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Day: 23 June 2022

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Fourteen top deals to save on a tropical beach party at home

CELEBRATE this summer with friends by laying on your own tropical party at home.If everyone brings a bottle it will be cheaper than a night out, plus you can have fun dressing up and decorating your place.  6Celebrate this summer with friends by laying on your own tropical party at homeCredit: Getty Here’s how to throw a beach-style party on a budget.  FULL OF HOT AIR: Set the holiday scene with inflatable palm trees for £4.10 from superfunstuff.co.uk and flamingos for £1.99, from partyperfecto.co.uk.  TROPIC LIKE IT’S HOT: Wear tropical prints to elevate the beachy mood. Matalan has Hawaiian shirts for £10, while ASOS’s ribbed mini bodycon dress in palm print is down from £22 to £11. And eBay has a great selection of vintage and secondhand shirts, including the hilariously garish. I’ve seen some listed at auction starting at 99p.  SLICE OF THE ACTION: Throw Hawaiian pizzas in the oven for fuss-free catering. Morrisons Ham and Pineapple Stonebake pizzas are £1.45. Serve snacks in pineapple-shaped plastic trays. A pack of five is £3.99, down from £8.99, at partyrama.co.uk. And Sainsbury’s Coconut & Raspberry Loaf Cake is a great sweet treat at £1.75. MIX IT UP: Serve up Malibu and pineapple for a refreshingly easy win. A 70cl bottle of the white rum is down to £12 from £15 at Asda. To spend even less, a bottle of Aldi’s Cocobay Rum & Coconut is £5.49. A litre of The Juice Company pineapple juice is 75p at Aldi. Coconut cream tins are £1.05 at Tesco, and you can also use the rum and juice to create pina coladas. This classic cocktail is simply one part cream, one part rum and two parts juice, then ice to serve. Leave out the rum for an equally tasty mocktail.  Most read in Money GAME ON: Once the drinks are flowing, it’s time for the games, and the laughs are guaranteed with limbo. The Range has an inflatable set with stand for £8.99, or partyrama.co.uk has a six-foot inflatable stick for £1.99, which can be held by two adults.  All prices on page correct at time of going to press. Deals and offers subject to availability. Deal of the day 6This framed black heart mirror is down from £7.99 to £5.59 at The Range FEEL the love with this framed black heart mirror, down from £7.99 to £5.59 at The Range.  SAVE: £2.40 Cheap treat 6Get an uplifting aroma for less with this lemon-verde scented candle LILIGHT this H&M cork-lid lemon-verde scented candle, £3.99, to fill your home with an uplifting aroma.  WHAT'S NEW?GET a chic sugar fix with Candy Kittens LOVES. The gourmet sweet brand’s new range features limited-edition packaging, starting with illustrator Ruby Taylor. The packs are currently on offer at Sainsbury’s for £1.50, down from the usual £2.50.  Top swap 6Fork out £35 for the M&S cutlery on the left, or Dunelm's on the right for £16 NO need to fork out a fortune on cutlery – this 16-piece set, above, from M&S is £35, while Dunelm’s 16-piece set, below, is now down to £16.  SAVE: £19 Shop & save 6A set of two John Lewis Salsa garden chairs is now £115, down from £160 LIVEN up your garden with these John Lewis Salsa garden chairs. A set of two is now £115, down from £160. SAVE: £45 LEAH'S LITTLE HELPERLOOKING for a unique gift? Not On The High Street’s summer sale is now on, with hundreds of deals on thoughtful presents, such as a personalised teacher notebook journal, down from £18 to £9.  Hot right now GET a free Costa Coffee Frappé when you buy any other drink. Scan the mobile app when you buy one today and get a voucher that’s redeemable from tomorrow until Thursday. PLAY NOW TO WIN £100 6Join thousands of readers taking part in The Sun Raffle JOIN thousands of readers taking part in The Sun Raffle. Every month we’re giving away £100 to 250 lucky readers - whether you’re saving up or just in need of some extra cash, The Sun could have you covered. Every Sun Savers code entered equals one Raffle ticket. The more codes you enter, the more tickets you'll earn and the more chance you will have of winning!

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The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry are coming to Glasgow: How to buy tickets

The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry have today (June 22) announced an exciting co-headline UK arena tour for 2023 and you can get tickets.  The upcoming tour will see one of the UK’s most well-loved rock band play alongside the Kentucky-based group Black Stone Cherry. Hitting the road in 2023, the groups will visit seven cites and will visit Glasgows OVO Arena on January 30. For over two decades these iconic bands have embedded themselves as two of the most influential live rock bands around. The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry announce tour: How to get tickets (Live Nation) A true spectacle to behold, these shows promise to be an incredibly special affair, guaranteed to create a lively and memorable moment for fans who will be treated to hits from both of their back catalogues a show that every rock music fan will enjoy. Speaking of the tour Black Stone Cherry said: "We absolutely cannot wait to create more magic and release the lightning that both bands caught in a bottle so many years ago.  Grab your friends, grab your family, but hold on to your asses because this tour is going to ROCK!" How to get tickets The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry in Glasgow: If you fancy seeing the two bands on the same night then you are in luck as you don't have to wait long.  Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday 24 June via Live Nation.  The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry UK tour: January 2023 28           Cardiff Motorpoint Arena 29           Liverpool M&S bank Arena 30           Glasgow OVO Arena 31           Birmingham Resorts World Arena February 2023 02           Manchester AO Arena   03           Leeds First Direct Arena 04           London Wembley OVO Arena

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I’m a fashion expert – the 7 statements Princess Diana made with her wardrobe & the secret message she sent with pearls

