SNACKS WITH ADDED HOP: UK supermarket to start selling insect nibbles

London – VIJAY SHAH via Sky News

If you are tired of the same old potato crisps, peanuts and trail mix for your snacking needs, and want to try something radically different, a supermarket in the UK has begun selling an ‘edible insects’ range, where you can now chow on crickets or graze on a grasshopper.

Sainsbury’s, a mid-market retail chain headquartered in London, will be selling various crunchy dried insects as snacks across 250 of its UK stores, retailing in small packs for £1.50 eachSky News reported yesterday. The range, titled ‘Eat Grub’ – a play on the traditional Cockney dialect term for food, ‘grub’ – is made by an external supplier of roast insects of the same name who have approached the supermarket chain to promote their products.

 

A highlight of the Eat Grub range includes BBQ-smoked crickets which taste-testers have described as being “crunchy in texture with a rich smoky flavour”. Sainsbury’s is not the first to sell the range of creepy-crawly nibbles though. Online upmarket supermarket Ocado, a division of Britain’s Waitrose and Partners retail firm, has been stocking Eat Grub for five months previously, to mixed perceptions among its shoppers. 

One online reviewer wrote on Ocado’s site in reference to the BBQ crickets: “My hubby [husband]… said they didn’t taste at all of BBQ… [all] he could taste was fish sauce? Way too expensive as well.”

Another reviewer however was more upbeat about the snacks. They wrote: “Tried the final flavour in this selection from Eat Grub and LOVED this – much tastier than a bag of crisps without the calories. Couldnt (sic) stop eating them!”

Sainsbury’s advised consumers brave enough to try the edible insects and grubs to eat them straight out of the packet as a quick snack or use them in cooking as a garnish for tacos, noodles and salads.

Insects and arachnids are common as a cheap and protein-rich food source for non-vegetarians/vegans in many parts of the world. In Malawi, people armed with giant nets catch and eat mosquitoes, crickets are roasted as a snack in Thailand, fried scorpions are big business in China, and Cambodians will go to great lengths to lure a species of endemic burrowing tarantula out of their holes to fry them and even sell them to passing tourists.

In the UK and much of the Western world, the idea of eating insects and other arthropods is often met with revulsion, even though crustaceans and molluscs are widely consumed there. However with intensive farming practices of larger livestock such as cows and sheep being increasingly harmful for the environment and animal welfare, experts have encouraged consumers and retailers to look at more sustainable sources of nutrition, with insects being high on that list of new food outlets.

According to the Eat Grub company, founded in 2014 by Shami Radia and Neil Whippey to introduce more people in the West to insect foods, dried crickets contain more protein per gram than beef, chicken or pork – with 68g of protein per 100g, compared to 31g of protein in beef.

Radia said: “Currently, insects are eaten and enjoyed by two billion people worldwide.

“We’re on a mission to show the West that as well as having very strong sustainability and environmental credentials, they are also seriously tasty and shouldn’t be overlooked as a great snack or recipe ingredient.”

According to a survey conducted by Sainsbury’s and Eat Grub, ten per cent of the British public have eaten insect snacks and around half have rated them as delicious.

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Sainsbury’s launches £1.50 edible insect range in UK supermarket first” – Sky News/Sky UK (17 November 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/sainsburys-launches-150-edible-insect-range-in-uk-supermarket-first-11556476?fbclid=IwAR19mzj7-VT83_Eqpp15OeWEbLRMJn9hR3aI7K7bF5HTKClNkQBU33puE5U

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Fried Crickets – Chiang Mai Night Bazaar” – Alpha, Flickr (12 March 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/3429005598

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BA FLIGHT: Indian family allegedly discriminated against, made to leave plane due to crying child

New Delhi – VIJAY SHAH via ALIX CULBERTSON and Sky News

The UK national air carrier British Airways (BA) has been accused of racism after a family hailing from India was evicted from a flight after a child in their group would not stop crying, reported Sky News.

The child’s father claims he was subjected to ‘humiliation and racist behaviour’ and Indians are demanding a boycott of the airline, according to the report.

 

The father, AP Pathak, a civil servant, was travelling with his family from London City Airport to Berlin on the 23rd July, 2018, was placing his three-year-old son in a special child seat when the infant began to cry. Pathak’s wife began consoling the child. It was at that point that Pathak alleged a cabin crew member approached them and threatened to throw the child out of one of the plane’s windows while directly scolding the little boy.

The crew member then returned a second time where he also said the family would be ‘offloaded’ if the child refused to stop crying. The response of the unnamed crew member was said to have left the Pathaks ‘petrified’, Sky News reported.

The plane was then returned to the terminal, where security officers boarded it. The Pathaks were approached and were forced to give up their boarding passes. Another family, also Indian, were also relieved of their passes. Both families were then marched off the aircraft.

