Tag Archives: #featured

Fun things to do in London this weekend

With at least one sunny day coming up this weekend, it’s time to go out and celebrate our new freedom from certain lockdown restrictions.

Whether you’re a fan of thrifting in vintage markets or are looking to find some of the most peaceful parks to escape into, our interactive map should be your go-to guide.

As of April 12, pub gardens, outdoor attractions and gyms are now open, and London has some of the best to offer. Here are some of the highlights…

Greenwich Market

Fancy a bite to eat? Greenwich Market has loads of tasty options: from pizza to sushi, everyone’s tastes are met. Check out what this TikTok user got up to…

@theresriceathome

FOLLOW IG: @theres_rice_at_home for the specific food reviews 💛 #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #food #london #greenwich #greenwichmarket

♬ Food – Densky9

Hyde Park

What’s better than chilling with friends in a park now that the rule of six is back? When there’s parakeets! Who knew these birds would eat straight out of your hand! Check out Ariane Hine’s TikTok below…

Check out our interactive map below

From outdoor swimming to drive-in cinemas, you won’t run out of things to do

Now you know what’s in store for this weekend, we want to hear what you’re most excited for. Let us know by voting in the poll below…

Featured image credit to Lucas Peng on Unsplash

Inside the world’s worst second wave

While the lockdown eases in the United Kingdom, there are countries like India which are suffering and going through a second wave of Covid-19.

Cases have significant increased in the past 60 days with an average of 357,040 every day. The number of cases had previously decreased to as low as 5000.

India’s health system seems to crush as it breaks global records. The difficulty to get access to oxygen, plasma and medical beds has led to a rapid increase in the death rate, with nearly 3498 deaths reported on April 29 alone.

Vaccinations are open to a majority of the population and all adults from May 1. But only 9% of the population is vaccinated with the first dose and just 1.8% is vaccinated with two.

Credit: Unsplash

This poses a threat to the entire nation as the medical facilities seem to deteriorate and are significantly insufficient for the entire population of the country.

Graphic created using information from Github

Indian author Arundhati Roy has criticised how the government have handled the pandemic. According to The Independent, he slammed Narendra Modi for his early triumph over coronavirus and described it as an “outright crime against humanity”.

Basic facilities such as oxygen and medicine are being sold in the Black Market according to ABC News at high prices. In turn, becoming unaffordable for the poor sections of the country.

Unsplash

In order to curb the virus, state governments have imposed lockdowns and night curfews in various hotspots in India. Restaurants continue to operate for takeaways and shops remain shut.

A large community of influential celebrities and bloggers have started using their platforms to help people connect with organisations that can help with getting basic facilities, according to The Quint.

Want to read more global COVID-19 news? Check out our interactive map.

Domestic Violence- a deadlier virus

The new Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) was declared a Global Pandemic on 11 March 2020 and as a result, the movement outside was restricted, schools and offices were close and while everyone thought of this pandemic as deleterious, there was a deadlier virus just around the corner.

The stay-at-home order had suddenly paved way for increasing number of cases of Intimate partner violence (IPV), thus confining the deprived women to their homes and abusers.  

The house has suddenly become the most “dangerous place” for women.

In July, the UN estimated that six months of restrictions could result in 31 million additional cases of sexual violence in the world and seven million unwanted pregnancies.

While in countries like Spain, women have started using secret codes such as “Mask-19” to address domestic violence, there are countries like Paris which saw a 36 per cent rise in violent domestic abuse cases in just one week.

However, early data shows that helplines in Singapore and Cyprus have registered a more than 30 per cent increase in calls.  In Australia, 40 per cent of frontline workers in New South Wales reported more requests for help with violence.

Domestic violence not only shatters the victim but exacerbates tensions about security, health, and money. UN has been trying to help the women out there by urging the governments to put women’s safety first:

It’s how time this issue is taken seriously and addressed correctly. What you would probably not realise is that while you took a moment to read this, some woman out there was being brutally abused and needs to have her voice be heard. Let’s work towards a change.

Refugees’ rights are ‘under attack’ at Europe’s borders, warns UN

The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has reported that migrants are facing violence from immigrations officials in Europe.

Despite being protected under refugee law, many are refused the right to settle or held in poor conditions while they claim asylum.

Just recently, the UK Home Office has been criticised for placing asylum seekers in ex-army barracks where they slept in cramped communal areas despite the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Back in January, 178 migrants tested positive for the virus at Napier barracks in Kent, according to the BBC.

