World Cup 2018: Seven things we’ve loved from the first week

World Cup 2018: Seven things we've loved from the first week

What a first week we’ve had at the World Cup in Russia.

Shock results, absorbing drama, late winners, and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo bossing it.

There has been an abundance of brilliant entertainment on the field, but here are seven things we’ve loved away from the action… 1. Hair

Reports suggest Moscow’s beer supply is running low, but who is keeping an eye on Europe’s hair spray levels?

Barbers all over will no doubt be bracing themselves for the impending influx of young lads, each of them producing a screen grab of, [insert well-groomed footballer’s name here].

There are some incredibly imaginative barnets in the World Cup squads, but the majority of Iran’s team have opted for the slick side-parting look: "But ref, he went for the quiff!" Neymar’s hair became an instant meme: Nailed it. And even Manchester United legend Eric Cantona joined in the trolling of the Brazilian’s new ‘do’… 2. VAR

Ahh grown adults wearing full kit when they are nowhere near a football field.

(We think there is a name for this… It will come to us). Someone PLEASE find out if they are wearing shin pads and studs… But the VAR referees have had a pretty busy tournament so far.

Many of the decisions they have been involved in have been applauded, – not so much if you are English or Brazilian though.

Here were the BBC Sport pundits discussing the use of VAR (or lack-of) during England’s opening game against Tunisia. ‘You like wrestling?’ Pundits analyse Harry Kane penalty appeals 3. The "characters" among the World Cup managers

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse became a GIF maker’s dream during their match against Poland on Monday.

His reaction to M’Baye Niang’s controversial goal was a simple fist pump, but it was his look to the camera with little expression that made it. Niang scores controversial Senegal goal Since then, his gesture has been applied to various situations. He is not the only World Cup coach receiving the meme treatment.

Former Cambridge United boss Herve Renard, now in charge at Morocco, his crisp white shirt and his ‘Jaime Lannister-esque’ looks have also made an impact on social media. 4. Vicki Sparks, Alex Scott and the other women making their mark on the 2018 World Cup

Sparks makes history The BBC’s Vicki Sparks made history on Wednesday becoming the first female to commentate a men’s World Cup match for British television.

She was joined by Martin Keown for Portugal’s 1-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday, which knocked the African side out of the tournament.

Former England players Alex Scott and Eni Aluko have also made history as the first female pundits at the men’s World Cup on British TV.

This puts it brilliantly: 5. Fans tidying stadiums

Japan’s fans set the example. Colombia’s barmy army followed, and the supporters of Senegal and Uruguay joined in the latest craze. Supporters of the "Samurai Blue" have never failed to stick to their good manners. No it’s not sticker albums – it’s tidying up at the final whistle.

The Japanese practice seems to be spreading to the other nations and all we can say is, good on them.

There’s nothing better than a well-mannered football fan armed with a rubbish bag. 6. England players’ off-the-field antics

It’s fair to say, in previous England squads, the term "antics" used to have negative connotations.

But this year, the most scandalous thing any of today’s crop of players have done is go through a door that said "no entry"…*

*This controversial moment happened on Dele Alli’s Instagram live – What. A. Rebel. In their free time, Southgate’s squad have been sightseeing, playing Uno, shooting some hoops on the basketball court and mucking about on inflatable unicorns in the team’s pool in Repino.

The most refreshing thing to many is that they are being allowed, even encouraged, to share their "shenanigans" on their social media accounts.

Past managers have been much more strict with the players and their downtime.

Will a more relaxed approach create a better performance? We shall have to wait and see… 7. Fan viewing parties

Brighton Beach, a Roman amphitheatre and city squares – just some of the locations fans around the world have been watching their national sides in action.

Big screens have popped up everywhere and the colourful carnival that is the World Cup has been bringing communities together.

Here are some of the best pictures from the fan viewing parties over the last week. Lisbon, Portugal
Harry Kane’s stoppage-time winner ensured England started their World Cup campaign with victory after Tunisia threatened to snatch a point in Volgograd.

Kane scored his second goal of the game with a clever header as Gareth Southgate’s side recorded England’s first win in the opening game of a major tournament since they beat Paraguay in the 2006 World Cup.

England’s captain gave them the reward they deserved for a brilliant start by turning in the opener in the 11th minute after Tunisia keeper Mouez Hassen, who went off injured in the first half, clawed out John Stones’ header.

England ran Tunisia ragged in that spell but were punished for missing a host of chances when Ferjani Sassi equalised from the penalty spot against the run of play after Kyle Walker was penalised for an elbow on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.

Tunisia dug in to frustrate England in the second half but Kane was the match-winner with a late header from Harry Maguire’s flick, justice being done after referee Wilmar Roldan and the video assistant referee (VAR) had failed to spot him being wrestled to the ground twice in the penalty area.

England play Panama, who lost 3-0 to Belgium earlier on Monday, in their next Group G game on Sunday, which kicks off at 13:00 BST and will be shown live on the BBC.

England’s first-half display contained much to admire but it was a sign of their wastefulness in front of goal that it took the injury-time intervention from Kane to seal victory.

England flew at Tunisia and racked up chance after chance, with only Kane’s early goal after Hassen clawed out Stones’ header to show for it.

Dele Alli saw a header deflected on to the woodwork, while Jesse Lingard suffered a similar fate as well as seeing Hassen somehow block another effort with an outstretched leg.

Jordan Henderson had a shot saved and other chances were spurned as England fashioned some magnificent approach play only to fail to apply the final flourish.

It was remarkable that Tunisia reached half-time on level terms as they were often bewildered by England’s pace and movement before being spared by their generosity in front of goal.

