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Zahra Joya: the Afghan reporter who fled the Taliban – and kept telling the truth about women

As a child in Afghanistan, she pretended to be a boy in order to get an education, before starting her own women’s news agency. Now living in Britain, her fight continuesJust over a month ago, Zahra Joya left her house in Kabul to walk to her office, as she had been doing every day. From this small office, Joya, a journalist, ran Rukhshana Media, the news agency she founded last year to report on the stories of women and girls across Afghanistan. By the time she returned home in the afternoon, h...
Tags: Media, Women, Life and style, Society, World news, Newspapers & magazines, Afghanistan, Britain, Taliban, South and Central Asia, Global development, Kabul, Joya, Zahra Joya, Rukhshana Media

This Much Is True by Miriam Margolyes review – a wickedly honest memoir

With her naughty stories and cutting remarks, the comic actor spares no blushes – but her account is poignant tooI’m quite sure you picked up this book hoping I’d make you laugh,” Miriam Margolyes writes in her memoir, This Much Is True. She more than delivered. When I was reading it this book on a train, a stranger asked if I was OK because I was crying with laughter at Margolyes’s description of her interview to study English literature at Oxford (“‘Do you like Milton?’ the tutor barked. I did...
Tags: Books, Comedy, Television, Celebrity, Life and style, Society, Culture, Britain, Television & radio, Sexuality, Oxford, Harry Potter, Autobiography and memoir, Lithuania, Milton, Miriam Margolyes

Generation X are heavy, risky drinkers. Will anything ever persuade us to stop?

Alcohol’s allure was powerful when we were growing up and those born after us consume far less. Now booze is falling out of fashion, is it time to assess old habits?My first job in journalism was editing a free magazine called Rasp. In 1995, we ran a competition for a year’s supply of Two Dogs lemon brew, the Australian alcopop. Two Dogs tried to send us 365 bottles, and I negotiated them up to 1,000, indignant that a bottle a day could constitute a “supply”. It is the only time I’ve ever played...
Tags: Health, Politics, Alcohol, Life and style, Society, Beer, Unemployment, Margaret Thatcher, ABV, Uk Unemployment And Employment Statistics, Wine, Alcoholism, TNT, Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, Two Dogs, Dave Lawrence

Right as rain! 10 ways to boost your mood on grey, wet or cold days

After a disappointing British summer, many of us won’t be looking forward to autumn and winter. But there are many ways to keep your spirits high in the bleaker seasonsIf you have ever spent summer in the UK, you will know that there is often little to distinguish the season from any other wet, miserable time of year. Nonetheless, many of us cling to the idea that we are in for endless days of sunshine and cheerfulness – so, when the season draws to a close, having been a washout, it can feel di...
Tags: Health, UK, Life and style, Society, UK News, Mental Health, Health & wellbeing, UK Weather, Rakhi Chand

British ‘baby shortage’ could lead to economic decline, says thinktank

Social Market Foundation suggests measures including better childcare provision to increase birthrate Britain is facing a “baby shortage” that could lead to “long-term economic stagnation”, a thinktank has said.The Social Market Foundation (SMF) said the birthrate was almost half what it was at its postwar peak in the 1960s, and the country’s ageing population could lead to economic decline. Continue reading...
Tags: Family, Politics, Money, Children, Life and style, Society, UK News, Childcare, Thinktanks, Britain, Parents and parenting, Childbirth, Social Market Foundation, Social Market Foundation SMF

A new start after 60: ‘I was fired at 64 – so I faced my fears and started my first company’

Investors told Paul Tasner, 75, he should put up his feet and enjoy retirement. Instead, he reinvented himself and launched a thriving sustainable packaging businessWhen Paul Tasner was 64, he was called to a meeting with the chief executive of Method cleaning products where he worked as senior director of operations – only to find that the meeting was an exit interview. It was shortly before Christmas 2009; San Francisco felt festive. His wife and friends were waiting for him at a restaurant. “...
Tags: Environment, San Francisco, Life and style, Society, Ageing, Waste, Paul Tasner, Tasner

