I Million Brits Expected To Spend Christmas Alone As Report Labels Loneliness An Epidemic

 

A report by the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission has claimed that being alone is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and greatly increases the chance of premature death.

The commission has asked for the Government to fund ways to tackle what they’ve branded a “looming social crisis”. As we approach xmas, many older people are left alone with no one to talk to.

Loneliness is a year round problem but in the festive season it can be particularly troubling for people without any social contact.

Throughout 2017, the Commission has highlighted the impact that loneliness has on diverse groups. From older people to refugees, to young people to carers: it is clear that loneliness can no longer be ignored.

The health impacts of loneliness – both physical and mental – are devastating. Loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and worse for us than obesity. Chronic loneliness is cutting lives short, and the problem is growing. But, the Campaign to End Loneliness has found that for every £1 invested in tackling loneliness we can save £3 in health costs: it pays to tackle loneliness.

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Chief Nursing Officer for England Jane Cummings said: “Loneliness can have a devastating impact.

“Evidence shows that social isolation increases the risk of premature death by around a third.

“Our advice is for people to keep a friendly eye on relatives, friends and neighbours.”

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank today, commission chairwoman and Labour MP Rachel Reeves MP is expected to say: “In the last few decades loneliness has escalated from personal misfortune into a social epidemic.

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“The crisis of loneliness exposes the limits of our welfare state.

“It is a deep challenge to our models of social reform – top down, target driven, payment by results, bureaucratic, Whitehall lever pulling – they won’t work.

“We need a new kind of welfare system that acts as a convenor, bringing people together to help them help themselves.”

 

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SE London: Plumstead Road Closes After Pedestrian Collapses In The Street

A Plumstead road had to be closed after someone collapsed in the street.

The London Ambulance Service was called to the scene on Herbert Road where the person collapsed.

The Met Police was called in for assistance, and shut the road to help ambulance crews attend to the patient, whose condition is currently unknown.

The road currently remains closed.

Millennials Shunning Cigarettes In Favour of Vaps And Weed

A new report from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the United States has said that teenagers in the country are less and less likely to consume cigarettes, while vaping and use of marijuana stay at higher levels.

The survey included answers from 43,703 students in 360 public and private schools across the country.

For high school seniors, nearly one in three had used a vaping device in the last year – with half saying that it had only contained flavouring. According to the researchers, studies show that many teens are not aware of what is it in their electronic smoking device.

Use of marijuana among 8th, 10th and 12th graders survey had increased slightly on the year before, research suggested, but generally stayed stable with around 23% saying they had consumed the drug.

The survey suggested that daily use of marijuana is now more common than the daily use of cigarettes – from the 2017 data, 4.2% of the high school seniors said they were daily cigarette smokers while 5.9% said they were daily marijuana users.

The researchers said that states which allowed medical marijuana also saw higher levels of use amongst teens than states that did not.

Other illicit drugs were at their lowest levels since the survey began and binge drinking amongst the teens had “levelled off” after numbers had declined for several years.

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“While binge drinking among eighth, 10th, and 12th grade students remains well below the levels seen a decade ago, the downward trend in binge drinking appears to have slowed somewhat in recent years,” said George F Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “This may signal a need for more emphasis on alcohol prevention strategies in this age group.”

In the UK,  public health experts have been divided over e-cigarettes. Some believe they will help millions quit their deadly tobacco habit, while others are convinced they are little more than a stalking horse for the tobacco industry. Some of the big international tobacco companies have invested in manufacturing e-cigarettes. Philip Morris International has even spoken of a “smoke-free future”, where it would make its money from liquid nicotine for vaping devices rather than tobacco.

But other anti-smoking campaigners accuse the big companies of an ambition to promote their cigarettes by stealth, arguing that the promotion and advertising of vaping could help smoking shed its pariah status.

The biggest concerns have been that young people who have been smoking in fewer and fewer numbers over recent decades will experiment with e-cigarettes and move on to old-style cigarettes which kill because of the tar content, not the nicotine.

Read also: Cannabis triples depression rate in teenagers

Dr Marwaha said weed also known as cannabis is one of the most commonly used illegal substances of abuse in western countries.

“A recent study reported 31 per cent of young people have used cannabis three or more times by age 18 years.

Problematic use in the general population is as high as 9.5 per cent in the US, while 2.6 per cent of the UK population report having been cannabis dependent in the last year.

Psychiatrist Dr Steven Marwaha, of the University of Warwick said: “Its use is particularly common in young people.

“Cannabis use is linked to multiple harms, including cardiovascular disease, motor vehicle accidents, and mental health problems.

“Younger people are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of cannabis use.”

The analysis indicated three pathways whereby cannabis use was associated with subsequent hypomania.

Dr Marwaha said: “First, adolescent cannabis use is independently associated with hypomania in early

 

US Opens New Billion Dollar Embassy In London

The new state-of-the-art building was unveiled on Wednesday by the US Ambassador Woody Johnson who said the £750 million embassy was a ‘signal to the world’ that the special relationship between Britain and the US is as strong as ever.

He said he would like to have President Trump at the embassy’s official opening in February.  The building is protected by a moat and features a sculpture by British artist Rachel Whiteread which depicts a typical home in the United States built in the 1950s.

At $1 billion, it is the most expensive embassy ever constructed. But its designers say the new American chancery on the Thames River marks a paradigm shift: The U.S. Embassy here will exude openness while hiding all the clever ways it defends itself from attack.

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After decades of building American embassies that look brutalist or bland, like obvious fortresses, the soon-to-be-opened chancery in London is a crystalline cube, plopped down in the middle of a public park, without visible walls.

The building does not shout, “Spies work here!” or “Stand back!” even though this city has been subjected to terrorist attacks. Instead, the vibe is modernist museum, which also happens to issue visas and might have a few hidden bunkers somewhere.

