Image copyright Getty Images

The great British pub continues to make way for coffee shops and eateries on our High Streets, but it remains the most popular leisure venue in the UK.

Local Data Company figures, analysed by the BBC, show between 2011-16, the number of town centre bars, pubs and night clubs fell by about 2,000.

But cafes, fast food outlets and restaurants have gone up by 6,000 across England, Scotland and Wales.

However, there are still fewer coffee shops than pubs in our town centres.

The West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales were the areas with the highest growth in leisure businesses, while Greater London was the only area which showed a decrease, with a -0.3% downturn.

The figures – which do not include Northern Ireland – exclude shops and were collated by people walking up and down the country’s high streets.

The largest growth areas included lounge bars (116%), cake makers (51%), juice bars (46%) and speciality restaurants. There was also a 31% increase in the number of coffee shops.

Comedy clubs (-33%), snooker halls (-34%), internet cafes (-41%) and bingo halls (-22%) saw some of the biggest falls.

Although pubs are declining, they still make up 16% of town centre leisure venues, with cafes, takeaway food venues and bookmakers all in the top 10.

Prof Jonathan Morris, a historian at the University of Hertfordshire who has studied the proliferation of coffee shops, said the cultural revolution of coffee shops began in the 1990s when programmes such as Friends and Seinfeld were popular.

Technological advances, particularly laptops and the internet, were also behind the increase.

Longer commutes and work days were also having an impact, Prof Morris added.

“People socialise during the day or after work rather than evenings now,” he said.

“Places like snooker and bingo halls take a bigger chunk of time, while meeting for coffee doesn’t take long.

“To halt the decline, pubs needs to develop their daytime offer.”

Image caption Could the Great British Bake Off be behind the rise in cake makers?

Prof Ken Roberts, who has studied leisure culture, said the demographic of who goes out has changed.

“The growth in young single people who are postponing the age of marriage and motherhood; a rise in students and older, retired people, are driving the change,” he said.

Prof Roberts added that older people tend to spend their money on holidays, top restaurants or big events like theatre weekends to London, whereas younger people were more likely to go out in the evenings and also have cheap meals out.

Image copyright Google

Image caption American diners are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Bristol

The figures show the North East had the largest growth in restaurants, with an 18% increase, while London had the greatest drop in bars, pubs and clubs, at -14%.

Cafes and tearooms are the most popular types of leisure business in London, accounting for 20% of the total.

Indian, Italian and Chinese are the most popular types of restaurants across England, but there are regional quirks as well – in Leeds, there has been a rise in Spanish restaurants, while American diners are proving to be popular in Bristol.

Image copyright Getty Images

Image caption Snooker clubs are closing at a sharp rate

Snooker clubs have seen a drop of about 35%. According to Sport England, the number of people who say they have played the game each week has dropped 43% from 64,400 in 2011, to 36,800 in 2016.

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said the clubs were a victim of the decline in the licence trade, and were fighting – like most sports – to get people away from mobile phones and laptops.

“We’re dealing with a completely different world now and there is an argument to say that a reinvention is required,” he said.

“The traditional snooker club, which the sport had in the 1970s and 80s, is not working now but there are many that are thriving. The snooker clubs that are closing down are probably not inviting; there’s a little doorway on a street where people don’t go in.

“Whereas those that are in the right location with the right facilities, such as in shopping centres and with head coaches, are doing well.”

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PuraTHRIVE Liposomal Turmeric ExtractClick Image To Visit SiteTurmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years. (2) Modern medicine has begun to recognize turmerics importance, as indicated by the over 3000 publications dealing with turmeric that have come out within the last 25 years. (3)

Turmeric binds to and dissolves abnormal proteins in the brain, helping to protect them from damage. It reduces one of the main factors of memory loss… Brain plaque. (4)

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Image copyright PA

Image caption Almost a third of graduate interns are working without being paid

Unpaid internships should be banned as a barrier to social mobility, says a report from MPs and peers.

They warn that such internships without a salary, used as stepping stones into jobs, are a financial block to those who cannot afford to work unpaid.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on social mobility says all interns should be paid after their first month.

Justin Madders, the group’s chair, called for better access to “top jobs for those from less advantaged homes”.

The “Class Ceiling” study follows concerns that jobs in areas such as law, medicine and the media are disproportionately filled by socially-advantaged, privately-educated youngsters who have attended top universities.

The cross-party social mobility report highlights the way that entry into some professions can be skewed in favour of more affluent youngsters.

‘Fair and transparent’

The use of unpaid internships as an entry system means that it is only available to young people who can either support themselves or who have parents who can provide for them while they are working without pay.

There is also a geographical barrier when internships are in London, with such unpaid work much more feasible for young people from the capital who can live with their parents.

The report cites research showing that almost a third of graduates working as interns were not being paid.

But an attempt in Parliament to introduce such a ban on unpaid internships was blocked last November.

Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke had labelled them the “acceptable face of unpaid labour in modern Britain”. But his bid to outlaw unpaid internships was opposed by the government.

As well as calling for a ban on unpaid internships, the All Party Parliamentary Group on social mobility wants work experience to be more widely available and “fair and transparent”.

Work experience has become an important starting point for many jobs and there are concerns that this could freeze out youngsters without family connections in the professions.

The report says that all work experience posts should be “publicly advertised to allow a more diverse range of candidates to apply”.

‘Strategic approach’

The report calls for employers to make better use of “contextual” information about applicants, such as looking at their results in terms of the type of school they attended and any disadvantage they might have overcome.

Mr Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, said: “If the current government is serious about improving access to top jobs for those from less advantaged homes, they need to take a much more strategic approach.

“This means linking the work of schools, universities and employers to build a real business case and practical plan for improving social mobility.”

Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said he backed the calls for an end to unpaid internships.

He said firms needed to “wake up and realise that it makes sound business sense to recruit people from all backgrounds”.

Mr Milburn added: “Research has consistently shown that people from more affluent backgrounds, who attend private schools and elite universities, take a disproportionate number of the best jobs while those from poorer backgrounds are being systematically locked out.”

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The funeral of a Big Issue seller was paid for through donations raised online, but just how common are crowdfunded services?

Donors and well-wishers made sure Peter Toulson received a “funeral befitting of a proud, dignified, lovely man”.

The Big Issue North vendor died in December 2016, aged 53, and more than 300 people donated a total of 5,073 via JustGiving to cover the costs of Monday’s ceremony.

Crowdfunding for funerals has soared in the past year.

Figures released by JustGiving reveal that over 2,000 services were funded by donations raised through its website between January and September 2016.

This is more than four times as many for the same period in 2015.

For more stories from the BBC England Data Unit see our Pinterest board.

The rise has been put down to a combination of the increasing cost of funerals and the general rise in the use of online crowdfunding.

Charles Wells, chief operations officer for JustGiving, said: “Thinking about the costs of a funeral is the last thing a grieving family wants to do but with the cost of funerals rising JustGiving has seen increasing numbers of people turning to crowdfunding to help say farewell to their loved ones.

“It can also be a practical way for friends, family and the community to come together and help take the strain off families when they’re mourning their loss.”

JustGiving users raised an average of 1,300 each towards funeral costs in 2016. There were 52,630 donations, compared with 9,089 during the same months the previous year.

The 5,073 raised by 331 supporters meant they could give Mr Toulson a send-off and donate more than 2,000 to charity.

His funeral was at Lawnswood crematorium in Leeds on Monday.

The alternative would likely have been a “public health funeral”, commonly known as a “pauper’s funeral”.

What happens if no-one pays?

In cases where no-one will or is able to make the arrangements to pay for a funeral, the local council has a statutory obligation to step in.

Arrangements vary from area to area, but a council would typically register the death and instruct a funeral director to collect the body, provide a coffin and transport the deceased to a crematorium, advising any known family and friends of the date and time. Some also arrange a service.

Costs are recouped from the deceased’s estate where possible but the Local Government Association says this can be difficult and places a “significant burden” on councils.

Research by BBC News found these funerals had cost councils 1.7m in 2013-14, with local authorities estimated to have arranged about 3,500.

This is still tiny compared with the more than 500,000 deaths registered per year.

A simple “direct cremation” costs an average of 1,600 and does not involve a service. This was the option chosen by David Bowie. Burials can cost in excess of 4,000.

Funeral costs


Average cost of funeral

  • 1,600 cost of "direct cremation" – just transport, coffin and ashes

  • 3,214 cost for cremation using funeral director and simple service

  • 4,316 average cost of burial using funeral director

  • 3,500 approximate number of funerals paid for by councils per year


Examples of crowdfunded funerals include the five friends who died on a day trip to Camber Sands.

More than 9,000 was raised via JustGiving and the Hindu ceremony at Winn’s Common in September 2016.

Kenugen Saththiyanathan, Kobikanthan Saththiyanathan, Nitharsan Ravi, Inthushan Sriskantharaja and Gurushanth Srithavarajah got into difficulties in the water at the East Sussex resort.

A group of 145 donors contributed 2,433 towards the funeral of Charles Birmingham, a cyclist who died following a collision in Oldham, Greater Manchester. The money raised meant a funeral was able to take place in August 2016.

And 37 supporters raised 1,150 to pay for a headstone and pay the parish council charges of Suffolk woman Claire Blair, who died of cancer in 2014. The East Anglian Daily Times reported how the mother of three had been laid to rest without a headstone because of the costs of the funeral.

The crowdfunding industry says the rise in funeral donations accompanies a general increase in the use of online platforms to raise money for charities and business projects.

A spokesman for the UK Crowdfunding Association said: “What we often see is people raising money for those who would otherwise have a pauper’s funeral,” he said. “It can also happen where there has been a sudden, unexpected death or where there was a lot of local awareness.

“People are now very comfortable with raising funds through an online platform.

