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Christmas Trees are coming! Be Prepared this December

Types of Christmas Trees

There are various types of Christmas trees available, and you must choose the one that is perfect for your home during the holiday season. There are various types, as you will see below:

Nordman Fir

The Norman Fir Christmas Tree barely drops its needles, making it the most popular choice in Modern times, due to the safety issues related to children and pets, and the sharp Christmas tree needles. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and their needles are a lot fleshier.

Norway Spruce

The Norway Spruce Christmas tree, brings the classic smell of childhood to your home. Its needles do drop a lot more than other varieties, but it more than makes up for that with its beautiful smell, and really traditional tall and narrow shape.

Potted Christmas Trees

The Potted Christmas tree is a great choice if you would prefer your tree to last longer than just a few weeks, as potted trees are more likely to live on through the year, and be fine to use again a year later. The come in both varieties, the Nordman or Norway Spruce, and are often a little cheaper.

Where to buy a Christmas Tree

You can normally buy Christmas trees at your local garden centre, or check online for your nearest Christmas tree farm. Sapcote Garden Centre, Leicester, LE94LG, 01455 274049, (http://www.sapcotegc.co.uk/christmas/christmas-trees) has a range of Nordman Fir, and Norway Spruce Christmas trees for sale, and the price is the same as 2012.

Breeder gives baby owls different coloured MANICURES to tell them apart

  • Jay Brittain, 63, paints the talons of baby owls at Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre, Herefordshire
  • The fledglings look so similar at birth that staff could end up overfeeding them, which can be fatal for the birds
  • So he instructed workers at the farm to varnish their nails using nail polish in their very own ‘talon salon’

By

Amanda Williams for MailOnline


Published:
07:47 EST, 24 April 2015

|
Updated:
09:30 EST, 24 April 2015

An owl breeder has come up with a novel idea to help him tell his young fledglings apart – by giving them brightly coloured manicures. 

Jay Brittain, 63, was worried that the baby owls at Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre, Herefordshire, look so similar at birth that he could end up overfeeding them, which can be fatal for the birds. 

So he instructed workers at the farm to varnish the claws of each fluffy owlet using nail polish in their very own ‘talon salon’.

The first born Tawny owl is given orange talons, the second hatched has theirs painted purple and for the third born, pink.

Scroll down for video 

Talon salon: An owl breeder has come up with a novel idea to help him tell his young fledglings apart - by giving them brightly coloured manicures

Talon salon: An owl breeder has come up with a novel idea to help him tell his young fledglings apart – by giving them brightly coloured manicures

So far, a total of seven cute owlets born to two different mother's have been given the colourful makeovers at the centre in Kington, Herefordshire

So far, a total of seven cute owlets born to two different mother’s have been given the colourful makeovers at the centre in Kington, Herefordshire

The first born Tawny owl gets orange talons, the second hatched has theirs painted purple and for the third born, pink

The first born Tawny owl gets orange talons, the second hatched has theirs painted purple and for the third born, pink

Alice Pond applies nail paint to a baby tawny owl which hatched on April 8 at Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre. Staff use ordinary nail varnish for the job

Alice Pond applies nail paint to a baby tawny owl which hatched on April 8 at Small Breeds Farm Park and Owl Centre. Staff use ordinary nail varnish for the job

Staff at the farm park have to feed baby mice to the little owlets within 12 hours of hatching and initially three or four times every day. But after three days their feeds reduce to three times a day and, by two months, they need to eat twice a day

Staff at the farm park have to feed baby mice to the little owlets within 12 hours of hatching and initially three or four times every day. But after three days their feeds reduce to three times a day and, by two months, they need to eat twice a day

Mr Brittain said: ‘It is just normal ladies’ nail varnish.  It is as simple as that. It is important to keep accurate records and it is important to not to overfeed any one of the single owls.’So to make sure we can see the ages we do this. They all look very similar’

Mr Brittain said: ‘It is just normal ladies’ nail varnish. It is as simple as that.

‘It is important to keep accurate records and it is important to not to overfeed any one of the single owls.

‘So to make sure we can see the ages we do this. They all look very similar.

‘We paint the nails then we know which ones have been fed and which ones have not.

‘It also means that we know exactly which is first born and second born, or hatched rather, and so on.

Alice Pond applies  purple nail paint to a baby tawny owl. The fledglings look so similar at birth that he could end up overfeeding them, which can be fatal for the birds

Alice Pond applies  purple nail paint to a baby tawny owl. The fledglings look so similar at birth that he could end up overfeeding them, which can be fatal for the birds

Mr Brittain, who has been breeding owls for 22 years, said the risks of overfeeding can be fatal. He added: 'Owlets need to eat more food the older they get but if you do overfeed them it can be very dangerous.'They could die. The food just sits in the stomach'

Mr Brittain, who has been breeding owls for 22 years, said the risks of overfeeding can be fatal. He added: ‘Owlets need to eat more food the older they get but if you do overfeed them it can be very dangerous.’They could die. The food just sits in the stomach’

Jay Brittain applies nail paint to a baby tawny owl which hatched on April 8. The owls talons are simply painted and not filed in any way

Jay Brittain applies nail paint to a baby tawny owl which hatched on April 8. The owls talons are simply painted and not filed in any way

‘So each one family member in one clutch is painted a different colour depending on when they were born.

‘We have for instance three Tawny owls from one clutch, or family, so we have painted their nails three different colours according to when they were hatched.’

Mr Brittain, who has been breeding owls for 22 years, said the risks of overfeeding can be fatal.

He added: ‘Owlets need to eat more food the older they get but if you do overfeed them it can be very dangerous.

‘They could die. The food just sits in the stomach.

‘It is a bit like us having a really heavy lunch or dinner. They just lie there and they are not in any way active.

Painted nails on a baby tawny owl. The new owls will go to other farm parks, zoos, breeding centres or private collectors when they are old enough

Painted nails on a baby tawny owl. The new owls will go to other farm parks, zoos, breeding centres or private collectors when they are old enough

‘It should be a lesson for us all really. Something to remember next time we have a Sunday Lunch.’

Staff at the farm park have to feed baby mice to the little owlets within 12 hours of hatching and initially three or four times every day.

But after three days their feeds reduce to three times a day and, by two months, they need to eat twice a day.

They are fully grown at three-months-old and are able to break up the food themselves.

Animal carer Alice Pond said: ‘In the wild, owls only live three to five years but in captivity they live a lot longer.

‘We have a Tawny owl that is about 20 years old. He was rescued from the Weobley area of the county by Jay and he is still here.’

The new owls will go to other farm parks, zoos, breeding centres or private collectors when they are old enough.

 

Xmas Holidays

Prince Charles joins son Harry and world leaders to mark Gallipoli landings

  • Two days of ceremonies planned on Gallipoli peninsula to honour victims of British-led invasion on April 25, 1915
  • Attended by leaders of World War I allies including Australia PM, New Zealand Premier, Prince Charles and Harry 
  • Fallen from both the Ottoman and Allied sides lie close together in separate cemeteries on western edge of Turkey
  • Around 58,000 Allied troops and 87,000 Turks died during botched attempt to knock Ottoman Empire out of the war

By

Simon Tomlinson for MailOnline


Published:
05:21 EST, 24 April 2015

|
Updated:
09:28 EST, 24 April 2015

Prince Charles and his son Harry today joined world leaders to mark the centenary of the catastrophic Gallipoli landings which claimed 140,000 lives during World War One.

The royals met descendants of fallen soldiers on the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Bulwark in Turkey’s Dardanelles straits, the same crucial waters the Allies hoped to control 100 years ago.

Instead tens of thousands lost their lives on both sides in a nine-month battle between the German-backed Ottoman forces and Allies including Australian, British and New Zealand troops trying to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

Today, soldiers from both the Ottoman and Allied sides lie close together in separate cemeteries on the Gallipoli peninsula on the western edge of Turkey in what has long been seen as a powerful symbol of reconciliation between former enemies.

Scroll down for video 

Prince Harry and Charles attend a reception on Royal Navy warship HMS Bulwark where they met descendants of fallen soldiers from the Gallipoli campaign during commemorations for the centenary of the World War One invasion in which 60,000 Allied troops lost their lives

Prince Harry and Charles attend a reception on Royal Navy warship HMS Bulwark where they met descendants of fallen soldiers from the Gallipoli campaign during commemorations for the centenary of the World War One invasion in which 60,000 Allied troops lost their lives

Prince Harry is met by Commander Charles Maynard at a reception on HMS Bulwark  in Seddulbahir, Turkey, for the Gallipoli commemorations

Prince Harry is met by Commander Charles Maynard at a reception on HMS Bulwark in Seddulbahir, Turkey, for the Gallipoli commemorations

Prince Harry meets crew members as he attends a reception on HMS Bulwark with relatives of veterans of the World War One Gallipoli landings

Prince Harry meets crew members as he attends a reception on HMS Bulwark with relatives of veterans of the World War One Gallipoli landings

All smiles: Prince Harry and Charles met crew members and 15 descendants of veterans who were selected to join the commemorations

All smiles: Prince Harry and Charles met crew members and 15 descendants of veterans who were selected to join the commemorations

The royals were  in Turkey's Dardanelles straits, the same crucial waters that the Allies hoped to control during the First World War

The royals were in Turkey’s Dardanelles straits, the same crucial waters that the Allies hoped to control during the First World War

Meet and greet: Prince Harry chats with Roger Boissier, the son of a Gallipoli veteran during a reception on HMS Bulwark

Meet and greet: Prince Harry chats with Roger Boissier, the son of a Gallipoli veteran during a reception on HMS Bulwark

The Prince of Wales enjoys a cup of tea with Captain Nick Cooke-Priest during a reception on HMS Bulwark  in Turkey's Dardanelles straits

The Prince of Wales enjoys a cup of tea with Captain Nick Cooke-Priest during a reception on HMS Bulwark in Turkey’s Dardanelles straits

The Prince of Wales is met by Commanding Officer Captain Nick Cooke-Priest at a reception on HMS Bulwark in Seddulbahir, Turkey

The Prince of Wales is met by Commanding Officer Captain Nick Cooke-Priest at a reception on HMS Bulwark in Seddulbahir, Turkey

Prince Charles shares a joke with Hugh Gillespie whose grandfather Lt Col Franklin Gillespie was killed by a sniper during the invasion

Prince Charles shares a joke with Hugh Gillespie whose grandfather Lt Col Franklin Gillespie was killed by a sniper during the invasion

The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry attend a reception on HMS Bulwark with relatives of veterans of the Gallipoli Campaign who 100 years ago were on the eve of what turned out to be one of Britain's worst military disasters

The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry attend a reception on HMS Bulwark with relatives of veterans of the Gallipoli Campaign who 100 years ago were on the eve of what turned out to be one of Britain’s worst military disasters

In recognition of this, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host leaders including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and New Zealand Premier John Key as well as Charles and Harry.

Mr Erdogan and Prince Charles each laid wreaths at a memorial for the fallen Turkish soldiers at Gallipoli before listening to a recitation from the Muslim holy book as well as prayers for peace. 

A band in Ottoman Janissary costume performed old Turkish military marches.

Speaking at the memorial, Charles said: ‘Despite the appalling sacrifices made by so many in two world wars, intolerance combined with the willingness to use the most barbaric violence remain a persistent and prevailing source of division and conflict.