Luckily for England, they have a world-class striker with a golden touch in Kane, who was coolness personified to carefully direct in the winner.

England can now move on to face Panama in Nizhny Novgorod with confidence and momentum. Sterling the enigma once more

It was 983 days since Raheem Sterling’s last goal for England as he stepped out to face Tunisia – and that barren run continues after another night of international frustration for the Manchester City forward.

Sterling’s attitude and ability is never in doubt, never ducking a challenge or dropping his intensity, but the numbers are simply not stacking up at England level.

He became more assured in front of goal in Manchester City’s history-making 100-point Premier League title win last season. He seems, however, to feel the old anxieties with England.

Sterling was grateful that a glaring miss from Lingard’s pass was rescued by a linesman’s flag against the Manchester United midfielder, but he almost tried too hard as the game progressed and was running up blind alleys before he was replaced by Marcus Rashford after 68 minutes.
Sterling has now failed to score in his past 21 England appearances, while attempting 24 shots – a very grim statistic.He received a warm embrace from Southgate as he went off, but it is time a rare natural ability was transformed into end product for his country.England complained long and loud about the penalty awarded against Walker, but had much greater cause for grievance over the failure of VAR to give them two spot-kicks of their own.Kane was the victim in incidents plucked straight from the world of wrestling in each half, and on neither occasion did any of the officials – on the pitch or in the VAR booth – see fit to intervene in what were obvious penalties.In the first half, amid some heavy traffic, Kane was dragged crudely to the ground by Sassi and suffered similar treatment after the break, only for the incident to be ignored once again by Roldan and his assistants.Justice was done in the end, but these were glaring errors.It was made clear in a pre-tournament referees’ briefing that such grappling would be taken seriously and punished, so England have every right to ask why this edict was not carried out.VAR is undoubtedly a progressive development, but if it is applied with such inconsistency it will stretch its credibility to breaking point. Careless England must wise up England’s domination of the first half was almost total, but they somehow contrived to allow Tunisia to raise themselves off the floor by virtue of rank carelessness from Southgate’s side.Maguire was a culprit, conceding possession in dangerous areas in a manner that will be punished ruthlessly by teams with more attacking quality than Tunisia.While England felt hard done by with Tunisia’s penalty, Walker naively got himself into a very poor position.Ultimately, England did not suffer the ultimate punishment of it costing them points, but they have certainly had an early warning.Southgate, a defender by trade, will surely have noticed the flaws and will be working hard to address them at England’s Zelenogorsk training base.Kane became the first England player to score twice in a World Cup match since Gary Lineker against Cameroon in Italy in 1990. England scored more than once for the first time in 10 World Cup matches, since a 2-2 draw against Sweden in 2006 England are unbeaten in their seven meetings with African nations in the World Cup (W4, D3), although this was only the second such match in which they failed to keep a clean sheet England had six shots on target in the first half, their most in the opening 45 minutes of a World Cup match since the 1966 semi-final against Portugal (also six). Harry Kane has scored in his past four games for England, his best run for the national team. Kane has scored 15 goals in 25 appearances for England. The last player to score more in their opening 25 games for England was Gary Lineker (20). England’s Kieran Trippier created six goalscoring opportunities, more than any other player has managed in the tournament. Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi scored the first penalty against England in regular play in a World Cup match since Gabriel Batistuta for Argentina in 1998. Tunisia’s converted […]

Jacinda Ardern baby: New Zealand PM gives birth to girl

Jacinda Ardern baby: New Zealand PM gives birth to girl

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted a picture on Instagram of her with her new baby New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given birth to her first child, a girl weighing 3.31kg (7.3lb).

This makes her only the second elected leader in modern history to give birth while in office.

Ms Ardern was admitted to a hospital in the city of Auckland early on Thursday morning, four days after her due date.

The 37-year-old will take six weeks of maternity leave, and has now passed on her duties to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

However, she said she would remain in charge by continuing to read cabinet papers during her time away.

The baby was born at 16:45 (04:45 GMT). Ms Ardern later broke news of the birth on social media, saying she felt very lucky and thanking staff at the hospital.

In a statement, she also said: "I’m sure we’re going through all of the emotions new parents go through, but at the same time feeling so grateful for all the kindness and best wishes from so many people. Thank you." Mums on how to survive a short maternity leave

Ardern: ‘Stardust’ ousts experience in New Zealand

Congratulations from fellow politicians started pouring in from around the region, including tweets from former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.



Ms Ardern, who was elected in October, announced in January that she and her partner Clarke Gayford were expecting a baby.

"I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby; there are many women who have done this before," she had said earlier this year in an interview with Radio New Zealand.

She is the youngest prime minister the country has had since 1856.

In 1990, Benazir Bhutto gave birth to a daughter while serving as Pakistan’s prime minister, a first for an elected world leader. Incidentally, Ms Ardern’s baby was born on what would have been Ms Bhutto’s birthday. ‘No superwoman’ – before becoming a mum Jacinda Ardern spoke about juggling motherhood and leadership

Gosport hospital deaths: Drugs scandal ‘may be happening elsewhere’

Gosport hospital deaths: Drugs scandal 'may be happening elsewhere'

Gosport hospital deaths: Timeline shows investigation An expert on hospital mortality data has said scandals such as the deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital could be being replicated elsewhere in the NHS.

Prof Sir Brian Jarman told the Today Programme he thinks "it is likely" similar situations are happening in other hospitals.

An inquiry found doctors at the hospital gave patients "dangerous" amounts of powerful painkillers.

More than 450 older patients’ lives were shortened as a result.

