Virus death rate in London almost double other regions — with poorest hit the hardest, ONS analysis shows | London Evening Standard

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The devastating impact of coronavirus on London as it swept through deprived communities is laid bare today.

New figures show the death rate in the capital per 100,000 people is almost double any other region. The 11 hardest- hit areas in the country were all in London, according to the analysis by the Office for National Statistics.

Newham had the highest age-standardised mortality rate with 144.3 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Brent 141.5 deaths, and Hackney 127.4.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said: “By mid-April, the region with the highest proportion of deaths involving Covid-19 was London, with the virus being involved in more than 4 in 10 deaths since the start of March.

“The 11 local authorities with the highest mortality rates were all London boroughs, with Newham, Brent and Hackney suffering the highest rates of Covid-19-related deaths.

“People living in more deprived areas have experienced Covid-19 mortality rates more than double those living in less deprived areas.”

The figures were published as the Government is facing growing accusations that it was too slow in ordering the lockdown, despite warnings from Italy about the threat from coronavirus.

The capital saw the number of cases soar far quicker than other regions and more than 5,000 people have now died with coronavirus in London’s hospitals — with hundreds more in care homes.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Coronavirus is not the great-leveller. It is hitting people from minority ethnicities and more deprived communities more than anywhere else.” The ONS analysed nearly 20,300 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales between March  1 and April 17.

It revealed huge differences between some of London’s poorest and more ethnically diverse areas and those that are more prosperous, heightening concern about the different death rates.

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Newham with 208 deaths, Brent, 304, Hackney, 146, Haringey, 168, and Tower Hamlets, 132, all had age-standardised fatality rates above 100 per 100,000 residents. By contrast, the death rate in Kingston upon Thames was 42.9, representing 57 deaths, while in Richmond the death rate stood at 47 after 77 deaths, a similar rate to Bromley, with 152 deaths.

The figures are age-standardised. Age-standardised figures are used to make fair comparisons between boroughs, regardless of the actual age of their residents.

The way London’s most diverse boroughs have been hit by Covid-19 is also illustrated by the deaths at each hospital trust.

London North West Healthcare, which takes most of its patients from Brent, Harrow and Ealing, has the highest death toll in London — 488 to date.

London portraits during the Coronavirus lockdown

Barts Health, which has five hospitals serving Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham, has recorded 388 deaths. There have been 127 deaths at Homerton hospital in Hackney.

The overall rate for London was 85.7 deaths per 100,000 people, almost double the next highest which was the West Midlands, at 43.2, with the South-West the lowest on 16.4.

The grim data came as boroughs faced calls to widen pavements and temporarily carve space for segregated cycle routes to enable Londoners to maintain social distancing.

A UCL study found two thirds of pavements in the capital were not wide enough for pedestrians to stay 2m apart, as required by the Government’s social distancing rules. Only 36 per cent of pavements in Greater London were at least 3m wide — judged to be the minimum required for people to be able to keep their distance.

Dr Ashley Dhanani, of The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, said: “Most streets in London have pavements which are just over 2m wide — this is not enough room for people to pass each other and leave 2m distance between them, especially with obstacles such as bins, trees and lampposts.

“While some may opt to walk in the road, this is not possible for people with pushchairs or with mobility impairments. This research shows there is an urgent need to reallocate street space in London so everyone can use streets safely. A lack of space for walking and cycling is also a long-term problem.”

Boroughs such as Haringey, Hackney and Sutton have begun to create wider pavements and temporary cycle lanes by placing traffic cones in the road.

With many commuters expected to shun the Tube and buses once lockdown is lifted, Transport for London says it plans to introduce temporary cycle lanes on its main roads.

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Familie review – Milo Rau’s soulful hymn to life on the brink of death | Stage | The Guardian

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It is a dark winter’s night in Belgium, a country where the suicide rate has been called “dismally high”. Suicide is an awkward subject, but director Milo Rau is not one to shy away from society’s ugly corners. Mesmerising and alarming, Familie completes a trilogy that began with Five Easy Pieces, in which children told the story of child molester Marc Dutroux, and La Reprise, which reconstructed the murder of Ihsane Jarfi in a random act of homophobic violence.

This play also takes its template from real life. In 2007, the four members of the Demeester family were found hanged in their Calais home. They had a meal ready to eat and left no sign of struggle. The only clue to the joint suicide of this comfortably off family was a terse note: “We messed up. Sorry.”

It’s not much to go on, but Rau turns the enigma into a strength. Working with a mix of professional and amateur actors in accordance with his 10-point Ghent Manifesto, he enlists a real family to imagine the fateful final night. Prominent Belgian actors An Miller and Filip Peeters are joined by their teenage daughters Leonce and Louisa Peeters, plus dogs Billy and Bobby, in an evening not of histrionics and grinding of teeth (for that, Rau would direct you to Romeo and Juliet), but of heartbreaking banality.




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The production it most closely resembles is Vanishing Point’s Interiors, a dark domestic comedy performed behind the windows of a single-storey house that turned the audience into unwitting voyeurs. Likewise, Anton Lukas’s realistic set for Familie allows dad to get on with the cooking, mum to call her parents and the kids to do their English homework as if, for the most part, we’re not there. Moritz von Dungern’s deftly integrated live video projections pull us closer to their everyday routines. One section is called “Killing Time”.

By rights, a play shorn of everything we expect of a night out – drama, conflict, debate – should be excruciating, but such is the guilelessness of the four actors, the apparent spontaneity of their stage life and the excruciating tension of knowing their fate, that the mundane becomes riveting. In its opening and closing sequences, the cunningly crafted piece reels off lists of private pleasures: watching movies on a rainy day, doodling during a phone call, reading Harry Potter… On their own, they are whimsical and insignificant, but cumulatively, they are the reason we keep on keeping on, our way of defying existential despair.

We love this family in the way we love the talking heads on Gogglebox, not for their exceptionalism but the very reverse: their ordinariness and lack of pretence. That we are seeing enactments of real family relationships in parallel to the true-life tragic tale adds to our distress.




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Rau does not concern himself with fathoming a meaning behind the suicides; there is no “to be or not to be” dilemma. He accepts the Demeesters’ actions are unknowable. Even with more information, we would still find their deaths inexplicable. Where would guessing get us?