WEARING a skin-tight, off-the-shoulder body con dress that screamed “I’m moving on” after her split from Charles, Princess Diana pretty much invented revenge dressing almost 30 years ago.Since then every starlet worth her salt has stepped out in a statement outfit following a messy break-up. 8In 1994 Princess Diana wore her 'Revenge Dress' on the same night that Charles confessed in a TV interview that he had been cheating on her with Camilla Parker BowlesCredit: Getty Remember Mariah Carey’s skirt and crop top ensemble at the 1997 MTV VMAs following her split from music executive hubby Tommy Mottola? Or Jennifer Aniston looking effortlessly chic on the red carpet in vintage Chanel shortly after Brad Pitt left her in 2005? Most celebrities know the power of sending a subtle message through their outfits. But Diana — who died in 1997 — was better at it than most and always knew exactly how to express herself using her wardrobe. In fact, she was somewhat of an expert, as these pictures from Eloise Moran’s new book reveal . . .  The Lady Di Look Book by Eloise Moran (Mitchell Beazley, £25) is out now. REVENGE ONE of Diana’s most iconic looks was the sexy Christina Stambolian dress that she wore to dinner at Kensington Gardens in the summer of 1994. Cut above the knee, the frock became known as her Revenge Dress because she wore it on the same night that Prince Charles admitted to adultery in a TV interview. Most read in Fabulous 8The 'Revenge Dress' was designed by Christina Stambolian and worn to dinner at Kensington GardensCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd In her book, Moran, who has a popular Instagram account called Lady Di Revenge Looks, notes: “The message was clear: She was in control of her own decisions and was ready to surprise more than a few people that evening. “Her marriage was dead, she was moving on.” BLACK SHEEP DIANA did not wait until after her divorce to send messages through her clothes – she was doing it in the Eighties. Perhaps giving an early indication that she felt like an outsider, the princess wore a black sheep jumper by British label Warm & Wonderful to a polo match in 1981. 8Diana wore a black sheep jumper by British label Warm & Wonderful to a polo match in 1981Credit: Getty Moran calls her choice “a tongue-in-cheek and not-so-subtle choice for the 19-year-old who had been thrust full force into the strict codes of royal life”. She adds that Diana representing a black sheep among a white herd was “comical in its design and subliminal in its messaging”. I TAKE THE TUBE, TO THE public admired Diana for her ability to remain down to earth despite becoming one of the most famous women in the world. And it seems she clung to moments of normality to remain true to herself. At the London Marathon in 1988, Diana wore a sweatshirt bearing the London Underground logo. 8At the London Marathon in 1988, Diana wore a sweatshirt bearing the London Underground logoCredit: Alpha Press According to Diana’s bodyguard Ken Wharfe, the princess got a kick out of travelling on the Tube, at times with her boys, and was thrilled whenever she went unnoticed. Wharfe said she wore a headscarf as a disguise and saw these moments as “major victories”. IN BOYS' CLUB THE Palace was operated by “men in grey” who tried to control Diana, says Moran. This androgynous Jasper Conran co-ord with a bow tie in 1985 , made a point. 8Diana wore an androgynous Jasper Conran co-ord with a bow tie in 1985Credit: Getty Diana was an outcast, sandwiched between her husband and palace busybodies. RULE BREAKER AFTER Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview, designer Jacques Azagury took a call from the princess, who told him she needed a “really good, sexy dress” in black. Royals are not meant to wear black to events. 8After her 1995 Panorama interview, Diana requested a 'really good, sexy dress' in black from designer Jacques AzaguryCredit: Getty He added: “It was her way of saying, ‘I can do what I want’.” GETTING HANDS DIRTY ON a trip to Bosnia in 1997, Diana wore this simple outfit – a pink Ralph Lauren shirt tucked into black jeans. Her message, Moran says, was she was there to get her hands dirty. 8On a trip to Bosnia in 1997, Diana wore a pink Ralph Lauren shirt tucked into black jeansCredit: Getty Diana’s uniform for her work trips were perfect for “on-the-ground” humanitarian missions. HONOURING HER MAN IN 1996 Diana wore a traditional Asian outfit – a pearl and gold salwar kameez by Pakistan’s top designer Rizwan Beyg – to a party at London’s Dorchester hotel. The pearls symbolised a new beginning, while the dress was to reflect her loyalty to her then-boyfriend, surgeon Hasnat Khan. 8Diana wore a traditional Asian outfit – a pearl and gold salwar kameez by Pakistan’s top designer Rizwan Beyg to honour then-boyfriend, surgeon Hasnat KhanCredit: Getty

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US immigration: 'They'd rather die than return to Nicaragua'

