Stress can cause permanent damage to a man's sperm - and affect the mental health of his children

Stress can cause permanent damage to a man's sperm and even stunt his children's brain development, a new study has found.

Researchers have discovered that suffering anxiety or depression as an adult, teenager or even as a child could cause a lasting genetic change in a man's sperm.

Scientists conducting a study on mice found that sperm damage caused by stress leads to offspring developing a 'blunted reaction to stress' - a trait associated with several mental disorders. 

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine say this is the first time a link has been found between stress-related diseases potentially being passed from a father to his children.

Previous studies have concentrated on how environmental challenges - such as diet, drug abuse, and chronic stress - felt by mothers during pregnancy can affect their offspring's neurodevelopment and increase the risk of certain diseases.

In this study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, male mice were exposed to six weeks of chronic stress, before breeding, either throughout puberty or only in adulthood.

Examples of stress include suddenly being moved to another cage, being exposed to predator odour, noise or a foreign object in their cage.

Male mice are ideal for such an experiment because they do not participate in offspring rearing, meaning any external factors outside of germ-cell formation are essentially eliminated.

A team of researchers led by Professor Tracy Bale found that stress among male mice prompted a genetic change in their sperm that re-programmed a part of their offspring’s brain.

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They found that offspring from paternal stress groups displayed significantly blunted levels of the stress hormone corticosterone - in humans, it’s cortisol - in response to stress.

Professor Bale said: 'It didn’t matter if dads were going through puberty or in adulthood when stressed before they mated. We’ve shown here for the first time that stress can produce long-term changes to sperm that reprogram offspring brains.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania carried out a test on male mice - finding that their sperm underwent a genetic change after they were exposed to stress

'These findings suggest one way in which paternal-stress exposure may be linked to such neuropsychiatric diseases.'

But researchers also point out that a reduced physiological stress response may reflect some evolutionary benefit passed on to offspring to ensure survival in what is expected to be a more stressful environment.

Professor Bale added: 'Whether such diminished stress reactivity would be detrimental or beneficial to offspring likely depends on the environment into which they were born, as well as genetic background factors.' 


Turkey protests: Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows to remove demonstrators from Taksim Square

Istanbul is preparing for more violent scenes after protesters were warned they would be removed from Taksim Square within 24 hours.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued the warning today following two weeks of violent confrontations.

It comes after the European Parliament issued a resolution condemning the excessive use of force by Turkish riot police against demonstrators.

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Stand-off: Activists stand on a barricade at the entrance of Gezi Park in Istanbul today following an ultimatum by the Turkish Prime Minister

Warning: The European Parliament has issued a resolution condemning the excessive use of force by Turkish riot police against demonstrators. This activist stands on a barricade at the entrance of Gezi Park

Troubling: This bus stop shows signs of damage following recent violent scenes in Istanbul

Ratcheting up his defiant tone, Prime Minister Erdogan appears determined to end the protests that have put an unflattering international spotlight on his Islamic-rooted government and its handling of the biggest street unrest of his 10-year tenure. 

Erdogan's comments came a day after his Justice and Development party proposed a referendum over a development plan at Taksim Square that has fanned the protests.

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Police have repeatedly fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters; five people have died and over 5,000 have been injured.

The government says 600 police were injured as well.

'This square belongs to the people of Istanbul, the people of the whole country, and to all international visitors. So we cannot allow troublemakers to hang around freely in this square,' Erdogan said.

Warning: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today told protestors they will be removed from Taksim Square within 24 hours. Activists are pictured standing on top of their barricade overlooking Taksim Square yesterday

Anger: Protestors light flares as they gather for an anti-government rally at the entrance of Gezi Park at Taksim Square last night











Manipulative paedophile who pretended to be a teenage boy to persuade young girls to carry out indecent acts online, including self-harm, is jailed for eight years

A predatory paedophile who terrorised teenage girls over the internet has been jailed for eight years.

Lee Christie, 43, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, pretended to be a teenage boy to persuade young girls to strip and carry out indecent acts online.

He manipulated and threatened his ten victims, who were aged between 13 and 16, and accumulated thousands of indecent images of children.

On one occasion, Christie pressured a 14-year-old girl to harm herself as he watched on webcam after threatening to send indecent images of her to her parents and post them online.