Instead, he offers us a kind of dark, secular mass, at once a celebration of all life has to offer in its smallest, most trivial moments, and a painful recognition that sometimes it can be too much. Performed at the stately pace of a slow piece of Bach, Familie is assured, soulful and unnerving.

At NTGent, Ghent, Belgium, until 22 May.

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 and the domestic violence helpline is 0808 2000 247. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14 and the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. In the US, the suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

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The Bolton Bucket List – 40 things you must experience while in the town – Manchester Evening News

There’s loads of things to experience in Bolton – but how many have you actually done?

Steeped in heritage and culture both historical and modern, there’s plenty of offerings for all tastes, whether you’re local or just visiting.

We’ve put together a list of 40 things to tick off in and around Bolton to get you started on your way to experiencing the best of the borough.

Some might seem obvious, others you might never have heard of, but all are entirely worth a mention.

Special thanks to the ‘I belong to Bolton’ Facebook group who helped with their suggestions.

How many can you cross off our ultimate Bolton Bucket List?

Watch Bolton Wanderers play at home

Art Gallery

They may be some way off the heights reached during the Sam Allardyce era, but Bolton is still immensely proud of its football club.

Four time FA Cup winners and one of the founder members of the Football League, Wanderers is a club steeped in history.

Now in League One, times have been tough for the club in recent years – but a visit to the University of Bolton Stadium is something all Boltonians must experience at least once.

Shop until you drop at Middlebrook

The UK’s largest retail and leisure park has plenty of things to do on a day out.

Whether it is taking in the shops, dining at one of the many restaurants, a trip to the cinema or bowling alley, it’s a popular spot for many Boltonians.

Dine at Britain’s best curry house

Benjamin Disraeli

Hot Chilli, in Bromley Cross, scooped the champion of champions award at the Asian Restaurant & Takeaway Awards in October.

The restaurant, which has been open since 2011, specialises in eastern Indian cuisine and boasts an extensive menu for all tastes.

Pull off into paradise

Bolton Museum

When Phoenix Nights, a sitcom set in a working men’s club in Bolton, first aired in the early 2000s it became a major national success and catapulted many of its stars on to bigger and better things.

Bringing us iconic characters such as Brian Potter, Jerry St. Clair and doormen Max and Paddy, the show is still quoted by many to this day.

Fans can actually pay a visit to the Phoenix Club, which is in fact St Gregory’s Social Club in Farnworth, and guided tours are available upon request.

Try a pint at one of the town’s many breweries

Bolton is awash with great breweries at the moment and beer lovers certainly don’t have a shortage of options to choose from.

Two of the finest are Northern Monkey and Bank Top, both of which have opened their own tap rooms in the town, while honourable mentions also go out to Blackedge Brewing Company and Rivington Brewing Company.

Enjoy a hike up the Pike

Bowling

For many families, an Easter hike up Rivington Pike is an annual tradition.

Hundreds of keen walkers clamber up to the summit, which stands at 1,191 feet, where they are rewarded with spectacular views across Bolton and the West Pennine Moors.

But the views are best enjoyed on a quieter day, away from the crowds. It’s an ideal spot to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Sample local delicacies at Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe

Bolton is blessed with several great bakeries, but a trip to this family-run shop is a must for anyone visiting the town.

Dating back to 1898, Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe has been serving generations of families from its modestly-sized shop on Churchgate.

TripAdvisor users even rate it as the best bakery in Greater Manchester. High praise indeed.

Try the Bolton institution that is Carrs Pasties

Another of Bolton’s finest pasty institutions, Carrs’ products can be found right across the town.

But for the proper experience, you need to visit one of their three shops dotted around the borough.

The family-run bakery counts radio presenter Chris Evans among its admirers; the former Top Gear host has rated their pasties among the finest in the country.

Take part in the Ironman. Or maybe just watch.

Easter

Bolton has played host to the biggest Ironman race in the UK 11 times now.

Thousands of entrants descend on the town’s streets each year to take on a gruelling course involving a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a marathon.

If you aren’t quite in shape to take part, you could always join the thousands of others who turn out to line the streets and cheer on those who are.

Last year, a 5k night run was introduced on the Friday, while athletic youngsters can also join in an Ironkids event.

Learn about the history of steam

Bolton Steam Museum boasts one of Britain’s largest collection of working steam mill engines.

The volunteer-run museum delves into the area’s industrial heritage through the engines, which powered Bolton’s mills and helped transform it into the town it is today.

Take a stroll around Jumbles Country Park

Extraordinaire

Situated about four miles to the north of the town centre, the woodland trail and reservoir is a popular spot for dog walkers and those out for an afternoon stroll.

A sailing club is also based at the reservoir and hosts regular training days and races.

Boasting picturesque views, there are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than paying a visit to Jumbles.

Shop at Bolton Market

Bolton’s market tradition stretches back hundreds of years to 1251 when the town was granted a charter by King Henry III.

Centuries later, the town’s market continues to thrive, although the range of products on offer has come a long way.

The market moved to its current base in Ashburner Street during the 1930s and boasts hundreds of stalls selling everything from fresh fish to cotton reels.

Try some African cuisine at Nkono

One of Bolton Market’s most popular traders is Nkono, a Cameroonian street food stall.

Finding it is no issue as the voice of its larger life than life owner, Alain Job, can often be heard booming through the indoor market hall as he entertains customers.

Nkono opened back in 2014 and quickly became a hit. With a range of exotic dishes, many of which are accompanied by jollof rice and sweet dumplings, it soon established itself as one of the town’s best eateries.

If you’re feeling especially experimental, why not try one of their goat curries?

Learn about the history of Turton Tower

Henry III

Set in relaxing woodlands on the edge of a popular walking area, the distinctive 15th century English country house has fascinating period rooms displaying a huge collection of decorative woodwork, paintings and furniture – all re-telling the lives of the families who lived there.

Dig for hidden gems at X Records

An institution in the town since the 1980s, this record shop serves as a treasure trove for Bolton’s music lovers.

Head down to its Bridge Street base and get lost in its vast collection of records. You might even find yourself a bargain.

Spend an afternoon with family at Moss Bank Park

Kazer

A sprawling park with a large play area including a sand pit area for children, the park is an ideal destination for a family afternoon out.

While the much-loved children’s zoo and tropical butterfly house are no more, there are plenty of other attractions to keep kids entertained including a mini steam train, crazy golf and fairground rides.

