World News

NYC knows how to stop this crime surge — it just needs politicians willing to do it

Our leaders ditched sound policing methods

New York’s sanguinary summer lingers, even though November is fast approaching, with at least seven more city residents gunned down over the weekend, including a fatally wounded tourist.

Don’t blame the cops. They’re doing what they’ve been told to do, which amounts to running in circles, now that Gotham’s political class has abandoned one of the most effective urban-policing strategies ever devised — largely because it was too harsh on criminals. Now New York is reaping the whirlwind.

Or, as The New York Times reported over the weekend: “More than 1,515 people have been shot so far this year, twice as many as all of 2019, and there have been 362 homicides, a 32 percent increase over last year.”

And that doesn’t include the weekend casualty count, which included a 20-year-old in town from Indiana to make skateboarding videos.

It’s hard to keep the numbers straight, of course, because they move so fast. And while the continuing crisis is mostly about illegal guns, it isn’t only about guns. Crime statistics are up sharply pretty much across the board, at least in those categories that don’t lend themselves to manipulation; burglary (up 42 percent) and auto theft (up 63 percent) usually generate insurance claims and thus are harder to hide.

And then there is the matter of Joshua Diaz, who police strongly believe is the fellow who shoved a 28-year-old woman to the tracks in the Times Square subway station Friday. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that he did it, though that’s for the increasingly dysfunctional courts to determine.

But this much is clear: Diaz has been arrested 30 times since 2012, for burglary, assault, resisting arrest and criminal trespass — although his principal problem appears to be that he is crazy. And in that he is hardly alone.

New York’s streets are awash with the mentally ill, many of them drug- or alcohol-addicted derelicts of the sort recently sent by City Hall to the Upper West Side, and who are now being dispatched in ever-larger numbers to the East Side and elsewhere in Manhattan and to Downtown Brooklyn.

Wherever there is scaffolding, it seems, vagrants are nearby: pitching tents, cooking heroin, making their toilet in the street and harassing passersby, either for money or because they simply can’t help themselves.

And the aggressive-vagrant issue has two things in common with the murderous-street-violence problem. They exist because:

  • New York’s elected leaders, right across the board, simply don’t give a damn about public safety. If they did, such things wouldn’t be happening.
  • Each is a problem that has already been solved once — painfully and controversially, to be sure, but solved as decisively as such challenges can be in a dynamic and intrinsically fractious city.

The two mayors who preceded Bill de Blasio believed strongly that public spaces belonged to the public and not to addicts, petty criminals and the mentally ill. They implemented and sustained humane but firm policies that provided necessary shelter and services while ­reclaiming New York City’s transit terminals, concourses and parks.

And they believed just as strongly that public safety is a fundamental right — so they developed and maintained policies that transformed a blood-spattered municipality into what might fairly have become Gotham’s trademark: “the safest big city in America.”

Those policies have become racially charged buzzwords in today’s cultural conflicts: “broken-windows policing,” “stop-and-frisk,” “anti-crime cops.” But they had specific application, and they produced astonishingly positive results.

Now they’ve been abandoned, in favor of whatever low-impact social program might be in favor on a given day. The emphasis no longer is on public safety, it’s on lessening the consequence of crime on the criminals who commit it. New York’s street chaos and its spilled blood are a direct result.

The fact is that de Blasio and the City Council, with substantial help from Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature, forced strategic changes on the city’s public-safety establishment. They chose a less confrontational ­approach to disorder and crime, especially murder, and now all New Yorkers are paying a price for that. Big surprise.

What’s next? No strategic wheels need to be reinvented; the heavy lifting was done decades ago. What’s needed now are leaders with the wisdom to recognize that grievous mistakes have been made — and the courage to rectify them.

There’s a mayoral election coming up. Any takers?

Twitter: @RLMac2

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World News

Three ways Trump ‘wants to cut social security funding’ that 70 million Americans depend on

PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s proposed payroll tax cut is a clear threat to Social Security benefits that millions of Americans depend on.

Trump has maintained a hands-off approach with Social Security – choosing instead to indirectly influence the program by attempting to boost payroll tax collection via lower corporate and individual tax rates.