‘We all have a shared duty… to find ways to overcome intolerance to fight against hatred and prejudice so that we can truly say we have honored the sacrifice of all those who have fought and died here in Gallipoli and elsewhere.’ 

In a message ahead of the ceremonies, Mr Erdogan said: ‘We paid a high price for the Gallipoli victory. Yet we should not forget that we owe our current independent state to that spirit and perseverance that we showed.’

Ceremonies are also being held across Australia and New Zealand.

Bruce Scates, chair of history and Australian studies at Melbourne’s Monash University, is the grandson of a Gallipoli veteran who has been advising the Australian government on how to mark the centenary. 

Turkish soldiers rehearse laying a wreath at the Helles Memorial, which commemorates Commonwealth soldiers killed in the Gallipoli campaign, prior to one of the main commemorative ceremonies in Seddulbahir, Turkey
Turkish Army soldiers rehearse their movements at the Helles Memorial

Turkish soldiers rehearse laying a wreath at the Helles Memorial before ceremony to commemorate soldiers killed in the Gallipoli campaign

Heroes: A picture of  Captain Herbert Hunter from the 7th Australian infantry is seen on a wall at  the Helles Memorial prior a memorial service

Heroes: A picture of Captain Herbert Hunter from the 7th Australian infantry is seen on a wall at the Helles Memorial prior a memorial service

'In memory of the glorious dead': A wreath from Queen Elizabeth II is laid at the Cape Helles English Memorial in Gallipoli

‘In memory of the glorious dead': A wreath from Queen Elizabeth II is laid at the Cape Helles English Memorial in Gallipoli

Turkish soldiers in traditional uniforms ride by the Cape Helles British Memorial before a service to mark the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli

Turkish soldiers in traditional uniforms ride by the Cape Helles British Memorial before a service to mark the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli

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An Anzac soldier stands beside rows of rifles at the Cape Helles English Memorial before the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli

Anzac soldiers walk past the Cape Helles English Memorial before the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli

Anzac soldiers walk past the Cape Helles English Memorial before the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli

Spit and polish: British soldiers put on the finishing touches to their uniforms at at the Helles Memorial prior to the memorial service

Spit and polish: British soldiers put on the finishing touches to their uniforms at at the Helles Memorial prior to the memorial service

He said: ‘The 100th anniversary is a very important moment because we’re at a time now where this campaign ceases to be about memory and slides into history.

‘All of the veterans have died, those with any living memory of the Great War have gone.’ 

The amphibious assault started at dawn on April 25, 1915 as wave after wave of British and Irish, French, Australian, New Zealand and Indian troops attacked heavily defended beaches, through barbed wire, and raced up cliffs through scrub.

Many were cut down before they reached the shore and the sea turned red from the blood. 

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott reads a paper poppy containing heart-felt messages at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery near Gallipoli, Turkey

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott reads a paper poppy containing heart-felt messages at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery near Gallipoli, Turkey

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott shovels dirt during a tree-planting ceremony at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott shovels dirt during a tree-planting ceremony at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott chats with Ron Eyres whose father Private Samuel Eyres was injured at Shrapnel Valley during the war

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott chats with Ron Eyres whose father Private Samuel Eyres was injured at Shrapnel Valley during the war

Honouring the fallen: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott plants a cross during a visit to the Lone Pine cemetery and memorial site on the Gallipoli peninsula ahead of the Anzac Day commemorations in Turkey to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli invasion in World War One

Honouring the fallen: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott plants a cross during a visit to the Lone Pine cemetery and memorial site on the Gallipoli peninsula ahead of the Anzac Day commemorations in Turkey to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli invasion in World War One

Poignant visit: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (centre) with RAAF Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin and Gallipoli guide Mark Kelly at Shell Green Cemetery ahead of Anzac Day commemoration services in Turkey

Poignant visit: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (centre) with RAAF Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin and Gallipoli guide Mark Kelly at Shell Green Cemetery ahead of Anzac Day commemoration services in Turkey

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott places a poppy into a memorial wall during a visit at the Lone Pine cemetery on the Gallipoli peninsula

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott places a poppy into a memorial wall during a visit at the Lone Pine cemetery on the Gallipoli peninsula

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during a visit at the Lone Pine cemetery and memorial site in Gallipoli peninsula ahead of Anzac Day commemoration services in Turkey
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lays a poppy at the headstone of John Simpson at Beach Cemetery ahead of Anzac Day commemoration services in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host leaders of the World War I Allies, including Mr Abbott and New Zealand permier John Key

Light refreshment: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a BBQ breakfast involving bacon and egg rolls on the fight deck of HMAS Anzac in the Dardanelles. The warship will be part of an 11-vessel sail past Anzac Cove during Saturday's 100th anniversary dawn service

Light refreshment: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a BBQ breakfast involving bacon and egg rolls on the fight deck of HMAS Anzac in the Dardanelles. The warship will be part of an 11-vessel sail past Anzac Cove during Saturday’s 100th anniversary dawn service

Australia's defence chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin addresses the crew of HMAS Anzac alongside PM Tony Abbott in the Dardanelles

Australia’s defence chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin addresses the crew of HMAS Anzac alongside PM Tony Abbott in the Dardanelles

Although Gallipoli is synonymous with Australian and New Zealand heroism, three times as many British and Irish troops were killed as Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). 

Some descendants feel the British involvement has been overlooked by history, perhaps because it ended in failure. 

Prince Harry and Charles met 15 descendants of veterans who were selected to join the commemorations on the beautiful peninsula and ceremonies at Commonwealth War Graves Commission sites.

Ben Goddard, 37, was there to honour his great-grandfather Private Alfred William Goddard, of 2nd Hampshire Regiment, who landed on V Beach on April 25 1915. 

Turkish soldiers wait  before the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli in front of the Turkish Mehmetcik Monument in Gallipoli

Turkish soldiers wait before the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli in front of the Turkish Mehmetcik Monument in Gallipoli

Turkish soldiers ride their horses during the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli in front of the Turkish Mehmetcik Monument in Gallipoli

Turkish soldiers ride their horses during the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli in front of the Turkish Mehmetcik Monument in Gallipoli

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters as he travels on a bus through the coastal town of Eceabat in Gallipoli peninsula

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves to supporters as he travels on a bus through the coastal town of Eceabat in Gallipoli peninsula

He was hit on the elbow by shrapnel 11 days later but survived the hostilities and was discharged in 1918.

Mr Goddard, from Ropley, Hampshire, knew nothing about the Gallipoli Campaign until he researched his family tree and found out about his ancestor’s war record.

He said: ‘So many men fought and did not come back. That should be remembered, whether the campaign was a disaster or not.

‘I am really proud and honoured to have been chosen, representing the Hampshire Regiment, and be there for the people who did not come back.’ 

A sea of poppies blankets Federation Square as part of the '5,000 Poppies' project to commemorate the centenary of Anzac Day in Melbourne

A sea of poppies blankets Federation Square as part of the ‘5,000 Poppies’ project to commemorate the centenary of Anzac Day in Melbourne

Strong alliance: More than 10,000 New Zealand and Australian servicemen died in the failed eight-month campaign, with Gallipoli becoming a defining symbol of courage and comradeship for the two nations

Strong alliance: More than 10,000 New Zealand and Australian servicemen died in the failed eight-month campaign, with Gallipoli becoming a defining symbol of courage and comradeship for the two nations

A woman visits the sea of poppies in Melbourne. Ceremonies are held annually across the country on the April 25 anniversary of the ill-fated 1915 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in modern-day Turkey during World War I

A woman visits the sea of poppies in Melbourne. Ceremonies are held annually across the country on the April 25 anniversary of the ill-fated 1915 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in modern-day Turkey during World War I

Pictures of World War One soldiers adorn a sea of poppies that blankets Federation Square as part of the 5000 Poppies project in Melbourne

Pictures of World War One soldiers adorn a sea of poppies that blankets Federation Square as part of the 5000 Poppies project in Melbourne

Hugh Gillespie, 72, from near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, made the journey for his grandfather Lt Col Franklin Gillespie, who was killed by a sniper while leading a daring raid. He was 42.

He said: ‘Our soldiers behaved so exceptionally and fought extremely well in difficult conditions. I think it is an object lesson in making sure the strategy is right in the first place.

‘Perhaps we could have (succeeded) with better intelligence and I think we underestimated the enemy. I think it turns out it was an impossible task we set ourselves there.’ 

The leaders will attend ceremonies throughout Friday at the beaches where the Allied troops launched their attacks, only to meet with fierce Ottoman resistance that lasted until the evacuation of the last Allied troops in January 1916 in the failed campaign. 

Soldiers from the Wellington Company 5/7 Battalion march through a sea of poppies during a street parade for ANZAC Day in New Zealand

Soldiers from the Wellington Company 5/7 Battalion march through a sea of poppies during a street parade for ANZAC Day in New Zealand

Mounted soldiers tow a gun carriage along Lambton Quay during a street parade to commemorate ANZAC Day in Wellington, New Zealand

Mounted soldiers tow a gun carriage along Lambton Quay during a street parade to commemorate ANZAC Day in Wellington, New Zealand

A vintage vehicle travels down Lambton Quay during the Anzac Day eve street parade  in Wellington to honour the Gallipoli landings

A vintage vehicle travels down Lambton Quay during the Anzac Day eve street parade in Wellington to honour the Gallipoli landings

Respect: Soldiers line up during the Anzac Day eve street parade in Wellington, New Zealand to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings

Respect: Soldiers line up during the Anzac Day eve street parade in Wellington, New Zealand to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings

Soldiers in WW1 replica uniforms look on from the front seat of a truck during the Anzac Day eve street parade  in Wellington, New Zealand

Soldiers in WW1 replica uniforms look on from the front seat of a truck during the Anzac Day eve street parade in Wellington, New Zealand

Horse dung is shovelled off the surface of Lambton Quay during the Anzac Day eve street parade in Wellington, New Zealand

Horse dung is shovelled off the surface of Lambton Quay during the Anzac Day eve street parade in Wellington, New Zealand

After attending commemorations for British and other Commonwealth countries, the princes will join a French ceremony this evening.

Tomorrow they will mark Anzac Day by attending a traditional dawn service.

Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders of all ages have travelled to Turkey after winning places in a ballot. 

Many will camp overnight to join in the poignant remembrance ceremony.

Marjorie Stevens, 87, from Adelaide in Australia, who had been planning the long trip for 12 months, said: ‘It means so much to come back and give them the respect they (the troops) deserve.

‘It’s hard to keep back the tears and it’s so important to keep the link to the past.’ 

On Saturday, the focus will be on the dawn services to remember the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives thousands of miles from home in a sacrifice that helped forge a national consciousness in those nations and is still remembered as Anzac Day on April 25.

‘Our forebears faced terrible trials, but the worst of times brought out the very best in them. 

‘Their perseverance, selflessness, courage and compassion came to define us as a nation,’ Abbott said ahead of the anniversary. 

However, there are several notable key figures missing, including French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will be attending commemorations in Yerevan to mark 100 years since the start of mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.

The juxtaposition of the dates has aroused heavy emotions ahead of the anniversaries, with Armenians accusing Turkey of shifting the main Gallipoli event forwards by one day from Saturday to Friday to deliberately overshadow the Yerevan ceremonies. 

