Tag Archive: British

Over half think their worse drivers than when they passed their test

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A staggering 57 per cent of British motorists think they are a worse driver now than when they first passed their test.

Research from Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, revealed that only 43 per cent felt they were better behind the wheel now than when they first ripped up the L plates.

In fact, well over a third (39 per cent) of drivers thought they’d struggle to pass their test if they had to retake it now – rising to a worrying 46 per cent of over 55s. More women than men also thought they would fail if they were to take a test tomorrow (42 per cent vs 36 per cent).

More than 2,400 drivers were questioned in the study.

Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, said: “Most drivers know they’ve picked up bad habits along the way, which is why they probably feel like they’d fail if faced with an examiner. In reality we know experience makes a safer driver, and this is borne out in road safety statistics.

“Shockingly, one in five newly qualified drivers has an accident within six months of getting on the road.

“With 400,000 17-21 year olds passing their test every year, that’s 80,000 potentially avoidable accidents within this vulnerable group. Almost 1,300 17-24 year olds are killed or seriously injured in road accidents each year – a much higher proportion than that age group accounts for in terms of the total number of road users.”

Driver education scheme Admiral Young Driver is aiming to help youngsters build up valuable experience behind the wheel - before the age of 17.

Children as young as 10 can drive a brand new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsa SRi with an experienced instructor and learn everything from how to park or negotiate a roundabout to emergency stops and dealing with blindspots. Almost half a million lessons have been given since the scheme launched eight years ago.

Existing research has shown that teaching young people to drive from an earlier age and over a longer period of time can halve the accident rate for a newly qualified driver in that dangerous first six months – dropping from one in five to one in 10.

One of the reasons experience is so beneficial is it can help many skills behind the wheel to become automatic, allowing the driver to focus more on being alert to any potential dangers.

Teen expert Nicola Morgan, is an award-winning author and international speaker, specialising in writing for and about adolescent development, performance and wellbeing, including the books ‘Blame My Brain’ and ‘The Teenage Guide to Stress’.

Nicola explains: “The brain learns to do anything well by repetition.

“Every time we repeat an activity we are actually creating and then strengthening physical pathways between neurons (nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord). The more times we do it, the stronger those pathways become; the stronger they become, the more ‘automatic’ the skills in question become.

“There is a danger in learning to drive in a short space of time and with the minimum repetitions needed to pass the test but not to become expert.

“The skills required to drive confidently and safely (especially while distracted) have not been firmly embedded as neural pathways in the brain. Without these strong pathways, a huge amount of focus goes on the things that should be automatic, such as gear-changing and position in road, leaving less focus for noticing and dealing with sudden road changes, such as another driver stopping suddenly.”

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“Yes, I am plus size”: British woman showcases her curves at India beauty pageant

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“Pretty comes in all different shapes and sizes”

Being plus size is nothing new. However, a beauty pageant in India broke the mould by hosting their first beauty pageant for the more ‘voluptuous woman’.

With only a criteria of a 34-inch waist and age between 21 and 40 years, this was certainly a chance for Indian women to show off their curves at the Ms Plus Size North India 2017 competition.

With 40 finalists, Sukhminder Kaur from Leicester was proud to be the only UK applicant representing plus size women.

She reached the last 16, but took home the Ms Popularity prize voted for by her fellow contestants. Bishamber Das - Britain's first Asian plus size model was among the judges.

Sukhminder Kaur said and she was proud to be the only UK applicant representing plus size women. “This is a great opportunity for Indian women to showcase their curves and shout out loud and proud that ‘yes, I am plus size’,” she said.

“The west is more excepting of plus size women.

“However, I am so proud to be part of a platform that is making it acceptable to be my size in my culture.

“It seems that society still demands that Indian women should be fair or thin and conform to a particular way of looking to be pretty.

“But thanks to Ms Plus Size North India 2017, this is the beginning of educating and making people understand that pretty comes in all different shapes and sizes.

“The best girl won, and I am so proud to be given the title of Ms Plus Size North India Top 16 Finalist as well as Ms Popularity.

“This was a wonderful experience and I met some magnificent people during my time in India.

“I would certainly encourage women to promote plus size in anyway possible to slam body-shamers.

“The more we encourage this, the more it will become acceptable worldwide.”

The winner was Vernika Jain, from Delhi.

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One in ten of us doesn’t know how to ride a bike

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The BHF is urging Brits to get back into the saddle this year by taking on the iconic London to Brighton Bike Ride.
 
Despite being one of the nation's favourite sports, the survey of 2,000 UK residents has revealed that an astonishing 6.3 million people – one in eight of us – don't know how to ride a bike. 
 
British Heart Foundation (BHF) has found that the average resident in Yorkshire and the Humber hasn't ridden a bike in nine years, with almost one in four (23%) avoiding the saddle for more than 10 years. 
 
The BHF is urging people in Yorkshire and the Humber to get back on their bikes this year by signing up to the iconic London to Brighton Bike Ride, taking place on Sunday 18th June 2017, to raise money for life saving heart research.
 
The survey also showed that the average household in the UK owns just one bike between them, but more worryingly, 41% of households don't own bike at all.
 
People in Yorkshire and the Humber fare much worse than the UK average, with a shocking one in six (15%) admitting they can't ride a bike and over two fifths (42%) of the local community saying they don't even own one. 
 
Most surprisingly, however, almost one in ten (8%) of people in Yorkshire and the Humber admit it's been so long since they've ridden a bike they've forgotten what to do!
 
Despite this, many of us do have ambitions to get back into cycling this year. 
 
The BHF wants to help get people in Yorkshire and the Humber back on their bikes, by encouraging everyone to take on its flagship event and join the fight against heart disease. 
 
With a range of free training guides and nutritional advice on hand, the nation's heart charity has everything you need to help get you back in the saddle and over the finish line.
 
Elizabeth Tack, Event Lead for London to Brighton Bike Ride at the British Heart Foundation, said: "It's surprising to learn that whilst there is a clear appetite for cycling in the UK, there is still a vast amount of us who are not getting on our bikes often enough, or even at all. 
 
"Cycling is a fantastic way of keeping your heart healthy. This is why we're encouraging everyone to dust off their bikes this year and challenge themselves to take on our London to Brighton Bike Ride to help support our vital research into heart disease.
 
"We can provide all the support you need to get you back in the saddle this year, with free training guides and advice available for all registered cyclists in the run up to the big day. It's a fantastic day out for all the family and every pound you raise will help make a difference to millions."
 
The BHF's London to Brighton Bike Ride has run for over 40 years and is Europe's oldest charity cycling event. 
 
It's a ride for the fast and the fall behinds, the solo riders and the team players. It's for the experienced and the newbies, the confident and the cautious. This year's event will take place on Sunday 18th June.
 
By taking part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride you will help power ground-breaking research, to bring new hope to the 7 million people living with cardiovascular disease in the UK.
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What the Devon is this?

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Avatar Roadster production car unleashed at motoring show

After unveiling the prototype in 2016, British sports car company Avatar presented the first production Avatar at the 2017 Performance Car Show, held at the Birmingham NEC on 12-15th January 2017.

Now fully certified, the Devon-based firm has developed the prototype, making over 100 refinements to offer a 250bhp sports car that is now equally at home on road or track.

The 695kg Avatar retains the high-quality componentry such as the Ford Ecoboost engine, Nitron dampers and Rota wheels that deliver 0-60mph in four seconds and a top speed of 145mph and adds a leather interior, heated screen together with other features to broaden the appeal. New no-cost options now include an Apple CarPlay + Android Auto audio system, roof, heater and air conditioning.