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesNoé was somewhere on the outskirts of the gritty southern Mexican city of Tapachula when he realised how difficult his journey to a new life in the US would be.Just days after crossing the border from Guatemala, the meagre supplies in Noé's small rucksack had dwindled, and he had gone with barely any food for several days as he bussed and trudged across the humid, forested landscape of Mexico's Chiapas state, where temperatures rose to a sweltering 34 C during the day.Already reeling from exhaustion and an empty stomach, Noé then faced another hazard: corrupt and abusive members of Mexico's security forces, who he said repeatedly strong-armed migrants for "mordidas" - a Mexican term for "little bites", or bribes - at roadblocks."Mexico was very hard," he said. "The police were bad. They looked for people to take their things and chased us. They charged us bribes when we were already all hungry and tired".This, despite having paid a group of smugglers several thousand dollars for the 2,000-mile (3,332km) trip from his home on the banks of the San Juan River in southern Nicaragua through Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico - a small fortune for a man from a country where the average income per person stands at around $1,850 (£1,533) per year.Several weeks after his journey began, Noé - a stocky and muscular figure whose sun-beaten face and reserved demeanour makes him seem older than his 38 years - was crossing the murky green waters of the Rio Grande into Texas aboard a small rubber raft alongside migrants from as far afield as Ecuador and Colombia, including young children and their mothers."It was very scary," he said. "I can swim, but the river is stronger than it looks. And it was dark."Safely on the US side, Noé voluntarily surrendered to Border Patrol agents. Detention came as a relief. After a few weeks, he was released into the country to wait for a court date to decide his future in the US."Here one feels protected. They [US authorities] even fed us well," he told the BBC at a migrant shelter in Texas. "It was hard, but I couldn't have stayed in Nicaragua".Noé is not alone in feeling this way. Privation and poverty have been known to many Nicaraguans like Noé for a long time. But a recent crackdown on civil society, a faltering economy and an atmosphere of terror instituted by the country's long-serving president, Daniel Ortega, is now driving many to leave. US Border Patrol figures highlight the growing flood: a record number of nearly 19,000 were taken into custody in May, up from 12,600 in April and 16,000 in March. All told, a record high number of about 111,000 Nicaraguans have been detained entering the US so far in the 2022 fiscal year, compared with 50,722 in all of 2021 and just 3,164 in 2020.Soon after being released from custody, Noé joined dozens of other migrants in temporary housing at a non-profit humanitarian shelter in Laredo, nestled in a quiet residential neighbourhood just 1.5 miles (2.4km) from the Mexican border.On a sweltering hot Monday morning in late May, he was among dozens of people - mostly men in their 20s and 30s - milling around a courtyard. Some were stretching in the Texas sun, while others used mobile phones to call friends and family back home or in the US.While a smattering of Colombians and Venezuelans were there, the vast majority were Nicaraguan.A climate of fearImage source, Getty ImagesThe stories shared by Nicaraguans at the shelter have two common themes: a struggling economy and fear of the government of Daniel Ortega, the leader of Nicaragua's 1979 Sandinista revolution who earlier this year was sworn into a fourth consecutive term as President.Affectionately known as Comandante Daniel to his supporters, Mr Ortega has long been accused of abandoning the revolution's ideals by turning into a dictator, harshly suppressing any opposition. These crackdowns have become more pronounced since Mr Ortega was returned to office in November, in an election that saw opposition candidates arrested or exiled alongside prominent regime critics, journalists, business leaders, human rights advocates and students. Since then, the clampdowns have continued and escalated, with the UN's human rights chief warning that new criminal legislations are being used to persecute perceived opponents of the Ortega government. In one week in early June alone, almost 200 civil society and non-governmental organisations were shut down in what the Paris-based Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders said was an attempt to eliminate "all social and political vision that differs from that established by the regime". The harsh measures imposed by the Ortega regime prompted the US government to announce that Nicaragua would not be invited to the recent Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. A senior administration official cited a "lack of democratic space" as the reason.The Nicaraguan American Human Rights Alliance, which helps citizens who have fled the country, has been inundated with daily inquiries from citizens who've drawn the ire of Mr Ortega's government, according to its president, Anita Wells.Image source, Getty ImagesAny opposition - real or imagined - is considered a "sin" by the authorities, she said, often with disastrous economic consequences for working class Nicaraguans."They don't let you work if you're part of the opposition," explained Ms Wells, herself part of an earlier wave of Nicaraguan refugees from the 1980s. "They won't renew your business license. Or, if you're a farmer, they won't buy your product to be exported. That's part of the reason Nicaraguans are leaving the country".The Nicaraguan government did not respond to a BBC request for comment.Ms Well's comments were echoed by a Nicaraguan academic who asked not to be identified, citing fears of retaliation from the government."The reality is that ordinary, working-class people have been the most exposed to the full brunt of regime oppression," he said. "The threshold for being subject to retaliation is extraordinarily low".The consequences of crossing the government vary widely. In some cases, workers are fired by their employers who deem the risk of having potential dissidents on their payrolls too high. In other cases, government agents harass customers and employees."Or maybe you're just picked up by paramilitary forces and threatened with death," the academic said. "You don't even need to be personally victimised. It might just be the case that you saw family members subjected to this and you feel it's not safe to stay". A dangerous journeyImage source, Getty ImagesFaced with these conditions, an increasing number of Nicaraguan citizens are choosing to leave. Comments on Nicaraguan news outlets - mostly those now operating from outside the country - are peppered with questions from those seeking to go.Some are taking practical steps to prepare. According to Reuters, dozens of would-be migrants in the Nicaraguan town of Esteli have been signing up for swimming classes offered on social media in anticipation of crossing the fast-moving waters of the Rio Grande at the end of a long trek to the United States.But many migrants have little idea of the dangers that they may face.The risks were starkly highlighted on 1 May by the death of Calixto Nelson Rojas, a Nicaraguan radio host, whose death by drowning in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass was caught on video by a Fox News cameraman. About two weeks later, a three-year-old Nicaraguan girl went missing after her 25-year-old mother drowned crossing the river. While the mother's body was recovered, the little girl has still not been found.Justine Ochoa, a Texas-based Nicaraguan activist, told the BBC that her group is aware of nearly 30 Nicaraguan citizens who have perished since the start of the year."Smugglers tell them it's a good time, or that people are crossing over easily. But that's not the truth," she said. "We know that a one or two people this year have died in accidents. Two were murdered by criminals on the Mexican side. But they mostly just drown in the river".Ms Wells said that even those who understand what is at stake are likely to continue to take enormous risks to pursue "the myth of the American dream". She often advises people still in Nicaragua to not go."It is a myth, because it's not easy, even if you do cross the border. People sometimes have the wrong impression, that this is Disneyland," she said. "I always ask them if it was worth it…they say that if they die, they die, but at least they'd have tried. Imagine the desperation. They'd rather die than return to Nicaragua."More on this storyMigrant caravan heads to US as key summit beginsNicaragua shuts down non-profits in new crackdownLose your fear, dissident Nicaraguan diplomat says

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US immigration: 'They'd rather die than return to Nicaragua'

