WINGLIGHTS360 ON KICKSTARTER: Funding a new revolution in cycling safety

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you are a cyclist, or just happen to know someone who lives and breathes hi-viz, Lycra, and the wind through their hair while getting about on pedals and two wheels, you will know that cycling is a fun, adventurous and healthy sport. But like any sport, cycling comes with risks, and especially for urban cyclists, the roads of our cities are hazardous places where dangers can be unexpected.

 

On any road network, junctions pose the most danger for cyclists. According to the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 75% of the 19,000 bicycle accidents a year in the country happen at junctions, where cyclists are forced to contend with often heavy traffic flows, large vehicles and blind spots. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers not spotting cyclists or being unaware of a cyclist making a turn at a crossroads. Today, a quarter of accidents involving cars and cycles are caused by drivers’ failure to judge cyclists’ paths, especially at night, where hand signals by cyclists may not be noticed by drivers. It is this type of statistic that has also discouraged many from taking up daily cycling. Whilst the number of commuters has increased by 144% over the last decade, 68% of non-cyclists still believe it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, making cycle safety a key issue now more than ever.

Unlike cars, bikes have no way of indicating changes in direction, but a freshly minted technology startup dedicated to producing innovative cycling safety equipment has a solution to help reduce the large numbers of cycling injuries and deaths on Britain’s roads.

CYCL, a London-based cycling technology startup managed by co-founder and chief technology officer, Agostino Stilli, launched a revolutionary new product, WingLights, in 2015, with help from public donations raised via Kickstarter crowdfunding. This simple, yet ingenious, technology involves LED devices attached to the cyclist’s bicycle handlebars, which behave like the turn signals on motor vehicles. Designed to be lightweight, waterproof, shockproof and robust for outdoors use, the product was featured on the BBC programme ‘Dragons’ Den’ in 2017, where it was backed by dragon Nick Jenkins. The gadget was publicised on WIRED, Business Insider and Forbes, and was adopted as the ‘Future of Transport’ by the UK Government.

WingLights began to light the way for cycling safety innovation and in the three years since they were launched, CYCL has fitted 50,000 devices to bikes, including the entire delivery fleet at the British arm of  the takeaway restaurant chain Domino’s Pizza.

Three years after its launch, CYCL has returned to Kickstarter to raise money for the latest iteration of WingLights, inspired by the feedback left by the gadget’s users and the original project’s supporters from Kickstarter. One story in particular stuck out. A cyclist going for a coastal ride in Dorset lost both her front and back lights and retained visibility on her route only by tapping WingLights repeatedly for hours before getting home safely (the original WingLights switch off automatically after 45 seconds). There was a clear need for a steady light mode to provide constant visibility.

 

CYCL’s design team went back to the drawing board, developing an enhanced version of the WingLights with permanent white/red side light functions. They also added an improved utility function where all the cyclist needs to do is snap the gadget on the ends of the bike’s handlebars and switch on: one tap for flashing indicators, and a continuous hold for steady side lights.
The new version, WingLights360, also comes packed with a helpful selection of new key features to help keep cyclists safe. Constructed from CNC aluminium for strength and lack of bulk, the devices are attached to the handlebars using magnets, and when not in use, can be tucked away on the person as a handy keyring. Perfect for the commute, they are now USB rechargeable, with a 3 hours battery operation interval and can be charged in under 30 minutes. The product has already become hot property before its impending launch with Forbes magazine naming WingLights360 their Forbes’ Top Cycling Gadget for 2018.

CYCL is one of a breed of startups catering to previously unexplored and poorly catered-for technological markets and is highly passionate about improving cyclists’ safety on the roads. The firm’s co-founder, Luca, said: “We have created a product based on the concept that motor vehicles have white and red side lights. We wanted to recreate this for the bicycle market, to ensure cyclists’ positioning and intentions are clear to other road users”.

CYCL officially launched the WingLights360 fundraiser to the general public this past Tuesday (11 September 2018). You can donate to the fund at this Kickstarter page. Send enquiries to info@cycl.bike .

cycl.bike

 

SOURCES:

Agostino Stilli/CYCL.

“Compatibility” – CYCL/Indive ltd https://cycl.bike/compatibility/

IMAGE CREDITS:

CYCL

 

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HANDGUNS SOLD IN WEST HAM: Persistent gun merchant criminal jailed

London – VIJAY SHAH via LORRAINE KING and Newham Recorder

A West Ham, east London man who was put on licence by judicial authorities after being charged with selling illegal weapons has been sent to jail after he was caught violating his licence terms… by selling weapons.