Alongside the 2.0 turbocharged Ecoboost engine, Avatar is also offering a 2.3l 350bhp option that sees 0-60 times cut to just 3.6 seconds with the Ford Focus RS-engined derivative using a six-speed transaxle. Drivers seeking a more frenetic shifting experience can opt for a paddle-shift operated seven-speed sequential Quaife gearbox.

“After showing the prototype we realised that our customers wanted more. We listened and have responded to our customers who loved the superb performance and fine handling but wanted more refinement and features so they could use the car for more than just track days,” says Avatar Sports Cars director Dylan Popovic.

“We’ve smoothed the raw edges to create a much more rounded package.

“We’ve changed the suspension geometry, adjusted the steering rack ratios and improved the ergonomics in the cabin with intuitive switchgear as well as developed features that make the car a delight on the road and track.”

The car’s bespoke laser-cut spaceframe chassis and attractive composite bodywork is retained, alongside the offset driving position that improves weight distribution. The option for a pure track experience hasn’t been forgotten and customers can specify a full roll cage, plumbed-in extinguisher, foam-filled tank, data logger, GoPro HD camera kit, rear wing and LSD.

“With these additions the car is eligible for a considerable number of club championships whilst still be road legal,” adds Popovic.

Niche company Avatar is fervently focused on delivering a personal service to ensure each customer receives a vehicle that meets the most exacting requirements. This exceptional level of customer service is being driven by company founder Terry Matthews, who has over three decades of experience developing bespoke vehicles with sister sports car manufacturer Marlin.

“We produce and set up every car so the way it performs and handles meets each individual’s requirements,” says Matthews, Avatar founder and Marlin Sports Cars director.

“We will create the car around the customer so they feel that it fits them perfectly, like a glove. Maybe they prefer stiffer suspension, a slightly higher ride height is needed to cope with an awkward driveway or the customer has a very specific colour or trim design in mind for the leather interior. We offer a bespoke service where the only real limit is imagination.”

Avatar’s sister company Marlin is manufacturing the production models, of which no more than 50 will be built. “All that has been learned from Marlin’s long-standing history is being passed on and incorporated into Avatar – it’s an extremely exciting project for us,” adds Matthews.

Whilst still a small company, Avatar is matching its bigger competitors with an unlimited mileage, three-year warranty and the reassurance the Ford engine can be serviced at any Ford dealer.

Production begins in spring 2017 and prices start at £39,990.

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British Raxstar unveils track on women’s empowerment

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British rapper Raxstar, who has roots in India, on Wednesday released a track titled "Balwant" that focuses on women's empowerment.

The song is for MTV Spoken Word, a music property that promotes 'desi' hip-hop in India.

Raxstar said in a statement: "It is great to see how the 'desi' hip-hop scene has evolved in the country ever since its inception. This is the second stint with MTV Spoken Word and this season's rap 'Balwant' is all about the free-spirited women of our country.

"This song is a tribute to liberated women who do not depend on men to fulfil their needs. I have tried to give this song a 'desi' feel and I'm sure youngsters will be able to relate to it."

His earlier number "Bandook" took a critical look at the issue of abuse within a relationship.

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Lego appoints new CEO

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 LEGO’S NEWEST BOSS : Bali Padda moved to the UK when he was 12 years old and began working for Lego in 2002

LEGO’S NEWEST BOSS : Bali Padda moved to the UK when he was 12 years old and began working for Lego in 2002

British boss takes over iconic toy brand

The Lego Group has announced that Bali Padda, current Chief Operations Officer, has been appointed CEO of the company. He will start his new role in the New Year.

Bali Padda, who was born in India in 1956, takes over from Jørgen Vig Knudstorp who will head up the new entity Lego Brand Group.

Bali Padda has been with the Lego Group for 14 years and is at present heading up Operations while at the same time being overall responsible for people and organisational development. During the past ten years, he has been a member of the LEGO Group’s top management.

Commenting on the appointment of Bali Padda as CEO, Niels Jacobsen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lego Group, said: “Bali Padda has a fantastic track record in the Lego Group with more than 14 years of experience especially within supply chain functions, but more recently also focusing on people and organisational development.

“Bali has demonstrated an ability to drive the changes required in operations through the significant growth we have experienced during the past years. I am confident that Bali will continue to develop the company in close cooperation with management.”

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth generation owner of the Lego Group, said: “Bali possesses the right mindset. He has a deep knowledge of our entire company, a very clear sense of what we need to do to take the company to the next level, and he is a true ambassador for the Lego Idea and the brand.”

Commenting on his new role as CEO, Bali Padda says: “I am extremely honoured by this opportunity. It is a huge and exciting task, and I look forward to the challenge. I have a strong passion for our product and brand, and I look forward to continuing the strategic direction we have set for the company.

“With the great collaboration in our management as well as the support from Thomas and Jørgen, I am confident that we can continue the success of the Lego Group and reach many more children in the future with high-quality play experiences.”

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President Trump: Republican to take office in January following shock election night

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NEW HOME: Mr Trump will move into the White House in January

NEW HOME: Mr Trump will move into the White House in January

Brits awoke to the news that the 45th President of the United States of America had been elected on Tuesday 9th November with outsider, Donald Trump, receiving the approving nod from American voters.

The 70-year-old, who has zero political experience and has never held any sort of office in the country, will take over the world’s most powerful presidency in January next year.

His opposing Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton, was all but forced to concede the election after losing out on battleground States, eventually calling Mr Trump to confirm her withdrawal.

Despite strong backing from celebrities and former President Barack Obama, Ms Clinton was unable to amass the required votes in hotly contested States, including Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

Speaking after his victory was confirmed, Trump addressed the nation, telling Americans it was ‘time to bind the wounds of division’.

“It is time for us to come together as one united people,” he continued. “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important for me.

“For those who have chosen not to support me... I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together to unify our great country.”

He added: “We will double our growth and have the strongest economy in the world. At the same time, we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us.

“America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our country’s destiny, and dream big, and bold and daring.

“I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone.”

PRESIDENT ELECT: Donald Trump will become the oldest ever President to take office in the United States after a victorious elections night

PRESIDENT ELECT: Donald Trump will become the oldest ever President to take office in the United States after a victorious elections night

After thanking his supporters and paying his respects to Ms Clinton, he told the world’s media that his work was ‘just beginning’.

“It’s been what they call an historic campaign,” he said. “But to be really historic, you have to do a great job. And I promise you that we will not let you down. We will do a great job.

“While the campaign is over, our work on this movement is really only just beginning.

“We’re going to be doing a job that hopefully you’ll be so proud of your president. It’s been an amazing honour...

“And I love this country. Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Trump’s campaign was one with many controversial moments, including promises about building walls to separate Mexico from the US, a ban on Muslims coming to America, and to grow the nation’s economy by six per cent.

Whether he will be able to stick to the promises now remains to be seen. He may have won the battleground states but the fight has just begun.

