Over 50% of Tory activists support death penalty – poll

By ethan / January 4, 2018

More than half of Tory activists support the death penalty for serious crimes, a survey has found. The poll uncovered glaring differences between Tories and the supporters of other political parties on a series of hot issues.

The research, conducted by Queen Mary University, found 54 percent of grassroots Conservatives are in favor of the death penalty, compared to 23 percent of Scottish National Party (SNP) supporters, nine percent of Labour followers and eight percent of Liberal Democrats.

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Just one in 10 Conservatives believe austerity has gone too far, compared to nearly all Labourites, 93 percent of SNP supporters and three-quarters of Lib Dems.

A majority of Conservatives, 80 percent, want pupils to be taught how to obey authority, compared to around 31 percent of Labour backers.

Conservative backers also still seem oppose gay marriage, as only 40 percent support the reforms by former Prime Minister David Cameron.

Professor Tim Bale, one of the study’s authors, said, “Britain’s party members are the lifeblood and the footsoldiers of our democracy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they look like or think like their parties’ voters – or, indeed, look or think like each other.”

“The Tory grassroots in particular are something of a breed apart from their Labour, Lib Dem and SNP counterparts,” he said, according to the Independent.

When it comes to policy-making, for example, just 28 percent of Tory members believe they get a significant say on their party’s policy-making. That compares to three-quarters of Lib Dems and SNP members, and 61 per cent of Labour.

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The likelihood of followers launching campaigns in support of the Conservative Party during the general election was also found to be slim.

“Given how close some seats were at the last election and maybe at the next election – the ability to get a bunch of people who are very well motivated and actually will come out and do stuff for you in reasonable numbers has to be a concern,” said Bale.

“I think in the 21st Century it’s probably not good enough to sort of rely on the fact that people will campaign as it were for their elders and betters. People want more involvement now and want more say now and that may be reflected in different levels of activity between parties.”

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Alcohol damages DNA, increases cancer risk – study

By ethan / January 4, 2018

Alcohol causes irreparable damage in the DNA of stem cells, enhancing the risk of developing cancer, and costing some hard drinkers “more than just a hangover,” British scientists say.

Researchers at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, gave diluted alcohol (ethanol) to mice. Afterwards they used chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing to study the genetic damage caused by a harmful chemical (known as acetaldehyde) produced when the body processes alcohol. 

Scientists discovered that acetaldehyde can break and damage DNA within blood stem cells, causing rearranged chromosomes as well as permanently altering the DNA sequences within these cells.

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Researchers highlighted the importance of understanding the DNA blueprint within stem cells citing one simple reason: when healthy stem cells are corrupted, they can give rise to cancer. Their findings demonstrate how drinking alcohol boosts the risk of developing 7 types of cancer, including the most common types – breast and bowel.

“Some cancers develop due to DNA damage in stem cells. While some damage occurs by chance, our findings suggest that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of this damage,” Professor Ketan Patel, the lead author of the study and scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, said in a press-release.

The study also closely inspected the way our body tries to protect itself against damage caused by alcohol. The first line of defense is a family of enzymes called aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH), researchers said. These enzymes break down harmful acetaldehyde into acetate, which our cells can use as a source of energy. The problem is, millions of people, especially those from South East Asia, either lack these enzymes or carry faulty versions of them. As a result, while they drink, acetaldehyde builds up, causing a flushed complexion along with as a feeling of discomfort.

In the British scientists’ study, when mice lacking the critical ALDH enzyme (ALDH2) were given alcohol, it resulted in four times as much DNA damage in their cells compared with mice with the fully-functioning enzyme.

Cells also have a second line of defense in a variety of DNA repair systems. Although most of the time they reverse different types of DNA damage, some people carry mutations so their cells aren’t capable of carrying out any such ‘repair work.’

“Our study highlights that not being able to process alcohol effectively can lead to an even higher risk of alcohol-related DNA damage and therefore certain cancers,” Professor Patel noted. “But it’s important to remember that alcohol clearance and DNA repair systems are not perfect and alcohol can still cause cancer in different ways, even in people whose defense mechanisms are intact,” he concluded.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s expert on cancer prevention, added that this “thought-provoking research,”published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, highlights the “damage alcohol can do to our cells, costing some people more than just a hangover.”