“It shows how awareness of crowdfunding is spreading beyond the M25.

“We’ve seen it across the board and this (crowdfunding funerals) is one area.”

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The Secrets of Coconut Oil ExposedClick Image To Visit SiteHere’s a newsflash I’m sure won’t surprise you… nothing concocted in a laboratory can ever replace the value of what is found in nature!

Mother Nature is incredibly generous in the way she provides – offering a bounty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients to nourish your body so you can enjoy a long healthy life.

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Image copyright Tracey Jolliffe

Image caption Tracey Jolliffe is calling on others to give a kidney

Tracey Jolliffe has already donated a kidney, 16 eggs and 80 pints of blood, and intends to leave her brain to science. She is now hoping to give away part of her liver to a person she may never meet.

“If I had another spare kidney, I’d do it again,” Tracey tells the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

She is what is known as an “altruistic donor” – someone willing to give away an organ to potentially help save the life of a complete stranger.

A microbiologist in the NHS, and the daughter of two nurses, she has spent her life learning about the importance of healthcare from a professional standpoint.

But she has also been keen to make a difference on a personal level.

“I signed up to donate blood, and to the bone marrow register, when I was 18,” she says.

Now 50, her wish to donate has become gradually more expansive.

In 2012, she was one of fewer than 100 people that year to donate a kidney without knowing the recipient’s identity – and now supports the charity Give A Kidney, encouraging others to do the same.

As of 30 September 2016, 5,126 people remain on the NHS kidney transplant waiting list.

Image copyright Getty Images

Image caption About 3,000 kidney transplants are carried out each year

Tracey’s kidney donation, in all likelihood, will have saved someone’s life.

“I remind myself of it every day when I wake up,” she says, rightly proud of her life-changing actions.

It was not, however, a decision taken on the spur of a moment.

Donating a kidney is an “involved process”, she says, with suitability assessments taking at least three months to complete.

Tests leading up to the transplant include X-rays, heart tracing and a special test of kidney function, which involves an injection and a series of blood tests.

“It is not something to do if you’re scared of needles,” she jokes.

The risks associated with donating, however, are relatively low for those deemed healthy enough to proceed, with a mortality rate of about one in 3,000 – roughly the same as having an appendix removed.

Compared with the general public, NHS Blood and Transplant says, most kidney donors have equivalent – or better – life expectancy than the average person.

Tracey says she was in hospital for five days after her operation but felt “back to normal” within six weeks.

Kidney transplants: The facts

  • More than 53,000 people in the UK are being treated for kidney failure
  • 90% of people on the transplant list are waiting for a kidney, with 3,000 kidney transplants carried out each year
  • Unlike many other types of organ donation, it is possible to donate a kidney while still alive because we need only one kidney to survive
  • The average waiting time for a kidney transplant is three to four years
  • 60% of recipients of live donor kidneys can expect to survive for about 15 years

Source: Kidney Research UK

As well as helping to save lives – including through 80 pints worth of blood donations – Tracey has also helped families create them too.

She has donated 16 of her eggs, allowing three couples to have children.

It was a simple decision to take, she says.

“I have no desire to have children of my own, so I thought, ‘I’m healthy, why not?'”

Image copyright Thinkstock

The next step, she hopes, could be to donate part of her liver – once again, to someone she has never met. But she is aware of the dangers involved.

“It’s a much riskier operation than donating your kidney,” she says.

The rate of death for those donating the right lobe is estimated at one in 200. For the left lobe, it is one in 500.

But many donators live a long and healthy life, with the organ having an “amazing capacity to regenerate”, as Tracey describes it.

Almost immediately after an operation, the remaining liver begins to enlarge in a process known as hypertrophy, continuing for up to eight weeks.

Image caption Brain tissue is a vital research resource

Tracey will undoubtedly continue to donate for as long as she can – and is hoping to pass on her organs once she dies.

“I signed up to donate my brain for medical science when I go,” she says.

Brain donations are usually performed within 24 hours of death, to be used for medical research into conditions such as dementia.

Taking such decisions can be difficult, but Tracey says her friends and family “accept I’m going to do what I want to do”.

Her reasons for donating organs – whether it be a brain or a kidney – are both humbling and understated.

“I think it’s part of my nature, my opportunity to do something nice,” she says.

But the difference such decisions can make to others is huge.

For information on how to make a living donation, visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

Related Topics

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Washington (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump now says he wants “insurance for everybody” when Obamacare is replaced, which caused nearly every pundit in Washington and beyond scrambling to figure out what exactly he means. Will everyone get health care? Or will everyone get access to health care? Does that mean it’ll be affordable to everyone? Can he get the Republican Congress unified behind that plan?


