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UK - The Huffington Post UK news and blog articles from The Huffington Post

  • World's First Floating Wind Farm Starts Producing Electricity In Scotland
    by Thomas Tamblyn on October 19, 2017 at 11:58 am

    The world’s first floating offshore wind farm has started producing electricity off the coast of Scotland.Hywind Scotland is now sending enough electricity into the Scottish grid to power a staggering 20,000 homes during peak weather conditions.The Norwegian energy company behind the technology, Statoil, have been perfecting their design since 2009.Each turbine is a whopping 175m tall (that’s taller than Big Ben) and weighs over 11,000 tonnes.To prevent these vast towers from tipping over each one uses what’s called a spar buoy. It’s essentially a vast floating weight that extends deep below the surface, much like an iceberg.Each buoy is filled with around 3,000 litres of sea water and 5,500 tonnes of solid ballast. Finally each turbine then gets three vast suction anchors that are placed deep into the seabed.The end result is that you have a huge wind turbine that can operate in deep sea conditions of depths up to 105m.In addition to the floating wind farm Statoil are also working on a massive battery project in Scotland called Batwind, a 1MWh battery system specifically designed to store the energy generated by Hywind during off-peak hours.Hywind will ultimately serve as a template for what could be the next evolution in wind power: Deep sea wind farms.So far, we’ve been limited by the depth of the ocean, forcing us to build wind farms offshore but still close enough that the infrastructure can support them. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=59b668f9e4b0354e441305a8,5922bd44e4b034684b0d9c7a,585cd968e4b00768ddcead3dBy creating wind farms that can float, you not only remove the limitations set by depth but it means you can finally access one of the largest renewable energy sources on the planet: The North Atlantic.In a recent study, it was theorised that if we could build wind farms out in the deep oceans of the North Atlantic there would be enough harvestable energy to power our entire planet. Even during off-peak seasons there would still be enough energy to power the whole of Europe.That’s before you even start factoring the other renewable energy sources at our disposal such as solar, geothermal and hydroelectric. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • RT Advert On London Underground Shows Broadcaster Is Putin's 'Mouthpiece,' Tom Watson Says
    by Jack Sommers on October 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Adverts for Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT that tell London commuters to watch to “find out who we are planning to hack next” show it is the Russian government’s “mouthpiece”, Labour has said.Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson called on broadcast regulator Ofcom to investigate RT,  formerly known as Russia Today, over the advert running on the bus and Tube network, saying it is “not funny” and “caused significant alarm”.The advert refers to allegations that Russia used hacking to manipulate the outcomes of elections in the West, including in the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s victory.Interesting billboard from RT seen on the London Underground. Seems like they _want_ people to know they are disinformation.— Matt Manning (@MManningIEI) October 18, 2017“This has caused significant alarm in light of the fact the Russian state has been linked to a series of cyberattacks across the world,” Watson wrote in his letter to Ofcom chief executive Sharon White, seen by HuffPost UK.“I appreciate the RT advert in question may have been intended as ironic or humorous but it isn’t funny.“At a time when there are grave international and domestic concerns following hacking by the Russian state, this provocative advert is a tacit admission that RT is the mouthpiece of that state.”Watson’s intervention comes after Boris Johnson condemned Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, for appearing on the channel for interview, despite the fact many Tories, including his own father, had done the same.The hacking advert is one of a series of provocative ads running on London buses and on the Tube, in which the channel mocks accusations of bias and cites them as a reason to watch it.Have you ever seen those RT adverts on the London Underground? They're pretty brazen:— Olaf Jensen (@OlafJensen) October 17, 2017.@RT_com continues to mock allegations of Russian interference, this time in the London Underground— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) October 11, 2017RT has relished the publicity the ads have given it, saying Labour peer Lord Adonis was “triggered” when he said displaying them on London public transport was “very wrong” as RT was “state propaganda”.British Lord @Andrew_Adonis triggered by RT ads on the London Underground:— RT UK (@RTUKnews) October 18, 2017The adverts are due to run for four weeks and a Transport for London spokeswoman said they “comply with our advertising policy”.Ofcom has no oversight of adverts but Watson urged them to investigate as the hacking reference “raise concerns relating the principles of impartiality and editorial independence”.An Ofcom spokesman said: “We have received Mr Watson’s letter and we’ll respond shortly.” RT has repeatedly been accused of biased reporting in Russia’s favour, particularly over stories such as Ukraine and Syria.Ofcom sanctioned the channel in 2015 for a programme that had “little or no counterbalance or objectivity” when it accused the Ukrainian Government of massacring civilians in its fight against Russian-backed rebels.Though RT says it is editorially independent, it is funded by the Russian government.Vladimir Putin has said the channel “cannot help but reflect the Russian government’s official position”.The Advertising Standards Agency told HuffPost it had received a complaint, which accused the advert of being “offensive as it likely to cause fear or distress (by suggesting a foreign power can disrupt a democratic system)”.A spokesman added it was still being assessed to see whether there was grounds for an investigation.RT told HuffPost the ad campaign “was fully approved by all UK vendors”.“We are glad that so many in the UK are engaging with our advertising,” a spokeswoman added. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • 21 Emotional Wedding Moments That Moved The Photographer To Tears
