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I wish mum’s phone was never invented

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Miles Kane on the meaning behind new album Coup de Grace

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Water resistant sunscreen claims ‘meaningless’, says Which?

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Getty Images

Water-resistant sunscreen products work much less well after they have been worn in the sea, a consumer group has warned ahead of the summer holiday season.

Which? tested two products claiming to be water resistant and found the sun protection factor (SPF) dropped by up to 59% after 40 minutes in salt water.

Cancer Research UK welcomed the study, warning no sunscreen is 100% effective.

But a group representing sunscreen makers called the research alarmist.

Current UK tests allow manufacturers to claim a sunscreen is water resistant if the SPF drops by as much as 50% after two 20-minute periods of immersion.

The tests are carried out using tap water.

However, Which? said its more rigorous tests in salt water, chlorinated water and fast moving water – conditions typically found on holidays – exposed “serious flaws” in the testing regime.

It said the SPF of one well-known international sunscreen dived by 59% after 40 minutes of immersion.

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Getty Images

And a popular own-branded product fell by 34%.

“In reality, sun protection is likely to drop even further – factors such as reflection from water, heat, light, sweat, towelling and rubbing all reduce the protection of sunscreens,” Which? said.

Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight is the main preventable cause of skin cancer, according to the charity Cancer Research UK.

However, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) said Which?’s findings were flawed and consumers should have confidence in water-resistant sunscreens.

Its director-general Dr Chris Flower, a chartered biologist, said current testing methods worked well.

“In fact an SPF 30 product will stop approximately 96% of UV rays reaching the skin and after robust water resistance testing the product will still filter out at least 93% of the sun’s UV rays,” he said.

“This is clearly not the dramatic reduction in efficacy that Which? implies.”

Which? called for tougher regulation like those in the US and Australia, where the SPF on a product’s label must be the SPF it provides after immersion.

It added that UK water-resistance tests were “unrealistic to the point of being meaningless”.

Cancer Research UK says it is essential when using sunscreen to put plenty of it on “to get the protection listed on the bottle”.

It advises holidaymakers to:

  • Reapply creams regularly
  • Cool off in the shade rather than rely on sunscreen alone
  • Protect skin with a T-shirt and a hat

Brexit deal cannot include return to hard border – Jeremy Corbyn

Image caption

Jeremy Corbyn last visited Northern Ireland in 2015 when he was a candidate in the Labour leadership race

Labour will not support any Brexit deal that includes a return to a hard border, Jeremy Corbyn will say later.

Mr Corbyn is making his first visit to Northern Ireland since he was elected as Labour leader three years ago.

He will make a speech at Queen’s University in Belfast to insist he will not tolerate a hard border between NI and the Republic of Ireland.

Potential disruption to cross-border trade is crucial to the overall state of the Brexit negotiations.

‘Symbol of peace’

The UK and EU have agreed that there will be no hard border, but are at odds on how to achieve that.

A major sticking point is what arrangement will be put in place if the border cannot be solved in an overall deal.

The two sides accept the need for a ‘backstop’ but differ on how it should work.

Mr Corbyn will suggest that Labour’s proposal for a new comprehensive EU-UK customs union has the potential to prevent communities in Northern Ireland being divided.

The Labour leader will also argue that maintaining an open border is not just about avoiding paperwork or tariffs, but serves as a symbol of peace.

‘Talking shop’

He also wants London and Dublin to revive the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference in an effort to break the deadlock at Stormont.

Northern Ireland has been without a government since January 2017, when power-sharing between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin collapsed.

Convening the joint institution is favoured by nationalists, but opposed by the DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) who regard it as a “talking shop”.

During Mr Corbyn’s two-day visit to Northern Ireland, he will also meet with business leaders in Belfast and Londonderry to discuss their concerns around Brexit.

A different NI awaits Labour leader

By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Politics Reporter

All eyes will be on Jeremy Corbyn when he touches down in Belfast later.

The last time he visited Northern Ireland, in 2015, he was still a candidate for the Labour leadership.

Since then, the political landscape has been turned on its head because of Brexit and the ongoing impasse at Stormont.

Now the leader of the opposition, Mr Corbyn will attempt to address both of those issues in his speech at Queen’s University, before fielding questions.

His decision to visit points to the importance of solving the Irish border issue.

