Monday , April 23 2018

Theresa May condemns 'barbaric attack' in Syria

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionTheresa May said the "reprehensible" attack was being urgently investigatedTheresa May has said she "utterly condemns" the "barbaric" alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. The PM said if the attack was confirmed as another example of President Bashar al-Assad's regime's brutality, "the regime and its backers including Russia, must be held to account". Russia has said no evidence of a chemical weapons attack in formerly rebel-held Douma has been found. The US and France threatened a "joint, strong response" to the alleged attack. When asked whether she would recall Parliament over Syria, Mrs May said: "We are working urgently with our allies to assess what has happened and we are also working with our allies on what action might be necessary." Medical sources say dozens were killed in Saturday's attack, but numbers are impossible to verify. Videos shot by rescue workers showed lifeless bodies of men, wome..

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Good Friday Agreement played up, suggests Labour's Barry Gardiner

Image copyright UK Parliament Image caption Barry Gardiner called the Good Friday Agreement a "shibboleth" at an event in BrusselsA Labour front bencher has suggested the Irish government and Sinn Fein have "played up" concerns that Brexit could harm the Good Friday Agreement. Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said concerns about the Irish border issue was in the Irish government's "economic interest". Mr Gardiner's comments came to light as Northern Ireland marks the 20 years of the Good Friday Agreement. Labour's Owen Smith said the remarks were "reckless and plain wrong". The shadow international trade secretary made the comments at a think-tank Q&A session in Brussels last month. In a speech at the think-tank event, posted on his website, Mr Gardiner set out Labour's official position on Brexit and a customs union. He suggested a customs union with the EU was at least a partial solution to the problem of the Irish border. But in an audio..

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Good Friday Agreement: Clinton visit marks anniversary

Image copyright PA Image caption Bill Clinton will receive the freedom of Belfast at a reception on Tuesday eveningFormer US president Bill Clinton is expected in Northern Ireland to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. A conference will feature key players involved in the deal including ex prime ministers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern. Former US Senator George Mitchell, who chaired the talks, will be among the guests in Belfast. The agreement helped bring an end to 30 years of sectarian conflict, known as the Troubles. However the Northern Ireland Executive has not met since January 2017 due to a bitter dispute between the DUP and Sinn Féin. It was ratified in a referendum on both sides of the Irish border in May 1998 and set up a power-sharing assembly to govern Northern Ireland by cross-community consent. However, the deal proved difficult to implement and was amended by the St Andrew's Agreement in 2006. Media playback is unsupported on your device Med..

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Ancient sea reptile was one of the largest animals ever

Image copyright N Tamura Image caption Ichthyosaurs are large marine reptiles that lived between 250 and 95 million years agoSea reptiles the size of whales swam off the English coast while dinosaurs walked the land, according to a new fossil discovery. The jaw bone, found on a Somerset beach, is giving clues to the ''last of the giants'' that roamed the oceans 205 million years ago. The one-metre-long bone came from the mouth of a huge predatory ichthyosaur. The creature would have been one of the largest ever known, behind only blue whales and dinosaurs, say scientists. The ancient jawbone was found near the village of Lilstock by fossil collector Paul de la Salle. He first thought it was a piece of rock but after seeing a distinctive ''groove and bone structure'' realised it might be part of an ichthyosaur. Dean Lomax, a world leading expert on ichthyosaurs from the University of Manchester, compared the bone with other specimens. &#039..

Read More » sex advert website owners face charges

Image copyright FBI Image caption Backpage had charged for the ads in its adult sections but not most other parts of its serviceThe US authorities have charged the two founders of, a website that carried sex ads, as well as five others employed by the firm. The accusations include facilitating prostitution and money laundering. Law officers had already taken control of Backpage's various international classifieds pages last week. The lawyer for one of the co-founders said the charges were "baseless" and the seizure of the site a "massive assault" on free speech laws. The Dallas-based company had previously shut down the adult section of its US site, but critics had alleged that sex-related ads had simply moved to other pages. The UK edition had carried dozens of sex service ads at the time of its closure, according to Reuters. An investigation by the news agency's philanthropic foundation had suggested that as many as one in 20 of the relevant posts on Back..