Lennie St Clare Walters had previously being jailed for ten years for supplying weapons and ammunition, but served half of the sentence before being released on licence, but will now lose his freedom and be recalled to prison after he was caught selling to an associate, local news outlet the Newham Recorder reported this week.

 

The 47-year-old gun dealer is said to have sold two handguns and a total of 73 rounds of ammunition to two separate customers in 2017, it was reported. One customer lived near St Clare Walters, whilst the other customer arranged a stopover to collect the weapon in Leyton, using a taxi cab to help meet up for the purchase.

At his recall trial at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court, his previous conviction in 2010, where he was jailed for a decade for supplying a MAC-10 machine gun. He was released on parole, but was re-arrested in February 2018, where police found him carrying bullets wrapped in plastic bag material.

St Clare Walters admitted to the court that he had supplied the weapons, but that he had not intended to endanger life. The court, convened this past Friday, however found against him and the gun dealer was returned to prison for seven years, according to the Recorder. St Clare Walters’ two customers were also arrested, pleaded guilty to gun offences and were jailed.

Detective Constable Gareth Starr, from the Trident and Area Crime Command section of London’s Metropolitan Police force, told the paper: “Due to an intelligence-led investigation and working alongside our colleagues from the firearms unit, not just one, but three men, who were in possession of firearms, have now been taken off the streets.”.

Many parts of inner London has long experienced problems with illegal and criminally modified weapons used in criminal activities. This year, the city has suffered a wave of shootings and stabbings, mostly involving people under 30, with 89 murder investigations opened by the police so far.

SOURCES:

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

“Jailed: Convicted Mac-10 gun dealer who supplied firearm and ammunition to associate in West Ham” – Lorraine King, Newham Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (9 September 2018) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/gun-dealer-jailed-for-trade-in-west-ham-1-5687267

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:MAC10.jpg” – Mike Cumpston, English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons (13 April 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MAC10.jpg

SOUTH LONDON MAYHEM: Four children stabbed

London – VIJAY SHAH via RICHARD HARTLEY-PARKINSON and Metro

The crimewave affecting London now has taken an even nastier turn, as newspaper Metro reported yesterday that four children in the south of the city were attacked during a scuffle, with one harmed so badly that witnesses said they were ‘disembowelled’.

A fight was alleged to have broken out between two groups of teenagers, aged 15 to 16 years, at the Landor House, a block of flats on the Elmington estate in Camberwell. Four children were taken to hospital, with one boy suffering serious injuries and is now fighting for his life. The incident occurred on Thursday at around 5:25 pm.

 

Six of the attackers were arrested by police. Pictures and videos from the scene show police officers huddled around the injured, desperately administering first aid, as they awaited the arrival of an ambulance crew, Metro reported.

One teenager was heard to shout ‘help!’ as he was ambushed. Witnesses to the disorder reported seeing one youth lying on the ground with his intestines spilling out of his torso. Others described the scene of the fight, saying that it was ‘bloodied clothing, trainers and medical equipment’. Locals believed the teenagers were from outside the estate. One witness told Metro: “Ten minutes before the stabbing I saw a whole heap of youths run down… (towards the crime scene)”. Metropolitan police sources gave an update on the conditions of the victims, stating: “One remains critical, one is in a serious but stable condition and the remaining two did not suffer serious injuries.”

‘Then 10 minutes later I heard people shouting and bawling out the back there. When I looked round the back there, I saw the youth come running from the block.’

‘He came to the corner and dropped. He was holding his belly and all of his intestines were falling on the ground.”

Local police superintendent Annmarie Cowley told Metro: “This incident is in its very early stages and at present we cannot speculate on what the nature of it may be. What we can say for certain is if there needed to be an example of the utter senselessness of knife crime, then this is it.

‘Four males are in hospital, and at this stage we cannot say how serious their injuries are. It is beyond comprehension.”

