NORTHERN IRELAND AFTER BREXIT: Residents to be able to keep EU membership

Belfast – VIJAY SHAH via JON STONE and Independent

As both the Brexit talks in Brussels and the situation over the status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic dominates political news in the U.K., the negotiation teams of the two sides have made a concession for residents of Northern Ireland, whereby they can still be EU citizens after Brexit is finalised in two years’ time, the Independent reported recently.

 

UK citizens born in the province will be able to continue their EU membership thanks to a deal struck by British prime minister Theresa May on Friday morning. The deal is a further continuation of an older agreement between the UK and EU whereby Northern Irish residents can apply for a Irish Republic passport. Even after the UK’s withdrawal, this agreement will be allowed to continue, meaning a Northern Ireland-born person can adopt Irish citizenship and therefore take advantage of border-free travel with the EU, as the southern part of Ireland is remaining within the union.

“Both Parties acknowledge that the 1998 Agreement recognises the birth right of all the people of Northern Ireland to choose to be Irish or British or both and be accepted as such,” the joint text agreed by the two sides stated in quotes published by the Independent.

“The people of Northern Ireland who are Irish citizens will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens, including where they reside in Northern Ireland.”

The EU Commission have also suggested that Irish citizens from both sides of the border resident in the province should also be able to continue enjoying their rights as EU citizens post-Brexit. The deal is part of a breakthrough in recent talks, which hit a stumbling block over the question of the Irish border. The UK and EU will now move on to discussing future trade agreements.

SOURCES:

Cindy Chak.

I LOVE MY ‘FOREIGN’ SPOUSE: defend the rights of cross-border couples., Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/139807999382936/

“Brexit: Northern Irish will be able to remain EU citizens under deal” – Jon Stone, Independent (8 December 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-northern-ireland-keep-eu-citizenship-irish-border-a8099176.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Tuesday: my Irish passport arrived” – Sarah-Rose, Flickr (20 March 2012) https://www.flickr.com/photos/oh_darling/6999195061

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EHI LIVE 2017: Two days left until leading healthcare event

Birmingham – VIJAY SHAH

People in the world of healthcare technology are eagerly awaiting the arrival of ehi LIVE 2017 in just two day’s time, as the UK’s leading get-together for experts and users of digital healthcare gets ready at Hall 1 of the NEC Arena in Birmingham on the 31st October and 1st November 2017.

 

ehi LIVE, an event which aims to bridge the gap between medical technology, clinicians and their patients, is a yearly occurrence and is organised by international exhibitions agency Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions. ehi LIVE will look at key developments in the digital healthcare field, such as hospital record keeping, cybersecurity, healthcare innovations and new methods of bringing technology into patient-doctor interactions. The event also plays host to a special ‘Knowledge Hub’ which features experts in the fields of digital health and cyber security, offering their thoughts on the latest developments and concepts such as the cloud, wearables, informatics, ‘big data’ and social media, and how these can benefit patients, doctors, nurses and healthcare providers such as the NHS.

ehi LIVE will host nine individual conferences within the event, alongside an exhibition with a lineup of 150 companies and providers in healthcare. An expected total of more than 4,000 attendees are expected to visit the event over the two days. There will also be a late night drinks bash and an awards ceremony.

Key speakers taking the stand at ehi LIVE 2017 include Will Smart, the chief information officer of NHS England; Claire Murdoch, the National Mental Health Director, also from the English NHS, alongside their colleague Dr. Robert Varnam, head of general practice development. Also speaking will be Prof. Daniel Ray (data director and informatics professor at NHS Digital in Leeds) and Paul Park, a CCIO at Oxfordshire CCG. Exhibitors include Elsevier, Fujifilm, Hospedia, HP, IBM Watson Health and LG Electronics, among many others in household names and new entrants in the digital healthcare field.

DISCLAIMER: The author of this article is employed by Informa.