Feed the animals at Smithills Open Farm

Smithills has a wide range of animals from pigs and cows to snakes and owls.

As well as families, large groups of children visit from schools and nurseries with some coming from miles away to say hello, feed and cuddle the animals.

Children get the chance to feed the lambs and there are plenty of other hands on opportunities with snakes and chicks.

The venue also offers tractor rides, on toy ones as well as the real thing, and donkey rides too.

With bouncy castles, a sand pit and adventure playground it’s a popular place for day visits and children’s birthday parties.

Check out the town’s street art

Moss Bank Park

Some spectacular murals have sprouted up around Bolton over the last year or so.

The local artist behind them is Kazer, a joiner by trade who got into graffiti-style art after watching a series of YouTube.

You’ll find some of his eye-catching designs adorning the walls of several of the town’s pubs, including the Sweet Green Tavern, The Greyhound, and The Beer School in Westhoughton.

Enjoy a tour of Smithills Hall

Nkono

Set in restored formal gardens and a 2,000 acre estate leading to the West Pennine Moors, the beautiful old hall is an architectural gem dating back to the 14th century.

Travel in time through medieval, Tudor and Victorian rooms or enjoy the various walks on offer in the splendid surrounding countryside.

Sample a local delicacy at Rice n Three

The phenomenon that is rice and three has spread right across Greater Manchester since its creation at some point in the 1980s.

A base of rice topped with a choice of three curries, it’s affordable, filling and homely, making it the fast food go-to for many.

Rice and three’s origins are uncertain, but Bolton may well lay claim to it.

The Essa family bought the Northern Quarter’s This and That in the 1980s after coming to Manchester from Uganda claim rice and three as their creation.

They later sold the cafe and took the idea to Bolton, where they have since opened two restaurants, in Bradshawgate and Deane Road.

Is it really the original rice and three? Maybe. Is it tasty? Most definitely. It’s affordable too – one meat, two veg and rice costs just £5.00.

Visit the shops at Market Place

one of the founder members

Originally designed and opened in 1855, the Bolton Market Hall was said to be ‘the largest covered market in the kingdom’.

It was reopened as Market Place Shopping Centre by Queen Elizabeth ll in 1988 and has undergone a £25 million refurbishment transforming it into the town centre’s shopping heart.

Some of the biggest high street names can be found there, including Debenhams, Next, H&M and Zara.

Enjoy an evening in The Vaults

Prime Minister

The Vaults dining and leisure venue opened below Market Place back in 2016 and has fast become the go-to socialising spot for many Bolton families.

Based in the renovated Victorian vaults, which are part of the original market halls, several restaurant chains can be found there, including Nandos and Prezzo.

Watch a film at the Light Cinema

One of just a handful across the UK, the town centre venue was opened by independent cinema chain The Light back in 2016.

Dubbed ‘sociable cinema’, the whole experience is a little more laid back than your standard cinema trip, with reclining seats, and you can even have a drink from the bar in there too.

Learn from the top chefs at food and drink festival

Queen

Taking place across the August bank holiday weekend, the annual event is one of the biggest food and drink events in the north west.

Some of the world’s best-known celebrity chefs have appeared at the event to entertain crowds with cookery demos and book signings in recent years, with James Martin even hailing it the best festival of its kind in the UK.

There are markets aplenty too, with the streets around Victoria Square and Le Mans Crescent packed with street food stalls (including Thai, toasties, Polish BBQs, Italian desserts, Green meze, and Yorkshire pudding wraps) and produce to take away with you.

Visit Barrow Bridge

A picturesque model village to the north of Moss Bank Park, Barrow Bridge was created during the Industrial Revolution to house workers at nearby mills.

The cotton mills have long since gone, but the quaint cottages remain. The charming village is a haven of tranquility and is a perfect spot for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

Explore the town’s paranormal activity

Bolton is apparently a hotbed for paranormal activity. 

Ghost Walker Extraordinaire Flecky Bennett offers a number of ghost walks throughout the town, which are part history, part theatre and part paranormal. 

Covering haunted bookshops and pubs, as well as the Bolton Massacre, all the stories you hear are based on real people and actual events.

Unlock the mysteries of Ancient Egypt

retail

Bolton’s connection to Ancient Egypt is little-known, but its collection of treasures is one of the country’s finest.

Bolton Museum’s multi-million pound Egyptology gallery reopened last year following a £3.8 million refurbishment and more than 275,000 have stepped back into the land of the Pharoahs since then.

Rivington Pike

One of the oldest pubs in Britain, Ye Olde Man & Scythe is thought to have been built in Churchgate some time before 1251.

But its place in the town’s history was cemented in 1651 when the Earl of Derby, James Stanley, was executed outside the pub for his part in the Bolton Massacre, which led to the death of 1,600 people.

The royalist spent the final hours of his life in the pub, which his family owned at the time, and it still contains the chair he supposedly sat on before being taken outside to be beheaded.

His spirit is also said to linger in the pub and has seen it named one of the country’s most haunted.

Catch a show at The Albert Halls

Samuel Crompton

Located within Bolton Town Hall, the 670-theatre is a popular spot for families looking to enjoy a pre-Christmas pantomime.

The iconic building is perhaps best known as the setting for Peter Kay’s stand-up DVD, ‘Live At The Bolton Albert Halls’, which was filmed there in 2003.

A recent refurbishment included the addition of a new restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Paul Heathcote, which has promised to champion ‘proper northern, old-fashioned food’.

Visit Hall i’th’ Wood Museum

Originally built as a half-timbered hall in the 15th century, this handsome building was owned by wealthy yeomen and merchants.

Later rented out, it was home to a young Samuel Crompton whose Spinning Mule invention revolutionised the cotton industry. Links with Crompton remain in its interactive museum.

Take a stroll around Queens Park

street food stalls

Just north east of the town centre, this Victorian park is a peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle.

For generations, it has been a place where Bolton families have gone to play, relax, have a picnic and feed the ducks.

Opened in 1866 by the Earl of Bradford, it has undergone a £4.3 million refurbishment in recent years.

It now boasts a children’s play area, a cafe, as well a series of grade II listed statues, including one of the former prime minister Benjamin Disraeli.

Spend an idyllic afternoon at Turton and Entwistle Reservoir

Sweet Green Tavern

This breathtaking beautyspot, tucked away down quiet country lanes on the moors north of Bolton, is the perfect spot for an afternoon walk.