We asked Asian Express Readers what they thought about Donald Trump becoming President of the United States of America:

osman-gondal-298x450Osman Gondal:  “It’s a scary situation. Donald Trump - who doesn’t have a political background - is effectively makes decision that will affect the rest of the world. It’s a disturbing state of affairs. I don’t think he has the political nous and political know-how to deal with the current situation in Russia and China and so on and so forth and it could lead to something much bigger and much more worrying.”


qari-asim-347x450Qari Asim: “Some people want to make America great again, but this offer excludes, Muslims, Jews, black people, disabled people, LGBT community, Mexicans and other minorities. By choosing to elect Donald Trump as leader of the free world, the US seems to have lost its credibility to lecture other nations about extremism and immorality. Trump has been voted in by the (primarily white) neglected lower and middle class, many of whom might not like the specifics of the Trump persona but were so anti-establishment that they wanted a 'change' . Trumpism and Brexit is a wake-up call for the political elite throughout the world. The 'outsiders' campaigning against the 'establishment' also need to realise that they don't have to become racist, misogynist, bigots and xenophobic to win votes. Political campaigns should be based on solid policies and not on politics of hatred.”


milly-254x450Milly: “I don’t have much to say really other than I’m just concerned. I’ve got family and friends over there, so I’m worried what the future holds for them.”


nazim-ali-320x350Nazim Ali: “Blimey. It’s too early to say how I feel at this moment in time because he’s just become President. All the rhetoric which he’s used before; I wonder if he’ll live up to it? There’s all these constraints once you become President and you have to become more mature. In the recent Presidential election, a lot has been said about women, Mexicans, Muslims and other ethnic groups. That is a real concern. Also, with him being the most powerful man in the world, how that will play out in the international community and his relationships with other countries and America itself.”


habib-khan-323x450Habib Khan: “America is a fantastic country but if we look at the history, we have had a President that’s an actor - Ronald Reagan - and now they’ve got a clown. Some of the stuff he’s said is just ridiculous. It’s one rule for one community and another rule for another community. If a comment was made like that from someone else it would be put down to extremism but he gets away with it. One rule for one, another rule for another.”


nazim-din-320x450Nazmin Din: “Emotions are running very high so I’m not sure if I can say too much. It’s a very sensitive topic.”


hardeep-singh-sahota-copy-308x450Hardeep Singh Sahota: “I am pretty shocked and dismayed. It is a similar feeling to Brexit. You got to bed thinking everything is going to be alright and you wake up and it’s a completely different world.”


balbir-singh-364x450Balbir Singh: “The way I look at it is, it’s the public that decided it. We live in a democratic society. It’s what they wanted. Donald Trump is clever enough - he did the Apprentice in the America. He’s a successful businessman with potential. Maybe he’s not into politics but he’s got the ability and he will manage. Things have changed over the years. If you look back, we had Ronald Reagan and he was an actor. That’s what politics is. It’s what people want. I’m sure he will make a good President. He will have the backing of his aids. We’re in a new era now and he’s not on his own. He’s a speaker and top advisers will help. Of course, I don’t agree with what he says about Muslims and Mexicans, but that’s how politicians behave. Donald Trump is very assertive and if he says he’ll do it, he’ll do it.”

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Full moon madness: Mark your calendars for 14th November

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 HUGE: The moon promises to be massive this month, so don’t forget to look up into the starry sky

HUGE: The moon promises to be massive this month, so don’t forget to look up into the starry sky

The next full moon in British skies is set to be the largest in more than 70 years.

The full moon on 14th November coincides with the point the moon is closest to the earth in its orbit, which means stargazers can look forward to a great supermoon.

Our moon will appear up to 14 per cent to 30 per cent larger – the closest the moon has been to earth since 1948.

Moongazers won’t be able to see a moon of its size again until November 2034.

Skywatchers will be rewarded a lunar close-up, the result of a coincidence between the moon’s elliptical orbit and the position of the Earth and Sun. 

November's full moon is known as the Beaver Moon, as it marks the time of year when hunters would set beaver traps before the waters froze over.

Hunters would use beavers for their furs through the winter. It will be easy to see in any place with clear skies across the northern hemisphere.

All you need to do is look up – you do not need a telescope.

Scientists have dismissed notions that the phenomenon could cause bizarre behaviour or natural disasters. Its most significant impact is likely to be on the tides. 

Strange but true

The chances of being bitten by a dog are twice as high during a full moon according to a study at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which reviewed 1,621 cases of dog bite between 1997 and 1999.

The only month that can occur without a full moon is February.

The full moon may appear round, but is actually shaped like an egg with the pointed end facing earth.

The honeymoon is named after the full moon in June. As it fell between the planting and harvesting of crops this was traditionally the best month to get married.

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Fake sheikh jailed: King of Sting to serve 15 months behind bars

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PRISON: Mazher Mahmood was sentenced earlier this month after being found guilty of attempting to pervert the court of justice

PRISON: Mazher Mahmood was sentenced earlier this month after being found guilty of attempting to pervert the court of justice

Infamous British journalist - the ‘fake Sheikh’ - has been jailed for 15 months this past week after being found guilty of tampering with evidence in a high-profile trial.

The investigate reporter, real name Mazher Mahmood, was involved in a number of undercover sting operation for media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s tabloids over the past 25 years.

His disguise has duped criminals and celebrities in the past yet it was his attempt to see former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos convicted for dealing cocaine which saw him step over the line of legality.

STING OPERATION: Tulisa Contostavlos was the final celebrity the journalist attempted to dupe

STING OPERATION: Tulisa Contostavlos was the final celebrity the journalist attempted to dupe

Contostavlos was due to go on trial accused of supplying cocaine to Mahmood, who had posed as an influential film producer whilst secretly working for the Sun on Sunday newspaper.

Prosecutors said Mahmood had got his driver, Alan Smith, to change a statement he had prepared for detectives as it would have made Contostavlos's conviction less likely by supporting her case that she was a victim of entrapment.

Both men were found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice at London's Old Bailey court earlier this month.

Mahmood was finally jailed for 15 months on Friday with Smith given a suspended 12-month prison term.

Following the sentencing, it was revealed that 18 other individuals, who had previously been caught out by Mahmood’s stings, are also now planning to take civil action against him.

“Mazher has led scores of successful investigations during his 25-year career with the company,” a News UK spokesman said, adding any legal claims would be ‘vigorously defended’.

“His work has led to the exposure of criminality and wrongdoing. It is a source of great regret that his time with the company should end in this manner.”

Mahmood initially built up his reputation as the ‘King of the Sting’ during his work with Murdoch’s now defunct newspaper, News of the World.

His work has previously seen several high-profile convictions, including the 2011 case of spot-fixing in an international game between Pakistan and England which saw three Pakistani cricketers jailed.

Members of the Royal family have not escaped Mahmood’s work either, with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Princess Michael of Kent and Sarah Ferguson.

Not all stings have been successful with some leading only to prosecutions which collapsed, including the case against five men accused of plotting to kidnap singer-turned-designer Victoria Beckham in 2002.

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Olympian slammed for video mocking Islam

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Gymnast films himself on video yelling 'Allahu Akbar' with fellow athlete who performs “Islamic prayers”

Gymnast films himself on video yelling 'Allahu Akbar' with fellow athlete who performs “Islamic prayers”

GB silver medallist Louis Smith may face expulsion by British Gymnastics

Olympian Louis Smith, who won a silver medal for Great Britain on the pommel horse at the Rio Olympics this year, has apologised for the offensive video in which himself and a fellow gymnast drunkenly lampoon Islam.

The Team GB star is seen in his own footage standing beside his friend Luke Carson, who can be heard yelling 'Allahu Akbar' while kneeling on a rug which had been pulled off the wall.

According to reports, the pair had been attending the wedding of gymnast Daniel Keatings when they engaged in the offensive behaviour. A lady can be seen in the video attempting to intervene as Smith, who was awarded an MBE in 2013 for services to sport, continued to film the episode before claiming Carson was "doing his six o'clock prayers".

Smith's conduct initially caused outrage on Twitter, with some observers stating that he could not longer be regarded as a role model. Smith has widely been accused of racism following the publication of the footage and some called for him to be stripped of his MBE.

The 27-year-old Olympian issued an apology on Monday 10th October, acknowledging that the video caused “deep offence”, in which he insists he has learned a "life lesson".

But the pommel horse silver and bronze medallist could still face disciplinary action after British Gymnastics said it would investigate footage published by The Sun newspaper over the weekend.