SOURCES:

“Informa Accounts” – HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/informa-accounts

ehi Live 2017, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/EHILive

“ehi LIVE, UK’s largest ehealth exhibition 31Oct- 1Nov 2017, Birmingham” – ehi Live/Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions/Informa https://www.ehilive.co.uk/en/home.html

“EXHIBITOR LIST” – ehi Live/Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions/Informa https://www.ehilive.co.uk/en/exhibit/exhibitor-directory.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

ehi Live 2017, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/EHILive

 

CAMBRIDGE PREGNANCY CITIZENSHIP DEMAND: NHS compels UK woman with Polish surname to prove her residence

Cambridge – VIJAY SHAH via NICOLE MORLEY and Metro

A British-born pregnant woman who changed her surname to her husband’s Polish-origin one was forced by a hospital to prove her citizenship or be refused ante-natal care under the National Health Service (NHS), online news site Metro.co.uk (Metro) reported yesterday.

Emma Szewczak-Harris from Chesterton, a suburb of Cambridge, who is eight months pregnant, was asked to prove she was a British citizen by a letter sent from the city’s Addenbrooke Hospital, despite her still retaining her maiden name in her double-barrelled surname and having a typically English first name. The mother-to-be told Metro that the letter and actions of Addenbrooke Hospital made her feel a ‘second-class citizen’, and that it was a ‘disgrace’, especially given the fact that Szewczak-Harris was not asked for residency proof in previous appointments.

 

Szewczak-Harris said: “I’ve absolutely no idea why I received it other than my surname,

‘As I’m pregnant, I’m going to the hospital a lot at the moment, but no one has at any point asked for my credentials which – as a born and bred Brit – are completely sound.

So I’m stumped and angry that women in my condition, who are anxious enough as it is, should be made to worry about their access to care.’

After 26 years of living in the country and using the NHS, I’ve never had my identity policed until now,’ 

‘Am I going to go into labour and then be denied treatment?”

The letter, which was seen and shared by Metro, told Szewczak-Harris that she had failed to provide documents at her last appointment proving that she was entitled to free NHS treatment as an expectant mother, before giving a list of suitable proofs of identity and residence. It was dated October 12 and was issued by Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Furthermore, the letter demanded Szewczak-Harris supply the necessary documentation by a deadline of October 30, 2017.

A hospital spokesperson said the letter had been sent out as part of a ‘pilot scheme’ aimed at preventing patients from abroad taking advantage of NHS treatment for free and that the hospital had a policy of asking non-emergency maternal care patients to bring proof of residence with them to appointments.

A Cambridge University Hospitals spokesman said: “The Department of Health has asked the trust to pilot a scheme to allow us to better monitor and collect payment from overseas patients who are not eligible for free NHS treatment.

‘This brings us into line with national NHS guidelines and how many other trusts operate.

‘From August 1, 2017 all non-emergency patients in maternity and urology have been asked in their appointment letters to provide two forms of identification when they attend – one to prove identity and one as proof of residence. Once you have provided this information you will not be asked again.

‘If a patient is not eligible for free NHS care, they will be charged for any treatment we give to them and, from October 23, there is a statutory requirement to withhold treatment where clinical staff assess if this routine aspect of their care can wait until they return to their home country.”

Szewczak-Harris said she was not going to reply to the letter.

“What are they going to do? I’m entitled to that,” she said. “My husband is very angry about it. He has faced this kind of thing before but as someone who works in medicine on the Addenbrooke’s site, he’s horrified about it. This makes us feel like second-class citizens.”

Hospitals in England may be required to check the residency and immigration status of all patients who use their services from October 23 (tomorrow) according to campaign group Docs Not Cops. The controversial ruling on English NHS trusts could mean people unable to prove their nationality would have to pay for treatment upfront. The rule is a sign of the UK Conservative government’s hardening stance on immigration and in particular, government fears of ‘health tourists’ from outside the UK coming to the country to help themselves to free treatment.

SOURCES:

Renata Soares Barros.

We Are #StopBrexit – We Are The 48%, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1586336064998120/

“Pregnant Brit forced to prove nationality by NHS after taking Polish husband’s name” – Nicole Morley, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (21 October 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/10/21/pregnant-woman-denied-nhs-treatment-after-taking-polish-husbands-name-7016266/amp/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“February 5, 2010 – Paperwork” – Caitlin Childs, Flickr (5 February 2010) https://www.flickr.com/photos/nerdcoregirl/4335907588

 

BRADFORD SHOOTING: Man shot three times after Friday prayers

Bradford – VIJAY SHAH via CHARLIE MOORE, Daily Mail and MIB

A man is in hospital in the northern English city of Bradford after been shot at three times after he left prayers at a mosque in the city, online British South Asian news site MeanwhileInBritain.com and national newspaper Daily Mail reported.