His call for the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to be revived puts the focus back on Theresa May’s government, which some Northern Ireland politicians criticised recently for not doing enough to help restore power-sharing.

Earlier this week, the Labour Party in Northern Ireland said it was disappointed that Mr Corbyn had not made plans to meet them during his visit.

A Labour source said the party was in communication with Labour NI and would “be in touch to arrange a future meeting”.

People in Northern Ireland have been allowed to join Labour since 2003, and they have had their own constituency branch since 2008.

Whether they can contest elections is currently subject to an internal review, which is understood to be in its final stages, but any decision to change the current policy would need to be taken by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

Northern Ireland parties ‘should be locked in room until deal’

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Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government since January 2017

The government has been urged to bring the Northern Ireland parties together for talks and “lock the doors” until they reach a power-sharing deal.

The call was made by the Labour leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon.

Lord Empey told peers Northern Ireland was in a “state of paralysis”.

Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government since January 2017, when a coalition led by the DUP and Sinn Féin collapsed.

Labour former Northern Ireland secretary Lord Peter Hain argued “the longer the assembly and the executive are down, the harder it is to get back up”.

He urged the government to draw on past lessons in overcoming obstacles in Northern Ireland and called for the prime minister Theresa May to convene a summit, along with Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar.

“Keep the parties at that summit… until there is an agreement,” Lord Hain added.

“I believe strongly that is the only solution in sight.”

‘State of paralysis’

Northern Ireland Minister Lord Duncan of Springbank said: “Nothing is off the table.”

Lord Duncan said the “the preferred option, the sensible option, the right option” was to have an executive at Stormont.

Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Empey highlighted a recent Belfast High Court judgment which blocked an incinerator plant because a senior civil servant did not have the power to approve the planning application.

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Media captionLord Empey says NI is in ‘state of paralysis’

“As a consequence, all significant decisions that have hitherto been taken by senior civil servants have now stopped,” he said.

“How can the minister and the government honour the commitments to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of public services to the people of Northern Ireland with this state of paralysis that has now ensued?”

‘In cahoots’

Lord Duncan said the government was studying very carefully the judgment, which may be appealed.

“It is a reminder that we do need that restored executive because we cannot keep placing upon the shoulders of civil servants such a heavy and onerous burden,” he said.

Baroness Blood told the House that Northern Ireland now had “almost an invisible secretary of state,” referring to Karen Bradley who has faced criticism for her handling of talks aimed at restoring devolution.

She said: “The one question that is being asked on the streets of Northern Ireland today is ‘who is actually running Northern Ireland?’

Image caption

Baroness Blood said “people on the ground” in Northern Ireland wanted to know who was in charge

Lord Duncan repeated that devolved government must be restored at Stormont.

“We need to get the executive back up and running… at the moment the pilot light is on but no-one is twirling those knobs,” he said.

Independent Ulster Unionist peer Lord Maginnis of Drumglass claimed Mr Varadkar was “in cahoots” with Sinn Féin to block the restoration of devolved institutions.

On Tuesday, MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs Commitee urged Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley to “redouble” her efforts to restart talks aimed at restoring devolution.

The Northern Ireland Office said restoring the executive was a top priority.

I wish mum’s phone was never invented

Image copyright
Jen Adams Beason

Mobile phones are bad for us. We know because every day there is a news story telling us so, or at least it can feel like that.

But no-one ever actually puts their phone down after hearing these reports, right?

What if children told you exactly how your WhatsApping, Instagramming, emailing and news-reading makes them feel?

“I hate my mum’s phone and I wish she never had one,” is what one primary school child wrote in a class assignment.

American school teacher Jen Adams Beason posted the comment on Facebook, and revealed that four out of 21 of her students said they wished mobile phones had never been invented.

Ms Beason, who lives in Louisiana, also posted a picture of the second grade (ages seven to eight) pupil’s class work after she asked them to describe something they wish had never been created.

“I would say that I don’t like the phone,” one child wrote.

“I don’t like the phone because my parents are on their phone every day. A phone is sometimes a really bad habit.”

The student completed the work with a drawing of a mobile phone with a cross through it and a large sad face saying “I hate it”.

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The picture was posted last Friday and has been shared almost 170,000 times since, including by shocked parents who are stopping to think twice about their technology habits.