“British Gymnastics does not condone the mocking of any faith or religion and is appalled by such behaviours,” a statement read.

“Gymnastics is an inclusive sport and we are proud of members who portray the inclusive values of British Gymnastics.

“Members who break our code of conduct can face suspension or expulsion from our organisation. We will be investigating the behaviours reported.”

Smith, who has won medals at the past three Olympic Games, has already been censured twice this year by British Gymnastics.

In April, the 27-year-old apologised for questioning the judging at the British Championships, where he was beaten to pommel gold by Max Whitlock.

louis-smith-1-800x532

He was also reprimanded in June for posting an image on social media of an American gymnast, who was 16 when the photograph was taken, accompanied by a comment British Gymnastics said was "unbefitting to a participant".

That reprimand was to remain on his record for two years with the added warning "any further misconduct may lead to even greater consequences".

Smith is one of Britain's best-known gymnasts and won the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing in 2012.

Olympian Louis Smith apologises

"I am deeply sorry for the recent video you may have seen. I am not defending myself, what I did was wrong," the 2012 Strictly Come Dancing winner said, via Twitter. "I want to say sorry for the deep offense (sic) I have caused and to my family who have also been affected by my thoughtless actions. I recognise the severity of my mistake and hope it can be used as an example of how important it is to respect others at all times. I have learnt a valuable life lesson and I wholeheartedly apologise."

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Barrack babes: British Asian girls get a taste of Army life

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HANDS ON: Preparing rations was a highlight of the day as the group especially enjoyed the hands-on activities

HANDS ON: Preparing rations was a highlight of the day as the group especially enjoyed the hands-on activities

British Asian girls from Huddersfield and Batley shone a spotlight on Army medicine this past week when they visited a military field hospital in York.

The visit - arranged with the Huddersfield Pakistani Community Alliance and the Indian Muslim Welfare Society - was designed to give the girls an insight into a career in medicine with an Army flavour.

Hosted by 34 Field Hospital based in Strensall, the girls – aged between 12 and 16 - were shown how to build a temporary shelter called a basha.

They also prepared and ate a Halal operational ration pack for lunch before heading off to the battlefield ambulance where the roles of a Combat Medical Technician and field surgical team were explained alongside the equipment they use.

After some basic first aid training - including resuscitation techniques - they military girls took part in a stretcher race where they put their newly-acquired skills into practice.

16-year-old Aqsa Khan from Huddersfield said she had learnt more about the medical side of the army and different injuries faced on the battlefield.

“I have had basic training before but this is more advanced,” she said. “We have learnt more about the equipment the Army uses and then I went to look at all the equipment they would ship out with them overseas - and it is a lot. “

Before the visit, eight girls from the group of 24 had said they were seriously considering medicine as a career, a number which increased significantly by the end of the day.

LIFE SKILLS: Lessons in CPR were well received by the girls, as some would like to eventually pursue a career in medicine

LIFE SKILLS: Lessons in CPR were well received by the girls, as some would like to eventually pursue a career in medicine

Amongst those contemplating such a profession was 16-year-old Saira Munir from Huddersfield.

 “I am not good at science and I want a career in business,” she said. “However, learning about everything that goes on here, how they treat the patients and how they rescue them is interesting.

“It is not something that you learn by watching the news. You have to see it and hear it from people that actually do it themselves. It was good coming here.”

14-year-old Aaisha Khan from Dewsbury agreed. She said: “More than anything, I really enjoyed the fact that we were able to see different part of the Army instead of the stereotypical things we see on the news.

“I really liked hearing about all the different career opportunities that the Army can offer; the different facilities and what the benefits are - instead of the things people usually mention such as fighting and going to war.

 “Medicine is definitely something I am considering and the reason I came here today is because I felt it could help with my career.”

34 Field Hospital was the last field hospital to deploy to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in 2013 and also returned home a year ago from Sierra Leone where they ran the Ebola Treatment Centre in Kerrytown.

ARMY LIFE: The group of girls from Huddersfield and Batley got an invaluable insight into what it means to be in the army

ARMY LIFE: The group of girls from Huddersfield and Batley got an invaluable insight into what it means to be in the army

The visit to Strensall was arranged by 4th Infantry Brigade based in Catterick , the Army’s regional focus for community engagement.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hunter, from the 4th Infantry Brigade Community Engagement team who organised the visit said: “We are reaching out to diverse communities throughout the region in order to raise awareness of what the Army does both in this country and abroad.

 “The Army has many careers - of which medicine is one. We are not just about combat, we undertake humanitarian work and training throughout the world. 34 Field Hospital is a good example of that, having served on different styles of operation both in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.”

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Locked up at last! Decade behind bars for Anjem Choudary who ‘influenced 100 British jihadis’

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CRIMINAL: Anjem Choudary wanted to see Sharia Law in the UK

CRIMINAL: Anjem Choudary wanted to see Sharia Law in the UK

Anjem Choudary, one of the most notorious hate preachers living in the UK, is facing a lengthy prison sentence after being found guilty of supporting Daesh.

For 20 years, the hate preacher and father-of-five on benefits mocked Britain as he initiated terror worldwide.

Now, after vowing allegiance to the terror group, he faces 10 years behind bars after being convicted at the Old Bailey.

Police revealed the Londoner has links with up to 500 British jihadists fighting with extremists abroad including hundreds of Daesh recruits.

The 49-year-old has spent two decades radicalising a generation of would-be terrorists but avoided arrest for years, despite his apparent sympathy for extremism.

Counter-terrorism chiefs have spent years trying to bring him to trial, blaming him, and the proscribed organisations which he helped to run, for radicalising young men and women.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command, said: “These men have stayed just within the law for many years, but there is no one within the counter-terrorism world that has any doubts of the influence that they have had, the hate they have spread and the people that they have encouraged to join terrorist organisations.

“Over and over again we have seen people on trial for the most serious offences who have attended lectures or speeches given by these men. The oath of allegiance was a turning point for the police – at last we had the evidence that they had stepped over the line and we could prove they supported Daesh.”

Choudary’s favourite prediction was that the ‘flag of Islam would fly over Downing Street’.

He would also like to utter proclamations like: “The Muslims are rising to establish the Sharia... Pakistan, Afghanistan and perhaps, my dear Muslims, Londonistan.”

The court heard how he has links to one of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, and the Islamist militant Omar Bakri Muhammad - who also urged followers to support Daesh in a series of talks broadcast on YouTube.

Choudary and his co-defendant, Mohammed Rahman, 33, told their supporters to obey Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Daesh leader, who is also known as a caliph, and travel to Syria to support Daesh or ‘the caliphate’.

They were convicted in July but details of the trial, including the verdict, could not be revealed until now.

Choudary and Rahman will be sentenced on 6th September at the Old Bailey.

What people think about the verdict

Imam Irfan Chishti MBE, co-founder of ‘Me & You Education’ and Imam of Manchester Central Mosque, said:

“British Muslims across the UK welcome this verdict. The community has been unanimous in its rejection of these individuals and everything they stand for.  This conviction demonstrates the influence of these hateful views together with the power they had over people by encouraging them not to think for themselves.  We shouldn’t be complacent that these convictions will be the end of young people being targeted.”

“There are other organisations and networks out there that also peddle lies in order to draw young people towards violence and extremism often in more sophisticated ways. As individuals, practitioners and a community we have to remain vigilant of these so-called religious figures that look to fill young minds with poisonous ideologies.”

“This is about safeguarding and protecting against those who use religion and faith to ultimately incite violence and hate.”