The Gallipoli land campaign began on April 25 when the Allied troops launched their attacks. 

Armenians mark the start of the massacres on April 24 when Armenian leaders and intellectuals were rounded up in Constantinople.

Armenia says some 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a campaign of genocide by the Ottoman authorities to wipe out their people. 

But Turkey has always resisted the term genocide, sticking to its line with even greater vehemence ahead of the anniversary.

‘Armenia is not on our agenda,’ at the Gallipoli commemorations, Erdogan said bluntly, sniping that in Yerevan ‘they will talk and talk and insult Turkey.’

Turkey is keenly focused on ensuring no dark historical chapters overshadow the commemorations of the Gallipoli Battle, which as in Australia and New Zealand is seen as critical in forming a modern national consciousness.

At dawn on April 25, 1915, waves of Allied troops launched an amphibious attack on the strategically-important peninsula, which was key to controlling the Dardanelles straits, the crucial route to the Black Sea and Russia.

But the plan by Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, was flawed and the campaign in the face of heroic defending by the Turks, led to a stalemate and eight months later, a withdrawal.

Around 58,000 Allied troops died, including 29,500 from Britain and Ireland, over 12,000 from France, 11,000 from Australia and New Zealand and 1,500 from India.

Conditions were hellish as more than half a million Allies faced heat, flies, dysentery and eventually, extreme cold.

An estimated 87,000 Turks were also killed, with 300,000 casualties.

While Anzac Day is nationally-observed in Australia and New Zealand, many relatives felt Britain and Ireland’s contribution to the campaign, and the bravery of those who fought, has been overshadowed by the war on the Western Front.

GALLIPOLI LANDINGS: HOW THE WATERS RAN RED WITH BLOOD AFTER CATASTROPHIC INVASIONa

The background to the Gallipoli landings was one of deadlock on the Western Front in 1915 when the British hoped to capture Constantinople.

The Russians were under threat from the Turks in the Caucasus and needed help, so the British decided to bombard and try to capture Gallipoli.

Located on the western coast of the Dardanelles, the British hoped by eventually getting to Constantinople that they would link up with the Russians. 

Disastrous campaign: Some 86,000 Turkish, 29,500 British and Irish, 12,000 French and 11,000 Australian and New Zealand ('Anzac') troops died during eight months of fighting in modern-day Turkey

Disastrous campaign: Some 86,000 Turkish, 29,500 British and Irish, 12,000 French and 11,000 Australian and New Zealand (‘Anzac’) troops died during eight months of fighting in modern-day Turkey

SS River Clyde: The former collier ship (pictured in 1919) was supposed to sail straight onto the shore and spill thousands of men onto the Ottoman Empire's shores, but it beached 80yds out on arrival in April 1915

SS River Clyde: The former collier ship (pictured in 1919) was supposed to sail straight onto the shore and spill thousands of men onto the Ottoman Empire’s shores, but it beached 80yds out on arrival in April 1915

The intention of this was to then knock Turkey out of the war. A naval attack began on February 19 but it was called off after three battleships were sunk.

Then by the time of another landing on April 25, the Turks had been given time to prepare better fortifications and increased their armies sixfold.

Australian and New Zealand troops won a bridgehead at what become known as Anzac Cove as the British aimed to land at five points in Cape Helles – but only managed three.

The British still required reinforcements in these areas and the Turkish were able to bring extra troops onto the peninsula to better defend themselves. 

On the boat: The castle and shoreline at Sedul Bahr as seen on New Year's Day 1916 during the Allied occupation of Gallipoli from the bridge of the troopship River Clyde. The campaign ended soon after

On the boat: The castle and shoreline at Sedul Bahr as seen on New Year’s Day 1916 during the Allied occupation of Gallipoli from the bridge of the troopship River Clyde. The campaign ended soon after

Huge losses: Australian stretcher-bearers attending to casualties arriving from the Gallipoli campaign in Cairo, Egypt, with 1,000 Anzac troops during eight months of fighting on the peninsula

Huge losses: Australian stretcher-bearers attending to casualties arriving from the Gallipoli campaign in Cairo, Egypt, with 1,000 Anzac troops during eight months of fighting on the peninsula

A standstill continued through the summer in hot and filthy conditions, and the campaign was eventually ended by the War Council in winter 1915/16.

The invasion had been intended to knock Turkey out of the war, but in the end it only gave the Russians some breathing space from the Turks.

Anzac Cove became a focus for Australian pride after forces were stuck there in squalid conditions for eight months, defending the area from the Turks.

The Anzac soldiers who arrived on the narrow strip of beach were faced with a difficult environment of steep cliffs and ridges – and almost daily shelling.

At the height of the fighting during the landings of April 25, 1915, the waters around the peninsula were stained red with blood at one point 150ft out.

Fierce resistance from the under-rated Ottoman forces, inhospitable terrain and bungled planning spelled disaster for the campaign. 

Xmas Holidays

Twinkle, Twinkle (All Sparkly and Bright) and new DT Members ………..

Hello and welcome to another challenge at Winter Wonderland – Mags here with snowflakes team. 


First we would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter our DT call.  We had a very hard job selecting the new team members but the following ladies have kindly agreed to join our team:


Lesley

Judith

Andrea

Thank you for all your lovely entries into last week’s challenge.



Last week’s winner as chosen by Random Org is:


Number 2 so that’s Claire 



with this beautiful entry featuring some very nice cross stitch!





Congratulations – please email Deborah to claim your prize of 
 a $15 gift certificate at the Paper Shelter









before the end of the current challenge. Please make the subject of your e-mail Winter Wonderland Winner and sponsor name.



Now onto the top three















Please take our top three banner to display proudly on your blog.



Now onto this week’s challenge -

Twinkle, twinkle (all things sparkly and bright)



So think sparkle, glitter, bling, stars – really anything sparkly


Please remember christmas projects only.We are sponsored by 
Prize is a 20 Euro voucher
Here’s the inspiration from the DT.  We always appreciate a visit so if you click the name you can hop over and leave them a comment and also find out if they have combined their challenge with any others, which could give you some ideas.

We all hope you are able to join us in our challenge this week. We look forward to visiting your blogs and seeing your gorgeous creations. Please be sure to post a link back to the Winter Wonderland blog in your blog post in order to be eligible for this weeks prize! Thursday evening (5pm GMT) is the deadline for your creation to qualify for the prizes.


So all that’s left is for you to get creative and leave your entry here with the blue frog so we can come and find you asap.

Have fun and remember you can enter each challenge up to 3 times.



Mags and the WW Teamies xxx 


Christmas 2013

Parent’s of Teddy Houlston, Britain’s youngest ever organ donor Teddy, tell all

  • Jess Evans and Mike Houlston, from Cardiff, were told during pregnancy that their son Teddy had fatal brain condition
  • Teddy, who had a healthy twin, died from anencephaly hours after birth 
  • His kidneys were given to adult man 233 miles away in Leeds, who was suffering from renal failure
  • Family set up fundraising page in son’s honour to help bereaved parents

By

Steph Cockroft

and
Emma Glanfield

and
Chris Pleasance for MailOnline


Published:
18:44 EST, 22 April 2015

|
Updated:
08:50 EST, 23 April 2015

The brave parents of a twin boy who was alive for just 100 minutes have described how their son became Britain’s youngest organ donor when his kidneys were donated to a complete stranger.

Jess Evans, 28, and Mike Houlston, 30, were told during pregnancy that their son Teddy would be born with a fatal brain condition, but were determined that his life would not be wasted.

So they asked medics in Cardiff to carry out pioneering surgery on their baby. Hours later, Teddy’s kidneys and heart valves had been removed and his organs had been transported 233 miles away, where they were given to a man suffering from renal failure.

Speaking about his son’s incredible donation, Mr Houlston told the Daily Mirror: ‘He lived and died a hero. It’s impossible to explain how proud we are of him.’ 

Scroll down for video  

Tiny Teddy Houlston (left), was born beside his healthy twin Noah (right), became Britain's youngest donor after his kidneys and heart valves were removed just 100 minutes after he was born 

Tiny Teddy Houlston (left), was born beside his healthy twin Noah (right), became Britain’s youngest donor after his kidneys and heart valves were removed just 100 minutes after he was born 

Teddy's mother Jess Evans, 28, from Cardiff, said holding her son during his short life was 'one of the most precious things we will ever experience'. He was alive for just 100 minutes before he became a donor

Teddy’s mother Jess Evans, 28, from Cardiff, said holding her son during his short life was ‘one of the most precious things we will ever experience’. He was alive for just 100 minutes before he became a donor

Born just minutes apart, twin boys Teddy and Noah lie side by side, sharing a special moment with their mother before Teddy passed away. Noah, who was born healthy, turned one yesterday

Born just minutes apart, twin boys Teddy and Noah lie side by side, sharing a special moment with their mother before Teddy passed away. Noah, who was born healthy, turned one yesterday

Miss Evans added that spending those short few hours with Teddy, who was born alongside his healthy twin Noah, was ‘the most precious thing’ she had ever experienced.

‘Although he wasn’t with us very long, and we brought him into the world knowing there was no hope of a life for him, we are incredibly proud of his heroism,’ she said.

‘Knowing part of your loved one is living on in someone else is comforting. We hope Teddy’s story will inspire families who find themselves in the position of losing a child.’  

Ms Evans and Mr Houlston, a housing surveyor, have now set up a JustGiving page in Teddy’s honour to raise money for the charity, 2 Wish Upon A Star, which aims to improve bereavement services for parents who lose babies or young children.

The donations have more than tripled in the past three hours and are already at nearly £4,500.

Until the extraordinary moments following Teddy’s birth 12 months ago, Miss Evans and Mr Houlston were just like any other expectant couple.

Miss Evans pictured with her fiance Mike Houlston, who is her childhood sweetheart, along with their daughter Billie, three and Noah, one. They hope Teddy's story will inspire other families to consider organ donation

Miss Evans pictured with her fiance Mike Houlston, who is her childhood sweetheart, along with their daughter Billie, three and Noah, one. They hope Teddy’s story will inspire other families to consider organ donation

One year on, the recipient of Teddy's kidneys is alive and well. Pictured: Billie and Noah pictured together at their home in Cardiff

One year on, the recipient of Teddy’s kidneys is alive and well. Pictured: Billie and Noah pictured together at their home in Cardiff

The family say that Teddy's organ donation has helped their precious baby live on. They have exchanged letters with the recipient, who is said to be alive and well 

The family say that Teddy’s organ donation has helped their precious baby live on. They have exchanged letters with the recipient, who is said to be alive and well 

The pair were childhood sweethearts and had rekindled their relationship in their 20s, before going on to have a daughter, Billie, now aged three.

Then, in 2013 after a trip to Amsterdam, during which the couple became engaged, Miss Evans learned she was expecting twins.

 We thought even if we had a moment with him, or 10 minutes, or an hour, that time was the most precious thing we would ever experience
Teddy’s mother Jess Evans  

They found out the babies were boys and decided to name them after one another: Teddy Noah Houlston and Noah Teddy Houlston. 

However, medics soon delivered some devastating news. Teddy was suffering from anencephaly, a rare condition meaning he would likely not live for even one day after birth. 

The condition usually begins in the early stages of pregnancy and means the neural tube which forms the baby’s skull does not fold over the top of the head.

This means the baby will be born without a brain, or spinal chord. Those with the condition are usually blind, deaf, unconscious, and unable to feel pain.

