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Society | The Guardian

  • The sexual assault of sleeping women: the hidden, horrifying rape crisis in Britain’s bedrooms

    A recent survey suggested a shockingly high proportion of women have been sexually assaulted by a partner as they slept. Now more and more are speaking out

    Niamh Ní Dhomhnaill had been with her partner for almost a year when she discovered that he’d been raping her while she slept. At the time, she was 25, and a language teacher in a Dublin secondary school. Her partner, Magnus Meyer Hustveit, was Norwegian. The couple had moved in together within a few months of meeting, but things were tense. It wasn’t a happy relationship.

    On that particular night, Ní Dhomhnaill had been out with Hustveit and other friends, but left early, alone, because she felt unwell. “I’d only drunk water but I’d gone to bed and was out for the count,” she says. “I didn’t hear Magnus come back, which is unusual because I’d always been a light sleeper.”

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  • Got the jab, bought the T-shirt: ‘vaxinistas’ and the rise of pandemic merchandise

    Like fans after a gig, people are broadcasting being vaccinated with branded merchandise, while vintage ‘pharma-merch’ is going for high prices on eBay

    This summer’s trend is not a dish or a dress, but a clean bill of health posted on social media. There’s even a word for it: a “vaxinista” – a combination of “fashionista” and “vaccine” – is someone who has not only had both jabs, but wants to broadcast it via vaccine selfies, cards and even merchandise.

    This interest in pharmaceutical merch has now reached a strange new frontier: used pharma memorabilia. On eBay, old mementoes branded with Pfizer and AstraZeneca logos are selling for tens and hundreds of pounds. AstraZeneca paperweights and ballpoint pens are going for £150 and £50 respectively. Bids for a Pfizer lab coat begin at £106, a “pre-loved” Pfizer denim shirt at £100 and a Disneyland Pfizer conference T-shirt at £144. Meanwhile, newspapers from the day the vaccine was announced are selling for more than £40.

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  • Eradicating polio is finally within reach. Why is the UK taking its foot off the pedal? | Anne Wafula Strike

    Instead of cutting the aid budget – including 95% from the plan to stamp out the disease – Britain should take a global lead

    Despite the Covid pandemic, there have been just two recorded cases of wild polio in 2021 – in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two remaining hiding places for the disease. But eradication is not guaranteed. Polio is virulent and spreads quickly. Even one case poses a threat to unvaccinated children everywhere, which is why a new strategy launched last week by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) outlines a plan to utilise this small window of opportunity for the world to end polio for good.

    A 99.9% fall in polio cases globally in recent decades is thanks in large part to the GPEI and its supporters. The British government’s recent announcement that it will slash its contributions to the GPEI by more than 95% has been a body blow. The funding cut amounts to almost a quarter of the annual World Health Organization polio eradication budget.

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  • China and the west must now cooperate to achieve global Covid vaccine coverage | Sophie Zinser

    Given the G7’s underwhelming pledge, WHO approval for two Chinese jabs is a welcome boost

    “Vaccine diplomacy” has evolved into a dirty phrase, not least in relation to China and the notion that its government could be exchanging ineffective jabs for geopolitical capital. At the weekend the G7 pledged just 1bn of the 11bn vaccines needed to immunise low- and middle-income countries, suggesting that the west cannot vaccinate the world alone. But, over the past month, international scientific and public health authorities have confirmed an exciting finding: that, despite the doubts of some critics, vaccines made by Chinese companies actually work. While they may remain ideological adversaries, China and the west now have no choice but to collaborate on vaccinating the world.

    On 2 June, the World Health Organization finally approved Sinovac for emergency use. Just days earlier, China’s largest state-owned pharmaceutical manufacturer, Sinopharm, had released peer-reviewed phase III clinical trial data proving its vaccine’s efficacy to western sceptics – and had it published in the the Journal of the American Medical Association, no less. Phase III’s “golden seal” means that each vaccine is effective enough to be widely distributed. But critical gaps in safety data for patients over the age of 60 remain for both Sinovac and Sinopharm jabs. While significant, these data holes notably did not deter a major approval from the world’s highest public health authority. With only 6% of the globe fully vaccinated, the need for doses clearlyoutweighs the risks the vaccines may pose.

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  • Blood brother: the Kashmiri man who is India’s biggest donor

    The ‘blood man’ of conflict-racked Kashmir has donated 174 pints of blood since 1980 but feels ‘crushed’ by his poverty

    Shabir Hussain Khan was taking an afternoon nap when he heard a commotion outside his house. A friend had been injured in a football match and had lost a lot of blood. Khan, who did not have any transport, rushed to the hospital by foot to donate some. It was 4 July 1980. Yesterday the man known locally as the “blood man of Kashmir” donated his 174th pint of his blood to strangers at the public hospital close to his Srinagar home.

    “Blood is not something you can buy in the market,” says Khan, who has an O-negative blood group. “In those days blood donation was not common, nor were blood banks. The way blood is available readily now, it was not like that before. Also there was no connectivity at that time. We only had radios and two or three landline phones in the entire locality.”

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  • Whether Covid escaped from a lab or not, it’s time to talk about biosecurity | Gregory D Koblenz and Filippa Lentzos

    We studied safety at the world’s most sophisticated laboratories, and found their policies often left much to be desired

    • Dr Gregory D Koblentz is an associate professor at George Mason University, and Dr Filippa Lentzos is senior lecturer in science and international security at King’s College London

    The debate on the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic has recently focused on the potential for the Sars-CoV-2 virus to have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, located in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the centre of the pandemic. This institute houses a maximum containment laboratory, more commonly known as a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) lab, designed to handle dangerous pathogens for which there are no available treatments or vaccines.

