News in brief: Bournemouth beach takes top spot in poll
OUR beaches are among the best in the world, according to a new poll — with Bournemouth (top) being voted the nation’s No.1. Three Cornish beaches — St Ives, Bude and Newquay — are named in the top ten with the possibility of summer staycations on everyone’s mind for 2021. Other popular beaches include Blackpool, Whitby and Brighton, in a WWF-UK survey in partnership with Sky Ocean Rescue.
Three quarters of us consider the British beach or sea to be an iconic landscape, while a third reckon holidays to the seaside are underrated, the poll of 2,000 adults found.
Satnav’s for the birds as signals get them home
BIRDS use Earth’s magnetic field to navigate their way home, researchers have found. Migratory species sense unfamiliar signals when they are blown off course, enabling them to return to a destination. Most birds, which have made the journey before, correct mistakes with a built-in ‘satnav’, according to a study published in Current Biology journal. ‘What they are achieving is true navigation,’ said co-author Dr Dmitry Kishkinev, of Keele University.
It was believed they use the stars and sun but studies found reed warblers depend on the magnetic field to find breeding grounds.
Men in lockdown hit by ‘weapon of abuse’
DOMESTIC violence attacks on men rocketed during the pandemic, a study has found. The number of men seeking help for abuse leapt 60 per cent during the first lockdown. The Men’s Advice Line received an average of 3,527 calls and emails a month from April to June last year — the highest since the charity was formed in 2007.
And Covid-19 was used as a ‘weapon of abuse’, said study leader Prof Nicole Westmarland, of Durham University. ‘In one case, the perpetrator worked in the healthcare sector and threatened to “bring the virus home” to infect the victim,’ she added.
Fines for universities squashing free speech
UNIVERSITIES unlawfully stifling freedom of speech will face fines under new measures to be announced by the education secretary tomorrow. Gavin Williamson will reveal plans for a free speech champion who can fine university providers or student unions, and order redress if someone has been demoted or dismissed for their views, The Sunday Telegraph reported. The Department for Education would not comment.
In a letter, Mr Williamson has called on education regulator the Office for Students to take more active and visible action against institutions that fall short, including deregistration.
? THE number of over-50s made redundant rose 240 per cent last year from 35,000 to 121,000. There is ‘still worse to come’ with 640,000 over-55s still on furlough, according to the advice group Rest Less.
? ONE in five home buyers, who agreed a deal when a stamp duty holiday was announced in July, has yet to complete their purchase. Rightmove said 100,000 buyers who made a deal before Christmas could miss the March 31 deadline.
? BANK blunders, such as losing death certificates, are failing bereaved families, reports Which?. Other ‘unacceptable’ errors include failing to close accounts for relatives who have died, a poll finds.
? IT’S the ideal project for someone flushed with cash. A police truck with a water cannon is up for sale.
It dispersed rioters at the start of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in 1970. It is being auctioned by Allsops of Bolton. ?
WORMS could offer a ‘fountain of youth’ pill. Infections from hook and whipworms may prevent dementia and heart disease. Their proteins could be used in drugs, a University College London study suggests.
? THE risk of footballers suffering brain damage by heading a ball can be cut with a few simple changes. Inflating balls to a lower pressure and subbing them out when wet, stops them ‘turning into a weapon’, a US study finds.
UAE’s first photo of Mars
MARS emerges from shadows in the first image captured by the United Arab Emirates’ spacecraft after a 307million-mile voyage. The Hope Probe took the photo 15,350 miles above the surface — capturing Olympus Mons, Mars’s highest volcano, and the Tharsis Montes — a row of three more. ‘The Hope Probe’s first image of Mars is a defining moment in our history,’ tweeted Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. ‘We hope this mission will lead to new discoveries which will benefit humanity.’ After launching last July, the craft entered orbit last week, making the UAE the first Arab nation to reach Mars. It aims to collect data on atmosphere and climate.
Ebola epidemic is declared as new outbreak kills 3
A NEW ebola epidemic has been declared in west Africa after at least three people died in the first resurgence of the disease there since 2013-2016.
Seven patients fell ill with diarrhoea and vomiting after attending a burial in Goueke in the south-east of Guinea. Those still alive have been isolated in treatment centres following positive tests for the virus. The last major outbreak of ebola in West Africa went on to kill at least 11,300 people with the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
FRANCE plans to ban far-right group Generation Identitaire which has tried to stop migrants entering the country. Two members were jailed after the group rented a plane and helicopters to track people in the Alps. A ‘race hate’ incident took place in the Pyrenees last month.
? AT least 19 people died and up to 30 were injured in an explosion at a fireworks factory in Tamil Nadu, southern India. Rescue teams spent four hours fighting the blaze.
Locals believe the blast was set off by a fire, which was caused by a reaction between chemicals in the fireworks. ? CATALANS headed to the polls for a vote set to test the strength of the Spanish region’s pro-independence sentiment.
Amid Covid-19, voters had to endure temperature tests to cast ballots yesterday. Early opinion polls show support for separatist parties and the Socialists was neck-and-neck. ?
THE bodies of 13 Turks kidnapped by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists have been found in a cave in northern Iraq. Three Turkish troops and 48 militants died in a rescue operation. Twelve of the 13 — including intelligence officers, soldiers and police held since 2017 — had been shot in the head.
? SAUDI Arabia has told the UN it will continue to treat Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, despite a US decision to do the opposite. Riyadh accused the White House of a ‘terrible mistake’ in its plan to stop its support for a Saudi-led coalition against the rebel group linked to Iran.
A CHILEAN councillor has stuck up for his 33-year-old son accused of raping a girl of 12 by saying ‘she had a woman’s body’ and her parents should have ‘controlled’ her.
Ivan Roca refused to apologise for saying his son was the ‘victim’ and was sacked by his right-wing party in the central city of Lota.