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  1. Women over 40 are having more babies than the under 20s for the first time in nearly 70 years, official figures for England and Wales show. The Office for National Statistics data showed there were 697,852 live births in 2015. There were 15.2 births per 1,000 women aged over 40, compared with just 14.5 per 1,000 women in their teens. The last time the over 40s had the higher fertility rate was in 1947, in the wake of WWII. The figures show two key trends in who is having children and when in England and Wales. The teenage pregnancy rate has been in long-term decline and has more than halved from the 33 births per 1,000 teenagers in 1990. Meanwhile, pregnancies have soared in older age groups from 5.3 per 1,000 in 1990. The average age of having a child is now 30.3 - a figure that has been increasing since 1975. Advances in fertility treatment as well as more women in higher education and attitudes around the importance of a career and the rising costs of childbearing are behind the rise, the ONS says. Liz McLaren, head of vital statistics outputs at the ONS, said: "The trend for women to have babies at older ages continued in 2015. "Over the last 40 years, the percentage of live births to women aged 35 and over has increased considerably. "Women aged 40 and over now have a higher fertility rate than women aged under 20 - this was last recorded in the 1940s." The data also shows that fertility rates have dropped in all age groups under 25 while increasing for all age groups 30 and over. Women aged between 30 and 34 have the highest fertility of any age group - with 111 births per 1,000 women. The number of births to women born outside the UK has also continued its rise, reaching 27.5% of all births. Prof Adam Balen, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, said: "We know that female fertility starts to decline gradually from the late 20s and more rapidly from the mid-30s onwards. "While the risks should never be overplayed, men and women should be aware that reproductive outcomes are poorer in older women. "As well as it potentially taking longer to get pregnant, later maternity can involve a greater risk of miscarriage, a more complicated labour, and medical intervention at the birth." The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said: "The trend towards older motherhood is here to stay, and there are many understandable reasons why women today are waiting longer to start or expand their families than those in previous decades. "Rather than bemoaning this development, we should seek to understand and support the decisions women make. "More affordable childcare and improved maternity rights may make it easier for some women to start their families earlier if they wish, but we also need to ensure we have high quality reproductive healthcare services configured to meet women's needs, whatever the age at which they conceive."
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  2. Independent investigators in the United Kingdom are weighing whether to launch a new investigation into the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.K. after receiving a “considerable number” of abuse allegations. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, or IICSA, a government-sanctioned investigative panel in England and Wales, told The Guardian that it had gotten a “considerable number” of reports from both the public and elected officials about the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.K. A spokesperson told the newspaper the panel would “consider calls for a Jehovah’s Witnesses–specific investigation carefully.” It was unclear how many reports the watchdog group had received. When contacted by Newsweek, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ public information office did not immediately comment. Kathleen Hallisey, a lawyer who brought charges against the Jehovah’s Witnesses for sexual abuse in 2015, said she suspected there are thousands of such cases in the U.K., The Guardian reported. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to recognize the issue of child abuse in their organization or to create robust safeguarding procedures to protect children,” she said. “An investigation by IICSA into the Jehovah’s Witnesses is an opportunity for the inquiry to effect real change in an organization that refuses to shine a light on child abuse and protect children.” News of the possible investigation comes weeks after the nonprofit religious transparency organization Faithleaks leaked 33 letters and internal documents revealing a pattern of sexual abuse by one Jehovah’s Witness member, and the lengths the church went to cover up the scandal. Those documents detail communications among church leaders and several legal entities—collectively known as Watchtower—between 1999 and 2012. In one letterto Watchtower dated November 14, 1999, the Palmer Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses from Brimfield, Massachusetts, said it had reviewed claims by two women who alleged their father sexually abused them as children. The group found those claims to be true. “Our impression upon speaking with both girls was similar. That they are both quite rational. It certainly appears that these were real events,” the letter said. In that case, church leaders pressured one of the accusers not to report the abuse to police. Years later, the church held an in-house trial and briefly excommunicated the father. That victim was not the only person pressured to remain silent. In the U.K., several alleged victims had come forward with similar claims in November 2017, according to The Telegraph. “Frankly, I would equate this to a scandal and a cover-up akin to the Catholic Church,” Hallisey told The Telegraph at the time.