The unidentified man had finished Muslim Friday (Juma’ah) prayers at the Jamia Abu Hanifa mosque in Hustler Street in the Barkerend district, central Bradford when assailants wearing balaclavas shot him just a hundred yards from the mosque. The gunshots terrified other worshippers at the mosque when the incident took place at 2pm local time, MeanwhileInBritain.com said.

 

Witnesses saw three men, faces obscured, pull up on the road in a car and immediately open fire on the victim. A member of the congregation who was praying when the shooting occurred said: “I saw lots of police and a man laying on the floor who had been shot. We heard the gunshot while we were inside praying.

‘There was an ambulance and about five police vehicles including two riot vans on the scene’

‘I have been told three men in balaclavas pulled up in a car and shot a man.’

The victim, who survived the shooting but was struck in a leg was taken to hospital. Bradford police say the shooting had nothing to do with the mosque. A statement from them said: “Police were called to Undercliffe Street, Bradford at 1.57pm today following a report of gunshots.

‘Officers attended and found a male in his twenties with a leg wound.

‘The injury is not believed to be life threatening and he has been taken to hospital for further treatment.

‘Enquiries are continuing at the scene although the injury is believed to be consistent with that of a firearms discharge.

‘Anyone with information is asked to contact Bradford CID on 101, quoting log 984 of today (Friday 20 October).”

Inquiries are continuing.

SOURCES:

British Asians UK, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/BritishAsiansUK/

“Man is shot by ‘three men in balaclavas’ near mosque in Bradford” – Charlie Moore, Mail Online News/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (20 October 2017) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5001624/Man-shot-three-men-balaclavas-near-mosque.html

“MAN IS SHOT BY ‘THREE MEN IN BALACLAVAS’ AFTER JUM’AH PRAYER NEAR MOSQUE IN BRADFORD” – MIB/Meanwhile In Britain/Meanwhile In UK (20 October 2017) http://meanwhileinbritain.com/man-is-shot-by-three-men-in-balaclavas-after-jumah-prayer-near-mosque-in-bradford/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Crime Scene” – Alan Cleaver, Flickr (16 May 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4121423119

UBER: Disruptive taxi app firm stripped of licence by London’s TfL

London – VIJAY SHAH via SARAH BUTLER, GWYN TOPHAM and The Guardian

San Francisco-based taxi app company Uber has had its application to renew its public carriage licence turned down by Transport for London (TfL) after its business practices and safety record were called into question by critics, the Guardian newspaper reported today.

The company, founded by Travis Kalanick in 2010, operates in 400 cities around the world and is well known for its cheap prices, its large pool of contracted drivers and its ease of use. But the company has come under fire in London its ‘lack of corporate responsibility’, and its disruptive effect on the city’s indigenous ‘black cab’ licensed minicab trade. Uber has been accused of not properly vetting its drivers’ criminal records and for not doing enough to investigate alleged sexual assaults by contracted taxi drivers.

The move by TfL has created a massive shock in London, with many customers and drivers of Uber condemning the decision not to renew the firm’s licence, which enables it to operate on the city’s streets. Black cab drivers and motoring safety groups however, have expressed support for the decision, blaming Uber for increasing traffic and stealing trade from established cab firms.

 

TfL is said to have rejected Uber’s licence renewal on the basis that it is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator, according to the Guardian newspaper. The current Uber licence will expire on the 30th of September and the company’s UK arm plans to launch an appeal against TfL’s decision.  Uber works with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million users, called ‘riders’ in London alone.

Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi in a message to the app’s staff issued yesterday said: “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation,” he wrote. “It really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours.

“It’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do, and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles – we will vigorously appeal TfL’s decision – but rather building trust through our actions and our behaviour. In doing so, we will show that Uber is not just a really great product, but a really great company that is meaningfully contributing to society, beyond its business and its bottom line.”

TfL was supported by London’s city Mayor, Sadiq Khan, employment rights campaigners and a federation of black cab firms. Uber has in the past been slated for not giving its drivers full employment status and not paying them a living wage, according to its critics. Uber’s customers and drivers have expressed dismay, along with Trade Minister  Greg Hands.

TfL said it had rejected the company’s application to renew its licence because “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility” in relation to reporting serious criminal offences, obtaining medical certificates and driver background checks. TfL has also accused Uber of employing special cloaking software to make it difficult for authorities to access the app and records for such purposes as law enforcement.