But just across the Channel in France, conditions could be considered to be even worse. I was there back in February, when temperatures were below freezing and men were still sleeping outdoors.

Check out the news story below to see what it’s like to be camping in Calais.

Many of the migrants I spoke to were hoping to make it to London. They had heard about our world attractions, job opportunities and perhaps most importantly, our football clubs.

Their faces lit up at the thought of getting to live here. But the UK’s new asylum reforms will make that even more difficult. Check out our explainer on these new restrictions here.

Despite all the barriers they face, refugees at Europe’s borders remain hopeful and grateful to those who help them.

Operations Manager at Care4Calais, Imogen Hardman, can attest to that: “They’ve all escaped unimaginable trauma and journeys just to get here, but they are kind, they are generous and they’re funny.

Imogen moved to Calais from London to work on the frontlines of the refugee crisis. Click here to hear about her experience.

What will UK’s new asylum plan mean for London?

Home Secretary Priti Patel has just announced asylum reforms that will make it tougher for migrants to settle in the UK.

Immigration officers will now “make every effort to remove those who enter the UK legally having travelled through a safe country first”, Patel said in the Commons last week.

But for many migrants, travelling through “safe” European countries is the only way to reach the UK.

Take Eritrea for example. The small East African country has a totalitarian government, meaning there are no elections and no free press, says Help Refugees.

At 18 years old, citizens are forced to partake in military service to fight against Ethiopia in an extremely dangerous war.

These young Eritreans can’t just hop on a plane to avoid the conflict. Many aren’t even granted passports until they’ve completed their military duties.

So, they are forced to make ‘illegal’ journeys to the UK. Here, they are supposed to be protected by refugee law.

This basically suggests that migrants must be protected by other countries when they face persecution in their homeland.

Many flee to European countries like Germany and France for this protection.

Patel’s asylum reforms will make it harder for refugees who have crossed the Channel to be granted refugee status, because France is not a particularly dangerous country.

While it may seem like a “safe” country to you and me, the UNHCR has warned that French police are violent towards refugees and evict their camps every few days.

So, can we really blame them for wanting to come to the UK?

The capital, in particular, is popular amongst refugees. Immigrants are the backbone of our city, often taking on the low-paying and essential jobs that keep London running.

According to London First, 37% of Londoners were born outside the UK and 25% of NHS workers here are migrants.

So, it’s clear that London thrives on its diverse population. But where is everyone actually from and what made them want to move here?

This map, created using information from the 2011 Census has all the information you need.

If you want to find out even more, check out our interactive map. It includes statistics and the reasons why people emigrate from specific countries.

Interact with the map here

It’s unlikely London would look so diverse if these reforms had been brought in earlier.

It’s predicted that our new “points-based system” might favour the people with the highest skills, rather than those fleeing conflict.

Either way, London benefits massively from the diversity and skills brought by immigration. As our map shows, this city has been shaped by migrants and Patel’s new asylum reforms could put an end to that.

Want to find out more about the global refugee situation?

‘I moved from London to Calais to tackle the refugee crisis’: Listen to Imogen’s story here.

Watch our video on what it’s like to be a refugee camping in Calais.

Disclaimer: these statistics come from the latest census information that is available from 2011. Global events, such as the Arab Spring, have occurred since then and so demographics will have changed. The most recent census was carried out in March 2021 but the information is not available to the public yet.

‘Use this if you feel unsafe’: The TikTok trend protecting against sexual harassment

TikTok users have found an inventive way to warn off sexual predators by just playing one simple video.

The videos, tagged “Use this sound if you feel unsafe”, make it seem like you’re having a phone conversation with a friend or parent.

Often, they include phrases like “where are you? Oh that’s like 5 minutes away. I’ll start walking to meet you.”

Young women are playing these videos if they feel uncomfortable walking home at night or in a taxi. They pretend to engage in the conversation, making it seem like someone is expecting them.

The idea is that harassers will be put off if they know friends or family are close by, or if the person’s phone location services are switched on.

Amber May Hutton has started creating these videos since Londoner Sarah Everard was killed.

“I’d seen a few people doing it and I thought it’d be a good idea because a lot of my followers are young girls,” she said.

Check out one of her videos here:

@ambermayhutton

If you ever feel unsafe in a taxi feel free to save this and use it whenever you need💚 #fyp

♬ original sound – amber💕
Amber May Hutton calls herself “the big sister of TikTok.”