    • Trump made waves over the weekend, telling The Washington Post that he wants “insurance for everybody,” and urging Congress to quickly put the replacement plan in place. He didn’t say how he will do it, and Congress will have its say.
    • CNN’s Manu Raju reports exclusively that HHS nominee Dr. Tom Price invested in a medical device company and then introduced a bill that would help it. Democrats are sure to press him on it at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
    • A local news report from Colorado shows GOP Rep. Mike Coffman exiting a contentious meeting in Aurora after refusing to meet with dozens of the Obamacare-supporting constituents that attended.
    OBAMACARE/TAXES — The founder and executive director of Families USA, a health care consumer group, argues the Republican Obamacare repeal bill will lead to less and worse coverage, due to its massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
    • Ben Bernanke cast doubts on Trump’s claims about China, saying that labeling them a currency manipulator does not “fit with reality.” He also warns against starting a trade war.
    • A new PwC survey shows nearly 60% of global CEOs are worried about protectionism and rising trade barriers, up from 40% in 2012.
    • The Wall Street Journal previews the potential impact of Trump’s new trade policies, with a large focus on what one senior trade expert dubs his “four horsemen” of trade policy architects: Wilbur Ross, Robert Lighthizer, Pete Navarro and Jason Greenbelt.
    ENVIRONMENT/INFRASTRUCTURECNBC reports on an analyst who believes Trump’s infrastructure plans could actually be good for the environment because companies that are solving environmental problems would benefit from increased economic activity.
    • The IMF has improved its forecast for US economic growth over the next two years, due in large part to Trump’s potential infrastructure package. However, the IMF warns Trump’s protectionist trade policies may undermine the gains.
    • Outgoing Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx cautioned that the price tag for Trump’s infrastructure plan should not be the most important aspect of it. Foxx told Recode: “You could put $5 trillion into our infrastructure system, but if we’re not paying for the right things, we’re going to be challenged.”
    • Without delving into specifics, an informal Trump adviser told Fox Business Network taxpayers will not be on the hook for 68 ready-to-go infrastructure projects.
    EVERYTHING — A Harvard poll made public Monday shows deep divisions between Trump voters and the public at large on a host of issues from Obamacare to immigration. The two groups can agree on the need for more infrastructure spending, according to the poll.


    • ENVIRONMENT — 2:15pm ET confirmation hearing of Ryan Zinke for Interior secretary.

    • — 10am ET confirmation hearing of Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator.

    • — 10am ET confirmation hearing of Wilbur Ross to be commerce secretary

    • — 10am ET confirmation hearing of Tom Price to be HHS secretary.

    • TRUMP INAUGURATION — Trump and his team have pledged to use executive actions to dismantle many of Obama’s policies on day one. Here are a few of the Obamacare-related actions he could take on Day 1.

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    Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka dies

    (CNN)Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, the wrestler known for his high-flying leap off the ring’s top rope that flattened his opponents, died on Sunday. He was 73.

    Actor and former wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced Snuka’s death on behalf of his family. The World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. also confirmed Snuka’s death on its website on Sunday.
      Snuka’s family did not immediately release his cause of death.
      “Snuka is regarded by many as the pioneer of high-flying offense because of his Superfly Splash from the top turnbuckle,” the WWE statement said.
      The signature move, in which Snuka vaulted off the rope and landed face-down on his opponent who lay prone on the floor, helped catapult the Fiji-born Snuka to 1980s fame with the World Wrestling Federation, now the WWE. He was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.


      On Sunday, Snuka’s daughter, Tamina Snuka, also a WWE star, tweeted “I love you dad.”
      She also posted a picture of what appeared to be their hands.

      I LOVE YOU DAD #FOREVERMYDAD #RestWell #FamiliesAreForever #BestDad #SnukaLegacy

      A photo posted by SaronaSnuka (@saronasnukawwe) on

      Stephanie McMahon, WWE’s chief brand officer, called Snuka, “one of the greatest icons in the history of our business.”
      Condolences also poured in from many of Snuka’s peers. Former wrestler Hulk Hogan tweeted: “RIP Superfly.”
      Jake “The Snake” Roberts, another famous wrestler during Snuka’s time, wrote: “He will fly all the way to heaven. What a sweet man.”
      Snuka’s death comes 12 days after a Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, judge dropped third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges against him in the 1983 death of his ex-girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.
      Judge Kelly Banach determined Snuka was incompetent to stand trial based on his medical records and testimony provided by his defense attorney, Robert Kirwan II.
      Argentino’s death has been a cold case for decades.
      On May 10, 1983, Argentino was found unresponsive in a room at the George Washington Motor Lodge in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where the WWF taped its matches. Snuka called the paramedics, but once they arrived, he was gone. Argentino was pronounced dead a few hours later.
      Her family won a wrongful death suit against Snuka in 1985, but authorities didn’t charge him in the death. Argentino’s family contacted Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin and asked his team to examine Snuka’s 2012 memoir, “Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Story.”
      A grand jury reviewed excerpts and decided to press charges. Snuka was charged in September 2015, 32 years after Argentino’s death.


