People with a fear of needles could be about to get a pain-free alternative to the traditional flu jab.

Scientists in the US have developed a patch with microneedles containing a vaccine which would allow patients to immunise themselves.

The tiny needles in the patch are painlessly embedded into the skin and are dissolved by the body’s moisture.

The patches, which do not need refrigeration, can then be peeled away after 20 minutes, the researchers say.

Image:The patch could be a better option for people who don’t like needles

The lead author of the study, Nadine Rouphael, associate professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, says: “Dissolvable microneedle patches could potentially simplify the delivery of influenza vaccines.

“The patch could be safely applied by participants themselves, meaning we could envisage vaccination at home, in the work place, or even via mail distribution.”

Production of the new medicine is expected to cost the same as manufacturing pre-filled syringes – but the ability to distribute patches in the mail and have patients self-administer means wider costs will be minimised providing a cheaper alternative, according to the study.

Image:The patch is worn for 20 minutes while the vaccine dissolves

Results of the preliminary trial, carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, were published in The Lancet.

The researchers say the findings now need to be confirmed in a larger trial.

Professor Mark Prausnitz, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, said: “We compared the immune response of a regular injection to that associated with the microneedle patch and they were similar to each other – the microneedle patch may even be a little bit better.”



*Hopefully they will be available on the NHS very soon.





FIFTY nurses and midwives managed to bag a new job on the spot at a hospital recruitment day this month.

Over 200 people turned up in the hope of becoming a member of staff at King George Hospital in Goodmayes or Queen’s Hospital in Romford on June 17.

The recruitment day at Queen’s offered visitors the chance to get a taste of different departments including cancer, specialist medicine, and anaesthetics.


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Staff made sure their department’s stall was as fun and interactive as possible in the hope of convincing people to join.

The elderly care team made their area into a pretend retro living room, while others gave visitors the chance to try out CPR on a dummy.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT) chief nurse Kathryn Halford said: “It was fantastic so many people came along and we were able to appointed 50 new nurses and midwives for our trust.

“I look forward to welcoming them to our hospitals.”


Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield, former chief constable Sir Norman Bettison and four other individuals have been charged with offences relating to the Hillsborough disaster, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter-terrorism division, said Duckenfield has been charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 of the 96 Liverpool FC fans who died at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989 and Bettison is accused of four counts of misconduct in public office.

Former South Yorkshire Police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster, as well as force solicitor Peter Metcalf, are charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice, and former Sheffield Wednesday secretary Graham Mackrell is charged with three offences relating to health and safety and safety at sports grounds.


Families of the 96 men, women and children killed at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final gathered in Warrington to be informed of the decisions by Ms Hemming.

Six charged over deaths of 96 people in Hillsborough Disaster
Match commander David Duckenfield faces 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence (Picture: Getty)

Ms Hemming said a further file from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) on the conduct of West Midlands Police still needs ‘additional investigative work’.

She added: ‘Additionally, just this week, the IPCC has referred two further suspects which are unconnected to the matters sent to us in January; these subjects are subject to ongoing consideration by the CPS. We will announce our decisions in due course.

‘The suspects referred to the CPS included individuals and organisations.

‘Following these thorough investigations and our careful review of the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, I have decided there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences.’

All the defendants, except Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on August 8.

Duckenfield was not at home at his bungalow in Ferndown, Dorset, when the charges were announced.


The Queen is set for a £2.8m pay rise next year, unless the formula used to calculate the amount taxpayers contribute to the monarchy’s running costs is changed.

As the Crown Estate property empire delivered a record £304.1m to Treasury coffers, the sovereign stands to receive £45.6m in 2017-18 – a 6.5% increase on this year’s £42.8m. The amount would represent a 57% increase for the monarch since 2012, when she received £29.1m.

Taxpayers’ annual contribution to official expenses – known as the sovereign grant – has, since 2012, been calculated as 15% of the Crown Estate surplus, two years in arrears.

Under the Sovereign Grant Act 2011, that percentage is reviewed every five years and can only be changed by the three royal trustees: the prime minister, the chancellor and the Queen’s keeper of the privy purse. Any changes are laid before the House of Commons as an “affirmative resolution” without debate.

The five-year grant review began in April and is ongoing. Though the percentage can be lowered, the act stipulates that the cash amount the Queen receives cannot be less than that she received the previous year. A senior palace official said the details of the review were private and that it was too early to speculate on what the result would be or what amount the Queen would receive for 2017-18.

The Queen’s annual accounts show the monarchy cost the taxpayer £40.1m during 2015-16, with more than £16m spent on the upkeep of royal palaces and buildings. Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the privy purse, said despite the increase in spending, a recent review had found that 45% of the estate was considered to be below target condition. The grant was supplemented by an additional income of £13.9m generated by the palace through various sources, including property rental and facilities management charges.