A path runs around the edge of the reservoir, while other trails lead off into the surrounding woods.

The reservoir contains almost 3,4 million litres of water and, with along with nearby Wayoh Reservoir, provides about 50% of Bolton’s drinking water.

Grab a scoop at Holden’s Ice Cream

With flavours including Vimto, Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls, Eccles Cake and Manchester Tart, there are plenty of reasons to venture out to Edgworth for a scoop of this home made ice cream.

Known locally for their special family recipe they have been making their ice cream in the same premises since the 1930s.

Rock out at The Alma Inn

This Bradshawgate pub is a haven for lovers of rock, punk and metal music and hosts live gigs every weekend.

The 250-capacity venue is usually crammed with loyal regulars trying to catch the next big upcoming bands.

It’s reputation isn’t a secret, though. In 2015, it was shortlisted as one one of Britain’s best small music venues by music magazine NME.

Catch a show at The Octagon Theatre

Top Gear

The theatre is currently undergoing a major makeover, but is expected to throw open its doors again in the summer.

Dominic Monaghan and Sue Johnston are among the famous names to have trod the boards at the celebrated venue.

A diverse range of events are held throughout the year, ranging from classic and contemporary plays to musicals and festive productions for youngsters.

Fish and chips at Olympus

A popular pre-theatre spot, the town centre chippy is often ranked among Bolton’s best and has been attracting visitors from across the North West for more than 30 years.

The family run restaurant offers great fish and chip meals and has seating for more than 200 people, as well as a takeaway next door.

Tackle Go Ape in Rivington

Explore the forest canopy via a treetop rope course on the outskirts of Bolton.

The Go Ape adventure is a must-go attraction for a thrilling day out.

It’s a hit with adrenaline lovers as they embark on the challenging course featuring 13-metre-high platforms.

So get your trainers on and be prepared for the thrill of your life.

See the sights on a night out in Bradshawgate

Bolton’s nightlife comes in for a fair bit of stick, but it is still a good place to let your hair down.

Many bars and clubs can be found off Bradshawgate, which comes to life as revellers descend on the town centre on a Friday and Saturday evening.

Pay homage to Fred Dibnah

Victoria Square

One of Bolton’s most famous sons, the celebrity steeplejack found national fame through his BBC programmes celebrating Britain’s industrial heritage and the golden age of steam.

Following Fred’s death, his grade II listed former home was converted into a heritage centre so that fans could see his tools and machinery.

It closed in 2018 and the property is currently up for auction, but Fred’s legacy is still preserved in his hometown where a statue of him takes pride of place in the town centre.

Marvel at Le Mans Crescent

Art Gallery

The jewel in Bolton town centre’s crown, Le Mans Crescent is an architectural triumph on par with anywhere else in the North West

The grade II listed crescent is currently home to Bolton Museum, Art Gallery, Central Library and Aquarium, while plans are afoot to transform the former magistrates’ court into a luxury boutique hotel.

In recent years it has also proved a popular filming location for television dramas, including Peaky Blinders and Bancroft.

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CNN anchor Anderson Cooper announces the birth of his son Wyatt Morgan Cooper: ‘Our family continues’ | CTV News

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper is the proud father of a newborn baby boy.

Wyatt Morgan Cooper was born on Monday weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces.

Cooper, 52, shared photos of Wyatt at the end of Thursday’s televised weekly global town hall on the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been a difficult time in all of our lives, and there are certainly many hard days ahead,” Cooper said. “It is, I think, especially important in these times of trouble to try to hold on to moments of joy and moments of happiness. Even as we mourn the loss of loved ones, we are also blessed with new life and new love.”

That’s how he introduced his own joyful news: “On Monday, I became a father,” he said. “I’ve never actually said that before, out loud, and it still kind of astonishes me. I am a dad. I have a son. And I want you to meet him.”

Cooper, who is gay, said in his on-air announcement that “I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I am so grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son’s birth.”

“Most of all,” he said, “I am eternally grateful to a remarkable surrogate who carried Wyatt, watched over him lovingly, tenderly, and gave birth to him.”

The news came as a big surprise to CNN viewers, as Cooper had not spoken publicly about his plans to have a baby.

Cooper’s father, who died when he was 10 years old, was named Wyatt. Now Cooper is passing the name to a new generation. “I hope I can be as good a dad as he was,” he said during the announcement.

His son’s middle name, Morgan, is a name from the family tree of his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. She died last year.

“I do wish my mom and dad and my brother, Carter were alive to meet Wyatt,” Cooper said, “but I like to believe they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing and watching, looking down on us. Happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt… and that our family continues. New life and new love.”

Welcome Wyatt Morgan Cooper! @AndersonCooper’s son was born on Monday. New life, new love. pic.twitter.com/L3Af2TtYAq

— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter)

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‘My bears are my lifeline’: the adults who sleep with soft toys | Global | The Guardian

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If you share your bed with a furry friend well into adulthood, don’t be ashamed – sleeping with soft toys is more normal than you might think. “It’s very common,” says Prof Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol, who has researched our attachment to childhood toys. He tells me that about one in three of the people he has questioned still sleep with teddies, and that it is probably more common for women, as it is more socially acceptable for them to do so.

Why are we hanging on to our cuddly toys? “My hunch is that it’s to do with sleeping practices,” Hood says. In western cultures, we tend to separate children from their parents after the first year – after which they sleep on their own, and self-soothe using blankets and soft toys. “These become part of the sleep ritual.”

It is not unusual for your attachment to soft toys as a sleep aid to persist into adulthood. A survey carried out last year found that 44% of adults have held on to their childhood teddies and dolls, and as many as 34% of adults still sleep with a soft toy every night. Meanwhile, researchers at VU University Amsterdam found that cuddling a soft toy can have a beneficial effect for people with low self-esteem, helping to alleviate their anxieties around death.

“It’s about having a sentimental attachment to things,” Hood says. “It’s completely normal for adults to continue to have these childish attachments.”

He doesn’t see any harm in sleeping with a teddy, provided you’re not obsessive about it. “They provide emotional comfort.” Plus, it is more hygienic than sleeping with a pet. Just don’t forget to bung your teddy in the wash from time to time.

We spoke to three Guardian readers about their furry friends.