“We know that alcohol contributes to over 12,000 cancer cases in the UK each year, so it’s a good idea to think about cutting down on the amount you drink,” she said.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a World Health Organization body, has classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen, along with tobacco, asbestos and formaldehyde. 

Scientists from Cancer Research UK warned in 2016 that alcohol would cause around 135,000 cancer deaths over the next two decades, and that by 2035, the UK could see 7,097 cancer deaths linked to drinking every year. 

According to the American Cancer Society, Alcohol use has been correlated with cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and esophagus. 

Alcohol use accounted for up to 3.7 percent of all cancer deaths in the US, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2013. 

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Fat cat bosses make more than annual median salary in first 3 days of 2018

By ethan / January 4, 2018

Bosses at Britain’s top companies made more money by lunchtime on Thursday than the average UK worker will make all year. Campaigners have dubbed it ‘Fat Cat Thursday.’

According to an independent analysis of the gap between CEOs and pretty much everybody else, data shows big bosses will have grossed more in just three working days of the year compared to your average Joe (if pay was evened out on an hourly basis).

“Fat Cat Thursday” marks the official point in the 2018 working year that bosses of FTSE 100 companies will eclipse the average worker’s salary.

FTSE chief execs in the UK are paid 120 times more than your average worker.

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Jeff Bezos © Dennis Van Tine

They clear a tidy £3.45 million per year on average, leaving full-time workers to scrimp by on a measly average of £28,758.

In 2016 the highest paid chief executive was Sir Martin Sorrell, trousering £48 million from advertising firm WPP. This year, it looks to be Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of housebuilder Persimmon. Fairburn is understood to be pocketing a cool £110 million bonus.

GMB trade union general secretary Tim Roache has called the pay gap between bosses and their workers “simply obscene.”

“Does anyone really think these fat cats deserve 100 times more than the hard-working people who prop up their business empires?” he said.

“Workers who have to scrimp and save to feed their families and put a roof over their head – and like most of Britain’s working population will now be feeling the pinch after the festive period?”

Roache said Prime Minister Theresa May had failed workers, breaking her promise to address excessive executive pay.

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“Last year Theresa May broke her pledge to guarantee worker representation on company boards, a move which would have helped shed light on corporate excess and redress the balance towards fairer pay,” he added.

Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O’Grady shared Roache’s outrage that bosses were pocketing “salaries that look like telephone numbers” while the average worker is “suffering the longest pay squeeze since Napoleonic times.”

She also said workers would be included in pay committees to “bring some common sense and fairness to boardroom pay.” She called for the minimum wage to be lifted to £10 an hour.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey vowed that a Labour government would take on pay inequality.

“The next Labour government will tackle rampant pay inequality with a real living wage of at least £10 per hour, with an excessive pay levy and by rolling out maximum pay ratios of 20:1 in the public sector and in companies bidding for public contracts,” she said.

Minimum wage currently sits at £7.50 for over-25s, but will rise to £7.83 on April 1. Under-18s can be paid a measly £4.05 an hour and apprentices can receive as little as £3.50.

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Pakistan promises 'cold-blooded' response to Trump’s abrupt aid cut

By ethan / January 4, 2018

Top Islamabad officials have warned President Donald Trump against endangering US-Pakistan cooperation in Afghanistan, promising a “cold-blooded” response to Washington’s proposed aid cut to the South Asian nation.

In a seething series of tweets, Pakistan’s foreign minister ripped into Trump’s accusation that Islamabad has double-crossed the US in Afghanistan, noting that Pakistan “went through a bloodbath” after “blindly” trusting Washington.

“You ask what we’ve done? From our bases you carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan… thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you,” Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif wrote.

READ MORE: ‘We’ll throw his aid in his face:’ Pakistanis slam Trump for his tweet as US halts $ 255mn aid

Citing Pakistan’s “unending saga of sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism, Asif wrote that “history teaches us not to blindly trust the US… [we] will not compromise our dignity anymore.”

Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan echoed Asif’s defiant tone during an interview on Thursday, vowing a “cold-blooded response” to Washington’s stated intention to withhold $ 255 million in aid to Pakistan, as cited by RIA Novosti.