Police have increased their presence around the Elmington estate and surrounding areas. Legislation has been invoked to grant officers powers to deter further trouble overnight, in the likelihood of revenge attacks from associates of the victims.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell/Facebook

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

“Four children stabbed in south London with one boy being ‘disembowelled’ ” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (17 August 2018) https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/17/four-children-stabbed-south-london-one-boy-disembowelled-7850208/?ito=social

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Sears Street, Camberwell” – Nick, Flickr (15 February 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/34517490@N00/3281064251

 

SOCIAL HOUSING: British government launches report on tenant experiences, housing reforms

London – VIJAY SHAH

The UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has unveiled a report detailing the experiences of people living in social housing and the inequalities and stigma they face as social tenants, HEM News Agency exclusively reports.

Ministers with the MHCLG, formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government, launched through their social media outlets a document, the ‘Social Housing Green Paper‘, as part of an ambition to tackle the widespread stigma against families and individuals residing in council-owned and housing association-owned properties and estates. The paper also highlights the government’s intention to give support to ‘thriving communities’ based around social housing in the United Kingdom.

 

The green paper forms part of the governmental open consultation on a ‘new deal for social housing’, which may signal a change of direction for the country’s ruling Conservatives, who have been castigated by liberal sections of British society for enacting policies that have targeted the welfare state , an attack on the poor and deprived, according to critics of government policy.

In it, the MHCLG has proposed ‘fundamental reforms’ in the social housing sector in order to benefit users, give greater rights and voices to renters and to re-balance the relationship between tenants and landlords, as the national housing crisis forces more and more to rent from private landlords and associations.

The paper also proposes changes to the controversial ‘Right to Buy’ policy. Instituted by the late prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, in the 1980s, this policy allowed council tenants to buy their rented homes direct from the council, but has been criticised for causing a explosion in sometimes exploitative buy-to-lets and reductions in the numbers of available social housing. One change put forward is to give local government bodies greater powers to replace homes purchased by former tenants.

The paper was released today on the UK government’s official online portal, along with a promotional video which summed up the main points of the consultation document.

SOURCES:

HEM Businesses, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-businesses

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/mhclg

“Open consultation A new deal for social housing” – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government/GOV.UK (14 August 2018) https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-new-deal-for-social-housing

TODDLER ACID ATTACK: Worcester 3-year-old deliberately assaulted with chemical

Worcester – VIJAY SHAH via HARLEY TAMPLIN and Metro

A three-year-old child was the deliberately-targeted victim of a shocking acid attack in the English town of Worcester, leaving the boy with severe injuries, according to local police in a report published by online paper Metro today.

West Mercia police, say that the child was attacked intentionally, but as this was a breaking news story, there have so far been no details published as to the motive or circumstances of the attack. The horrific incident took place yesterday late afternoon while the child was with guardians at a Home Bargains store at the Shrub Hill Retail Park in Tallow Hill, a district of the normally peaceful town. The child was ferried to a local hospital with serious burns to his arms and face.

 

Police sources have released CCTV camera footage of three men in casual summer clothing they urgently need to speak to. The images can be found on the Metro article linked below this one.

Officers have arrested one suspect, a 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and is now in police custody.

Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said: “At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack on a three-year-old boy.”

‘The incident will rightly shock the local community and I would like to reassure local people that we are carrying out a thorough investigation to identify those responsible. ‘At this time, the motive for the attack is unclear.

‘Officers are working hard to establish exactly what happened and what the substance involved was.

‘The three men in the photo may have information vital to our investigation. I am sure someone will recognise them and I would urge anyone with information to contact us as a matter of urgency.”

SOURCES:

HEM Newsbreakers, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-newsbreakers

Metro, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/MetroUK

“Boy, 3, left with serious injuries after ‘deliberate’ acid attack” – Harley Tamplin, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (22 July 2018) https://metro.co.uk/2018/07/22/boy-3-seriously-injured-deliberate-acid-attack-7745481/?ito=twitter

IMAGE CREDIT:

“SO8555 : Shrub Hill Retail Park, Worcester” – Jaggery, geograph (29 July 2017) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5491172 © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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

 

NEWHAM PUBS: Over half of borough’s watering holes have closed

London – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Newham Recorder

In a trend replicated across much of the United Kingdom, large numbers of public houses, licenced establishments selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. have closed down in the east London borough of Newham, according to figures published in an article from local newspaper, the Newham Recorder. Figures made available by the Inter-Departmental Business Register, a central government database of businesses, state that between the years 2001 to 2017, fifty-two per cent of the borough’s pubs have closed down, leading to a decline in community activities and the appearance of homogenised high streets.