Khan said he fully supported TfL’s decision, saying all companies needed to “play by the rules”.

He said: “I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.

“However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.”

But Hands, who is also minister for London, said: “At the flick of a pen Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5 million users of Uber stranded.

“Uber must address safety concerns and it is important there is a level playing field across the private hire market.

“But a blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, all while showing that the Mayor of London is closed to business and innovation.”

Sam Gyimah, a Conservative justice minister and MP (Member of Parliament) for the East Surrey political constituency, said it was “possible to have effective regulation of Uber without penalising the consumers who benefit from more choice and lower prices”.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents London’s black cab drivers, said the mayor had made the right decision.

“Since it first came on to our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers. This immoral company has no place on London’s streets,” he said.

Uber said in a statement the decision would “show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies”.

“3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision,” the company added.

Uber’s maverick business model have caused it to get in hot water in numerous world cities. There were protests against the app in places as far apart as Rio de Janeiro and Paris. Last year, its founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick was forced to step down after allegations of sexual harassment at the company’s headquarters and a fiery exchange with one of his company’s drivers, caught on camera. Many observers say that the decision by TfL could deal a fatal blow to Uber.

SOURCES:

Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/

“Uber stripped of London licence due to lack of corporate responsibility” – Sarah Butler and Gwyn Topham, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (23 September 2017) https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/22/uber-licence-transport-for-london-tfl

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Uber app” – freestocks.org, Flickr (12 January 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/freestocks/23707913564

 

EU FLAG PROMS: ‘Brexiteers’ angered by Royal Proms pro-EU flag distribution

London – VIJAY SHAH via JEFF FARRELL and The Independent

As the United Kingdom heads for its possible withdrawal from the European Union in two years’ time, supporters of EU withdrawal, informally known as Brexiteers, have hit out at a pro-EU campaign group who distributed EU flags to visitors at a music festival, The Independent reports.

The campaign group, EU Flag Proms Team, a previously unknown collective which favours UK remaining part of the European Union, had planned to distribute EU flags and banners outside the Royal Albert Hall in London, which plays host to a televised classical music festival, the Proms, which is specially promoted by the national public service broadcaster BBC. 

 

During the final day of the festival, known as the Last Night, EU Flag Proms team members planned to give out the 10,000 blue and yellow flags free to concertgoers to support EU closeness, while wearing t-shirts with the slogan “thank EU for the music EU”. EU Flag Proms explained the unusual stunt was to highlight how music is a universal language” that transcends borders.

It is a tradition among audiences at the Proms to wave national flags when national anthems are played, so for example the Union Flag (Union Jack) is waved when the song “Rule Britannia” is performed. As many classical composers featured at the Proms are from mainland Europe, it was hoped that the Proms’ visitors would be more supportive of Europe as a whole. The BBC’s own symphony orchestra featured music by the late composers Jean Sibelius and Richard Wagner, from Finland and Germany respectively.

A spokesman for EU Flags Proms Team told The Telegraph paper: “During the Age of Enlightenment Mozart, Handel and Bach all lived and worked for part of their lives in London.

“Presumably under the Brexit dark ages, they would not be welcome. What an appalling backward step for our country.

“We hope that the EU flags will remind the audience, the musicians and those watching from all over the world that music is a universal language that unites people, breaking down barriers and promoting communication, understanding, and peace.”

Leading supporters of Brexit, however have condemned EU Flag Proms, claiming that music can also be a signifier of national identity. Vociferous and controversial Brexit supporter, Nigel Farage, former leader of the right-wing nationalist UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), said to the Independent that he hoped Brexiteers would stage a similar counter-campaign distributing UK flags to Proms visitors. He said, referring to EU Flag Proms explanation for their campaign: “As for this airy fairy ‘music crosses all borders’ nonsense, music is also an important part of national symbolism in every part of the world.”

Farage said he planned to contact a former UKIP donor, Aaron Banks to possibly bankroll the counter-campaign, but due to the donor being abroad, the UKIP Union Flag giveaway did not take place for the Proms this year.

EU Flags Proms Team last year staged a similar Brexit protest outside the Royal Albert Hall, and handed out 2,500 EU flags to members of the public who turned up for Last Night of the Proms 2016.