However, even though the president has largely avoided calling for direct policy changes to Social Security, he’s previously suggested cutting benefits three separate ways.

Eliminating waste in the SSDI program

Each of President Trump’s federal budget proposal while in office have called for cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

As of August 2020, the program has provided benefits to nearly 9.8 million people.

This overhaul focused on eliminating wasteful spending within SSDI, as well as reducing retroactive benefits paid to eventually approved beneficiaries from a  period of 12 months to six months.

Since presidential budget proposals estimate the economic impact of fiscal policy actions for a period of 10 years.

Trump’s federal budgets were expected to reduce SSDI outlays by the following amounts over the subsequent decade

  • Fiscal 2018: $72billion
  • Fiscal 2019: $64billion
  • Fiscal 2020: $26billion
  • Fiscal 2021: $24billion

These figures are a drop in the bucket relative to what Social Security is expected to outlay over the next decade.

According to estimates, Social Security is estimated to expend more than $15trillion, in aggregate, over the next 10 years.

That means a $24billion to $72billion outlay reduction to resolve perceived inefficiencies in the SSDI program represents a mere fraction of total outlays.

A call for means testing

Another way to Social Security benefit cuts proposed by President Trump is means testing – which would partially or fully phase-out benefits for individuals who earn more than present income thresholds.

This would keep well-to-do seniors from receiving a full benefit or perhaps any benefits at all, if they aren’t reliant on their Social Security income to make ends meet.

However, President Trump has never made means testing for Social Security benefits an official proposal.

It was merely a discussion point tossed out by Trump prior to his 2016 election as a way to reduce Social Security long-term outlays.

Although Democrats are generally against the idea of Social Security benefit cuts, reducing outlays to the highest-earning seniors might be something they’d consider.

Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, has tossed around means testing as a Social Security solution in the past.

A partial or permanent elimination of the payroll tax

President Trump’s most recent call for Social Security benefit cuts involves his pursuit of a partial or permanent cut to the payroll tax.

The 12.4 percent payroll tax on earned income (wage and salary, but not investment income) was responsible for $944.5billion of the $1.06trillion that Social Security collected in 2019.

In an effort to combat the economic struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump sign an executive order in mid-August that deferred payroll tax collection between Sept. 1 and Dec 31.

This deferral was designed to beef up workers’ paychecks for the remainder of 2020 – but have those same workers repay what was deferred in 2021.

Some states and businesses have chosen to opt out of the voluntary deferral program.

The president has also tossed around the idea of permanently eliminating the payroll tax, if reelected.

As a result, this would allow workers to receive bigger paychecks but would remove the most critical source of Social Security’s funding.

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How to get £15 worth of McDonald's for £10

MCDONALD'S fans can bag £15 worth of food for £10 if they order their meal through the app.

The fast-food chain is knocking a fiver off the bill from today until November 1 when you spend at least £15 on one order.

For example, if you bought £20 worth of food it would only cost you £15, or a £40 order would set you back just £35.

To claim the deal, you'll need to place your order through the My McDonald's app.

The offer is available to new and existing app users and you'll find it under the "Deals" section. Tap on it to claim it.

You can then order your meal like normal, select the restaurant that you want to collect it from and then £5 will come off the bill when you come to pay.

Which items are still missing from the McDonald’s menu?

MCDONALD’S is running a reduced menu, with the following items currently unavailable:

  • Breakfast bagels
  • Breakfast wrap
  • Veggie Dippers
  • Veggie Deluxe
  • Spicy chicken snack wrap
  • Ice cream cones

If you don't already have the app, it's free to download on Android and Apple but you'll need to register an account, using details such as your email address.

You'll also need to agree to Maccies sending you marketing emails so make sure you read the small print before agreeing to the terms and conditions.

Unfortunately, you have to collect the food yourself if you want to get money off the bill as it's not available on orders placed through UberEats.

To find your nearest McDonald's branch use the store locator tool.

The fast food giant has been pushing its app as part of its drive for contactless orders to keep staff and customers safe during the pandemic.

Last month we reported how the chain has expanded its car park click and collect takeaway service to 24 restaurants.