Amber hopes that videos like these can make her followers a little more confident when they’re out and about on their own:

“While I don’t think that the video would necessarily stop someone being sexually harassed, it might cause the attacker to second guess whether it’s worth the risk.”

Amber May Hutton, TikTok influencer

She wants to change the “oh well I’m a woman so I just have to take it” mentality. “Absolutely not”, she says, “I think we’re slowly steering away from that, but we still have a long way to go.”

She’s referring to an outpouring of support for Sarah Everard that has come since her death. Women have gathered in towns and cities across the UK for vigils and Reclaim the Night demonstrations.

Reclaim the Night started in Leeds back in 1977 after women were warned by the police not to stay out after dark. This was following the infamous ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ murders.

Why does Reclaim the Streets still need to operate, 44 years after it began? Violence and harassment against women is still a major part of our everyday lives.

According to UN Women UK, 97% of women in the UK between 18-24 years-old have been sexually harassed.

Clearly, something needs to change. This TikTok trend is just the most recent way of doing it.

Graphic created using this <a href=”http://<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/photos/technology”>Technology photo created by rawpixel.com – http://www.freepik.comroyalty free image

All about the Grammy: how the elite music awards began

Every year the Grammy Awards shake the media and provoke the people’s curiosity regarding which famous singer will win and how many musicians will rock the melody world.

Grammy (Gramophone Awards) or The Grammy Awards are the American music awards ceremony that takes place every year.

Initially, the creators of the celebration wanted to name it the Eddie Awards, in honour of Thomas Edison, as he invented the phonograph, but the final choice was Gramophone Awards after the gramophone, made by Emile Berliner.

According to Britannica, the first event dates to 1959, and then 28 rewards were given to significant figures like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and the Kingston Trio.

The winners are gifted a tiny gilded gramophone as a prize. John Billings holds the company Billings Artworks that are responsible for making the Gramophone Awards prize. The process of production did not change a lot since the start, as trophies remain to be handmade.

Interview with John Billings. Source: TheMusicVoyager

Who is worthy of an accolade decides the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), known as the Recording Academy or Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS), often identified as the Latin Recording Academy.

The members of both Recording Academies remain a mystery. However, in 2020 The Rolling Stone claimed that there are 12,000 voters, who pick approximately 20 competitors for every category by a popular vote, but committees are only allowed to express their voice in their areas of knowledge.

Later five nominees are chosen for every award and a winner in the end. Victorious artists are selected from more than 25 music domains that include genres like pop, rock, rap, R&B, country, reggae, classical, gospel, and jazz also production and postproduction results containing packaging and album notes. Four general rewards are handed for a record, album, song of the year, and best new artist. More than 75 awards are given altogether during the ceremony, a highlight of the voting.

Artists who try to compete for an award have to release a song or music video in the US from 1 October last year, till the midnight of 30 September, because this period counts as the Grammy year. To fit for a Latin Grammy, a song could be released anywhere globally, but it must be recorded in the Spanish or Portuguese language between 1 July of the previous year and 30 June of the award year.

Submissions are sent by the record companies and the academy members and are inspected to decide eligibility and category placement. Successful contestants show up in The Grammy Awards TV ceremony, where the winners are announced.

Over the years, The Grammy Awards received criticism surrounding transparency and even racism. However, the event is still well-recognised by the media and music industry, and the ceremony catches the attention of the professionalism of presenters and iconic looks.

Featured Image belongs to Sudhith Xavier on Unsplash

Covid infections up slightly in Brent

A patient receives a Covid vaccine

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has increased slightly in the London borough of Brent.

Over the last seven days 167 people were found to have the virus — and increase of 2.5%, according to the government’s daily summary.

No-one died in the HA1 postal code area and only one person was admitted to a North West University Hospital up to 14 March when figures were last collected.

A patient receives a Covid vaccineAcross the country the epidemic continues to shrink with both cases and deaths down on the previous week.

The government also reports that more than 25.7 million people had been given a first dose of a vaccine up to 17 March.

How Coronavirus is affecting the homeless

With COVID-19 worsening, this puts in question how homeless people are meant to cope with the situation, as homeless charities face cuts and churches and drop-ins are forced to close their doors.


The Coronavirus pandemic has and continues to spread severely, as according to The Guardian, there are currently over 250,000 cases worldwide and 3,983 confirmed cases in the UK, with people being advised to self-isolate at home and avoid staying out on the streets.

But what happens to those who don’t have a home to self-isolate in?