He told one of his youngest victims, aged just 13, that he would kill her family if she didn’t do what he asked.

Christie admitted 23 charges and was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court today.

Nearly 70,000 indecent images and videos of children were found on two of his computers, as well as a further 3,000 images of extreme pornography.

Nottinghamshire Police was contacted by the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) after Christie was intercepted on a U.S. social networking site claiming to be a teenage boy.

Users claimed he had been persuading young girls to expose themselves online and had boasted that he owned a large collection of indecent images of young girls.

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In January 2012, Christie was arrested by officers from the Force’s Sexual Exploitation Investigation Unit raided his Newark home.

It was when officers began to examine Christie’s computers that the full extent of his devious offending became clear.

Detective Constable Andy Taylor, from Notts police’s Sexual Exploitation Investigation Unit, said: 'Christie used MSN and social networking sites to get close to girls all over the country.'

Police also found nearly 70,000 indecent images and videos of children on his computers

He added: 'In reality, he was a man in his forties locked away at home obsessed with young girls.

'He would first get them to trust him before persuading them to take their clothes off online. Once he had images of them, he would blackmail them to do what he asked.

'The girls he targeted were very young and vulnerable and they became terrified of him. He would threaten to turn up at their doors and hurt them and their family if they did not carry out his orders.

'He even made one girl cut herself as he watched - he was spiralling out of control and caused untold damage to his victims.

'It’s fortunate that his devious behaviour was noticed by other people online and the authorities were notified.'

Christie admitted that he possessed a huge catalogue of indecent images of children and confessed to using a number of fake profiles on social networking sites, posing as a teenage boy to get close to young girls.

Lure: The paedophile pretended to be a teenage boy using this image and persuaded young girls to strip and carry out indecent acts online

He admitted to spending up to 20 hours a day on the internet trying to entice young girls to strip and engage in sexual activity online.

Chat logs found on his computers showed Christie had been discussing the sexual abuse of young girls with other paedophiles.

It was also discovered that Christie had taken indecent images of two girls, then aged 13 and 14, at an address in Nottinghamshire in 2004.

Christie pleaded guilty to 15 counts of making indecent images of children, possession of 69, 542 indecent images of children and six counts of causing a female aged 13 or over to engage in sexualactivity.

He also admitted possession of extreme pornography and a prohibited image of a child.

He will sign the sex offenders register for life and was given a sexual offences prevention order for life.



Give us this day, our Sainsbury¿s bread: Vicar takes up job as supermarket delivery driver because he is short of money

Every Sunday Reverend Martyn Pinnock offers communion to the congregation at his parish church in Cornwall.

But the cash-strapped vicar was forced to take up delivering a different kind of bread - by becoming a Sainsbury's delivery driver. 

The 66-year-old combines work for the church with two days a week behind the wheel for the supermarket giants.

Reverend Martyn Pinnock has taken a job as a Sainsbury's delivery driver because he is short of cash

He started working for Sainsbury’s five years ago but only regained his religious licence last November after marrying for the second time.

Rev Pinnock took charge of the Parish of Tregony and St Cuby with Cornelly near Truro in Cornwall.

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The grandfather said: 'I’m doing both jobs because I need the money.

'The biggest problem is that having been made the vicar of the parish the church is paying me for half of the time but it’s impossible to be a parish priest for half of the time.

Rev Pinnock works for Sainsbury's for 10 hours on Mondays and nine hours on Tuesdays each week

He took over as vicar in charge of the Parish of Tregony and St Cuby with Cornelly near Truro in Cornwall

'People ring me up when I’m driving. I have to sit down after a day’s driving and then work out what I’m going to say in the pulpit.'

Rev Pinnock works for Sainsbury’s for 10 hours on Mondays and nine hours on Tuesdays each week.

He returned to the UK in 2008 after a three-year spell in the United States where he worked for electronic company Plessey.

The vicar started working for Sainsbury's five years ago but regained his religious licence last year

At that stage he was still in the process of going through a divorce and was not allowed to hold a ministerial licence until he re-married.

He said ‘hefty legal fees’ from his divorce were reasons he was short of money.

'It is difficult to juggle two jobs,' said the vicar.

'If you’re a priest and particularly a parish priest, you are considering issues about parish life and everything becomes a bit of a juggling exercise.