British politicians are currently in negotiations with the European Union over the terms of withdrawal from the Union, which the UK was one of the first members of since it joined in 1973. The UK Brexit negotiation team has been slammed at home for heading into the talks unprepared and the EU has also been criticised for demanding a £50 billion ‘divorce settlement’ from the UK, for various projects and commitments made during the UK’s membership of the union. The United Kingdom plans to withdraw completely in 2019 after the two-year notice period after it triggered the Article 50 clause this year. There have been calls for a second referendum, either on the terms of Brexit or the withdrawal itself.

SOURCES:

Sarah Harness.

We Are The 48% – #StopBrexit, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1586336064998120/

“Brexiteers furious over thousands of EU flags handed out at Last Night of the Proms” – Jeff Farrell, The Telegraph (9 September 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/eu-flags-brexit-last-night-proms-bbc-royal-albert-hall-london-a7938206.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Flagging Support” – Dave Kellam, Flickr (24 February 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/davekellam/414918350

BBQ OMG: 11 million barbecues to fail this summer

London – VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

It is the middle of summer, and in the UK, that of course means barbecue season. Families and people across the land will be pulling out their grills from the shed after a year of hibernation to fry tonnes of burgers, chops, sausages, kebabs and other meat and vegetarian products, but not all of them will reach the perfect sizzling conclusion, with a group of researchers claiming that up to 11 million British barbecue parties will be ruined this summer alone.

The main reasons for flaming failures, according to the research by meat trade agency Simply Beef & Lamb, are poorly cooked BBQ foods, followed by unwanted company, drunken guests and snacks or drinks running out. Other al fresco eating experiences could also be derailed by a lack of alcohol and bad taste in music or radio station selection. Burnt or undercooked food was the biggest risk factor for a ruined BBQ, with one in five Britons (22 per cent) complaining about it, according to the study, which surveyed a sample of 2,000 adults.

 

 

The massive amount of failed BBQs this year can also be put down to lack of skill in the relevant techniques with the study showing that one in five barbecue organisers struggling with the finer points of well prepared meat and poultry, and almost a quarter (24%) of participants going as far as branding the UK’s collective barbecuing a national disgrace. Twenty seven per cent of the sample claimed to be disgusted by seeing their food cooked on a dirty grill, with another twenty one per cent put off their burgers by guests exhibiting nasty eating habits or ‘table manners’. One in five respondents were annoyed by the British phenomenon of the ‘back-seat BBQer’ – guest who do not cook a single thing themselves but will hover around the person manning the grill, dispensing unwanted advice and criticism of their grilling finesse. Other respondents complained about groups of people huddling around the grill, public displays of affection, a lack of food and drink variety, and controversially, having to cater for vegetarian guests who cannot eat meat.

Simply Beef & Lamb also stated that the average adult will either attend or start up four barbecues in 2017, which adds up to 108 million cookouts among the UK’s 27 million households. The agency’s spokesperson, Nick White, spoke with SWNS news outlet, encouraging British families and friends to keep barbecuing, especially with steak:

“Following our survey, we are launching a campaign to get Brits grilling like Americans, Aussies and Argentinians.

‘We’re asking Brits to banish boring barbecue food and to come together to ‘raise the steaks’.’

‘It’s a misconception that steak is difficult to cook on the barbecue – it’s actually one of the quickest and tastiest meats to prepare on the grill.

‘There are numerous ways to enjoy it, from cutting it into kebabs to marinating it in different flavours.”

TOP 10 SIGNS A BARBECUE HAS FAILED:

  1. Undercooked food
  2. Rain
  3. Burnt food
  4. Bad company
  5. People who are too drunk
  6. Not enough food
  7. Poor BBQ skills
  8. No alcohol
  9. Bad music
  10. Boring and predictable food

TOP 10 BARBECUE BUGBEARS:

  1. Dirty BBQ grill
  2. People with bad eating manners
  3. Criticism and advice from ‘back seat’ BBQ-ers
  4. The amount of smoke from the BBQ
  5. Drunk arguments
  6. Same old bangers and burgers
  7. Vegetarians being awkward
  8. Couples’ public display of affection
  9. All the men huddling around the BBQ
  10. The fact you spend hours cooking and then everyone is too drunk to eat

SOURCE:

“Flaming Failures! 11 Millions Barbecues Will be Spoiled this Summer” – SWNS digital/72Point (1 July 2017) http://www.swnsdigital.com/2017/07/flaming-failures-11-millions-barbecues-will-be-spoiled-this-summer/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Texas – Driftwood: The Salt Lick BBQ – Barbecue pit” – Wally Gobetz, Flickr (17 August 2012) https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/8061453680

THE REAL-LIFE SIDESHOW BOB?: Fundraising clown criminalised by UK council

 

Manchester – VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

A man dressed as a clown who was fundraising for victims of terrorism found himself accosted by council workers who confiscated his donations bucket, SWNS news agency reported this Friday.