Jeff Annells, 68
Receptionist from Banbury




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It all started when my uncle won me a big old bear called Brumas, when I was about five. He was named after the famous polar bear who was born into captivity at London zoo. I used to cart Brumas everywhere with me – until one day his head fell off. That sounds very traumatic, but it wasn’t that bad.

When I grew up, I started collecting teddy bears. I have about 60 Steiff and Charlie Bears. I pass out thinking about how much money I’ve spent on them – probably £20,000 over my lifetime.

My favourite bear is a 6ft-tall Charlie bear that I call Big Fella. He’s one of only 100 made worldwide. He cost me about £3,000. Everyone who comes to my house gets a photo with Big Fella. He stands in my corridor. When I was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2014, Big Fella came into his own. Having cancer is like living in a parallel universe. Everyone is going about their business and you have this thing hanging over you. You never get a break from cancer.

I’m often in a lot of pain. No matter how bad the pain is, I always say good morning to Big Fella when I wake up. My bears are my lifeline. I can say anything to them. I wake up and say: “Christ, I’m in agony this morning.” No one else needs to know that. I say it to Big Fella, and then I get myself ready and go to work and sit on reception smiling at everyone. They’re none the wiser.

I worry a lot about who will inherit Big Fella if I pop my clogs. I keep threatening people with it, saying: “I’ve left you Big Fella in my will.” A look of horror appears on their faces. Seriously, though, I would love for Big Fella to go a children’s hospice. I like the idea of the children being able to confide in him, like I have.

Emily Dove, 26
Personal assistant from Leeds




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I got Ted as a present for my 18th birthday from my auntie. He’s a brown teddy bear, about 12 inches tall. I have other soft toys that sit on top of my wardrobe. But Ted is the one who hangs out in my bed and comes with me when I go on holiday.

Ted and I have been to Glastonbury together six times. He normally stays in my sleeping bag. It’s nice to be able to get back to the tent late at night and have a cuddle, especially when it’s quite cold. Last year, going into Glastonbury, Ted got properly searched – I think security thought he was a drug mule! They gave him a good squeeze. Luckily, he didn’t get picked apart or anything like that.

A big part of my love for Ted is that I find it very comforting to cuddle him when I’m going to sleep. He’s been a big part of my bedtime routine for the past nine years. I just like having something to cuddle. I need to have something soft to hold by my body. Recently, I went to London for a few days, and I forgot Ted, so I had to cuddle a pillow instead. It wasn’t the same.

I haven’t had any bad feedback from partners. If they did say anything, I’d say that it’s Ted’s bed as well! I think everyone should have a soft toy of their own. It’s a constant, comforting presence in your life. And if you have a relationship and it ends, at least you still have a teddy to cuddle.

Chris Kirton, 33
Call-centre worker from Sunderland




Pinterest

My girlfriend, Becky, got me into soft toys. She’s a huge soft toy fan – I’m always buying her birthday or Christmas presents from Build-a-Bear Workshop. I spend a fortune in there! When she moves in with me next year I think my spare bedroom will become a bear sanctuary.

There is so much pressure on us all to be adults, and it’s not always the nicest world to live in. It’s nice to forget about your worries for a little while and be a child again.

I bought Squishy for myself from Morrisons last year. He is your classic teddy bear. I bought him as a bit of a joke, initially.

When I’m at home on my own, I’ll talk out loud to Squishy. Just general stuff, like: “What am I going to do today, then?” It’s just a bit of fun. If I’m watching TV or texting people, I’ll have Squishy under one arm.

I enjoy the absurdity of talking to my teddy bear. My job is often very stressful – I’m always having to apologise when I’ve done nothing wrong, and deal with angry, rude customers. After a tough day at work, I can get home and be daft for a few minutes. It takes my mind off things.

Becky and I had been thinking about getting a pet, but I didn’t want to leave an animal unattended at home. Having soft toys gives you some of the comfort of an animal, without the responsibilities associated with it.

Additional reporting by Rachel Obordo

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Family demands investigation into cause of son’s death in police custody

Family demands investigation into cause of son's death in police custody
The Nigerian Police

By Shina Abubakar

The family of one late Agboola Saheed of Obalogbo compound, Ila-Orangun, has called on the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG Zone XI, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of their son while in police custody at the Otaefun police station, Osogbo.

The family in a petition written on their behalf by their lawyer, Kazeem Odedeji, a copy of which was made available to journalists on Sunday, demanded justice for their deceased son.

According to the letter, the deceased reported a case of threat to life at Ota-Efun police station on March 30, 2020, but police allegedly turned the tide against him when the suspect in the matter made a counter-complaint before the police that the deceased was owing him about N461,000 from a daily contribution he was coordinating.

The petition alleged, “Our client’s son was arrested and detained. He was released on administrative bail the following day.

The family said Saheed was invited to the police station on April 15 where he was “quickly rushed to an Osogbo Magistrate Court”, and was arraigned without the knowledge of any of his family.

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The deceased was said to be remanded in police custody before his family got the knowledge of his arraignment.

“It is pertinent to state here that late Saheed’s father saw him late on that day April 15, 2020 and he was in a very high spirit not suggesting any unwholesome behaviour.

“Surprisingly, late Saheed Agboola’s uncle and guardian were invited to the police headquarters on April 16 where he met with senior police officers led by the Commissioner of Police, Osun state command who broke the news of Saheed Agboola’s death on an excuse that he committed suicide inside police cell.

“Mr Agboola Rasaq sought to see the scene himself but alas, the situation he met the deceased did not in any way suggest that of someone who took his own life. Another question agitating the mind of our client is ‘how on earth will a suspect in police cell such as Ota-efun divisional police headquarters take his own life and nobody would be available to come to his aid?’ How a suspect/defendant die in a police cell like a chicken beats everybody’s imagination.

“It is against the above background we hereby have our client’s instruction to demand for proper and discreet investigation into the circumstance leading to the death of Saheed Agboola in the custody of the Nigeria Police”.

The post Family demands investigation into cause of son’s death in police custody appeared first on Vanguard News.

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NJ school teacher yells at students she hopes they die ‘painful death’ from coronavirus for playing at park

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Virtue-signaling vigilantes of “Coronaville” are out there roaming the streets looking for victims.

In Trenton, NJ, one such patrolling, self-appointed warden of the peace was caught on video screaming at a group of teens playing football in a park and telling them she hopes they “get coronavirus” and “die a long, painful death.”