'I did reduce my hours at Sainsbury’s, although due to the ten hour and nine hour shift, I am still quite busy and I do cover a big area.

'I’m not sure how long I plan on being at Sainsbury’s - a lot depends on what happens in the church and whether my role in the diocese changes from part-time to full-time.

'However, the idea of not working never appeals to me, I will carry on driving for Sainsbury’s for as long as they let me.'

He added: 'I’m thinking about the church all the time. I’m thinking about it but I don’t wear the collar when I’m driving.

'Church for me is about a style of life rather than banner-waving. It most certainly is about seven days a week and not just Sunday.

'I’ve always found that my instinct to be pastorally caring comes out. 

'You get elderly folk who are trying to be independent and you try and do as much as you can for them.

'We certainly go to more trouble for people in need.'




Syria death toll stands at 93,000, with 5,000 people dying every month, says the UN

Syria's spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of nearly 93,000 people, but the real number is likely to be far higher, the United Nations revealed today.

The new death toll released in Geneva points to the seemingly unstoppable carnage that has engulfed Syria for more than two years.

An average of more than 5,000 people have been killed every month since July, while the Damascus region and Aleppo have recorded the highest tolls since November, the UN's human rights office said in its latest study of documented deaths.

Among the victims were at least 6,561 children, including 1,729 children younger than 10.

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Toll of civil war: A picture taken in April shows a mass grave of people allegedly killed by Syrian forces. Nearly 93,000 people have been killed in the conflict, the UN said today

In Damascus, officials said that at least one mortar shell fell on the edge of Damascus International Airport close to the runway, briefly disrupting flights in and out of the capital.

The country's transportation minister Mahmoud Ibrahim Said told Syrian TV that a shell fired by 'terrorists' struck near a warehouse, breaking its windows and injuring a worker there.

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The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says rebel fighters targeted the airport with home-made rockets. The attack came a few weeks after the government announced it had secured the Damascus airport road, which had been targeted by rebels in the past.

The incident also came as President Bashar Assad's forces wage an offensive to drive rebels out of central provinces of Homs and Hama, as well as the northern province of Aleppo, following a major success in regaining control of the strategic town of Qusair near the border with Lebanon.

Shocking: A boy carries a weapon as he walks with members of the Free Syrian Army in Deir al-Zor. Among the victims in the conflict were at least 6,561 children, including 1,729 children younger than 10

Boosted by their battleground victory, regime forces appear set on securing control of the central region, a linchpin area linking Damascus with regime strongholds on the Mediterranean coast, and Aleppo to the north.

In a new analysis of the Syrian death toll issued in Geneva, the U.N.'s human rights office documented 92,901 killings between March 2011 and the end of April 2013.

But the U.N.'s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said it was impossible to provide an exact current figure.

The last such analysis, released in January, documented nearly 60,000 killings through the end of November. Since then, U.N. officials had estimated higher numbers.

'The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels, with more than 5,000 killings documented every month since last July,' said Pillay.

'This is most likely a minimum casualty figure. The true number of those killed is potentially much higher.'

Victim of war: A man carries a boy who was severely wounded during heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian Army forces in Idlib in March

The conflict in Syria began in March 2011 as largely peaceful protests against Assad's autocratic regime.

After a relentless government crackdown on the protests, many Syrians took up arms against the regime, turning the uprising into an armed rebellion that morphed into civil war.

The U.N. said the average monthly number of documented killings has risen from around 1,000 per month in the summer of 2011 to an average of more than 5,000 per month since last July.

At its height from July to October 2012, the number of killings rose above 6,000 per month.

'Civilians are bearing the brunt of widespread, violent and often indiscriminate attacks which are devastating whole swaths of major towns and cities, as well as outlying villages,' Pillay said.

'Government forces are shelling and launching aerial attacks on urban areas day in and day out, and are also using strategic missiles and cluster and thermobaric bombs.

Opposition forces have also shelled residential areas, albeit using less fire-power, and there have been multiple bombings resulting in casualties in the heart of cities, especially Damascus.'

The most documented killings were in rural Damascus, with 17,800 people dead. Next were Homs, with 16,400; Aleppo, 11,900; and Idlib, 10,300.



