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Inside North Korea: Forbidden photos taken inside Kim Jong-un’s secretive state

Photographer Michal Huniewicz risked detention to smuggle a series of stunning images of everyday life taken in the secretive state of North Korea. He captured the photographs  during a trip to the country, before sneaking them out on hidden memory cards.

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Picture: Michal Huniewicz/Exclusivepix Media

Terrorism Strikes New York

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Having left New York less than 3 weeks after the bombs went off in Chelsea district I felt a little unnerved by what happened.  I couldn’t quite work out why, until I remembered how secure I felt as I wandered around the hot and sweaty city – confident that I was more secure here than if I was to walk around a capital city of most European countries. As someone who works in London, and who still remember the events of  7 July 2005 vividly – as I marched through the streets of London, among the thousands of commuters, making my our way home on foot – or to the nearest available bus.

But of course, these days it is foolish to believe that you are 100% safe in any country.  Those days, sadly, are a thing of the past and I as someone who even works out where the exits are in a cinemas…just in case….. (usually at the front and therefore difficult to get to) – I had assumed that being in America, far away from lines of desperate migrants trying to find safety in a European home – I’d be far away from the troubles – but I guess, the terrorists desire is that we are never far away.

Luckily the statistics around being caught up in a terrorist incident are quite good “Even if the current level of attacks continues for 80 years (which would be unprecedented), a child born today…would have only one percent of a one percent chance of being killed in one.”

PS – I loved America

 

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Europes Ultimate Summer Drives

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Ivan Tsvetkov/Shutterstock – The Atlantic Road in Norway

With 31 million Brits set to drive their way into summer, psychologist Dr. David Holmes has developed a formula to identify the 25 Ultimate Summer Drives (USD) in Europe.

Dr. Holmes looked at elements of the driving experience that are important to the planning of a summer route, including the number of bends and hills, volume of traffic, type of scenery and even the weather; and combined these with the findings from TomTom’s study of 14,000 drivers from across Europe.

Taking insights from this study, and his expertise in human behaviour, Dr. Holmes developed the Ultimate Summer Drive (USD) formula to help drivers experience the best drive possible this summer.

The Ultimate Summer Drive (USD) =

((P+T) x (R+SC)) x100/21.3333
——————-
SS+AT+W

T = Type of Road
SS = Slope and Skew
AT = Amount of Traffic
P = Stopping Points
R = Remoteness of Road
SC = Surrounding Scenery
W = Weather

The USD formula outputs a ‘Perfect Drive’ percentage score that can be used to identify the best routes to drive on.

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Iceland’s Ring Road – pictured are the slopes of Iceland’s highest mountain, Hvannadalshnukur – part of the Oraefajokull glacier

On cracking the code, Tom Brown, Vice-President, TomTom UK said: “There are so many incredible journeys with jaw-dropping views all over the world to explore, which a summer road trip can help you discover.

“TomTom’s Ultimate Summer Drive formula, and key features within our devices, including Lifetime Maps and up-to-the-minute accurate traffic information, make driving on Europe’s most incredible routes easier, and more enjoyable than ever. Summer driving should be relaxed and exciting – driving to be enjoyed and relished. We know that driving is a passion for many people in the UK – and we’re sure that the 25 best summer driving routes that we’ve identified will be debated by car enthusiasts across the country!”

Developed using variables identified in the research, the USD formula will make planning a summer road trip easier than ever:

·  Incredible (Instagram ready) views: 70% of drivers identified great scenery as key to a holiday drive but this scenery has to be social media friendly with 15% of drivers admitting that photo ready views are a deciding factor in the success of a road trip.

· A great road: For one in four drivers, the road itself is key to a drive’s success with two-lane roads combined with gentle bends, positive camber change and good forward vision identified as the ultimate road combination.

· (Near) empty roads: One in five people cited a remote road that lets you veer slightly off the main path to discover somewhere new (yet with the occasional, reassuring passing car) as being what makes a drive epic, and key to the USD formula.