Facebook and Google condemned over ads for ‘abortion pill reversal’

Adverts promoting ‘dangerous, unproven and unethical’ procedure shown millions of times, study findsFacebook has served “abortion reversal” adverts 18.4m times since January 2020, according to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), promoting an “unproven, unethical” and “dangerous” procedure.Google shows the adverts on more than four-fifths of searches related to abortion across a number of US cities, according to the CCDH research, targeted at search terms such as “unwante...
Tags: Health, Google, Facebook, Technology, Media, Social Networking, Women, US, Life and style, Society, World news, Abortion, CCDH, Center for Countering Digital Hate CCDH

A moment that changed me: a man had a massive heart attack and died in my arms

I had gone to stay in a camp in the Australian wilderness. One minute, my host was pouring drinks – the next he was on the floor, 90 minutes from the nearest medicI was in the back of the back of beyond: a wilderness camp in a lonely north-eastern corner of the Australian continent known by the acronym FNQ: far north Queensland. To reach it, you had to leave a paved road, drive on to a barge, cross a river along which alligators loitered with malevolent intent, and then head north into the densi...
Tags: Life and style, Society, Heart Attack, Queensland, Brisbane, Alison, Mal

‘Every man was drinking’: how much do bans on alcohol help women in India?

Women’s protests led to prohibition in Bihar but can alcohol bans end domestic abuse and harassment?Holding sticks and brooms, the women marched to the liquor shop in the centre of Konar village. It was a rare ambush in the staunchly patriarchal Bihar state in eastern India. But they were at breaking point.“In every village women were troubled by alcohol. Men harassed them on the streets. Husbands beat them at home,” says Sunita Devi, 52, a former seamstress who led the crowd. “When they saw us ...
Tags: Health, Family, Law, Alcohol, India, Women, Life and style, Society, World news, Domestic Violence, South and Central Asia, Global development, Alcoholism, Sexual Harassment, Bihar, Sunita Devi

Labia liberation! The movement to end vulva anxiety for good

Women have long been taught to be ashamed of their vulvas, with increasing numbers turning to cosmetic surgery in pursuit of genital ‘perfection’. But a new generation is fighting backWhen Florence Schechter opened the Vagina Museum – the world’s first museum dedicated to gynaecological anatomy – in London in 2019, it was partly a response to a dramatic rise in labiaplasty surgery. Instances of such surgery more than doubled in the first decade of this century, then carried on climbing. Zoe Will...
Tags: Health, London, Sex, Women, Life and style, Society, Sexual health, Cosmetic Surgery, Zoe Williams, Florence Schechter, Vagina Museum

‘I would never spend that much on a kitchen!’: Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud on money, ambition – and expensive mistakes

For more than 20 years the designer and presenter has shown viewers what it really costs to build a dream home. He talks about the frayed emotions, failure and why the UK needs radical land reformThe first couple of episodes of the current series of Grand Designs have already aired, but – as if it was itself an over-running building project – Kevin McCloud is still filming. When we speak over Zoom, from the small studio he set up “in a cupboard”, he has only just got home from filming; and as so...
Tags: UK, Housing, Environment, Life and style, Society, Culture, Architecture, Art and design, Television & radio, Planning policy, Kevin McCloud, Green Building, McCloud

‘I imagine the children we might have had’: deciding what to do with my late husband’s frozen sperm

Three years after the death of her husband at 41, Kat Lister describes the posthumous conception dilemma she facesIt’s the hottest week of the year and I am sitting in a windowless room on the lower ground floor of London’s University College Hospital discussing the precise temperature of frozen sperm. At -196C, these glacial swimmers are biologically inert, I’m told, as I’m handed two props: a thin plastic straw that bends to the will of my fingertips and a cylindrical cup segmented by colourfu...
Tags: Health, Books, Family, London, Life and style, Society, Death and dying, Parents and parenting, Fertility problems, University College Hospital, Kat Lister