The couple were offered the option to abort their son, but they never considered it. 

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Mr Houlston said: ‘We didn’t want to hear any of that. It was never an option for us. We were determined that Teddy was going to have that place in our family.’ 

In the moment when the pair were reunited outside the womb, Noah opened his eyes for the first time

In the moment when the pair were reunited outside the womb, Noah opened his eyes for the first time

Miss Evans shared a touching moment with Teddy, when he reached out for his mother's hand and wrapped his fingers around her. The tiny baby was born with anencephaly, which hampers the brain's developing

Miss Evans shared a touching moment with Teddy, when he reached out for his mother’s hand and wrapped his fingers around her. The tiny baby was born with anencephaly, which hampers the brain’s developing

Miss Evans and Mr Houlston sharing a moment with their ‘perfect’ son, Teddy (left) during his short life. His twin Noah, who was born healthy, pictured holding a teddy which has a recording of Teddy’s heartbeat (right)

TEDDY’S TEDDY: HOW THEIR SON’S TREASURED HEARTBEAT LIVES ON

When Miss Evans was 30 weeks pregnant, she and Mr Houlston visit a local hospital in Penarth where they heard Teddy’s heart beating. 

Knowing how precious that sound was, Teddy’s parents decided to find a way that they could keep that heartbeat forever.

Miss Evans and Mr Houlston pictured on This Morning with daughter Billie, son Noah and the blue teddy which contains a recording of Teddy's precious heartbeat

Miss Evans and Mr Houlston pictured on This Morning with daughter Billie, son Noah and the blue teddy which contains a recording of Teddy’s precious heartbeat

So the couple had the recording stitched inside a cuddly blue teddy bear. Now, when the teddy is squeezed, Teddy’s heartbeat can be heard.   

The blue teddy bear now has pride of place in Noah and Billie’s toy box. 

Miss Evans added that the doctors had rarely seen pregnancies of this kind go to full term.

She told ITV: ‘A very high percentage of these are aborted. There is no potential for any kind of quality of life at all, so not many carry full term.’

She added: ‘We thought even if we had a moment with him, or 10 minutes, or an hour, that time was the most precious thing we would ever experience.’

 He lived and died a hero. It’s impossible to explain how proud we are of him
Teddy’s father Mike Houlston 

The couple then decided that they wanted Teddy to live on in the best way that he could – giving the gift of life to another person.

But medics told the couple that it wasn’t possible. There had not been a transplant involving Teddy’s condition for more than ten years and planning organ donation during pregnancy is complex and rare.

Miss Evans and Mr Houlston were also warned that Teddy might not even be born alive or would be too small for the procedure to take place.

But, amazingly, Teddy was born conscious and breathing, joining his twin in his mother’s arms 34 minutes later. He weighed just 4lb 5oz.

During the few hours that he was alive, the brothers were reunited outside the womb. As his brother was laid beside him, Noah opened his eyes for the first time. Teddy was also pictured reaching out for his mother’s hand and wrapping his tiny fingers around her.  

‘We were always told that Teddy would probably be unconscious when he was born, but he made noises and he was moving – he was very much conscious,’ Mr Houlston told ITV. 

Dr Richard Hain (left), Angharad Griffiths (middle) and Dr Roshan Adappa (right) were the team of medics who operated on Teddy at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff so his organs could be donated 

Dr Richard Hain (left), Angharad Griffiths (middle) and Dr Roshan Adappa (right) were the team of medics who operated on Teddy at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff so his organs could be donated 

Speaking on This Morning, Ms Griffiths said there had not been an organ donation globally from someone with Teddy's condition for more than ten years

Speaking on This Morning, Ms Griffiths said there had not been an organ donation globally from someone with Teddy’s condition for more than ten years

‘As soon as Teddy was next to Noah, you could tell that they could sense each other. Noah kind of reached… The first time Noah opened his eyes was when he saw Teddy.’

The family then had some bittersweet moments with their twin sons. Minutes after Teddy died, he was taken into theatre at the Cardiff hospital.

Teddy’s tiny kidneys, which would have measured around two inches long – less than half the size of the typical adult – were immediately extracted and sent away from the hospital to be given to the recipient.

During a procedure which took place 233 miles away at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds, Teddy’s kidneys were then stitched inside the patient. The family has since exchanged letters with the recipient, who is said to be alive and well.

The couple’s decision to donate Teddy’s organs following his death last year made him the country’s youngest organ donor. The previous youngest donor was a five-day-old girl who was never publicly identified.

Ms Evans said: ‘It helps us so much to know he has helped someone else and helped doctors realise donation from small babies is possible and is something people like us want to make happen.’  

Miss Evans, 28, and fiance Mike Houlston, 30, from Cardiff, described their son Teddy as a 'hero' after he became Britain's youngest organ donor just 100 minutes after birth (pictured, his Just Giving page)

Miss Evans, 28, and fiance Mike Houlston, 30, from Cardiff, described their son Teddy as a ‘hero’ after he became Britain’s youngest organ donor just 100 minutes after birth (pictured, his Just Giving page)

The profile says it is 'dedicated to a Hero who gave gave the gift of life'. Yesterday, on Noah's birthday and Teddy's anniversary, a tweet was posted which read: 'Brothers forever xxx'

The profile says it is ‘dedicated to a Hero who gave gave the gift of life’. Yesterday, on Noah’s birthday and Teddy’s anniversary, a tweet was posted which read: ‘Brothers forever xxx’

Noah was born healthy, and is now aged one and living at home with the rest of the family. 

It is incredibly rare for newborns to be considered as donors and Dr Paul Murphy, of NHS Blood and Transplant, described Teddy’s donation as ‘exceptional’.

He said: ‘Every donation is inspirational. It is a selfless act of heroism.

‘But Teddy’s story is exceptional. He was the youngest organ donor in the UK.’  

Angharad Griffiths, a specialist nurse in organ donation, said Teddy’s story was ‘nothing short of a miracle’.

HOW CAN A CHILD’S KIDNEYS BE USED TO SAVE AN ADULT? 

When Teddy passed away just 100 minutes after being born, his kidneys and heart valves were donated to an adult man with renal failure.

The patient, who has not been identified, has now fully recovered – but how can a baby’s organs save an adult?

At birth Teddy’s kidneys would have been just two inches long, less than half the length of adult male kidneys.

But despite their tiny size they will have been fully functioning from 37 weeks old.

This means that the kidneys, along with the liver, heart and lungs, can be donated from newborns into adults.

Incredibly the organs will continue growing inside the adult patient, eventually becoming three-quarters of adult size. 

‘It was such a small chance of it all happening as it did,’ she said.

‘I thought at every stage we would probably stop the process. Not until we took Teddy to theatre did we realise that we had facilitated a donation and everything had fallen into place. It was by sheer chance really and it was amazing to be a part of it.’

Speaking to This Morning, she added: ‘There has not been a donor with this condition in the world for ten years, we think. 

‘Planning donation during pregnancy is also not something we would usually do. It was new to us and I think the doctors and nurses just thought it wasn’t possible.

‘Thankfully it was. It was a privilege to be a part of it and to be invited into such a private time and to take Teddy to theatre.’ 

Doctors are able to use kidneys from children in adult patients because the organs are fully functional from 37 weeks gestation, and will continue growing inside the donor patient. 

Ms Evans and Mr Houlston now want to raise £10,000 for charity, in Teddy’s honour.

On the page they set up to help with their cause, they say: ‘Teddy Noah Houlston became an organ donor in the UK on 22nd April 2014.

‘He was born with a condition called anencephaly, a terminal disability which meant Teddy was only with us for a very short period but in that time he was the perfect son, an inspirational brother to his twin Noah Teddy Houlston and a hero to his big sister Billie Grace.

‘Teddy’s journey has just began (sic), it is a never ending journey raising awareness about the importance of becoming an organ [donor] by spreading the word that giving the gift of life really is the most precious gift anybody could receive.’ 

Donations are already nearly at £2,500. The couple hope to raise a total of at least £10,000.

Click here to donate to Teddy’s JustGiving page or for more information.

HOW TEDDY’S TINY ORGANS TRAVELLED 233 MILES TO SAVE A MAN’S LIFE  

The operation to remove organs from Teddy’s body took place just three minutes after the baby died.

The surgery was carried out by specialist NHS organ retrieval team at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. Less than three hours later, the kidneys were driven 233 miles away to St James’s Hospital in Leeds. 

Teddy's organs were taken from Cardiff to Leeds where they were donated to man who had renal failure

Teddy’s organs were taken from Cardiff to Leeds where they were donated to man who had renal failure

By 6,30pm that night, the organs had arrived at the hospital. The next morning at 5am, Consultant Niaz Ahmad began the transplant surgery on the recipient.

By 8.45am, that operation was complete. The man is now said to be alive and well and has exchanged letters with Teddy’s family. 

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Dr Paul Murphy said: ‘That 100 minutes were incredibly important to them. He had time with his brother, parents and extended family.

‘And then he passed away. And they handed him over with love and hope.

‘They handed him over to the transplant team and the operation was performed. And then he came back to them, and they completed that first phase of their grieving.’  

WHAT IS ANENCEPHALY? RARE BRAIN CONDITION WHICH AFFECTS BABIES

Anencephaly occurs between the third and fourth weeks of pregnancy. 

During that time, the neural tube is supposed to close and fold over to form the brain and spinal cord of the fetus.

This process fails to occur in anencephalic pregnancies, resulting in the absence of a large portion of the brain, skull and scalp.

Babies born with anencephaly are usually blind, deaf, unconscious and unable to feel pain.

They are usually stillborn but in rare cases they may survive longer.

The rate of anencephaly is one or two per 10,000 births. 

The condition: A baby born with anencephaly lacks the telencephalon, encompassing the part of the brain responsible for cognition

A baby with anencephaly lacks the telencephalon, which is the part of the brain responsible for cognition

Xmas Holidays

Formula for the perfect shopping trip revealed and includes 8 minutes queueing

  • Ideal trip includes leaving at 10am, driving 14 miles and buying six things
  • But mood killers include clothes outside price range and nothing that fits 
  • Men prefer to go with their partners and take more pictures before buying 

By

Deni Kirkova for MailOnline


Published:
08:39 EST, 23 April 2015

|
Updated:
08:42 EST, 23 April 2015

The formula for the perfect shopping trip has been revealed.

British people say four hours round the shops, a posh coffee and a flapjack, and spending £131 makes for the ideal day out in town.

The new research also found the ideal expedition would include leaving home at 10am for a 14-mile drive to a shopping centre or High Street, ending in a purchase of six items. 

Four hours round the shops, a posh coffee and a flapjack, and a £131 spend makes for the ideal day in town
And finding a bargain in a sales or squeezing into a smaller size than usual was seen as a bonus

Four hours round the shops, a posh coffee and a flapjack, and a £131 spend makes for the ideal day in town

The new research also found the ideal expedition would include leaving home at 10am for a 14 mile drive

The new research also found the ideal expedition would include leaving home at 10am for a 14 mile drive

And finding a bargain in a sales or squeezing into a smaller size than usual was seen as a bonus when it came to successful retail therapy. 

Stores with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and staff and being able to try or test things before buying them also help make a shopping trip perfect.

But its bad news for the men – while almost four in ten placed their partner as their ideal shopping companion, women would rather go with a friend or alone.