    The controversy has brought renewed attention to biosafety, biosecurity, “gain-of-function” and other “dual-use” research, along with consideration of the level of oversight that such labs should be operating under. Although this debate has become polarised and politicised, we should not lose sight of the importance of these issues, even if it turns out this lab had nothing to do with the emergence of the novel coronavirus. Concerns about whether labs are conducting their research safely, securely and responsibly are not new, or of relevance solely to labs in China – as revealed by a comprehensive study on global BSL-4 labs that we recently completed.

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  • China and the west must now cooperate to achieve global Covid vaccine coverage | Sophie Zinser

    Given the G7’s underwhelming pledge, WHO approval for two Chinese jabs is a welcome boost

    “Vaccine diplomacy” has evolved into a dirty phrase, not least in relation to China and the notion that its government could be exchanging ineffective jabs for geopolitical capital. At the weekend the G7 pledged just 1bn of the 11bn vaccines needed to immunise low- and middle-income countries, suggesting that the west cannot vaccinate the world alone. But, over the past month, international scientific and public health authorities have confirmed an exciting finding: that, despite the doubts of some critics, vaccines made by Chinese companies actually work. While they may remain ideological adversaries, China and the west now have no choice but to collaborate on vaccinating the world.

    On 2 June, the World Health Organization finally approved Sinovac for emergency use. Just days earlier, China’s largest state-owned pharmaceutical manufacturer, Sinopharm, had released peer-reviewed phase III clinical trial data proving its vaccine’s efficacy to western sceptics – and had it published in the the Journal of the American Medical Association, no less. Phase III’s “golden seal” means that each vaccine is effective enough to be widely distributed. But critical gaps in safety data for patients over the age of 60 remain for both Sinovac and Sinopharm jabs. While significant, these data holes notably did not deter a major approval from the world’s highest public health authority. With only 6% of the globe fully vaccinated, the need for doses clearlyoutweighs the risks the vaccines may pose.

    Continue reading...
  • How the 2001 northern riots boosted the far right – and reshaped British politics | Daniel Trilling

    The BNP’s explicitly racist politics only had limited appeal – but more adept politicians have seized on the myths they exploited

    Twenty years ago this summer, a series of riots broke out in parts of northern England that would have a profound effect on British politics. They began in Oldham in late May 2001, spreading to Burnley in June, and Bradford in July. All had their own specific local triggers, but all involved clashes between men of white and of south Asian background. This racialised dimension ensured that they became a matter of national concern, prompting warnings that some of the country’s diverse communities were, in the words of an official report, living “parallel lives”.

    In national debate, this quickly became a narrative that “multiculturalism” had failed, and helped to cement two powerful stereotypes that continue to dominate our politics. One is of the immigrant community – frequently Muslim – that fails to integrate, and stands repeatedly accused of creating “no-go zones” in parts of our towns and cities. The other stereotype is of the disaffected, “left behind” white working class, rarely treated as more than a caricature.

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  • How can women trust British police when so many have been accused of abuse? | Joan Smith

    It’s not just ‘bad apples’: a toxic system allows too many serious crimes to go unpunished. We urgently need an inquiry

    Hardly a day passes without another report highlighting violence against women. It’s a symptom of a toxic culture that allows far too many serious crimes to go unpunished, including thousands of rapes. Yet hundreds of police officers – the very people we are supposed to turn to for protection – have themselves been accused of abusing women.

    The stock police response to such accusations is that there will always be a few bad apples in the ranks. It was the excuse reached for last week by the Metropolitan police commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, when she talked lamely about the occasional “bad ’un” in her force. It is unedifying to see the country’s most senior officer trivialising legitimate concerns in this way, but especially so on the day that one of her own officers pleaded guilty to the kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard.

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  • Henny Beaumont on young people, education and Covid-19 – cartoon
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Learning in the Modern Workplace

  • MWL Daily has a new look
    Join our new MWL Daily Telegram channel for daily curated posts and articles about learning in the modern workplace
  • Supporting Continuous Learning From the Work (Online Workshop)
    Next public workshop: 24 May – 18 June 2021 Although L&D departments have traditionally focused on training people to do their jobs, research tells us that most of what employees learn at work happens as they do their job – it’s just that they are not aware of it or make the most of it.  So, […]
  • Modern Training Part 2 Online Workshop
    12 April – 7 May 2021 Modern training is not just about digitising current training events but thinking differently about what is appropriate for today’s workforce. There are two (4 week) workshops so you can take one or the other or both IN ANY ORDER. In the first we focus on creating fundamental training initiatives, […]
  • Modern Training Part 1 (Online Workshop)
    1 – 26 March 2021 Modern training is not just about digitising current training events but thinking differently about what is appropriate for today’s workforce. There are two (4 week) workshops so you can take one or the other or both. In the first we focus on creating fundamental training initiatives, whilst in the second […]
  • MWL Benchmarking Survey
    How modern is your organisation’s approach to workplace learning? In this final survey of this section we ask you which of the activities described on the Roles & Responsibilities page you have already implemented, are planning on implementing, or are not yet planning to implement. You can use this survey to benchmark your organisation’s L&D activities […]