Imam Qari Asim MBE, Senior Imam of Leeds Makkah Mosque, said:

“I am sure I speak on behalf of my community and country in welcoming the ruling. We have to be very careful of those who look to spread a hateful ideology by preying on vulnerable individuals to lead them down a violent path.

“He has sought to create division in society and manipulate young people for his own agenda under the guise of religion. The fact that he would not be welcome in mosques across Britain because of his extreme views demonstrates that this individual is in no way representative of British Muslims. The more we can do to protect our community from these types of people the better.”

Henna Rai, founder of Birmingham based ‘Women Against Radicalisation Network’ (WARN), said:

“The men convicted preyed on the vulnerabilities of young people in this country. Through a mixture of lies, false promises and inflammatory rhetoric they acted as recruiting agents for Daesh and have destroyed lives.

“These people did not rely solely on street stalls to recruit, but ruthlessly exploited traditional and social media to identify and manipulate those who might be vulnerable to radicalisation.

“We know that individuals associated with this group travelled to Syria and Iraq resulting in death, murder and suicide.

“Groups like Daesh and al-Muhajiroun claim to represent Islam and Muslims. In reality it is they who cause and compound the suffering of Muslims and people of all backgrounds.”

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The GREAT British fighters

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FIGHTING CHANCE: Muhammad Ali is targeting Gold in Rio this summer after being announced in Team GB’s boxing squad

FIGHTING CHANCE: Muhammad Ali is targeting Gold in Rio this summer after being announced in Team GB’s boxing squad

Team GB’s boxing squad announced

A quarter of Team GB’s largest Olympic boxing squad for 32 years will be from Yorkshire as the fighters prepare to board the plane for the 2016 Rio Olympics next month.

European silver medallist Qais Ashfaq will be joined in the line-up by Keighley’s Muhammad Ali and Leeds’ 2012 Gold medallist, Nicola Adams, as they aim to conquer the international tournament.

Targeting a record medals haul in the boxing division, Ashfaq says he is ready to ‘win’ in Brazil, with gold in his sights.

GOLD STANDARD: Qais Ashfaq has been named as one of the 12 boxers heading to the Rio Olympics

GOLD STANDARD: Qais Ashfaq has been named as one of the 12 boxers heading to the Rio Olympics

“It’s all becoming ever so real now and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are just around the corner,” he said. “I’m going to be in the best shape of my life.

“I’m proud to be a part of a 12 man strong team with lads and ladies that are more like family than just team mates. Let's win these medals.”

Ashfaq will face off in the bantamweight division, whilst Ali is set to compete against the world’s top amateur flyweights.

Both fighters have enjoyed stellar careers in the senior amateur divisions and both believe gold is a very real possibility this August.

Team GB's Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “This is the largest boxing squad we've taken to an Olympic Games since Los Angeles 1984 and demonstrates the strength this sport and our boxing programme can boast across the weight divisions.

“Team GB has a proud history in Olympic boxing and it's fantastic to see that tradition continue with this class of 2016.

“From Olympic and Commonwealth Games Champions to World and European medallists, these 12 boxers can go to Rio 2016 full of confidence and can expect to challenge with the very best on display in the ring in Brazil.”

The full list of boxers heading to Rio are: Nicola Adams – women’s flyweight; Savannah Marshall – women’s middleweight; Galal Yafai - light flyweight; Muhammad Ali – flyweight; Qais Ashfaq – bantamweight; Joe Cordina – lightweight; Pat McCormack – light welterweight; Josh Kelly – welterweight; Antony Fowler – middleweight; Joshua Buatsi – light heavyweight; Lawrence Okolie – heavyweight; Joe Joyce – super heavyweight.

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IT’S A KNOCKOUT!

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Kickboxer-turned-singer releases Father’s Day track loaded with emotion

Ali Jacko IMG_0401 (800x533)

“I wanted to create an emotional father daughter story. I star opposite my two actual daughters in it. I think everyone will find the video very heart warming.”

Ali Jacko IMG_0241 (300x450)After surprising everyone with his debut single ‘Give My Love A Brand New Name’, former kickboxing world champion and father-of-three Ali Jacko is ready to deliver another knockout blow with his brand new track.

Ali’s list of wins in his kickboxing career are seemingly endless, but the major milestones were when he became the first Asian to win British, European, Inter-Continental and World Full-Contact kickboxing championships.

The latest song titled ‘You Are The Reason’ is a beautifully crafted rock ballad, will be released in the lead up to Father’s Day on 19th June. Dedicated dad Ali  says his children inspired him to write the track, which revolves around loving someone unconditionally.

“This song is very pure in its sentiments so can be about anyone who brings out feelings of unconditional love,” says Ali.

“My two daughters inspired me to write this song. They might say that “daddy is our hero”, but actually they are the ones who are my heroes – simply because they inspire me everyday to work harder, reach greater heights for them and be the best I can be,” he adds.

“I feel energised and inspired when I am around them. (Laughs) Like all parents there are days it can get stressful, but I feel that is all a part of the joy. I am really proud of my children and love them all unconditionally.”

The London based singer/songwriter who has just finished shooting a big budget music video for the song directed by Andrew Martin – an acclaimed filmmaker, sees Ali starring alongside his daughters.

Ali jacko and daugter (300x450)Affectionately known as Jacko by his legion of devoted fans around the world, he hopes the emotion of the song will form a lasting connection with all those who listen to it. He is also hoping to celebrate the achievement of hard-working fathers with the track, which releases worldwide early June and will be available to download from iTunes.

“There are so many hardworking fathers around the world who would give their life for their children and I am one of them.

“I could give you a hundred reasons to legally download the track, but ultimately I hope it forms a connection to people’s hearts and I’m confident this song will touch people’s hearts too.”

Since Ali’s debut, he’s been globe-trotting working with some big names in the music industry in UK, India and USA. Now the artist is working on an album, which Ali says is a compilation of songs composed by top music producers from around the world.

Ali has also built a state of the art music studio in the heart of London, as a creative space to encourage other new musical talent, and one which he uses himself too.

“I didn’t go looking for music, but instead music found me. The past eight months have been life changing and I am now creating music that will make a real difference and connect with audiences around the world,” explains Ali.

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World renowned Iraqi-British architect dies of a heart attack in Miami

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Goodbye Dame Hadid

TOP OF HER GAME: Zaha Hadid was one of the world’s leading architects and inspired countless designers with her creations

TOP OF HER GAME: Zaha Hadid was one of the world’s leading architects and inspired countless designers with her creations

Dame Zaha Hadid, the world-renowned architect, whose designs include 2012’s London Olympic aquatic centre, has died aged 65.

Her company Zaha Hadid architects announced she contracted bronchitis while in Miami earlier this week and died in hospital on Thursday morning.

In a statement, the company said: "It is with great sadness that Zaha Hadid Architects have confirmed that Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE died suddenly in Miami in the early hours of Thursday morning.

“She had contracted bronchitis earlier this week and suffered a sudden heart attack while being treated in hospital.”

Jane Duncan, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba), told the Daily Mail that news of Dame Zaha's death was ‘absolutely terrible’.

She said: “Dame Zaha Hadid was an inspirational woman, and the kind of architect one can only dream of being. Visionary and highly experimental, her legacy despite her young age, is formidable.

“She leaves behind a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, that delight and astound people all around the world.

“The world of architecture has lost a star today.”

The British culture minister, Ed Vaizey, posted on Twitter that he was stunned at the news and praised her ‘huge contribution to contemporary architecture’.

The London mayor, Boris Johnson, tweeted: “So sad to hear of death of Zaha Hadid, she was an inspiration and her legacy lives on in wonderful buildings in Stratford and around the world.”