The most interesting thing about it all is that the woman is a long-time public school math teacher at Steinert High School in Trenton.

According to The Trentonian, Nicole Griggs has been a school teacher in the district for 15 years, including time at a local middle school. A freshman at Steinert told the reporter that he and a group of friends were playing ball on Thursday when Griggs began to yell at them from behind a fence.

Watch for yourself …

One of the students filmed the incident and posted it to Snapchat. Another student shared the clip on TikTok with a caption of “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind how tf is she a teacher #coronavirus.”

Griggs, who was recognized by the students and according to property records lives close by the park, was apparently out walking her dog when she came upon the heinous display of juvenile lawlessness on the playing field.

The captured video shows the teacher asking them if they need her to yell “loud enough so you can hear me over your music. Parks closed. You will get arrested if the cops come.”

“Wait, can we go over there?” one of the teens asks before Griggs loses her grip.

“Parks closed,” she yelled. “The whole area. Get it through your thick head.”

From there, she blamed the kids for the pandemic.

“You are the reason we are in this situation,” she accused. “You are the problem, not the solution.”

At that point, she seemed to notice that she was being recorded. Rather than using a logical, reasoned approach one might expect from a mathematics practitioner, Griggs went all polynomial on the young people.

“Go ahead keep recording. Who are you going to show it to? Post me on social media,” she yelled. “You’re the idiot doing the wrong thing. I’m just trying to save your ass and save your life. But die, OK? I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death.”

Nice.

The Steinert freshman told the newspaper that Griggs threatened to call police and that a cop did show up and warned them to leave the park. They did leave and they said that they now know it was wrong to be there. Nonetheless, he said that he was shocked that a teacher would say that she wished death on them.

“When she said that, I was shocked,” the student said. “I didn’t know someone would say something like that, especially a teacher. She should be smarter with her words.”

Trenton Mayor Jeff Martin was made aware of the video and said that nobody should be “wishing death or harm on people.”

“This is a very serious thing,” he said. “We’ve got at least 50 people who have actually died from it, 50 families. It’s not something to joke around about. Teacher or not, it’s unacceptable.”

The paper noted that the township had at that point a total of 724 cases of COVID-19 and 51 deaths.

Schools superintendent Scott Rocco commented that the district will investigate. “We will address the issue immediately,” he said.

Griggs a serial quarantine enforcer?

The Trentonian found evidence that Griggs apparently has a habit of trying to intimidate others into lockdown compliance. Earlier in the month, Griggs proudly posted to Facebook that she had “wished illness on” a young couple with a two- to three-year old daughter for daring to allow the girl to use a slide at a local park’s jungle gym.

The paper reported:

In an April 6 post on the Facebook page of Nikki Leigh, which Griggs appears to operate under an alias, she says: “We are surrounded by idiots!!!!!! Rode our bikes near Kuser Park this afternoon and what to [sic] we see but a younger couple with their daughter maybe 2/3 years old UNDOING the caution tape around the jungle gym so she could slide. I totally called them out on it, wished illness on them and commented that it was scary to even think they were parents. Their response: ‘We were going to put it back.’”

Staff Writer

Victor Rantala is an Army vet who lives in Minnesota, he is a former intelligence analyst and business owner, and is an NRA Life member who is officially retired but has yet to slow his roll.

Latest posts by Victor Rantala (see all)

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Coronavirus live updates: U.S. death toll nears 55,000

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The U.S. coronavirus death toll neared 55,000 early Monday, with more than 972,000 confirmed cases, according to NBC News’ tally.

The grim milestone comes as the White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned that many of the social distancing measures that have upended American life will be a fixture through the summer.

To get a more accurate picture of the virus’ spread, the U.S. needs a “breakthrough” on coronavirus testing, she said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday.

Meanwhile in Italy, Europe’s hardest hit country, the prime minister laid out plans for a phased end to restrictions, including the opening of restaurants and libraries in mid-May.

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

45m ago / 12:13 PM UTC

British Grand Prix could take place behind closed doors, French race cancelled

The British Grand Prix and French Grand Prix are the latest global sporting events to be affected by coronavirus.

France has called off its event altogether, while Britain’s race might take place without fans this year as the U.K. government continues to ban large gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Silverstone, the track that has hosted the race since 1952, said it was discussing with the government a plan to show the event on TV for free instead. Silverstone said it would give health care workers tickets for the 2021 event.

✍️An update from our Managing Director, Stuart Pringle about the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2020. pic.twitter.com/APIXq8F2OS

— Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK)

Nursing home industry pushes for immunity from lawsuits during coronavirus emergency

As the COVID-19 death toll at nursing homes climbs to nearly 12,000, the nursing home industry is pushing states to provide immunity from lawsuits to the owners and employees of the nation’s 15,600 nursing homes.

So far at least six states have provided explicit immunity from coronavirus lawsuits for nursing homes, and six more have granted some form of immunity to health care providers, which legal experts say could likely be interpreted to include nursing homes.

Patient advocates worry that nursing homes accused of extreme neglect could avoid liability.

“I can’t even believe this is a topic of discussion,” said Anny Figueroa, whose 55-year-old mother was a resident at Andover Subacute & Rehab Center in New Jersey, where law enforcement discovered 17 bodies in a makeshift morgue this month.

1h ago / 11:52 AM UTC

Italian expat in Sweden shows off country’s lack of restrictions

An Italian PhD candidate living in Sweden has documented the “parallel universe” of daily life in Sweden, a country where the government has not enforced strict social distancing measures amid Covid-19.

Alessandra Palusco, 28, who is studying at the University of Orebro, posted several videos on social media showing life in Sweden and the difference with countries living under lockdown. Palusco told NBC News via text message that she lied to her family back in Italy to reassure them that locals are wearing masks in public,”otherwise they would go crazy.”

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Anne Linde denied in a news conference on April 17 that “life goes on as normal in Sweden,” but Palusco believes that the Swedish government has not taken firm enough action on the virus. “I really don’t understand, if they implement certain measures, it means that they basically know that the situation is dangerous,” Palusco told NBC News.