'It was the busiest night of all, we couldn't cope': Nurse who said 81-year-old patient was ASLEEP after she had died blames hospital for not giving her a break

Evelyn Agbeko said: 'We didn¿t have the staff - maybe me, an agency nurse and two carers and that was it.¿

A nurse at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital said she mistakenly claimed a patient was sleeping when she was dead because she hadn't had a break on a 15-hour night shift.

Evelyn Agbeko told the Nursery and Midwifery Council that she made notes saying the elderly patient was asleep at 4am and 6am when she had died at 3am.

Ms Agbeko, the nurse in charge of the ward, said she was overworked because of staffing cutbacks and the night that she made the medical note was, 'the busiest night of all.'

The experienced nurse told the hearing that she was overworked and her ward was understaffed.

‘I couldn’t have a break because I’d have to leave a patient on their own in filth or leave them without having their treatment.

‘That night was the busiest night of all, we couldn’t cope,’ she explained.

‘The hospital didn’t give us the level of care we needed - there would be the same number of staff on a ward where there were just elderly people as there were on our ward which was a gastroenterology ward.

‘I sometimes wouldn’t have a break in a 15-hour shift because we didn’t have the staff - maybe me, an agency nurse and two carers and that was it.’

Along with colleague Theresia Van Der Knaap, Ms Agbeko allegedly failed to provide 'basic life support' when the nurses discovered the 81-year-old was unresponsive.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard that there was confusion over whether there was a 'do not resuscitate' order in place for the patient.

As the pensioner's life drained away the nurses did not start chest compressions or summon the hospital's resuscitation team.

On the afternoon of April 16, 2010, registrar Dr Helen Steed began considering whether or not to impose a 'Do Not Attempt Resuscitation' order, in light of the patient's chances of survival if she arrested.

The woman, referred to as Patient A, was on dialysis and had been admitted to A&E at the hospital at the day before suffering from shortness of breath.

Dr Steed decided she wanted to see the woman first, but before she could review Patient A, Susan Voss, acting hospital site manager, received a call stating she had died.

At the time we just had to cut corners to give patients the right care - my priority is providing patient care.’

Ms Agbeko said she ignored hospital policy on note-taking, choosing to fill out patients’ notes at her station rather than at their bedside because she ‘wanted to make them comfortable’ and not ‘disturb’ them.

The elderly patient was also not given a diuretic to aid her kidney problems and when her oxygen saturation levels dropped no further checks were made.

Registrar Dr Helen Steed told the hearing Agbeko and Van Der Knaap acted in the patient’s best interests.

The nurses allegedly failed to provide 'basic life support' when the nurses discovered the 81-year-old was unresponsive

‘It really did seem that this lady was dying and that there was nothing that could be done to prevent that,’ she said.

‘I think the nurses acted in the patient’s best interests.

‘Hospital policy should always be in the patient’s best interests but it can sometimes be frustrating.’

Dr Steed added that Patient A was too weak and frail to be resuscitated and that Agbeko and Van Der Knaap had allowed her a ‘quiet death with dignity’.

‘If Patient A arrested she was very unlikely to survive and she wouldn’t have been on ventilation. ‘Her chances of survival were low.

‘I think it was a common sense decision not to resuscitate her because she was elderly and frail. ‘Technically it was not the right call but it allowed a quiet death with dignity.

‘I felt the nurses were experienced and realised the lady was dying so they didn’t put out the call to the resuscitation team but instead contacted the site manager.'

Ms Stephenson told the panel that the expected procedure would have been for Agbeko to press the emergency alarm and commence chest compressions until the resuscitation team arrived.

Samantha Adams, a nurse who was working that night, allegedly went for a break at 3am and around 15 minutes later Van Der Knaap went to her and told her that Patient A had died, the hearing was told.

'She commented to Ms Van Der Knaap that the patient was for twos, which meant that the patient was for resuscitation,' said Ms Stephenson.

She added that this was a reference to extension '222', which was the number for the resuscitation team.

Ms Stephenson said: 'Ms Van Der Knaap repeated that the patient had already died.

'Ms Adams will state that she was shocked by this and informed the nurses that the call should have been put out if there was no Do Not Attempt Resuscitation order in place.'

Agbeko, who knew Patient A had already died, subsequently made two entries in woman's medical notes stating she was asleep at 4am and 6am.