· Regular stop off points: Well-spaced, regular pull-off points every 30 miles or so with basic facilities and unexpected views helps drivers stay relaxed and energised.

· Great weather: Warmth and a light breeze provide the perfect summer driving conditions.

Unveiling the Ultimate Summer Drive

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The Dark Hedges, Antrim

The Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway came out top across Europe when mapped against the formula, with its blend of spectacular views, quality roads and perfect light conditions throughout the summer making it the Ultimate Driving Experience in Europe.

The rest of the top five Ultimate Summer Drive roads in Europe is made up of:
2. Estoril Ocean Drive, Portugal
3. Lake Como, Italy
4. The Peloponnesus, Greece
5. The North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands

Commenting on the formula and the top five roads, Dr. Holmes said: “Holiday driving can combine the thrill of the new and novel with a sense of adventure, unlocking a sense of excitement and freedom. Planning a route using my formula before you embark on your summer adventure will help you make the most of your drive and enhance your overall holiday experience.”

Lake Como: Italy
Lake Como: Italy

 

Sittingbourne Sci-Fi event

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The town of Sittingbourne was invaded by a number of creatures from outer-space at the weekend as it played host to the 2nd annual Sci-fi event.

The town Centre became a Scifi and fantasy village with maps to guide spectators around so as not to miss out on the interactive performances, Steampunk displays, monsters and characters that descended into the town centre.

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A Very Tory Christmas

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I love this picture of Prime Minister David Cameron – it really works on so many levels – in that – he could actually play this part in cartoon form!!!

The picture appeared in the Herald Scotland – under the headline “A very Tory Christmas: welfare rules leaving vulnerable families destitute over holidays” – so not a great story -but I do like the artistic impression this gives off.

Battersea Collars & Coats Gala Ball

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on our Collars & Coats Gala Ball
Eight year old Blossom – the beautiful bulldog who ended up at Battersea when her owners could no longer care for her

This Thursday sees the 7th annual Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Collars & Coats Gala Ball.

The Collars & Coats ball will be taking place at Evolution, where some of the biggest names from stage, screen, sport, and fashion will be coming together to celebrate and support the animal charity’s vital work caring for lost and abandoned dogs and cats.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on our Collars & Coats Gala Ball
Inseparable pair Sasha the Staffie and Titch the Jack Russell who do everything together

The event will start with a welcome from the legendary doggie Guard of Honour, which is formed by 40 of Battersea’s canine residents proudly taking their place on the red carpet.

The star-studded fundraising ball always attracts a stellar guest list of renowned Battersea friends and supporters and this year includes the charity’s Ambassadors Paul O’Grady MBE and Dame Jacqueline Wilson DBE. The evening’s entertainment includes performances from the burlesque troupe Crazy Rouge, internationally renowned classical artist Camilla Kerslake and the undisputed music legend that is Bryan Ferry.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on our Collars & Coats Gala Ball
Ten year old sweet and stylish Chihuahua Joshua who was given up to Battersea because of a change in circumstances

 As guests arrive at the Ball they’ll meet dogs of all breeds and sizes that have seen their life turned around in the care of Battersea’s committed staff and volunteers. The Collars & Coats Gala Ball is all about helping Battersea transform even more lives and give hope to thousands of dogs and cats every year.y.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on our Collars & Coats Gala Ball
Energetic and elegant seven year old fluffy Bichon Frise Lola

This year’s event is particularly poignant as celebrities gathered to remember the enormous sacrifice, tenacity and loyalty of the brave service dogs during World War One, which this year is marking its centenary anniversary.

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Blossom – the beautiful bulldog

 Tickets for Collars & Coats Gala ball can be purchased by calling 020 7627 9309 and further information can be seen at the Collars and Coats website  . For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and to pledge donations, please visit the Battersea website.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home on our Collars & Coats Gala Ball
Sasha the Staffie