Sir Brian, who is the head of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, said information on mortality rates was not properly assessed by health officials across the NHS.

He said he had experienced difficulty communicating concerns about mortality rates to the Department of Health.

"There really is a desire not to know," he said, adding that NHS whistleblowers were still being "fired, gagged and blacklisted". Gosport hospital: Families ‘grossly let down’ by authorities In response, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the "blame culture" in the NHS has to change.

"If you are a doctor or a nurse and you see something going wrong – even if you are perhaps responsible for a mistake yourself – the most important thing, the thing that families want if they are bereaved or if they have a tragedy, is to know that the NHS isn’t going to make that mistake again," he said.

"We make it much too hard for doctors and nurses to do that – they are worried that there will be litigation, they will go up in front of the GMC or NMC, the reputation of their unit – in some places they are worried they might get fired, so we do have to tackle that blame culture and turn that into a learning culture."

He was "confident" that procedures and checks were now in place to ensure similar problems – linked to high mortality rates – were identified quickly. Bishop Jones led the panel and announced its findings outside Portsmouth Cathedral The Gosport Independent Panel, led by the former bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, found whistleblowers and families were ignored as they attempted to raise concerns about the administration of medication at the hospital.

It also said, taking into account missing records, a further 200 patients may have suffered a similar fate .

People in Gosport have been left shocked by the report’s findings.

"I’ve actually got an appointment at the hospital later and since hearing about the report it’s definitely given me some concerns," said Debbie Clark.

"It’s just disgusting, absolutely horrifying that something like that could have happened to so many people.

"I think everyone will feel worried if the worst were to happen and people won’t want to go there. I definitely think it’s playing to people’s fears but the relatives who have kept fighting are amazing."

Speaking on BBC Two’s Newsnight on Wednesday, chairman of the NHS Confederation Stephen Dorrell said the health service needed to learn from its mistakes.

He said: "The truth is, the system failed. We need to turn round, face that fact and ask ourselves what we can do to ensure we minimise the risk of it happening again."

Mr Hunt said the panel had identified a "catalogue of failings" by the authorities and apologised to the families who lost loved ones in the scandal. Families of those who died at Gosport Memorial Hospital gathered at Portsmouth Cathedral on Wednesday to hear the findings of the inquiry Relatives are calling for a criminal inquiry into the actions at the hospital.

Pressure is also growing on police to take action quickly over the deaths of hundreds of patients.

Hampshire Constabulary previously conducted three separate inquiries, but no prosecutions were ever brought.

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said the panel had sight of information "not previously seen" by the force.

In a statement she said: "It is important that a process is put in place to ensure that all of the relevant agencies come together, to enable decisions about next steps to be made in a way that is well considered and transparent to all of the families." The scandals that haunt the NHS

Jane Barton, the doctor who shortened lives

NHS ‘closed ranks’ over hospital deaths

Reaction to hospital deaths report

The report found there was a "disregard for human life" of a large number of patients from 1989 to 2000.

It said Dr Jane Barton oversaw the practice of prescribing on the wards.

Dr Barton, was found guilty of failings in her care of 12 patients at Gosport between 1996 and 1999.

But no prosecutions were brought and she was not struck off the medical register, choosing to retire after the findings. Timeline

Gosport hospital deaths

August 1998

Ninety one-year-old Gladys Richards dies at Gosport War Memorial Hospital (GWMH) where she was recovering from a hip operation. She had suffered a haematoma – a lump caused by clotted blood – and was given diamorphine administered through a syringe driver. September 1998

Mrs Richards’ daughter Gillian Mckenzie goes to Hampshire police and claims her mother has been prescribed too much morphine. No charges are brought against the hospital. Share this timeline.

Migrant children: US battle moves to Congress

Migrant children: US battle moves to Congress

Donald Trump: "You’re going to have a lot of very happy people" The US political battle over migrant children separated from parents has shifted to Congress, after Donald Trump signed an order ending the practice.

The House of Representatives will vote on broader immigration bills which fund President Trump’s proposed border wall and reduce legal migration.

But Democrats oppose them and it is uncertain that they will pass.

Mr Trump’s order came after a public outcry at home and globally over the policy, widely seen as inhumane.

The order calls for the families to be detained together while their cases are considered. More on child migrants crisis

Migrant families separation: The big picture explained

Psychological impact on separated children

Who decided to take the children away?

Trump’s blame game on separating families

But it does not address families already separated by the policy.

US immigration officials say 2,342 children were separated from 2,206 parents between 5 May and 9 June. What is in the legislation?

Mr Trump has previously said it was up to Congress to resolve the issue, in combination with tougher immigration regulations.

One of the House bills is a compromise between conservatives and moderates. It includes funding for a border wall, along with a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers – immigrants brought illegally into the US as children. US youth shelter worker quit after being ordered to separate siblings "This is a bill that has consensus. This is a bill that the president supports. It’s a bill that could become law," said House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, quoted by the Associated Press.

The second, more conservative bill excludes the Dreamers clause.

With no Democrat support for the bills, White House officials have been seeking to drum up support among Republicans, many of whom are wavering or openly opposed.

Meanwhile the Senate is working on a narrower compromise bill focusing on the family separations. What about Mr Trump’s order?

The president signed his executive order on Wednesday evening.

"I did not like the sight of families being separated," he said, but added the administration would continue its "zero tolerance policy" of criminally prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally. A series of White House contradictions on migrants

Fenced enclosures hold migrant children

He said he had been swayed by images of children who have been taken from parents while they were jailed and prosecuted for illegal border-crossing.