“Masks do very little, if anything at all”. We wont forget the way you misinformed people, and this is the result 👏👏👏 @Folkhalsomynd #COVID19 #COVID19sverige #covid19swed pic.twitter.com/BaUEDro1J4

— Alessandra • 桑德拉 (@alex_paiusco)

1h ago / 11:37 AM UTC

Salons, florists and garden centers allowed to reopen in Switzerland

Hospitals in Switzerland reopened for outpatient and non-urgent procedures on Monday as the country began easing measures put in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 

Beauty salons, DIY stores, garden centers and florists were also permitted to reopen, the government announced as it laid out its staged plans to lift the lockdown. On May 11th, elementary schools and other shops will be allowed to reopen “if the situation allows,” the government said in a statement. Then in June, high schools, zoos and libraries will be allowed to open their doors.

Switzerland has nearly 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,600 deaths since the pandemic began.

2h ago / 11:19 AM UTC

Two funeral home workers in Harlem, N.Y. said they are turning away families whose loved ones have died because there are more bodies than they can handle.

“We want to be able to help everyone,” manager Alisha Narvaez told “Kasie DC” Sunday evening, adding that they often have to tell families to call back because they have no room. Both women, who work at International Funeral and Cremation Services, said the emotional toll of helping the families weighs heavily on them.

“Just today I had a family call because they’re pretty much at the cut-off time for the hospital to hold their loved one. And out of desperation, she cried to us and she begged,” said funeral director Nicole Warring, adding the woman was fearful her father would end up buried in an unmarked grave. “It’s tough when we just don’t have the capacity.”

Iran to open mosques in areas with few coronavirus cases

Iran plans to loosen restrictions in some parts of the country by classifying regions as either white, yellow or red based on the spread of the coronavirus, President Hassan Rouhani has said.

Iran has been one of the Middle East’s worst hit countries with more than 91,000 cases of coronavirus recorded as of Monday, as well as around 5,800 deaths.

2h ago / 10:37 AM UTC

Nearly 2 million people download Australia tracking app

More than 1.8 million people downloaded a new tracking app released by the Australian Government that claims to “speed up contacting people exposed to coronavirus,” according to the country’s Health Department.

COVIDSafe is available to all Australian residents, though participation is not mandatory. It tracks the movement and interaction of residents with the aim of quickly locating and informing anyone that may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If a user tests positive, the other users of the app that have been in close proximity to that initial user will be informed so they can get tested and isolate themselves. Health officials will not name the person who was infected.

Officials have said 40 percent of the population will need to download the app for it to work effectively. Australia has been one of the most successful countries in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, recording just 83 deaths and 6,700 cases.

3h ago / 9:53 AM UTC

Italy’s prime minister lays out plan to slowly reopen in May

Construction workers and factories will restart in Italy on May 4, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said as he laid out plans for a phased end to the country’s strict nationwide lockdown. 

Public parks will reopen then as will restaurant takeout and delivery services. “We will live with the virus and we will have to adopt every precaution possible,” Conte said Sunday evening. Shops, museums, exhibitions and public libraries will reopen on May 18, and hairdressers, bars and restaurants will be open from June 1. Schools however, will remain closed until September.

The announcement comes a week after the country reported its first decline in the number of people sick with coronavirus since the virus hit. The country has recorded 26,384 coronavirus deaths and 195,351 confirmed cases.

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Mosque offered as Covid-19 quarantine facility in Pune | SabrangIndia

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Azam CampusImage Courtesy:painamdar.in

Over the last few decades P A Inamdar has artfully juggled multiple roles as an educationist, legal luminary, social worker, builder and much more. As President of the Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society that runs a host of educational institutions at Pune’s sprawling Azam Campus, Inamdar has created educational infrastructure that at present empowers 27,000 students including 14,000 who hail from economically backward families living in low-income neighbourhoods.

Now, Inamdar has offered 9,000 sq ft. of space on the first floor of a mosque located in the Azam Campus as a quarantine facility. In an exclusive interview to SabrangIndia, he explained his motivations and hopes:

What prompted you to offer the space in the mosque as a Covid-19 quarantine facility?

Ultimately all religions and all religious places are meant for human beings. No religion teaches discrimination, especially when a human life is in danger. Now is the time to put into practice what religion teaches us. Now is the time to act. If we are not able to apply religious principles now and help our fellow human beings, then when will we?

What are the facilities you are offering?

We are offering a hall that measures 9,000 sq ft. It is located on the first floor of the mosque. I have already spoken to the Municipal Commissioner. They will arrange for the doctors and the police. They had originally asked for about 40 beds, but we are offering them 100 beds. All arrangements are being made in compliance with social distancing measures. If they can arrange for lunch and dinner that is fine. Otherwise, we can also offer them food.

Is it true that you are also trying to arrange for 10 more similar facilities in mosques across the city?

I have already spoken to them (mosque authorities). It is important that we offer as much help as possible. What is the meaning of religion if we cannot help our fellow human beings?

We have seen various instances of Muslims being targeted and accused of spreading the Covid-19 pandemic. Do you think your efforts will help send out a positive message on behalf of the community?

See, politicians often play with people’s emotions as it is easier to do that instead of actually solving their problems. That is how they get votes. But that should not stop us from setting a good example in whatever way we can. Our organisation has already helped distribute food and rations worth Rs 30 lakhs to people living in Pune’s slums and low-income neighbourhoods. We did this with full cooperation of the police. Now with this space we have another opportunity to offer our service to humanity, so we are doing it. This is not the time to make speeches or hold meetings. This is the time to act.

Do you think our education system has failed to root out communalism or is that a much deeper problem?

The educational gap between the haves and have-nots is thousands of years old. The higher classes and castes have always benefitted more. But luckily, we are now able to bridge the gap gradually with technology. When more people will be on the same platform, we can expect real development. There are 27,000 students studying on my campus and 14,000 of them some from the slums. But we teach them all about technology and they are now making computers and cell phones.

Additionally, it is also the responsibility of religious leaders to speak out in wake of hate crimes. We always hear the activists and intellectuals speak, but why are the religious leaders silent? No religion supports lynching. Therefore, everyone, whether a Maulana or a Shankaracharya, should come out and condemn it.

What is your message to your fellow Indians in this holy month of Ramzan?

It is very important that when it comes to religion, we don’t limit ourselves to just learning about philosophy, but instead put that philosophy into practice and help our fellow human beings. We can’t leave religion in temples and mosques. We must make it a part of our daily conduct and serve humanity, because that is what all religions teach us.