But fans have been left frustrated at the chain for not bringing back its bagels and baps from the breakfast menu even though it added a new breakfast roll.

If you’ve ever been enjoying a McFlurry and wondered why the spoon is hollow but doesn't function as a straw, a McDonald’s worker has finally revealed their purpose. 

Similarly, a KFC worker has revealed how its gravy is made with bits of chicken "which come off the fryer" – and it's left some customers less than impressed.

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TV and Movies

Dale Moss responds to fans who compared him to a male model in a taco shell

The Bachelorette contestant Dale Moss has been catapulted into fame after gaining an overwhelming response from Clare Crawley during night one of The Bachelorette.

After Clare met Dale during the first night, she was beaming, and she told Chris Harrison that she was convinced she had just met her future husband.

Dale was a bit overwhelmed initially, but he continued to share his dedication to Clare and the Bachelorette process.

But because he’s now a frontrunner on the show, fans are starting to dig up old photos of him.

Dale Moss responds to his Halloween costume modeling

While Dale wants to be known as a sports reporter and a documentary filmmaker in the next couple of years, he does have a history in modeling.

And those photos have surfaced.

Yesterday, we reported that Dale modeled Halloween costumes for Party City before his Bachelorette days.

  • Tyler Cameron updates Bachelorette fans on Hannah Brown and Gigi Hadid

Dale wears a warrior costume, a superman costume, and the taco costume below in the photos.

On Instagram, Dale saw people dug up these old photos and shared his reaction.

“You know Bachelorette Dale, but do you know Party City model Dale?” @thebetchelor wrote on Instagram, to which Dale responded, “Love it! Read your contracts kids 😉 could be worse.”

In other words, he thought it was hilarious people found these old photos and didn’t seem to mind as much they were circulating again.

He looks young in the photos, so they must be at least a few years old.

Dale Moss is the strong frontrunner on The Bachelorette

As @thebetchelor wrote on Instagram, viewers know Bachelorette Dale. He’s currently the frontrunner on the show, as Clare was convinced she had met her future husband.

We are seeing on The Bachelorette that Dale is winning everyone’s attention, including Clare. But he’s also getting the guys’ attention because they know that he’s currently the frontrunner.

During this week’s episode, Dale goes to see Clare, and they end up spending time together.

When the guys go to find Dale and Clare, he jokes about hiding in the closet.

The guys then stage what appears to be a walk-out, sharing that they wanted more from The Bachelorette star, and they don’t want to compete with a guy who has seemingly already won.

As we’ve previously reported, filming ended around 12 days into production.

The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.

  • Dale Moss responds to fans who compared him to a male model in a taco shell – 26th October 2020
  • Tyler Cameron is at Nemacolin to support Matt James on The Bachelor – 26th October 2020
  • JoJo Fletcher comments on Clare Crawley’s cringeworthy behavior during The Bachelorette – 23rd October 2020

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World News

Girl, two, tied to pole and is dangled upside down at Thai festival

Shocking moment two-year-old girl is tied to a pole and swung 30ft up into the air before being dangled upside down by her ankle during celebrations at Thai festival

  • Event was part of Phuket Vegetarian Festival in southern Thailand on October 23
  • The toddler began crying before a man shimmied up pole to perform with her 
  • She is dropped and only stops feet from the ground during the performance 

This is the shocking moment a toddler is strapped to a pole and swung 30ft into the air – before being dangled upside down by her ankle.

The crying two-year-old was part of a ritual at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods festival, in southern Thailand on October 23.

Footage shows the youngster being tied to a huge wooden beam which is propelled upwards leaving her stranded more than 30ft in the air. 

The toddler was dangled by her ankle at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods festival, in southern Thailand on October 23

The little girl began crying before a man shimmied up the pole as he appeared to rescue her but instead began performing tricks and even dangling her by the ankle.

He put the child on his shoulders and thrashed back and forth before the pair waved to crowds as he balanced on metal poles sticking from the wooden beam.

In a heart-stopping moment, the man looks like he may fall, but as he regains his balance he dangles the child upside down.  

He then tied a rope to the small girl’s ankle and dropped her from the top of the beam – stopping only a few feet before she hit the ground.     