The executive order calls for: Immigrant families to be detained together while their legal cases are considered

Expediting immigration cases involving families

Requesting the modification of a court ruling that dictates how long immigrant children can be detained

Vice-President Mike Pence and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has emerged as the face of the White House policy, were both present.

Media reports say Ms Nielsen was also confronted by protesters angry about the separations at a Mexican restaurant in Washington on Wednesday evening. Why the uproar?

In April, the US attorney general announced a "zero-tolerance" policy to criminally charge and jail undocumented border crossers.

As children cannot legally be jailed with their parents, they are kept in separate facilities. Pictures of dozens of children sleeping in fenced enclosures and audio of them crying emerged in recent days, provoking the widespread criticism.

Under previous US administrations, immigrants caught crossing the border for the first time tended to be issued with court summonses and released.

Six American airlines have told the Trump administration not to use their aircraft to transport child migrants who have been separated from their parents. The sound of migrant children separated from parents Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United airlines all said the policy contravened their values.

And on Wednesday New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was "shocked" that 239 migrant children had been sent to a single reception centre in Harlem without the knowledge of the city authorities.

Apparently, more children were still on their way to the city. NGO the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted footage of people greeting children arriving at LaGuardia airport.

Report Where are the children taken?

Holding cells: They are first detained at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities, where chain-link fenced enclosures are used, though the children can only be legally held there for three days.

Detention centres: They are then supposed to be moved to one of about 100 detention centres run through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. US officials recently showed reporters around a converted Walmart Supercenter in Texas which was housing migrant boys aged 10 to 17. They apparently had access to beds, classes and games. Migrant boys detained in a former Walmart in Texas "Tender age shelters": AP news agency reports that babies and toddlers are being taken to three "tender age shelters" in southern Texas. A CBP official said it is up to the discretion of border agents whether to detain "tender-aged" children, who are typically less than five years old.

Tent camps : US officials have set up a tent camp for migrant children in Tornillo, Texas.

Family members: Under US law, the children are meant to be released to stay with relatives or foster carers "without delay". In practice, the ORR says this process takes about two months .

How are they reunited? Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has set up a hotline for parents to call after they are released from custody. However, a former ICE director has said some family separations are "permanent". The US teens training in border patrol What happens now?

Mr Trump’s order says that families could remain together in detention instead of separating children from parents illegally crossing into the country.

But immigrant children are only allowed to be held for 20 days, according to a 21-year-old landmark court decision known as the Flores agreement.

The order also calls for the justice department to request to modify the Flores agreement to allow children to be held longer, but it is unclear what will happen if the law does not change. The missing – consequences of Trump’s immigration crackdown The Trump administration is likely to become tangled in legal battles with immigration activists on behalf of detained migrants if it is unable to overturn the Flores agreement before the 20-day deadline.

The order also did not provide any date or timeline on when it would be implemented and does not address how the more than 2,000 children already stripped from their families would be reunited.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has said his department would begin working to return detained immigrant children to their families, but did not give a timeline.

A top HHS official told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday they had no system in place to do so.

Too many firsts risk universities’ credibility, says think tank

Too many firsts risk universities' credibility, says think tank

Universities risk losing their credibility due to "rocketing" grade inflation, a think tank has said.

According to Reform, the proportion of firsts awarded almost doubled between 1997-2009 and rose by 26% since 2010.

Their report calls for national tests to set degree grade benchmarks meaning only the top 10% of students could be awarded firsts.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said universities needed to act to protect the value of degrees.

Under Reform’s proposals, universities would lose their ability to decide what their students should be awarded.

University leaders have argued a standardised approach would threaten their independence. Grade inflation?

The centre-right think-tank Reform argues that more and more students are being awarded top grades.

Its report says: Last year more than 40% of students at the University of Surrey graduated with a first class degree.

Since 1995 the proportion of 2:1 degrees rose from 40% to 49%

75% of students achieve one of the top two classifications, compared with 47% in the mid-1990s

In more than 50 universities the proportion of first class degrees has doubled since 2010

Universities currently make their own decisions about grades and the report suggested pressure placed on academics by senior managers could partly explain why more top degrees are being awarded.

The report also said "degree algorithms" which translate the student’s marks into their final grade classification were to blame.

Under Reform’s proposals final-year students would sit new, national assessments set by a "designated assessment body".

The results from the assessments would determine how many students should be awarded a particular grade.

The top 10% of students would receive a first, the next 40% a 2:1, and the 40% after that a 2:2. The bottom 10% would get a third. Report author Tom Richmond and former adviser to education secretary Michael Gove, said: "Rocketing degree grade inflation is in no one’s interest.

"Universities may think easier degrees are a way to attract students, but eventually they will lose currency and students will go elsewhere, even overseas.

"Restoring the currency of degrees would also mean better value for money for the £18 billion that universities receive each year in tuition fees," he added.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: "Students across the country work hard for their results and they deserve grading system that recognises their hard work.

"That is why this government has put an end to grade inflation in GCSEs and A-levels, and why it is time for universities to do the same."

And Tango Makes Three among 10 children’s books with same-sex themes taken off the shelves in public libraries by Hong Kong government

And Tango Makes Three among 10 children’s books with same-sex themes taken off the shelves in public libraries by Hong Kong government

Lawmaker Raymond Chan was critical of the decision to remove books that the bureau had deemed to be neutral. Photo: Edward Wong Ten children’s books featuring same-sex parents and other LGBTQ themes have been hidden away from public view at the city’s libraries after months of pressure from an anti-gay-rights group.

Among the titles which have been moved to closed stack sections and are now only available on request is the critically acclaimed And Tango Makes Three .

