12th January 2018

Other Stories – 12th January 2018

Stockpiling Irn Bru, Severn Bridge reducing tolls, #metoo movement, Donald Trump and other stories that caught our eye this week.

Polar bear

Photo credit: RZSS

The Golden Globes paint it black in honour of victims of sexual abuse. Stars on the red carpet shunned tradition of colourful glitz and glam in recognition of the sexual harassment scandals that have rocked the globe. The #MeToo movement, which saw victims sharing their experiences to demonstrate the widespread nature of misogynistic behaviour, was a big talking point of the evening. Collecting an honorary award, Oprah Winfrey remarked that “a new day is on the horizon”. The Guardian

Are house price increases starting to slow? That appeared to be the message from Halifax, the UK’s largest mortgage lender, this week. They reported that 2017 saw prices grow much slower than previous years – they increased by just 2.7% compared to 6.5% the previous year, which marks the lowest rise in five years. It is thought that the slowdown can largely be attributed to continuing uncertainty over the economy as a whole. BBC News

If you’re a fan of Irn Bru, it’s time to start stockpiling. That’s what a lot of fans are doing ahead of the launch of the fizzy drink’s new recipe, which is set to cut sugar for sweeteners instead. The new version of the drink will cut the sugar content from 10g per 100ml to just below 5g. While fans of the drink had sought to put pressure on brewer AG Barr to reconsider the changes, they explained that the move was part of a long-standing commitment to sugar reduction in their products. The Independent

Could women hinder the progress of other women in the workplace? A recent Deloitte study has claimed that women leaders are role models and mentors to other women, but an old theory may suggest the opposite is true. First coined by psychologists at the University of Michigan in 1973, ‘queen bee syndrome’ suggests that successful female bosses could stifle the success of female peers because they perceive them as a threat. Having studied 7,000 companies in 44 countries, Deloitte’s research found that women made up just 15% of corporate boards around the world. BBC News

Jeremy Hunt apologises for postponed operations. The Health Secretary’s apology came in light of news that many patients had routine procedures, such as hip replacements, delayed until the end of January in order to free up beds after the NHS was plunged in to crisis over increasing demand. He explained that the move wasn’t what he wanted, explaining that hospitals were under pressure due to the requirements of an ageing population and an increase in flu and respiratory diseases. The Telegraph

A polar bear was born in the UK – the first in 25 years. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland announced that its resident female polar bear, Victoria, gave birth at the Highland Wildlife Park. Staff only became aware of the birth after hearing high-pitched sounds from the bear’s maternity den. While staff are excited about the birth, they have stressed that the first few months of a polar bear’s life can be difficult, due to their fragile immune systems. Victoria’s den will remain closed to the public to give the cub the best chance of survival.  Sky News

Donald Trump didn’t know how to pronounce the Chinese president’s name. To tackle this dilemma, his advisers proposed a cunning solution: they told Trump to think of Xi Jinping as a woman. This would ensure the correct pronunciation of Xi as ‘she’ when he met the Communist party leader in April last year. At least that’s the claim from American author Michael Wolff’s insider account, Fire and Fury, the launch of which caused a furore in the White House this week. Somewhat predictably, Trump has decried Wolff as a ‘loser’ and dismissed the book as ‘untruthful’. The Guardian

Girl donates hair to cancer. School claims she broke uniform rules. When 14-year-old Niamh Baldwin shaved her head to raise money for the Little Princess Trust, a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients, she wasn’t anticipating being put in isolation for it. But that’s what happened when she returned to her school, Mounts Bay Academy in Penzance, who claimed that her new buzz-cut was in breach of the school’s uniform policy. The school have maintained that ‘extreme haircuts’ have never been allowed and expressed surprise they weren’t consulted beforehand. Metro

If you’re a chef, you probably shouldn’t claim you’ve ‘spiked’ someone’s food. Common sense, surely, but that’s exactly what Laura Goodman, co-owner and head chef at Carlini in Shropshire, did in a post on Facebook which implied that she had ‘spiked a vegan’. The internet’s response, somewhat understandably, was less than kind and the restaurant was inundated with 1-star reviews. Goodman has since tendered her resignation. Huffington Post

For the very first time, the Severn Bridge reduces its tolls. As a result of the structure coming in to public ownership on Sunday, tolls on the bridge have now been reduced, with a view to them being removed entirely by the end of the year. The government maintains that the remaining fees will be used to help phase out tolling and maintenance. Whilst many motorists are thrilled with the news, some politicians have expressed concern that ending tolls completely could increase congestion. BBC News

Stat of the week

A person on an average salary needs to build up a pension pot of over £300,000 to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement. Analysis carried out by Aegon suggests that people should be targeting an income equivalent to 66% of their working age income. This equates to £1,500 a month or £18,000 per year for the average earner in the UK.

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