Pensioner Tommy Armstrong, from Greenock in Inverclyde, Scotland, had visited the city of Manchester in England to collect spare change for victims of the recent suicide bombing there, when employees of the Manchester city council approached him while he was about to collect donations for a special charity 10-kilometre fun run he was due to take part in. The council staff demanded to see Tommy’s fundraising permit, which he did not have. They then allegedly emptied his bucket and confiscated the donations. Armstrong was said to have been left ‘close to tears’ by the incident. At that time, he was dressed in full clown costume and face make-up.

 

 

Armstrong has raised nearly £200,000 for charity in a fundraising career spanning thirty years and has frequented the streets of Manchester for the past decade. He was renowned in his native city for his habit of dressing in complete clown regalia to entertain shoppers and tourists and gather money for charity. He had even appeared on a daytime TV show ‘This Morning’ with the ITV terrestrial station last year. He told SWNS: My race didn’t start until 3pm, so I went to St Ann’s Square first to see the flowers that have been left there in tribute to the victims.

‘I was wearing my clown’s gear and pushing my usual pram with the bucket on it.’

‘I didn’t ask anyone for money at that stage, but many people had put notes and coins into the bucket.’

‘Two officials came up to me and asked if I had a permit to raise money for the fund.’

‘I told them I had been raising money at Manchester and other big races around the country like the London Marathon for years, and I had never heard anything about a permit.’

‘They took my bucket and counted all the money on a wall. People were walking past wondering what was going on.’

‘It was really embarrassing and made me feel like they thought I was trying to collect money for myself. They were very rude and treated me like a criminal.”

The donations confiscated by Manchester council was believed to be in the region of £44. Tommy Armstrong also told SWNS that he felt the council’s rough treatment of him was unwarranted and that they should offer an apology. He added: They gave me a piece of paper with their names and a phone number for Manchester Council, asked for my name and address and said they would send a receipt, but I still haven’t received a thing.

‘These guys hounded me. I was really angry about it and close to tears. They even took my sign away from me.’

‘I travelled down there at my own expense on an overnight bus to try and help, but their attitude seemed to be that I was dressed as a clown so they would treat me like a clown. I think I should get an apology.”

Manchester City Council said that they had required fundraisers collecting money for victims of the Ariana Grande concert attack to carry officially issued permits after a number of fraudulent fundraising drives were reported to them in the days after the atrocity, in which local man Salman Abedi detonated an improvised shrapnel bomb at the Manchester Arena, killing himself and 22 concertgoers, many of whom were parents and children.

A spokesperson for the council told SWNS: “Difficult though it is to countenance, some unscrupulous individuals do exploit the name of charitable funds for their own personal gain.

‘To protect the public from these bogus collectors, people wishing to collect cash donations at public events need to apply for and carry an official permit.’

‘Members of our team spoke with Mr Armstrong to explain that because he did not have a permit, the money he had collected from the public would be taken and deposited with the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund on his behalf.’

‘There is no suggestion that Mr Armstrong’s motives were anything other than good, and we hope that he will understand that the permit process exists with the important aim of protecting the public from rogue collectors.’

‘The money he raised will help to support those who have been injured or bereaved by the attack.”

SOURCE:

“Charity Clown Treated Like a “Criminal” By Council Workers” – SWNS digital/72Point (9 June 2017) http://www.swnsdigital.com/2017/06/charity-clown-treated-like-a-criminal-by-council-workers/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Hobo the Clown” – Shawn Tron (12 November 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/shawntron/6346752662/

UK HOLIDAYS: Natural sights most popular for holidaymakers in 2017

London – VIJAY SHAH and SWNS digital

 

A recent poll on holidays and days out choices among British tourists has found that trips to the country’s peaks are the most popular. The scenic Lake District area of north England topped the choices at number one attraction people most want to visit, overtaking the Peak District in the county of Derbyshire and Wales’ highest mountain, Snowdon.