Prince Charles arrives at RAF Valley on the Queen’s helicopter flight.
Prince Charles arrives at RAF Valley on the Queen’s helicopter flight. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Queen and the royal family’s official travel cost the taxpayer £4m, down more than £1m from last year.

Prince Charles’s private income from his Duchy of Cornwall estate rose by 3% to £20.5m, and his tax bill increased by £531,000 to just over £5m.

His travel bill was down £863,000, to £658,000, a decrease of 57% in part due to air travel for his visits to Australia and New Zealand being picked up by those realms. A charter flight for him and Prince Harry to attend the Gallipoli campaign commemorations cost £74,500.

Charles also spent £150,000 on seven trips on the royal train, which, mile for mile, is the most expensive form of travel. This included one two-day trip between Ayr, Yorkshire and Aberdeen, which cost £33,249, during which he attended a reception for the Campaign for Wool, the Ure Salmon Trust and a Dales Pony Society reception. Aides say the train is time-efficient, allowing him to conduct round-table meetings during what would normally be dead-time travelling.

Palace officials have already told MPs the royal train would not be replaced, but are looking at modifications to extend its life. “I can’t see it packing in in the next five to 10 years. The hope is to keep it going as long as possible,” said one Buckingham Palace official.

Only the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles are allowed to use the royal train. Officials believe it is a more convenient and comfortable mode of travel for the 90-year-old monarch and her 95-year-old husband.

The most expensive journey by Royal Train was made by the Prince of Wales, according to royal accounts.

Heir to the throne Charles travelled from Windsor to Lancashire and Yorkshire to undertake engagements in Clitheroe, Settle and Harrogate in March.

The two-day trip cost £46,038, which works out at a costly £95.32 per mile.

The Royal Family made just 14 trips on the Royal Train in 2016-2017 which each cost more than £15,000 each, totalling £288,697.

While the most expensive trip per mile was Charles’s journey from London Victoria to Cwmbran so he could carry out engagements in south Wales in February, including visiting a primary school.

Prince Charles trip on Royal Train cost taxpayers £46,000
The Prince of Wales boards the bio-fuel powered Royal Train (Picture: PA)

The train journey cost £18,317 – but according to calculations by the Press Association, it cost £130.84 per mile.

Fairly costly when compared to a standard anytime rail ticket for the same journey which comes with a price of just £1.30 per mile.

Other usage of the Royal Train included a trip to Plymouth by the Duke of Edinburgh to attend a dinner at the Royal Marines Barracks Stonehouse.

The journey from Taplow in Buckinghamshire to Plymouth and then on to Windsor on November 18 cost £18,690.

Philip’s engagement marked the 60th anniversary of Op Musketeer to invade the Suez canal and the 10th anniversary of the first deployment by 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines on Op Herrick in Afghanistan.

When the Queen, Philip and Charles and Duchess went to Poundbury, Dorchester for the unveiling of a statute of the Queen Mother in October, the train trip came to £22,060.

Royal sources said the train was often the best option for safety, security and for allowing the Queen to arrive rested ready to carry out engagements.


Leaders know how to use silence as a tactic for speaking up for themselves and as an opportunity to lead. Here are six times when leaders use silence to increase their power that can grow your power:


1. Build trust.

If you want to develop effective relationships, you must build trust. To build trust, you must listen.

When you want to establish a relationship, do not do all the talking. Introduce yourself, ask questions about the other person and listen. Learn about the other person. When the person realizes you are listening to them, they will listen to you.

2. Emphasize a point.

If you use too many words, the point you want to make can get lost. Silence or fewer words allows you to be heard when it matters.

You Can Be A Thought Leader – Here’s The First Step

If you are in a meeting, don’t answer every question that is posed to the group. Respond to one or two questions. Your words will be more memorable than those who chime in at every possible chance to weigh in.

3. Negotiate.

Silence when negotiating can be nerve-wracking. When the other person is silent, you wonder what they might be thinking. Turn the tables. Let them wonder what you are thinking.

Let’s say the other party mentions a salary figure. Do not answer immediately. Don’t say, “I’ll take it” or “No.” Pause. The discomfort of the silence will make the other person want to fill the void and start talking. Let them reveal information that helps you to have the upper hand moving forward in the conversation.

4. Empower others.

Leaders empower others. They rarely tell people what to do. Rather, leaders provide others the opportunity to identify the roadmap for achieving the goals they set out to achieve. Leaders want to know what other people think.

When you propose a new project, ask your reports to share their thoughts with you. Let them speak up with their ideas. Leaders give others the opportunity to lead, helping you to gain respect and increase your power.




5. Get the answer.

The sooner you become silent, the quicker you will get your answer. Many people are guilty of asking a question and not stopping at the question mark. Ask the question, and stop.

Don’t continue on with explanations or excuses. These words dilute your question and the power of its message.