Azam CampusImage Courtesy:painamdar.in

Over the last few decades P A Inamdar has artfully juggled multiple roles as an educationist, legal luminary, social worker, builder and much more. As President of the Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society that runs a host of educational institutions at Pune’s sprawling Azam Campus, Inamdar has created educational infrastructure that at present empowers 27,000 students including 14,000 who hail from economically backward families living in low-income neighbourhoods.

Now, Inamdar has offered 9,000 sq ft. of space on the first floor of a mosque located in the Azam Campus as a quarantine facility. In an exclusive interview to SabrangIndia, he explained his motivations and hopes:

What prompted you to offer the space in the mosque as a Covid-19 quarantine facility?

Ultimately all religions and all religious places are meant for human beings. No religion teaches discrimination, especially when a human life is in danger. Now is the time to put into practice what religion teaches us. Now is the time to act. If we are not able to apply religious principles now and help our fellow human beings, then when will we?

What are the facilities you are offering?

We are offering a hall that measures 9,000 sq ft. It is located on the first floor of the mosque. I have already spoken to the Municipal Commissioner. They will arrange for the doctors and the police. They had originally asked for about 40 beds, but we are offering them 100 beds. All arrangements are being made in compliance with social distancing measures. If they can arrange for lunch and dinner that is fine. Otherwise, we can also offer them food.

Is it true that you are also trying to arrange for 10 more similar facilities in mosques across the city?

I have already spoken to them (mosque authorities). It is important that we offer as much help as possible. What is the meaning of religion if we cannot help our fellow human beings?

We have seen various instances of Muslims being targeted and accused of spreading the Covid-19 pandemic. Do you think your efforts will help send out a positive message on behalf of the community?

See, politicians often play with people’s emotions as it is easier to do that instead of actually solving their problems. That is how they get votes. But that should not stop us from setting a good example in whatever way we can. Our organisation has already helped distribute food and rations worth Rs 30 lakhs to people living in Pune’s slums and low-income neighbourhoods. We did this with full cooperation of the police. Now with this space we have another opportunity to offer our service to humanity, so we are doing it. This is not the time to make speeches or hold meetings. This is the time to act.

Do you think our education system has failed to root out communalism or is that a much deeper problem?

The educational gap between the haves and have-nots is thousands of years old. The higher classes and castes have always benefitted more. But luckily, we are now able to bridge the gap gradually with technology. When more people will be on the same platform, we can expect real development. There are 27,000 students studying on my campus and 14,000 of them some from the slums. But we teach them all about technology and they are now making computers and cell phones.

Additionally, it is also the responsibility of religious leaders to speak out in wake of hate crimes. We always hear the activists and intellectuals speak, but why are the religious leaders silent? No religion supports lynching. Therefore, everyone, whether a Maulana or a Shankaracharya, should come out and condemn it.

What is your message to your fellow Indians in this holy month of Ramzan?

It is very important that when it comes to religion, we don’t limit ourselves to just learning about philosophy, but instead put that philosophy into practice and help our fellow human beings. We can’t leave religion in temples and mosques. We must make it a part of our daily conduct and serve humanity, because that is what all religions teach us.

Related posts

More than 7,000 people test positive for coronavirus in Wales as latest death toll is announced – North Wales Live

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A further 41 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number to 575.

Public Health Wales today recorded 334 new known cases, meaning 7,270 people have tested positive for the disease in Wales, although the actual number is likely to be much higher.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has 62 new cases, bringing the total number to 741 in North Wales.

Since the outbreak began, 45 people have now tested positive in Anglesey, 105 in Conwy, 161 in Denbighshire, 157 in Flintshire, 130 in Gwynedd and 143 in Wrexham.

Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales continues to fully support the extension of lockdown measures, which is essential to avoid reversing the gains we have made in slowing the spread of this virus, protecting our NHS, and saving lives.

“Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still circulating in every part of Wales, and the single most important action we can all take in fighting the virus is to stay at home. We want to thank each and every person across Wales for doing their bit to help slow the spread of the virus.

“While emphasising the importance of staying at home, we also want to reinforce the message from NHS Wales that urgent and emergency care services for physical and mental health are still open and accessible.

“For parents, if your child is unwell and you are concerned you should seek help. If you have urgent dental pain you should still call your dentist. If you have a health complaint that is worrying you and won’t go away, you should call your GP practice. If you or a family member are seriously ill or injured, you should dial 999 or attend your nearest Emergency Department.

“Public Health Wales is working with our partners in Welsh Government, the wider NHS in Wales, the other UK nations and others to monitor and respond to the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wales.

“This includes working with the Welsh Government on its review of testing for COVID-19, and we welcome its latest recommendations in the critical workers testing policy, published today. It is vital to ensure we test the right people, at the right time, in the right place, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“We are encouraging everyone to download the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker app, which has been supported by the Welsh Government. The app allows users to log daily symptoms to help build a clearer picture of how the virus is affecting people. For more information, including how to download the app, visit covid.joinzoe.com.

“Public Health Wales is working to address the negative impact of COVID-19 on the social, mental and physical wellbeing of people in Wales. The new How are you doing? The campaign is now live and offering practical advice from phw.nhs.wales/howareyoudoing.

“We know that staying at home can be hard especially when the weather is nice, but members of the public must adhere to social distancing rules about staying at home, and away from others, introduced by the UK and Welsh Government. These rules are available on the Public Health Wales website.

“People no longer need to contact NHS 111 if they think they may have contracted Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Information about the symptoms to look out for is available on the Public Health Wales website, or members of the public can use the NHS Wales, symptom checker.

Send a heart to our #NHSheroes

It is something that has, at some point, touched all our lives.

From cradle to grave, the National Health Service, and the incredible professionals within it who care for us, is a part of British life.

Today, more than ever, we should cherish those who dedicate themselves to our care, heedless of their own health as they work tirelessly to care for people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nurses and others – employed by the NHS and any other part of health and care – we have never needed them more.

So let’s show them some love, and create a living map of gratitude from every corner of Britain.

Click HERE to drop a heart on the map, and show you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS.

Thanks a million, NHS workers – we love you.

“Anyone with a suspected coronavirus illness should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.

“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on hold to 111. We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait. “Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on hold to 111. We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.

Join us in showing your support and sending a heart to the NHS heroes where you live by visiting the thanksamillionsnhs website

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