Tory Remainer Ken Clarke Says He Will Back PM’s Brexit Deal

Tory Remainer Ken Clarke Says He Will Back PM's Brexit Deal

Ken Clarke has said he will vote for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, despite it being “a bit of a dog’s breakfast”.

In a boost for the beleaguered Prime Minister, the former Chancellor and arch Tory remainer revealed he would give her his backing in an interview on Tuesday morning.

He told Sky News: “I will vote for this deal.

“I think it is a bit of a dog’s breakfast. I think if she hadn’t made so many efforts to appease she could have got a slightly better one.

“We could have just stayed in the single market and customs unions on the date of withdrawal before we go into the big negotiations on what the long term aim is, but I will settle for this.”

May has a battle on her hands to get the deal she is finalising this week with EU leaders through Parliament next month.

The hardline Brexiteer wing of her party is in revolt, with Jacob Rees Mogg among those refusing to back the plans and calling for a confidence vote in the PM.

The DUP, which props up May’s government, is also strongly against the Withdrawal Agreement over the controversial Northern Ireland backstop, which could see the region have different customs arrangements to the rest of the UK.

Labour and the SNP have said they will attempt to vote down the deal, with Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn holding talks yesterday on how they could avoid the spectre of a no-deal exit from the bloc.

Remain-backing Tories, meanwhile, are weighing up whether to throw their weight behind the PM.

But Clarke has said, while he believes the Withdrawal Agreement could have seen the UK secure better terms, he will not be join the rebels.

He said: “It keeps the borders as they are. It keeps everything continuous for British business industry, investment, and it paves the way for the transition period because the serious negotiations start now really about what are the long term arrangements going to be that affect all our children and grandchildren.”

His words will spark suggestions that other Tory Remainers, such as Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, could follow suit.

May will jet out to Brussels after Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday to meet with EU leaders in a bid to flesh out the final details.

MPs are expected to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes transition arrangements, in December.

Ikea To Cut 350 UK Jobs Amid Global Shake-Up and ‘Fast-Changing Retail Environment’

Ikea To Cut 350 UK Jobs Amid Global Shake-Up and 'Fast-Changing Retail Environment'

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea says 350 jobs in the UK are at risk as part of its global transformation plan.

Some 7,500 workers will be sacked worldwide as the flatpack furniture brand says it is assessing all parts of the company.

The brand employs 12,100 people in Britain.

Parent company Ingka group said it is “simplifying to enable a greater focus on adding value to its customers”.

As part of the shake-up, 11,500 new jobs will also be created over the next two years through the opening of what Ikea called 30 new “touchpoints”.

This includes 500 new jobs at the UK’s newest store in London’s Greenwich, which is due to open in Spring 2019.

Javier Quinones, Ikea UK and Ireland country retail manager, said: “We are in a fast-changing retail environment and while we continue to grow, we are evaluating how we can remain relevant in the eyes of consumers – now and in the future.

“While the opportunities ahead of us are exciting, we know that some of the changes won’t always be easy and in some cases, we will have to make difficult decisions.

“Co-workers are at the heart of our business and throughout this transformation we will have an ongoing dialogue on how to navigate these changes, to ensure we do this in a way in line with our values and ensuring that our co-workers feel supported.”

Ikea is embarking on a Europe-wide strategy to launch smaller stores in cities, with the first of its kind opening up in central London’s Tottenham Court Road in October.

The sites are not the warehouse-style megastores with cafes that consumers are used to – the new concept will see shops serve as showrooms and delivery hubs.

Private Fertility Clinic Is Offering Free Round Of IVF In Christmas Prize Draw

Private Fertility Clinic Is Offering Free Round Of IVF In Christmas Prize Draw

Private IVF treatment costs between £3,000 and £5,000 per cycle, making it unaffordable for many couples struggling to conceive. The alternative is often long waiting times on the NHS and that’s if free treatment is even available in your area – recent research has revealed a drastic “postcode lottery” in relation to access, with some women denied referrals depending on where they live.

But now, a private London centre, the Harley Street Fertility Clinic, is offering one free round of IVF as a prize to women who enter a Christmas lottery.

The competition has divided opinion with some women welcoming the opportunity for cheaper private treatment while others say it’ll place desperate couples in an “appalling situation”.