The book, about two male penguins that fall in love and build a family together with the help of a zookeeper, was published in 2005 by Simon & Schuster and has been nominated for a host of awards. Ten children’s books with same-sex themes have been removed from the city’s public libraries. Photo: Handout The pressure group, the Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group, celebrated its achievement on Facebook on Wednesday, posting a reply to its campaign from the Home Affairs Bureau, dated June 15.

In its reply, the bureau said the Collection Development Meeting, consisting of library professionals, had reviewed 10 children’s books mentioned in the group’s complaint and had decided to move them to the closed stacks in the city’s public libraries.

However, the bureau added that among the books were seven titles the panel felt were actually “neutral without promoting homosexual or single-sex marriage”.

The bureau’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which oversees the city’s 70 libraries, told the Post the professionals did not see the books as “encouraging or criticising single-sex marriage or homosexual, nor with other unethical messages or with other intimate acts”.

But the department spokesman said that to ensure children can get guidance from parents while reading, the library put the books in closed stacks, although they will be available for reading or borrowing on request. Daddy, Papa, and Me was another title that has been moved to the closed stacks. Photo: Handout The department refused to disclose when the decision to remove the books from public view was made.

The news prompted lawmakers to demand an explanation as to why titles such as And Tango Makes Three , Daddy, Pappa and Me , and Mommy, Mama and Me , were being hidden away.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said he had not read the books, but said the bureau should explain how they had handled the neural titles.

“Judging from the statement, the comments on the seven children books are neutral, which raises a question about why they were moved to closed stacks?” Ip said. “Without a clear explanation, it makes people think that the decision were made due to pressure.”

The city’s only openly-gay lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen expressed his anger in post on his Facebook page, criticising the department for bowing to pressure from the anti-gay-rights group.

“The books were put in closed stacks because of complaints, it [the department] is afraid of getting into trouble,” he wrote. “If the content of the books are neutral, why still decide to put them in closed stacks?”

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said the Hong Kong Public Libraries acquired materials in accordance with the Unesco Public Library Manifesto and was “committed to safe guarding access to free information”, but would not use library materials to promote a specific belief or view.

Big Love Alliance, the gay advocacy group, however, criticised the department and said it was going against the principals of the manifesto, which called for the development of a balanced and diversified library collection.

In 2014, authorities in Singapore sparked outrage for removing and pulping three gay-themed books, including And Tango Makes Three , after a parent complained the books were against family values.

Two of the books, And Tango Makes Three , and The White Swan , were eventually brought back after a public outcry, but were kept in the adult section, rather than with the other children’s books.

Why London’s LGBT communities need their own base more than ever

Why London’s LGBT communities need their own base more than ever

In the coming weeks, as rainbow flags flutter at Pride marches across the country, Tory politicians will cynically present themselves as champions of LGBT rights . Theresa May will almost certainly record a video celebrating great strides in the struggle for equality – strides she voted against repeatedly. Don’t let them get away with it. Some will decry this as unfair, as uncharitable: forgive, move on, celebrate those who change their minds, judge them by their current record. But that’s exactly it. Tory cuts are wrecking LGBT services across the country, emphasising the need for people to organise afresh. Gay men are battling a demon more powerful than HIV – and it’s hidden | Owen Jones

Read more You have won your battle for legal equality, goes the mantra: why continue to campaign and protest? LGBT people still grow up in a profoundly homophobic and transphobic society. They experience bigotry from the playground onwards. Some are rejected or discriminated against by relatives, peers, workmates. They fear holding hands with their loved ones in the street. Internalising this rejection leads to much higher levels of mental distress among LGBT people and, with it, the corrosive self-medication of alcohol and drug abuse. According to Stonewall, almost half of trans pupils and students have attempted suicide . There are other injustices, too: up to a quarter of young homeless people are LGBT, a gross over-representation.

That’s why LGBT services and charities can be lifelines. But ideologically driven cuts are devastating them. Take Pace, a London-based charity that specialised in mental health for LGBT people but, because of cuts, shut down after more than three decades in 2016. Gay Advice Darlington and Durham helped thousands of people each year for more than two decades: last year, cuts closed it . Other charities that have been fighting closure include groups catering for thousands in the Isle of Wight, in Bournemouth , and Eastleigh, Hampshire . According to a study commissioned by Unison in 2016, cutbacks led to LGBT people facing long waits for specialist mental health counselling, sexual health services and youth support. In the first four years of the coalition government, it was estimated that LGBT groups had their incomes cut by up to 50%.

It’s not just the cuts to LGBT-specific services either. HIV charities such as Positive East, which lost £300,000 18 months ago and was forced to make redundancies, have had their funding slashed. Mental health trusts have suffered real-terms cuts , disproportionately affecting LGBT people. Because of family rejection boosting rates of homelessness, cuts to housing benefit disproportionately affect LGBT people.

That’s why a new initiative for an LGBT community centre in London is so vital. Unlike other major western cities such as Los Angeles and New York, London doesn’t have one. “The LGBT spaces that exist now are pubs and bars, where the prerequisite is you have money and buy alcohol,” says my friend Michael Segalov, one of the driving forces behind the project. The planned space would provide a focus for London’s LGBT communities – whether for charities such as the Terrence Higgins Trust or for debates, screenings and sports. “It could be somewhere you can go if you’re a parent of a LGBT person,” Segalov explains, “a place for much-needed intergenerational contact, and a hub of cultural and social events.” Here is a potential space, too, for people to organise to assert their rights in the face of, say, the current vicious anti-trans media campaign, which mimics the anti-gay moral panics of the past, or cuts to services. As Stonewall’s Laura Russell tells me: “The spike in hate crime we have witnessed recently shows why spaces where LGBT people are free to be themselves are so vital and why grassroots community resources are under such pressure.”