The Taliban are not the only threat to Afghanistan. Aid cuts could undo 20 years of progress

The most vulnerable people will bear the cost of sanctions, as services and the economy collapseWatching Afghanistan’s unfolding trauma, I’ve thought a lot about Mumtaz Ahmed, a young teacher I met a few years ago. Her family fled Kabul during Taliban rule in the late 1990s.Raised as a refugee in Pakistan, Ahmed had defied the odds and made it to university. Now, she was back in Afghanistan teaching maths in a rural girls’ school. “I came back because I believe in education and I love my country...
Tags: Health, Business, Politics, Human Rights, Education, Children, Law, Women, Economics, Life and style, Society, UK News, World news, Teaching, Afghanistan, Taliban

‘Can we survive this squeeze?’: how to cope when both your kids and your parents need help

Who can look after my 95-year-old mum? How do I support my troubled teen? Experts’ top tips for the sandwich generation crushed by conflicting demandsWhen I was born, my grandmother was only 58. Her own parents were both dead, her mother having died in her 70s a few years earlier. I am 58 myself now, but my future grandchildren are still probably some years away. Two of my children are still living at home, with all the needs that entails, while my mother, a sprightly 83-year-old, can have every...
Tags: Family, Children, Life and style, Society, Social Care, Carers, Parents and parenting, Bank of Scotland

A new start after 60: ‘I pitied women who travelled alone – then I tried it and found true joy’

As a child, Charlotte Simpson and her family were excluded from many hotels in the deep south. Now she has visited more than 80 countriesThe Christmas after her husband died, Charlotte Simpson went on holiday with her daughter. In their tour group to Morocco were two women who travelled alone. “I felt sorry for them,” Simpson says, laughing. “It seemed preposterous. I would ask them from time to time how they felt and they just loved it. Both ladies said: ‘Seeing you here on the trip, I think yo...
Tags: China, Life and style, Society, Morocco, Ageing, Simpson, Charlotte Simpson

‘They came for my daughter’: Afghan single mothers face losing children under Taliban

Life for single mothers in Afghanistan has always been marred by stigma and poverty. Now with the Taliban in control, what few protections they had have disappearedThe day after Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital of Balkh province, fell to the Taliban on 14 August, gunmen came for Raihana’s* six-year-old daughter.Widowed when her husband was murdered by Taliban forces in 2020, Raihana had been raising her child as a single mother. After her husband’s death she had fought her in-laws for cust...
Tags: Children, Women, Life and style, Society, World news, Divorce, Afghanistan, Taliban, South and Central Asia, Global development, Internally displaced people, Sharif, Mazar, Balkh, Raihana

Parental burnout: how juggling kids and work in a global pandemic brought us to the brink

The past 18 months have left many parents and carers feeling overwhelmed, irritable and wrung bone dry. Can balance ever be restored?“I’m tired of how blurred the lines are between home and work,” Julia Thomas tells me as her two boys repeatedly ask for snacks in the background. Thomas lives in London with her husband, twin 11-year-old boys and a daughter, seven. She is a civil servant, but says she is feeling so burned out by childcare that she’s considering quitting her job completely. She isn...
Tags: Family, London, Children, Life and style, Society, Parents and parenting, Thomas, Julia Thomas

‘There is so much bad behaviour everywhere’: how to raise a good child in a terrible world

Amid Trump, #MeToo and rising hate crime, science writer Melinda Wenner Moyer decided it was time to learn how to stop her kids becoming ‘assholes’. Her research became an unusual, much-needed parenting bookWhen Melinda Wenner Moyer looked around in the autumn of 2018, she saw everywhere what she would describe as “assholes”. In the US and the UK, hate crime was – and is – rising. Across the world, #MeToo allegations continued to come. Donald Trump was in the White House and “I just felt like th...
Tags: Family, UK, Children, White House, US, Life and style, Society, Parents and parenting, Donald Trump, Moyer, Melinda Wenner Moyer