[Read More: Who can get IVF for free on the NHS? ] MidoSemsem via Getty Images Current and new patients can enter the prize draw throughout December, providing they register and have an initial consultation at the clinic, which costs £200.

“Forget perfume, scented candles and chocolates, the Harley Street Fertility Clinic will be giving one patient a free round of IVF for Christmas,” the ad for the lottery reads.

“While the prize won’t take away the anxiety or worry around fertility treatment, the full cycle of IVF, using a fresh or deferred embryo transfer, and including all medications and blastocyst culture, will hopefully ease the financial burden of treatment for the winning patient and take them a step closer to having a child of their own.”

The winner will be drawn at random via a Facebook Live event on Friday 03 January 2019 and their treatment will start before 31 March 2019.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service ( BPAS ) does not support the idea. “I thought this was a spoof when I read it – it’s hard to see how anyone who understands the issues infertile couples face can indulge in this kind of stunt,” she told HuffPost UK.

“It illustrates the dire state of access to assisted conception in this country, placing couples who can’t afford private fees in an appalling situation where this kind of ‘lottery’ – which they effectively have to pay to enter – may be their only hope of a baby.”

[Read More: ‘At A Constant Standstill’: Life on the IVF Waiting List ]

She added that BPAS was originally set up as a not-for-profit charity to help women struggling to access abortion care on the NHS, and believes we may now need to adopt a similar approach nationally to support women seeking IVF.

Sarah Norcross, co-chair from the organisation Fertility Fairness , which campaigns for people to have equal access to fertility treatment, agreed the lottery is not the answer.

“The NHS postcode lottery in England causes hardship and heartache – a competition to win IVF if you make an appointment at a private clinic is not a solution but clever marketing,” she said.

But Siobhan, a 32-year-old project manager from east London, thinks the lottery is a good idea from the private clinic.

She is due to start IVF treatment on the NHS in December after being on the waiting list for more than 11 months. However, if her NHS treatment is not successful, she says she would consider entering a draw like this.

“The round could potentially provide someone who can’t afford IVF, has exhausted their NHS options or who has no access to NHS treatment, with an opportunity to have a child,” she told HuffPost UK.

“My only concern would be the added disappointment that couples might feel if they enter and don’t win the free round. [But] if none of our NHS rounds are successful, and there was an offer like this, I would definitely enter.

“With the increased cuts to NHS IVF and the ongoing ‘postcode lottery’, the opportunity to have a free round could be life changing.”

Recent data released by the organisation Fertility Fairness suggests women are being denied NHS IVF treatment depending on where they live, as decisions are made at local level via clinical commissioning groups.

Almost half (48 per cent) of clinical commissioning groups do not offer NHS IVF to women aged 40-42, according to the report , despite this going against guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). What’s more, 10 per cent of CCGs refuse access to IVF on the NHS if women are over 35.

Aileen Feeney, chief executive of Fertility Fairness, previously told HuffPost UK that couples turned away from NHS clinics have very few options.

“Unfortunately there are not many options open to patients who live in a CCG area that rations treatment unfairly. There is an individual funding request process available that people can follow,” she said. “We would also recommend people write to their MPs to highlight this unfair situation.” ‘I Feel At A Constant Standstill’: Life On The IVF Waiting List (By Those Who’ve Been There)

Would You Pay £10,000 To Freeze Your Eggs – And Do You Need To?

Miscarriage Is A Reality For Many Women: So Why Aren’t We Talking About It More?

Why Do We Celebrate Localism, But Dislike Nationalism?

Why Do We Celebrate Localism, But Dislike Nationalism?

Preston’s brutalist-inspired new bus station. A few weeks ago, Preston was named as the UK’s most improved urban area in a study by PwC. As a great advocate of the North, I’ve been heartened to see an increase in self-confidence and enthusiasm for rejuvenation in Northern towns and cities over the past few years. Having spent a lot of time working on urban regeneration projects in Blackburn, Morecambe, Middlesbrough and Gateshead, I’ve found time and again that councils and the public in these places grow tired of waiting for promised central government stimulus that never arrives. Towns and cities are now taking the initiative to get on with things themselves.

In 2011, a £700 million city-centre redevelopment plan for Preston fell through, provoking the Labour-led council to take the matter into their own hands. Rather than seeking investment from large multinationals, the council decided to follow examples of the Cleveland and Mondragon economic models and attempt to buy in all its goods and services from Preston-based firms. It was hoped that a turn towards self-sufficiency in economic terms would encourage money to be recycled locally, rather than pouring in from (and back out to) London and the South East.