      In recent years, Snuka’s health took a turn for the worse. He suffered from a bout of stomach cancer before he was charged in 2015. He underwent intensive surgery in which three-quarters of his stomach, several lymph nodes and a piece of his large intestine were removed, according to Kirwan.
      Snuka had also been diagnosed with dementia and showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, an Alzheimer’s-like neurodegenerative disease associated with repeated hits to the head, according to Kirwan.
      Kirwan said Snuka was placed in home hospice care in October and moved to in-hospital hospice care at Broward Medical North near his home in Florida on December 17.
      CTE cannot be diagnosed without a postmortem examination of a person’s brain, but Snuka’s defense attorney argued that he exhibited signs of the disease based on outward symptoms and a series of MRIs taken over two years.
      Snuka is one of 50 former wrestlers named as plaintiffs in a July lawsuit against the WWE for long-term brain damage they say was incurred during their careers with the company.

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      The change in attitudes toward cannabis and in legal access to marijuana around the US over the past several years is staggering.

      As of last fall, 57% of adults in the US said they thought marijuana should be legal, with only 37% taking the opposing view which is essentially a reversal of the opinions held a decade ago.

      And after November’s elections, 20% of Americans live in a state that has voted to legalize recreational use. Far more live in states with some access to medical marijuana.

      But this obscures a crucial fact: From a scientific perspective, there’s still a ton we don’t know about cannabis.

      A massive report released today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine gives one of the most comprehensive looks and certainly the most up-to-date at exactly what we know about the science of cannabis. The committee behind the report, representing top universities around the country, considered more than 10,000 studies for its analysis, from which it was able to draw nearly 100 conclusions.

      In large part, the report reveals how much we still have to learn, but it’s still surprising to see how much we know about certain health effects of cannabis.

      This summation was sorely needed, as is more research on the topic.

      “The policy has outpaced science, and it’s really too bad,” Staci Gruber, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at McLean Hospital, told Business Insider in an interview last week, several days before we saw the report.

      “As a scientist, I think the goal is always to try very hard to get to the findings and to be able to disseminate those findings so that we can make good decisions grounded in science,” Gruber said. Cannabis “has been around for thousands of years; it’s not like we just made it in a lab.”

      Having good research is essential so that we know “how best we can use it, what are the safest ways, and what are the real risks,” she added.

      Surprising findings on cancer, mental health, and more

      Before we dive into the findings, there are two quick things to keep in mind.

      First, the language in the report is designed to say exactly how much we know and don’t know about a certain effect. Terms like “conclusive evidence” mean we have enough data to make a firm conclusion; terms like “limited evidence” mean there’s still significant uncertainty, even if there are good studies supporting an idea; and different degrees of certainty fall between these levels. For many things, there’s still insufficient data to really say anything positive or negative about cannabis.

      A variety of medicinal marijuana buds in jars are pictured at Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group dispensary in West Hollywood, California U.S., October 18, 2016.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

      Thomson Reuters

      Second, context is important. Many of these findings are meant as summations of fact, not endorsements or condemnations. For example, the report found evidence that driving while high increased the risk of an accident. But the report also notes that certain studies have found lower crash rates after the introduction of medical cannabis to an area. It’s possible that cannabis makes driving more dangerous and that the number of crashes could decrease after introduction if people take proper precautions.

      We’ll work on providing context to these findings over the next few days but wanted to share some of the initial findings first.

      With that in mind, here are some of the most striking findings from the report:

      • There was conclusive or substantial evidence (the most definitive levels) that cannabis or cannabinoids, found in the marijuana plant, can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, according to the report, which is “by far the most common” reason people request medical marijuana.
        With similar certainty, they found that cannabis can help treat muscle spasms related to multiple sclerosis and can help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
      • The authors found evidence that suggested that marijuana increased the risk of a driving crash.
      • They also found evidence that in states with legal access to marijuana, children were more likely to accidentally consume cannabis.
        We’ve looked at these numbers before and seen that the overall increases in risk are small one study found that the rate of overall accidental ingestion among children went from 1.2 per 100,000 two years before legalization to 2.3 per 100,000 two years after legalization. There’s still a far higher chance parents call poison control because of kids eating crayons or diaper cream, but it’s still important to know that some increased risk could exist.
      • Perhaps surprisingly, the authors found moderate evidence (a pretty decent level of certainty and an indication that good data exists) that cannabis was not connected to any increased risk of the lung cancers or head and neck cancers associated with smoking. However, they did find some limited evidence suggesting that chronic or frequent users may have higher rates of a certain type of testicular cancer.
      • Connections to heart conditions were less clear. There’s insufficient evidence to support or refute the idea that cannabis might increase the risk of a heart attack, though there was some limited evidence that smoking cannabis might be a trigger for a heart attack.
      • There was substantial evidence that regular marijuana smokers are more likely to experience chronic bronchitis and that stopping smoking was likely to improve these conditions. There’s not enough evidence to say that that cannabis does or doesn’t increase the risk for respiratory conditions like asthma.
      • There was limited evidence that smoking marijuana could have some anti-inflammatory effects.
      • Substantial evidence suggests a link between prenatal cannabis exposure (when a pregnant woman uses marijuana) and lower birth weight, and there was limited evidence suggesting that this use could increase pregnancy complications and increase the risk that a baby would have to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit.
      • In terms of mental health, substantial evidence shows an increased risk of developing schizophrenia among frequent users, something that studies have shown is a particular concern for people at risk for schizophrenia in the first place. There was also moderate evidence that cannabis use is connected to a small increased risk for depression and an increased risk for social anxiety disorder.
      • Limited evidence showed a connection between cannabis use and impaired academic achievement, something that has been shown to be especially true for people who begin smoking regularly during adolescence (which has also been shown to increase the risk for problematic use).
      • One of the most interesting and perhaps most important conclusions of the report is that far more research on cannabis is needed. Importantly, in most cases, saying cannabis was connected to an increased risk doesn’t mean marijuana use caused that risk.

