Tesco drops pork suppliers after campaigners release abuse footage

Tesco drops one of its biggest pork suppliers after animal rights campaigners release footage of shocking abuse at pig farm including animals being kicked and hit with metal rods

  • Tesco banned meat from Hogwood Farm in Warwickshire after an exposé 
  • Activist group Viva! filmed images they claim expose ‘systematic animal abuse’ 
  • Campaigners released shocking footage of pigs screeching in terror as farm workers kicked them, slammed gates on them and hit them with metal rods
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 

Tesco has dropped one of its biggest suppliers of pork after animal rights campaigners released shocking footage of pigs screeching in terror as farm workers kicked them, slammed gates on them and hit them with metal rods.

The supermarket has banned meat from Hogwood Farm in Warwickshire after activists from Viva! filmed images on hidden cameras which, they claimed, exposed ‘systematic animal abuse’.

A Tesco spokesperson said: ‘These are distressing and unacceptable scenes which fall well below the high animal welfare standards we require.’

Viva! managed to install hidden cameras on the farm, owned by Brian Hobill, and filmed workers abusing animals.

Viva! managed to install hidden cameras on the farm, owned by Brian Hobill, and filmed workers abusing animals

The footage shows the pigs in filthy and overcrowded pens and so distressed that they are attacking each other.

Viva! founder Juliet Gellatley said: ‘We cannot express how much this victory means for us and the Hogwood Farm pigs.’  

Red Tractor also removed certification of the meat after viewing Viva!’s footage. ‘The farm’s Red Tractor certificate has already been suspended pending further investigation into these appalling behaviours,’ a spokesman said.

The move comes a year after the group revealed disturbing images of cannibalism at the farm. 

Owner Brian Hobill told Channel 4’s Dispatches earlier this year that it had ‘better conditions than most nursing homes’.

Officials from Red Tractor, the RSCPA and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) initially found no breaches of animal welfare and Mr Hobill spent £50,000 on heavy-duty fencing turning his farm into ‘Fort Knox’.

Owner Brian Hobill told Channel 4’s Dispatches earlier this year that it had ‘better conditions than most nursing homes’

Yet, on July 8, Viva! managed to breach the security in order to install two hidden cameras on the farm and filmed workers for the first time abusing animals. Three other cameras were hidden over the week. All were removed on July 14.

The footage showed that, two years after they first infiltrated the farm, the pigs were still kept in horrendous and filthy overcrowded pens – and were so distressed that they are attacking each other.

One of the most horrific images was of a gilt – a sow under a year old – who was being bitten and bullied by other pigs: she spent nearly 48 hours in the pen before the farmers removed the swollen animal covered in sores.

But the pigs did not just face bullying from their peers. Viva! filmed animals screeching in terror as farm workers ruthlessly kicked them, slammed gates on them and hit them with metal riding crops.

Pregnant sows were forced to give birth on barren, filthy pens with concrete floors and no bedding and lie on their sides for five weeks, unable to reach their piglets, many of whom did not survive the harsh conditions. Those that did had their tails cut off without anaesthetic.

Tesco has dropped one of its biggest suppliers of pork after animal rights campaigners released shocking footage of pigs screeching in terror as farm workers kicked them

They then faced brutal conditions in which they were rough-handled, kicked and hit by farm workers and slammed on concrete floors. Viva! filmed one piglet, which was barely alive, being thrown down the side of a farrowing plate.

Even the dead animals were treated with disregard. Dead pigs were ruthlessly dumped in gangways before being thrown in bins while dead piglets were piled in filthy buckets and left to rot, contravening Defra guidelines which say they should be removed swiftly.

Viva! founder Juliet Gellatley said: ‘This news is a huge victory! We cannot express how much this decision means for us and the thousands of pigs trapped inside Hogwood Farm.

‘The animal cruelty that our team witnessed on Hogwood Farm cannot be easily forgotten. Over the past two years, there has been complete inaction by industry bodies, with meaningless assurances that they are working to improve standards. But finally, with this undeniable evidence, animal welfare has come before profit. We couldn’t be more thrilled!