£200 million increase in local investment in Lancashire

This shift to internal investment has seen the share of public spend in Preston rising from 5 to 18 per cent, with an overall increase of 40 per cent for the wider Lancashire area. As part of the overhaul, Preston council also became the first in the North to introduce a living wage for its employees, and now insists on the same provision from its suppliers. The PwC study found that this new way of operating has contributed to above-average improvements in adult and youth skills, health, transport, work-life balance and a halving of the city’s unemployment rate.

The Preston Co-operative Network has played a big role in facilitating this growth in local investment as well as promoting worker-owned businesses (including a new local credit union) and fighting a battle against payday lenders. Power is being grasped back by the people across all industries, with the launch of not-for-profit energy firm Fairerpower Red Rose and plans being laid out for a community-owned bank.

A model town for Corbynomics

Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have long been hailing Preston as a model for the future of UK cities. McDonnell pitches Preston as the poster town for Corbynomics, clamouring that other cities should take note from their radicalism, whilst Corbyn himself has praised the city’s “inspiring innovation” .

On a personal level, I am a big believer in the incredible potential ready to be unlocked in the North as it continues to recover from the impacts of decline in industry and manufacturing that hit many areas hard over the past 30 years. Our company recently lost out on a project in Preston as we don’t have a local office which shows that they are serious in their localism, and I’m excited to see what happens as their new approach continues to develop and projects are rolled out.

Is this symptomatic of the global rise in nationalist politics?

The ideas of self-help and taking action to affect change are undoubtedly laudable, but this move does also raise some concerns. Whilst the motivation behind this localism clearly doesn’t come from the same inward-looking attitudes that came to the forefront during the Brexit referendum, it does play into the hands of ‘little Englanders’ and further fuels an ideological lean towards protectionism. For those in liberal politics, the word ‘nationalism’ largely brings negative connotations, but isn’t ‘localism’ an extension of the same idea? Can you be anti-nationalist but pro-local without being hypocritical?

With Brazil’s new President describing immigrants as “the scum of the earth” , Austria firmly closing its borders with a blurred line between legal and illegal migration, and Trump’s most recent campaign ad being rejected by Facebook, NBC, CNN and even Fox News for being ‘racist’, it can feel as though the world is becoming gradually more segregated. Far from forging ties across countries and promoting cooperation and partnership, we are faced with unions falling apart and constant campaigns for regional independence.

Balancing local with global

As part of a global population, we have seen that a world that collaborates, shares ideas, and learns from others is more likely to solve problems, and benefit societies in general. Could Preston’s current vibrancy dissipate as its new thinking runs out of steam? The concern is that the city ends up stranded by its self-enforced isolation and gets locked out of opportunities for innovation and progress in the future.

The counter-argument would be that this is in fact the first step in a long overdue rebalancing of the UK, where towns and cities that have not benefited from the London halo effect are finally starting to flourish as they strike it out alone.

The answer must surely be to approach the idea like any good balanced relationship or family; to cherish and nurture what you have but to not stifle and suffocate by being too inward-looking. We should praise small scale self-sufficiency whilst embracing international collaboration; be invested in the local whilst making sure to be a part of the bigger picture.

Responsibility For Climate Change Shouldn’t Fall On Individuals Alone

Responsibility For Climate Change Shouldn't Fall On Individuals Alone

ASSOCIATED PRESS The United Nations’ Intergovernmental panel on climate change has released yet another bleak message into a world that already seems to be on the verge of its apocalypse.

We live in times where each newspaper headline causes us to question if things really could get any worse, and each morning we are met with the answer in black and white that yes, it really could. For if we aren’t electing men who enjoy a good roll in fake tan, tweet like three-year-olds and think women ought to be “grabbed by the pussy”, we’re depleting our ozone layer at a rate that is sure to increase extreme weather events, destroy our ecosystems and cause humanitarian crises.

The revelation that we have not done enough to stop climate change is hardly a revelation at all. Though I use the term ‘we’ here loosely, for it is undeniable that individuals have made far more of an effort to tackle climate change than the multinational companies who are ironically far more responsible for it. For hidden beneath the endless cries to ditch our cars for public transport, swap our meat for vegetables, and take our televisions off stand by, lies the reality that it is just 100 of our multinational corporations that are responsible for a staggering 71 per cent of our global emissions. This shocking statistic reveals that in reality we as individuals are a far smaller part of the problem than we have been lead to believe.