In a complaint letter about the flight written to India’s aviation minister, Suresh Prabhu, the father also claimed that the same crew member also made racial comments about ‘bloody’ Indians.

Representatives of BA have claimed the Pathaks were repeatedly asked to sit their son down and fasten his seatbelt for safety reasons, otherwise the plane would not have been able to take off.

The controversy has made headlines in the media in India, where many have urged Indians to stay away from BA. Some critics on social media described the treatment of the two families as ‘shameful’. A small number though said that BA was right in their decision to remove the Pathaks, with one saying “I don’t feel bad about this at all, we Indians don’t respect or value our Indian resources, be it trains or airplanes, this is good learning for us”. Another, identified as Khushi tweeted: “Indian parents start howling too when kids start howling – three-year-olds outside India are taught how to behave socially.”

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Indian family thrown off British Airways flight over ‘crying child’ ” – Alix Culbertson, Sky News/Sky UK (9 August 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/indian-family-thrown-off-british-airways-flight-over-crying-child-11466706

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Condor Airplane on Grey Concrete Airport · Free Stock Photo” – Pixabay via Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/condor-airplane-on-grey-concrete-airport-163792/

DAGENHAM FILICIDE CASE: Man charged for murdering infant daughter

London – VIJAY SHAH via Sky News

 

A father from Dagenham, Essex has been charged at court for the crime of killing his two-year-old daughter, according to a report published yesterday by Sky News.

Rejwanul Islam, aged 25, is accused of causing his daughter, Mariyah Islam, serious head injuries in March 2016. She passed away at an undisclosed location in Euston, central London, and a post-mortem at St. Thomas’ Hospital in south London revealed the child has suffered a ‘traumatic head injury’.

After police investigations, the father was formally charged with Mariyah’s murder at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in London yesterday. Court proceedings will continue at a later date.

SOURCES:

Shere Singh/Facebook.

“Man charged with murder of two-year-old daughter” – Sky News/Sky UK (15 July 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/man-charged-with-murder-of-two-year-old-daughter-11436496

IMAGE CREDIT:

” “Crime Scene Do Not Cross” tape” – Tex Texin, Flickr (9 June 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/textexin/3612094774

 

GHOUTA CHEMICAL STRIKE: Dozens of innocent Syrians feared dead

Douma – VIJAY SHAH via TOM ACRES and Sky News

In an escalation of the Syrian crisis where government troops allied with the country’s president, Bashar Al-Assad, are fighting rebels in the Ghouta area east of Damascus, a report has come in stating that around 70 people have been killed in a chemical bomb attack blamed on the Syrian army.

In what UK media firm Sky News has dubbed ‘one of (the) worst chemical strikes in Syrian history’, dozens of people, many believed to be women and children, were said to have died in Ghouta, a rebel-controlled district on the outskirts of capital Damascus, where a months-long siege between rebel and government forces has caused immense hardship for thousands of residents. Around five hundred people have been reported injured, according to Sky.

 

The United States has called on Russia, which is supporting President Al-Assad, to cease its support after the Ghouta chemical atrocity. The U.S. State Department said it was keeping tabs on the ‘grossly disturbing’ situation, which occurred in a city named Douma, around 10 km (6 miles) north-east of Damascus city centre. Babies and small children were among those caught up in the attack, according to video footage provided by Sky News. Children were seen in great distress, some clutching gas masks. A volunteer rescue service, called White Helmets in English, an opponent of the government, said it found dead children with frothing saliva around their mouths

The Syrian government has denied carrying out a chemical attack in Douma, but has been accused of using chemical weapons on civilian populations in previous skirmishes with the numerous rebel groups active in the Middle Eastern country. In April 2017, more than 80 people were killed in another suspected chemical attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which was also said to have been carried out by the Syrian government army. According to US intelligence, Al-Assad’s army is said to have stockpiles of the highly lethal gas agent, sarin, and possibly mustard gas.

“The United States continues to use all efforts available to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable,” the State Department said in a statement, which referenced the alleged sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun last year.

“The Assad regime and its backers must be held accountable and any further attacks prevented immediately.

“Russia, with its unwavering support for the regime, ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks, targeting of countless civilians, and the suffocation of Syria’s most vulnerable communities with chemical weapons.”

Britain called for an “urgent investigation” into the alleged use of illegal weapons and an immediate end to the bloodshed.

“These are very concerning reports of a chemical weapons attack with significant number of casualties, which if correct, are further proof of Assad’s brutality against innocent civilians and his backers’ callous disregard for international norms,” the country’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

“An urgent investigation is needed and the international community must respond. We call on the Assad regime and its backers, Russia and Iran, to stop the violence against innocent civilians.”