Speaking earlier with BBC Urdu, Khan said Washington ought to “prefer” cooperation over confrontation, noting that half of Pakistan’s airspace and land routes were still open to the US – and without them, its ability to operate in Afghanistan would be greatly diminished.

Describing Pakistan as an independent nuclear power, the defense minister said it was not possible for Washington to dictate terms to Islamabad by withholding aid, and warned the US against any attempt to bring the war in Afghanistan to Pakistan’s soil.

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© Thomas White

Responding to a question about the possibility of unilateral US military action in Pakistan, Khan commented that “Donald Trump is a highly temperamental person, therefore any such possibility can’t be completely ruled out.”

In his first tweet of the new year, US President Donald Trump went for Islamabad, writing that the United States has “foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit,” adding that the country gives “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

The tweet provoked uproar in Pakistan, with Islamabad quickly convening an emergency cabinet meeting to establish the “difference between fact and fiction,” and summoning the US ambassador for an explanation.

On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi offered to “review [our] cooperation [with the United States] if it is not appreciated.”

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Trump promises no military drills with S. Korea during Winter Olympics

By ethan / January 4, 2018

Seoul and Washington have agreed to not hold any joint military exercises in the region during the PyeongChang Olympic Games in February, Reuters reports citing South Korea’s presidential office. In a phone call, the presidents of the two countries have discussed the recent talks between the South and the North, with US President Donald Trump having expressed hopes the process would lead to good results. At the start of the year, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he was open to talks with Seoul, calling for a lowering of military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The presidential office in Seoul welcomed the conciliatory message, and a ‘hotline’ communication channel between the two administrations was reopened this week.

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Pakistan brings Chinese yuan on par with US dollar for investment & trade with Beijing

By ethan / January 4, 2018

Pakistani companies have been given a green light to use the Chinese yuan in trade with Beijing, which could potentially sideline the US dollar and other currencies used there. The move coincides with a US-Pakistan aid row.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said it “has taken comprehensive policy-related measures to ensure that imports, exports and financing transactions can be denominated in CNY,” according to a statement issued late on Tuesday. CNY is now effectively on par with the US dollar, euro and other international currencies in the country.

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Companies are free to engage in CNY transactions with the immediate effect. “SBP has already put in place the required regulatory framework which facilitates use of Chinese yuan in trade and investment transactions,” the bank said.

It also noted the “growing size of trade and investment” between Pakistan and China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement. The use of yuan will further boost bilateral trade and “will yield long-term benefits for both [of] the countries,” the bank added.

While Islamabad and Beijing had already been considering ditching the US dollar for yuan in bilateral trade for some time, the announcement comes at a particularly low point in US-Pakistani relations. US President Donald Trump has vowed to halt US aid to the country, stating in a recent tweet that Washington has “foolishly given Pakistan more than $ 33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit.” Trump has been repeatedly accusing Islamabad of providing a “safe haven to the terrorists,” referring to Taliban militants.

The US administration subsequently confirmed that it would further withhold $ 255 million of military aid to Pakistan. Islamabad has expressed “deep disappointment” over Washington’s decision, while describing Trump’s remarks as “completely incomprehensible.”

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Irn-Bru fans ‘panic-buy’ soft drink ahead of sugar-reducing recipe change

By ethan / January 4, 2018

Fans of Scotland’s national drink Irn-Bru are ‘panic-buying’ cans of the 117-year-old soft drink amid plans to change its recipe.The new Irn-Bru will see the drink’s sugar content cut by more than 50 percent, its makers confirmed.

AG Barr have said they will be tweaking Irn-Bru’s recipe to dodge the UK government’s tax levy on sugar, to be introduced during 2018. It prompted devoted Scots to stock up on the drink, with some reportedly buying up to 250 cans, amid concerns its unique taste will be lost forever.

The UK government tax on sugary products will apply to every drink containing more than 5g per 100ml of sugar. Irn-Bru will therefore have its sugar content cut from 10.3g per 100ml to just 4.7g.

A petition opposing the change to the recipe has garnered almost 7,000 signatures.

The man behind the ‘Hands off our Irn-Bru’ petition, Ryan Allan, from Ayr, told the BBC’s Kaye Adams program: “I’ve got 24 glass bottles in my loft that will do me for emergencies.”