Companies have hidden their guilt like a dirty little secret and let us buy in to the bizarre concept that changes in our homes and shopping trolleys just might be enough to save the planet. In the hope that we may all be distracted and occupied with ambitions to ‘do our bit’, multinational corporations have attempted to keep their actions under the radar and out of the press, constantly pointing our focus towards paper straws and bags for life.

It is probably a good time to note that this article is by no way an attempt to ridicule or belittle the actions of individuals in the fight against climate change. Indeed, paper straws, reusable plastics, vegetarian diets and low energy light bulbs are all positive actions that we can take and that we should feel good about doing. The problem instead is that we have been misled about the potential effectiveness of these actions and as a result the onus for change has been shared so disproportionately amongst individuals and corporations.

Ironically, more pressure for action has been placed on those whose actions arguably matter the least, whilst those whose actions cause the most damage seemed to have escaped unharmed. For example, despite all the recent pressure to stop eating meat and adopt a vegetarian diet, a recent study has revealed that even if all Americans adopted meatless Mondays our greenhouse gas emissions would only be reduced by a mere 0.5%. So much fuss and noise surrounding a solution that clearly, with such a limited impact, is not a solution can only be put down as a distraction technique and attempt to shy away from responsibility.

Multinational corporations and governments in power would rather us see fault in our own individual choices than the fuels they choose to invest in, fully aware that if pressure for change was to mount then profits would surely fall.

So despite all the constant tips and tricks on how we can make our homes more eco-friendly the reality is that the potential to seriously reduce carbon emissions lies only in the hands of global corporations and fossil fuel producers. Indeed, until the likes of Exxon Mobil, BP and Chevron can love the planet more than they love their pockets, we risk the world becoming an even scarier place. But there is of course still hope. The reliance on money from investors does bring with it a pressure to change and companies such as Facebook, Google and IKEA have already committed to renewable power under the RE100 Initiative .

Indeed our power now lies not in turning off lights and filling freezers with quorn, but in influencing those who have for too long shied away from their potential to have an impact.

‘Rainbow Wave’ Hits Statehouses

'Rainbow Wave' Hits Statehouses

Seven states had never elected an openly gay or transgender legislator before this year. Three of them just did in an election that substantially increased the number of LGBT lawmakers overall.

A state worker unfurls a rainbow flag in front of the Washington state Capitol. (AP/Elaine Thompson)

Five years ago, Tippi McCullough got married. Within the hour, she received a call from the school where she taught telling her she had two choices: resign or be fired for having married another woman. That dilemma she was forced into spurred McCullough to become more politically engaged.

Earlier this month, McCullough was elected to the Arkansas House, becoming its only LGBT member. She was part of a "rainbow wave" of successful LGBT candidates around the country this year.

The previous record for openly gay and transgender people serving as state legislators was 119, according to Andrew Reynolds, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina. Following the midterm election, there will be 129.

LGBT Protections for State Workers Will Be Restored, Kansas Governor-Elect Vows Religious Liberty Amendment Alarms Foster Care Advocates 6 Things to Read About the Gay Wedding Cake Ruling Another Historic Night for Women, and Not Just in Congress

Colorado Democrat Jared Polis, who in 2008 was the first openly gay man elected to the U.S. House, made a similar breakthrough with his victory in the governor’s race this month. Democrat Kate Brown, who is bisexual, won reelection as Oregon’s governor.

Although Democrat Christine Hallquist, the nation’s first openly transgender major party nominee for governor, lost her race in Vermont, three openly transgender legislators were elected — two in New Hamphire and one in Colorado — bringing the total nationwide to four.

"I was inspired by Danica Roem [who won last year]," says Lisa Bunker, who won a seat in the New Hampshire House. "I thought, if she could win, then I could win."

Seven states had never elected an openly gay or transgender legislator before this year. Three of them — Indiana, Kansas and Nebraska — just did.

"I was very honored to be the first here in Indiana," says J.D. Ford, an openly gay man who will serve in the Indiana Senate. "Obviously, we made state history here."

Ford is a Democrat, as are nearly all of this year’s successful LGBT candidates. According to Reynolds, all of the 80 incumbent Democratic LGBT legislators who sought reelection won and will be joined by 34 newcomers.