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Man ends up in A&E after eating world's hottest chilli

Image copyright SplA man who ate the world's hottest chilli pepper in a chilli-eating contest ended up in A&E after experiencing "thunderclap" headaches. The 34-year-old man had eaten one Carolina Reaper chilli in the contest in New York State. The "crushingly painful" headaches came on in the next few days. His experience has been published in the BMJ Case Reports as it is the first case to be associated with eating chilli peppers. The doctor who reviewed his case has warned anyone eating hot chilli peppers to seek medical attention immediately if they experience sudden onset headaches. "Thunderclap" headaches are caused by the sudden tightening of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, a condition known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCSV). Why hot chillies might be good for us Is the chilli pepper friend or foe? Immediately after eating at the contest, the man experienced dry heaves. Severe neck pain developed over the next few days along with deb..

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More than half your body is not human

More than half of your body is not human, say scientists. Human cells make up only 43% of the body's total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists. Understanding this hidden half of ourselves - our microbiome - is rapidly transforming understanding of diseases from allergy to Parkinson's. The field is even asking questions of what it means to be "human" and is leading to new innovative treatments as a result. "They are essential to your health," says Prof Ruth Ley, the director of the department of microbiome science at the Max Planck Institute, "your body isn't just you". No matter how well you wash, nearly every nook and cranny of your body is covered in microscopic creatures. This includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea (organisms originally misclassified as bacteria). The greatest concentration of this microscopic life is in the dark murky depths of our oxygen-deprived bowels. Prof Rob Knight, from University of California San Diego, told the BBC:..

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Record number of organ donors in 2017

Image copyright Karen Glean Image caption Ben Glean, who died aged 18, helped make two sight-saving transplants happenA record number of people donated organs in the UK last year, with the highest increase in 28 years. There were 1,575 donors, an 11% increase on the previous year. Ben Glean from Grimsby, who died aged 18, was one of those donors. He suffered a cardiac arrest from undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. His mum Karen said: "I knew what Ben wanted because we'd had the conversation, which made it easier for me. "In my darkest time there was a light to be shone for someone else." He'd told his mum he was in support of donation but had not yet got around to joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. His kidneys were transplanted into two men in their 30s and his liver into a man in his 50s. His corneas were also used for two sight-saving transplants. "The intensive care unit was absolutely incredible," said Karen. "They were completely honest with me and answered countles..

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Antarctic expedition hopes for Ernest Shackleton bonus

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionProf Julian Dowdeswell: "Sea-ice conditions mean we cannot guarantee to get where we want to"A scientific expedition will next year try to find the Endurance, the ill-fated ship of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. The vessel sank in 1915, crushed by sea-ice in the Weddell Sea and lost in 3,000m of water. Shackleton and his crew were forced into lifeboats to make an extraordinary and heroic escape across the Southern Ocean. UK researcher Prof Julian Dowdeswell will lead the international effort. He expects to have the cruise on station in January/February. Locating the shipwreck is not the primary goal of the expedition; the major objective is to visit and study the Larsen C Ice Shelf, which last July calved one of the biggest icebergs ever recorded in Antarctica. But because Larsen is so close to the last known position of the Endurance, it makes sense to also have a go at finding the famous ship. "It would be a..

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Schools 'to drop gathering nationality data'

Image copyright PA Image caption Campaigners said schools should not be asking about pupils' nationalityPrivacy campaigners say the Department for Education is to drop the controversial requirement for schools in England to collect data about pupils' nationality. The Against Borders for Children protest group had warned the information could be used to check on the immigration status of pupils. Campaigners hailed it as a "victory" after a boycott and legal challenges. The Department for Education would not confirm reports of the policy change. A report in Schools Week says schools will be told in the next few weeks they no longer have to collect the data. But the Department for Education has declined to deny or confirm that it is about to shift its position. Immigration data Privacy campaigners, civil liberties groups and teachers' unions had criticised the introduction in 2016 of a requirement for schools to gather data about pupils' nationality and country o..

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