Connect with us

U.K News

In Britain, ‘Warm Hubs’ Emerge To Beat Soaring Energy Costs in 2023




STRATFORD UPON AVON, England— The foyer of the Other Place theater is a warm haven on a chilly late-winter day in Shakespeare’s hometown. Coffee-shop goers hold meetings, check emails, compose poems, and take sewing classes.

The Royal Shakespeare Company drama troupe opened a “warm hub,” which looks and feels like an artsy café in the picturesque streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, to welcome people struggling to heat their homes due to sky-high energy prices.

As rising food and energy prices force millions to turn down the thermostat or cut back on hot meals, thousands of warm hubs have sprung up across Britain this winter. Nearly 13,000 of these hubs were identified by the opposition Labour Party’s research. They are located in places as diverse as libraries, churches, community centers, and even a tearoom at King Charles III’s Highgrove country estate and are supported by a combination of charitable, community, and government funding.

A mutual friend told seventh-generation Stratfordian and artist/author Wendy Freeman about the Britain RSC’s welcoming hub. The only heat source in her “tiny house” is a coal fire. The highest inflation since the 1980s has caused a cost-of-living crisis, and she has had to make sacrifices like many others.


More people in Britain are struggling to make ends meet due to the combined effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine,

Freeman, 69, took advantage of the center’s warm, quiet environment to work on a poem. “You just adapt,” he said. “Simple things like using less water in the tea kettle. I was taught to “save the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves.” I stick to eating seasonal, home-cooked meals.

She continued, “But it’s nice to go somewhere warm.

More people in Britain are struggling to make ends meet due to the combined effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic, and the economic aftershocks of Brexit. When Russia invaded Ukraine, it caused the price of natural gas used for heating to skyrocket, pushing the United Kingdom to the verge of a recession. This hit households and businesses particularly hard.

The annual inflation rate in the Bitain United Kingdom was just over 10% in January, with food prices rising by nearly 17% year-over-year. According to the Office of National Statistics, approximately 62% of adults are reducing their natural gas and electricity consumption to cut costs. Survey firm Survation found that one-third of households frequently have trouble making ends meet.

The average Britain household’s energy bill is still double what it was a year ago, despite the decline in oil and natural gas prices from their highs earlier this year. In many cases, prices will increase by 20% on April 1 due to a government-imposed price cap increase.

Former math teacher Anne Bolger discovered the cozy gathering place while out for a stroll and has been a regular visitor ever since. She occasionally stops by to do things like jigsaw puzzles, check email, and study for her math tutoring job.

Today is the day that I appreciate it because it’s so cold at home,” she said.


The average Britain household’s energy bill is still double what it was a year ago.

The hub operates once per week on Thursday afternoons in the RSC’s smallest of three performance spaces. On Tuesday, the space was occupied by a diverse group of people: theatre workers, actors on their way to rehearsals, and curious onlookers hoping to warm up. Free tea, coffee, Wi-Fi, a sewing table, board games, puzzles, and toys for children are provided.

Bolger, who is 66 years old, praised the store’s conduciveness to creativity Britain. People are meeting, conversing, and working in that area. I feel more connected and alive when I’m out and about, as opposed to at home.

This is exactly the kind of feedback the event planners hoped to receive. Warm hubs are said to alleviate energy poverty and isolation.

“The warmth is in the welcome as much as a warm building to come to,” explained Nicola Salmon, the RSC’s creative place-making manager overseeing the hub. Talking to someone is a natural part of being here.

Stratford, located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Britain London, is a thriving community thanks largely to its most famous son, William Shakespeare. On cold winter weekdays, visitors can be seen going through streets lined with Tudor-style half-timbering on their way to the birthplace of the Bard, the classroom where he was educated, and his grave in the 13th-century Holy Trinity Church.

Britain warm hub

Warm hubs are an emergency response that looks to be here to stay

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is Stratford’s major employer and cultural institution. According to Salmon, the company’s “warm hub” is an attempt to better connect with the local community. The town is “often perceived as affluent and well-off,” but it has “areas of great deprivation,” he says.

Warm hubs are an emergency response that looks to be here to stay, much like the 2,500 food banks in the United Kingdom.

In 2021, as pandemic restrictions left many rural residents in Britain isolated, the Warwickshire Rural Community Council, a charity serving the county around Stratford, opened a warm mobile hub in the form of a minibus converted into a pop-up outdoor café.