‘Since our first investigation, the farm owners have invested thousands of pounds into increasing security at Hogwood. Rather than improve conditions for these poor animals, they invested in making it more difficult for the public to see the truth. Now, the truth is finally out and consumers will no longer unknowingly support Hogwood Horror Farm.

‘Although we congratulate Tesco and Red Tractor on finally making the right decision, I can’t help but question why it is routinely left to animal welfare groups like Viva! to expose the abuse taking place on farms. Factory farming is an inherently cruel business and we hope that this exposé shows that assurance schemes like Red Tractor cannot be trusted.’

Mr Hobill was unavailable to comment.

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Revealed: Life of Brian scenes that even Pythons were too afraid to do

Revealed: The scenes from controversial film Life of Brian that even the Pythons were too afraid to show

  • Papers from British Library archive of Python star Michael Palin reveal cut script
  • One lost scene was Joseph struggling to explain Virgin Birth to group of friends
  • And an original note described King Herod as ‘the world’s worst babysitter’
  • Film Life Of Brian was banned in several countries, including Norway and Ireland

When Monty Python’s Life Of Brian was released in 1979, it was met with outrage around the world.

But the comedy classic would have offended even more people if the original version of the script had been filmed.

Papers unearthed by The Mail on Sunday from the British Library archive of Python star Michael Palin reveal that the movie’s working title had been Monty Python’s Life Of Christ, and the script included outright blasphemy.

The original script for the 1979 movie Life Of Brian has been revealed with dozens of scenes not making it to the final film. Pictured is actor Graham Chapman playing the title character

The movie that was finally released carefully avoided any jokes at the expense of Jesus, who was depicted with respect in two brief scenes.

The film-makers were anxious to avoid being prosecuted for blasphemy and cut some of the original material after advice from lawyers.

One lost scene featured a waiter at The Last Supper trying to seat Jesus and his Disciples, telling them: ‘I can do you two tables for two and two threes.’

In another excised moment, Jesus’s embarrassed father Joseph struggles to explain the Virgin Birth to a group of his male friends.

Filmmakers were anxious to avoid being prosecuted for blasphemy and cut some of the original material. Pictured are the cast from the film

One moment which didn’t make the cut would have been Jesus’s embarrassed father trying to explain the Virgin Birth to a group of his male friends. Pictured are Michael Palin and Eric Idle

Several key figures from the Gospels who were noticeably absent from the film were considered for inclusion. 

One note describes how ‘John the Baptist’s severed head keeps talking’ while another described King Herod as ‘the world’s worst babysitter’. 

Herod was also shown pondering how best to deal with the threat posed by the infant Jesus.

As an alternative to the massacre of the Innocents, a courtier suggests: ‘Why don’t we offer a reward to anyone who brings the Messiah to us?’ Brian did not meet Jesus in the film, but that was not the case in the early version, in which he is the ‘13th Apostle’.

While one note described how ‘John the Baptist’s severed head keeps talking’ and another described King Herod as ‘the world’s worst babysitter’. Pictured is actor John Cleese

Life Of Brian was banned in several countries, including Norway and Ireland, and by councils across Britain when it was released in 1979. Pictured is a scene from the movie

Palin’s handwritten notes depict the title character as a religious figure in his own right, with references to ‘St Brian’, ‘St Brian’s Gospel’, ‘Brian Setting up the Catholic Church’ and ‘St Brian the only Martyr to die of old age’.

One suggested ending included a reading from ‘The Martyrdom of St Brian which charted his early life; his sexual antics with some “Maidens of The Orient” and his eventual ascent to Heaven where he “dwelt amongst the Heavenly host”.’ The Pythons were also advised to abandon plans to portray Brian’s mother Mandy as a virgin.

Life Of Brian was banned in several countries, including Norway and Ireland, and by councils across Britain.

Aberystwyth in Wales didn’t allow the film to be shown until 2009.