    by Rachel Moss on October 19, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Professional wedding photographers regularly witness powerful displays of love and emotion as part of their job. So when the person behind the camera starts crying, you know there’s some seriously sentimental stuff unfolding before their eyes. We asked photographers to share with us a wedding moment that moved them to tears. Below, 21 poignant images and the beautiful, and sometimes heartbreaking, stories behind them.   “This moment had me struggling to see straight through my camera. While planning her wedding, my bride’s mother passed away and the whole day was full of mixed emotions of sadness and joy.  In her memory, the couple had placed a large framed photograph of the mother of the bride in her seat, which is not uncommon. The moment that caught me off-guard was during the wedding ceremony when I stepped behind the altar to catch an alternate angle of the vows and saw the father of the bride, resting his hand on the frame, just as he would have held her hand had she been there. As he teared up, so did I.” — Ashley Gerrity“This couple had a small, intimate wedding ceremony with only their immediate families present. When they shared their vows, they were extremely heartfelt and personal. There was no fanfare or performance. The groom spoke first to his mom and then to his soon-to-be wife. He shared thoughts from a letter he had written to his mom about how he had found the love of his life. It showed the depth of his love and the thought that went into his relationship. The respect and love he had for the important women in his life was touching and enough to bring tears to our eyes.” —  Marc and Brenda Bergreen“Sophia and Sean had decided to give each other gifts before seeing each other for their first look. When Sophia opened her gift from Sean, she saw it was a scrapbook. The minute I saw her bring her hand up to her mouth and her eyes begin to fill with tears, I could barely see through the viewfinder myself. Sean had given her a scrapbook filled to the brim with memories they had shared together with the promise of many more.” — Michelle Lieb“Matthew and Jamie are two gorgeous people with hearts made of gold, and seeing them walk down the aisle with their two little girls, pure happiness radiating on their faces as they were about to exchange their words of devotion — there wasn’t a single dry eye in sight. There’s just something so captivating about two people who love each other so deeply that their own joy and emotions make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.” — Lauren Laveria“Robert and Meg met each other 30+ years ago. They had a great love, broke up, lost touch, married other people, had adventures and families, suffered losses, and then – when they were both were single again and had comfortably accepted that it was their destiny to be alone – found each other again.” — Nicole Chan“Vinita hugging her brother (with her father in the background) after her wedding ceremony. It’s a traditional part of the Sikh ceremony where the bride’s family does a farewell called the ‘doli’.” — Gurminder Banga“Lydia and Brandon tied the knot with Brandon’s adorable 7-year old-daughter in tow. Lydia wrote special vows just for her and read them during the ceremony. Not a dry eye in the crowd — including me.” — Jennifer Smith“I said to [the groom] Adrian, ‘I have a question for you, but I want you to tell the answer to Roslyn and not me.’ I continued, ‘Out of the billions of people on the planet, you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life with Roslyn. Can you tell her why?’ In a matter of moments I could start seeing Roslyn’s eyes glisten, then the most beautiful tears streamed down her face. Then I found myself crying. Oh love, you are oh so precious.” — James Day “Karen and Becky planned a Christmas wedding at their church where they were finally able to marry after a decades-long romance. I cried behind my camera during the entire ceremony and a guest towards the back of the church offered me tissues.” — Leah Moyers “I almost always cry during ceremonies, but this moment especially got ahold of me because of the sweet connection Jena, the bride, had with her dad! He spent months building this treehouse deck and clearing some of his land for their wedding and everything was so beautiful. It was a huge labor of love and he dreamed about walking her down to her groom the whole time he built it. To see the pride and love on his face during that moment, and the loving look on her face seeing her groom, it completely took my breath away!” — Abbi Hearne“Britt and Allison were so excited to share their day with their favorite people in their favorite place on the Cape. They even spent months handpicking a postcard for each guest for their escort cards and wrote a personalized note on the back of every one! After months and months of hard work, their day had arrived. The morning of, they got ready in adjacent rooms so they could surprise each other. As Britt walked up to Allison for their first look, I saw that Allison was trying to hold it together but as soon as she saw her beautiful bride, that overwhelming feeling gave way.” — Karen Eng“This picture, taken at a father-daughter first look, made me cry not once, but twice. When the bride’s father walked in the room and saw his daughter in her wedding dress, he was immediately overcome with emotions. The bride thanked her father for the dress and for giving her the dream wedding. In return, he simply said thank you for being such a wonderful daughter. Later on, when I was in the car with the bride, she shared the story of her dress and how she had been to so many stores to find the perfect one. The one designer store she had not been to yet (but was totally in love with) was very expensive, and she thought she couldn’t afford anything there. When her father heard of this, he took her there and bought both his daughters and his wife outfits from their favorite designer. Seeing this outfit on her was so overwhelming for him as well as for her.” — Priyanca Rao“This wedding was like a dream and definitely made me cry. Some of these people you see in these photos were their friends but many were random onlookers at Burning Man. The emotion and connection was unreal. Magical. You can feel the love in the photos.” — Steph Grant“The bride and groom sat back-to-back on a swing so they wouldn’t see each other, as they read love letters to each other