The pandemic puts forward a new threat to those who don’t have direct access to food, homing and basic sanitation, and therefore places them at a greater risk of potentially contracting the virus.

“The Coronavirus has hit many homeless hard as obviously, they struggle to self-isolate, and even if the government give some homeless people office spaces or hotels to self-isolate, many will still be left on the streets” – Andrew Mcley, worker at Ealing Soup Kitchen

Those who live on the street don’t have the chance to wash their hands for 30 seconds several times throughout the day and they are unable to stockpile on food and hand sanitising gel, like the rest of us privileged ones are.

The Church of England made the decision of shutting down all churches as places of worship last Tuesday evening 17th of March, therefore also affecting the homeless as services are cancelled, and charities running soup kitchens within churches are denied access to the kitchens.

 

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Image from Ealing Soup Kitchen

 

Certain homeless charities including Ealing Soup Kitchen in West London are facing cuts and are currently only able to provide one service a week from four which they were able to provide before.

Andrew Mcleay, a current worker at Ealing Soup Kitchen comments: “the Coronavirus has hit many homeless hard as obviously, they struggle to self-isolate, and even if the government give some homeless people office spaces or hotels to self-isolate, many will still be left on the streets.”

“The devastation of this will lead to many more problems down the line, as many will feel even more isolated and alone as drop-ins and churches are closing around them and even night shelters are forced to close. So they really are on their own. It will mean that some who may not have otherwise may now turn to drugs and alcohol which will lead to an increase in services needing to cater for that.”

Ealing Soup Kitchen would serve around 400 homeless people weekly and with other services shutting down, they are looking into how they would be able to provide somehow else.

The charity’s workers are currently looking into how they will be able to serve the homeless in other ways by doing outreach on the days which they have lost, and find those on the streets to see how they can help them.

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Image from Ealing Soup Kitchen

Similarly, other charities including Brixton Soup Kitchen in South London are also adapting their services to still be able to help the homeless during the coronavirus crisis, making it able for people to pick up food and essentials whilst restricting physical contact.

In a video posted on March the 16th via Twitter, they report how they will be needing more essentials and encourage people to donate, as they are running out due stockpiling leaving supermarkets short of supply.

Coronavirus: Five tips if you’re working from home

For many it might be just like any other week, but for some, working from home may be a challenge and a lot of people are likely to be doing it for the first time this week due to the coronavirus outbreak.

About 1.5 million people work from home and its becoming more popular all the time.

So, if you’ve been told to work remotely and you’re not self-isolating, what’s the best way to keep your spirits up and stay motivated?

1. Get dressed

For some people, the idea of staying in their pyjamas all day may seem to be the most enticing aspect of working from home. But the routine of washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind but will also psychologically prepare you to start work.

getting dressed.png

Whether its business attire or anything else, some people find that dressing formally is helpful and also helps when you need to dial into those Skype video calls.

Wearing respectable clothes helps increase motivation to leave the house just like changing out of work clothes when you clock off for the day helps your brain to understand the working day is over.

2. Establish boundaries

If you work for a company then you’re likely to have set hours of work and it’s important to stick to those hours when you’re working from home. Be prepared to start your day the same time as you would normally arrive at your office or workplace and finish your day at the same time.

At the end of the working day, make sure you switch off your computer and tidy away papers and other things around your desk. Space allowing, set aside a separate area in your home where you can set up – preferably with a properly adjusted desk and chair, similar to your workplace. You should also ensure you find a space where you’re not likely to be disturbed, especially if there are other people in the house.

The NHS advice is that your chair should be adjusted so that you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor.

3. Get out and about (if you’re not self-isolating)

Whether it be for a morning jog or a quick cycle around the park, it’ll help with your physical wellbeing as well as getting some fresh air. A different perspective will also help clear your mind and help you a fresh pair of eyes  with any tasks you’re struggling with.

if you can’t go outside, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing the atmosphere into your home with you by using apps like Calm to play background noises such as rain, ocean sounds or even a busy environment like cafe chatter or a busy office for those times your missing the workplace.

4, Pick up the phone

When you’re at work, you’re more likely to engage with colleagues, but when you’re at home, you could spend the whole day without talking to anyone which can be confining.

So, it’s important to make some time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation rather than relying on texting or emailing.

5. Take regular breaks

You should avoid being cemented to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from you desk and walk around or even stretch for a while.

Research has found that taking short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than taking longer, less frequent breaks. Many home workers recommend the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method which which breaks your day into 25 minute chunks which is followed by a 5 minute break.