The poll of 2,000 Britons showed 72 per cent enjoy shopping, though typically limit their larger shopping trips to the changing seasons, going four times a year.

And on each of those trips, eight different stores will be visited, with women testing or trying on eight items before eventually buying six of them.

Women will also sent one photo of something they are planning to buy, as well as one text or phone call, to get the opinion of a friend or loved one before handing over their money.

Women test or try on eight items before eventually buying six of them

Women test or try on eight items before eventually buying six of them

A shopping trip can be ruined by finding nothing in your price range, no clothes that fit and wanting something expensive which you can't afford

A shopping trip can be ruined by finding nothing in your price range, no clothes that fit and wanting something expensive which you can’t afford

More than half said sitting down at a coffee shop for a cake and hot drink makes their shopping trip great

More than half said sitting down at a coffee shop for a cake and hot drink makes their shopping trip great

The biggest obstacle was shown to be waiting too long in queues, with a mere eight minutes revealed as the longest time women want to wait to be served.

A penny-pinching 42 per cent said not finding anything in their price range would kill their shopping buzz, with the typical Briton expecting to find at least four bargains on the rails.

And more than half (53 per cent) said not finding anything they like by the end of their shopping trip would leave them feeling disappointed, while 42 per cent would struggle to have the perfect trip if they can’t find things they like in the right size or price range.

 Good choices, minimal queuing and even who you go with can all contribute to that new purchase buzz

A staggering 86 per cent believe they are more likely to have a successful trip of they can test things or try them on before buying.

Researchers also found some huge differences between men and women when it comes to shopping.

While women try to make a day of it, men try to get it over with as quick as possible, with an impatient 16 per cent of guys admitting they strive to complete a shopping trip in less than an hour.

And less confident than their female counterparts, men were more likely to send a photo of a piece of clothing or item they are considering buying to a partner or friend to get a second opinion before buying.

It also emerged Londoners spend among the highest amount when on a shopping trip – £146 compared to the national average of £131.

London shoppers are also more likely to be put off by a store which didn’t have enough staff to help them, or if they can’t test or try things before buying them.

A mere eight minutes is the longest time women want to wait to be served

A mere eight minutes is the longest time women want to wait to be served

Men were more likely to send a photo of a piece of clothing or item they are considering buying to a friend

Men were more likely to send a photo of a piece of clothing or item they are considering buying to a friend

A spokesperson for cosmetics brand, Lush, which commissioned the study for the opening of its largest store on Oxford Street, said: ‘The results show the extent to which people see going shopping as an experience rather than just something to get done.

‘For most people, there are a lot of factors which go into making a shopping trip perfect.

‘Good choices, minimal queuing and even who you go with can all contribute to that new purchase buzz. 

‘And for many, simply returning home without finding something they really like is all it takes to leave them feeling disappointed and ruin what could otherwise be the perfect shopping trip.

‘It goes to show that though online shopping is now seen as commonplace, the traditional shopping trip still counts for a lot, especially as it means you can test everything out before you actually hand over your money.’ 

Xmas Holidays

Boris Johnson kissed by woman on South Thanet campaign trail

  • London Mayor receives kiss from a female fan and is left with lipstick mark
  • Mr Johnson urged voters to block Farage in key seat of South Thanet
  • In Ramsgate visit he boasted that the polls were turning in Tories’ favour
  • Said he ‘profoundly and passionately’ hopes to stop Farage from winning

By

Matt Chorley, Political Editor for MailOnline


and
Daily Mail Reporter


Published:
10:27 EST, 21 April 2015

|
Updated:
05:08 EST, 22 April 2015

It’s a mark of popularity most politicians would give their right arm for – and proof that should Boris Johnson ever run for Tory leader, he has the female vote.

The London Mayor was given a big kiss on his right cheek by a particularly enthusiastic voter yesterday as he helped colleagues campaign in Ramsgate.

And as he got in his car later, he was spotted with red lipstick marks on his other cheek. 

Scroll down for video 

Boris Johnson received such a positive welcome in Ramsgate he was driven away with a lipstick mark on his cheek

Boris Johnson received such a positive welcome in Ramsgate he was driven away with a lipstick mark on his cheek

Mr Johnson recieves an ethusiastic kiss as female support for the Tory Mayor showed no sign of abating
A woman plants a kiss on Mr Johnson's cheek while he is out campaigning

Mr Johnson recieves an ethusiastic kiss – as female support for the Tory Mayor shows no sign of abating

Two young women take a selfie with Mr Johnson as he campaigned through London yesterday

Two young women take a selfie with Mr Johnson as he campaigned through London yesterday

Mr Johnson poses for yet another selfie with a young fan, before he took to the streets of Ramsgate, Kent

Mr Johnson poses for yet another selfie with a young fan, before he took to the streets of Ramsgate, Kent

Boris Johnson yesterday fronted a major Tory push into Nigel Farage’s backyard as he was mobbed – and kissed – by fans in the seat where the Ukip leader hopes to become an MP.

The London Mayor took to the streets of Ramsgate, boasting that the polls were turning in the Tories’ favour.

After touring shops and eating icecreams, Mr Johnson said he ‘profoundly and passionately’ hopes to stop Mr Farage from winning the target seat of South Thanet.

Mr Farage has vowed to quit as Ukip leader if he fails to win the seat, where the Tories are defending a majority of 7,600.

After some polls suggested that he could struggle, Ukip has stepped up its resources in the Kent seat.

But the Tories hope to appeal to people supporting other parties who want to stop Ukip that they ‘can vote for us and cut the head off the snake’.

On his walkabout yesterday, Mr Johnson insisted voters knew that only the Tories can secure the recovery: ‘There is a real risk other parties could mistakenly persuade people there was any other option.’

With Tory Craig Mackinlay at his side, Mr Johnson ate icecream in Tory party blue, chatted to locals sitting outside pubs and handed out leaflets.

As he was driven away from the seat, he was pictured with a lipstick mark on his cheek.

Mr Mackinlay, a former Ukip deputy leader, is locked in a tight fight with Mr Farage, with Labour’s Will Scobie close behind.

Mr Johnson yesterday joined Tory Craig Mackinlay, who is defending a Conservative majority of around 7,600 in the South Thanet seat

Mr Johnson yesterday joined Tory Craig Mackinlay, who is defending a Conservative majority of around 7,600 in the South Thanet seat

The pair ate Tory blue icecreams at at Sorbetta as they toured shops and businesses in Ramsgate, with Mr Johnson boasting that the polls are turning in the Conservatives' favour

The pair ate Tory blue icecreams at at Sorbetta as they toured shops and businesses in Ramsgate, with Mr Johnson boasting that the polls are turning in the Conservatives’ favour

Mr Johnson was met by the usual mob of journalists and turned heads as he walked down the main street toward’s the Kent town’s harbour.

But the mayor – who is running his own campaign to enter Parliament as MP for Uxbridge – also drew placard-waving Ukip supporters.

The high profile Conservative was not universally welcomed and was questioned by one person on why the Tories only started paying attention to the seat once Mr Farage announced he was running.

Another asked Mr Johnson if he himself would vote Ukip, while the eurosceptic party ensured two of its ad vans followed the group around the town.

During his visit, Mr Johnson chatted to people enjoying a drink outside in the bright sunshine at The Royal pub, visited the Rokka cafe and sampled bright blue bubblegum flavour ice cream at Sorbetta.

On his walkabout yesterday, Mr Johnson insisted voters knew that only the Tories can secure the recovery

On his walkabout yesterday, Mr Johnson insisted voters knew that only the Tories can secure the recovery

Mr Johnson denied his rare campaign stop outside the capital was an attempt to revitalise a Tory campaign criticised by some for being too negative

Mr Johnson denied his rare campaign stop outside the capital was an attempt to revitalise a Tory campaign criticised by some for being too negative

Mr Johnson repeatedly told passersby he and Mr Mackinlay were campaigning for 'regeneration for Ramsgate'

Mr Johnson repeatedly told passersby he and Mr Mackinlay were campaigning for ‘regeneration for Ramsgate’

Speaking to journalists, Mr Johnson denied his rare campaign stop outside the capital was an attempt to revitalise a Tory campaign criticised by some for being too negative.

He said: ‘I think that on the contrary if you look at the polls at the minute it’s very, very interesting.

‘You are starting to see some Tory leads but also the poll of polls is starting to put us ahead on average.

‘Last week I think we were a point or so behind on average and this week we’re ahead.

‘I think people are slowly starting to focus on this election, on the choice that is before them and on the record of Conservative government in pulling the economy out of the mire, getting it back on the road.

‘There is a real risk other parties could mistakenly persuade people there was any other option.’

There was a lot of love for the Mayor when he later visited Finchley in north London

There was a lot of love for the Mayor when he later visited Finchley in north London

Mr Johnson, who repeatedly told passersby he and Mr Mackinlay were campaigning for ‘regeneration for Ramsgate’, said he was eager to see the former Ukip leader join the Tory ranks in Parliament.

Constituency polling has suggested Mr Mackinlay, who was a founding member of Ukip and contested seats for the party at past general elections, is narrowly ahead of Mr Farage.

The Ukip leader has waged his own high profile campaign in the constituency, which was won by the Conservatives on a narrow majority in 2010.

Mr Johnson said his campaign would continue to be focused on London, suggesting he would not hit the national campaign trail.

He said: ‘Unless I specifically tell you otherwise, I am pounding the streets of London every day.’ 

Mr Johnson attracted a lot of admirers as he met supporters in the Kent sunshine yesterday

Mr Johnson attracted a lot of admirers as he met supporters in the Kent sunshine yesterday

Xmas Holidays

Rescuers describe moment they confronted migrant ship captain

  • Rescue worker said search for survivors of migrant ship was a ‘nightmare’
  • He described a ‘cemetery on the sea’ and red eyes of those killed
  • Giuseppe Pomilla confronted boat’s skipper, who lied about name 
  • Tunisian Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, accused of being drunk by passenger
  • Other survivors describe the terrifying moment the ship overturned  

By

Hannah Roberts For Mailonline In Sicily

and
Claire Carter for MailOnline


Published:
13:01 EST, 21 April 2015

|
Updated:
04:55 EST, 22 April 2015

Rescue workers have described the moment they confronted the lying ship’s captain moments after they searched a ‘cemetery in the sea’ for the bodies of hundreds of migrants who were killed in one of the Mediterranean’s worst disasters.

Around 900 men, women and children are believed to have died after their boat got into difficulty and overturned off Libyan waters, south of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Rescuers revealed how Tunisian skipper Mohammed Ali Malek lied to them about being responsible when they accused him over being the captain – using a fake name that he kept forgetting. The 27-year-old has since been arrested for multiple manslaughter.

Their account came as survivors broke their silence to say their feared they would die along with the friends on board the doomed boat.

Scroll down for video 

Lies: Rescuers Enrico Vitiello and Guiseppe Pomilla described how the ship's skipper lied to them. Pomilla revealed how he was haunted by the 'red eyes' of those killed after drowning in the Mediterranean sea 

Lies: Rescuers Enrico Vitiello and Guiseppe Pomilla described how the ship’s skipper lied to them. Pomilla revealed how he was haunted by the ‘red eyes’ of those killed after drowning in the Mediterranean sea 

Tunisian boat captain Mohammed Ali Malek (centre) is seen speaking to a nurse, believed to be Enrico Vitiello on an Italian coastguard ship before being arrested over the deaths of 950 migrants

Tunisian boat captain Mohammed Ali Malek (centre) is seen speaking to a nurse, believed to be Enrico Vitiello on an Italian coastguard ship before being arrested over the deaths of 950 migrants

Doctor Giuseppe Pomilla of the Order of Malta described the three hours he searched for the living among hundreds of dead floating corpses. He said: ‘It was like a nightmare. It was a cemetery. There were bodies everywhere you looked.