“I know sugar has its concerns but so do sweeteners and people are not as aware of that as they should be.

“I know the stuff is about to hit the shelves now and I’m going to ask people to try it out of curiosity but if you don’t like it don’t buy it, vote with your pound.”

On his Change.org petition, he said: “The government’s ‘sugar tax’ that would apply to the sales of sugary drinks is similar to the way cigarettes and alcohol are taxed.

“I would far rather pay more for a bottle than have an altered recipe version.”

“I believe that a responsible adult should have the choice as to what poisons they want to put in their body,” he added.

People have flocked to social media to express their frustration at the recipe change.

One user expressed his bafflement:

Others took it as an opportunity to have a go at the Tory government.

Another highlighted the toxicity of the aspartame sweetener, understood to be in the new recipe.

One user even called for a new prime minister, who would recognize the drink as a “national landmark.”

A spokesperson from A.G. Barr defended the change, saying that nine out of ten people who had tried the new recipe could not tell the difference from the authentic Irn-Bru.

“The vast majority of our drinkers want less sugar in their Irn-Bru so that’s what we’re now offering.

“We know that our loyal drinkers love Irn-Bru for its unique great taste and we’ve worked hard to deliver this,” they said.

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French jihadists who fought with ISIS in Syria should be tried there, not in homeland – MP

By ethan / January 4, 2018

French nationals arrested in Syria as fighters of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group should face a trial there rather than be returned to France, an MP and a spokesman for Emmanuel Macron’s party has said.

I’d prefer that they stand trial there,” Benjamin Griveaux, who is the member of France’s National Assembly and spokesperson for the En Marche! party told France’s RMC – BFMTV media on Thursday. The high-ranking politician, often described as one of the closest allies of president Macron, suggested that while the French government “respects the rights of the defense,” it doesn’t want French jihadists to return to their homeland.

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A French policeman © Jean-Paul Pelissier

If there are judicial institutions today that are able to ensure a fair trial with assured rights of defense, they will be judged [in Syria],” he said, adding that such trials “in compliance with the French legislation” could be conducted in the Kurdish part of the war-torn country.

READ MORE: France faces ‘very high’ terrorism risk – interior minister ahead of anniversary of Paris attacks

According to French intelligence services, there are “a few dozen” French nationals, believed to be jihadist fighters or their wives, in prisons and camps in Syria and Iraq. Some 1,300 terrorists, “including several from France,” have been arrested by the Kurdish forces in Syria, representative of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Khaled Issa told the French media. Griveaux also confirmed the arrests, having pointed out that the fighters “didn’t give-in themselves, but were detained in combat.”

While there are “institutions competent in judicial matters” in Syria, “France is able to judge [these people] too,” the Kurdish official said, adding that while the choice is being made between the two countries, his party would prefer an international tribunal.

READ MORE: French ‘Jihadi Granny’ who followed son to Syria sentenced to 10yrs in jail

In November last year, Emmanuel Macron announced that the fate of French fighters and their family members who left to join the terrorist group in the Middle East would be examined on a case-by-case basis. The issue has become a hotly debated one in the European country, which has no extradition agreement with Syria. While some of those detained have requested a repatriation to France, there are activists and politicians who oppose their coming back to their country, arguing that they’ve made a choice “to kill and become criminals.”

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UKIP leader’s new model girlfriend backs Trump, Enoch Powell & death penalty (PICTURES)

By ethan / January 4, 2018

UKIP leader Henry Bolton, who seized the reins of the enfeebled eurosceptic party late last year, has a new lady in his life. But who is Bolton’s new Instagram-savvy gal pal Jo Marney?

Although there’s a pretty wide age gap between the two, at least they share political inclinations. The 29-year-old glamor model from Kent is an avid Brexiteer.

Her social media profiles are a strange combination of semi-nude photographs, right-wing political statements, and photos of her dog, Lukie.

Cheeky!

A post shared by Jo Marney (@jomarneymodel) on

A recent addition to her collection of happy snaps is UKIP leader Bolton. The twice-married dad-of-three, who is 25 years her senior, has confirmed the pair are a couple. Asked by the Murdoch-owned tabloid the Sun if he was in a relationship with Marney, he said “the answer is yes.”