In addition to the denial of responsibility by the official Syrian government, state-owned media outlets there have claimed that reports of the chemical attacks were propaganda, fabricated by rebels who they claim are close to defeat. Most of the Ghouta area is now back under government control, with only Douma city itself still under the control of the rebel group called  Jaish al Islam.

SOURCES:

Shere Singh via Facebook.

“Dozens dead in ‘one of worst chemical strikes in Syrian history’ ” – Tom Acres, Sky News/Sky UK (8 April 2018) https://news.sky.com/story/at-least-70-dead-in-chemical-attack-by-syrian-regime-in-eastern-ghouta-says-rescue-group-11322143

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Syria – Damascus Areas of Influence and Areas Reportedly Affected by 21 August Chemical Attack.jpg” – whitehouse.gov and Elissa Rubria Honoria, Wikimedia Commons (3 September 2013) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Syria_-_Damascus_Areas_of_Influence_and_Areas_Reportedly_Affected_by_21_August_Chemical_Attack.jpg

STRATFORD CENTRE: Six people hurt in fight and acid attack near shopping mall

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALIA ROPUN, ALAN MCGUINNESS, IAN FRANCIS and Sky News

Six men were reported injured after a ‘noxious substance’ was thrown in a street fight near the Stratford Centre shopping arcade in Stratford, east London yesterday at around 8 pm, Sky News said today.

The incident occurred near to a Subway restaurant on the Broadway, close to Stratford’s bus station and the Westfield Stratford City retail complex. Three of the individuals needed hospital treatment after having a chemical thrown on them during the mêlée between two separate groups of males, Sky News reported. A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

 

Shoppers saw one man in agony as friends called for help by shouting “it is an acid attack, his skin is burning”. People rushed to the scene with water to ease the man’s chemical burns, according to the broadcaster.

One eyewitness, an assistant manager of a local Burger King restaurant who only gave his name as Hossen, told Sky News that he saw a victim and another male believed to be the victim’s friend, run into his restaurant and then to its washroom, desperate to wash off the corrosive chemical. Hossen said “There were cuts around his eyes and he was trying to chuck water into them”

The area where the fight took place was quickly cordoned off and treatment offered to the victims. Police, paramedics and fire crews all attended within 10 minutes. Paul Gibson, an assistant director of operations with the London Ambulance Service, said: “We treated six patients in total  and took three to London hospitals”.

Stratford administratively falls under the London Borough of Newham, and the borough’s police chief superintendent, Ade Adelekan, said: “I would like to be very clear concerning this incident.

“What initially may have been perceived as a number of random attacks has, on closer inspection, been found to be one incident involving two groups of males”.

Sky News reports that none of the men suffered serious harm in the street fight.

Attacks on people by assailants with chemicals such as sulphuric acid, bleach and drain cleaner were once associated with honour attacks in places like South Asia, but have become increasingly common in London, due to the ease of buying and carrying around dangerous chemicals, and the punishment for such attacks is less severe than assaults with knives or guns.

In June, 21-year-old student and model Resham Khan was travelling in Newham’s Beckton area with her cousin, Jameel Mukhtar, when an assailant flung acid in their faces while they were waiting at traffic lights. Even as far as back as 2011, a mother had acid splashed at her while walking her two children home from school in Upton Park. Latest figures published by the Evening Standard suggest a quarter of all acid attacks in London this year have occurred within Newham’s boundaries.

SOURCES:

Alia Ropun.

upday for Samsung UK http://www.upday.com/en/

“Six hurt in ‘acid attack’ at Stratford Centre in London” – Alan McGuinness and Ian Francis, Sky News/Sky UK (24 September 2017) http://news.sky.com/story/six-hurt-after-being-sprayed-with-noxious-substance-at-westfield-in-stratford-11050889

“Acid attack on school-run mother in Newham” – BBC News/BBC (4 May 2011) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13282439

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Stratford Centre, Stratford” – N. Chadwick, geograph (20 January 2009) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1128397

 

JOURNALISM APPRENTICESHIP: Editors, NCTJ to develop higher on-the-job journalist training

Britain‘s National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) reports that it is currently working with journalism employers from several newspapers and TV channels to develop a programme of higher apprenticeships for journalists to acquire news-writing skills on the job. Their plans were formally announced in a news release published on the council’s website this past Thursday (23 October 2014). The NCTJ along with selected employers had recently pitched their idea of a higher apprenticeship to the British government. Ministers there have now given the new qualification system the green light of approval in their efforts to tackle rising youth unemployment in the country.