‘At first it seemed there was no one alive. It was 1am and the sea was black. With my torch I could see only two or three metres ahead of the dinghy. But it was easy to see if people were dead because when you died of asphyxia your eyes go red. 

‘Everywhere was these red eyes, all young men. Most were in T-shirts and normal clothes but some were naked. Maybe the current washed their clothes away.’

Dr Pomilla said that he had immediately identified the suspected captain of the traffickers, who was pale skinned, and joked about it when he first met him on the merchant ship that had saved his life, after being called to help the stricken boat. 

He added: ‘I said “You’re the trafficker then”. He said “No, no”. Then he laughed.

SAID’S STORY: ‘THEY BEAT US TO GET US ON TO THE BOAT’ 

Said’s ordeal began long before he was thrown into the water on Sunday night.

The 16-year-old Somalian – one of nine children – was put into the care of Sudanese traffickers last summer.

His parents were desperate for him to reach Norway, where he has relatives, so he could have a better life.

However, they couldn’t afford the first leg of the journey, so he was held prisoner by the armed smugglers for nine months on the Libyan border – having crossed the desert to reach it – while they paid off the fee.

There were many other children there, he explained, all badly treated. Many died in front of him because they didn’t have enough to eat and became sick.

Said was lucky – his parents managed to pay, and he was taken to Tripoli. But it took six days and he had to hide constantly. He was always scared of being imprisoned again.

Finally, at 11pm on April 18, Said was loaded into a rubber dinghy and taken to the fishing boat.

‘‎While getting onto the boat, I heard the smugglers say that they were going to try to get 1,200 onto the boat and that’s why they beat us to get us onto the boat,’ Said told Save the Children.

‘But they stopped at 800 because it was full, we couldn’t even move. There was no food or water.

‘During the night, the smugglers raised a call for help and when people saw the lights of the rescue boats everyone began to move to one side and the boat inclined to one side and then it turned over completely.’

As he hit the water, Said fainted. When he woke up, he had been rescued.

Exhausted, he is now turning his attention slowly to reaching his aunt’s house.

‘I hope to be able to do it without having to resort to smugglers because I have seen too many and I don’t have the money,’ he said.

‘We asked him what his name was but it was obvious that he had given the wrong name as the next time someone asked him he forgot it and couldn’t remember it for a few moments.

‘I have been doing this job so long I see who is the trafficker straight away. It’s written on their face. And they are always in much better shape than the others who are normally exhausted and tired.’

Nurse Enrico Vitiello, also with the Order of Malta and working on the Coast Guard vessel, said that the two suspected traffickers had kept themselves apart from the other survivors. 

He said: ‘We knew it was them. They didn’t want to be with the others. They just wanted to stay on their own. One black guy once put his arm on the Tunisian guy’s shoulder and he immediately pushed him off.’  

Malek was later charged with multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and aiding illegal immigration.

Prosecutors claim he contributed to the disaster by mistakenly ramming the overcrowded fishing boat into a merchant ship that had come to its rescue. 

They claimed as a result of this collision the migrants on board shifted position on the boat, which was already off balance, causing it to overturn.

He was arrested along with his alleged smuggler accomplice, a 26-year-old Syrian crew member named Mahmud Bikhit, who was charged with ‘aiding illegal immigration’.

Meanwhile, one survivor claimed Malek was drunk when he collided with the King Jacob.

‘The captain was drinking wine,’ the survivor told La Repubblica.

‘He was drunk and he smoked hashish while he was at the helm a little while before the boat hit the Portuguese container ship.’ 

Another said that the captain had laughed as he beat migrants.

Ibrahim, an Eritrean who said he lost two brothers in the tragedy, said the Syrian crewman led the abuse of those who complained.

He told La Sicilia: ‘The other captain, the Syrian, hit us, mainly those who complained about the conditions on the journey, while they both laughed. ‘

The Tunisian captain steered the boat like ‘ a madman’ he said.

‘They were horrible, deranged. One steered the boat like a madman, holding a bottle as he held the rudder. He kept smoking and drinking and laughing.

Another survivor Fofana said he had paid 1,000 dollars more for the place on the top deck that saved his life.

‘We paid more, almost 1000 dollars more, for a better place. We were on the top deck almost 50 of us. The others were in the two lower levels. When we left they wanted to put more people on board but in the end they decided that we were too many and we left. ‘

Ibrahim, 20, added: ‘I am afraid of the sea now. It’s horrible and crazy like those two that killed everyone, including my two brothers. I couldn’t save them because they panicked.’

Another Eritrean Tesfalem said: ‘Someone wanted me not to die, now I am condemned to live.’

While they were searching the waters Dr Pomilla said a man from the coast guard heard a cry for help in English. The boy from Mali aged 18 or 19 did not know how to swim but was clinging to an inflatable life belt, he said. 

Other survivors were seen clinging to dead bodies as they waited for help from the Maltese and Italian coastguards who came to rescue them in the middle of the night.

The survivors were told that all the women and children on the boat had been sitting below deck and had been trapped when the ship went down. Some survivors said they died like ‘rats in cages’. 

Infra red images released by the coast guard show the rescue operation after the migrant ship capsized 

Infra red images released by the coast guard show the rescue operation after the migrant ship capsized 

Some of the youngest survivors of the disaster disembark from the rescue boat. Save the Children has said they will be encouraged to go to school if they decide to stay in Italy

Some of the youngest survivors of the disaster disembark from the rescue boat. Save the Children has said they will be encouraged to go to school if they decide to stay in Italy

People rescued were grateful to be alive but devastated to have lost their friends, Pomilla added. 

‘I helped one of the boys get dry and gave him a change of clothes, and took him down to see the nurse,’ he said.

‘Then I heard him crying, his head in his hands. He hugged me and said he was crying because of his friends that had not made it. Another asked if he could look at the bodies for his sister.’

Malek grins on the desk of the Italian coastguard ship next to some of the migrant survivors before his arrest

Malek grins on the desk of the Italian coastguard ship next to some of the migrant survivors before his arrest

Tunisian boat captain Mohammed Ali Malek (centre) bites his nails as he waits to disembark an Italian coastguard ship before being arrested over the deaths of 950 migrants who died when his ship sank

Tunisian boat captain Mohammed Ali Malek (centre) bites his nails as he waits to disembark an Italian coastguard ship before being arrested over the deaths of 950 migrants who died when his ship sank

Malek watches some of the bodies being taken off the rescue ship for burial in Malta before he left the ship

Malek watches some of the bodies being taken off the rescue ship for burial in Malta before he left the ship

Mohammed Ali Malek
Mahmud Bikhit

A police handout showing Mohammed Ali Malek (left) and Mahmud Bikhit (right) after their arrest in Sicily

Others who survived the wreck revealed the terror of the moment the boat began to sink.

Abdirizzak Hassan, 16, almost wept as he remembered.

‘I was very scared. It was dark and all you could hear was people screaming. I just prayed I would live.’

The Somali teen added: ‘The boat was divided into three decks and each one was packed. There was easily 800 people onboard – maybe more. It was mostly men but there were some women and children.

PICTURED: THE ETHIOPIAN AT THE CENTRE OF THE HUMAN SMUGGLING RING

Ermias Ghermay, who lives in Tripoli, was already wanted on an arrest warrant in connection with an October 2013 capsizing off Lampedusa that left 366 dead

Ermias Ghermay, who lives in Tripoli, was already wanted on an arrest warrant in connection with an October 2013 capsizing off Lampedusa that left 366 dead

This is the face of the Ethiopian man Italian police believe is sending thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean – many to their deaths – as the head of a people trafficking ring. 

Ermias Ghermay, who lives in Tripoli, was already wanted on an arrest warrant in connection with an October 2013 capsizing off Lampedusa that left 366 dead.

But this is the first time police have revealed the photofit of Ghermay – who, along with Eritrean Mered Medhanie, is thought to have made £72million from trafficking in the last two years with little concern for the fates of those who pay thousands to make the dangerous journey.

Ermias Ghermay is already wanted on a warrant in connection with an October 2013 capsizing off Lampedusa

According to the Independent, Ghermay was heard telling contacts in Italy: ‘They organised another trip a few days ago.

‘I don’t know what happened – they probably died.’

In another recording, Medhanie, who is known as The General and thought to have a wife and child in Sweden, is heard to boast he had sent ‘7,000 to 8,000′ people across to Europe this year alone, the Independent reports.

Ghermay is one of several traffickers Italian police are pursuing in connection with a major human smuggling ring.

‘When the big ship approached everyone got very excited and ran to one side. At the same time we struck the big ship and turned upside down.’

Omar Abdi Daqane, 17, also from Somalia, said he survived because he managed to hold onto a lifejacket.

‘It was horrible. It was terrible being in the water in the dark.

‘All the people were thrashing about in the water and screaming. I just kept thinking about my family and I would never see them again. Now I’m safe and I’m happy.’

Riajul Islam, 17, from Bangladesh, worked in a hotel in Tripoli for a year to earn the £450 he needed to pay for his place on the boat.

He said he felt ‘lucky’ because he was not locked in the hold. 

‘I lived because I was on the top deck and I know how to swim,’ Riajul explained.

‘I thought I was going to die. There were about 50 or 60 people in the water. I was in there for about 20 minutes before I was picked up.’

Fellow Bangladeshi Nasir Khan, 17, said: ‘I’m so glad to still be alive. Others were not as lucky. I’m just grateful I was on the top deck. 

‘I didn’t have a life jacket but I managed to just swim and stay afloat. We were lucky the water wasn’t cold otherwise it would have been different.’

He said he was looking forward to starting a new life in Europe. 

‘In Bangladesh there is no work but now I have the opportunity to do something good and earn a living with a job.’

He said his family had seen the story and were very worried about him but now knew he was alive.

Dr Pomilla revealed how other relieved teens ‘wanted to take selfies with us and asked for us to be Facebook friends with them’.

He added: ‘They have so much courage to start a new life all alone.’

Four teenage survivors from the sunken ship off the coast of Libya pictured in a temporary accommodation center for children in Catania. From left to right - Riajul Islam, 17, Nasir Kha17, Abdirizzak Hassan 16yld and Omar Abdi Daqane 17yld . picture by Nick Cornish

Four teenage survivors from the ship that sunk off the coast of Libya in a temporary accommodation center for children in Catania. Pictured from left to right is Riajul Islam, 17, Nasir Khan, 17, Abdirizzak Hassan, 16, and Omar Abdi Daqane, 17

Survivors said they resorted to clinging to floating corpses until coastguards came to their rescue

Survivors said they resorted to clinging to floating corpses until coastguards came to their rescue

The stricken boat initially set off from Egypt and then stopped off on the Libyan coast near the city Zuwarah to pick up more passengers, it has been reported. 

It set off from Libya on Saturday and sent out a distress signal shortly before midnight 120 miles south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. It later capsized.  