      And it’s hard to conduct research on marijuana right now. The report says that’s largely because of regulatory barriers, including marijuana’s Schedule I classification by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the fact that researchers often can’t access the same sorts of marijuana that people actually use. Even in states where it’s legal to buy marijuana, federal regulations prevent researchers from using that same product.

      Without the research, it’s hard to say how policymakers should best support legalization efforts to say how educational programs or mental health institutions should adapt to support any changes, for example.

      “If I had one wish, it would be that the policymakers really sat down with scientists and mental health practitioners” as they enact any of these new policies, Krista Lisdahl, an associate professor of psychology and director of the Brain Imaging and Neuropsychology Lab at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, told Business Insider in an interview shortly before we could review this report.

      It’s important to know what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be studied more. This report does a lot to show what we’ve learned in recent years, but it also shows just how much more we need to learn.

      In studying cannabis, “we’re not really after the good or the bad we’re after the truth,” Gruber said.

      Read the original article on Tech Insider. Copyright 2017.

      Now watch: 6 ‘healthy’ eating habits you are better off giving up

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      Image copyright PA

      Image caption An advert for series four of Sherlock appeared on the screen in December

      The lights of Piccadilly Circus are due to be switched off for the longest period of time since World War Two.

      The famous billboard, which has displayed electrical advertisements for more than a century, will go dark at 08:30 GMT for work to take place.

      It is the first time since 1949 that the iconic lights have gone off, except for power cuts and special occasions.

      A temporary advertising banner will replace the lights until a new single screen is unveiled in the autumn.

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Image caption Illuminated advertisements, seen here in 1912, were first introduced to Piccadilly Circus in 1908

      The revamped interactive billboard will replace the current six screens.

      As well as being an advertising board, it will be able to provide live video streaming and give updates about events such as the weather and sports results.

      Ros Morgan, chief executive of the Heart of London business alliance, said the new screen would “bring visitors an enhanced entertainment experience”.

      About 100 million people are estimated to pass through Piccadilly Circus each year.

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Image caption The lights, seen here on VE Day, were switched off for a decade during and just after World War Two
      Image copyright Ocean Outdoor

      Image caption The new display will boast one of the highest resolution LED displays of its size in the world

      The lights have previously gone out in 1939 to comply with World War Two blackouts. They were not switched back on until 1949.

      Since then, they have only been turned off as a mark of respect, including during the funerals of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, and in support of environmental campaigns.

      The occasional power cut and the imposed three-day week in the 1970s have also plunged Piccadilly Circus into darkness.

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Image caption Coca-Cola has a 62-year residency on the Piccadilly Circus display
      Image copyright Getty Images

      Image caption The occasional power cut, like this one in June 2007, has also turned off the illuminations

      The new display, which will be the same size as the current space, will be shared by six advertisers.

      Coca-Cola has been advertising in Piccadilly Circus since 1954 and will continue its residency, while Samsung will also have a spot.

      Vasiliki Arvaniti, portfolio manager at Land Securities, said the new screen would offer brands “pioneering new ways to connect” with people.

      Light history

      • 1819 – Piccadilly Circus is built to connect Regent Street with Piccadilly
      • 1908 – First electrical advertisements appear, with Perrier the first brand to be illuminated
      • 1923 – Electric billboards are set up on the facade of London Pavilion to advertise Bovril
      • 2011 – LED displays completely replace neon lamps

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      The Happy Expat Family: How to Overcome the 8 Challenges Your Family Will Face Living Abroad - GringosAbroadClick Image To Visit SiteInterviews with 16 expat families from around the world give you the inside track, tips, and secrets to a successful family relocation. In this 257 page ebook, you’ll learn about the specific challenges and how to become a successful expat family. Price: $19.00

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      Eat – STOP – Eat

      Eat - STOP - EatClick Image To Visit SiteThat all ended over a juicy hamburger in 2009 across from a fellow named Brad Pilon. He helped me dig out of a deep pit most chronic “dieters” feel trapped in…

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      (CNN)“That,” says Clive Hill of a white, carat-sized diamond, “is a milestone. This stone is unknockable, unignorable.”