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Jeffrey Epstein’s final days at Metropolitan Correctional Center

Jeffrey Epstein’s final days: Pedophile spent up to 12 hours a day in visiting area with lawyers gorging on vending machine snacks to avoid cramped jail cell – and paid off other prisoners with commissary cash for protection

  • New details have emerged about Epstein’s final days at MCC New York
  • Paid lawyers to visit for up to 12 hours a day to escape cramped confines of cell
  • Emptied out the two vending machines in the visiting areas during long visits 
  • Paid off other inmates with money in commissary accounts to avoid attacks 
  • Sources describe the miserable conditions at the chronically understaffed jail
  • AG Bill Barr said officials uncovered ‘serious irregularities’ at the jail  
  • The 66-year-old Epstein’s death was officially ruled a suicide on Friday
  • But his attorneys are ‘not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner’

New details have emerged about Jeffrey Epstein’s final days alive

New details have emerged about the way disgraced millionaire Jeffrey Epstein spent his final days, before his death behind bars last weekend at the age of 66. 

So dismal were the conditions of his cell on the 9 South wing of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York that he would spend up to 12 hours at a time meeting with attorneys, the New York Times reported. 

Epstein would routinely meet with his lawyers, all paid handsomely for their time, for so long that he appeared to grow bored and simply sat in silence.

To buy protection from the predations of other inmates, Epstein deposited money in the commissary accounts of at least three other inmates, the Times reported. 

The MCC commissary is stocked with such goodies as Snickers bars, Jolly Ranchers and Velveeta cheese, according to documents obtained by DailyMail.com. 

Inside the grim brick fortress of MCC New York, Epstein was so miserable in his cell that he paid rotating shifts of lawyers to visit him for 12 hours at a time in the visiting room

A sketch made by another inmate shows the layout of a cell in the 9 South wing, where Epstein was found dead in his cell on August 10

A commissary slip obtained by DailyMail.com shows the items that were available for inmates at MCC NY. Epstein would pay off other inmates with money in their accounts to avoid attacks

During his long meetings with attorneys in a private room, Epstein and his entourage would routinely empty the two vending machines in the visiting area.

‘It was shift work, all designed by someone who had infinite resources to try and get as much comfort as possible,’ a lawyer who was often in the jail visiting clients told the Times.

Although family visits are typically limited to 30 minutes at MCC, inmates have much greater freedom to meet with legal counsel.  

The vending machines in the visitors area have typical snacks such as chips, cookies and soda, said Dana Gottesfeld, who routinely visited her husband when he was incarcerated in the 9 South wing at MCC.

Gottesfeld told DailyMail.com that visitors were free to bring money to purchase items from the vending machines – but that inmates had to consume the items in the visiting area and could not bring them back to their cells. 

Conditions were so miserable at MCC, said Gottesfeld, that she understood Epstein’s willingness to sit in silence with his attorneys for hours on end just to escape his cell.

‘It’s relentless — they’re in there for 23 to 24 hours a day, they don’t get communal time,’ she said. ‘This is just a horribly, horribly run jail.’

Her husband Marty Gottesfeld, who was convicted of one count of conspiracy to damage protected computers and one count of damaging protected computers, has a lawsuit pending against officials at MCC over conditions there.

A sketch of the 10 South wing, one floor above where Epstein was housed, shows the approximate layout. Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman was housed on this wing

Security personnel and people are seen at the entrance of the MCC in a file photo

After Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges on July 6, he was transferred into federal custody at MCC.

It was a stark change for the opulent lifestyle he was accustomed to at his mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach, private Caribbean island, and massive ranch in New Mexico.

Epstein’s final days unfold at MCC

On July 18, judge denied Epstein bail, judging him a high flight risk despite his offer to put up his Upper East Side mansion and private jet as collateral.

Five days later, on July 23, Epstein was found with neck injuries on the floor of the cell he shared with Nicholas Tartaglione, a former NYPD cop accused of quadruple murder.