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesNoé was somewhere on the outskirts of the gritty southern Mexican city of Tapachula when he realised how difficult his journey to a new life in the US would be.Just days after crossing the border from Guatemala, the meagre supplies in Noé's small rucksack had dwindled, and he had gone with barely any food for several days as he bussed and trudged across the humid, forested landscape of Mexico's Chiapas state, where temperatures rose to a sweltering 34 C during the day.Already reeling from exhaustion and an empty stomach, Noé then faced another hazard: corrupt and abusive members of Mexico's security forces, who he said repeatedly strong-armed migrants for "mordidas" - a Mexican term for "little bites", or bribes - at roadblocks."Mexico was very hard," he said. "The police were bad. They looked for people to take their things and chased us. They charged us bribes when we were already all hungry and tired".This, despite having paid a group of smugglers several thousand dollars for the 2,000-mile (3,332km) trip from his home on the banks of the San Juan River in southern Nicaragua through Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico - a small fortune for a man from a country where the average income per person stands at around $1,850 (£1,533) per year.Several weeks after his journey began, Noé - a stocky and muscular figure whose sun-beaten face and reserved demeanour makes him seem older than his 38 years - was crossing the murky green waters of the Rio Grande into Texas aboard a small rubber raft alongside migrants from as far afield as Ecuador and Colombia, including young children and their mothers."It was very scary," he said. "I can swim, but the river is stronger than it looks. And it was dark."Safely on the US side, Noé voluntarily surrendered to Border Patrol agents. Detention came as a relief. After a few weeks, he was released into the country to wait for a court date to decide his future in the US."Here one feels protected. They [US authorities] even fed us well," he told the BBC at a migrant shelter in Texas. "It was hard, but I couldn't have stayed in Nicaragua".Noé is not alone in feeling this way. Privation and poverty have been known to many Nicaraguans like Noé for a long time. But a recent crackdown on civil society, a faltering economy and an atmosphere of terror instituted by the country's long-serving president, Daniel Ortega, is now driving many to leave. US Border Patrol figures highlight the growing flood: a record number of nearly 19,000 were taken into custody in May, up from 12,600 in April and 16,000 in March. All told, a record high number of about 111,000 Nicaraguans have been detained entering the US so far in the 2022 fiscal year, compared with 50,722 in all of 2021 and just 3,164 in 2020.Soon after being released from custody, Noé joined dozens of other migrants in temporary housing at a non-profit humanitarian shelter in Laredo, nestled in a quiet residential neighbourhood just 1.5 miles (2.4km) from the Mexican border.On a sweltering hot Monday morning in late May, he was among dozens of people - mostly men in their 20s and 30s - milling around a courtyard. Some were stretching in the Texas sun, while others used mobile phones to call friends and family back home or in the US.While a smattering of Colombians and Venezuelans were there, the vast majority were Nicaraguan.A climate of fearImage source, Getty ImagesThe stories shared by Nicaraguans at the shelter have two common themes: a struggling economy and fear of the government of Daniel Ortega, the leader of Nicaragua's 1979 Sandinista revolution who earlier this year was sworn into a fourth consecutive term as President.Affectionately known as Comandante Daniel to his supporters, Mr Ortega has long been accused of abandoning the revolution's ideals by turning into a dictator, harshly suppressing any opposition. These crackdowns have become more pronounced since Mr Ortega was returned to office in November, in an election that saw opposition candidates arrested or exiled alongside prominent regime critics, journalists, business leaders, human rights advocates and students. Since then, the clampdowns have continued and escalated, with the UN's human rights chief warning that new criminal legislations are being used to persecute perceived opponents of the Ortega government. In one week in early June alone, almost 200 civil society and non-governmental organisations were shut down in what the Paris-based Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders said was an attempt to eliminate "all social and political vision that differs from that established by the regime". The harsh measures imposed by the Ortega regime prompted the US government to announce that Nicaragua would not be invited to the recent Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. A senior administration official cited a "lack of democratic space" as the reason.The Nicaraguan American Human Rights Alliance, which helps citizens who have fled the country, has been inundated with daily inquiries from citizens who've drawn the ire of Mr Ortega's government, according to its president, Anita Wells.Image source, Getty ImagesAny opposition - real or imagined - is considered a "sin" by the authorities, she said, often with disastrous economic consequences for working class Nicaraguans."They don't let you work if you're part of the opposition," explained Ms Wells, herself part of an earlier wave of Nicaraguan refugees from the 1980s. "They won't renew your business license. Or, if you're a farmer, they won't buy your product to be exported. That's part of the reason Nicaraguans are leaving the country".The Nicaraguan government did not respond to a BBC request for comment.Ms Well's comments were echoed by a Nicaraguan academic who asked not to be identified, citing fears of retaliation from the government."The reality is that ordinary, working-class people have been the most exposed to the full brunt of regime oppression," he said. "The threshold for being subject to retaliation is extraordinarily low".The consequences of crossing the government vary widely. In some cases, workers are fired by their employers who deem the risk of having potential dissidents on their payrolls too high. In other cases, government agents harass customers and employees."Or maybe you're just picked up by paramilitary forces and threatened with death," the academic said. "You don't even need to be personally victimised. It might just be the case that you saw family members subjected to this and you feel it's not safe to stay". A dangerous journeyImage source, Getty ImagesFaced with these conditions, an increasing number of Nicaraguan citizens are choosing to leave. Comments on Nicaraguan news outlets - mostly those now operating from outside the country - are peppered with questions from those seeking to go.Some are taking practical steps to prepare. According to Reuters, dozens of would-be migrants in the Nicaraguan town of Esteli have been signing up for swimming classes offered on social media in anticipation of crossing the fast-moving waters of the Rio Grande at the end of a long trek to the United States.But many migrants have little idea of the dangers that they may face.The risks were starkly highlighted on 1 May by the death of Calixto Nelson Rojas, a Nicaraguan radio host, whose death by drowning in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass was caught on video by a Fox News cameraman. About two weeks later, a three-year-old Nicaraguan girl went missing after her 25-year-old mother drowned crossing the river. While the mother's body was recovered, the little girl has still not been found.Justine Ochoa, a Texas-based Nicaraguan activist, told the BBC that her group is aware of nearly 30 Nicaraguan citizens who have perished since the start of the year."Smugglers tell them it's a good time, or that people are crossing over easily. But that's not the truth," she said. "We know that a one or two people this year have died in accidents. Two were murdered by criminals on the Mexican side. But they mostly just drown in the river".Ms Wells said that even those who understand what is at stake are likely to continue to take enormous risks to pursue "the myth of the American dream". She often advises people still in Nicaragua to not go."It is a myth, because it's not easy, even if you do cross the border. People sometimes have the wrong impression, that this is Disneyland," she said. "I always ask them if it was worth it…they say that if they die, they die, but at least they'd have tried. Imagine the desperation. They'd rather die than return to Nicaragua."More on this storyMigrant caravan heads to US as key summit beginsNicaragua shuts down non-profits in new crackdownLose your fear, dissident Nicaraguan diplomat says