before getting married. It was the sweetest thing ever .” — Jill Tiongco“I was ugly-crying at this moment. Backstory: Three years ago, my friend passed away before he knew he was about to become a father to this beautiful little girl. Tomás delivered his vows to Fina and her 2-year-old daughter, promising to honor her father and always be her daddy.” — Justin Haugen“Brit and Lisa’s daughter gave a toast at their wedding. She made a moving speech, noting how they’ve always felt like family, and it only feels right that it’s official. There were tears from everyone, but especially her moms.” — Liv Lyszyk“As familiar as we get with emotional moments at weddings, there is always something very touching when the groom cries.” — George Fotopoulos“I have a younger daughter so when the daughter and dad see each other on the wedding day is such a special moment for me. The bride got ready at her parents’ house and she walked down the stairs to see her dad. I always try to talk with Dad prior so he knows this is the last moments he gets to spend with his daughter before she’s married, so to enjoy it and don’t be afraid to show emotion. So the bride is crying, the dad is crying, and I am crying. Thank god for autofocus.” — Brian Mullins“This image shows a simple moment between a mother and her son during their reception dance. But I was crying as I took it, as were all family members witnessing this moment. Just days before the wedding, the groom’s mother discovered that her brain cancer was inoperable and that she only had weeks to live. She didn’t want to impact her son’s wedding, so she shared the news with the immediate family, but not with her son, the groom. I was told the news when I arrived to photograph the wedding and I spent the day trying to keep it together as I tried my best to create important photographs.” — Rob Greer “The couple giving the toast is a simple photograph, but during that speech they announced that all the gifts and proceeds from their wedding will be donated to help kids in Nepal get a better education. I thought this was so absolutely selfless and thoughtful for such a young couple.” — Mari Harsan “This was the moment Kate turned around and saw Natasha in her dress for the first time. She was full of emotion to see her beautiful bride, and there truly wasn’t a dry eye around!” — True Photography  type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=SEE ALSO: + articlesList=59e5d273e4b0ca9f483a6f04,59a56d68e4b050afa90cb363,58f898e7e4b091e58f38af62 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • These Researchers Can Incredibly Bring Still Photographs Back To Life
    by Sophie Gallagher on October 19, 2017 at 11:22 am

    We all know the feeling when you go to take a selfie and accidentally find yourself video recording your double chin (so good for the self confidence).But now a team of researchers has found a way to sneakily bring your motionless photographs back to life without your (unintended) assistance.The team of scientists developed a technique which allows them to animate still images without access to any video footage of the person featured in the picture. Creepy. Sure, Apple’s Live Photos does the trick, for when you want to animate a still image for a few seconds, but the software has to have recorded the footage at the time you took the original picture.But this new method, designed by a joint team from Tel Aviv Uni and Facebook, relies on a separate ‘driving video’ of someone else entirely to help them map out your expressions.Through some careful attention to detail, the team are then able to translate those emotions and corresponding expressions on to your photograph.It even works on paintings that are centuries old (Frida Kahlo and the Mona Lisa cracking out a smile).The ‘driving video’ essentially acts as the input for researchers to create a ‘rough’ guide or ‘coarse animation’ of what your face would look like in motion, then in a second step they are able to overlay the finer details for your photo that need to be filled in.In the explanatory video you can see an example of them taking a selfie and making it look like a woman is moving back and forth (they describe this as the breathing effect). Or another of a man looking angry, surprised or smiling, all based around a single motionless capture. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=59707b82e4b0aa14ea778264,570ce766e4b07a35187c9511,5964d5c2e4b005b0fdc85aceAs Facebook was involved with working on this project, it could mean that in the future users would be able to animate their fixed profile pictures. Although this real-world application has not been confirmed by the social network. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • How Harvey Weinstein Reports Could Be Triggering For Survivors Of Sexual Assault
    by Brogan Driscoll on October 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

    The sexual assault claims made about Harvey Weinstein have shocked the world, with more than 30 women coming forward, including many A-listers.The revelations are distressing enough for most readers, but particularly survivors of rape, sexual assault and abuse for whom the reports may be triggering.Meena Kumari, National Lead for Domestic Violence and Abuse at independent charity Victim Support said the trauma may be “exacerbated when the event or a similar incident are elaborately reported in the media, forcing survivors to relive that experience and past trauma”.“Sexual violence is a traumatic experience and those who are subjected to it can experience post-traumatic stress symptoms in the same way that those who’ve survived other kinds of trauma might,” a spokesperson for Rape Crisis told HuffPost UK. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year, and nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted.Not only could certain details cause flashbacks for these individuals, but he manner of reporting can have a lasting impact. The Rape Crisis spokesperson said: “The way stories like this are reported can sometimes implicitly or less so imply that the victim or survivor was someone partly responsible for the violence perpetrated against them.“This victim-blaming can add to their own sense of self-blame, shame or guilt, for not being able to prevent or fend off the attack or abuse, for example.” type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=SEE ALSO: + articlesList=59e09720e4b04d1d5180f1d6,59e0816fe4b0a52aca16f8a9Caitlin Roper, founder of Collective Shout, a grassroots campaigns movement against the objectification and sexualisation of women, said that revelations such as this can be “devastating” for onlookers with histories of rape and sexual assault.