Tartaglione shouted for help and claimed Epstein had attempted to kill himself — but Epstein, who quickly recovered, claimed that he’d been attacked by Tartaglione.

Tartaglione was later cleared of attacking Epstein by jail officials — and Dana Gottesfeld told DailyMail.com that her husband had befriended the muscle-bound ex-cop behind bars and spoke fondly of him.

‘Nick is actually a decent, nice guy, believe it or not. While he has big muscles, and a big stature, his personality is much softer,’ she said, relaying her husband’s impressions. 

‘He ran a shelter for abused animals. Marty became doubtful that he even has the wherewithal to pull off what he was accused of in his criminal case.’

Nicholas Tartaglione, a former NYPD cop accused of quadruple murder, was Epstein’s cellmate when he was found injured on July 23. An inmate who knew Tartaglione said he is ‘a decent, nice guy’ who ran a shelter for abused animals

Following his July 23 injury, Epstein was placed on suicide watch and moved into a solitary cell under draconian conditions.

Naked except for a thick, quilted smock that cannot be fashioned into a noose, Epstein would have been in a cell where the lights were never turned off, and there were no bed sheets. 

Epstein would have met with a psychologist daily, according to BOP policies. 

Six days after his apparent suicide attempt, on July 29, Epstein was taken off suicide watch and returned to 9 South.

Jail officials’ decision to end the suicide watch so quickly has prompted criticism from mental health professionals – but current and former BOP officials say that it is not uncommon to end a suicide watch after just a few days.  

On August 1, three days after Epstein was taken off suicide watch, his attorney David Schoen visited him for roughly five hours.

At one point during the visit, Schoen told the Times that a female therapist stopped by the visitor’s room and asked him to step out briefly so she could speak privately with Epstein.

The therapist said the visit was part of the suicide protocol.

‘She stayed max five minutes,’ Schoen said, adding that Epstein ‘said he was fine with it.’ 

Schoen said that Epstein seemed excited to work with him on the case and confident in their legal strategy.

‘One thing I can say for sure is when I left him he was very, very upbeat,’ Schoen said.

A cell with bunk beds is seen at MCC, similar to the one that Epstein was housed in alone when he was found dead on August 10

In the following days, however, jail staff and lawyers say that Epstein became haggard and distraught.

His hair and beard grew unkempt, and he took to sleeping on the floor of his cell, rather than the bed, sources said. 

On August 9, his last day alive, Epstein spent the majority of his day in the private visiting room with attorneys, as he did most days. 

As a high-profile inmate, he required extra guards to take him to and from the room – and also requested frequent bathroom breaks that required escorts, wearing staff thin.

Overnight, guards were supposed to check Epstein in his cell every 30 minutes – but the rounds stopped at around 3.30am. Prison officials say that the two guards on duty, both working long overtime hours, fell asleep.

A prison official told the Times that Epstein had one of the cells that has a view of the guards’ duty station from the small window in his door, and may have been able to see if they were in fact sleeping.

At 6.30am on August 10, Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell.

According to official autopsy results announced by the medical examiner on Friday, he died of a suicide by hanging, apparently using a bed sheet tied to the top of a set of bunk beds as a noose.

Epstein’s attorneys do not accept the findings of the autopsy. 

‘The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death,’ they said in a statement. ‘We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner.’  

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Tlaib’s grandmother: ‘May God ruin Trump’

BEIT UR AL-FAUQA, West Bank, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Sitting under an olive tree in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Muftia Tlaib scoffs at the attention she has recently received from the president of the United States.

“May God ruin him,” she says.

Tlaib is the grandmother of U.S. congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, at the center of an affair that has drawn Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu together against U.S. Democrats.

On Thursday, bowing to pressure from Trump, Israel barred a visit by Rashida Tlaib and fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar that it had initially said it would allow.

The next day, Israel said it would let Tlaib visit her family in the West Bank on humanitarian grounds – but Tlaib rejected the offer, saying that Israel had imposed restrictions meant to humiliate her..

On Friday night, Trump tweeted:

“Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!”