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  3. Children who were sexually abused by Jehovah's Witnesses were allegedly told by the church not to report the crimes. Victims from across the UK told the BBC they were routinely abused and that the religious organisation's own rules protected perpetrators. One child abuse lawyer believes there could be thousands of victims across the country who have not come forward because of the "two witness" rule. A spokesperson for the church said it did not "shield" abusers. 'Bring reproach on Jehovah' BBC Hereford and Worcester spoke to victims - men and women - from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leicester, Worcestershire and Glasgow, one of whom waived her right to anonymity. Louise Palmer, who now lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, was born into the organisation along with her brother Richard Davenport, who started raping her when she was four. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse. The 41-year-old, formerly of Halesowen, West Midlands, said when she told the church of the abuse she was told not to go to police. Read more:
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  4. At an office for Healthy Minds in High Wycombe, England, psychological well-being practitioners perform hourlong evaluations over the phone to decide what type of therapy is most appropriate for people who call asking for help. CreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times LONDON — England is in the midst of a unique national experiment, the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses. The rapidly growing initiative, which has gotten little publicity outside the country, offers virtually open-ended talk therapy free of charge at clinics throughout the country: in remote farming villages, industrial suburbs, isolated immigrant communities and high-end enclaves. The goal is to eventually create a system of primary care for mental health not just for England but for all of Britain. At a time when many nations are debating large-scale reforms to mental health care, researchers and policy makers are looking hard at England’s experience, sizing up both its popularity and its limitations. Mental health care systems vary widely across the Western world, but none have gone nearly so far to provide open-ended access to talk therapies backed by hard evidence. Experts say the English program is the first broad real-world test of treatments that have been studied mostly in carefully controlled lab conditions. Read more:
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  5. Chichester, England (CNN)By the time Rolls-Royce unveiled its one-of-a-kind Serenity Phantom at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, it was already one of the most buzzed about debuts of the international showcase. Rendered opalescent with glossy mother of pearl paint and detailed with polished bamboo and smoked cherry wood, it was immediately hailed as "the world's most beautiful Rolls-Royce" and "fit for royalty." But it's what's inside that truly captivated: The entire interior -- from the seats to the headliner -- was upholstered with pastel blue raw silk, sourced from Suzhou, one of China's silk embroidery capitals, and woven in one of the UK's oldest mills. Delicate flowers, a riff on Japanese royal robes and chinoiserie, were embroidered and hand-painted throughout. This intricate beauty befit an opulent palace living room, or a priceless couture gown. "With the fabric, the beauty of it, you just have to stop what you were thinking about and enjoy the moment," says Cherica Haye, the 31-year-old color and textiles maven who helped conceive the interiors. It was she who designed the distinctive floral motif and hand-painted the flowers within. "It brings you down from 100 to a normal level. With materials you can do that." Haye is part of Rolls-Royce Bespoke, a studio of craftsman and artisans charged with designing the marque's most ambitious, and expensive, custom models. Initially trained in fashion at Central Saint Martins -- the prestigious London college that counts Alexander McQueen and John Galliano as alums -- she's elevating auto interiors to new heights. From couture to cars While studying textiles at Central Saint Martins, the Londoner had already mapped out her career: she would become a master of fabric innovation, and then take her skills to the storied ateliers of Paris. "I wanted to be head of material development and design at Dior," she says, laughing, at the Rolls-Royce headquarters in the south of England. "I don't even know if that exists, but that's what I wanted to do." It was only when she started her Master in Fiber, Textile and Weaving Arts at the Royal College of Art, by then weary of the competitive nature of the fashion industry, that she decided to shift her focus to automotive design, driven by her dream of someday owning a Jaguar. Rolls-Royce Bespoke color and material designer Cherica Haye at the company's production plant in Chichester, England. Instead of interning, she developed conceptual textiles for the likes of Jaguar, Kia and Audi, submitting samples she'd developed as part of her course work. Her talents eventually caught the eye of Rolls-Royce design director Giles Taylor. Impressed by her graduate portfolio, which incorporated unique woven horsehair blends and incorporated traditional Japanese dyeing techniques, he invited her to join his team less than a year later, when they were set to begin work on their most beautiful project yet. But Haye is quick to point out that she's not the only one coming to vehicular design from an unexpected background. Michelle Lusby, for example, who worked with her on the Serenity interiors, comes from an illustration background. Other team members have been handpicked from the worlds of tattooing, sign-making, yachting, saddlery, and costume design. Cross-pollination and interdisciplinary collaboration, it seems, are the foundation on which all projects rest. "There's a constant coming together of different disciplines, but what strings us together is that we're all design," she explains. "You just have to have an eye, and that's what connects... Not everybody's taste is going to be the same, but you have to have that." A dream job If anything, she finds that her background might have left her better prepared for her current position than people think. Like the luxury fashion industry, bespoke auto design calls for endless creativity and problem-solving. And, as in a couture house, her current clientele is catered to in every way, their every whim and request met regardless of the effort or expense. And most importantly, both fields allow her to work with and develop unique textiles, which remains her true passion. "At heart, I'm a textiles designer that specializes in color, in material makeup, in material innovation. Not just the overall feel of it, but to the minute, micro level. I do color, I do material overlaying, material-making, designing," she says. "It seems pretty dreamy, eh?"
