MP O’Mara to step down from Parliament

On Saturday he issued a text message saying: “I’m not well and am in the process receiving medical help. “I am not in any fit state to continue and nor would that be appropriate if I was.” ‘Wasted opportunities’ He was previously accused of treating his constituents with “inexcusable contempt” by his former press chief Gareth Arnold. In one of a series of highly critical comments posted on Mr O’Mara’s Twitter account, Mr Arnold said: “Sheffield Hallam deserves so much better than you. “You have wasted opportunities which people dare not to even dream of.” A day after those comments, Mr O’Mara said: “I want to become a better person again; like I was. I feel I’ve become unrecognisable and …

UK sends second warship to Gulf amid Iran tensions

“Merchant ships must be free to travel lawfully and trade safely, anywhere in the world.” Mr Wallace added the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels “until this is the reality”. HMS Duncan is a Type 45 Destroyer which the Royal Navy describes as “among the most advanced warships ever built”. Why have tensions escalated? Earlier this month, British Royal Marines helped seize Iranian tanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar which was suspected of breaking EU sanctions, infuriating Iran. In response, Tehran threatened to capture a British oil tanker. On 19 July, British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in the key shipping route. A second British-linked tanker, the MV Mesdar, was also …

Hottest July day leads to travel chaos

Elsewhere in Europe, new high temperature records were set in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Second Europe heatwave set to intensify and peak The UK’s record-breaking heat in maps Heatwaves and the human body Why is Heathrow so hot? Image copyright AFP Image caption …but in Brighton, beachgoers made the most of the record-breaking heat How is it affecting travellers? Network Rail said heat-related incidents were causing disruption across the rail network and warned people to make checks before travelling to see how their journey was affected. It said it was working “flat out” to fix the issues as quickly as possible. Packed carriages and rail delays on hottest day The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network …

Who are the smokers that haven’t quit?

Smoking rates also differ considerably around the country. Only 8.6% of those in East Devon smoke, for example, compared with 21.8% in Dundee. Why are these groups more at risk? In recent years, the UK has introduced policies that appear to have helped many smokers quit and deterred others from starting. The smoking ban was introduced in 2007, alongside a raising of the minimum purchasing age to 18. Taxes on a £10 pack of 20 cigarettes have increased to over 80% of the retail price, while the packaging and display of tobacco products have become increasingly restricted and advertising banned. Wales is targeting a 16% smoking rate by 2020, while the Scottish government aims to create a “tobacco-free” generation by …

Puberty-blockers study under investigation

The Health Research Authority – which ensures medical studies are ethical and transparent – is now investigating claims brought to them by the BBC’s Newsnight programme about the early findings from the study – and the information that is understood to have been shared with patients and parents about the possible effects of puberty blocking drugs. Transgender kids ‘need help from all sides’ Transgender teen care ‘needs regulation’ NHS child gender reassignment ‘too quick’ When a child in the UK is questioning their gender, they can be referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in London and Leeds. One treatment on offer is puberty blockers. They work on the brain to …

Boris Johnson: Does Africa shrug, smile or scowl?

The Shrug The age of empire, of telegrams from the Colonial Office in Whitehall, is long gone, and so is the time when Africans cared about the politics of the island nation that once held the fortunes of half the globe in its hands. These days UK sanitation experts, governance advisors and aid officials criss-cross the continent with little fanfare and, perhaps, diminishing relevance. The same goes, to some extent, even for British royalty. Image copyright EPA Image caption China has become a major investor in Africa Increasingly and crucially, the red carpet is also being rolled out for investors from fellow African nations – as a once disconnected continent, now linked together thanks to Chinese-built infrastructure, begins to focus …

Wales urged to take lead in blood scandal

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJennifer Hutchinson was diagnosed with hepatitis C, 34 years after receiving contaminated blood A lawyer representing dozens of victims of the contaminated blood scandal has urged the Welsh Government to take the lead in helping them. At least 300 victims from Wales were left with chronic or life-limiting conditions such as hepatitis or HIV after receiving contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 80s. A public inquiry begins taking evidence in Cardiff on Tuesday. Michael Imperato said it was about justice and bringing victims comfort. Health Minister Vaughan Gething said he was committed to supporting victims and working to ensure they had “clarity and parity”. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Infected …

Iran ‘choosing dangerous path’ over tanker seizure

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJeremy Hunt warns of “serious consequences” for Iran Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has expressed his “extreme disappointment” in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart following the seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf. It comes after Mr Hunt warned Iran may be choosing a “dangerous path” of “illegal and destabilising” behaviour. The Stena Impero’s owners have been unable to contact the ship, which was surrounded in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran said the vessel was “violating international maritime rules”. In the call, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Mr Hunt the ship must now go through a legal process, according to the Iranian news agency ISNA. ‘A predictable crisis’ …