Ninety-year-old Muftia Tlaib, sitting in her garden in the village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa, was not impressed. “Trump tells me I should be happy Rashida is not coming,” she said. “May God ruin him.”

Her son, Rashida’s uncle Bassam Tlaib, said the women had not seen each other since 2006:

“She was going to slaughter a sheep when Rashida arrived and prepare her favorite food, stuffed vine leave.

Related: Rep. Rashida Tlaib

10 PHOTOSRep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)See GalleryRep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

In this Nov. 6, 2008 file photo, Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat, is photographed outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, Mich. The Michigan primary victory of Tlaib, who is expected to become the first Muslim woman and Palestinian-American to serve in the U.S. Congress, is rippling across the Middle East. In the West Bank village where Tlaib’s mother was born, residents are greeting the news with a mixture of pride and hope that she will take on a U.S. administration widely seen as hostile to the Palestinian cause.

(AP Photo/Al Goldis, File)


In this Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018 photo, Fadwa Tlaib, an aunt of Rashida Tlaib points to a young Rashida in a 1987 picture with her mother Fatima and brother Nader, at the family house, in the West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Foqa. The Michigan primary victory of Tlaib, who is expected to become the first Muslim woman and Palestinian-American to serve in the U.S. Congress, is rippling across the Middle East. In the West Bank village where Tlaib’s mother was born, residents are greeting the news with a mixture of pride and hope that she will take on a U.S. administration widely seen as hostile to the Palestinian cause. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, to unveil the “Immediate Financial Relief for Federal Employees Act” bill which would give zero interest loans for up to $6,000 to employees impacted by the government shutdown and any future shutdowns. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

No number of opponent signs can wipe our smiles of hope.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., questions Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, as he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., right, laugh as they wait for other freshman Congressmen to deliver a letter calling to an end to the government shutdown to deliver to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Just voted with my son Adam. #MakingHistoryTogether

So Yousif came with me to one of our senior luncheons and we met Mother Williams who turned 104 years old (MashAllah). Yousif turns to me and says, “I thought you died at 100.” Everyone laughed. I love being with the people I will fight and serve in Congress.

Eid Mubarak from my family to yours. @adamtlaib @fayez492

A beautiful day…so excited. #2days volunteer at www.rashidaforcongress.com

See Gallery

“SECOND MOTHER”

“Rashida sees her granny as a second mother, she has always supported her. Rashida says she owes her success to her grandmother.”

Tlaib did not outline what the conditions imposed on her visit were. Israeli media reported that she had agreed not to promote boycotts against Israel as part of her request to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Tlaib, like Omar, has voiced support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which opposes the occupation and Israel’s policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. BDS backers can be denied entry to Israel by law.

The pair are the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress, and Detroit-born Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American congresswoman. Both are members of the Democratic party’s progressive wing and sharp critics of Trump and Israel.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally; maintains a blockade of Gaza, run by the Islamist Hamas movement; and controls most of the West Bank, where Palestinians have limited self-rule.

The prospects of resolving the conflict under the “two-state solution” that had guided peacemaking efforts for years have dimmed significantly since Trump took office, while Israeli settlements on land Palestinians seek for a state have expanded.

The Trump administration, which is particularly close to the Netanyahu government, has touted its own peace plan but details remain vague. It fueled Palestinian anger by recognizing disputed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

Trump has for weeks been attacking Tlaib and Omar, along with lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – all women of color known as the “Squad” – accusing them of hostility to Israel in a barrage condemned by critics as racist.

“Trump has told Rashida and Ilhan to go back to their home countries. What a contradiction, yesterday he asked them to leave and today he asks that they aren’t let in,” said Bassam Tlaib.

Still, the grandmother is hopeful: “My heart tells me that she will come.” (Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Army and civilians clinch power-sharing deal in Sudan

A power-sharing agreement has been signed in Sudan between the ruling military council and the main opposition coalition.

Sudan has been hit by months of protests which have seen dozens of demonstrators killed.