      Indeed, the stone, and those that have followed, are making waves in an industry whose product appeal has been built on carefully controlled supply and artfully manufactured notions of romance.


      Besides, in the longer term, the bigger impact of lab-grown diamonds may not be on what you have on your finger, so much as the speed of your computer.
      Some 7 billion carats of softer, lower-grade diamonds are already made each year for industrial purposes, but diamonds of the quality now being proposed could, within a decade, be used to revolutionize such widespread technologies as water purification, high-powered lasers and optical devices.
      They could also be a major step toward replacing the silicon chip with the diamond chip, which in turn might make quantum computing a reality.
      “One reason I got into this business was that I have a touch of geek about me,” Hill says. “The potential for lab-made diamonds in applications are extremely exciting. It gives me goose bumps. They could really change the world.”

      More From this publisher : HERE

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      Beijing (CNN)The first thing Jiang Wang does when she wakes up in the morning is check on her daughter to make sure she’s breathing clean air.

      Next, it’s time to start making breakfast. She’s already made sure all the groceries come from an organic farm.
      She’ll wash her produce with tap water filtered through a separate treatment system under her sink.
      But that water isn’t for drinking — there’s imported bottled water for that.
      This is how Wang typically starts her day, trying to minimize the effects of the toxic environment in Beijing.
      “From the moment you open your eyes till the moment, you rest in the evening,” she says, “you have to pay really (close) attention, to the air, to the water, to the food you eat.”


      Wang and her family are part of a growing number of Beijingers who are trying to pollution-proof their lives.
      And money is no cost.
      It’s “very expensive,” she says. “But think about the health. There is nothing to trade off.”
      But for Beijing’s rising middle class and poorer residents, this high-end home equipment is financially out of reach.
      That’s turning pollution into both a health issue and a class issue — and it’s killing off those left behind.
      Research by Nanjing University’s School of the Environment has linked smog with nearly one-third of all deaths in China, positioning it on a par with smoking as a threat to public health.
        Published in November last year, the study analyzed over 3 million deaths across 74 cities throughout China in 2013. The findings revealed that as many as 31.8% of all recorded deaths could be linked to pollution, with major cities in Hebei, the province that encircles Beijing, ranked among the worst.
        “Air pollution exacerbates inequality between the rich and poor in urban China,” Matthew Kahn, a professor of economics at the University of Southern California, told CNN in an email.
        “The rich live in cleaner parts of the city and on more polluted days they can drive to work, work inside, access better doctors, have second homes in the countryside and have expensive and effective air filters.”
        Beijing risks becoming a tale of two cities, a place where the rich and poor don’t even breathe the same air.

        It adds up

        The Wang family recently installed a fresh air filtering system, which cost them about $4,300.
        It works like a ventilation system, cleaning outside air and pumping it into their home.
        They also have an air purifier in each room, eight in all, to filter out carbon dioxide and take care of any dirty air that may leak in. Those add up to about $7,200.
        And the purifiers need to be changed about once a month — which rings in at $430.
        Water filters for sinks run about $300 and shower filters can cost upwards of $1,000 on JD, a popular Chinese e-commerce site.
        For the super wealthy, companies such as Environment Assured, an indoor air quality and water filtration consultancy, will assess the toxicity of living and office spaces.
        The company offers a top-of-the-line package that comes in at just under $15,000, according to Alex Cukor, the vice president of enterprise solutions at Environment Assured.
          Real estate prices can swing based on technology and proximity to pollution, too.
          A two-bedroom apartment in Beijing’s MOMA complex — where the units come equipped with air filtration systems — cost far in excess of $3 million, according to the Lianjia real estate listings.
          That’s almost six times the cost of a similarly-sized apartment on the city’s dusty fringes.
          And these costs aren’t reserved to homes.
          The International School of Beijing, where tuition is north of $37,000 a year, built a pressurized dome for kids to play in during the smog. It cost $5 million. (Some public schools have also built domes recently.)
          Some people will get organic produce shipped directly to their homes. A yearly membership to Tony’s Farm costs $3,400. That will get you two weekly deliveries of produce, three kilograms (about 6.6 pounds) each.
          And then there’s the more outlandish products.
          You can buy canned air from Britain for $115 a bottle. Anti-pollution creams can top $100 (the jury’s still out on how well these work) and there are also expensive “pollution-catching” amulets.
          The typical Beijinger likely can’t afford any of that — the average individual salary is a little less than $17,00 year, according to a report from Peking University. And that’s the highest in China.
            But even though the China’s economic boom has delivered material wealth to millions, growing numbers are becoming frustrated that China’s elite and ultra-wealthy — many of whom got rich off the country’s rapid industrialization that caused the pollution problem — can protect themselves, but they can’t.
            “It really has reached a point where concern over air pollution throughout the country is threatening China’s social stability,” Barbara Finamore of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said in a question and answer session in May.
            A recent environmental protest in the southwest city of Chengdu was quickly quashed by authorities.