She was dropped from the top of a 30ft pole by a rope tied to her ankle and stopped only feet away from the ground

The two-year-old is put at the top of the pole and begins to cry during a festival best known for followers of the Taoist religion piercing their cheeks with skewers

She was then hauled up and dropped two more times before the man slid down the pole with the little girl clutching his chest.

There were then displays with Chinese dragons and firecrackers from China.

A tourist who recorded the video said they were shocked when they saw the girl being attached to the pole.

They said: ‘I couldn’t believe what was happening when I saw her being tied to the wooden beam. She was only two-years-old.

‘I’m not sure if there was any special religious meaning to it or if it was just part of the show. But the girl definitely looked scared and I can’t say for sure that it was safe.’ 

The festival is best known for Thai-Chinese followers of the Taoist religion piercing their cheeks with skewers and hitting themselves with whips. 

Followers of the religious event, which started on October 17 and lasted for nine days, raised no complaints about the display and cheered it on. 

They believe that by entering a trance they are possessed by the Gods and the pain from the self-flagellation helps to cleanse their souls.

The pair sit at the top of the pole, perched on metal poles sticking out at the top, before the man dangles the small child through the air 

The youngster is tied to a huge wooden beam which is propelled forwards leaving her stranded more than 30ft in the air as she waves at the crowd before bursting into tears 

 According to locals, the ritual started in the 19th century when a Chinese opera group visiting the island fell ill with a malaria epidemic.

They were doomed until they began worshiping the Nine Emperor Gods and cleansing their bodies, practices that have continued among believers.

Participants said this year’s festival had taken on extra significance because of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Although travel restrictions meant that no international tourists were presents, locals carried on with the unusual events.

Many believe that the pain from the piercings is a way to absorb the ills of their community onto themselves and help to bring good luck back.

As the toddler begins to cry a man shimmied up the pole as he appeared to rescue her, but the pair instead start performing stunts 

The man performs stunts with the child as he balanced on metal poles sticking from the wooden beam

Devotee Warin Supattra, who took part in the ritual, said: ‘The world is suffering from the pandemic. Many followers have been affected, too.

‘Here there are no tourists anymore and people’s lives are hurting. They are having a very hard time. Everyone is in pain and I believe our actions will help.’

The festival takes place every year in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar, and followers wearing white join the parades to cleanse their souls. 

During the nine-day period, they will abstain from meat, alcohol, intercourse and bad behaviour. Pregnant and menstruating women must stay at home.

The festival is normally packed with tourists from around the world but Thailand closed its borders on March 22 and has not re-opened to holidaymakers since.

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One week left to apply for a three month mortgage, credit card or loan payment holiday

CREDIT customers who are struggling financially have just one week left to apply for a three month mortgage, credit card or loan payment holiday.

Lenders will stop offering the breaks from next month, meaning borrowers have until October 31 to apply for one.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The temporary measures were introduced earlier this year to help households whose income has dropped due to lockdown restrictions.

The freezes can also be applied to insurance policies if you pay for them monthly, overdrafts, buy-now-pay-later, rent-to-own, car finance and pawnbroker loans.

Normally, payment breaks will be recorded on your credit file and can have a negative impact on any future borrowing, but earlier this year credit agencies agreed coronavirus freezes won't be.

Extra help will still be available to those struggling from November 1 onwards but it will be tailored depending on individual circumstances and will be marked on their credit history.

What is a payment holiday and should you apply for one?

PAYMENT holidays are when a lender agrees to pause your monthly repayments for a set amount of time.

This has to be agreed in advance, so don't stop making your repayments until your bank has given you permission to do so.

The majority of lenders are now offering payment holidays, so get in touch with your bank to find out what help it can give you.

You will need to do this before October 31 as this is when the blanket help is due to end.

Most of the time, it'll require you to fill out an online form.

Typically, payment holidays are offered in extreme circumstances and are designed as an emergency measure to help you through a difficult financial time.

If you think you need to take one, you should speak to your lender to discuss your options – but do note that the break in payments doesn’t remove any debt or financial obligations.