The signing, at a ceremony in the capital Khartoum, sets up a joint military and civilian council to rule for a little over three years until elections can be held.

It was agreed that a military leader would head the 11-member council for the first 21 months, followed by a civilian leader for the next 18.

A cabinet appointed by the activists would also be established, and a legislative body is set to be assembled within three months.

The coalition that was behind the protests would have a majority in that body.

A statement on the Twitter account of the Sudanese Professionals Association, one of the groups that had been leading the protests, called for celebrations.

It said: “It was incumbent upon us all to unite in order to build a homeland as long as we dreamed of it.

“God has given us a country with countless good things, but we need hands that extend to benefit from them and direct them for the benefit of all.”

There were reports people were streaming into the capital in order to mark the event.

There were growing concerns the political crisis could ignite civil war and Ethiopia and the African Union jointly-led efforts to bring about a deal.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was among those who attended Saturday’s ceremony.

In April, the military overthrew the former dictator Omar al Bashir amid ongoing protests against his three-decade hold on power.

The protesters then stayed on the streets, calling for civil rule.

The agreement has been criticised by the Sudan Revolutionary Front, an alliance of the largest rebel groups in Darfur, where a conflict has left hundreds of thousands dead, according to the UN.

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Greggs halves the size of its custard slices but keeps the price at £1

Cake fans are left fuming after Greggs halves the size of its custard slices but keeps the price at £1 as bakery blames the war on sugar

  • Greggs want Brits to eat less sugar with the new slice containing 20g less sugar
  • Has 90g less calories and is now 4cm wide, 10cm long and 3cm says loyal fan
  • Regulars are ‘disgusted’ by the ‘rip off’ and change to the ‘nation’s favourite’

Greggs has left loyal fans seething for halving the size of their custard slices and keeping the same price.

This comes just after the bakery decided to reduce the size to help Brits eat less sugar.

The sweet treat now contains 20g less sugar and a reduction of 90 calories than the original. And according to one loyal fan, the cake is now 4cm wide, 10cm long and 3cm high but still costs £1.

‘Disgusted’: Loyal fans are fuming about size reduction of the Greggs custard slice which is now 4cm wide, 10cm long and 3cm – but with the same price-tag. The bakery claims it is part of their war on sugar – with the sweet treat now including 20g less sugar

‘Rip off Greggs’: The bakery has been slated across social media with people suggesting the change is a way to ‘clearly boost profits’

People have taken to social media to express their anger towards the chain and claim it is daylight robbery. 

Adam Grimes said: ‘It’s a national favourite that’s been completely ruined by the new size and taste.

‘It is nonsense for Greggs to say they are doing this to help me eat less sugar. It is clearly to boost their profits.’  

‘RIP to the mighty Greggs custard slice’, Chris Watts wrote on Twitter.  

Dassssler said: ‘So the truth of the shrunken custard slice is now out there. Sorry guys but if you’re gonna change the nations favourite. Then the nation needs to know #saveourcustardslice’ 

Andrew Griffiths replied: ‘Biggest cover up since Watergate! #saveourcustardslice’  

R seethed with anger: ‘I am #disgusted that Greggs have made their Custard slice almost half the size but kept the price the same…. #Ripoffgreggs Greggs need to sort this out pronto or they will lose mine and many others custom.

Bitter sweet: The original sized custard slice is showcased on an estate agent’s Twitter and leaves a sour taste in the mouth

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Footage shows mom walking away from toddler son before he’s run over

Horrifying footage shows mom walking away from her 18-month-old son just before he is run over and killed in a parking lot

  • Gissel Vazquez, 18, was charged with felony child endangerment Thursday
  • The charge came after her 18-month-old son, Alan, died after being run over 
  • Vazquez was caught on surveillance camera walking far ahead of her child while crossing a parking lot, leaving him to stand alone on the pavement
  • A driver pulling out of a parking spot claims she didn’t see Alan and ran over him 

Gissel Vazquez, 18, was charged with felony child endangerment after surveillance footage showed her walking far ahead of her toddler son in a parking lot. The boy died when he was run over by a car

An 18-year-old Texas mom has been charged with endangering her child after surveillance video showed her walking across a parking lot away from her toddler son, who then died after being run over by a car.  