Most of the survivors and the victims of the disaster appear to have been young men but there were also several children aged between 10 and 12.

The survivors, who hailed from Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Somalia, Eritrea and Bangladesh, were all recovering on Tuesday at holding centres near Catania on Sicily’s eastern coast. 

The Maltese Prime Minister has previously estimated that the traffickers would have made between 1million and 5million euros by selling places on the boat to desperate migrants. 

Sunday’s tragedy comes just days after another shipwreck in the area claimed 400 lives, the worst in a series of migrant shipwrecks that have claimed more than 1,700 lives this year – 30 times higher than the same period in 2014 – and nearly 5,000 since the start of last year.

In that time nearly 200,000 migrants have made it to Italy, mostly after being rescued at sea by the Italian navy and coastguard. 

Haunted: A surviving immigrant who escaped the boat that capsized in the Mediterranean Sea killing up to 900 people appears deep in thought as he arrives in the Sicilian port city of Catania this morning

Surviving immigrants who escaped the boat that capsized in the Mediterranean Sea killing up to 900 people appear deep in thought as they arrive in the Sicilian port city of Catania this morning

Growing numbers of Africans have been setting off on ill-fated voyages to Europe from Libya and the country’s coastlines has become a prime target for people-smugglers. 

Tens of thousands of migrants have also been tempted into crossing because of the recent warm weather, and Italian officials believe there may be as many as another million people waiting to board to boats in conflict-torn Libya.

The coast guard reported that it saved some 638 migrants in six different rescue operations on Monday alone.

On Tuesday, a further 446 people were rescued from a leaking migrant ship about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of the Calabrian coast

At talks in Luxembourg on Monday, EU ministers agreed on a 10-point plan to double the resources available to maritime border patrol mission Triton and further measures will be discussed at a summit of EU leaders on Thursday.  

Critics say Triton is woefully inadequate and are demanding the restoration of a much bigger Italian operation suspended last year because of cost constraints.  

Hardline: Tony Abbott, whose conservative government introduced a military-led operation to turn back boats carrying asylum-seekers before they reach Australia, said harsh measures are the only way to stop deaths

Hardline: Tony Abbott, whose conservative government introduced a military-led operation to turn back boats carrying asylum-seekers before they reach Australia, said harsh measures are the only way to stop deaths

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged the EU to introduce tough measures to stop migrants attempting to make the perilous sea voyage from North Africa to Europe.

Mr Abbott, whose conservative government introduced a military-led operation to turn back boats carrying asylum-seekers before they reach Australia, said it was the only way to stop deaths. 

While Mr Abbott’s controversial policy has proved successful, with the nation going nearly 18 months with virtually no asylum-seeker boat arrivals and no reported deaths at sea, human rights advocates say it violates Australia’s international obligations. 

Outlining his views on preventing the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, Mr Abbott told reporters: ‘We have got hundreds, maybe thousands of people drowning in the attempts to get from Africa to Europe.’

The ‘only way you can stop the deaths is in fact to stop the boats’, he added.  

Some of the estimated 250 detained migrants at the Abu Salim detention centre in Gasr Garabulli, Alaqrablola

Some of the estimated 250 detained migrants at the Abu Salim detention centre in Gasr Garabulli, Alaqrablola

These people are thought to have been waiting to make the crossing to Europe

These people are thought to have been waiting to make the crossing to Europe

Libyan officials announced they had stopped several boats packed with Africans trying to reach Italy’s shores in the past three days, detaining more than 600 immigrants.

The war-torn country’s security forces detained around 70 Africans in Tripoli where they were waiting for smugglers to put them on a boat bound for Lampedusa, a senior immigration official said on Tuesday.

At least two boats, one packed with some 250 people from Senegal, Ghana and Ethiopia and other African nationalities and another one with Ethiopians and Eritreans on board, were stopped in the past three days after sailing off from Libya, he said. 

 

 

 

 

Xmas Holidays

Wonga’s Andy Haste says brand might change its name after £37m losses

  • The firm lost £37.3million after revenues fell by a third over the past year
  • Wonga has been hit by public controversy and forced to compensate customers over fake legal letters
  • New cap on payday loan interest rates is set to damage company further

By

Hugo Gye for MailOnline


Published:
02:53 EST, 21 April 2015

|
Updated:
08:27 EST, 21 April 2015

Controversial payday lender Wonga could change its name in a desperate attempt to regain credibility after a string of scandals caused the firm to lose £37.3million.

The firm has been hit by new rules on payday lending, as well as being forced to pay compensation to customers who were sent fake legal letters.

Wonga’s revenues fell by nearly £100million last year to a total of £217.2million, it was announced today – months after the company wrote off the debts of 300,000 customers.

Controversial: Wonga, whose puppet advert is shown here, has reported a loss of £37.3million

Controversial: Wonga, whose puppet advert is shown here, has reported a loss of £37.3million

Now chairman Andy Haste says that the company might ditch its controversial brand in a bid to repair the company’s reputation.

‘We are not ruling it out or in,’ he told Reuters today. ‘The question comes down to whether it remains the only brand or one of many brands, and ultimately does it stay as a brand for the overall company?’

Wonga’s financial woes are expected to continue thanks to a new cap on the interest rates it can charge which was introduced at the start of this year. 

Announcing the firm’s latest set of results today, Mr Haste said: ‘We said Wonga would be smaller and less profitable in the near term as we focus on creating a sustainable business that lends responsibly and transparently to customers who can afford to borrow from us.

Desperate measures: Chairman Andy Haste says that Wonga might change its name

Desperate measures: Chairman Andy Haste says that Wonga might change its name

‘We know it will take time to repair our reputation and gain an accepted place in the financial services industry, but we’re determined to deliver on our plans and serve our customers in the right way.’

He said that all credit providers have to ‘put their customers first and lend responsibly’, admitting: ‘Regrettably, that has not always been the case at Wonga.’

The firm’s chairman insisted that Wonga would no longer lend to customers who cannot afford to repay their loans, and said that the company had ‘grown too quickly’ without putting in place the necessary management structure.

The number of Wonga’s customers in the UK fell by nearly half, to 575,000, with the company making 2.5million loans in the course of 2014 compared to 3.7million the year before.

The total amount of money lent fell from £1.1billion to £732million – but the company said that just 6.6 per cent of loans were defaulted on, down from 6.9 per cent in 2013.

Wonga has cut the proportion of loan application it accepts from 80 per cent to just half after toughening up the criteria which potential lenders must meet.

However, Mr Haste admitted that it is likely to take another year to turn the company around, saying that 2016 would be when ‘we will start to come back’.

Last year, Wonga took a £35million hit from writing off 300,000 personal loans, and also faces a £20million bill over the bogus legal letters scandal.

The company was ordered to compensate 45,000 customers who were sent official-looking letters demanding repayment from law firms which were actually just a front for Wonga itself.

Wonga also courted controversy with its cheerful adverts featuring puppets, which critics claimed were designed to appeal to children and which have now been pulled from the airwaves.

Row: The company now faces new restrictions on the amount of interest it can charge on loans

Row: The company now faces new restrictions on the amount of interest it can charge on loans

New rules introduced this year are designed to clamp down on the costs of payday loans offered by companies like Wonga.

Interest rates have been capped at 0.8 per cent a day – meaning that Wonga has had to cut its annual rate from 5,853 per cent to 1,509 per cent.

Experts have warned that up to 99 per cent of payday lenders could be driven out of business by the rates cap, although Wonga is considered likely to survive because of its high profile.

However, earlier this year Wonga announced that it was sacking 325 staff – a third of its workforce – in the wake of the new rules.

Among those who have led the criticism of Wonga is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who announced plans to set up a Church-backed credit network which can compete with payday lenders. 

TIMELINE: HOW BRITAIN’S PAYDAY LENDER SCANDAL UNFOLDED 

Clampdown: Payday lenders are now significantly restricted in the interest rates they can charge

Clampdown: Payday lenders are now significantly restricted in the interest rates they can charge

March 2013: The UK’s biggest payday lenders are threatened with being put out of business after a damning report by the Office of Fair Trading uncovers evidence of ‘widespread irresponsible lending’.

June 2013: The OFT refers payday lenders to the Competition Commission for a full-scale inquiry, saying it has found ‘deep-rooted’ problems. It finds some firms’ business models appear to be based around customers taking out loans which they are forced to roll over because they cannot afford them.

March 2014: Payday lenders face a new inquiry to see how sympathetic they are when customers struggle to pay back their debts, the Financial Conduct Authority announces.

April 2014: Supervision of the whole payday lending industry passes from the OFT to the FCA. The FCA immediately starts putting tough new rules into action, including forcing payday firms to provide financial health warnings in emails, online and in texts and signpost people to free debt help.

June 2014: The Competition and Markets Authority releases provisional findings from its competition investigation and says that payday loan borrowers are paying around £60 a year over the odds because of problems shopping around. It suggests setting up an independent price comparison website for payday customers.

The FCA announces that Wonga is to pay £2.6million in compensation after chasing struggling customers with fake legal letters in order to pressurise them into paying up. Between October 2008 and November 2010, the firm sent correspondence to about 45,000 customers in arrears from non-existent law firms threatening legal action.

July 2014: The payday industry comes under more new rules overseen by the FCA. From July 1, payday firms have to include risk warnings in television advertising. They are also banned from rolling over a loan more than twice.

The FCA proposes a cap on payday lending, meaning that from January interest and fees on new loans, including those rolled over, must not exceed 0.8 per cent for each day of the amount borrowed.

October 2014: The CMA announces plans that will force payday lenders to sell their products through impartial comparison websites as part of a new clampdown by the watchdog 

January 2015: The FCA’s new cap on interest rates comes into force. It is predicted to squeeze up to 99 per cent of lenders out of the market. 

February 2015: The Competition and Markets Authority says payday lenders will have to put their deals on comparisons sites, as Wonga reveals plans to sack one third of its workforce.

April 2015: Wonga reports a pre-tax loss of £37.3million in the wake of its high-profile struggles.

Xmas Holidays

Chloe Knapton ‘unable to smile’ after she was glassed by stranger in traffic jam

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Chloe Knapton, 21, was attacked when man smashed down her car window
  • She had surgery after glass was left embedded in her neck after the attack
  • Attack happened while she was driving her car but had stopped in the road
  • Andrew Shires, 37, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire is charged with wounding

By

Steph Cockroft for MailOnline


Published:
04:12 EST, 21 April 2015

|
Updated:
08:26 EST, 21 April 2015



These are the horrific injuries inflicted on a 21-year-old dancer who has been left ‘unable to smile’ after a stranger smashed down her car window while she was sitting in a traffic jam.

Chloe Knapton, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, had to have surgery after a man shattered her car window with a bottle, causing the broken glass to become embedded in her neck.

Ms Knapton’s family has now released shocking photos which show the extent of the young woman’s injuries.

The young woman was attacked by a stranger as she sat in her car

Chloe Knapton, 21, has been left with horrific injuries and is 'unable to smile'

Chloe Knapton, 21 (pictured left) has been left with horrific injuries and is ‘unable to smile’ (right) after a stranger smashed down her car window while she was sitting in a traffic jam

The 21-year-old dancer has released shocking photos which show the extent of the young woman’s injuries

The incident took place when Ms Knapton was driving home from a night out on Thursday last week.