Podcast #592: Being a Man in the Lousy Modern World

Emerson famously said “society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.”  My guest today says things have gotten a lot worse since Emerson uttered those words over a century and a half ago. His name is Robert Twigger. We last had him on the show to discuss his book Micromastery. Today we discuss a book he wrote 20 years ago called Being a Man in the Lousy Modern World. We begin our conversation discussing how the modern world infantilizes men so they’re eas...
Tags: Apple, Amazon, Podcast, Japan, UK, England, Youtube, Scotland, Life, Advice, Superman, Spain, Society, Atlantic, Clint Eastwood, Manchester

‘A kick in the teeth’: British mothers and pregnant women fear return to workplace

Companies recalling staff this month have been accused of not offering flexitime and failing to protect employeesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBefore the pandemic, every morning and night was a cycle of stress and rushing around for single mother Emma Woodburn, getting her two young sons to and from school, childcare before and after work and staying on top of housework.But when, 18 months ago, the 39-year-old from Lancashire was told by her employer she could work ...
Tags: Business, Family, Money, Children, Women, Life and style, Society, UK News, Work & careers, Charities, Working From Home, Parents and parenting, Lancashire, Coronavirus, Emma Woodburn

‘Know how to flex on Insta?’: grandchildren and grandparents explain the world to each other

How much do these two generations understand about the lives of the other? We listened in on five family discussions to find outBob Smith sits upright on the sofa as his grandson, Louis Brow, prepares to quiz him on youth slang. We are sitting in the living room of Louis’s family home in Ilkley, West Yorkshire; Bob has travelled over from Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire, in his Nissan Micra. Continue reading...
Tags: Family, Technology, Children, Social Media, Life and style, Society, Digital Media, Parents and parenting, Bob, Smith, Grandparents and grandparenting, Walton, Louis, Louis Brow, Ilkley West Yorkshire, Dale Lancashire

It’s not just Texas – anti-abortion activists are targeting women’s rights in Europe | Mara Clarke

Draconian laws in European countries and the effects of Brexit and Covid-19 are making safe terminations harder to accessMara Clarke is the founder of Abortion Support NetworkThe state of Texas now has the most restrictive abortion law to be passed in the US since Roe v Wade legalised abortion in 1973. Texas residents must now add out-of-state travel to the many barriers that already exist to getting an abortion. There has been an outpouring of support for Texas women from people in the UK and E...
Tags: Health, Europe, UK, England, Texas, Women, US, European Union, Life and style, Society, UK News, World news, US news, Northern Ireland, Abortion, Clarke

Nigeria’s IDP camp midwife ‘bringing joy’ to mothers left behind by state

After seeing a woman die in childbirth, Liyatu Ayuba stepped in and has now delivered 118 babiesHaving watched a woman and her baby die needlessly after being refused admission to a hospital over a lack of money, Liyatu Ayuba wanted to never let it happen again.The 62-year-old is one of Nigeria’s nearly 3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) – driven out of their homes by the violence of the Boko Haram Islamist militants. Ayuba fled Gwoza in the north-eastern state of Borno in 2011 with he...
Tags: Health, Boko Haram, Nigeria, Africa, Women, Life and style, Society, World news, Health & wellbeing, Global development, Childbirth, Sexual health, Maternal mortality, Maternal health, Infant and child mortality, Internally displaced people

Delivering babies in a Nigerian camp: ‘I’ve had to use plastic bags as gloves’