“Wow. Out of the mouths of babes! We are all guilty!” responded one user, Tracy Jenkins.

“Strong words for a second grader! Listen parents,” added Sylvia Burton.

Another wrote, “That is so sad and convicting. Great reminder for us all to put those phones down and engage with our kids more.”

Other teachers also joined the discussion to add their own experience of children’s reaction to their parents’ internet use.

“We had a class discussion about Facebook and every single one of the students said their parents spend more time on Facebook then they do talking to their child. It was very eye opening for me,” commented Abbey Fauntleroy.

Some parents offered their personal experience of trying to address the problem.

Beau Stermer wrote that he has seen his two-year-old son reacting negatively to his use of his mobile phone: “I’ve noticed if he and I are playing and my phone rings for something at work, he has nothing to do with me after I get off the phone.

“It kills me. I have made an agreement with myself that if I am playing with him everything else can wait.”

However, one mum pointed out that her teenagers were just as bad, often choosing their phone over family time.

A survey carried out in the US in 2017 reported that half of parents surveyed found that using technology disrupted interactions with their child three or more times a day, a phenomenon named “technoference”.

Uber ends Arizona driverless car programme

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Image caption

National Transportation Safety Board investigators have examined the vehicle involved in the crash

Uber has pulled the plug on its self-driving car operation in Arizona two months after a pedestrian was killed in an accident involving one of its cars.

However, the ride-hailing company said it hopes to resume self-driving tests in Pennsylvania this summer.

The firm said: “We’re committed to self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the near future.”

It said it wanted to focus tests on the states where its engineers work.

Uber, best known for its taxi app, began testing its first self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2016, gradually expanding to other places, including Arizona, San Francisco, California and Toronto.

It halted all those operations in March after the crash, which sparked debate about the readiness and safety of driverless car technology.

The firm is also conducting a “top-to-bottom safety review” of its self-driving programme, including software and training.

Uber hopes to resume tests this summer in Pittsburgh after federal officials conclude their investigation of the accident.

After that, it will look at other locations.

About 300 workers for the firm’s self-driving programme in Arizona will lose their jobs. The more than 500 employees of its traditional taxi service in Arizona are not affected.

Arizona’s governor, who had championed driverless cars, ordered the company to stay off the road amid an outcry over the accident.

Star Wars: Emilia Clarke says franchise now puts women front and centre

Emilia Clarke, who features in Solo: A Star Wars Story, says women aren’t sidelined in the franchise’s most recent releases.

The actor, known for playing Khaleesi in HBO’s Game of Thrones, talks about her new role and the peculiar ways fans approach her.

Brexit: Ex-Vote Leave director Cummings warns of ‘train wreck’

Brexit is destined to be a “train wreck” and Tory MPs should get rid of Theresa May to have any hope of staying in power, Dominic Cummings has claimed.

The former Vote Leave director said the civil service had made “no real preparations” for leaving the EU as most officials wanted the UK to remain.

Unless MPs “changed the political landscape”, the Tories risked losing the next election to Labour, he said.

Mrs May has indicated she wants to fight the next election as leader.

Some MPs are believed to harbour reservations about this after Mrs May lost the Conservatives’ majority in the 2017 election and had to strike a deal with the DUP.

In an open letter to Tory MPs and donors on his blog, Mr Cummings – an influential but controversial figure in shaping Vote Leave’s campaign message – said the government had “irretrievably botched” the Brexit process since the June 2016 referendum vote, failing to take the “basic steps” needed for life outside the EU.

None of the infrastructure required to manage trade as a third country had been built, he claimed.

He suggested ministers who sought to make practical preparations were being “blocked” by officials whose priority was the “maintenance of this broken system and keeping Britain as closely tied to the EU as possible”.

“Whitehall’s real preparations are for the continuation of EU law and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice,” he wrote.

“The expectation is that MPs will end up accepting the terrible agreement as voting it down would be to invite chaos.

“In short, the state has made no preparations to leave and plans to make no preparations to leave even after leaving.”

Mr Cummings warned that Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, was more popular than the Tories believed and the party was only doing so well in the polls because UKIP voters were “waiting until they see how Brexit turns out”.

He urged MPs to act well before the date of the next election, scheduled to take place in 2022.

“There are things you can do to mitigate the train wreck,” he concluded.