On the Republican side, only five openly gay Republicans ran for reelection, and three of them lost. A Global Outlier on Gay Rights

"The U.S. is idiosyncratic globally," says Reynolds, author of The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World . "Gay rights is still such a partisan issue here in a way that it isn’t globally. Gay rights has been embraced by the right as much as the left in Latin America and Europe and the South Pacific."

Some prominent Republicans, including major political donors Peter Singer and David Koch, are supportive of LGBT equality. But the party as a whole mostly opposed same-sex marriage, and Republicans have blocked anti-discrimination bills in many states, city halls and Congress.

"Around 30 percent of voters will say they’re at least less likely to vote for an LGBT candidate," says Donald Haider-Markel, a political scientist at the University of Kansas and author of Out and Running: Gay and Lesbian Candidates, Elections, and Policy Representation . "The vast majority of them wouldn’t vote for a Democrat anyway."

President Donald Trump — despite pledging on the campaign trail to be more supportive of gay rights than his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton — has sought to restore the ban on transgender people serving in the military. Last month, the Trump administration announced it would deny visas for same-sex partners of diplomats and United Nations employees.

"The LGBTQ people running for office this cycle were doing so for a number of reasons," says Elliott Imse, senior communications director for the Victory Fund, which supports gay and transgender candidates. "There was certainly concern that the federal government and states were targeting LGBTQ people and rolling back the protections and gains we had made."

Brandon Woodard, an openly gay man who won a state House seat in Kansas, says the thought of running for office first occurred to him when his local representative expressed support for a so-called bathroom bill to ban transgender people from using facilities appropriate to their gender identity. But like many LGBT candidates, Woodard says, his political career was motivated primarily by issues that concern everyone.

"I got in the race because I feel like we’ve underfunded our education system for so long, both K-12 and higher ed," he says. "That was the driver." LGBT Candidates on the Campaign Trail

Bunker says her gender didn’t come up in conversations with hundreds of voters.

"If there was any tension or discomfort, it was about politics and issues," she says, recalling the time she had a man slam his door in her face when she expressed support for gun control.

Being transgender was not "a platform," says Brianna Titone, who won election to the Colorado House. Her focus was on what voters talked about when she knocked on their doors, including schools, roads and health care. But she says that being openly transgender helped voters to see her as an open and honest person — a welcome characterization for any politician.

"To be a trans person who’s out in public is the definition of authentic," Titone says. "We’re being our authentic self, despite what people may say or do to harm us."

Some LGBT candidates are inspiring others to be their authentic selves. Since Woodard’s election to the Kansas House, he’s had two young people tell him that his race has made them comfortable enough to come out as gay to their families.

"That hits you right in the feels," he says. "You didn’t think that getting in a race for your district can make an impact in other parts of the state." How Will LGBT Politicians Influence Policy?

There’s a "dam-breaking" effect when LGBT candidates run and win, says Haider-Markel. Other LGBT candidates are inspired to run, and the public becomes accustomed to seeing them in powerful roles from which they’d long been excluded.

Imse, the Victory Fund spokesman, says there’s less novelty to LGBT politicians than there was even a decade ago. They can be covered in the media without their first two names constantly being "openly gay." Still, they’re rare enough that their mere presence in statehouses is likely to draw heightened media attention.

There’s evidence that the presence of LGBT people serving in the legislature influences the LGBT-related legislation that gets introduced and how such legislation plays out, says Haider-Markel.

While Jolie Justus, who is openly gay, was serving in the Missouri Senate, she was able to convince a colleague who’d sponsored the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to cosponsor a bill barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and employment. The bill won support from other conservative lawmakers but hasn’t been passed into law.

"It’s one thing for a state legislator to propose an anti-trans bathroom bill in their state legislature when there is no trans person in the room," Imse says. "It is much harder for legislators to put forward hateful legislation when they know they are affecting the lives of one of their colleagues."

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EastEnders airs surprise lesbian kiss between Tiffany and Bernie

EastEnders airs surprise lesbian kiss between Tiffany and Bernie

Tiff (left) and Bernie shared a kiss on Tuesday’s EastEnders. (BBC) Fans were ecstatic after Tuesday night’s EastEnders episode featured a surprise lesbian kiss between Bernadette “Bernie” Taylor and Tiffany “Tiff” Butcher.