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Tangshan and Xuzhou: Fury and questions over China's treatment of women

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, WEIBOIt was a busy Friday night at a barbecue restaurant in the Chinese city of Tangshan. A group of women were having dinner together when one of them was approached by a male diner.Recoiling from his touch, she said "go away". In return, he clubbed her in the head, throwing her to the ground. His friends then joined him, using chairs and bottles to hit the women, some of whom were then dragged outside and kicked in the head.It was just the latest example of violence against women that's outraged the Chinese public - in January, news of a woman found chained in a shack sparked similar distress.Both cases have triggered unprecedented levels of online criticism as well as rare acts of activism. They've also raised questions, particularly among young women, about misogyny and male power."It's profoundly disrupted how Chinese people view their own society and specifically, the gender norms and stereotypes underpinning it," said Pichamon Yeophantong, a China researcher at the University of New South Wales.Endemic violenceWomen being assaulted in public by their partners "is disturbingly common online", says Kerry Allen, the BBC's Chinese media monitoring analyst."I see footage almost every day of either covertly filmed domestic violence or attacks that have been picked up via surveillance footage."A 2013 UN study involving 1,000 men in a county in central China found that more than half admitted to physical or sexual violence against their partner - a similar number also said they would use violence to defend their honour. The UN report attributed gender-based violence to deeply-rooted gender norms in China - a country where domestic violence was only made a criminal offence in 2016.In Chinese society, "toughness, sexual prowess… and use of force in some occasions" remain ideals of masculinity, it said.But observers say there is also a reluctance to intervene in what is still widely seen as a private matter between a couple. Ms Allen said that when living in the country a decade ago she witnessed several attacks in broad daylight where "groups of bystanders [were] simply watching on".That's what happened in Tangshan, although the victim didn't know the attacker. It was the same in Xuzhou too, where a woman had been chained by her neck in a hut outside her home. Her husband had claimed she was locked up because her mental illness made her a threat to others. But a police investigation confirmed suspicion that she had been trafficked as a bride in the 1990s.The footage only surfaced and went viral after a vlogger came across her while touring the village - the fact that it took so long for her to be discovered deeply shocked people. "She is a person, not an object. After having eight children over 20 years, she is only to be found today? None of the government departments involved are innocent," one user wrote on social media platform Weibo.Image source, DOUYINDemands for changeMany Chinese women were surprised with the extent of violence shown in the Tangshan and Xuzhou cases, particularly given China's low crime rates and high levels of surveillance."Speaking to the younger generation - university students, in particular - I've heard many of them express genuine shock that such violence against women still exists, if not condoned, in modern Chinese society," Dr Yeophantong said.With the bubble burst, many are interrogating gender dynamics for the first time, she added.Calls for social change appear to be most prominent among Chinese millennials who are active on social media and keenly aware of global movements like #MeToo.Some of the most popular posts on Weibo about the two cases voice concerns about how women are treated in a society that still largely promotes patriarchal Confucian ideas."We need to... acknowledge that there are still forces in our environment that support, encourage, and drive men to engage in gender-based violence against women," read one essay.The 'punchline queen' who offended Chinese menThe #MeToo icon China is trying to silenceMany have also expressed discontent over how authorities have responded to these cases, accusing those in power of downplaying the role of gender.In the Tangshan incident, the initial police and media response appeared to focus on the attackers' links to local gangs and their criminal history.One report said the woman had only been approached for "conversation". But on Weibo many users objected, saying it was sexual harassment.Outrage over the chained woman also prompted rare acts of public protest. In separate incidents, two women drove across the country to try to rescue her. Unmasked demonstrators photographed themselves with signs and posted the pictures online. One bookshop set up a display of feminist literature.Is this a turning point?"Women are angry now and speaking up. But I'm not optimistic that this will lead to fundamental changes," said Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher with Human Rights Watch.In the face of immense public pressure, authorities responded to both cases by launching investigations and taskforces. Amid outrage over the condition of the woman in Xuzhou, they promised a trafficking crackdown by stepping up checks on local marriage licences. After the restaurant attack, they increased night patrols in Tangshan, and dismissed a local police chief. Alleged perpetrators in both cases have been arrested.But Guo Jing, a domestic violence case worker in China, said it's typical for authorities to treat gender-based crimes as one-off incidents, solved by catching and punishing the accused."These incidents are not viewed from the structural point of view; there is no long-term perspective nor institutional solutions," she told BBC Chinese.In March, some party members at the National People's Congress suggested strengthening laws protecting women, and increasing punishments for human trafficking. But these have yet to materialise, and the Chinese Communist Party leadership has not signalled any changes.Meanwhile, censorship has increased. In the wake of the Tangshan attack, Weibo removed accounts that "incited gender confrontation". Older threads about the chained woman - which often included discussions about sexism - have also been wiped.Ms Wang said it's near impossible to sustain grassroots activism given how China has been erasing its civil rights groups in recent years. Observers are concerned that the crackdown has also hit women's rights activism: vocal feminists have been arrested and high-profile MeToo court battles dismissed. The recent case involving tennis player Peng Shuai has also prompted fears that sexual assault accusers are being silenced."The forces that used to exist that pressured the government to do better on gender issues have been eliminated," Ms Wang said."All these bode ill for women's rights in China."More on this storyPoliceman dismissed over attack on female dinersVlogger reignites Chinese domestic violence debateChained China woman in hut was trafficking victimVideo of chained woman in hut sparks China outrageHow China censored a tennis star