This is a project that shows what support for LGBT rights really means. It’s not easy platitudes about equality, or about accepting and celebrating the differences of others. Equality is not simply a question of legal rights. A society that still shows hostility to those who deviate from heterosexual and patriarchal norms continues to inflict terrible damage on LGBT people, generating specific needs that must be catered for. Yet government figures hypocritically wrap themselves in the rainbow flag while stripping away vital support.

The rights and freedoms won for LGBT people were won by them and their straight allies working together. That coalition is needed again. A new centre will provide a focal point for those communities that still have far to go until equality is secured. From the scrapping of section 28 , to an equal age of consent, to anti-discrimination laws, the struggles of the past have resulted in great gains. Now that spirit must be revived.

• Owen Jones is a Guardian columnist

US migrant children: The bigger picture explained

US migrant children: The bigger picture explained

US child migrants: Five things to know President Donald Trump has signed an executive order seeking to end the separation of migrant children from their parents at the US border. But how did we get to this point and what is the bigger picture?

The policy – which the administration initially defended as necessary to deter illegal immigration – sparked outrage in the US and internationally.

At the heart of it was the Trump administration’s decision to prosecute all adults who try to cross the US-Mexico border illegally, many of whom plan to seek asylum in the US.

Because migrant children could not be put in custody with their parents, they were separated. As a result, more than 2,300 children were removed at the border between 5 May and 9 June.

Here are three key issues that help give a fuller picture of why this has been happening, and why now. People are fleeing to the US: why?

"We leave our countries under threat. We leave behind our home, our relatives, our friends."

Maritza Flores, from El Salvador, was one of about 1,200 people who travelled in a so-called "caravan" of migrants north through Mexico in April, headed for the US border.

"Many people think we left because we are criminals," Ms Flores told the BBC at the time. "We’re not criminals – we’re people living in fear in our countries. All we want is a place where our children can run free – where they’re not afraid to go out to the shops." The migrant caravan Trump keeps referencing

Earlier this year, dozens of people travelled towards the US through Mexico Gang violence is rife in El Salvador and Honduras. According to UN figures, the two nations have the two highest homicide rates in the world .

Rights groups cite the influence of armed gangs who act with impunity – as well as the targeting of women and LGBTI people – as key factors for the high homicide rates.

Among the most prevalent groups is MS-13, a brutal street gang that started in the US but is now thought to have at least 60,000 members in Central America.

The gang is said to recruit at-risk and poor teenagers and demand they commit murder as an initiation rite, often using a machete. In El Salvador, MS-13 controls entire neighbourhoods. MS-13 in profile

How violence has spread in El Salvador

Read our coverage in Spanish

Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people travelling to the US because they fear persecution by gangs like MS-13.

While persecution is not the only reason people from Central America migrate to the US – economic volatility, natural disasters and the desire to join family members have also been cited by aid groups – there is evidence it is a growing factor. The sound of migrant children separated from parents People seeking asylum in the US can request a "credible fear" interview if returning home would put their life at risk. An asylum officer then tries to establish if their request is based on a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political beliefs or membership of a particular group, including a gang.

In the 2012 fiscal year, there were 13,880 credible fear applications. Five years later, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services , there were 78,564 applications, and the vast majority were deemed to be justified in both years.

In 2017, the highest number of credible fear applications came from citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, three countries with high rates of gang violence. "Why I joined Central America’s brutal MS-13 gang" In May, the UN’s refugee body said 294,000 refugees from north and central America were registered worldwide during 2017, an increase of 58% on the previous year.

"We hear repeatedly from people requesting refugee protection, including from a growing number of children, that they are fleeing forced recruitment into armed criminal gangs and death threats," a UN statement said.

As the number of people requesting credible fear interviews has increased, so too has the number of people being detained at the US border.

In April, 50,924 people were held or denied entry while trying to cross the border , compared with 15,776 in the same month last year. The numbers had dropped significantly in the months after Mr Trump’s election, but have since picked up, which is normal in spring. In April, the Department of Homeland Security said the initial drop and subsequent rise was because migrants, smugglers and traffickers had initially "paused to see what our border enforcement efforts would look like and if we could follow through on the deportation and removal" before they spotted loopholes.

The recent rise in detention numbers is believed to have played a major part in the zero tolerance policy causing such controversy today. Five more things to read

How separation affects young children

The mixed explanations for zero tolerance

Children seen ‘in cages’

What do other countries do?

A guide to Mexico’s gangs

The key players and their motivation

To understand the zero-tolerance policy, it helps to understand who is behind it.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the White House on 16 June, 2015, he set the tone for how he would later approach the presidency. A look back at some of the things Donald Trump has said about Mexicans

A look back at some of the things Donald Trump has said about Mexicans "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," he said. "They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Mr Trump often cites the dangers of MS-13, which sprung up among Salvadorean immigrants in 1980s Los Angeles and has since spread to at least 46 states. Mr Trump has called them "animals" and threatened to rid the US of their influence.

He has focused closely on immigration since becoming president, repeating many of the same claims he made on that day. He has backed proposals to cut the number of legal immigrants to the US by 50% over the next 10 years.