“It is a painful reminder of how our society regards women who come forward and speak honestly about what has been done to them, and a preview of the treatment they can expect should they speak out themselves.”However, she believes that the impact of seeing so many women having the bravery to come forward and tell their stories can have a positive impact.“It can be very validating for survivors to know that other women, perhaps even women they respect, have been through similar experiences and found the strength to overcome them,” she said. “It can be healing to see this abusive treatment of women being widely condemned as wrong and unacceptable.”It’s important for survivors to safeguard themselves by regularly checking in with how they’re feeling. Kumari said: “Our advice to anyone who has experienced a sexual assault or for anyone supporting someone through this would be to seek help early on. Early intervention to treat initial signs of stress and trauma can prevent the onset of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).”Victim Support provided a list of the many potential symptoms associated with trauma:· Emotional experiences such as shock and numbness, fear and anxiety, helplessness, irritability, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, fear of a similar incident occurring again and also guilt· Some symptoms may affect people socially such as becoming withdrawn, conflict within relationships and avoidance· Psychological experiences such as distressing thoughts and images, impaired memory and concentration, disorientation and hypervigilance are common· There are also physical effects which can range from poor sleep, headaches, insomnia, a lack of appetite and low energy levelsIt isn’t just survivors who might be able to spot they aren’t coping with the news cycle, friends and family can also play a crucial role.Rape Crisis spokesperson advised: “The most important thing is to listen and be patient, allowing them to talk in their own time and not pressuring them into one course of action or another, even if you think something, like therapy or reporting to the police for example, is for their own good or is what you would do in their situation.”For support visit the following:Victim Support is an independent charity that provides free specialist practical and emotional support to all victims of crime, including sexual assault, whether or not it has been reported to the police. Call their 24-hour support line on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit the website.The Rape Crisis website has lots of information that survivors and those who love and support them might find useful, including details of local specialist support services, including confidential telephone (0808 802 9999), text and email helplines, counselling and advocacy.  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • You Can Effectively Track Anyone, Anywhere Just By The Adverts They Receive
    by Thomas Tamblyn on October 19, 2017 at 11:07 am

    We already know that our smartphones can give away a frankly scary amount of information about ourselves but researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that the situation is actually far worse than we thought.In an experiment the team found that by spending just $1000 on targeted adverts to a smartphone, they could track a person’s location, the apps they were using, even where they went for coffee.“Anyone from a foreign intelligence agent to a jealous spouse can pretty easily sign up with a large internet advertising company and on a fairly modest budget use these ecosystems to track another individual’s behaviour,” said lead author Paul Vines.So how did they do it? Well to be able to track a phone through adverts you need something called a mobile advertising ID. This can be obtained either by joining an unsecured network they’re on at the same time (coffee shop WiFi), or by having temporary access to his or her router.Once you’ve got that you can start delivering what’s known as hyperlocal adverts. You can then set these adverts to be sent out at a specific location, and then watch in real-time to see if the person has received the ad or not. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=59e48689e4b03a7be581ba73,59b007f7e4b0b5e53102b215,58ac3b4ee4b0f077b3edc721If they have, then it means they’re there. By creating a network of these ads you can effectively create your very own map of their complete movements.What’s even more concerning is that the person doesn’t even have to engage with the ad, and once it has been delivered the team were able to pinpoint a person’s location to within just 8 metres.“To be very honest, I was shocked at how effective this was.” said co-author Tadayoshi Kohno. “There’s a fundamental tension that as advertisers become more capable of targeting and tracking people to deliver better ads, there’s also the opportunity for adversaries to begin exploiting that additional precision.”So how do you stop it? Well at the moment the team are only able to recommend a few steps that can help.Turning on a feature called ‘Limit Ad Tracking’ within your iPhone certainly helps, as does activating a feature just below it called ‘Reset Advertising Identifier’. This effectively deletes your old mobile ad ID and replaces it with a new one making it harder for individuals to see who you are.The team will be reporting their findings at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society and the hope is that it can make advertising companies listen to their concerns and act accordingly.“We are sharing our discoveries so that advertising networks can try to detect and mitigate these types of attacks,” explains co-author Franzi Roesner. “So that there can be a broad public discussion about how we as a society might try to prevent them.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • Dolly Parton Offers First Look At CBeebies Bedtime Story
    by Ashley Percival on October 19, 2017 at 10:59 am