The two EastEnders characters locked lips after EastEnders’ Tiffany Butcher (Maisie Smith) admitted she had been delivering drugs in a heated conversation between the pair.

Tiff claimed she was not a dealer and only dropped off the drugs as a favour for friends. EastEnders‘ Tiff talked her friend out of telling on her. (BBC) EastEnders ‘ Tiff and Bernie share a lesbian kiss

Bernie (Clair Norris) then threatened to tell on her best friend, but Tiff said she would have to go back to Milton Keynes if that happened.

Bernie told Tiff she “wouldn’t let go” until Tiff stopped delivering drugs.

Suddenly, the two characters shared a passionate lesbian kiss.

EastEnders fans on Twitter were shocked by the kiss. BERNIE AND TIFF KISSED I REPEAT!!
BERNIE AND TIFF KISSED I REPEAT!! #EastEnders pic.twitter.com/IZNt0wzToN — F A I T H (@thasminpreacher) November 20, 2018 Another said: “BERNIE AND TIFF KISSED I REPEAT!! BERNIE AND TIFF KISSED I REPEAT!! # EastEnders.”

And one person exclaimed: “Where did that kiss come from?!? did not see that coming! # EastEnders.” Fans accuse EastEnders ‘ Tiff of manipulating Bernie

However, many social media fans said that Tiff was using Bernie.

“Poor Bernie being totally used by Tiffany #EastEnders,” one wrote.

Another said: “Tiff only did that because she knows Bernie likes her and knew it would get her what she wanted. #EastEnders.”

One person wrote: “Hate that Tiff is just using Bernie, she is too nice to be hurt like that! #EastEnders.”

And a fourth user posted: “Master manipulator, Tiff. She’s used Bernie’s crush to her advantage there. Savage! #EastEnders.”

It’s not the first time Bernie and Tiff have had a lesbian kiss.

After an episode in May, EastEnders fans suspected that Bernie was struggling with her sexuality and feelings for her best friend.

In the show, Bernie, her brother Keegan Baker, Tiff and a few others broke into E20 out of business hours to have a few drinks and honour their late friend Shakil Kazemi, who was killed in a knife attack on Albert Square.

During their get-together, Tiff ended up smooching Bernie when she was dared to by her mates during a game of Spin the Bottle, despite being reluctant, calling them “little pervs” and saying she wasn’t going to do it just “to give [her friends] a cheap thrill.”

Rugby team fights to stop gay player being deported to Kenya

Rugby team fights to stop gay player being deported to Kenya

Kenneth "Ken" Macharia is facing deportation to Kenya. (Change.org) A LGBT+ inclusive rugby team is fighting to stop their gay teammate from being deported to Kenya, where he would be persecuted for his sexuality—as a petition to let him stay in the UK tops 65,000 signatures.

Kenneth “Ken” Macharia, who has played for Bristol Bisons since 2015, has had his asylum request rejected by the Home Office and is now facing deportation from the country.

On Monday (November 18), his teammate Andrew Holmes created a Change.org petition calling on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to let Macharia stay in the UK. It has 65,680 signatures at the time of publication. Bristol Bisons RFC posted about their teammate Ken Macharia. (bisonsrfc/Twitter) Bristol Bisons rallies behind teammate Ken Macharia

“Deporting a good, hard-working, gay man to a country where homophobic violence and imprisonment is rife is immoral and unjust, and should be stopped,” the petition reads.

The web page, which describes Macharia as an “integral” part of the rugby family, adds: “Ken is deeply concerned about being deported to Kenya, where he would face persecution, and he wishes to stay in the UK to contribute to society.” “I would be forced to go back in hiding. I would be forced to go back into the closet.”

“Unfortunately, Ken’s story is yet another example of the Home Office ignoring the risks that LGBT people face in multiple countries around the world.”

Speaking to PinkNews on Tuesday evening (November 20), Macharia, who moved to the UK in 2009, said that he was being held in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in Middlesex.

However, later the same night, Macharia said in a message to PinkNews that he had been released from the centre. Bristol Bisons RFC confirmed that Ken Macharia has been released from detention, but still faces removal from the UK. (bisonsrfc/Twitter) Although he is no longer facing imminent removal, he added that he still does not have permission to stay in the UK.