Authorities said mom-of-two Gissel Vazquez, 18, of Houston, Texas, was charged with felony child endangerment Thursday, after her 18-month-old son, Alan Villeda, was struck by a car and killed on Wednesday afternoon, KHOU reported. 

Surveillance video of the incident shows Vazquez walking through a parking lot, cradling her two-month-old daughter in her arms. She is almost clear across the parking lot when a little boy comes into view. 

The boy – later identified as Vazquez’s three-year-old nephew – runs across the parking lot, following Vazquez, and is just over halfway across when a smaller boy, Alan, comes into view. 

Surveillance footage showed the moment when Vazquez walked across the parking lot holding her two-month-old daughter in her arms 

Vazquez’s 18-month-old son, Alan, could be seen following her at a great distance. He was standing alone in the parking lot when he was run over by this white Chevy Impala

Alan totters to the center of the parking lot and stands still as a white Chevrolet Impala pulls out of its parking space and drives towards him. 

Police said that Vazquez ran back to Alan about two minutes later, when she saw that he was lying on the ground. 

News footage taken from the scene of the accident shows a distraught Vazquez, crying while she is being comforted by someone and eventually being wheeled away while strapped down to a gurney after being given medical attention. 

When explaining why she drove away from the scene, the driver of the car told police that she had no idea she had hit the toddler, ABC News reported. 

When she did return to the scene, however, she passed a drug and alcohol test.    

Police said that Vazquez and the children were walking across an apartment complex’s parking lot when Alan fell behind. 

News footage taken at the scene showed a distraught Vazquez. Police said she ran back to Alan when she saw him lying in the middle of the parking lot 

Vazquez can be seen here (in purple shirt and jeans) crying during her initial court appearance


Authorities said they did not charge Vazquez with murder after Alan (pictured) died, so that she would be able to look after her newborn daughter


Vazquez is out on bond and can see her baby daughter under supervision. She is pictured with Alan and her daughter at left. Alan and his newborn sister are pictured at right

‘The distance between (Vasquez) and that little boy, the disregard with which she walked through the parking lot and allowed this little baby to chase her those are all factors that went into our charging decision,’ Harris County District Attorney Office’s Vehicular Crimes Division Chief, Sean Teare, told KHOU. 

Although Vazquez, who has a two-month-old daughter, is being charged with felony child endangerment for leaving Alan unattended in the parking lot. 

Teare pointed out that she is not facing a murder charge

‘We’re putting (Vasquez) in a position where she can raise that [second] child appropriately and so I think that was the driving force’ behind the charge, Teare said, adding that other fores of punishment beyond jail time are potentially available, including probation and deferred adjudication. 

Vazquez’s cousin, Juriyoel Hernandez, said that what happened was an accident.

‘Right now everybody’s telling her that it’s her fault the baby died and it wasn’t her fault. She didn’t even know that the baby was behind her,’ Hernandez told KTRK. 

He said that Vazquez thought the children were with her sister at the time of the incident.   

Police are still investigating the incident and have not charged the driver of the car, although authorities said she may face charges pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Vazquez’s family is asking for the driver to be charged as well. 

Vazquez is out on bond and will only be allowed to see her two-month-old daughter under supervision.

If convicted of the charge she faces, she could be given a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, Teare said. 

A GoFundMe to raise money for Alan’s funeral was started by a friend.   

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Elvis admirers remember his death 42 years ago with vigil

Memphis: Elvis Presley fans carrying lit candles in the Tennessee night are visiting the rock 'n' roll icon's grave at Graceland during the annual vigil commemorating his death 42 years ago.

Presley admirers from all over the world descend on Memphis every year to honour his life and career during Elvis Week.