    If you’re one of the many people eagerly anticipating Dolly Parton’s CBeebies Bedtime Story (we know are), then you are in for a treat, as a first-look clip of her appearance has been released. The country legend is set to star in the segment on Wednesday 25 October, and a the teaser video shows fans are set for a rootin’-tootin’ good time. Pour yourself a cup of ambition...@DollyParton is coming! Watch her #BedtimeStory on Wednesday 25th October— CBeebies Grown-Ups (@CBeebiesHQ) October 19, 2017Dolly will read ‘Dog Loves Books’, coinciding with the release of her first children’s album, which came out last week. She follows in the footsteps of the likes of Tom Hardy, David Tennant, Nadiya Hussain and Tim Peake, and said in a statement: “It’s an honour to be reading for CBeebies Bedtime Stories as encouraging children to develop a love of books from an early age is very important to me. “I hope my songs and stories inspire the CBeebies audience in the UK. Thank you for having me!”Dolly also has a history with children’s books, as her charity, Imagination Library, provides free books for kids around the world.Having established it 22 years ago, she is currently working to get books into the hands of children that have less than others, specifically those who have been left displaced and in need following recent natural disasters in the States.“We’re donating hundreds of thousands of books to a lot of those victims in those places that have lost everything,” she told HuffPost UK. “To schools and shelters and families, where they’re stuck with all of these calamities.“And so that makes us feel good, to be able to help them that way too.”Dolly’s Bedtime Story airs on 25 October at 6.50pm on CBeebies. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • Going Beyond The Rhetoric: Unpacking The Role Of Faith Leaders And Institutions In Humanitarian Action
    by Amjad Saleem on October 19, 2017 at 10:57 am

    10 years ago the president of the Methodist Church challenged me in the east of Sri Lanka following a humanitarian crisis caused by the upsurge in the conflict. "Amjad! Whenever there is a crisis, people flee to the religious institutions and religious leaders. They are there for the affected community and remain with them even as security gets worse, whilst you as NGOs withdraw when your security is threatened. Why do you never respect that?". This question has plagued me since then and I have sought to understand why we as the international humanitarian community have failed to give the faith community the respect that it deserves and a seat at the table of policy makers and donors in terms of global programming, advocacy and decision making. As the discussion around localisation of aid becomes more heated and pertinent, we have to realise that we can not have a full discussion if we do not also consider the role of faith. Religious teachings, although diverse, teach the importance of compassion and of one common shared humanity, where each human being is important in him/herself. Human dignity and the welfare of all people are part of the main objectives of faith and religion, with the principal teaching of serving other people especially the downtrodden, irrespective of their faith, ethnicity, gender, and geography. Faith-based actors enjoy close proximity to, or are part of the populations affected by wider crises, and have therefore developed special relationships of trust, as well as insights and access to community members compared to many other actors. They are often present before crises, and are first responders when disasters hit. They are key providers of assistance and protection during crises and their aftermath. In a world where conflicts, violence, and natural disaster affect millions of people, faith-based entities share a critical responsibility and role in working for peace, both at local and national or international levels. Faith-based organizations can thus facilitate sustainable behavior and relationship changes based on faith and worldview, offering mediation and sacred space for dialogue between parties. Yet they are not a panacea. Engaging with faith and faith organisations also has its problems. There is a character to the religious playing field, that complicates matters. Our faith communities, whether they are numerous and powerful, a minority struggling for a voice, or even an influential tiny cadre, have undeniably, as strong a history of internecine strife and struggle as they do of cooperation and collaboration. There is a problem with the perception of what engagement with faith really means? In addition many faith communities are tied together across national boundaries, which have appeared or crystallised long after the faith community emerged. Globalisation has problematised, at one level, the very idea of the sacrosanctity of nation state borders. The flow of information and humans, respects no borders. This means that the faith communities themselves often feel united by mutual concerns and values, which are sometimes at odds with other policies. This all speaks to a trust deficit that exists with engaging with faith organisations and leaders. So much more needs to be done to bridge that gap. We need more evidence and case studies about the role and impact of faith organisations on individual and community resilience. We also need to work through an understanding of the tensions between programmes of certain faith organisationss (vis-à-vis conversion and proselytization) and the humanitarian principles of 'neutrality' and 'impartiality'.  Thus more is needed to explore and discuss especially in 'understanding the spiritual wisdom of humanity' i.e. in using spirituality as a mechanism higher than just simply faith for developing a consensus towards understanding human value and responding to the need.   Put simply if organisations and faith leaders can converge on shared religious values towards the spiritual values of humanity regarding the protection of human life and dignity and the relationship of these values to humanitarian principles, then they would be able to possible address these tensions.  There needs to be greater dialogue within and between faiths (and organisations) to not only understand humanitarian principles and instruments of International Humanitarian Law, but also look at relations with (and between) faiths, traditions and cultures which could then lead to new approaches for cooperation. We have to challenge ourselves to a new ethics of common concern that provides the moral commitments that relate to a sense of spiritual unity. On the flip side non faith organisations need greater faith literacy around humanitarian, development and peace building to have that understanding. Engaging with faith based organisations and faith leaders will also mean building the capacity of local faith communities to mitigate against and respond to disasters whilst also equipping religious premises and assets such as mosques, churches and other sacred places as possible emergency facilities and for community education on disaster risk reduction and preparedness.  