Most lenders will also still charge interest during this time, so be aware that these costs will keep building up.

You should also always continue to make your normal payments if you’re financially able to.

Sue Anderson, head of media at debt charity StepChange, said: “If you can continue to make your normal payments without difficulty, then you should. 

“Any temporary measures being offered by lenders don’t remove financial obligations – they are designed as an emergency measure to help you get through a period where your income may have taken a serious knock.

“However, if you need to use them then you shouldn’t hesitate to talk to your lenders. 

“While taking a payment break would usually be noted on your credit file, the credit reference agencies have confirmed that, during the current crisis, this should not have a future influence on your credit status.”

It's worth noting though that if you've already taken a three month payment holiday and you apply for a second on the same product before the deadline, the post-October 31 rules will apply meaning it will also be recorded on your credit file.

While it's better than missing a payment without speaking to your lender first, Martin Lewis previously warned that you should only apply for a holiday if you really need it.

Borrowers still accrue interest throughout the break, which will cost them more in the long run as the balance will be higher than if they continued making the repayments.

For example, if someone paying £600 a month on a mortgage with a 12-year term left takes a three month holiday will typically need to repay the remaining balance over 11 years and nine months at a rate of £616 a month.

He said: "So if you don't really need a three month holiday, don't do it, or take a shorter break or make some voluntary repayments if you can.

"Yet if you're struggling, do apply now and get the help you need. And with the deadline looming, my standard 'only take it if you NEED it' needs the addition of 'or think you may really need it soon', as future help is diminishing and these payment holidays are for most better than what will be available after October 31."

Financial help for local lockdowns

HERE’S all of the extra help you can get if where you live has gone into local lockdown:

Up to two thirds of wages covered – Under the Job Support Scheme, the government will pay up to 66% of your wages if you can work because the business has been shut down by local restrictions.

£500 self-isolation payment – A new payment of up to £500 is available if you're officially told to self isolate by the NHS, are on a low income and can't work from home and this causes a loss of income.

Statutory Sick Pay – Anyone who must self-isolate and can't work from home can get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of £95.85 per week if they qualify for it.

Income support for the self-employed – The new self-employed grant will cover 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875, spanning November to January next year.

Taking payment holidays – You may be able to reduce your outgoings by taking a payment holiday on things like your credit card, mortgage or personal loan. You should speak to your bank, lender or provider to agree a break or reduction – never just stop making payments. These end on October 31.

Apply for a council tax reduction – You can apply for a council tax reduction on the website but you'll need to meet certain criteria. Your bill could be cut by as much as 100 per cent if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. Carers who look after someone in the household for at least 35 hours a week are also exempt from paying.

Help if you can't pay – If you find yourself struggling financially there's always help available. Contact your bank or lender in the first instance if you're struggling to keep up with repayments.You'll also find support and advice from the following organisations for free:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
  • Shelter – 0808 800 4444

MSE has previously warned that taking a payment break may actually stop you from getting a mortgage, even though they won't affect your credit score.

They said that lenders can then see whether you've paused any payments through other methods, like Open Banking, which they can then use this information to decide whether or not they will lend to you.

There are fears that households are going to have to tighten their belts even further in the coming months as hundreds of thousands of workers are expected to lose their jobs when furlough ends.

A lack of tiered support for people who live in areas where there are tougher local lockdown restrictions is also expected to push millions of families into debt, Citizens Advice warned yesterday.

October 31 marks the end of four other government-backed coronavirus help schemes, including furlough.

Interest-free overdrafts are also due to finish, while free childcare rules will come back.

A fifth of bosses expect to axe 10% of workers by the end of the year – with legal and health workers among those most at risk.

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'We couldn't wait to have a big family – so we adopted three kids at once'

After meeting in their early 40s, Gareth and Clare quickly realised they wanted a family together.

Gareth wanted lots of children – six or seven – but they managed to compromise on three.

But as they were older, they knew having three kids was going to be difficult.

So instead, they decided to adopt – and they ended up welcoming a group of siblings, age four, three and one, in one go through adoption.

Speaking to for Adoption Month, Clare explains: ‘Gareth really wanted lots of children, he was talking six or seven but we finally managed to agree on three.