Nathan Pittorf shows off his best Elvis Presley impersonation during a candlelight vigil for Presley at Graceland, his Memphis home.Credit:AP

The vigil is the week's cornerstone event, with silent mourners filing slowly past his resting place and the graves of his parents and grandmother in the Meditation Garden at his former home, Graceland. The vigil started Thursday night and runs throughout the night into Friday.

Presley died on August 16, 1977. But the singer and actor's likeness and voice continue to appear in movies, TV shows, plays and music box sets.

The Graceland tourist attraction draws about 500,000 visitors annually.

AP

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Democratic and Republican lawmakers back $8 billion F-16 sale to Taiwan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congress should move quickly with an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan as the self-ruled island faces pressure from China’s increased military presence in the region, leading U.S. Democratic and Republican lawmakers said on Friday.

China denounced the planned sale, one of the biggest yet by the United States to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province. It warned of unspecified “countermeasures.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, a Republican, welcomed the proposed sale of the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-16V jets. “These fighters are critical to improving Taiwan’s ability to defend its sovereign airspace, which is under increasing pressure from the People’s Republic of China,” he said in a statement.

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, Jim Inhofe, and fellow Republican Senator John Cornyn said Taiwan “remains an important pillar of security and stability” in the region. The sale of the jets would “deter aggression given Beijing’s increasing assertiveness and military buildup,” they said in a joint statement.

Similarly, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, and the panel’s ranking Republican, Michael McCaul, said in a joint statement that the deal “sends a strong message” about U.S. commitment to security and democracy in the region.

Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both Republicans, also issued statements backing the deal.

Washington has no formal ties with self-ruled and democratic Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide it with the means to defend itself. It is the main arms supplier to Taiwan and there is broad support for this in Congress.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control and has repeatedly denounced U.S. arms sales to the island.

Friday’s New York Times quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that the Trump administration, which is engaged in a major trade war with China, was moving forward with the sale and said the State Department gave informal notification of the plan to the House and Senate foreign affairs committees on Thursday.

The paper said once those committees gave the go ahead, which would probably come within days or weeks, there would follow a formal notification to Congress, which would trigger a 30-day period for objections.

The State Department and White House declined to comment.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing had made solemn representations to the United States over the planned sale.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Hua as saying that it was a serious violation of the “one-China principle,” under which Washington recognizes Beijing and not Taipei, and undermined China’s sovereignty and security interests.

Hua urged the U.S. to stop arms sales to and military contact with Taiwan, otherwise, the Chinese side would “certainly take countermeasures,” Xinhua said.

After the United States approved sales of tanks and Raytheon Co’s (RTN.N) anti-aircraft Stinger missiles to Taiwan in July, China said it was “ready to go to war” if people “try to split Taiwan from the country.”

Beijing said it would impose sanctions on U.S. companies involved in any deals.

On Thursday, Taiwan unveiled its largest defense spending increase in more than a decade, to T$411.3 billion ($13.11 billion.)

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UK weather forecast: Britain braced for EPIC thunderstorms as rain deluge continues

After a wet and cloudy day on Friday the UK can expect brighter conditions this weekend with some sunnier spells. However, there will be showers across some areas. There will be heavy showers across Scotland and Northern Ireland but the south of England and Wales will have a bright start.

Met Office meteorologist Sophie Yeomans said: “It will feel quite fresh in the breeze as we head through Saturday with sunny spells across England and Wales.

“In some parts of western Scotland and Northern Ireland the showers could become quite heavy at times.

“We could even hear the odd rumble of thunder.

“Across England and Wales a few showers will develop into the afternoon.

“It will feel quite fresh in those showers and in the wind as well.”

In the sun it will feel quite warm with highs of 22C (71F).

A weather front will bring more persistent rain across parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

But there will be clear skies across most of England and Wales.

The south will see increasing cloud through the night that will bring a few spots of rain going into Sunday.

Ms Yeomans added: “Sunday will be another day of sunshine and showers – perhaps more than we’ll see on Saturday.

“Again, it will feel quite fresh in the breeze.”

The rest of the week will see the weather settle down with more sunshine and less wind.

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