So there is a lot to be done in this space. Last year at the World Humanitarian Summit, a special session to rethink and re-define the engagement with FBOs, communities, leaders and institutions. The conversation was started but has to be continued. This week in Sri Lanka, an international forum will discuss scaling up engagement of local faith actors in humanitarian response. Exploring a wide array of topics including migration, gender based violence, peace and conflict, the forum will present evidence on the responses of successful partnerships and call for greater sector-wide literacy and capacity for local faith communities. For many of the 'local' communities, we are talking about, faith (teachings, rituals, practice) are part of their DNA. We need to understand, respect and accept the role of faith-based actors in reducing humanitarian need and suffering. But we also need realise that this is still a process that will need to continue as we call for constructive dialogue between faith and non-faith players in the larger interest of communities in need.   -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • How To Shop For Chocolate Ethically
    by Claudia Canavan on October 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Whether it’s coffee, wine or chocolate: if you’re going to have a vice, make sure that you go in for the decent stuff. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • Return To Sender - The Letter To The 3 Million EU Nationals
    by Axel Antoni on October 19, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Last night the Prime Minister wrote a letter to us, the three million EU nationals in the UK, to reassure us that securing our rights remains top priority and that a deal with the EU is in touching distance. Well, actually, she did not write it to us, while Number 10 was busy drafting press releases on writing a letter to us she posted it on her Facebook page - the next morning. Theresa May reiterates that EU nationals will be able to stay. This is not news. This has been said for the last 10 months. For many EU nationals like me who have lived in this country for decades, a promise not to be deported is an affront rather than reassurance. The letter does not contain any more substance than that. She disagrees that she has been using the three million EU nationals as political bargaining chips - it "could be no further from the truth" she said. The questions though are, why write a letter on the evening of travelling to Brussels? Why send out a major press release before sending or publishing the letter itself? Why embargo the release to 10:30pm, early enough to be covered in all news outlets but too late to be challenged by the people actually addressed. The answer is simple: despite the letter being addressed to us, the intended audience is Brussels not the concerned EU nationals in London, Birmingham, Cardiff or Glasgow. Yet again, the plight of real people, neighbours, colleagues, spouses, children, is used for political gaming. Caring looks different. Theresa May is offering 'User Groups' to discuss the process of registering. Important note: she wants to listen to us on process but not on policy. Despite the policy of how to register us still under discussion in Brussels, both Theresa May and David Davis have declined to meet with the3million, the grass roots group representing EU nationals in the UK. The group has offered constructive advice and objected to proposed measures such as compulsory blanket criminal record checks. Something no British citizen would stand for if it was mandatory for them. The main message of the letter though is that Theresa May wants EU nationals to stay and that she is not intending to break up families. All very good, all said before, but it conflicts with the actual UK offer on family reunification on the table in Brussels. The harsh reality is that there are already 15,000 children in the UK living in so called Skype families. Families where one parent is not allowed to reside in the UK or even worse the child not allowed to reside in the UK because of UK immigration law. The same law the UK is intending to drag three million EU nationals into under the proposed settled status. Anyone who has ever dealt with UK immigration law will tell you that it is cruel and uncaring. Once rejected deportation happens first, appeals can only be logged from abroad later. Amber Rudd, during her evidence session at the Home Office committee several days ago said that unemployment could be reason for rejection. How does that fit with not breaking apart families? Will spouses, mothers or fathers be deported in case they become unemployed? The letter does not give reassurance. It simply confirms the impression that the UK Government is very skilful in dressing up an inadequate offer using positive-sounding language. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik Apologises For Harvey Weinstein Comments, After Being Accused Of ‘Victim-Blaming’
    by Rachel McGrath on October 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Mayim Bialik has apologised for her comments on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, after she was accused of victim blaming. The ‘Big Bang Theory’ actress caused controversy when she wrote in a New York Times opinion piece: “Those of us in Hollywood who don’t represent an impossible standard of beauty have the ‘luxury’ of being overlooked.”On Sunday (15 October), Mayim took to Twitter to claime her words had been taken out of context, but she has now offered a straight-up apology, writing: “Let me say clearly and explicitly that I am very sorry. “What you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault, nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for being assaulted: you are never responsible for being assaulted.“I applaud the bravery of the women who have come forward. I support these women as we seek out and demand accountability from the only ones responsible for rape: the people who perpetrate these heinous crimes. “I am motivated and driven to work hard to empower women.”— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) October 18, 2017One paragraph of Mayim’s piece that drew criticism read: “And if - like me - you’re not a perfect 10, know that there are people out there who will find you stunning, irresistible and worthy of attention, respect and love.