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Tangshan and Xuzhou: Fury and questions over China's treatment of women

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, WEIBOIt was a busy Friday night at a barbecue restaurant in the Chinese city of Tangshan. A group of women were having dinner together when one of them was approached by a male diner.Recoiling from his touch, she said "go away". In return, he clubbed her in the head, throwing her to the ground. His friends then joined him, using chairs and bottles to hit the women, some of whom were then dragged outside and kicked in the head.It was just the latest example of violence against women that's outraged the Chinese public - in January, news of a woman found chained in a shack sparked similar distress.Both cases have triggered unprecedented levels of online criticism as well as rare acts of activism. They've also raised questions, particularly among young women, about misogyny and male power."It's profoundly disrupted how Chinese people view their own society and specifically, the gender norms and stereotypes underpinning it," said Pichamon Yeophantong, a China researcher at the University of New South Wales.Endemic violenceWomen being assaulted in public by their partners "is disturbingly common online", says Kerry Allen, the BBC's Chinese media monitoring analyst."I see footage almost every day of either covertly filmed domestic violence or attacks that have been picked up via surveillance footage."A 2013 UN study involving 1,000 men in a county in central China found that more than half admitted to physical or sexual violence against their partner - a similar number also said they would use violence to defend their honour. The UN report attributed gender-based violence to deeply-rooted gender norms in China - a country where domestic violence was only made a criminal offence in 2016.In Chinese society, "toughness, sexual prowess… and use of force in some occasions" remain ideals of masculinity, it said.But observers say there is also a reluctance to intervene in what is still widely seen as a private matter between a couple. Ms Allen said that when living in the country a decade ago she witnessed several attacks in broad daylight where "groups of bystanders [were] simply watching on".That's what happened in Tangshan, although the victim didn't know the attacker. It was the same in Xuzhou too, where a woman had been chained by her neck in a hut outside her home. Her husband had claimed she was locked up because her mental illness made her a threat to others. But a police investigation confirmed suspicion that she had been trafficked as a bride in the 1990s.The footage only surfaced and went viral after a vlogger came across her while touring the village - the fact that it took so long for her to be discovered deeply shocked people. "She is a person, not an object. After having eight children over 20 years, she is only to be found today? None of the government departments involved are innocent," one user wrote on social media platform Weibo.Image source, DOUYINDemands for changeMany Chinese women were surprised with the extent of violence shown in the Tangshan and Xuzhou cases, particularly given China's low crime rates and high levels of surveillance."Speaking to the younger generation - university students, in particular - I've heard many of them express genuine shock that such violence against women still exists, if not condoned, in modern Chinese society," Dr Yeophantong said.With the bubble burst, many are interrogating gender dynamics for the first time, she added.Calls for social change appear to be most prominent among Chinese millennials who are active on social media and keenly aware of global movements like #MeToo.Some of the most popular posts on Weibo about the two cases voice concerns about how women are treated in a society that still largely promotes patriarchal Confucian ideas."We need to... acknowledge that there are still forces in our environment that support, encourage, and drive men to engage in gender-based violence against women," read one essay.The 'punchline queen' who offended Chinese menThe #MeToo icon China is trying to silenceMany have also expressed discontent over how authorities have responded to these cases, accusing those in power of downplaying the role of gender.In the Tangshan incident, the initial police and media response appeared to focus on the attackers' links to local gangs and their criminal history.One report said the woman had only been approached for "conversation". But on Weibo many users objected, saying it was sexual harassment.Outrage over the chained woman also prompted rare acts of public protest. In separate incidents, two women drove across the country to try to rescue her. Unmasked demonstrators photographed themselves with signs and posted the pictures online. One bookshop set up a display of feminist literature.Is this a turning point?"Women are angry now and speaking up. But I'm not optimistic that this will lead to fundamental changes," said Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher with Human Rights Watch.In the face of immense public pressure, authorities responded to both cases by launching investigations and taskforces. Amid outrage over the condition of the woman in Xuzhou, they promised a trafficking crackdown by stepping up checks on local marriage licences. After the restaurant attack, they increased night patrols in Tangshan, and dismissed a local police chief. Alleged perpetrators in both cases have been arrested.But Guo Jing, a domestic violence case worker in China, said it's typical for authorities to treat gender-based crimes as one-off incidents, solved by catching and punishing the accused."These incidents are not viewed from the structural point of view; there is no long-term perspective nor institutional solutions," she told BBC Chinese.In March, some party members at the National People's Congress suggested strengthening laws protecting women, and increasing punishments for human trafficking. But these have yet to materialise, and the Chinese Communist Party leadership has not signalled any changes.Meanwhile, censorship has increased. In the wake of the Tangshan attack, Weibo removed accounts that "incited gender confrontation". Older threads about the chained woman - which often included discussions about sexism - have also been wiped.Ms Wang said it's near impossible to sustain grassroots activism given how China has been erasing its civil rights groups in recent years. Observers are concerned that the crackdown has also hit women's rights activism: vocal feminists have been arrested and high-profile MeToo court battles dismissed. The recent case involving tennis player Peng Shuai has also prompted fears that sexual assault accusers are being silenced."The forces that used to exist that pressured the government to do better on gender issues have been eliminated," Ms Wang said."All these bode ill for women's rights in China."More on this storyPoliceman dismissed over attack on female dinersVlogger reignites Chinese domestic violence debateChained China woman in hut was trafficking victimVideo of chained woman in hut sparks China outrageHow China censored a tennis star