Zaha was born in Baghdad in 1950 and for three decades has been turning heads with her awe-inspiring architectural designs.
Amongst her most renowned creations is the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, with its glorious curves and arches, and the Galaxy Soho in Beijing, which is the most ‘space age’ design in her catalogue of works.

SHEIKH ZAYED BRIDGE: Named after the country's former president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the 842 metre long crossing is said to be the most intricate bridge ever constructed

SHEIKH ZAYED BRIDGE: Named after the country's former president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the 842 metre long crossing is said to be the most intricate bridge ever constructed

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Around 1 Million jobs… gone!

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SHOP JOBS ON THE DECLINE: By 2025, it’s estimated that technology advancements will mean people will be more likely to shop virtually online

SHOP JOBS ON THE DECLINE: By 2025, it’s estimated that technology advancements will mean people will be more likely to shop virtually online

UK retail jobs to vanish by 2025

The way in which millions of consumers already shop, alongside increasing costs, mean that by 2025, the British Retail Constortium (BRC) has estimated that up to 900,000 jobs will disappear in the retail industry.

With the increase of technology and the rising minimum wage, it is predicted that the retail market will suffer a huge dip in the amount of people that can find work within it.

Currently, the retail sector accounts for 10 per cent of the economy and one in six British employees are employed by British retailers.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the BRC and upmarket department chain John Lewis, said: “What matters is who and where will be affected most by all this change. These are the valleys to cross and the path through them needs to be charted with care.”

Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of Debenhams, agreed with the predictions by the BRC. He said there wasn't any doubt about the fast changing nature of this sector and that ‘there will be fewer retail jobs in the future’.

Dave Lewis, the chief executive at Tesco, said: “The combination of price deflation, business rate rises and growing labour costs is putting increasing pressure on a highly competitive sector, which is already going through a time of great change.”

The BRC report said: “With the introduction of the National Living Wage, labour costs are now set to rise.”

The new National Living Wage will come into force this April at a rate of £7.20 an hour for the over-25s, replacing the present minimum wage of £6.70 per hour.

George Osborne announced in the post-election Budget last year that it would then increase to £9 an hour by 2020.

The BRC estimates a cost to the industry of up to £3bn per annum.

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BREXIT: What you need to know

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Akeel, 21 said: “We’d do better if we weren’t in the EU but I’d always be in two minds because of benefits like the NHS.”

Akeel, 21 said: “We’d do better if we weren’t in the EU but I’d always be in two minds because of benefits like the NHS.”

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the British public will vote to decide whether we stay in the EU or whether we leave as the date for the referendum arrives.

A historic result could alter the way of life for so many people in the UK and overseas but do we actually know what could change if we vote to leave this summer?

We asked the people of Harehills if they understood what the EU referendum was about. Out of the 30 people we asked, 18 people admitted they were out of the loop.

Comments from members of the public ranged from “I don’t know and I don’t care” to “it doesn’t make a difference to me if the UK stays in the EU.”

To make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to politics, here’s what you need to know.

 

Amanj Raza said: “We should leave Europe. No more EU. Too many lazy people are coming over here. I work hard every day.”

Amanj Raza said: “We should leave Europe. No more EU. Too many lazy people are coming over here. I work hard every day.”

Firstly, what exactly is the EU?

The European Union grew out of a wish for peace in a war-torn and alienated continent.

When World War II ended, France and Germany came up with a plan five years later to make sure their two countries would never go to war against each other again. In 1950, six nations signed a deal to pool their coal and steel resources.

In 1957, a treaty signed in Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) – or, the foundations of today's European Union. In the first wave of expansion in 1973, the UK was one of three new members to join. Within the 28 member states today, the total population is more than 500 million. The EU also has its own legal and economic systems.

 

What is Brexit?

Brexit is the combination of two words, ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’ and refers to a possible British exit from the 28 nation bloc of the EU.

Prime Minister David Cameron is holding a referendum on 23rd June as to whether the UK should stay in – or leave- the EU. It was recommended by the government in September 2015 that the question should be amended to: “Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?”

So, should we stay or should we go? According to recent polls, the public are split on the issue.

Leave the EU?

Some people have argued that the UK is being held back by the EU which imposes too many rules on businesses and charges billions of pounds in membership fees for ‘not much in return’. Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said staying in the EU ‘leaves [the UK’s] door open’ to Paris-style terrorist attacks. Some also think that Brussels has too much say over UK laws. Another argument for leaving is so that Britain can regain full control of its borders and reduce the number of immigrants coming here to work. Others reject the idea of an ‘ever closer union’ and do not like the goal of creating a ‘United States of Europe’.

Mini said: “I think we should stay for the benefits, such as being able to work and move freely around Europe without the need for a visa.”

Mini said: “I think we should stay for the benefits, such as being able to work and move freely around Europe without the need for a visa.”

Stay in the EU?

David Cameron wants Britain to stay in the EU now he has got some powers back from it. 16 members of his cabinet also back his move. The Conservative Party has pledged to be neutral in the campaign whilst the Labour Party, SNP and the Lib Dems are all in favour of staying in. The UK gets a big boost from EU membership, and staying would make selling products to other EU countries easier. One of the main principles of the EU is ‘free movement’ which means you don’t need a visa to go and live in another EU country. Some argue the flow of immigrants helps pay for public services and fuels our economic growth. Others argue that the UK’s status in the world would be damaged by leaving and that the country is more secure as part of a 28 nation bloc and that if we abandon the EU we will lose our influence on the world stage.

Kamran Hussain,  who is leading the EU Referendum Campaign for Yorkshire and the Humber Liberal Democrats, thinks that Britain should stay in Europe.

He said: “[I] believe that we are stronger, safer and better off in Europe than we would be out on our own.

“For centuries, Britain has been a powerful trading nation with a dynamic economy at the centre of European and world affairs [...] We get an average of £24.1 billion of investment into Britain per year from Europe and it’s estimated 3-4 million jobs in Britain are linked directly to trade with the rest of Europe.

“People are able to work, travel and learn within the EU. It gives us all the best chance to succeed.

priti patel (300x293)“The environment is better tackled together with the EU and security is also improved within the EU.”

“Our partnership with the EU is worth £3000 to every household in the UK. We’ve got the EU arrest warrant which allows us to deal with cross border crimes and terrorism.

“If we leave the EU we still have to work with our EU neighbours but we will be unable to have an input.”

Being part of Europe also means cheaper prices in our supermarkets, cheaper flights to Europe and lower phone charges when travelling.”

Minister of State for Employment, Priti Patel, said that UK-India relations would receive a huge boost if the UK left the EU....

“Over the last 40 years the UK’s membership of the EU has acted as a barrier to developing trade and investment partnerships with the rest of the world, including India. Remaining within the EU will mean the UK will be in a weaker position to forge the closer trading ties that would benefit the Indian and UK economies.

kamranhussain (800x557)

“Also, one of the reasons why our trading links with India were inadequate when we came to Government in 2010 was because of the focus that Britain had given to trade within Europe as a result of membership of the EU.

“Billions of pounds that could be invested in creating new jobs and growth are instead swallowed up by [EU] regulations. Leaving the EU will mean that we can set our own regulations for business and cut their costs.”

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One to watch…

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BAC Mono 2 (800x442)

Luxury British car maker heralds as one of the “best and fastest” growing businesses

Liverpool-based company, Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), has been picked out as one of ten companies destined for rapid expansion.
The luxury British car maker, which makes the highly acclaimed, luxury single-seater Mono, earned its place due to its recent expansion and was lauded for “selling brand Britain overseas”.

With a total staff of just 22, BAC is the smallest company on the list of ten rising stars, yet still enjoyed sales of more than £2.4m in the last year.