By cracking down on immigration, he is playing to his base, his core supporters. A Reuters/Ipsos poll in April found that 85% of Trump voters backed his hardline stance on immigration. A poll by Quinnipac University on 18 June found that 55% of Republicans backed the family separation policy. Where do America’s undocumented immigrants live? The other key player is US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions , a man who has been repeatedly under fire by the president over the past year, to the extent of being labelled "beleaguered" by Mr Trump in a tweet (this all stems from Mr Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation into possible links between Mr Trump’s campaign and Russia).

The attorney-general is the man who announced his justice department would now enforce the "zero tolerance" policy, and has been one its most vocal supporters.

He said the "short-term separation of families" was "not unusual or unjustified". Mr Sessions also cited Bible scripture to support the policy .

Another public defender of the policy is Kirstjen Nielsen , the secretary of homeland security.

She was reportedly close to resigning in May after being subjected to what the New York Times called "a lengthy tirade" by the president over the failure to stop illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico.

A month later, she stood before the press to defend the zero-tolerance policy, saying it was "not a controversial idea" and that suggestions that families were being purposely broken apart to act as a warning to immigrants were "offensive". Stephen Miller: The man behind Trump’s immigration plan The decision to push ahead with the policy also reveals the growing influence of one man in particular: Mr Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller , an immigration hardliner tasked with putting the president’s words into actions .

Mr Miller, one of the president’s few original aides to keep their job, was the person who put together the ban on immigrants from majority-Muslim countries announced soon after Mr Trump came to office.

The New York Times reported that in April, when it became clear that the number of people being held at the border was growing significantly, Mr Miller pushed for a harder line on immigration.

" It was a simple decision ," the 32-year-old told the New York Times. "The message is that no-one is exempt from immigration law." The shadow of the wall

Trump: ‘Mexicans are professional mountain climbers’ Looming large over the zero-tolerance policy is Mr Trump’s desire for a border wall with Mexico. Last year, he said he wanted a wall along half the 2,000-mile (3,220km) border, with natural obstacles taking care of the rest.

He made the wall a key pledge of his presidential campaign, but any immigration bill to fund it requires approval from Congress. And any such bill – drafts of which are now doing the rounds – would need the support of at least nine Democrats in the Senate for it to pass. Read more: Six things that could topple Trump’s wall

What is Donald Trump’s family-separation endgame?

At times, Trump’s team have appeared to present a choice to Democrats: it’s enforced separation or the wall. Mr Trump made the link in a tweet on 15 June. Report And Mr Sessions repeated the point in a speech in Louisiana three days later."We do not want to separate parents from their children, you can be sure of that," he said. "If we build a wall, if we pass some legislation, if we close some loopholes, we won’t face these terrible choices."The policy has drawn comparisons with an ultimatum President Trump made in February, when he tied funding for the wall to the fate of the children of undocumented immigrants. In that case, a court ruling meant that a compromise was not needed .Pressure was growing from within Mr Trump’s own party to find a resolution to the crisis he created – and he acted.But there is no indication a plan exists for how to reunite families.

Going underground: The Windrush arrivals’ subterranean dormitories

Going underground: The Windrush arrivals' subterranean dormitories

John Richards (far right) remembers "beds all around with crisp white sheets" When Caribbean migrants stepped off the SS Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948, many had nowhere to live. The lack of housing in London following World War Two meant even temporary accommodation was in short supply.

So 236 migrants from the merchant vessel were bussed from Tilbury docks in Essex to Clapham, where for two shillings and sixpence a week they got food and a bed in a shelter underneath Clapham South Tube station.

The underground passages had been fitted with bunk beds and washing facilities when they were used as civilian shelters during the war.

Life in the windowless underworld was basic, cramped and noisy. One Windrush resident described the accommodation as "primitive and unwelcoming, like a sparsely furnished rabbit’s warren".

They tried to sleep as trains rattled overhead.

Now the London Transport Museum has opened up the deep-level site for tourists to explore on guided tours. A labyrinth of tunnels under Clapham South Tube station provided shelter during World War Two before becoming accommodation for passengers leaving the SS Windrush The Ministry of Labour and National Service Office set up on site at Clapham South underground shelter on 23 June 1948 The new arrivals were interviewed by the Ministry of Labour and National Service Office to help them find work One of the subterranean suburbanites was John Richards, now 92. He lived underground for three weeks when he first arrived in London after the Windrush docked at Tilbury.

"The trains that ran overhead in the morning woke me up. There were beds all around with crisp white sheets.

"They had a tea cart at the station. We had pie in the evenings," said Mr Richards, who soon moved into a hostel and found work with British Rail.

"I survived, because friends know friends. It was hard but in the long run you find a way." The Daily Express reported at the time: "All of them sat down to their first meal on English soil: roast beef, potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire pudding, suet pudding with currants and custard" A canteen was set up for the Windrush residents. Pie was a popular dish Accommodation and meals cost 6s.6d. (33p) a day. Most of the passengers from Jamaica had £5 to last them until they found work The tunnels of Clapham South are the deepest of the deep-level shelters, and sit beneath the Northern line. There are 180 steps down to reach it and there were enough beds for 8,000 people.

The shelter was never used to capacity – it opened to members of the public in 1944, after the worst of the Blitz. Windrush: Who exactly was on board?

Who are the Windrush generation?

‘I’m an Englishman’: Windrush stories

Original 1940s signage remains on the walls, including directions to the toilets, canteen and sleeping areas.

Those seeking shelter were assigned to a specific section of Clapham South, each of which was named after a famous British admiral, including Collingwood, Drake and Jellicoe. Signs from the 1940s remain on the tunnel walls The big mound on the right is the spoil heap that resulted from digging out the shelter John Richards, now 92, recently visited the tunnels for the first time since he left 70 years ago. He is pictured in several archive photographs taken at the time of his arrival in London Within four weeks of arriving, all the Windrush migrants had secured jobs and moved out of the site.

