auroville came about as a haven from the religious and political strife of the time, and its whole mentality is geared towards serving God and realising the inner self.

 

 

One of the main ideas that governs the city is the improvement of personal relations among people, at a time when there was much strife and rivalry, and nowadays it encourages the perfection of people collaborating together as one humanity, and the devotees of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo courageously work together to improve relations between different groups of humanity. Auroville even received recognition in this dynamism from once Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, who spoke of the commune’s work in promoting harmony between different cultures and furthering understanding of how coexistence among human beings can help promote spiritual growth.

According to the Census of India 2014, only around 2,300 people live in Auroville, tiny by Indian standards. Around two-thirds originate from India, France and Germany. They are all governed by the civic cardinal rule, unique to Auroville, which states that no political, religious or spiritual organisation should use Auroville as a platform to proselytise for their faith or recruit followers. As a result, there are no political parties or political operations in Auroville, and there is also no concept of private property or money, with the land and homes held under a communal basis, via the auspices of the Auroville Foundation. Auroville also engages with intra-community activities with neighbouring villages and social outreach work.

Unlike the mayor’s office and local councils found in mainstream cities around the world, Auroville is administered by a committee elected by the locals, and residents can support or veto any measures put forward by the committee without having to deal with council red tape. In return, residents are expected to engage in daily programmes of work, for at least five hours a day, seven days a week, either on their own or collectively. When not working, many of Auroville’s inhabitants like to congregate at the Matrimandir to meditate and pray to and honour God, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry.

 

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Tecnología GM‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/TecnologiaGM
“Esta es la ciudad más extraña del mundo: Auroville” – GrandesMedios.com – Cultura/Grandes Medios (21 February 2016) https://www.grandesmedios.com/esta-es-la-ciudad-mas-extrana-del-mundo-auroville/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Auroville puducherry.jpg” – sillybugger/Ian.A, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (1 May 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Auroville_puducherry.jpg  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

SULLEE J: Slangin Knowledge with Don Streat and Mastermind DaGenius

 

 

Fresh for 2017, Baltimore rapper and lyrical master Sullee J has partnered up with Don Streat and Mastermind DaGenius, two up-and-coming musicians on the local hip-hop scene, to bring out a trappy new single named “Slangin’ Knowledge”.

Taken from the forthcoming EP ‘Donnie Justice’ this track features ‘straight facts over a trap beat’, paying homage to one of the newest and freshest music trends to come out of urban America. Produced by Cracker Jack Productions, the video was shot in Chicago, featuring a quote from and street art of, the legendary US statesman, civil rights campaigner and orator Martin Luther King, as well as scenes from the city’s North Avenue, the scene of riots since the election of President Trump. Other footage was filmed in the premises of Coppin State College.

With deep lyrics and great passion, this new track is one Sullee J and collaborators have put a lot of heart into and it speaks a great message.

 

WARNING: Contains adult language.

officialsulleej.com

 

 

SOURCE/CREDITS:
Sullee J Management.

BRENDAN MASON: Man attacked and killed by ‘friends’

gb

Leicester, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via JEN MILLS and Metro

A Leicester man with learning difficulties was lured to his death by two so-called friends who savagely beat him for kicks, U.K. newspaper Metro reports today.

Brendan Mason was taken along to Abbey Park by two men, Joshua Hack (aged 21) and Keith Lowe (aged 22) on the pretext of spending some time together, on July 5th last year. Once they arrived at the park, they began attacking him, hanging him from a tree and then took turns striking him, while the other held Matthews still. They also laughed at and taunted the victim, as well as filming the incident, telling Mason to ‘smile for the camera’.