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  6. Surrey, England Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses
  7. A county council in England has come up with a clever and discreet way of combatting sexual violence and abuse. A photo posted to Twitter (and retweeted almost 30,000 times) shows a poster in the women's bathroom at a bar in Lincolnshire that advises anyone who is feeling unsafe on a date to ask the bar staff for "Angela"—a code word alerting the staff that someone is in need of help. The copy reads: "Are you on a date that isn't working out? Is your Tinder or POF [Plenty of Fish] date not who they said they were on their profile? Do you feel like you're not in a safe situation? Does it all feel a bit weird? If you go to the bar and ask for 'Angela,' the bar staff will know you need help getting out of your situation and will call you a taxi or help you out discreetly—without too much fuss." The idea of being helped discreetly is the most compelling part about the campaign. Fear of causing a scene or being wrong can be paralyzing for people in an unnerving situation. Hayley Child, substance misuse and sexual violence and abuse strategy coordinator for Lincolnshire County Council, tells the Independent: "The 'Ask for Angela' posters are part of our wider #NoMore campaign which aims to promote a culture change in relation to sexual violence and abuse, promote services in Lincolnshire and empower victims to make a decision on whether to report incidents." She adds: "Sexual abuse and violence is an national issue, and all councils have a responsibility to tackle abuse. This was Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership's first awareness raising campaign on this issue." The only problem we see is that the #NoMore hashtag is a bit lost among many #NoMore hashtags on social media. But overall, it's a great effort toward fixing a major problem.
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  8. There are museums devoted to pretty much everything: bad art, instant ramen, hair. Now there is a museum in southern England devoted to excrement. The National Poo Museum, which opened in March at the Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown, was created by a small group of artists from a collective calledEccleston George. The group, which usually makes interactive exhibits for schools and zoos, was looking for a new project that could generate a trickle of income for its artists. The idea for the museum originated when a member, Daniel Roberts, was walking on a country path in Sweden and happened upon some mysterious animal droppings. “Everyone stopped in their tracks to wonder what sort of poo it was,” Mr. Roberts said. “It ended up being from a lynx.” He was struck, he said, by how intrigued his companions were. “People are disgusted by poo, but there’s also this fascination with it,” he said. And so the National Poo Museum was born. Nigel George, left, and Daniel Roberts created the National Poo Museum at the Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown, England. It is more of an exhibit than a museum, occupying a single room at the zoo, where it will be open until the end of the summer; after that, it will go on tour. It features 20 examples of feces from different animals, including pigeon, meerkat and lion. Each sample is suspended in a sphere of clear resin that can be illuminated with the touch of a button. Before it is preserved this way, each sample must be dried. The bird droppings dried quickly, but a cowpat took about a week to dry out and the lion feces almost two weeks. One of the more interesting samples, from a herring gull, has a white object tangled in it. “The white part is the remnant of a plastic bag,” said Nigel George, one of the Eccleston George artists. “This tells a story of what human beings are doing to the ecology of a place.” The museum also features information on bowel cancer and the importance of keeping sewer pipes unblocked and unclogged, among other helpful tidbits about feces. “It’s had a huge resonance with kids,” said Bill Cane, another member of the collective. “The poop emoji is super popular now, and it seems to be riding quite a bit on that.” In fact, Mr. Cane said, one of the children who visited the exhibit came clutching a plush-toy poop emoji.
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