One of the biggest employers was London Transport.

Many workers eventually settled in nearby Brixton, the site of the nearest labour exchange, beginning the area’s association with Caribbean culture. Mr Richards (in the stripy suit) on board the SS Empire Windrush as it came into Tilbury Docks. He was a 22-year-old carpenter On 24 May 1948 the SS Empire Windrush left Kingston, Jamaica with nearly 500 passengers. It docked at Tilbury in Essex on 21 June 1948 During the war, thousands of men and women from the Caribbean had served in the armed forces. When the SS Empire Windrush stopped in Jamaica to pick up servicemen, many people, having seen the Daily Gleaner newspaper advertising the journey for £28.10, decided to travel to Britain The Windrush passengers were not the last to use the tunnels of Clapham South as somewhere to bunk down.

In 1951 the tunnels were open to thrifty visitors to the Festival of Britain who wanted somewhere cheap to stay in the capital as they viewed the new Festival Hall, the Skylon and Donald Campbell’s Bluebird.

The site was also used as a billet for troops lining the route for the funeral of George VI in 1952 and for Coronation visitors in 1953. A canteen established in World War Two was brought into service again for the Windrush residents The air raid shelters under Clapham South could only be accessed by people with an admittance ticket The canteen was also used for visitors to the Festival of Britain Tickets to see the underground shelters are now on sale from the London Transport Museum for tours starting on 11 August, running Wednesdays to Sundays.

Ed Sheeran: Travel and ticket warning for Cardiff concerts

Ed Sheeran: Travel and ticket warning for Cardiff concerts

Ed Sheeran fans have been told to plan ahead and arrive early for his record-breaking Cardiff concerts amid travel fears and heightened ticket scrutiny.

The Grammy award winning superstar will become the first performer to play four successive nights at the Principality Stadium, starting on Thursday.

No trains will run to London after any night while there is no Valley Line trains after Sunday’s concert.

Fans who bought tickets from re-sale sites will be offered genuine tickets.

The Thinking Out Loud singer’s team revoked tickets from known touts and cancelled tickets listed on re-sale sites. How Ed Sheeran is tackling ticket touts

The woman taking on Viagogo

Ticket resellers ‘misleading’ consumers

Music lovers who had bought from those sites – often at vastly inflated prices – will be given help in claiming refunds at the box office and will be offered the chance of buying genuine tickets.

Sheeran imposed strict conditions on fans attending his 18-date UK stadium tour, which ends with four sell-out nights in Cardiff, including: Names printed on tickets, with ID required at the door

A maximum of four tickets per customer

Tickets listed for resale to be cancelled

Any tickets bought by a "business or trader" to be cancelled

Plan ahead

Fans have been advised to plan ahead for their journey to Cardiff as last trains to destinations such as London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Aberdare could leave before the concert is due to finish at 22:30 BST. Warning: Third party content may contain adverts


As well as no services to London Paddington after the Sheeran gig because of an unexpected Severn Tunnel closure , there will be just one service to Cardiff from London an hour before the concert – and that will take 40 minutes longer than usual.

Services from London will not call at Bristol and Cardiff trains coming from England’s south coast will terminate at Bristol Parkway where a rail replacement bus service will take passengers to Newport for onward trains to Cardiff. This is expected to be Ed Sheeran’s setlist for his Principality Stadium concerts After the concert, trains to Newport and west Wales will run as normal while rail replacement buses will run directly from Cardiff Central to Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads.

Arriva Trains Wales has also warned passengers attending Sunday’s event, there will be no trains to towns like Barry, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale, Treherbert and Carmarthen after the concert. No extra capacity

While there will be extra services to Swansea and Newport after the gig, Arriva says it has no extra capacity or resources to add more trains on the Valley lines.

"We won’t be able to put on additional trains on the Sunday night following the late finish time of the concert," said Bethan Jelfs of Arriva.

"Running additional services late on Sunday would mean having to cancel Monday morning commuter services."

Transport expert Prof Stuart Cole said while he "sympathises" with Arriva, he said adding extra capacity on Sunday "is not easy but it is possible,"

"Especially because they’ve had a year to plan for it," he said. "If Cardiff wants to be a big event city which can regularly attract acts like Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Beyonce etc, they need to be able to get people in and out of the city efficiently on public transport.

"The problem on Sunday will be rolling stock and drivers will be out of place for the following morning rush hour, but with a little extra planning Arriva could have come up with a solution."

The Welsh government said it expected Arriva to "maximise their services when major events are staged at the Principality Stadium".

A spokeswoman said officials had worked with the company to ensure extra staff and services, but were advised technical issues prevented an extended service running on the Sunday.

It is not the first time there has been travel problems for an event in Cardiff.

Rugby World Cup organisers held an inquiry into chaos after a game between Ireland and Canada in 2015 as Great Western Railway underestimated passenger numbers .

Boxing fans attending Anthony Joshua’s most recent fight at the Principality Stadium were also affected as the last trains out of Cardiff left after the fight finished. In the city

Road closures will begin as early as 07:00 , the Principality Stadium gates open at 17:00 and roads in the centre will close at 17:30.

Security to the concert is tight – only small bags are allowed in the stadium while laptops, selfie sticks and umbrellas are banned.

Cardiff buses are being diverted out of city centre bus stops while Arriva has warned passengers train services in the Cardiff area will be busy all day and "extra capacity will be added where possible".

Cardiff Night Marshals will be on for all four nights of the concerts, rather than just the usual Friday and Saturday service.