 

 

The victim then fell unconscious. Hack and Lowe proceeded to strip Mason of his clothes, removed him from the tree and then dumped him in the park’s lake. The park’s grounds workers found him at 7.40 am, bleeding and naked. He was airlifted to Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry, but died from the injuries. Medics there said Mason had a catalogue of 99 injuries on his head and body, including brain damage, five broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Joshua Hack, from Beaumont Leys, Leicester, admitted murder, but his accomplice, who hails from Crown Hills district of the same city, refused to plead guilty and was put on trial last week. Four days into the trial, Keith Lowe changed his plea after police offered up damning new evidence in the form of a video shot on the defendant’s iPhone.

“Officers were able to see the video on the Cloud, showing an unfortunate scene,” prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said.

‘It shows Brendan’s battered and naked body with Lowe landing blows.’

She added: “It was being made for a third party to show them what happened to Brendan.”

Messages from the murderers’ Facebook show at 2.46am Hack said to Lowe: “Just do it dude.”

Lowe replied: “Shall we do it because he’s f** me off with the lies.”

Moore further explained to the court: “They were using their phones to communicate because Brendan doesn’t know what’s about to happen to him.”

Brendan Mason’s death was attributed to ‘unsurvivable’ brain damage, Metro stated.

After the court case, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Mick Graham said: “Brendan was known to the defendants and considered them as friends, and they lured him to the park with the full intention of hurting him.”

The Mason family released a statement, saying “It is not right how two evil people can do such a horrific thing and leave a massive hole in our lives that will never be filled again.

‘Brendan was a lovely young man and he was so happy. He had numerous learning difficulties and very poor vision.

‘Even though Brendan had numerous learning difficulties and was very easily led by others, he always knew right from wrong.

‘The police have been a big part of our life for the past seven months; they have been amazing, but there will never be closure for us”

The two defendants will be sentenced tomorrow at Leicester Crown Court.

 

SOURCES:
Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
“Friends hung man with learning difficulties from tree and beat him to death” – Jen Mills, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (19 February 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/19/friends-hung-man-with-learning-difficulties-from-tree-and-beat-him-to-death-6457997/?ito=facebook
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Police Line Do Not Cross” – Pexels (26 July 2016) https://www.pexels.com/photo/police-line-do-not-cross-132752/

QUOTE MOMENT: Sharing sweets

 

 

A Facebook post I shared five years ago. It reads “When people ask me to share the candy I’m eating, I give them the flavor I don’t like” and comes with a forever alone type meme. Truth be told, I just share the sweeties regardless of flavour, unless I’m eating Quality Street, and they’re someone I don’t like, then in that case, they get all the toffees!

 

IMAGE CREDIT:
I finally stop laughing. look back over at you and start all over again, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/laughingclub/

AUTISTIC BOY HANDCUFFED: Police restrain 12-year-old after fight with own brother

gb

Lanark, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via STEPHEN JONES and Mirror

A police force in Scotland have been condemned for excessive force after officers handcuffed a schoolboy with autism after he got into a fight with his brother in class, The Mirror newspaper reports.

Twelve-year-old Colin Gow, who attends Lanark Grammar school in Lanark, got into a dispute with his older brother Keiran, aged 13 and also autistic. He allegedly hurled a plastic bottle at his brother which set off the fight, and was then subsequently handcuffed by police. Colin was said to have been left ‘distressed and sobbing’ after the incident, which took place at a special Additional Support Needs class.

 

 

Colin and Keiran’s father, Colin Gow Senior, told the Mirror: It broke my heart to see my son in handcuffs.

“It wasn’t the way to deal with this incident.”

“The first thing I did was ask the officer to take the handcuffs off – he was clearly very distressed – and I put my arms round him to comfort him,” he said.

Lanarkshire authorities said that Colin had to be handcuffed for his own and others’ safety, but the boy’s parents have demanded an urgent review of how the incident was handled by police and the school. The incident took place just before the end of the school day on February 2nd, and a pair of officers were called to Lanark Grammar, where they handcuffed Colin, who also has spina bifida and is only 5’1″ tall. As a result, Colin’s parents now say he has developed a phobia of the police. The child also had to be taken for treatment at Wishaw General Hospital in Wishaw, north Lanarkshire county, the Mirror states.