After seeing a woman die in childbirth, Liyatu Ayuba stepped in and has now delivered 118 babies in a community cut off from public health servicesHaving watched a woman and her baby die needlessly after being refused admission to a hospital over a lack of money, Liyatu Ayuba wanted to never let it happen again.The 62-year-old is one of Nigeria’s nearly 3 million internally displaced people (IDPs) – driven out of their homes by the violence of the Boko Haram Islamist militants. Ayuba fled Gwoza ...
Tags: Health, Boko Haram, Nigeria, Africa, Women, Life and style, Society, World news, Health & wellbeing, Global development, Childbirth, Sexual health, Maternal mortality, Maternal health, Infant and child mortality, Internally displaced people

A new start after 60: ‘Exercise is my lifeblood – so I decided to run my first marathon at 74’

Rajinder Singh, AKA the Skipping Sikh, is preparing for his first 26.2-mile race – with community support and the memory of his father powering him alongRajinder Singh was five when he learned to run. While his father hand-cut the grass to feed their buffalo, in the village of Devidaspura in Punjab, Singh sat on a nice clean sheet, so the ants didn’t bite, and watched. When the work was done, his father taught him “how to jump rope, how to run, how to look after yourself”.His father, a keen athl...
Tags: Life and style, Society, Running, Older people, Ageing, Singh, Rajinder Singh, Devidaspura, Punjab Singh

Juul hooked an entire generation on nicotine – can it redeem its image?

The company has been shamed by health regulators, lost revenue and is the center of hundreds of US lawsuits. Now it has thrown in a last-ditch effort to continue salesMore than a decade ago, Adam Bowen and James Monsees became friends over their smoke breaks at Stanford University. They were graduate students when they first conceived of the idea behind Juul: conventional cigarettes, like the ones they couldn’t stop smoking, were bad not because of nicotine, but for all the other chemicals from ...
Tags: Health, Smoking, US, Life and style, Society, E-cigarettes, Juul, James Monsees, Adam Bowen, Stanford University They

The chronic stress survival guide: how to live with the anxiety and grief you can’t escape

Stress can feel like a baseline condition for many of us – especially during a pandemic. But there are ways to help alleviate the very worst of it, whether through support, sleep or radical self-careAt a time when all life’s challenges have been amplified by the pandemic – and awareness of burnout, at home and at work, has never been higher – stress might seem to be our baseline condition. For most of us, these periods of pressure pass relatively quickly. Even serious stress can be temporary and...
Tags: Family, Life and style, Society, Work & careers, Health & wellbeing, Parents and parenting, Rachel Boyd

We all play the status game, but who are the real winners?

Whether we’re yam growers, tech wizards or conspiracy theorists, we’re hardwired to play the status game. But success is not always what it seemsLife is a game. To understand this is to understand why the human world can be so maddening, angry and irrational. The behaviour of racists, transphobes, conspiracy theorists, cult members, religious fundamentalists and online mobbers becomes much more explicable when you realise that humans are programmed by evolution to be obsessively interested in s...
Tags: Life and style, Society

OCD has plagued me for most of my life – can I ever escape it?

Ask your GP to refer you to a specialist, says Annalisa Barbieri. It’s not surprising you haven’t been able to conquer it on your ownI am a 76-year-old married man and have had intense and ongoing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) since the age of 13.My father was killed in the second world war, just after I was conceived. When I was six, my mother remarried; the marriage soon became unhappy and tense. My mother was a strict disciplinarian and hit me frequently when she felt I had been naughty...
Tags: Health, Life and style, Society, Mental Health, Psychiatry, Health & wellbeing, Annalisa Barbieri

Unacknowledged rape: the sexual assault survivors who hide their trauma – even from themselves

Surveys suggest a large proportion of women have experienced sexual assaults that they labelled as a misunderstanding. This has serious psychological repercussions and increases the chance of being victimised againThe morning after it happened, I said a cheery: “Good morning,” to my university roommate, as if nothing was wrong. “How was last night?” she asked. “So fun,” I lied. The truth was that the night before I had feared for my life.I didn’t articulate it, but deep down I knew that what had...
Tags: Law, Sex, Women, Life and style, Society, Sexual Harassment, Rape and sexual assault

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