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Tangshan and Xuzhou: Fury and questions over China's treatment of women

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, WEIBOIt was a busy Friday night at a barbecue restaurant in the Chinese city of Tangshan. A group of women were having dinner together when one of them was approached by a male diner.Recoiling from his touch, she said "go away". In return, he clubbed her in the head, throwing her to the ground. His friends then joined him, using chairs and bottles to hit the women, some of whom were then dragged outside and kicked in the head.It was just the latest example of violence against women that's outraged the Chinese public - in January, news of a woman found chained in a shack sparked similar distress.Both cases have triggered unprecedented levels of online criticism as well as rare acts of activism. They've also raised questions, particularly among young women, about misogyny and male power."It's profoundly disrupted how Chinese people view their own society and specifically, the gender norms and stereotypes underpinning it," said Pichamon Yeophantong, a China researcher at the University of New South Wales.Endemic violenceWomen being assaulted in public by their partners "is disturbingly common online", says Kerry Allen, the BBC's Chinese media monitoring analyst."I see footage almost every day of either covertly filmed domestic violence or attacks that have been picked up via surveillance footage."A 2013 UN study involving 1,000 men in a county in central China found that more than half admitted to physical or sexual violence against their partner - a similar number also said they would use violence to defend their honour. The UN report attributed gender-based violence to deeply-rooted gender norms in China - a country where domestic violence was only made a criminal offence in 2016.In Chinese society, "toughness, sexual prowess… and use of force in some occasions" remain ideals of masculinity, it said.But observers say there is also a reluctance to intervene in what is still widely seen as a private matter between a couple. Ms Allen said that when living in the country a decade ago she witnessed several attacks in broad daylight where "groups of bystanders [were] simply watching on".That's what happened in Tangshan, although the victim didn't know the attacker. It was the same in Xuzhou too, where a woman had been chained by her neck in a hut outside her home. Her husband had claimed she was locked up because her mental illness made her a threat to others. But a police investigation confirmed suspicion that she had been trafficked as a bride in the 1990s.The footage only surfaced and went viral after a vlogger came across her while touring the village - the fact that it took so long for her to be discovered deeply shocked people. "She is a person, not an object. After having eight children over 20 years, she is only to be found today? None of the government departments involved are innocent," one user wrote on social media platform Weibo.Image source, DOUYINDemands for changeMany Chinese women were surprised with the extent of violence shown in the Tangshan and Xuzhou cases, particularly given China's low crime rates and high levels of surveillance."Speaking to the younger generation - university students, in particular - I've heard many of them express genuine shock that such violence against women still exists, if not condoned, in modern Chinese society," Dr Yeophantong said.With the bubble burst, many are interrogating gender dynamics for the first time, she added.Calls for social change appear to be most prominent among Chinese millennials who are active on social media and keenly aware of global movements like #MeToo.Some of the most popular posts on Weibo about the two cases voice concerns about how women are treated in a society that still largely promotes patriarchal Confucian ideas."We need to... acknowledge that there are still forces in our environment that support, encourage, and drive men to engage in gender-based violence against women," read one essay.The 'punchline queen' who offended Chinese menThe #MeToo icon China is trying to silenceMany have also expressed discontent over how authorities have responded to these cases, accusing those in power of downplaying the role of gender.In the Tangshan incident, the initial police and media response appeared to focus on the attackers' links to local gangs and their criminal history.One report said the woman had only been approached for "conversation". But on Weibo many users objected, saying it was sexual harassment.Outrage over the chained woman also prompted rare acts of public protest. In separate incidents, two women drove across the country to try to rescue her. Unmasked demonstrators photographed themselves with signs and posted the pictures online. One bookshop set up a display of feminist literature.Is this a turning point?"Women are angry now and speaking up. But I'm not optimistic that this will lead to fundamental changes," said Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher with Human Rights Watch.In the face of immense public pressure, authorities responded to both cases by launching investigations and taskforces. Amid outrage over the condition of the woman in Xuzhou, they promised a trafficking crackdown by stepping up checks on local marriage licences. After the restaurant attack, they increased night patrols in Tangshan, and dismissed a local police chief. Alleged perpetrators in both cases have been arrested.But Guo Jing, a domestic violence case worker in China, said it's typical for authorities to treat gender-based crimes as one-off incidents, solved by catching and punishing the accused."These incidents are not viewed from the structural point of view; there is no long-term perspective nor institutional solutions," she told BBC Chinese.In March, some party members at the National People's Congress suggested strengthening laws protecting women, and increasing punishments for human trafficking. But these have yet to materialise, and the Chinese Communist Party leadership has not signalled any changes.Meanwhile, censorship has increased. In the wake of the Tangshan attack, Weibo removed accounts that "incited gender confrontation". Older threads about the chained woman - which often included discussions about sexism - have also been wiped.Ms Wang said it's near impossible to sustain grassroots activism given how China has been erasing its civil rights groups in recent years. Observers are concerned that the crackdown has also hit women's rights activism: vocal feminists have been arrested and high-profile MeToo court battles dismissed. The recent case involving tennis player Peng Shuai has also prompted fears that sexual assault accusers are being silenced."The forces that used to exist that pressured the government to do better on gender issues have been eliminated," Ms Wang said."All these bode ill for women's rights in China."More on this storyPoliceman dismissed over attack on female dinersVlogger reignites Chinese domestic violence debateChained China woman in hut was trafficking victimVideo of chained woman in hut sparks China outrageHow China censored a tennis star