Although it is unknown how long the pair have been officially an item, social media shows the duo spent Christmas and New Year together.

In July, 54-year-old Bolton told the Sun he had split up with his Russian wife Tatiana, 42. Sources close to Bolton say the UKIP leader’s relationship with Marney did not begin until after he had split with his wife.

In a message to UKIP members, Bolton spread the news about his blossoming romance, denying that it was a “clandestine affair.”

“In recent weeks, I’ve had a change in my relationship status,” he said.

“If you follow me on social media – and hopefully you all do – you will have already seen that recently I have spent time with somebody who has become increasingly important to me.

“This isn’t something that I’ve hidden.”

Bolton went on to assure party members that his new love “in no way distracts me or our party from the vital mission we have ahead of us.”

“Whilst I fully accept that as a national political figure I can expect to be the subject of media attention, I also believe we’re all entitled to a certain degree of privacy,” he added.

“As such, I’ll be making no further comment on the matter.”

A friend told the Sun that Bolton and Marney’s relationship “certainly took us all by surprise, but Jo is one of the UKIP family now.

“She’s lovely and clever and wants to help and support Henry.”

If her social media accounts are anything to go by, Jo Marney is no shrinking violet. As well as for skin-baring photographs, she uses her platforms to diffuse her right-wing views, and is unabashed in sharing disparaging thoughts on the EU, taking to Twitter to call the bloc “gangsters”.

“[The] EU want to make a ‘United states of Europe,’” she said.

“We should be defying them in every way we can and working to get our own identity back and this includes passports. I wouldn’t care if they made the passports pink with polka dots on provided it’s not what that bunch of gangsters wants.”

She has also taken to the web to label a transgender teen on TV an “attention seeker” and called UK media personality Samantha Fox a “money grabbing old bat” for her (Fox’s) claims that Partridge Family star David Cassidy had sexually assaulted her in 1985.

She’s also pro-Trump. Recently she accused Apple of an anti-Trump bias after her phone’s predictive text offered the name of the POTUS after the words “worried about.” Her claims, however, were quickly debunked in the RT office, when no other iPhone came up with the same anti-republican text prediction.

Marney is also apparently an avid reader. She regularly shares the titles of books she’s read. They include works on Winston Churchill, ‘The Bad Boys of Brexit’ by the Leave EU campaign co-founder Arron Banks, and ‘Freedom & Reality’ by Enoch Powell – a former MP and minister, infamous for his anti-immigration ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in the late 1960s.

Marney has also supported bringing back the death penalty, calling for those behind the Parsons Green terrorist attack to be executed. “If he is convicted beyond all doubt then this is exactly the kind of case which I think should carry the death penalty,” she said. She has since made her Facebook profile private.

Bolton won the UKIP leadership election after the party was devastated in the June 2017 general election. Then-leader Paul Nuttall was unable to replicate the surge the party enjoyed in 2015 and ahead of the Brexit referendum under Nigel Farage (whose son Marney has previously been linked to). UKIP is now widely seen as a spent force in UK politics now that the ruling Conservative Party is enacting many of its core policies.

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Satanic suicide: Tourist couple found dead on Greek Island

By ethan / January 4, 2018

A tourist couple found dead in a Greek guesthouse on New Year’s Eve appear to have died by suicide during a satanic ceremony, according to local authorities.

A 23-year-old Bulgarian woman, Lilia Botuseva, who was reported missing by her family last June was found dead alongside a 30-year-old German man in a rented room in the village of Vlachata on the island of Kefalonia, reports Neos Kosmos.

The bodies were found on New Year’s Eve by the owner of the property, where they had reportedly been staying since December 26.

READ MORE: Satan is ‘more intelligent than us,’ don’t converse with him – Pope Francis

Knives, candles and a satanic pentagram were found at the scene, leading police to believe the couple may have taken part in a satanic ritual, according to InKefalonia.

Coroner Angeliki Tsiola said in her report that the woman died first by cutting herself with a blade. The man then allegedly stabbed himself in the heart while in the bath.

Botuseva was reported missing by her family in June but the search was called off when she contacted authorities to inform them she was in Erfurt, Germany, reported Bulgarian news site Blitz.

The couple travelled to Greece in a car with fake plates which the man had rented in Germany.

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