He explained that he would have to conceal his sexuality if he is taken back to Kenya. Bristol Bisons’ Ken Macharia: “I would be forced to go back into hiding”

“It’s extremely homophobic,” he told PinkNews. “There is mob ‘justice’ and criminals can blackmail you [over your sexuality] on online dating.”

He added: “I would not be able to live openly. I would be forced to go back in hiding. I would be forced to go back into the closet.”

Macharia said that he cares for his mother, who lives in Bristol and has arthritis.

“I would be separated from my family, my way of life,” he said.

Macharia said the support for his case has been “overwhelming.”

“I’m more confident now,” he added. “The rugby thing is giving me hope.”

PinkNews has contacted the Home Office for comment.

How to take a vibrator on your next holiday

How to take a vibrator on your next holiday

Fun factory (Morderska) Sending you good vibes on your upcoming holiday. Avoid any unpleasant encounters with these pointers on how to discreetly travel with vibrators and sex toys.

Getaways are a time to decompress and enjoy a few days of limited responsibilities. You’ll be so relaxed that it’s no wonder you may want a little bit of self-love. A vibrator doesn’t cause heartache unless it runs out of charge at an untimely moment. LGBT+ couples won’t want to miss out on a little extra fun in their hotel bedrooms either as toys can help hit all the right spots. Carvaka warns British travellers against taking sex toys to many Asian countries.

After a vibrator packed in a stowaway bag was mistaken for an explosive at Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport in August, travellers have been wary about packing their pleasure trunk when they go galavanting.

According to RT , who spoke with the passenger, the culprit was a vibrator from Ann Summers . A vibrator also caused chaos for a passenger trying to get to London from Sudan according to The Sun .

Follow these bits of advice to avoid a similar horror. First things first, know the local laws on holiday destination

Carvaka warns British travellers against taking sex toys to many Asian countries including the Maldives, India, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and Malaysia as each country has a strict ban.

Do your research to see what’s downright illegal in the place you’re visiting and respect local legislature.

Sex toys aren’t worth being deported or detained in a foreign land while you’re on holiday. At the very least, if you take your adult toy somewhere it’s prohibited, it’ll probably be confiscated. Don’t pack adult toys in checked luggage

Electronics must go in your carry-on and lithium batteries aren’t allowed in the hold. It’s time to buck up and place your pleasure devices in your hand luggage. Packing sex toys in luggage going in the hold could result in the bag being searched and manhandled. If a suitcase starts giving off strong buzzing noises it’ll cause a fiasco as baggage handlers may have to call in the bomb squad just to turn off the shaking toy. Avoid toys that have a phallic shape or could be mistaken for a weapon.

Sex toys can be costly, it’s possible your vibrator may be the most expensive item you packed so you definitely don’t want it to get confiscated. Imagine if your bag gets lost? Your holiday wouldn’t have a happy start, let alone a happy ending. Take the batteries out of your toys

Otherwise, risk having them turn on mid-flight or during security check. Batteries are heavy so just buy them once you reach your destination.

If your vibrator can be charged let it die before the trip to avoid any unexpected vibrations during your flight. If the toy has a lock setting turn it on, even if it’s without power or batteries. Most LELO products such as the tiny Lily 2 have a lock function. LELO’s Lily 2 vibrator. (LELO) Pack discreet sex toys that won’t garner attention from security personnel

Avoid toys that have a phallic shape or could be mistaken for a weapon. Opt for toys that won’t catch the attention of the agent manoeuvring the X-ray machine. If it’s unclear what your bag contains it’ll be subject to further screening to decipher what the mystery item is. Pack sex toys in clear plastic bags so that the agent won’t contaminate it. Make sure any lube in your carry on must be under 100ml. Vibrators that are designed to look like a lipstick are foolproof.

Vibrating cock rings or finger vibes will draw less attention as they’re so small. There’s always electronic toothbrushes! Go the extra mile and pack a handy vibe that can attach to the base of an electronic toothbrush such as the Ceola from Erossica which will surely take you to cloud 9. No security guard will think that you’re travelling with personal pleasure devices if you pack a small neck massager.