6. Center yourself.

You don’t need other people to reap the power of silence. Take time out of your day to be silent. Hold a moment of silence when you wake up in the morning. Go into a room during the workday, and close the door for a few minutes. Pause just before you go to bed.

Thrive Global Founder & CEO Arianna Huffington says, “We all need time to be alone. We all need time to be still and to be silent.” We can’t be afraid of silence, Huffington suggests. Otherwise, we will burn out and succumb to a position of powerlessness. Leverage opportunities to remove yourself from the noise to center yourself and increase your energy and power.




There are times when silence can speak louder than words. Know when silence will help you more effectively speak up for yourself, lead and increase your power.


*By Avery Blank,  millennial impact strategist, women’s advocate, and lawyer who helps others to strategically position and advocate for themselves to achieve individual and organizational goals.







Serena Williams’ Wimbledon plans changed the moment she found out that she was expecting her first child. The mum-to-be, who stripped down for the August issue of Vanity Fair, recalled to the publication the shock of learning that she was pregnant prior to the Australian Open back in January. After feeling physically different, the tennis champion took a pregnancy kit at the suggestion of one of her friends, reasoning, “I’ll take it just because (a) to prove you wrong and (b) because it’s fun, whatever. It’s like a joke. Why not?”


Upon seeing the results, Venus William’s sister admitted she “did a double take.” “My heart dropped. Like literally it dropped,” the professional athlete admitted. “Oh my God, this can’t be—I’ve got to play a tournament — How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning Wimbledon this year.” Despite the results of the one test, Serena was not convinced and sent her friend to purchase five more, all of which proved to be positive.

Once she realized that she was indeed pregnant, the 35-year-old called her fiancé, Alexis Ohanian, and told him he needed to come to Australia. The Reddit co-founder, who popped the question last December, jumped on a plane from San Fransisco thinking the reason was a health-related. When he arrived, Serena did not say a word but rather handed her husband-to-be the bag filled with six positive pregnancy tests — leaving him just as shocked.


Google suffered a major regulatory blow on Tuesday after European antitrust officials fined the search giant 2.4 billion euros, or $2.7 billion, for unfairly favoring some of its own search services over those of rivals.

The hefty fine marks the latest chapter in a lengthy standoff between Europe and Google, which also faces two separate charges under the region’s competition rules related to Android, its popular mobile software, and to some of its advertising products. Google denies the accusations.

By levying the fine — the biggest ever in this type of antitrust case — Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief, has laid down a marker as arguably the Western world’s most aggressive regulator of digital services from the likes of Google and Facebook.

Ms. Vestager has already demanded that Apple repay $14.5 billion in back taxes in Ireland, opened an ongoing investigation into Amazon’s tax practices in Europe and raised concerns about Facebook’s alleged dominance over people’s digital data. The companies deny any wrongdoing.

Such focus on Silicon Valley firms has prompted accusations from some in the United States that Europe is unfairly targeting American companies. The region’s officials vigorously deny these claims.


But with the record antitrust fine against Google — larger than the previous high of €1.06 billion against Intel in 2009 — European officials have gone significantly further than their American counterparts in determining what is, and is not, allowed to take place on the web.

“What Google has done is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules,” said Ms. Vestager in a statement on Tuesday. “It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”

Google has repeatedly denied that it has breached Europe’s tough competition rules, saying that its digital services have helped the region’s digital economy to grow and are used by hundreds of millions of Europeans each day. It also adds that there remains significant online competition in Europe, including from the likes of Amazon and eBay.

Google is likely to consider an appeal.

The antitrust ruling on Tuesday related to Google’s online shopping service, which the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said received preferential treatment compared to those of rivals in specialized search results.

Analysts say these so-called vertical search products — that also include those for restaurant and business reviews — represent a fast-growing percentage of Google’s annual revenues.

While the fine is likely to garner much of the attention, focus will quickly shift to the changes that Google will now be forced to make to comply with Europe’s antitrust decision.


Under European rules, the search giant — and not the regulator — must come up with proposals to guarantee that it treats competitors fairly when people make online search queries. The authorities can demand that Google make further changes if they are not satisfied with the initial proposals.

Analysts and many of Google’s competitors have called for an independent monitor to oversee the company’s digital services in Europe, which may potentially extend to tough oversight of its search algorithms, some of Google’s most important intellectual property. The search giant is likely to fiercely oppose such a remedy.

Google has other options, including the removal of some of its specialized search services from Europe, as well as returning them to how they operated before Europe’s investigation began almost a decade ago.

Whatever the outcome, analysts expect a protracted legal battle that will continue for several years as both Google and its rivals fight to define how the search giant can offer its services to Europeans and those farther afield.

“The changes could have ramifications beyond Google Shopping, and might even impact Google’s operations in the U.S.,” a number of American companies that have filed antitrust complaints against Google said in a public letter ahead of the ruling on Tuesday. The signatories included Oracle, News Corporation and Yelp.

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