While mountains were the most popular options for communing with nature, the poll participants also voted for seaside locations like piers and beaches, as well as museums. The results were drawn from a list of fifty leading U.K. attractions devised by transport firm National Express. A thousand people were surveyed for the poll.

National Express’ managing director, Chris Hardy, said: “They say the best things in life are free and we hope our list inspires people to get out and explore somewhere new – without breaking the bank.

“It’s great to see that Brits appreciate the natural sights that the UK has to offer, and the sheer volume of beauty spots on this list goes to show that you’re never far from something stunning to see on a day out.”

Despite being the epicentre of British tourism for both national and international visitors, London made a poor showing in the results, with only one of the capital’s prime attractions, the Natural History Museum, making the top ten locations for days out. The museum only made it to ninth place. Twenty-three other museums across the country also featured, including smaller, region-specific museums such as the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington Spa, central England. A few cathedrals also made the list.

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT:

“Natural Views and Scenery Dominate in List of UK’s Favourite Days Out” – SWNS digital/72Point (23 April 2017) http://www.swnsdigital.com/2017/04/natural-views-and-scenery-dominate-in-list-of-uks-favourite-days-out/

LOOKING GOOD?: UK pre-teens increasingly concerned with appearance

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via SWNS digital

 

Increasing numbers of the United Kingdom’s pre-teens, children under thirteen years of age, are becoming concerned over their physical appearances, with the average child now worrying about how they look for ninety minutes a day, according to a study.

An astonishing 90 per cent of the study participants – sourced from different age groups – said they frequently worried about they look, as influences from media, society, picture-perfect celebrities, and the direct and indirect influences of more ‘popular’ classmates impinge on children’s body confidence at startling younger ages.

 

 

One in five surveyed teenagers claimed that they pretended to be ill in order to miss school or work due to low levels of self-confidence stemming from their appearance. The body shame even lasts into adulthood, as 86 per cent of the study’s older participants said they spend an average of one hour and thirteen minutes per day obsessing with what they see in their mirrors. The study found that most teenagers were worried about acne and ‘bad skin’, whereas adults were more concerned with weight. Both age groups were worried equally about bad hair, overall body shape and physique, along with the appearance of their stomachs. Lifestyle magazines for both men and women often devote large numbers of pages to achieving the perfect toned or flab-free stomach and chest.

Skin conditions tend to be the gripe of many people, the study found. Sixty-nine per cent of adults have been afflicted by common skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and conditions causing spots and similar. Ninety-one per cent of them had experienced breakouts of acne even in their post-teenage years.

More disturbingly, it was found that social media is increasingly harming people’s body positivity, with 71 per cent of teenagers and 53 per cent of adults feeling uncomfortable around the sharing of selfies and group photos of themselves on social media sites. Thirty-two per cent of teenagers have used filters and apps to perform virtual plastic surgery on their photos before releasing them to social media, and another 37 per cent have tried to excuse themselves from being photographed.

Outside of social media and the web, the study said that 30 per cent of adults have skipped social events due to fears about how they looked, with 17 per cent resorting to excessive amounts of make-up, 31 per cent covering up their figures with baggy clothing. Four per cent even cancelled dates over their lack of confidence in their looks

The research study was commissioned by the skincare brand Proactiv+, which surveyed 1,000 adults and 1,000 children via online survey service OnePoll. A  company spokesperson told SWNS digital: Almost everyone has concerns about their appearance at one time or another, but it’s staggering to see how young these concerns start.

“And it appears that this is a problem which doesn’t go away with age – the worries we have just change slightly instead.

“Teenagers have a lot to adjust to with puberty, a testing time at school as they approach exams and dealing with peer pressure, so the spot breakouts and acne can really affect their confidence.

“But for many these worries will also continue into adulthood leaving people really struggling with their self-esteem – especially as spots and acne are something most people only associate with the teenage years.”

 

SOURCE/IMAGE CREDIT:
“Pre-Teens Worry about their Appearance for More than 90 Minutes a Day” – SWNS digital/72Point (9 April 2017) http://www.swnsdigital.com/2017/04/pre-teens-worry-about-their-appearance-for-more-than-90-minutes-a-day/