UK construction activity inches off six-year high in September, jobs strong – PMI
The teenager, who could not be named for legal reasons, is charged with planning terror attacks on the school and other local targets in Leicestershire in central England. Speaking at the boy’s trial, prosecutor Max Hill said the teenager kept a book called “Spree Killers” and had noted down the number of people killed at Columbine and by Anders Behring Brevik in Norway in 2011. Hill added that Facebook chat records showed the boy claimed he wanted to “take some Muslims down” and named a local mosque, a cinema, and government offices in the town of Loughborough as potential targets. The defendant, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, was arrested in February after being found with a machete. Police searching his home later found weapons, including ammunition, partially-assembled gasoline bombs and other explosives. He denies terrorism offenses but has admitted possessing bomb parts. “He denied he had anything other than a genuine interest in the Columbine massacre,” Hill said. Testifying at a London court, a science teacher at the boy’s school said the defendant looked at guns online while he was at school and asked for advice about firearms and making explosives. “He was encouraging me to look at the guns and make some sort of judgment about whether it was a good gun,” said the teacher, who also could not be named to protect the identity of the teenager. “He asked me which gun I would prefer to be shot with.” The teacher and another witness, a former friend of the accused, added that the boy was known to launch tirades abusing people of Muslim and Jewish faiths. Join the Discussion You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
UK retailers remove ‘staggeringly offensive’ mental health costumes from sale
STORY HIGHLIGHTS Walmart subsidiary Asda and retailer Tesco were selling mental health themed costumes The British retailers apologized and withdrew them from sale after a social media outcry Mental health charity Mind said the sale of the costumes had been “extremely misguided” Soccer player Stan Collymore tweeted about the effect of mental health stereotypes (CNN) — British retailers have removed “psycho ward” and “mental patient” Halloween costumes from their online stores after criticism that they were offensive to people with mental health conditions. Walmart subsidiary Asda showed a man in a blood-stained white coat brandishing a meat cleaver to advertise its “Mental Patient Fancy Dress Costume.” Tesco’s advertisement for its “Psycho Ward Costume” showed a man in an orange boiler suit branded “PSYCHO WARD” brandishing a hypodermic needle and wearing a mask similar to that of Hannibal Lecter in the film, “The Silence of the Lambs.” An Asda spokeswoman offered the company’s “sincere apologies for the offense” the costumes had caused. “This was an unacceptable error and the product was withdrawn immediately,” she said in a statement. “We take our responsibilities very seriously which is why we will make a sizable donation to Mind.” Tesco also issued an apology, saying in a statement: “We’re really sorry for any offense this has caused and we are removing this product from sale.” Mental health charity Mind welcomed the withdrawal of the costumes, saying the retailers had shown themselves to be “extremely misguided” by offering them for sale. Slept in. Have @asda withdrawn their ‘mental patient fancy dress’ costume or are we going to organise a protest at HQ? #timetochange Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) September 26, 2013 Alastair Campbell “It is staggeringly offensive to the one in four of us affected by mental health problems and our families and friends, and troubling that some businesses are still so out of touch with the public mood,” spokeswoman Sue Baker said in a statement . However, Baker said the outcry the costumes provoked on the social media site Twitter was encouraging. “We hope this will urge Asda, Tesco and other retailers and manufacturers to review their processes and consider taste and decency on mental health grounds, to avoid fueling stigma and discrimination that are so damaging for large numbers of the population,” she said. Mind and the group Rethink Mental Illness run the Time to Change campaign to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. One of the campaign’s supporters is Alastair Campbell, who was former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s media chief and who has publicly spoken of his battle with depression . Campbell was among those who tweeted his displeasure at the “brutally stigmatizing outfits.” “@asda and @tesco should sign up for one of the @mindcharity @Rethink_ @TimetoChange mental health training courses,” he tweeted . Campbell alleged that Amazon still carried mental health patient costumes and called for people to tweet the company, asking it to withdraw them.
The Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers index (PMI)edged down to 58.9 from 59.1 but was still well above the 50 threshold that separates growth from contraction. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 59.2. All three sub-sectors of construction grew last month, with the sharpest rise in housing since November 2003, potentially easing some concerns about Britain’s shortfall of new homes. “Construction is no longer the weakest link in the UK economy,” said Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit. “The third quarter of 2013 ended with output growth riding high amid greater spending on infrastructure projects and resurgent house building activity,” he said. Optimism was also up, with 51 percent expecting output would rise over the next 12 months and only 9 percent of respondents predicting a fall, the highest level of confidence since August 2010. Employers created jobs for the fourth straight month. “Having been in the doldrums for so long, builders are using this renewal as a platform to invest, with employment seeing the most dramatic upturn in close to six years,” said David Noble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. PMI data on Tuesday showed Britain’s manufacturing activity grew at a slower rate than expected in September, but also showed that employment picking up. The Bank of England is keeping a close eye on the UK labour market, having said that it would not consider raising record-low interest rates until the jobless rate falls to 7 percent. On Friday, mortgage lender Nationwide said British house prices rose for the fifth straight month in September and hit record highs in London.
UK Charts Buzzing With Songs That Aim At Promoting Alcohol
But until now, little data was available on comparable UK trends. Hardcastle’s team selected four focal years for analysis, comparing music charts across four decades. They found a significant jump in the number of times alcohol was mentioned. Songs charting in 1981 contained relatively few references to alcohol, with the number declining further in 1991. Rave culture was popular in this period; a music scene linked more to Ecstasy than alcohol. But the alcohol was back in music by 2001, featuring in eight percent of popular hits. This figure continues to climb, more than doubling by 2011, with almost one in five (18.5%) top 10 songs featuring alcohol-related lyrics. This pattern is consistent with US trends, although UK charts still have fewer alcohol mentions than their US counterparts. Alcohol-related song lyrics are associated with urban song genres and US artists, with lyrics generally putting a positive spin on alcohol consumption. Drinking is linked to confidence, gregariousness or physical attractiveness, as well as outcomes such as wealth, success, or sex. Chart-topping singers voice the negative effects of alcohol on health and wellbeing far less frequently. Lyrics have an impact beyond the US and UK, Hardcastle suggests, pointing out that US and British songs often have global appeal. For example, US artist Katy Perry’s 2011 single “Last Friday Night” detailing excessive drinking and risky, antisocial behavior, achieved a top 10 position not only in the US and the UK, but also in Australia, Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Venezuela.