The company sold 21 Mono supercars around the world in 2015, and has attracted investment from international backers to help push this further in the next 12 months. Thanks to this investment, and several newly opened showrooms around the word, BAC has already more than doubled this year’s sales for 2016, and is on line to go even further.

The latest of these showrooms was launched in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay last month, with the new dealership selling eight of its annual allocation of 12 cars on the launch night alone.

The launch in Hong Kong is further proof of the company’s strong position in the Far East, following on from a successful introduction to Japan earlier in 2015.

BAC’s bespoke nature appeals strongly to customers in Far East Asia, who value the car’s bespoke driver fitment program, which offers a custom-made seat and steering wheel. There are also almost limitless options for personalisation in terms of trim and paint options.

Far East customers will get the 2016 Model Year Mono, which comes equipped with an all-new 305bhp 2.5-litre Mountune four-cylinder engine that is capable of a 0-60mph time of just 2.8sec. The ultra lightweight Mono weighs just 580kg, which means it boasts a staggering power-to-weight ratio of 526bhp per tonne.

BAC Founder Neil Briggs said: “We are delighted to be recognised by Fast Track and the Sunday Times for our recent success. We hope to continue this going into 2016, and are well-placed to do so with our new dealerships in Japan and Hong Kong. With strong sales in America, and our recently gained EU approval, we are well placed to take BAC onto the next stage of its exciting development.”

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Media portrayal of fight against terrorism ‘risks radicalising British Muslims’

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WARNING: Baroness Butler-Sloss said there was a danger that Muslim groups could be made to feel that they are not part of British Society due to the portrayal of ‘Islamist terrorism’ in the media

WARNING: Baroness Butler-Sloss said there was a danger that Muslim groups could be made to feel that they are not part of British Society due to the portrayal of ‘Islamist terrorism’ in the media

Authors of a landmark report on religion in the UK have issued a warning that British Muslims are at risk of being radicalised because of the strident language used about countering Islamist terrorism.

Retired senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss said the way the Government and the media portrayed the issue could leave some feeling ‘that they are not part of British society’.

In a wide-ranging report on the place of different religions in British society, they also raised concerns about the role of Sharia courts and called on the Ministry of Justice to issue guidance for all religious courts and tribunals to ensure they comply with gender equality legislation.

The Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life (Corab) also recommended that major national and civil events, including coronation ceremonies, should have a more ‘pluralist character’ to reflect a shift in religious beliefs in British society.

Among other recommendations were that faith schools should reduce selection of pupils and staff on grounds of religion, the legal requirement for schools to hold acts of collective worship should be scrapped, and a reduction in the number of Church of England bishops in the House of Lords from 26 to 16, with a greater representation of other religions.

The commission, chaired by Lady Butler-Sloss, said: “In framing counter-terrorism legislation, the Government should seek to promote, not limit, freedom of enquiry, speech and expression, and should engage with a wide range of affected groups, including those with which it disagrees, and also with academic research.

“It should lead public opinion by challenging negative stereotyping and by speaking out in support of groups that may otherwise feel vulnerable and excluded.”

At the report's launch, Lady Butler-Sloss added: “There's a real danger with the rhetoric that it is turning certain groups, particularly the Muslims, into feeling ‘other’, feeling that they are not trusted, feeling that they are not part of British society.

“That's very sad for the vast majority of very decent Muslims who live in this country. They should feel that they belong, not that they don't belong. But it also has real danger of radicalisation.”

She said the Government and councils should be prepared to talk to ‘ultra-conservative’ groups which did not support violent extremism.

“We are bombing Syria as well as Iraq. But we are not going to win the hearts and minds of people other than through the actual communities from which these people come,” she said.

“[That would mean] partnership with those groups who may, at the moment, be looked at with suspicion because they are perhaps ultra-conservative and therefore are way out from the point of view perhaps of government”.

Criticising the debate around counter-terrorist legislation, she said: “It's not only government. I personally think it's not so much government but it's the interpretation of what the government is doing by the media, in particular, but also by people.

CHANGE: The report also suggested BBC Radio 4’s show should be opened up to people who do not speak from a faith viewpoint

CHANGE: The report also suggested BBC Radio 4’s show should be opened up to people who do not speak from a faith viewpoint

“I have a friend in the West Country who has never met a Muslim and she says, 'I hate all Muslims', because she reads about them in the popular press, that Muslims are doing this and that, and she assumes all Muslims are the same.”

She said it was ‘tragic’ and added she would take a Muslim friend down to the West Country ‘to see that my friends are as normal as she is - rather more normal’.

Turning to the increased use of religious tribunals such as Sharia councils, Lady Butler-Sloss stressed that they had to comply with ‘British standards of gender equality’.

She said: “Nobody really knows what's going on in some of the Sharia councils .”

Lady Butler-Sloss added that although bishops played a leading role in the House of Lords, she would like to see more religious diversity.

The former leader of England and Wales's Catholics, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, would be an ideal choice, she said, but suggested that Rome was stopping him.

“I would like to see Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor as a member of the House of Lords. Indeed I said that to him on one occasion and he said he would like to do it, but I assume that he is not being allowed to - I don't know - presumably by the Vatican,” she continued.

Despite the report's recommendations on reducing the role of the Church of England in public life, Lady Butler-Sloss insisted the commission ‘does not mean the overturning of the Christianity of this country’.

The BBC's flagship religious slot, ‘Thought For The Day’, on Radio 4's Today programme should be opened up to people who do not speak from a faith viewpoint, the report suggested.

Commission member Lord Harries, the former Bishop of Oxford and a Thought For The Day contributor, said: “It is meant to be a way of illuminating something in the news at the moment from a standpoint of a particular faith. Therefore I think the view of the commission is that should be equally possible from people standing for ethical traditions which are non-religious.”

Another commission member and Thought For The Day speaker, Ed Kessler, added: “One would have thought that Thought For The Day could be delivered by anybody who is thoughtful.”

Asked whether the Prime Minister believed the requirement for Christian content in school should be maintained, David Cameron's official spokeswoman said: “It's already a decision for the schools themselves to look at the make-up of any morning services.

“We do not have plans to change that.”

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Veterans in London Discard Medals in Disgust at Decision to Bomb Syria

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 ANGER: Veterans take to the street in protest against the war in Syria

ANGER: Veterans take to the street in protest against the war in Syria

Military medals thrown to the ground in symbolic protest 

A protest at Number 10 Downing Street by Veterans for Peace UK on Tuesday had British military veterans tossing their medals in anger onto the streets of the capital after the decision was made by Parliament to commence airstrikes in Syria.

Around twenty veterans attended the protest, with four laying down their medals symbolically on the pavement.

The protests were led by Daniel Denham, who served in the RAF from 2002 until 2014.

He said to the crowd: “If you look close enough at these medals, you can see the reflections of dead Iraqis...And you can see the faces of the men and women of the British armed forces who didn’t return...I no longer require these medals.”

medals people (800x456)

He added: “These invasions, occupations and attacks have caused great devastation, killed hundreds of thousands of people and have led to the destruction of societies. Bombing is never a solution.”

Ben Griffin, who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, organised the protest on behalf of the Veterans for Peace campaign group.

He said: “War is not the solution to the problems of the 21st century.”

He added to the Evening Standard: “War creates more problems than it solves. I want society to evolve from seeing war as the solution, and to look to more peaceful alternatives.”

Veterans for Peace UK is a voluntary ex-services organisation of men and women who have served in every war that Britain has fought in since the Second World War, and focuses on educating people on the true nature of military service and the realities of conflict.