Ms Knapton was driving with her friend, who was in a separate car, when she came across a bike lying across the middle of the road.

Her friend stopped to get out of her vehicle to move the bike out of the way of traffic. But as she left the car, a man waiting at a nearby bus shelter came hurtling towards her with a glass bottle.

The man then hurled abuse at the girl, before walking up to the Ms Knapton’s car and smashing the bottle against her window.

Ms Knapton has been left with deep wounds to her shoulder

Ms Knapton has been left with deep wounds to her shoulder, neck, nose and mouth following the attack

The impact caused glass to shatter all over Ms Knapton, leaving her with deep cuts to her face, neck and shoulders. The glass bottle even became embedded in her neck. 

After Ms Knapton was attacked, she managed to drive to a friend’s house nearby where she called 999.

She was then rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where she underwent surgery for her injuries. She was also given several stitches on both sides of her lips and made to stay in hospital for three days.

Her mother Allyson also revealed that she can no longer smile because of the stitches around her mouth. 

She said: ‘She can’t smile. She can’t eat so she has liquid food.

‘They were extremely deep wounds to her shoulder and a two or three inch wound to her neck, which was embedded with bottle.’

Among her injuries, Ms Knapton was also left with a deep cut to her shoulder, a deep wound to her neck and cuts between her nose and mouth. She also lost a tooth.

Mrs Knapton added that her daughter had been ‘incredibly brave’.

She said: ‘She was so brave. The ambulance did not arrive for an hour and 15 minutes. It was ridiculous. There was pools of blood on the pavement.

‘She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary. There was glass everywhere. She has had to have stitches on both sides of her lips, inside and out, and round her nose.

She was also given several stitches and made to stay in hospital for three days

Ms Knapton (pictured left and right) had to be rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where she underwent surgery for her injuries. She was also given several stitches and made to stay in hospital for three days

The attack took place when Ms Knapton stopped on New Road in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, to remove a bike out of her way

The attack took place when Ms Knapton stopped on New Road in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire (pictured) to remove a bike out of her way

‘She had three different lots of surgery and also needs dental treatment as one of teeth has gone too.’

Ms Knapton, an aspiring cruise ship dancer, runs her own dance school, KT Academy in Holmfirth. She has received hundreds of messages of support from her friends and colleagues. 

  • Andrew Shires, 37, from Holmfirth, has appeared at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court, charged with wounding the woman. He was remanded in custody until his next appearance at Leeds Crown Court on May 5. 

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Xmas Holidays

Do ‘pervert’ MPs enjoy immunity from prosecution, asks PETER MCKAY

By

Peter McKay for the Daily Mail


Published:
18:49 EST, 19 April 2015

|
Updated:
04:18 EST, 20 April 2015

Accused of child sex crimes, Labour peer Lord Janner 'is innocent of any wrong-doing', says his family

Accused of child sex crimes, Labour peer Lord Janner ‘is innocent of any wrong-doing’, says his family

Accused of child sex crimes, Labour peer Lord Janner ‘is innocent of any wrong-doing’, says his family.

However, it won’t be tested in court. The former lawyer, now 86, is said to be suffering from dementia. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) says his trial isn’t in the public interest.

What, I wonder, would a healthy Lord Janner say about such a case?

Four years ago, commenting on the conviction of ailing Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk — 66 years after his war crimes were committed — Janner said: ‘Age or poor health cannot absolve anyone of appalling crimes.’

A claim of poor health now seems to have absolved him from having to face 22 child sex allegations, dating from 1969 to 1988, involving nine victims.

Janner was first interviewed in 1991 after his name was mentioned in the trial of Frank Beck, a notorious paedophile jailed for abusing boys in Leicestershire children’s homes. 

He was accused of ‘grooming’ and abusing a boy aged between 13 and 15. But the CPS didn’t pursue the case.

He was investigated again over new allegations in 2002 and 2006-7. Again, the case was dropped.

In 2013, Leicestershire Police interviewed more than 2,000 people and a file of evidence was submitted to the CPS. More than a dozen individuals made allegations relating to Janner.

He was alleged to have befriended the manager of a children’s care home to allow him access to children so he could ‘perpetrate serious sexual offences on children’.

Janner denied the allegation. His protection from prosecution led Home Secretary Theresa May to tell the BBC: ‘I was very concerned when I heard about this decision. I have been very clear in everything I have said so far about the child sexual abuse issue… I expect to see justice done.’

This is a slap in the face for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders. She is under pressure to consider her position over the Janner affair.

Having her decision questioned by the Home Secretary, police chiefs and prominent MPs is unusual.

Saying, as she does, that her job is to make the correct decision, not the most popular one, doesn’t begin to get her out of trouble. She has now appointed a High Court judge to investigate why no case was brought.

A claim of poor health now seems to have absolved him from having to face 22 child sex allegations, dating from 1969 to 1988, involving nine victims

A claim of poor health now seems to have absolved him from having to face 22 child sex allegations, dating from 1969 to 1988, involving nine victims

Journalist and broadcaster Jay Rayner, who has followed the case since reporting on it in 1991, said in yesterday’s Observer: ‘I can tell him now what went wrong and spare him the trouble. The Establishment, in the shape of fellow MPs, men such as Labour’s Keith Vaz, Tory David Ashby and the then Lib Dem MP now Lord Carlile, closed ranks.

‘Janner was a barrister and MP, a man who had campaigned for justice for victims of the Holocaust. It simply couldn’t be true.’

Rayner adds that Janner invited him to tea in 1992: ‘I was intrigued. I knew people who worked for him and had been asking pointed questions. He must have known this.

‘If so, he gave no indication. He cheerfully poured the tea, handed round sandwiches and talked light politics. He didn’t give the impression of a man who feared the judicial system catching up with him.

‘As of last week, it never will.’

Is it true that politicians enjoy immunity from prosecution, especially when the crimes alleged to have been committed are of a sexual nature?

Liberal MP Cyril Smith was accused of serious child sex crimes; so was former Tory Home Secretary Leon Brittan. They’re now dead and beyond prosecution. Labour’s Lord Janner, while still alive, is in the same position.

Household names from all three major parties; all accused of similar sex crimes; all escape prosecution. Is there one law for those who have to obey them, and another for those who make them?

Greville Janner might well be beyond prosecution. It could be his bad luck to become too unwell to have his day in court.

But the reaction of the legal and political establishment to the decision not to prosecute him suggests otherwise. The game’s up.

Even Anna bows to pearly queen Posh

David and Victoria Beckham en famille — with sons Brooklyn, 16, Cruz, ten, and Romeo, 12, and three-year-old daughter Harper (right) — were the star attraction at Burberry’s fashion show in Los Angeles. 

Our pearly king, queen, princes and princess of the 21st century, with Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour (far right) in attendance as their lady-in-waiting. 

The Beckham family sit alongside editor-in-chief of American Vogue Anna Wintour at the Burberry 'London in Los Angeles' event at Griffith Observatory this week

The Beckham family sit alongside editor-in-chief of American Vogue Anna Wintour at the Burberry ‘London in Los Angeles’ event at Griffith Observatory this week

An online U.S. comment: ‘Behold Anna Wintour gazing upon the impeccably cheek-boned Beckham family in, what is that, admiration? Cool respect? Actual love?’ 

Miss Wintour, 65, has become close to the Beckhams. And, it has been reported, Mrs Beckham, 41, might be keen on succeeding Anna at Vogue. 

There is a precedent of sorts. Anna’s great-great-great grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Foster, was a well-connected writer. 

Her best friend was Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire. Lady Elizabeth later married Georgiana’s husband, the 5th Duke. They lived ‘in a triad’ for the next 25 years’. Fancy! 

The Socialist Republic of Scotland

As an exiled Scot in London since the Sixties, I am asked by my English friends how I can defend the Scottish National Party’s offer to Labour of a deal whereby they’ll ‘lock the Tories out of government’.

Nicola Sturgeon (above) gets rave reviews. She performed better than rivals in the debates

Nicola Sturgeon (above) gets rave reviews. She performed better than rivals in the debates

It’s no use saying that the majority of Scots, who don’t vote for the Conservatives, were ‘locked out of government’ in the Thatcher and Major years. The reason is that the government of our 300-year-plus union — and the vast majority of the population — resides in England.

Personally, despite polls saying otherwise, I’ve placed a bet on a Tory majority. If it’s not to be, I am relaxed about how long an SNP / Labour pact will endure.

It’s not that I don’t have faith in Scotland. I do. It has punched above its weight for centuries. But the calibre of those attracted to politics — as in England — has been diluted. In other words, they’re in-it-for-all-they-can-get professionals.

Nicola Sturgeon (right) gets rave reviews. She performed better than rivals in the debates. But so would a middle-aged stripper in a burlesque show featuring one-armed octogenarians.

If I were young again in Scotland, the prospect of a triumphantly SNP regime, preaching ‘an end to austerity’ — ie, more welfare paid for by public debt — would send me towards what irascible man of letters Dr Samuel Johnson described (to diarist companion, Scotsman James Boswell) as ‘the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees… the high road that leads him to England!’

Clarkson in a dodgy breakdown

Jeremy Clarkson says a doctor found ‘a possibly cancerous lump’ on his tongue with which, two days later, he lashed a Top Gear producer, then hit him in the mouth after being told he could not have a steak supper.

He also mentions the recent death of his mother and the break-up of his marriage, telling the Sunday Times, for which he writes: ‘I felt sick because I’d lost my home and my mother, I’d thrown myself even more vigorously into my job, and now, idiotically, I’d managed to lose that, too.’

Perhaps feeling that we’d see this as excuse-making, he adds: ‘But everybody has stressful days and they manage to cope better than I did.’

Jeremy Clarkson says a doctor found 'a possibly cancerous lump' on his tongue two days before his 'fracas' with a producer

Jeremy Clarkson says a doctor found ‘a possibly cancerous lump’ on his tongue two days before his ‘fracas’ with a producer

I liked Top Gear, enjoying Clarkson’s zest for giving offence to po-faced types who’d prefer us all to drive around in 20 mph electric motors and who insist on us kow-towing to all foreigners on the basis that they’re morally superior to us in every way.

If only he didn’t now seek to enlist our sympathy in this way.

Baron Falconer of Thoroton, aka Charles Leslie Falconer, lawyer and a former flatmate of Tony Blair, is now advising Ed Miliband on ‘the transition to government’.

The Times quotes Falconer as saying Miliband ‘wants to strengthen the Downing Street machine’. Specifically, to ‘reinstate the 50p tax rate within weeks and grab more power’, according to a list of draft Bills already handed to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.

What authority does Falconer have? None whatever. His status derives from the life peerage racket by which donors can be rewarded, no-longer-useful old Parliamentary boobies can be given retirement jobs or cronies brought into government without the tiresome process of offering themselves to voters.

That Miliband should be prepping himself under Labour old lag Charlie makes nonsense of his promises to offer a new, fairer, more inclusive way of sharing power.

Following the collapse of cases against journalists paying public officials for information, The Sun calls the body responsible ‘The Crown Persecution Service’. I agree, but suggest a refinement: The Clown Persecution Service.

Jeremy Paxman offers his gloomy political asides in the Financial Times, which sells fewer issues here than the Big Issue, saying: ‘Your choice has precisely the same weight as that of the village idiot.’ No consolation if village idiots happen to be in the majority! 

Xmas Holidays