Instead of blast walls, there is a perimeter pond, with recycled-water waterfalls and deep trenches — and on the roof, arrays of solar panels that will produce enough juice to run the building and give extra watts back to the grid.


The main lobby of the new U.S. Embassy in London. (Richard Bryant/Arcaidimages.com)

The building sports frosted- glass walkways, inspirational quotes from the Constitution, neon sculptures, reclaimed teak benches, Cornwall granite, its own subterranean wastewater treatment plant and a dozen gardens in the sky, one representing the flora of the American Midwest.

There’s also a pub, a gym, a post office and a posh Marine barracks, with millionaire views all the way to Westminster for the hard-working 19-year-old lance corporals.

One assumes there is a CIA station, but that was not on the tour.

The media were given a first look inside Wednesday — the embassy will open its doors Jan. 16 — and the early word from the British press was mostly positive.

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The Old US Embassy at Grosvenor Square

The Evening Standard called the interiors “stunning,” and the Daily Mail said that rather than a slick and hard-edged high rise, the embassy exterior had a “soft and pillowy” feel — because of the plastic polymer veils that drape three sides of the building, enhancing its energy efficiency.

This is a far cry from earlier critiques.

Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, said in 2010 that the city expected “something a little bit more exciting.”

A critic at the Guardian newspaper that year called the pond “a moat” and reported that the two British members of the design jury tried to block the design because it was too boring.

Mayor Khan In Bid To Slash Business Rates To Save London Night-time Economy

London mayor has called for the cutting of business rates for night clubs, pubs and bars.

Sadiq Khan wants to save the London night-time economy by cutting business rates many of which have risen by as much as 50% in recent years and causing many businesses to fold up faced by crippling debts and overhead costs

Khan published his economic development strategy this week, and has said the government should shake-up the business rates systems to save London firms, especially businesses in the centre of the capital.

He is calling on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to review its valuations for clubs, restaurants and live music venues, saying he is concerned these businesses faced disproportionately large rises in business rates in this year’s revaluation of the property tax.

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Some properties in central London were saddled with 50 per cent rate rises.

Alex Probyn, president of ratings advisory firm Altus Group, said: “The night-time economy is vital in reinventing and revitalising many of London’s towns centres and in maintaining its draw as a cultural capital.

“Business rates are a blunt instrument for such targeted support, especially if the Mayor is looking for the VOA to take a national approach.”

Baby In Mexico Has a Rare Genetic Condition Which Means He Weighs The Same As An Average Nine-Year-Old.

Luis Manuel, who was born earlier this year at a healthy and normal weight of 7lbs 11oz, now weighs 4st 10lbs – whilst the average baby boy in American weighs around 20lbs.

Doctors have told his parents, Isabel Pantoja and Mario Gonzalez, that he may have Prader-Willi Syndrome – the same condition as Katie Price’s eldest son Harvey.

Isabel and Mario have begun a fundraising appeal to try and pay for his medical treatment if Luis does in fact have the syndrome, as he would need a series of hormone injections – each one costing roughly around £404 in GBP.

Even though Luis’ birth weight was normal and average at just under 8lbs, his parents noticed that he began to put on weight at an alarming rate.
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Isabel said: “After only one month we noticed that clothes did not fit him and we had to dress him in clothes for a one-year-old, and even a two-year-old.

“We saw our baby gain weight so fast. Sometimes, he could not sleep because he felt like he was suffocating due to his weight.”

Mario added: “In some cases, kids have died because of a heart attack due to being so overweight.”

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Katie Price’s son Harvey is now 15-years-old, and she gave birth to him when she was just 24.

Despite the difficult challenges, Katie always gushes over her eldest lad, posting photos of him on her Instagram and saying how proud she is of him.

In January, one of her posts was met with praise from her fans for being so inspiring to other parents of disabled children.

She wrote: “The love I have for this boy, my baby boy Harvey is something I can’t even put into words he is my life my world❤️ anybody out there who has a child family or friend with any kind of disability NEVER give up and be positive love and support as there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Harvey has proved this and more ❤️❤️ and if your the carer or parent 👏👏👏👏👏 respect to you too as I know the challenges it brings 😘😘😘😘❤️.”

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Top London Store Sells Top Range Designer Bags For Fraction Of Cost Following Online Pricing Error

Many lucky people snapped up luxury designer handbags from Harrods for just a tiny fraction of the price after an apparent website blunder.

The top London department store completely sold out of its cheap Aspinal of London handbags online on Thursday after gleeful shoppers quickly realised the upmarket bags were listed as heavily under-priced.

Fine Italian leather handbags which would have usually cost several hundred pound were listed at under £5.

One £250 pure leather tote bag cost just £2.13, while the brand’s Marylebone tote bag usually costing £950 was on sale for just £8.08.

Pricing gaffe: The Aspinal of London designer handbags were massively under-priced online. (Harrods)

An Aspinal of London Lottie shoulder bag, which usually costs £340, was also being bought by buyers for just £3.61.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes and luck when I saw the handbags,” one delighted shopper told the Standard.

‘Sorry this item is sold out’: The Essential Pebble Tote which usually sells for £250. (Harrods)

“Now I hope that Harrods honour the mistake and I get my £800 handbag for a fiver.”

The pricing gaffe appeared to affect most of the range, although a few handbags remained listed at full price.

The correctly-priced £950 bag with its cheaper version beside it. (Harrods)

By Thursday evening, the entire range of the cut-price handbags were sold out on the Harrods website.

According to one shopper, who said her entire office were quickly buying up the bargain accessories, the last three handbags were bought at just before 4pm.

The customers have called on Harrods to honour the mistake and still dispatch the handbags to the lucky shoppers.

The Standard