With support from Cadent, the private company that distributes much of Britain’s heating gas, the charity ran five hubs across the county a year ago. With the onset of winter and the accompanying increase in energy costs, the group quickly grew to 90, with services ranging from catered meals to repair clinics and classes on slow cooking to cut down on gas consumption.

A mobile hub will travel five days a week, and about 30 permanent hubs will remain open over the summer.

“People say we shouldn’t be in this situation, and we shouldn’t be,” said Jackie Holcroft, manager of the charity’s Britain warm hubs. To counter that, however, we are. And I think one of the most incredible things is how many people in Warwickshire have volunteered their time to help.

At the end of March, the RSC will shut down its warm space, but preparations are underway for its return in 2019.

Bolger, a regular, expressed his sadness over its impending absence. I don’t want the fuel shortage to last forever, but I hope this place remains operational.

Continue Reading


UN Head Says Survival Depends On How People Manage Water In 2023




WATER The United Nations Humanity’s survival depends on how people manage water, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday at the close of a three-day conference on global water resources, during which developing countries made urgent requests for assistance with cleaner drinking water and better sanitation.

In his final remarks, Guterres stated, “All of humanity’s hopes for the future depend, in some way, on charting a new course to sustainably manage and conserve water.”

He stated that water “needs to be at the center of the global political agenda” and that this implies more aggressive action against climate change.

According to the United Nations World Water Development Report, released on the eve of the conference, 26% of the world’s population—2 billion people — lacks access to safe drinking water, while 46% — 3.6 billion people — lack access to basic sanitation. According to UN studies, nearly half the world’s population will face acute water stress by 2030.

Many rhetorical pledges to enhance water supply were made at the conference, but there needed to be more precise commitments to translate aspirations into better daily lives for regular people.


Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world

“We have such lovely, ambitious initiatives,” said Lina Taing, senior researcher at the global think tank United Nations University.

“We know that we are completely off track,” she stated, regarding providing them with clean water and sanitation. Taing stated that the world’s actions must be increased “fourfold.”

Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world, told U.N. members of their need for international aid to provide their people with drinking water and sanitation facilities.

“Waging a war on two fronts at the same time to address water issues and climate change is no easy task, especially for a small island nation like Kiribati, which has very limited resources at its disposal,” said Teburoro Tito, the United Nations representative for the Pacific island nation of fewer than 200,000 people. He claimed that Kiribati was particularly unprepared to deal with natural calamities.


Continue Reading


1 Million March In France, Unions Call New Pension Protests



paris march

PARIS MARCH — After more than a million people rallied across France on Thursday against unpopular pension reforms, French unions called for further statewide strikes and protests the following week, coinciding with King Charles III’s anticipated visit to France.

According to the Interior Ministry, the march in Paris attracted 119,000 participants, setting a record for the city’s capital during the pension demonstrations. However, as were many other marches, the march was plagued by violence. According to polls, most French people are against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, which he claims is vital to maintain the system.

The unions quickly announced fresh demonstrations and strikes for Tuesday, the day the British king is expected to visit Bordeaux as part of his trip to France, building on the significant turnout. According to the Sud Ouest newspaper, on Thursday night, participants in an unofficial demonstration set fire to and completely demolished the heavy wooden entrance of the Bordeaux City Hall.

According to the ministry, in cities and towns around the nation on Thursday, more than a million people participated in protest marches.

Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, went to the police headquarters on Thursday night march as fires were still raging in some Parisian neighborhoods hours after the march had concluded.

The protests were conducted the day after Macron infuriated his detractors even more by refusing to back down on the retirement bill that his administration rushed through parliament without a vote.

The eight unions organizing the protests march stated that “while the (president) tries to turn the page, this social and union movement… confirms the determination of the world of workers and youth to obtain the withdrawal of the reform.” On Tuesday, further nationwide strikes and protests were called for in addition to localized action this weekend.


Thursday night march as fires were still raging in some Parisian neighborhoods

Strikes disrupted travel as demonstrators surrounded ports, refineries, and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

In Paris, clashes between police and groups wearing black masks that attacked at least two fast food establishments, a supermarket, and a bank reflected the violence’s escalation and diverted attention from the tens of thousands of nonviolent demonstrators.

Police charged repeatedly and fired tear gas to disperse the protestors after being attacked with objects and pyrotechnics. After the march, protesters gathered at the Place de l’Opera, partially obscured by a tear gas haze. The “radical elements,” according to the police, number around 1,000 persons.