            Baby steps

            China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, and it’s costly — the country’s economy lost roughly $535 billion due to pollution in 2012, according to the RAND corporation.
            The government knows air quality is a pressing problem and publicly declared a “war on pollution” in 2014.
            With their newfound wealth, China’s upper and middles classes have been able to travel abroad and see more of the world — and in turn learn about the dangers of pollution and how to avoid it.
            But on the street during a red alert it is still commonplace to see ordinary people wearing a scarf over their mouth and nose, rather than a protective mask.
            Even state media has said the government needs to better study and understand the effects of pollution.

            Still, China had some success in recent years, both locally — 663 localities in Beijing’s city limits replaced coal with clean energy, state-run Xinhua news reported — and internationally, with the signing of the Paris climate accords.
            And China actually leads the world in wind and solar power, according CSIS’ Finamore.
            Such measures though have done little to dispel the view that Beijing is becoming increasingly unlivable. “Under the Dome,” a Chinese documentary on the negative effects of pollution, took the country by storm when it debuted in 2015. The film drew millions of views online, before government censors stepped in and removed it from Chinese video sharing websites.



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            Middle-class catch-up

            But a lot of the spikes in business are fleeting, coming and going with the thick plumes of smog that roll in.
            Activity at Environment Assured has been nonstop in the past three weeks, since Beijing’s most recent “airpocalypse,” Cukor says.
            Data from JD, the Chinese online retailer, shows from December 16 to December 20 — during the government’s most recent red alert pollution warning– sales of masks on the site increased by 380% while air purifiers, rose by 210%
            Research from Kahn, the USC professor, found similar trends when analyzing sales data from Taobao, another online retailer, in winter 2013, during another spell of bad air quality.
            It’s likely because people with less disposable income don’t have the time or money to think about prevention until the problem has gotten out of hand.
            And they’re not always buying effective products — many cheaper options simply don’t do the job.
            Some have called foul on false advertising as well; a recent report in the Financial Times cited claims by concerned mothers who tested the air quality in some malls promising clean filtered air and found it was not as safe as advertised.
            “This poor versus rich differential propensity to invest in self protection means that air pollution exposure exacerbates quality of life inequality in Chinese cities because the poor are exposed to more risk,” Kahn and the paper’s other authors write.
            Kahn and and his co-author Zheng Siqi, a professor at Tsinghua University, remain optimistic, pointing to the Kuznets curve.

            This curve posits that as per-capita income rises, so does environmental degradation — but only to a point. Once people have enough disposal income that they aren’t living day-to-day, they can afford to worry about pollution, counteract it and hold their leaders accountable.
            And when that day comes, pollution should decrease as per-capita income rises.
            For her daughters, Wang hopes that day comes soon.
            “For us — for everybody — health is number one,” she says.
            “Without health nothing can be done.”

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            (CNN)Violent crime, particularly gun violence, in the United States is a resurgent epidemic. While crime rates overall have fallen in the last two decades, violent crime in the United States began to climb again in 2015.

            The national murder rate, projected to increase by 13.1% this year, is driven by an increase in homicide numbers in a handful of cities — from Chicago to Baltimore to Tulsa — and we are seeing shocking and increasing rates of violence that will only get worse if our society doesn’t make a serious commitment to addressing it.


              To truly combat urban violence, however, we need a new commitment from all city leaders and stakeholders business leaders, educators and researchers, philanthropists and public officials not just law enforcement or the neighborhoods most immediately affected.
              The best crime-fighting tool is a job, and city leaders must engage businesses to support jobs and mentorship programs to youth drawn from the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Curriculum needs to be integrated throughout the education system from K-12 so students are thinking of postsecondary education and careers at a younger age. Researchers and scholars can contribute by providing scientific and evidence-based policies to those designing these anti-violence programs, similar to the work of the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs.
              And finally, the philanthropic community can pool together resources and invest long and deep on evidence-based policies, as the MacArthur Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, and several other funders recently have to support the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

              Join us on Twitter and Facebook

              Moreover, these approaches can be tailored to any city, in the United States or abroad. Earlier this year, I participated in an action tour with leaders from some of the most violent cities in the world Buenos Aires, Juarez, Medellin and So Paulo to discuss how they were grappling with violence in their cities. From community leaders to police officers, researchers to returning citizens, everyone agreed that these approaches to a multilayered, complex strategy are more effective than just increased “law and order.”
              Cities are on the rise. Luckily, they contain the answers to their own problems. As cities and society more broadly become increasingly diverse and dynamic, deliberate investments and interventions are needed to ensure future prosperity.
              Every mayor is worried about keeping their cities safe and every resident wants secure and clean streets, walkable and well-lit neighborhoods, parks and open space for children to play, a great education, and professional first responders. We all need to work together to shape this future. In this new year, let’s not leave it to “law and order” alone and lose sight of our shared responsibility.

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