‘Obviously, due to our ages, we realised it was probably unrealistic to think that we would have the family we wanted the usual way. 

‘Bringing up children and enjoying family life was the main driver for us rather than creating a mini-me or passing on our genes, so adoption seemed the natural route for us to take.’

They started the process in 2015 and for them, it was a very positive experience.

Clare adds: ‘Historically, there’s a lot of negative thinking around the adoption process and we’d heard so many scare stories, we’re hoping we can dispel that myth having been through it.

‘We were allocated a fantastic social worker, Lorraine, who was very thorough. Although the process can be intrusive, we never felt that.  

‘I can honestly say I really rather enjoyed the process – how often do you get to sit and talk about yourself for hours on end and the other person just sits and listens intently?!  It’s also somewhat of a voyage of discovery about yourself – your values, your upbringing, what has shaped you into the person you are today.’ 

They were approved as adopters in mid March and were committed to welcoming a sibling group.

Clare explains: ‘We felt we’d already waited a lifetime for our own family. We knew we wanted three so thought “let’s just get on with it”.

‘We also knew that sibling groups wait longer for a family. We also considered that when you adopt and then look to adopt again, the social workers are keen to keep ‘the natural order of things’ where possible in that any other children need to be at least nine months to a year younger than the previous child, as happens generally. 

‘People are often amazed that we took on our three littles all in one go but as we always say, we’ve never known any different, so I doubt we’re any more bewildered than any other first time parents who had just the one.

‘I remember the chair of the adoption panel walking over to give us their recommendation, looking all serious, his words were: “Three?  We think you’re mad, but you’re approved.”‘

They were added to the adoption register for Wales (Linkmaker), which assists with finding families for children and quickly realised how often sibling groups can wait longer.

Clare explains: ‘We put all our details in and by the time we were matched with our three in early April, we’d been contacted by 11 different family finding social workers looking for forever families for their little gangs. 

‘We found it emotional that so many young children needed families, but also heartening that such efforts were being made to keep siblings together.  It’s so important.’

Almost 12 months exactly from when they started the adoption process, their children came home.

‘We certainly believe that having that continuity and connection helped our children to settle into their new home more easily,’ Clare says.

‘The whole introduction and moving in phase is just a blur – best word of advice is to keep lots of instant porridge pots to hand as we were so wrapped up in the children, we would forget to eat! 

‘The first thing our son said to us was, “oh it’s mummy and daddy” which just blew us away and the second thing was, “do you have food at your house?” which is a sharp reminder of the hardships these children have often endured in their journey towards a safe, secure and loving family environment, which is every child’s right.’

From there, they quickly got used to life as a family of five and the couple began to understand more about being adoptive parents.

Clare adds: ‘There are challenges and benefits to adopting a sibling group. For some, their established connection can make it easier for them to settle into their new family.

‘I think there’s always that primaeval safety in numbers thing – they’re not on their own, suddenly living with two people they don’t really know, calling themselves mummy and daddy.

‘In saying that, the bond they have is also a reminder of the shared trauma they have suffered in the past. 

‘There is a lot more awareness now of the impacts of trauma and adverse early life experience and there is support available to help in terms of therapeutic intervention such as attachment therapy and life story work, which is invaluable and available to adoptive families via your post-adoption social worker. 

‘Parenting adopted children is different and there can be added complications, so make sure you get the support you need. It is out there so shout for it. Thrive, not just survive.’

Now, four years on since the children came home, they are a very happy family.

Clare adds: ‘Our children have come on leaps and bounds since they came to us, they have adopted us and are super keen to absorb as many people as possible into our family love bubble – we liken them to Star Trek’s The Borg – you will be assimilated, resistance is futile! 

‘They are 100% our children, no doubt about it.  My son gave me a hug the other day, smiled and said to me that he wished he’d come out of my tummy, I felt tremendously privileged and thought I must be doing something right! 

‘We are in constant awe of their bravery and resilience.  They’re truly inspirational.  I saw two posters the other day one that read: “Welcome to our beautiful chaos” and the other: “Our family is one tent away from a full-blown circus”. I laughed out loud and thought, yep, that’s us and we love it.’