A group of journalism representatives from a variety of national and regional media organisations including Archant, the BBC; BSkyB; i; The IndependentIndependent on SundayJohnston Press; the KM GroupLondon Evening Standard; the Mark Allen Group; Newsquest; MNA Media and the Telegraph Media Group, jointly submitted an application to Whitehall which has been approved as part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition‘s ‘phase three’ trailblazer apprenticeship scheme to help unemployed and undecided youngsters obtain valuable skills that will prepare them for future careers in the media. Traditionally, British journalists were taken on as junior reporters after completing their formal education. They received on-the-job training from senior news workers and editors, but in the past fifteen years an increasing emphasis by the U.K. jobs market on university qualifications universally has seen the journalism apprenticeships of several decades ago become almost obsolete. Newer cohorts of media hopefuls tend to be university graduates who pick up training via often unpaid or expenses only work experience. Media organisations have lately been criticised for not being inclusive enough in their intake of new employees and several major news providers have reinstated internships and apprentice training courses to attract new recruits from less well-represented sections of society.

The trailblazer scheme aims to give employers more say and freedom to develop apprenticeship standards in their industry which will help deliver the practical skills needed by vocational trainees for a particular business sector.

The new journalism apprenticeship was announced the day Skills Minister Nick Boles visited the offices of international media outlet Sky, home of Sky News and Sky Television, to meet with Bella Vuillermoz, director of their training school, the Sky Academy, to discuss training opportunities for young and new journalists moving into the career away from the university pathway favoured by most recruiters in the current media environment. Boles also conversed with Nicola Hart, Sky’s head of future talent; Andy Cairns, its executive editor, and Laurie Tucker, head of training at Sky Sports News; and Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, who is co-ordinating the industry’s apprenticeship trailblazer projects.

In a discussion on the government’s trailblazer scheme and its wider changes to the national apprenticeship and employment programme, the NCTJ chief executive lauded the improvements to the initiative, saying that the old system had now been made more streamlined and simplified and that she was encouraged to see  greater responsibility and autonomy allocated to employers and the NCTJ in attracting more learners to the UK media industry’s training courses. She did however criticise the ongoing reliance on jargon within the programme, which may put off potential apprentices from signing up. Meanwhile, Sky’s head of training apparently joked that at a recent meeting he had struggled with the shorthand outline for ‘synoptic assessment’. Boles also had the opportunity to meet Britain’s first journalism apprentice undergoing training thanks to the trailblazer scheme, James Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick is now interning at Sky Sports News and is one of 18 apprentices on the second NCTJ apprenticeship day release course at Lambeth College in south London. James will experience all aspects of the Sky Sports News operation, starting with the digital media team, with an aim to give him and his fellow apprentices a well-rounded experience of the day-to-day life as a Sky journalist.

The higher apprenticeship by the NCTJ is following in the path of an existing standard for junior apprenticeships in journalism set up by the council in league with employers. This standard, although complete, will not come into force in England until 2015. It will be an update of the current apprenticeship qualification offered by the NCTJ to trainee reporters who wish to forego the usual graduation route. The proposed senior journalist apprenticeship will also now be written to an industry standard to be decided by the NCTJ with consultations from the media industry expected to commence  in the New Year.

Chairman of the journalism apprenticeship group, David Rowell said: “This is an exciting new development in our apprenticeship training scheme and will provide an opportunity for school leavers to progress to more senior roles.

Skills minister Nick Boles said: “I congratulate the journalism employers for the key role they are playing in developing new top-quality apprenticeships. Through the trailblazers initiative companies, in collaboration with their industry partners, will give people the skills they need to thrive and our businesses need to compete.

The full guidance document for the British government’s phase three of the trailblazer scheme for apprentices can be viewed here.

Several media organisations in the United Kingdom already run their own training programmes and apprenticeships for students, including the BBC, Sky and ITV, offering training with actual journalists in fields such as broadcasting, public relations, digital/new media and radio. The BBC’s Academy of Journalism attracts thousands of applications from would-be trainees every year, with only a small number successfully securing places. The NCTJ, which is the official body for journalism training in the U.K., offers its own qualifications and accreditations which are highly respected and sought after by journalism employers. The council currently offers a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Journalism enabling students to combine learning at sixth-form college or further education institutions with on-the-job training. It has been supported by media industry leaders for opening doors to a competitive industry for local young people as well as those who come from ethnic minority backgrounds.

SOURCES:
“Useful Sites” – Vijay Shah, The Half-Eaten Mind https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/useful-sites/
“Government accepts proposal to develop higher-level journalism apprenticeship” – National Council for the Training of Journalists (23 October 2014) http://www.nctj.com/latestnews/Governmentacceptsproposaltodevelophigher-leveljournalismapprenticeship
“Apprenticeships” – National Council for the Training of Journalists http://www.nctj.com/journalism-qualifications/apprenticeships
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.