 

Seventeen years ago, Newham had 105 pubs operating within its territory. As of last year, this number has shrunk down to only fifty, the second highest decline in London, and a development which has troubled the London mayor, Sadiq Khan. Mayor Khan urged central and local governments, including borough councils, and the pub industry to get together to stop the ongoing decline in pubs, many of which have been forced out of business by rising rents and business taxes, alongside a change in consumer drinking habits and the increasing cost of drinking and eating out at pubs. A nationwide smoking ban introduced in 2007 has also been blamed by many in the industry

The Mayor told the Recorder: “The traditional London pub has been at the heart of London’s communities for hundreds of years, but sadly they continue to face a long-term decline in numbers,’

‘As mayor, I have made safeguarding and growing London’s night-time economy a priority and am doing all I can to protect the capital’s iconic pubs.’

‘By creating the most pro-pub planning strategy the capital has ever seen I’ve shown what can be done, and I want to see the government and local authorities match my ambition and help protect these key community hubs for generations to come.”

Many closed-down public houses are converted to other business uses, or increasingly thanks to the city’s housing crisis and rising land prices, demolished to make way for flats or office complexes.

Geoff Strawbridge, the Greater London regional director for the drinking association the Campaign for Real Ale, added: “Camra branches would like to see all London boroughs adopting robust pub protection policies in their strategic plans and enforcing them in their planning decisions.

‘The mayor’s draft London Plan highlights the importance of London’s pubs as part of our heritage and culture and we commend the efforts of his team in reinforcing his message.”

Across all of London during the year 2017, pub numbers declined by around 2.4 per cent, according to the data sets published by the Inter-Departmental Business Register.

SOURCES:

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

“Half of pubs in Newham have closed down” – Ellena Cruse, Newham Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (13 July 2018) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/half-of-pubs-in-newham-have-closed-down-1-5606766

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Doolin-Gus-OConnors-Pub-2012.JPG” – Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, Wikimedia Commons (28 March 2012) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Doolin-Gus-OConnors-Pub-2012.JPG

THE CRIMEWAVE CONTINUES: London man shot in face, other person stabbed

London – VIJAY SHAH via GEORGIA DIEBELIUS and Metro

The crimewave of stabbings and shootings which has dominated headlines in the London area and across the United Kingdom’s media in recent months shows no sign of abating as two men were attacked in the city only last evening, the newspaper Metro reported.

In Peckham, south-east London, police and an air ambulance were called to a man who was reportedly shot in the face. Witnesses at the crime scene told Metro that a blue Ford vehicle had been cordoned off by police as part of their searches. The driver-side window was said to be shattered. Accounts of the shooting and its aftermath were shared on social media network Twitter. One commenter tweeted: “Shooting in Peckham. Apparently someone got shot in the face with a shotgun”. Another observer added: “Apparently someone has been shot in the face. I feel ill. The road is locked.”. Locals gathered around to try and help the stricken victim, who has not yet been identified.

 

Just an hour earlier in nearby Greenwich, a man was stabbed by assailants unknown. Police also attended this incident. As with the Peckham shooting, no details of the victim have yet been furnished publicly. A Metropolitan Police Service spokesperson told Metro “Police in Southwark were called to Wodehouse Avenue, SE5 at 7.56pm on Saturday, 2 June following reports of a shooting.

‘Armed police attended and found a man suffering from gun shot injuries. ‘He has been taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service. We await an update on his condition.

‘A second man was also found with injuries at the scene and has been taken to hospital for assessment. His condition is believed to be stable. ‘No arrests have been made. A crime scene remains in place. Enquiries continue.”

SOURCES:

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

“Man ‘shot in face’ and another ‘stabbed’ in latest attacks in London” – Georgia Diebelius, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (2 June 2018) https://metro.co.uk/2018/06/02/man-shot-face-another-stabbed-latest-attacks-london-7600536/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Jerusalem Stabbing Attack at November 23 2015.jpg” – Israel Police and Doodoo Bo, Wikimedia Commons (23 November 2015) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jerusalem_Stabbing_Attack_at_November_23_2015.jpg

DARKSOULES: New book club launched for fantasy fans

London – VIJAY SHAH

Fans of indie author fantasy books are in for a treat as a new book club dedicated to the works of small-time author Leslie D. Soule has been launched online.