Police and education chiefs at South Lanarkshire Council insist Colin had to be restrained to keep everyone “safe from physical harm”. Police representatives also claimed that Colin’s special education needs and his conditions were not made apparent to them at the time.

According to the Daily Record newspaper, Colin started attending Lanark Grammar, which was founded in 1183 and is one of Scotland’s oldest secondary schools (for pupils aged 11-16), after he was expelled from his previous school for allegedly punching a teacher. Lanark Grammar has a specialist unit for children with ‘Additional Support Needs’, including those with autism and dyslexia. During the day, Colin attends the unit and mixes with the non-unit students during morning assemblies, break times and lunch hours.

Despite the school’s specialism, Colin’s parents expressed concerns about the way his condition is being handled. His mother, Sharon, said that she was informed that they as parents would not have to do anything as the school’s dedicated staff would handle any issues that arose. They were at first optimistic that Colin would thrive at Lanark Grammar, but Sharon told the Mirror that Colin was not getting the support he badly needed.

South Lanarkshire Council’s head of education Carole McKenzie confirmed the police were called into the school as a result of “concerns for the pupil’s safety”.

She said the boy was attempting to leave school grounds without permission, which his parents deny.

Superintendent Louise Skelton, of Police Scotland, said officers quickly established “no criminality”.

She said: “In order to protect the boy involved, staff and officers, handcuffs were deployed in an effort to keep all parties safe from harm.

“Officers remained with the boy until he was left in the care of a relative.

“Police Scotland has been engaging with the family. No complaint has been received at this time.”

SOURCES:
HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-news-agency
Daily Mirror, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/DailyMirror
“Police handcuff 12-year-old autistic boy after fight with brother at school” – Stephen Jones, Mirror – News – UK News – Schools/MGN Limited (12 February 2017) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/police-handcuff-12-year-old-9803082
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Handcuffed Girls Qiqi Lourdie December 05, 20104” – Steven Depolo, Flickr (5 December 2010) https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/5242520722

STADIUM STAMPEDE: 17 killed in crush at Angolan football stadium

Uíge, ANGOLA
VIJAY SHAH via BBC News

The BBC reported yesterday that 17 people have been killed after a stampede at a football stadium in the town of Uíge in Angola, according to local officials.

Hundreds of injuries, of which five people were seriously injured, from the crush have also been reported, after fans rushed the stadium entrance after they were prevented from entering. Many of the deaths resulted from people falling to the ground or being trapped, then suffocated, according to a medic on the scene.

 

© Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

 

The stadium, in the north of Angola was hosting a match between Santa Rita de Cassia, the home team and visiting side Recreativo do Libolo. The match was so sought after that the venue quickly filled to its 8,000 seat capacity, when more fans began to show up at the gates demanding entry. They were prevented from entering the stadium as it was full. As people began to storm the gates, fatalities started mounting.

Ernesto Luis, the general director of Uíge’s main hospital, told the Reuters news agency that “Some people had to walk on top of other people. There were 76 casualties, of whom 17 died,”

Recreativo do Libolo released a statement regarding the incident on their website, stating that it was “a tragedy without precedent in the history of Angolan football”.

One eyewitness, named by the BBC as Domingos Vika, reported that the stadium’s entrance was already overcrowded, when more fans began ‘pouring in’ sparking the crush.

“When they gave the opportunity for everyone to come in, we were all packed at the gate,” said Mr Vika, who left the venue with a broken hand.

Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has ordered an investigation into the incident, local media have reported.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Bitcoin Sportsbook, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SportsbookBTC
“Angola stadium stampede in Uige kills 17” – BBC News – World – Africa (10 February 2017) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-38939723
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Fans of the Angolan national football team in Cologne.jpg” – Raimond Spekking, Wikimedia Commons (11 June 2006) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fans_of_the_Angolan_national_football_team_in_Cologne.jpg © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)