Vibrators that are designed to look like a lipstick are foolproof such as the Vibrating Sticky Mini Vibes Lipstick from Saucy Boutique . It’ll hardly take up any space and pack a serious punch. Vesper by Crave is the best of both worlds, it’s a necklace that vibrates. Another elegant option that doesn’t look like a vibrator is the Satisfyer Pro Traveler which has built-in casing to keep it discreet and hygienic. Stay cool

Airport security personnel are looking for passengers that seem anxious and therefore suspicious. If you’re freaking out, they’re going to be able to see right through you. Don’t worry, they’ve already seen it all.

If your bag does get frisked tell the truth in order to avoid further questioning. There’s no shame in self-pleasure–be proud of your sexual prowess. Look the agent directly in the eye and retrieve your items calmly and thank them for their time. Then, if you must, dash to the bathroom and die quickly of embarrassment. But really, it’s not a big deal. It’s just sex and everybody is doing it. Vikings: Free Online Game Play this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!

Pharma giant Gilead sued for ‘withholding’ safer HIV drug

Pharma giant Gilead sued for ‘withholding’ safer HIV drug

Gilead-branded Truvada, a two-drug combination of emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) taken by HIV patients (Jeffrey Beall) A lawsuit has alleged that pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences is “intentionally withholding” a safer drug used for HIV treatments.

The company holds a patent on Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TDF), an antiretroviral drug sold as part of medications routinely taken by people with HIV to regulate their viral load.

However, a lawsuit filed in US federal court on November 17 alleges that the company is withholding a safer version of the drug with less side-effects to exploit patent laws. Antiretroviral drugs like Truvada can prevent the spread of HIV (Justin Sullivan/Getty) The lawsuit, filed in federal court by Morgan & Morgan, Ben Crump Law and Hilliard Martinez Gonzales, alleges that Gilead plans to roll out a safer version of the drug—with fewer side effects—called Tenofovir Alafenamide Fumarate (TAF) when the patent on TDF expires in 2021.

Patent expiration would usually allow others to produce cheaper generic versions of drug cocktails, but timing the rollout of TAF to the date of expiration would allow Gilead to continue to charge premium rates for the new drug. “Gilead’s chosen path of inaction is causing tremendous harm to persons with HIV, particularly black and LGBT minorities.”

The lawsuit claims that the company is “intentionally withholding [TAF] …from hundreds of thousands of patients in order to extend the profitability of the patent.”

The attorneys highlight that more than 70 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were in gay and bisexual men or transgender women, while African-Americans and Latino Americans are also disproportionately impacted by the drug policy. “We believe the evidence will show that Gilead withheld the equally effective but safer medication for one primary reason—billions in profits.”

The lawsuit alleges Gilead’s actions have “unjustly affected patients in the black, minority, and LGBT communities,” alleging that people were left at risk to “life-threatening side effects such as bone demineralization and kidney toxicity.”

Gilead received FDA approval in November 2016 for the successor drug TAF. Gilead stance harms minorities, lawsuit claims

Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who previously represented the family of Trayvon Martin, said: “Gilead’s chosen path of inaction is causing tremendous harm to persons with HIV, particularly black and LGBT minorities, by keeping drugs that would reduce deadly symptoms off the market and unavailable to those who need them the most. “This lawsuit is a major step in the right direction toward racial equity in communities unevenly affected by HIV and exploited by pharmaceutical goliaths like Gilead.” Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump (Andrew Burton/Getty) Crump added: “This new lawsuit seeks justice for underrepresented communities, providing a voice to those who may not have ever received one otherwise.

“As long as Gilead continues to cravenly value profits over people, people living with HIV/AIDS will suffer from a lower quality of life. This must stop.”

Attorney Bob Hilliard said: “For nearly two decades, Gilead has been raking in billions of dollars each year from the sale of the TDF-containing drugs that are the subject of our lawsuit—medications used primarily for treatment of people living with HIV.”

He explained: “Gilead openly markets TAF as a safer alternative to TDF. We believe the evidence will show that Gilead withheld the equally effective but safer medication for one primary reason—billions in profits.

“If Gilead withheld TAF during its patent exclusivity with regard to TDF, Gilead could maximize its profits by monopolizing the market during the exclusivity period, releasing TAF prior to expiration of TDF exclusivity, and encouraging prescribers to switch patients from TDF to the safer TAF medications before entry of generic TDF into the market.

“This is what Gilead did do, and people living with HIV paid the price.

“Our lawsuit seeks recovery for those hurt by Gilead’s greed, and to hold Gilead accountable for choosing profits over people.”

PinkNews has contacted Gilead for comment.