The nurse admits this, claiming that she was simply confused at the time of making the entries.

She and Van Der Knaap deny all other allegations against them including making inadequate medical notes and failing to provide basic life support when they found the pensioner unresponsive.

Stafford Hospital was the subject of a two-year public inquiry, which concluded last month, into its appalling standards of care.

Official documents suggest up to 1,200 more patients than expected died at the Weston Road site between 2005 and 2008.

Sir Robert Francis QC, who chaired the inquiry, has said the true figure may never be known.

The central London hearing, which Agbeko is attending, but Van Der Knaap is not, continues.


'I lost control of my thoughts before I threw my six-day-old baby down a rubbish chute', mother tells court

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A mother has told a court she 'lost control' of her thoughts before throwing her six-day-old baby down a tower-block rubbish chute.

Jaymin Abdulrahman, said to have been suffering from a post-natal psychosis, told jurors she did not plan to cause any harm to the baby before the incident last September.

The Crown alleges the 25-year-old Iraqi national deliberately placed her baby daughter into the chute with the intention of killing her.

Abdulrahman, who denies attempted murder and inflicting grievous bodily harm, wept several times while giving evidence on the third day of her trial.

Speaking through a Kurdish interpreter, she told the court she was in tears while cleaning her bathroom shortly before placing the baby in the chute.

'I was extremely sad,' she told jurors. 'I went to the living room, I put the baby in a rubbish bag and I threw her away.

'After I had done so, I just couldn’t believe what I had just done, and I couldn’t understand why I did it.

'I was in shock.'

Answering questions from defence barrister Rachel Brand QC, Abdulrahman added that she had not 'planned' to do what she did and had not thought about what she was going to do.

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'Even now as I am speaking to you, I am still in a state of disbelief of what I have done.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that when the baby hit a metal plate at the bottom of the chute it was travelling at around 32mph. Miraculously it survived but suffered severe brain injuries including several skull fractures

'I have lost control of my thoughts when I did so.

'I can’t tell whether I was crying at the time or not, but I have done this.

'I wasn’t aware of what I was doing.

'If I thought that by doing so I would do some harm to the baby, I wouldn’t have done it.'

Asking Abdulrahman about her time in hospital after giving birth, Miss Brand asked her client: 'Did you have any thoughts at all of causing harm to her?'

The defendant replied: 'No. That kind of thought never came to me. This is something I could never imagine.

'I even despised people who were abusive to children.'

Prosecutors said they believe Abdulrahman knew what she was doing and intended to kill the baby

Abdulrahman was 'tired, sad and exhausted' in the week after her daughter’s birth and unaware of why she was crying.

At the start of the defence case, Miss Brand claimed Abdulrahman’s mental condition was so severe it prevented her from forming an intent to kill or cause serious injury to her daughter who fell more than 40ft into a bin store.

The 25-year-old denies attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Her daughter, whose name cannot be published for legal reasons, suffered skull fractures and brain injuries in the fall at a block of flats in Wolverhampton.

Opening her client’s case to the jury at Birmingham Crown Court, Miss Brand urged the panel not to view her as a 'monster'.

The lawyer conceded that the jury members’ hearts must have sank when they heard details of how the infant had been injured.

Ms Brand told the panel of seven men and five women: 'All I am asking you to do is to keep an open mind about the evidence you are going to hear in the next stage of this case.

'You are going to hear evidence in the next few days that shows this defendant was suffering from post-natal depression.'

The baby was found in a large bin wrapped in a piece of material after she was thrown down the rubbish chute

Submitting that Abdulrahman’s depression was so severe it amounted to a condition called postpartum psychosis, Miss Brand told jurors: 'What we are going to invite you to consider is that when this happened, Jaymin Abdulrahman was not truly capable of making a rational, a considered judgment about things that she did.'

Describing Abdulrahman, who came to the UK from Iraq in 2011, as a competent and loving mother, Miss Brand also argued that her illness meant she was not capable of 'forming an intent to either kill or cause really serious injury to her baby'.

The trial continues.





Freak 11-STONE halibut (that's 3 times bigger than usual) caught with a fishing rod off Shetland coast and sold to restaurant for £1,000

A freak 11-stone halibut has been line caught off the Shetland coast and is expected to serve up to 300 people.