You can hear more about Gareth and Clare’s adoption journey in the National Adoption Service’s new podcast, Truth Be Told: adoption stories. Listen to the latest episode here.

Adoption Month

Adoption Month is a month-long series covering all aspects of adoption.

For the next four weeks, which includes National Adoption Week from October 14-19, we will be speaking to people who have been affected by adoption in some way, from those who chose to welcome someone else’s child into their family to others who were that child.

We’ll also be talking to experts in the field and answering as many questions as possible associated with adoption, as well as offering invaluable advice along the way.

If you have a story to tell or want to share any of your own advice please do get in touch at [email protected]

  • Why we’re talking about adoption this month
  • How to adopt a child – from how long it takes to how you can prepare
  • The most Googled questions on adoption, answered
  • How long does it take to adopt a child in the UK
  • Adoption myths that could be stopping you from starting a family
  • How to tell your child they are adopted 

Visit our Adoption Month page for more.

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Woman reveals hack to hide guest bed with radiator cover in her hallway

It’s great to have somewhere for people to stay overnight but a little awkward if you don’t have a spare room.

A fold up guest bed means you can quickly turn your living room into somewhere a little more comfortable to sleep – but it’s not exactly pretty to look at if you have to store it in a hallway or somewhere people use lots.

One woman has come up with a genius solution to subtly store a guest bed anywhere in your house, without it being an eyesore.

Barbara Knox placed a radiator cover over the top so it was hidden and then added a few knick-knacks to make it look even more stylish.

According to The Sun, she has the single Jay-Be Value Folding Bed from Argos and she was able to use a 112cm length, 82cm height and 19cm depth radiator cover over the top.

Posting on the DIY on a Budget UK group Facebook group, Barbara Knox said: ‘I used a radiator cover to hide folding bed for guests …. worked pretty well I think.’

She added brackets to the wall so the cover could just be lifted on and off.

The guest bed can then be stored there and easily pulled out when needed.

Other people in the group were amazed by the simple idea and said it would be perfect for their own homes.

One said: ‘This is probably the best idea I’ve seen on here.’

Another added: ‘Barbara for prime minister!’

‘I am sitting on this bed right now and it is an eye sore during the day, this idea is bloody brilliant!!!’ someone else said.

Do you have a hack to share?

Get in touch at [email protected]

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World News

Brits holidaymakers jetting to Canary Islands spared night-time curfew

BRITS jetting to the Canary Islands have been spared a night-time ­curfew which could last for six months on the Spanish mainland.

A new state of emergency announced yesterday by Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez does not apply to Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

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The government justified the exemption because of the low rate of Covid in the region.

It came as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps put the Canaries back on the UK’s “safe” list of regions, meaning people returning home do not have to quarantine.

But tourists to the islands may need to prove they are free of coronavirus, with Covid certificates or tests at a local clinic, before being allowed in hotels.

The regional government is set to discuss the issue later this week.


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World News

Instagram forced to update nudity policy after model's 'racial bias' campaign

Influencer Nyome Nicholas-Williams complained of discrimination after the social media site removed a pic of her holding her breasts.

She said the site did not take action against models Emily Ratajkowski and Kylie Jenner over similar near-nude pics, due to “racial bias”.

Instagram and parent Facebook will update their policy “to ensure all body types are treated fairly”.

They will allow content where someone is hugging, cupping or holding their breasts, after admitting falling short on applying the rules.

Ms Nicholas-Williams, 28, based in London, said: "I want to ensure that we are being respected and allowed to use spaces like Instagram, as many other creators do, without the worry of being censored and silenced.

"This is a huge step and I am glad a dialogue has now been opened into changes that can be made when women work together and use their platforms to make change."

Kira Wong O'Connor, head of policy at Instagram, said: "We know people feel more empowered to express themselves and create communities of support – like the body positivity community – if they feel that their bodies and images are accepted.

"We are grateful to Nyome for speaking openly and honestly about her experiences and hope this policy change will help more people to confidently express themselves.

"It may take some time to ensure we're correctly enforcing these new updates but we're committed to getting this right."

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