High Court to rule on coma girl’s treatment

Image copyright Family Handout Image caption Tafida’s mother said her daughter was opening her eyes and moving her limbs Tafida, from Newham, east London, suffered a traumatic brain injury in February and has been on life support ever since at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, part of Barts Health NHS Trust. Image copyright Family Handout Image caption Tafida and her father Mohammed Raqeeb However, doctors from Royal London “remained adamant” they would not allow the patient to leave, according to legal documents. A spokesman for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said that its clinicians and independent medical experts had found “further invasive medical treatment is futile”. The trust has agreed to continue providing “life-sustaining” treatment to …

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘in psychiatric ward’

Her father said he visited the hospital on Tuesday but was not allowed to see his daughter and that she has not been allowed to contact her family. What is the Zaghari-Ratcliffe case about? Jailed Nazanin begins new hunger strike Iran travel warning for dual nationals How does six days on hunger strike feel? The campaign said before being transferred, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had told relatives: “I was healthy and happy when I came to Iran to see my parents. “Three and a bit years later and I am admitted to a mental health clinic. “Look at me now – I ended up in an asylum. It should be an embarrassment. “Prison is getting harder and harder for me. I hate …

Care for older crime victims ‘not good enough’

Inspectors found 153 cases in England and Wales where a safeguarding referral should have been made by police to the local council. But there were no such referrals in about half (77) of the incidents. Police forces in Greater Manchester, North Wales, Dorset, Humberside, Cambridgeshire and Gloucestershire were examined for the report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI). ‘Inconsistent’ The report said: “Crime against older people isn’t well understood, despite the vulnerability of older people and the importance that society attaches to looking after people in their old age.” Although police forces recognised fraud was an “increasingly common concern” for older victims, forces had only a …

‘We spoke out and lost our jobs’

“They’re a leading school and I thought it was unfair on other students, especially when we had more resources.” ‘First line of defence’ Katherine, not her real name, is one of more than 400 people who gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Whistleblowing detailing cases including child sex abuse, financial fraud, bullying, unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment. The parliamentary group is calling for an “urgent radical overhaul” of whistleblowing law as they say it is failing to adequately protect victims who come forward. UK universities in ‘gagging order’ row MPs call for ban on ‘gagging clauses’ EU gives ‘high-level’ protection to whistleblowers’ The Public Interest Disclosure Act was established in 1998 but the group say the law …

Solange shines at London’s Lovebox

It’s an abstract, complex record, with none of the instant hooks of its predecessor, 2016’s A Seat At The Table. But the audience, instead of being alienated, seemed enraptured by the snaking, jazz-like arrangements, and Solange’s sunlit harmonies. Wisely, the singer peppered the set with more-recognisable songs from her back catalogue – the street funk of Losing You, and the soaring ballad Cranes In The Sky – and threaded the new record’s most memorable earworm, Things I Imagined, throughout the set as a musical motif. Skip Youtube post by SolangeKnowlesVEVO Warning: Third party content may contain adverts Report The band was crisp and clear, with a brass section that brought a fresh, New Orleans vibe to the material; highlighting Solange’s …

Does 5G pose health risks?

These waves travel shorter distances through urban spaces, so 5G networks require more transmitter masts than previous technologies, positioned closer to ground level. Radio waves are non-ionising The radio wave band – used for mobile phone networks – is non-ionising, “which means it lacks sufficient energy to break apart DNA and cause cellular damage,” says David Robert Grimes, physicist and cancer researcher. Higher up the electromagnetic spectrum, well beyond those frequencies used by mobile phones, there are clear health risks from extended exposure. The sun’s ultra-violet rays fall within this harmful category, and can lead to skin cancers. There are strict advisory limits for exposure to even higher energy radiation levels such as medical x-rays and gamma rays, which can …

Hunt: I expect Brexit by Christmas

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe BBC’s Andrew Neil interviews Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt Tory leadership contender Jeremy Hunt has refused to guarantee that the UK will leave the EU before Christmas, but said he “expects” it to happen by then. He would not say when Brexit would take place if he became PM, telling the BBC: “I’m being honest with people”. Rival Boris Johnson said the UK would leave by 31 October “come what may”. He also defended his remarks on the UK ambassador in Washington, who quit this week over leaked criticisms of Donald Trump. Mr Johnson added he did not accept that his failure to support Sir Kim Darroch during a debate on …

Mum ‘left in dark’ over son’s hospital treatment

He has been receiving his treatment at the hospital’s current home in the Sciennes area of Edinburgh until now. The Sick Children’s Hospital had been due to move to its new £150m building in Little France, on the outskirts of the city, on Tuesday. But last week Health Secretary Jeane Freeman told NHS Lothian not to go ahead with the opening after inspectors found problems with the ventilation system. The announcement was made on Thursday. The following day, Danielle, from Balerno, received a letter which said that Teddy was to have blood tests in the new building at the beginning of August. Related Topics NHS Edinburgh Original Article : HERE ;