The huge fish is believed to be about 50 years old and is about three times the size of regular halibut catches.

The remarkable fish has been sold to a seafood restaurant for £950 where it will be made into roughly 300 portions and make the establishment three times the cost in profit.

Human-sized: The giant halibut is longer than Crabshakk's head chef David Scott

Monster: The enormous halibut, caught off the Shetland coast, is believed to be about 50 years old

Big operation: Restaurant owner John Macleod said they would be unlikely to see such a large fish again

The catch is immediately being put on the menu and will be served to customers this weekend.

The giant fish is so big, it is longer than head chef David Scott, who was given the task of filleting it.

Mr Scott, head chef at the restaurant, where fish and chips sells for £9.50, will turn the massive halibut into fillets, scampi and curry.

The rare halibut was line-caught in the deep waters off the North Sea, near Shetland, Scotland, by commercial fishermen.

Crabshakk owner John Macleod said: 'I don't think any of us will ever see a bigger wild halibut than this.'

Pricey: The restaurant paid £950 for the whopper fish but expect to make three times that amount

All hands on deck: The entire team of chefs helped to fillet the fish, which will be divided into about 300 portions

Enormous: Despite weighing in at 11-stone, the halibut is still shy of the 34-stone record

A spokesman for supplier John Vallance said: 'Finding a 70kg halibut is extremely rare, and certainly not as common as the usual 20-30kg.'

At 11-stone (70kg) the huge fish is still somewhat shy of the largest halibut ever caught.

In 2010, veteran German angler G√ľnther Hansel, 70, reeled in a 34-stone (220kg monster) which was sold for £2,500.

The previous largest halibut was a 33-stone (210kg) fish caught off Norway in 2009.

Atlantic halibut are among the largest fish in the world and can grow up to 15ft long.

They have been overfished in the past few decades and have been placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list and listed as endangered.

Versatile: The 50-year-old halibut will be turned into curry, scampi and fillets

Record breakers: Halibut are among the world's largest fish and can grow up to 15ft long

Money well spent: The Crabshakk restaurant expects to make up to £3,000 from the giant fish









Seaweed in China: Beach is turned into a giant salad by mysterious 'sea lettuce' algae that has swamped the shoreline

A seashore looked more like a meadow after huge piles of seaweed was washed up onto the shoreline.

A beach in Rizhao, Shandong, has been given a whole new look after the lush green mess lay tangled on the beach.

The pile of seaweed - also known as sea lettuce - arrived on Saturday, and shows no sign of disappearing as the sea waves are constantly pushing them on to the land.

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Swamped in seaweed: The non-poisonous algae covers a beach in Rizhao, Shandong

The large quantity of enteromorpha has arrived on the Qingdao and Rizhao coast in Shandong province

The pile of seaweed - also known as sea lettuce - arrived on Saturday, and shows no sign of disappearing






Mother of Jamie Oliver chef calls on Prime Minister to ban suicide websites she blames for her son's death

A mother has called on the Prime Minister to ban websites which promote ways of committing suicide which she blames for her son's death. 

Kevin Boyle, 26, beat more than 1,500 competitors to become one of the original apprentices at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant where he cooked for Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey.

But the talented cook had a history of mental illness and was found dead about two miles from his home in Coulsdon, south London, in January last year, three months after going missing.

His badly decomposed body was found with two notes and what is believed to be a suicide kit that had been bought for £44 from a foreign company on the internet.

At his inquest at Croydon Coroner's Court yesterday, Kevin's mother Patti, 55, described the paraphernalia bought from the website as 'death in a bag'.

The website has since been closed but she asked the coroner to write to David Cameron urging him to ban similar websites still selling 'encyclopaedias to end life'.

She told the inquest of her heartache when she realised that a brown paper jiffy bag that she took delivery of for her son contained the tools for his death.

At the time she thought it had contained cooking equipment.

Sitting next to her husband Tom, 65, she said: 'I believe there is sufficient evidence to suggest that on the balance of probabilities Kevin committed suicide.

'We have the email exchanges ordering the kit and arranging payment.

Budding chef: Jamie Oliver with Kevin Boyle at the restaurant in Hoxton

'Thomas took delivery of the kit, I saw the brown Jiffy bag I believe contain the kit addressed to Kevin, that bore no postage details or delivery identification, delivered by an unidentifiable courier.

