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Police appeal after three youths push 74-year-old man into the River Mersey

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In a shocking incident over the weekend, an elderly man was shoved into the River Mersey by three youths.

Police are now appealing for information after the 74-year-old was pushed into the river on Sunday, April 25th, with the incident happening between 2.30pm and 3pm.

The man was sat on the river bank near the Riverside Retail Park in Warrington, where two or three male youths are alleged to have pushed him in from behind.

According to Cheshire Police, they all ran away laughing after the incident.

Thankfully two women who were passing the scene managed to help the man, pulling him out of the water.

The man, who banged his head and cut his face when he fell in, walked home and told his family what had happened, and they rang the police.

The 74-year-old has been left ‘shaken’ by the incident.

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Sergeant Mark Spaven, of Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “This was a shocking and upsetting incident which has understandably left the gentleman shaken.

“He returned home freezing cold and had sustained a cut to his face due to banging his head as he fell into the water.

“We are determined to find those responsible and I am urging anyone who has any information or believes they know who did this to come forward.

“I also want to appeal to the two women who thankfully came to his rescue to please get in touch with us as you could have information which could help our investigation.”

Officers say enquiries are ongoing and are appealing for the two women who helped the man out of the river to come forward.

If you have any info regarding the incident you’re urged to contact the police on 101 quoting IML 973153, or alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Face masks make people look more attractive, study finds

According to researchers, the pandemic has ‘changed our psychology’

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While the Covid pandemic has brought with it nothing but misery and uncertainty, there is apparently one positive; face masks make people more attractive.

Researchers at Cardiff University have found that both men and women were judged to look better when the lower half of their faces were obscured by a face mask.

And even more surprisingly, the study found that blue disposable face masks were deemed as more attractive than patterned cloth masks. 

Dr. Michael Lewis, a reader from Cardiff University’s school of psychology and an expert in faces, explained that research carried out before the pandemic had found that medical face masks reduced attractiveness because they were associated with ‘disease or illness’.

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So when masks became common place during the pandemic, Dr. Lewis and his team wanted to see if the perception on face coverings had changed. 

The first half of the study was carried out in February 2021, by which time the British public had become used to wearing masks in public settings.

There, forty-three women were asked to rate on a scale of one to ten the attractiveness of images of male faces without a mask, wearing a plain cloth mask, a blue medical face mask, and holding a plain black book covering the area a face mask would hide.

The participants said those wearing a cloth mask were significantly more attractive than the ones with no masks or whose faces were partly obscured by the book. But the blue disposable mask made the wearer look even better.

@tonichealth / Unsplash

Dr. Lewis told The Guardian: “We wanted to test whether this had changed since face coverings became ubiquitous and understand whether the type of mask had any effect.

“Our study suggests faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical face masks. This may be because we’re used to healthcare workers wearing blue masks and now we associate these with people in caring or medical professions.

“At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring and so feel more positive towards the wearer.”

He added: “The pandemic has changed our psychology in how we perceive the wearers of masks. When we see someone wearing a mask we no longer think ‘that person has a disease, I need to stay away'”.

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Doctor explains how fizzy drinks and tap water could give false positive lateral flow results

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An NHS doctor has revealed how tap water and fizzy drinks could lead to false positive lateral flow test results.  

Dr. Karan Raj, who is known for dispelling various health myths on TikTok, shared a video in response to a conspiracy theory that claimed pouring a fizzy drink on the Covid test – which resulted in a positive result – was evidence of the pandemic not being real.

In his video, Dr. Raj began by taking apart a lateral flow test kit to explain how exactly the kits work as well as the importance of the fluid that comes with the kit.

He explained: “This grey box and the portion just above it contains antibodies that are sensitive to the Covid-19 virus.

“If you use anything like soda, tap water and fizzy drinks then that’s going to provide an altered pH, which will affect the function of the antibodies on the test line.

“That is why you need to use this buffer solution – consisting of 99.7% saline solution – which provides a stable pH that will actually make the test work.”

So all you need to do is use the test as instructed and not pour any form of liquid or drink onto it… Who’d have thought it?

And if you’re still not convinced by Dr. Raj’s explanation, it was backed up by the American Society for Microbiology back in November, who confirmed that ‘a team of Canadian researchers has shown that rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 work only when manufacturer instructions are followed.’

This comes after school children across the UK were caught faking positive Covid tests by using fizzy drinks and orange juice to get time off school.

Back when the Covid isolation period was ten days long, crafty kids would apply various liquids to lateral flow tests to fake a ‘positive’ result to show to their parents and teachers.

However, they were rumbled after posting videos of their actions on TikTok, with Professor Andrea Sella of University College London saying it was not at all surprising.

She said: “If someone deliberately mucks up the protocol then of course you’ll get a duff result. But I would add that it’s not a ‘false positive’ in the true sense. Because false positives are ones that take place in spite of adherence to the protocol.”

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M&S renames Midget Gems after campaigner says it’s hateful towards people with dwarfism

The controversial word has origins in Victorian ‘freak shows’

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Peter McDermott / Geograph

Marks & Spencer has become the first retailer to change the name of its Midget Gems over complaints the name was hateful towards those with dwarfism.

The retailer has dropped the word ‘midget’ in favour of the rebrand ‘Mini Gems’ after a disability campaigner pointed out that the word can be ‘highly problematic’ for a variety of people. 

Dr. Erin Pritchard, a lecturer in Disability and Education at Liverpool Hope University who has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, condemned the term ‘midget’ as a form of hate speech, pointing out that it is deeply insulting to people with the condition.

Dr. Pritchard has also called upon other UK retailers such as Tesco to rethink their branding for the popular childhood sweets, which were first manufactured by Lion Confectionary in West Yorkshire.

M&S

She told The Telegraph: “The word midget is a form of hate speech and contributes to the prejudice that people with dwarfism experience on a daily basis.

“Having spoken with various firms about the use of the word midget, it’s clear that many companies are simply unaware of just how offensive the term is, and I’ve had to explain to them why it’s such an issue.”

Dr. Pritchard added that she is ‘grateful’ to M&S for being willing to listen to the concerns of people with dwarfism and for going ahead with the rebranding.

She explained: “There was initially some reluctance, but I pointed out that if they were going to persist in naming them midget gems then why not call other sweets by similarly offensive names?”

In her recent book Disability Hate Speech, Dr. Pritchard investigates the word ‘midget’ and its origins in Victorian freak shows, saying it came into usage in the early 1800s when people with disabilities or from non-white backgrounds were treated as objects of fascination and ridicule.

The academic, who has appeared on the Channel 4 series Dating with Dwarfism, added that it is ‘truly baffling’ that retailers are still able to use ‘disablist hate speech’ to market their products.

She said: “Last October was Dwarfism Awareness Month, and I took to Twitter to tag numerous supermarkets and sweet companies in a tweet asking them when they would be removing the word midget from their products.

“Only Free from Fellows – a vegan brand – responded. At this point, M&S had already written to me stating that they would remove the name.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

“For me, this highlights the need for better awareness about just how problematic the word midget really is.”

An M&S spokesman has confirmed the name change, saying: “We are committed to being an inclusive retailer – from how we support our colleagues, through to the products we offer and the way we market them to our 32 million customers.

“Following suggestions from our colleagues and the insights shared by Dr. Pritchard, we introduced new mini gem packaging last year, which has since been rolled out to all of our stores.”

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