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Katie Price: The rise and fall of a glamour model

SharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, PA MediaKatie Price is due to be sentenced on Friday, after admitting breaching a restraining order forbidding her from contacting her ex-husband's fiancee.It follows a difficult period for the reality-TV star and former glamour model, which has also seen her declared bankrupt and found guilty of drink-driving. But the 44-year-old's recent problems are in stark contrast to the 2000s, when she was one of the most popular and successful celebrities in Britain. Back then, fans could buy into the Katie Price brand in many ways - wear her perfume, work out to her fitness video, listen to her album or read one of her autobiographies."When I was growing up, girls that I went to school with idolised her," Mail Online senior showbiz reporter and former writer for the Sun's Bizarre column Sarah Packer says. "They wanted to have hair extensions and fake tan. And she was probably one of the first to make a big deal out of having a boob job and that becoming the reason she was famous."Price was a hugely successful model, regularly appearing on the Sun's Page Three and in men's magazines. "And not only that, but women related to her because she was also a mother," Packer says. "We followed her career. We saw her romance blossom with Peter Andre on I'm A Celebrity. It felt like we knew her personally somehow. She was always in the press so she just became someone we were used to seeing."Image source, Getty ImagesPrice climbed to the top of the fame ladder before the advent of social media. She utilised her relationships with print, broadcast and online media outlets and was happy to share all aspects of her life. Broadcaster and creator of daily news podcast The Smart 7 Jamie East, who ran the celebrity-gossip website Holy Moly for much of the 2000s, when Price's career was at its peak, says: "She was kind of a dream for a celebrity journalist back then because Katie Price is many things - stupid is not one of them. And she knows that if she delivers the goods, she will be written about. "So it was kind of the perfect storm from our point of view. She went everywhere - she would go to the opening of an envelope. She always turned up dressed ridiculously so you could guarantee to get at least 10 pictures to create a gallery out of it and she gave good quotes as well. "She just didn't care - she knew she had a limited shelf life in terms of her body and her brand and she milked it for all it was worth and was happy to play the game."Image source, Getty ImagesBut then, the public perception of Price began to change. And while her visibility in today's celebrity landscape might remain high, negative stories about her financial and legal struggles have seen her fall out of favour somewhat. "The best way to have a good reputation is to behave well," Maltin PR founder and chief executive Tim Maltin, a specialist in reputation management, says."And I think some of the things that have caused Katie Price's popularity to come off its peak, which started I think when she split from Peter Andre, are things like the drink-driving, which is endangering the public and endangering herself. "Part of her brand has been the slightly chaotic nature of her life - but equally, if she wants to become more popular, then she should think about her fans and what she stands for. "And there are a lot of positives in what she stands for - being a strong independent woman, being a good mother to her disabled son, being an entrepreneurial woman, being someone who's come from quite a difficult background who's done well for herself."Image source, Stephen Mark PerryPrice's split from Andre, and the start of her next relationship, with Alex Reid, was at a time when the media industry, and the climate around celebrity, was starting to transform."A couple of things happened," East says. "The public mood towards celebrity changed. We wanted something a bit more wholesome - it was all '#BeKind'. And Katie stopped becoming an image of 'it doesn't matter where you come from, you can still achieve your dream, become a millionaire.' And instead what happened was she started chasing her tail a bit. "If you had to pick a moment where it all went wrong, I think Alex Reid was probably that moment. I just think that, for all the nonsense and the naffness, Peter Andre and Katie Price were clearly in love and it was a genuinely sweet coupling via reality TV."The gradual change in Price's public image "wasn't conducive with endorsing pony equipment for 10-year-old girls", East suggests. "Commercial sponsors backed off pretty quickly. And then what happens is it's a race to the bottom in terms of trying to cling on to the endorsements and money."Packer says the change in Price's appearance has also played a role. "The surgery is part of her downfall," she says. Price was declared bankrupt in 2019. "Her outgoings were unbelievable," East says. "I spent a day at her house - and just the staff and the set-up, you can easily see why she burned through so much money pretty quickly. "Once that starts to decline and the level of work you're being offered declines, you start to chase different types of press. Before you know it, you're in this pretty miserable cycle."Price has remained in the public eye and still commands a great deal of respect, thanks to her relationship with her son who has learning disabilities, which has been the subject of two recent BBC documentaries. "The mother that she is to Harvey is so commendable," Packer says. But the drink-driving conviction, followed by the breach of the restraining order forbidding her from contacting the fiancee of her ex-husband Kieran Hayler, has seen public affection fade. "What happens with me is things build up and build up and then I cause more damage," Price told ITV's Lorraine programme in February. "It's like I've got a self-destruct button sometimes."I am so tolerant, so patient - but there are certain people that rile me." Seemingly aware her actions had put her reputation at risk, Price started having therapy. "There are so many good things happening for me at the moment and I don't want to ruin it," she said.Image source, Getty ImagesIn the fast-moving world of celebrity, it can be hard to hold on to your popularity for a sustained length of time. But Mr Maltin says there is a way back into the public's heart for Price."The British public loves to forgive," he says. "If you look at Elton John, for example, he's been through so many ups and downs and he's still a much loved and respected figure."The entertainment world loves a comeback story and Price could write off her difficult few years as a necessary step on her journey. "People like a narrative arc," Mr Maltin says. "They actually like to see their heroes trip and fall."Packer, however, thinks a return to the levels of success she had before will be difficult. "I don't know if she will ever have that same level of popularity," she says. "Right now people are just fascinated by her because there are so many ups and downs. "But I don't think we've tired of her. Working at the Sun and the Mail, I analyse all the traffic on the website, and she is still the most popular celebrity you can write about, whatever she does."More on this storyKatie Price admits breaching restraining orderKatie Price 'incredibly sorry' after drink-drivingCourt case against Katie Price's fiance dropped

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