The book group, named DarkSoules, has been unveiled on the social media network Facebook, and aims to bring together fans and new authors of fantasy literature, as well as being a forum for discussing the books of Soule, who has written fiction stories such as the Fallen Wood series, Hybrid Space, Birds of a Feather, and The Feast of Rule.

 

Soule, who lives in Sacramento, California, United States, has had a long love affair with the English language, having studied the subject as a postgraduate student at the National University.  She likes to experiment with different genres and has also a varied career in her young life, working as an artist and citizen journalist. She has been an established writer for a decade, and her collections of novels and short stories have been published in both e-book and print format.

DarkSoules will enable fans of Soule’s work to interact with her, receive the latest news exclusively about her new projects, chat with her directly and take a peek at her art works too. The group on Facebook is being promoted in the UK by fellow author and book promoter The Sassy Brit.

Interested fantasy fans keen to know more about Leslie Soule and her new online book group can find all the links below the article.

SOURCES:

HEM Bloggers List, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-bloggers-list

@Sassy_Brit 🇬🇧 Publicist & PA/VA #AltRead, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/sassy_brit

“About this group” – DarkSoules, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/541471792896263/about/

“Leslie D. Soule” – Melange Books/Melange Books, LLC http://www.melange-books.com/authors/lesliedsoule/index.html

Leslie Soule, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Falcondraco

“About Me” – Leslie Soule, LESLIE D. SOULE (16 February 2012) http://authors.coffeetimeromance.com/lesliesoule/about-me/

 

POST-BREXIT UBS: Banking giant to move London jobs to Europe amidst uncertainty

London – VIJAY SHAH via KALYEENA MAKORTOFF and Independent

The uncertainty about the political and economic ramifications of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union next year have set European businesses with operations in the UK on edge in the past year. Now Swiss banking giant UBS is the latest bank to doubt its ongoing presence in Britain after the withdrawal, with UK newspaper The Independent reporting recently that the bank is planning to move jobs from London to Germany.

As talks between Britain’s prime minister Theresa May and the European Commission see trade deals and negotiations complicated and rejected left and right, UBS has said it expects to merge its British arm with its Germany-based European facility before the Brexit deadline of 29th March, 2019.

 

Many of the senior staff in London will be transferred to positions in Europe, mainly in Frankfurt, with the ‘lack of a Brexit transition deal’ being the main reason, causing considerable headache for UBS senior executives worried about possible fallout to the UK’s finance industry, of which UBS is a major player.

The move will mostly affect staff who serve Europe-based clients as well as those working in the bank’s central risk management and support services, which will be centralised in Frankfurt.

​UBS said its plans would be put in motion “in the absence of adequate transition relief being agreed and passed into law by the United Kingdom and the European Union”.

“The nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU remains unclear,” UBS said.

“Any future limitations on providing financial services into the EU from our UK operations could require us to make potentially significant changes to our operations in the UK and the EU, and to our legal structure.”

It added: “We further anticipate that some staff would be relocated as a result.”

Many in the UK financial industry had been hoping for the maintenance of ‘passporting rights’ which allow UK and mainland European institutions to operate seamlessly in each other’s territory with few restrictions, but the dithering in the Brexit negotiations casts doubts in any future interconnectivity between the two.

UBS had not formally stated how many jobs will move from Britain, but the Independent has stated that the number will be in the region of 200. The bank does plan to keep its UK wealth management, asset management and non-EEA investment bank business in the country, where it employs around 5,000 people, mainly in London.

“The timing and extent of the actions we take may vary considerably depending on regulatory requirements and the nature of any transition or successor agreements with the EU,” UBS said.

UBS follows in the wake of several other international finance leaders who are re-orienting themselves towards the Continent in the aftermath of Brexit. German firm Deutsche Bank plans to also move staff, possibly in the hundreds, out of London, while HSBC will relocate 1,000 jobs to France. Another thousand jobs will go with JP Morgan, which plans to beef up its European operations, while American heavyweights Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley may also move staff across various EU locations, according to the newspaper.

SOURCES:

Sonel BC.

BritCits, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/britcits1/

“Brexit: UBS to move London jobs to Europe as lack of transition deal forces ‘significant changes’ ” – Kalyeena Makortoff, Independent (10 March 2018) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-ubs-london-staff-move-europe-transition-deal-investment-bank-a8247516.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“London’s financial district” – Michael Duxbury, Flickr (18 September 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelduxbury/6159853445