“The best part is you don’t have to go to a hotel room or a casting couch to find them.”The actress isn’t the only star to apologise for comments made on Weinstein and on Sunday, James Corden said he was “truly sorry for anyone offended” by jokes he made about the movie mogul at a charity gala the day before.Woody Allen also sought to clarify his thoughts on the matter, after saying it was “tragic for the poor women that were involved, sad for Harvey that [his] life is so messed up”.He later told Variety: “When I said I felt sad for Harvey Weinstein I thought it was clear the meaning was because he is a sad, sick man.“I was surprised it was treated differently. Lest there be any ambiguity, this statement clarifies my intentions and feelings.”Over 3 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault and  as of Monday (16 October), British police are investigating five allegations against him. Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual relationships. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • ‘Strictly’ Star Alexandra Burke Strips Naked To Show Off The Jaw-Dropping Results Of Her New Healthy Lifestyle
    by Matt Bagwell on October 19, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Alexandra Burke has shown off the incredible results of focusing on a healthy lifestyle in a naked photoshoot.The ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ favourite stripped off for the Women’s Health shoot having losing two stone, after adopting a healthy diet and taking regular exercise. The 29-year-old revealed she dropped three dress sizes by sticking to eating six small meals a day and regularly hitting the gym.She said: “By the summer of 2015, I’d piled on three dress sizes over two years, going from a size eight to a 14.“My hectic tour schedule meant that I’d often skip the gym, miss meals and then gorge on takeaways late at night.“I wasn’t overly troubled by how I looked - I was in a happy relationship with my boyfriend Josh Ginnelly and my career since The X Factor was going brilliantly well.”The former ‘X Factor’ winner says she was inspired to kickstart her transformation because she was worried about potentially developing diabetes like her mum, who died earlier this year.Alexandra explained: “I started eating six small meals-a-day: porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch, a dinner of chicken or fish, with salad, and fruit and nut snack in between.“I suddenly had so much energy from eating regularly.“Healthy eating encouraged me to kick-start my gym routine. I now work out five or six times a week and my training schedule never changes, not even when I’m on holiday...“Two years later, I’m three dress sizes smaller and 2st lighter, and I’ve built up muscle.“It’s been a slow process but the rewards are for the long term.”Alex is the current favourite to win this year’s ‘Strictly’ after her Jive on last week’s show bagged her an almost perfect score of 39.The star was delighted when Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli all gave her top marks.But the joy was tinged with sadness as after a celebratory hug with her partner Gorka Marquez, Alexandra was seen crying and saying: “I just wish my mum was here.” type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=READ MORE: + articlesList=59e70671e4b0d0e4fe6c0244,59e315c5e4b0a52aca187127,59df5de3e4b0eb18af0695e4 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • Catalonia Threatened With Suspension Of Autonomy As Spain Plans Move To Impose Direct Rule
    by Sarah Ann Harris on October 19, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Spain is to begin the process of taking control of Catalonia’s powers, imposing direct rule on the semi-autonomous region, an official in Madrid said.Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is to hold a Cabinet meeting on Saturday to trigger proceedings - an unprecedented move.Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, ignored a 10am deadline to drop his secession campaign and threatened Rajoy with a formal declaration of independence in the Catalan parliament, Reuters reported.The two statements increased uncertainty over a political crisis that has raised fears of social unrest, led the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy to cut its growth forecasts and rattled the euro.If Rajoy invokes Article 155 of the 1978 constitution, which allows him to take control of a region if it breaks the law, it would not be fully effective until at least early next week. It needs the approval of the Spanish parliament.The country’s government said on Thursday it had a wide political backing from other parties.Government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said in a statement: “The government will use all the tools available to restore as soon as possible the law and the constitutional order, recover peaceful cohabitation between citizens and stop the economic damage that the legal uncertainty is creating in Catalonia.”In theory, Madrid can sack the local administration and install a new team, take control of police and finances, and call a snap election.But some members of the Catalan government have already questioned this interpretation of the constitution, suggesting the stand-off could extend for at least several more days.Puigdemont has already defied Rajoy once this week, when he ignored a first deadline to drop the independence campaign and instead called for talks.Rajoy says the Catalan government has repeatedly broken the law, including when it held a banned vote on independence on October and made a symbolic declaration of independence on Oct. 10, only to suspend it seconds later.Catalan officials claim that 1 October vite resulted in almost 90% voting in favour of independence. The vote was declared illegal by Madrid.Puigdemont says a violent police crackdown on the referendum and arrests of pro-independence leaders on charges of sedition show the Spanish state has become authoritarian.Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets over the past few weeks to protest following a violent police crackdown - that resulted in 900 people being injured - against the banned independence referendum. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=59d15966e4b05f005d350446,59d0fe9ce4b06791bb111b68,59d3f845e4b06226e3f44f35 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • Melania Trump's Body Double: Has The First Lady Been Taken Over By A Stand-In?