Other marches were plagued by violence, particularly in Lyon in the southeast and the western cities of Nantes, Rennes, and Lorient, where an administrative building was stormed, its courtyard set ablaze, and its windows destroyed.

The nine union-organized rallies around the country on Thursday were the ninth to occur since January, when opponents of Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age still hoped that parliament would reject it. However, the administration used a unique constitutional provision to force it through.

In a French interview on Wednesday, Macron remained steadfast in his belief that new legislation is required to maintain retirement funds. Other suggestions made by opponents included raising taxes on the affluent or businesses, which according to Macron, would harm the economy. He maintained that by the end of the year, the government’s law to raise the retirement age must be implemented.

The proposal now has to be approved by the Constitutional Council. But the opposition won’t give up.


The strikes on Thursday caused the Eiffel Tower and the Versailles Palace.

The chief of the moderate CFDT labor union, Laurent Berger, “We are trying to say before the law is enacted… that we have to find a way out and we continue to say that the way out is the withdrawal of the law.”

Public transportation networks in other significant cities, the Paris metro, and high-speed and regional trains were all affected. At Paris Orly Airport, almost 30% of scheduled flights were canceled.

The strikes on Thursday caused the Eiffel Tower and the Versailles Palace, where the British monarch will dine with Macron, to be shuttered.

Violence, a regular problem during demonstrations, has been worse recently. 12,000 security personnel, including 5,000 in Paris, would be on French streets on Thursday, according to Gerald Darmanin.

In a statement, the Education Ministry stated that 15% of instructors in high schools and roughly 24% of primary and intermediate school teachers took a sick day on Thursday.

Several hundred strikers wielding flares and yelling, “Macron, go away,” marched on the Paris Gare de Lyon train station rails to stop trains from moving. They were carrying flares.

Maxime Monin, 46, expressed concern that his and other public transportation workers’ holidays this year might be less enjoyable. He emphasized that such workers are not paid on strike days. But the price was worthwhile.

A bus depot in Pantin, in the northern suburbs of Paris, was blocked by several dozen union members during rush hour, preventing 200 vehicles from leaving.

A 48-year-old bus driver involved in the protest, Nadia Belhoum, condemned Macron’s choice to push through the higher retirement age.

She declared, “The president of the Republic is not a monarch, and he should listen to his people.



Continue Reading


Nigerian Politician Found Guilty In UK Organ Harvesting Plot




LONDON — In a scheme to take a street vendor to the U.K. as part of the harvesting of organs, a senior Nigerian politician and his wife were found guilty on Thursday.

Ike Ekweremadu, a lawyer and the vice president of the Nigerian Senate, and his wife Beatrice were charged with organizing a 21-year-old man’s flight to the United Kingdom to use him as a kidney donor.

According to the prosecution, the lawmaker and his wife recruited the man from a Lagos street market and set up the victim’s kidney donation for their 25-year-old daughter Sonia during an 80,000-pound (almost $100,000) transplant procedure at a London hospital.

According to the prosecution, the victim thought he was being taken to London in February 2022 for employment and that he would be paid thousands of pounds as part of the arrangement.

Although giving a kidney is legal in the UK, it is against the law to give someone money or another material benefit in exchange.

The conviction is the first under the U.K.’s modern slavery statutes of suspects in an organ harvesting conspiracy.


Ike Ekweremadu, a lawyer and the vice president of the Nigerian Senate, and his wife Beatrice were

To pull off the scam, the victim falsely claimed to be Sonia’s Nigerian cousin on his U.K. visa application, and the Ekweremadus pretended to be Sonia’s family to medical professionals.

However, a physician at the Royal Free Hospital determined the intended procedure couldn’t proceed after growing uneasy about the conditions. Prosecutors claim that the Ekweremadus then looked for additional possible contributors in Turkey.

The victim told British authorities that he had been smuggled from Nigeria and that someone was attempting to transplant his kidney, which is how the case was discovered.

Joanne Jakymec, the chief crown prosecutor, called the case “horrific.”

The victim had little awareness of what was happening, the victim’s statement read. “The convicted defendants showed utter disregard for the victim’s welfare nigerian, health, and well-being and used their considerable influence to a high degree of control throughout,” it stated.

At London’s Central Criminal Court on Thursday, Dr. Obinna Obeta, identified by the prosecution as a medical “middleman” in the scheme, was also found guilty. The jury found Sonia Ekweremadu, who has significant kidney disease, not guilty.

The accused were instructed to stay in detention, and their sentence was set for May 5.


Continue Reading