Monday , April 23 2018

Alfie Dingley's family apply for licence for medical cannabis

Image copyright PA Image caption Alfie's mother Hannah Deacon met the prime minister last month when she handed over a petitionThe family of a six-year-old boy with epilepsy has applied to the government to be able to use cannabis oil. Alfie Dingley, from Warwickshire, has a very rare form of the illness that causes up to 150 seizures per month. His family said his condition improved after using it in the Netherlands - where it is legal - and has given a petition to Prime Minister Theresa May. During Prime Minister's Questions Mrs May said she wanted the Home Office to look at the application quickly. His mother, Hannah Deacon, said: "It's a big decision and if they say no, they're condemning our son to death." Midlands Live: Government accused of 'endless dithering' on hospital; Probe into gas canister 'arson' attack Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions earlier, Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester, Withington, raised Alfie'..

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Are AI fairytales the future?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption AI programs have been designed to write stories in the style of human authorsIt was recently reported that the meditation app Calm had published a "new" fairytale by the Brothers Grimm. However, The Princess and the Fox was written not by the brothers, who died over 150 years ago, but by humans using an artificial intelligence (AI) tool. It's the first fairy tale written by an AI, claims Calm, and is the result of a collaboration with Botnik Studios - a community of writers, artists and developers. Calm says the technique could be referred to as "literary cloning". Botnik employees used a predictive-text program to generate words and phrases that might be found in the original Grimm fairytales. Human writers then pieced together sentences to form "the rough shape of a story", according to Jamie Brew, chief executive of Botnik. The full version is available to paying customers of Calm, but here's a short extract: "Once upon a tim..

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Student loans interest rate to rise in line with inflation

Image copyright Getty ImagesStudents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will face interest rates on their loans of up to 6.3%, following an increase in the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation. The rise from 6.1% currently will take effect from September for students and graduates under the 2012 fee scheme. The increase comes as the government is conducting a review of post-18 education and funding. Ministers say the role of interest rates will be considered in the review. The RPI inflation rate in March is used to set the interest on student loans from the following September. Those starting or continuing at university this autumn will be charged interest of 6.3% - RPI at 3.3% plus 3% - from when they start studying, until the April after they graduate. From that point, the loan becomes payable above a certain income threshold - which the government announced earlier this month is to be raised from £21,000 to £25,000. For graduates, the interest is on a sliding sc..

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First double face transplant patient 'well' in France

The first person in the world to receive two facial transplants is recovering in a Paris hospital three months after his operation. Jérôme Hamon, 43, had his first transplanted face removed last year after signs of rejection following a treatment with an incompatible antibiotic during a cold. He remained without a face for two months while a compatible donor was sought. Read more: Man gets 'third face' in new transplant

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May regrets colonial anti-gay laws

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A gay man from Uganda, where gay sex is banned, felt the need to cover his face when seeking asylum in the USBritish Prime Minister Theresa May has said she deeply regrets the UK's role in criminalising same-sex relations in its former colonies. The laws were passed under British rule and are still used in 37 of the Commonwealth's 53 member nations. There is a global trend towards decriminalising homosexual acts, but some countries, like Nigeria and Uganda, have imposed stricter laws. At a Commonwealth meeting, Mrs May said laws were "wrong then and wrong now". Same-sex relations are explicitly banned in 72 countries, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). Choosing between the church and being gay Gay rights: Africa, the new frontier "Nobody should face discrimination and persecution because of who they are or who they love," Mrs May said in London as Commonwealth leaders ga..

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Caroline Nokes MP's office 'suspicious substance' alert stood down

Image copyright Nicholas Palmer Image caption Conservative club member Nicholas Palmer took this picture from inside the buildingThe constituency office of immigration minister Caroline Nokes has been reopened after tests showed a substance found in an envelope was harmless. Police sealed off Romsey Conservative Club in Hampshire at about 11:20 BST, while emergency workers in white protective suits spoke to those inside. The cordon was lifted at about 14:40 after police said there was no risk to the public. Ms Nokes confirmed a staff member discovered the suspicious substance. The Romsey and Southampton North MP was not in the building at the time. Image copyright Chrissie Bye Image caption Emergency services were called to the town centre at 11:20 BSTIn a statement, police said: "A cordon was put in place as a precaution while tests were carried out to establish what the substance was. "Following those tests we can confirm that the substance is not hazardous and there is no risk..

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Jones cleared of misleading Welsh Assembly

Image caption Carwyn Jones referred himself to an inquiry after allegations he had mislead the assembly over what he knew about allegations of bullying in 2014An independent inquiry has cleared the first minister of misleading the assembly over what he knew about past claims of a bullying culture in the Welsh Government. Carwyn Jones was found to be telling the truth when he told AMs last year that no allegations were made in 2014. The bullying debate was sparked after ex-communities secretary Carl Sargeant was found dead last November. He died days after being sacked over claims about his conduct towards women. Following the death, former local government minister Leighton Andrews and a former special advisor claimed there had been a "toxic" atmosphere within the Welsh Government back in 2014. Welsh Labour leader Mr Jones told AMs no complaints had been made but was accused by some of giving misleading answers. Sargeant's death 'due to hanging' He referred himself..

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Anti-Semitism row: Labour MPs applauded after Commons speeches

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMPs given standing ovations after anti-Semitism speechesTwo Labour MPs have been given standing ovations in the Commons after speaking passionately about their own experience of anti-Semitic threats. Luciana Berger said she had contended with abuse for 18 years after receiving her first piece of hate mail aged 19. She told her party it had a "duty to the next generation" to confront the issue as "denial was not an option". Ruth Smeeth said British Jews had a right to participate in public life as equals and would not be "bullied". Addressing those who she said had dismissed claims of anti-Semitism as political smears, she said "we know what anti-Semitism is, we know where it leads, how dare these people suggest that". Chakrabarti on Labour and anti-Semitism During the parliamentary debate on anti-Semitism, a succession of MPs urged Jeremy Corbyn to act against offenders within the party. Labour's communities spokesma..

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