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Super siblings

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CHAMPIONS: Natasha Zafar holds her British Championship along Zeeshan and his Bronze medal

CHAMPIONS: Natasha Zafar holds her British Championship along Zeeshan and his Bronze medal

Zafars take British championships by storm

The relationship between a brother and a sister when growing up is sometimes a feisty one with sibling rivalry all too often resulting in fall outs and squabbles.

For one family in Bradford however, this sibling rivalry has now developed into a winning combination as the now grown-up pair of Zeeshan and Natasha Zafar put their fighting skills to the test in their shared passion of Tae Kwon Do.

Last week, the duo faced off against competitors from across the country as they took part in the British Championships in Derby, hosted by the Tae Kwon Do association of Great Britain, determined to “bring medals back to Bradford”.

First up was Natasha, who entered the Ladies Red Belt Sparring category.

The experienced fighter advanced through to the final after two successful bouts to set up a British title fight.

TALENTED: Zeeshan Zafar competed in the Black Belts category, where he picked up a bronze medal

TALENTED: Zeeshan Zafar competed in the Black Belts category, where he picked up a bronze medal

With her brother-turn-trainer in her corner, Natasha applied pressure on her opponent throughout and was eventually awarded the victory by all four judges to be crowned British Champion 2015.

The medal haul didn’t stop there though, as it was now time for older brother Zeeshan to step into the ring for the Men’s Black Belt Tag Team event.

Walking away with a Bronze medal, he praised his sister’s efforts and said he was already looking forward to future competitions.

Speaking after the tournament, Zeeshan said: “I am so pleased with the results, and proud of Natasha.

“We already have bigger plans for the future as next year we have the Tae Kwon Do TI World Championships, and they will be staged at The Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.  

“This will be a real test for us, not being the best in Britain but being the best in the world.

“Forty countries have already confirmed their attendance and the training pace is really going up a gear.”

As for Natasha’s chances of repeating her national Gold medal on the international stage, Zeeshan added: “She will be definitely aiming for gold.

“But as long as every competitor walks away knowing they have been the best they can be, they should be very proud of themselves.”

The British Championships are the largest martial arts contest in Europe with over 1,200 people competing across dozens of categories, aged form six-years-old up to 60.

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£6 billion pact: India and UK discuss trade ties

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OFFICIAL VISIT: British Prime Minister David Cameron greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India

OFFICIAL VISIT: British Prime Minister David Cameron greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India is on his way back to Mumbai with an estimated £6 billion in bilateral trade offers following his three-day official visit to London.

However, there are questions about whether his talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron will materialise into tangible assets.

Downing Street said that talks focused on further strengthening the security partnership between the UK and India, including the exchange of counter-terrorism best practices and technologies and cyber security expertise.

On counter-terrorism, the prime ministers discussed the importance of tackling the threat from Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and other terrorist groups targeting India. They agreed on the vital need to tackle ISIL, including through countering the narrative that radicalises individuals and leads them to embrace a violent Islamist extremist ideology.

On cyber security, the prime ministers discussed how the UK and India could work together to better protect people and organisations from cyber attacks, with the UK helping to establish a new centre to train the next generation of cyber security professionals and setting up a new Indian cyber crime unit.

The leaders also agreed on the importance of enhancing prospects for Afghanistan’s future stability. They spoke about defence cooperation, welcoming the new UK-India Defence and International Security partnership and agreeing it should signal a step-change in partnering on developing capability, expertise and sharing technology, analysis and information.

HOMEGROWN SCEPTICISM

However, back in India, sections of the press have raised questions about whether the promises would materialise into tangible trade.

They’ve said that despite three visits by Mr Cameron to India in the past five years, bilateral trade has steadily declined.

It now stands at £9.3 billion (US$14 billion), far short of the £20 billion (US$30 billion) goal announced during Mr Cameron’s 2010 visit.

In addition, the press said that serious issues which put a considerable strain on the economic relationship remained.

These included problems of easing business regulations for British companies, and relaxing immigration and visa norms for Indian companies, professionals and students.

However, they were happy about the commitment by both sides to fighting terror groups and thought it was significant that Mr Modi raised the issue of UK-resident groups that foment separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

LONDON WELCOME

During his visit, Mr Modi received a rock star welcome when he addressed a 50,000-strong crowd of non-resident Indians at Wembley stadium.

He also inaugurated a BR Ambedkar memorial at a building where the father of the Indian constitution stayed in 1921-22 when he studied at the London School of Economics.

It was announced that every year two Dalit students from India would study in any university in London or Europe and they would be allowed to live in that building during their studies.

On his personally-escorted tour of London by the British prime minister. Mr Modi faced protests from activist groups over sexual violence against women in India.

Summing up his first official visit Mr Modi tweeted: “My gratitude to the British people & Govt. Special thanks to PM @David_Cameron for his personal attention to all the aspects of my visit” and “Goodbye UK. This visit was memorable because of the wide range of programmes I attended. The ground covered will transform India-UK ties.”

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British Asian Wedding Awards 2015

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award winners venue (800x533)

award winners 4 main (300x450)Industry leaders awarded at stunning awards ceremony

The British Asian Wedding Awards took central London by storm last weekend as hundreds turned out to acknowledge the incredible efforts of the industry’s top professionals.

Held at the stunning five-star Montcalm Hotel, the glamorous night awarded nominees in the North, Midlands and South, with some of the biggest names in business in attendance.

With the Asian Wedding industry booming, the awards have never been more fiercely contested, as entrants travelled from across the country to see if their name would be called out this year. Supported by family and friends, alongside fellow business associates, it was a night to remember for all who were shortlisted.

The event itself took a year to plan and was open to any company or individual across the nation. Businesses were invited to put themselves forward in relevant categories whilst others were nominated by one of their many happy clients.

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asian wedding 1 more (300x450)After narrowing down the hundreds of nominations, a shortlist of lucky finalists was eventually drawn up for each region and category.

Three judges were then tasked with independently and confidentially marking each of the entries in accordance to a set criterion before winners were calculated for each award.

Split into geographical locations - North, South and The Midlands, there were 18 categories in total per region giving each business an opportunity to be the best in their county.

From caterers to jewellers and make-up artists to wedding planners, there was something for all service providers, all vying for the spectacular solid metal, gold-finish statuette on a black crystal base – befitting of the five star event.

As well as the awards ceremony, throughout the prestigious night, guests were able to enjoy delicious five-course banquet dinners, provided by Aagrah, whilst entertainment came in the form of close-up magic, a DJ and Bellydancers.

award winners 1 (800x533)

The British Asian Wedding Awards are designed to recognise the abundance of creative talent in an industry worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

award winners 2 (800x533)

With outstanding service and products provided to the public every year, the awards have become ever more relevant as the lavishness and grandeur of wedding days continues to grow.
award winners 9 - oasis limos best car hire north (800x533)

award winners 7 (300x450)

The winning companies in the North are:

Best Videographer– Film Art Pictures

Best Photographer– Ace Star Photography

Best Car Hire– Oasis Limousines

Best Florist– Floral Creations be Reena

Best Entertainment– Soul Asia Roadshow

Best Cake Company– Little Elephant Cake Company

Best Fashion Jewellery– The Jewellery Box

Best Gold Jewellers – A1 Jewellers

Best Wedding Planner– Payal Events

Best Make-up Artist– Rosa Massimo

award winners 8 - bombay stores, best bridal wear and best boutique in north (300x450)Best Caterer– Aagrah Event Catering

Best Wedding Venue– The Bolton Excellency

Best Unique Wedding Venue– Castle Howard

Best Boutique– Bombay Stores

Best Grooms wear– Sai Fashions

Best Bridal wear– Bombay Storesaward winners 5 (800x533)

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