'Paraphernalia consistent with these items was retrieved by officers inspecting the site where Kevin was discovered.'

The site Kevin bought the kit from promised painless 'deliverance' and required no proof of terminal illness or psychiatric assessment, just a photocopy of Kevin's passport.

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Mrs Boyle asked the coroner to take the unusual step of writing to the government to take action in what is known as a Rule 43 letter because she wanted to lower the number of suicides in the UK.

She said: 'Currently assisted suicide websites have thousands of pages that offer advice, instruction and the whole wherewithal, almost like an encyclopaedia of methodologies to end life.

'A young person who is overwhelmed by life and in a state of mental distress does not have the ability to be able to look back and say "I've come that far and I'm stronger for it.

Patti Boyle has called on the government to ban websites which promote ways of committing suicide

'What we want and seek the coroner's assistance with is to bring the problems of these websites back to government because we believe that the internet service providers should be held responsible for the material they have displayed and they are penalised for it.

'We also want legislation that bans the UK-based sites.'

So-called suicide websites have been linked to dozens of deaths in Britain over the last ten years.

Promoting suicide is already outlawed under the 1961 Suicide Act, but this has never been used to prosecute a website operator.

Happy memories: Kevin (centre) with brother Joseph and father Tom

Mrs Boyle told the inquest it was Kevin's 'dream come true' to work for Jamie Oliver and that the Channel 4 chef had been a constant support for the family.

And she described how the Fifteen restaurant had helped keep her troubled son alive.

She said: 'He wanted to be a chef from the age of four years old. When he was selected for Jamie Oliver's it was all his dreams come true.

Full of promise: Kevin as a toddler

'Jamie Oliver and his team and everybody at Fifteen have been constant in their support for us as a family.

'Fifteen is like a lighthouse in a place of darkness, it offers people hope. When you are part of the Fifteen family they never let you go.

'Because of Fifteen I can happily say that as a family we had our son for ten years longer than we otherwise would have done.'

No cause of death could be given because Kevin's body was in such a badly decomposed state when it was found, and the coroner returned an open verdict.

Coroner Dr Roy Palmer warned of the difficulties in taming the internet but said he would write to the Prime Minister to ask him to look at the issue.

He said: 'At the moment the government has not yet found a way of controlling the internet but I can understand your concerns and I'm proposing that I should write.

'I hope some good will come of it but the internet is a creature that has grown and grown out of control. I don't l know what is to be done but one should keep trying I'm sure.

'I'm very, very sorry you lost Kevin in such circumstances. We can't give you complete answers because of the time delay and state of the body.

'The likelihood is that he probably did take his own life but I have to be sure beyond reasonable doubt and I can't be.'

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details





27-stone mother who was terrified of going abroad in case she got stuck in a plane seat loses 16 STONE and ten dress sizes

A mother-of-one who was terrified of getting stuck in an aeroplane seat has been crowned this year’s Slimming World Slimmer of the Year after losing 16 stone.

Sue Thompson, 40, was so afraid of getting her 27-stone frame stuck in an aeroplane seat that she spent years avoiding her family’s requests for a foreign holiday.

However, Mrs Thompson, who dropped ten dress sizes to weigh a healthy 11 stone, can now jet off on her first holiday with husband, Shaun, and daughter, Jessica-Ray, 15.

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Sue Thompson, 40, shrank from an obese 27 stone to a healthy 11 stone. She also dropped ten dress sizes to go from a size 32 to a size 12. She has been crowned Slimming World's Slimmer of the Year

She was so heavy (left) that she once cracked a sunbed but she says that when she was younger she was not worried about her weight and that embarrassing events like this did not motivate her to lose weight (right)

Mrs Thompson, who left her job to work for Slimming World as a regional advisor, said that she had lived with being large her whole life but had never felt any worse for it, despite her weight often leading to some embarrassing situations.

She said: ‘I knew I wasn’t one of the skinny girls at school but it never affected me when it came to friends or boyfriends and I wasn’t bullied or anything like that.

‘As I got older I started to gain more weight but even embarrassing situations, like the time I cracked a sunbed at a tanning salon, didn’t motivate me to lose weight.