    by Sara C Nelson on October 19, 2017 at 10:09 am

    First Lady Melania Trump has been replaced by a body double - [but as yet there is no word as to whether her husband President Donald Trump has noticed!]That is one of the latest dubious theories to have been seized upon in the Wild West of the internet. So far the less-than-compelling evidence of this deception is contained in a brief clip of footage of her standing next to Trump as he made remarks on the Iran nuclear deal and hurricane relief for Puerto Rico on Friday.@blondyixing my wife melania who happens to be right here— local bird pervert (@niinjaturtles) October 19, 2017While Trump’s often bizarre behaviour and proclamations are common, conspiracy theorists have seized upon the president’s rather odd reference to his wife during this particular press conference.“My wife Melania, who happens to be right here,” he said, somewhat unnecessarily, as she stood next to him.‘Melania’, dressed not unlike Inspector Gadget in a belted trench coat and sunglasses despite the overcast day, remained mute and grave-faced for this exchange. This is not Melania. To think they would go this far & try & make us think its her on TV is mind blowing. Makes me wonder what else is a lie— Follow @Stoner on IG (@JoeVargas) October 18, 2017Melania's body language is never this expressive. She does not nod like this, nor look "to" him. #MelaniaBodyDouble— TresOui (@TresOui) October 19, 2017Melania doesn’t look like herself here...— Equilibrium (@Iustitia_Omnib) October 17, 2017@rhyse Is it me or does Melania appear to be a man in drag here with a wig and large sunglasses on. Can only assume she left trump weeks ago and he hasn’t yet found a way of saying he’s done a great job on the divorce ...I have the best divorce lawyers THE BEST .— Rhydian Williams (@Rhyddler) October 14, 2017Why wouldn't you havea stand in double, if you can.#MelaniaBodyDouble— Viceroy (@T2hays) October 19, 2017As well commenting on Melania/ the mysterious interloper’s conspicuous attempt to look non-conspicuous, the internet has focused the laser of suspicion upon her nose – which is apparently a markedly different shape to that of the First Lady’s.And some people have even made guesses at just who has stepped up to fill in for Melania...   What a twist!! #FakeMelania #melaniagate #MelaniaBodyDouble #melaniastuntdouble— SJF (@FaranShahar) October 19, 2017Breaking: Melania Trump just three kids in a trench coat #MelaniaBodyDouble #MelaniaTrump— Caitlin James (@caitlinjames) October 19, 2017Whether Melania is indeed using a body double (or has simply left her husband and he’s hired one), it wouldn’t be the first time such rumours had occurred.Back in September last year the internet was awash with suspicion that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was using a stand-in to convince naysayers she was well enough to run.Clinton, who had been diagnosed with pneumonia and was forced to leave a 9/11 ceremony, had endured jibes from Trump that she lacked the physical stamina to serve as president.Sightings of her shortly afterwards looking sprightly and well fuelled theories a body double had been planted by her team to throw the world off ‘the truth’. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related... + articlesList=588868dee4b03cf273dca704 -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

  • Stormzy Awarded Best Solo Artist At Q Awards, After Dominating Mobo Nominations
    by Ashley Percival on October 19, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Stormzy’s week just got even better, after he scooped a huge prize at Wednesday (18 October) night’s Q Awards. The grime star picked up the gong for Best Solo Artist at the ceremony, which came less than 24 hours after he dominated the nominations for this year’s Mobo Awards.Stormzy beat off stiff competition from Ed Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Lana Del Rey and St Vincent to win the prize, which was handed out at The Roundhouse in Camden. There were also two prizes for Liam Gallagher, who picked up Best Live Act and the Q Icon Award.Ed Sheeran was also named Best Act In The World Today, and arrived at the ceremony with his arm in a sling, after being involved in a bike crash earlier this week. The singer was forced to postpone the Asian leg of his world tour, having fractured his wrist in the accident.  Meanwhile, Wiley was given the Innovation In Sound award, while Best Album award was handed to Gorillaz for their fifth album ‘Humanz’.Check out the full list of Q Awards winners below...Q Best Breakthrough Act Presented by Red Stripe - Rag’n’Bone ManQ Best Live Act Presented by The Cavern Club - Liam GallagherQ Maverick Presented by the Roundhouse - Viv AlbertineQ Innovation In Sound Presented by Flare Audio - WileyQ Best Film Presented by Pretty Green - ‘Bunch Of Kunst’ (Sleaford Mods)Q Best Track Presented by Flare Audio – Kasabian - ‘You’re In Love With A Psycho’Q Inspiration Award Presented by Three – Manic Street PreachersQ Best Album Presented by The Box Plus Network  - Gorillaz – ‘Humanz’Q Best Solo Artist Presented by Help Musicians UK – StormzyQ Gibson Les Paul Award – Kelley DealQ Best Act In The World Today Presented by Buster + Punch  – Ed SheeranQ Icon presented by BMW UK – Liam Gallagher -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post UK, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]