“For example, it requires using the period summer 2019 to autumn 2021 to change the political landscape, which is incompatible with the continuation of the May-Hammond brand of stagnation punctuated by rubbish crisis management.

“If you go into the 2022 campaign after five years of this and the contest is Tory promises versus Corbyn promises, you will be maximising the odds of Corbyn as prime minister.”

London Ambulance Service taken out of special measures

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Image caption

Inspectors said the trust was “inadequate” in 2015

London Ambulance Service (LAS) has been taken out of special measures after two-and-a-half years, following a recommendation by the health watchdog.

Inspectors at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated LAS “inadequate” in November 2015.

But a CQC report published on Wednesday said LAS was “good” overall and is “outstanding” for patient care.

It said “innovative changes”, such as treating some patients over the phone, helped boost the rating.

The watchdog commended staff members’ responses to the Grenfell Tower fire, as well as the London Bridge and Westminster terror attacks.

Prof Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals in England, said: “The improvements the leadership and staff of London Ambulance Service have made are especially commendable – and especially necessary – given the major incidents the Trust has responded to over the past year.”

Dr Kathy McLean, from NHS Improvement, confirmed it has taken LAS out of special measures after seeing the report.

She said the Trust’s “strong leadership team” had helped to produce “a service that Londoners deserve”.

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Media captionAndy Beasley is part of the team that first responded to the London Bridge attack

Garrett Emmerson, who became chief executive of LAS in May 2017, said he was “delighted” by the report but recognised there was still more work to be done.

Mr Emmerson said: “We have made some big changes in how we operate, but I want us to improve even further, with the aim of being rated ‘outstanding’ overall, in two years’ time.”

Issues the CQC said LAS must focus on include:

  • Reducing staffing shortages in emergency operations centres
  • Improving recruitment opportunities for people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds
  • Reviewing the gaps in employees’ knowledge and confidence to deal with people having mental health crises

Toddlers to help dementia patients in Conwy restore memories

Image copyright
Iolo Penri

Image caption

Peyton and Dot shared lunch during their time together

“It’s a cruel disease”, Sian Hanley said. Her mother, Mo, is one of a group of dementia patients taking part in a unique experiment in Conwy.

Mo, 83, and other patients at a day-care centre in Colwyn Bay spent three days with toddlers to test the potential for restoring memory.

Experts at Bangor University hope their observations could transform lives.

An estimated 45,000 people have dementia in Wales.

The condition has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in Wales and England.

Geraint Ellis, a senior care assistant at the centre, said people spent their lives putting a picture together.

“It’s like you’ve got your puzzle in front of you and you’re adding your friends and your family.

“And then dementia comes along and it doesn’t really discriminate and it just starts taking your pieces, and bits are missing and bits aren’t there anymore.”

Bringing older dementia patients and children together has been done before, but the psychologists and dementia experts at Bangor University hope their selected tasks can help restore memory loss.

Cake-making, singing and exercise were among the group activities.

Three year old Arianwen was among the children from a local nursery who took part in the experiment. Her grandfather had dementia, and her mother, Lowri, said the impact of children on dementia patients was “indisputable”.

“It is really profound. People who are living with dementia are going to get so much out of this.”

Prof Bob Woods, a psychologist at Bangor University, said: “What we want to do is to change the environment, so that they can engage, they can interact without failure.

“And in that way we can draw on the rich vein of expertise and experience and knowledge that’s still there.”

Image copyright
Science Photo Library

Image caption

A diseased brain is shrunken and nerve cells are degenerated

Spotting the signs of dementia

  • Finding it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
  • Forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects
  • Cannot recall things you have heard, seen or read
  • Feeling anxious, depressed or angry
  • Finding that other people start to notice or comment on your memory loss

Image copyright
Iolo Penri

Image caption

Mo, David, Arji, David, Peyton and Peter all took part in the experiment. Psychologist, Prof Bob Woods said the importance of a hug or a cuddle can make a real difference to people’s mood and well-being

Interaction and friendships are not easy for all of the patients. Prof Bob Woods said the research was ongoing, but that the children had made the real difference:

“They’ve given us all a new perspective, a new view on dementia. It’s really important to see the person behind the diagnosis.”

The Toddlers Who Took on Dementia is on BBC One Wales, 21:00 BST on Wednesday and then available on BBC iPlayer.