I’m A Black Woman Who Traveled Asia For More Than A Year. Here’s What I Know About Anti-Blackness.

It was a tumultuous 2016 both personally and politically. My relationship of four years ended as January 2016 began. Just a year before, I had made the choice that the teaching career I built over five years was no longer what I wanted, and I was nannying with multiple families to earn a living. To top it all off, a lugubrious leech had won the presidency of the United States. It was time to go.

I booked my flight in October 2016 and in January 2017, I began a two-and-a-half-month solo trip around Southeast Asia starting in Bangkok, Thailand. During this trip, I slept in over 30 beds in a mix of hostels and hotels in countries like Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Within three weeks, I knew this continent was where I needed to be.

I worked any and every job I could I find to get back to the far east ― I taught English online to Chinese students three days a week starting at 5 a.m. Then I’d head to my two-week hostess gig at the U.S. Open until midnight. After those two weeks were up, I snagged two part-time jobs at a cafe and a stationery store. With all that hustle, I saved enough money to return to Asia in January 2018, this time indefinitely. I kept my online teaching job.

Like most people prepping for long-term travel, I researched everything there was to know about Southeast Asia. From my research, I knew to expect the stares from locals as I’m a 5-foot-10-inch, dark-skinned curvy black woman. I also knew to expect an abundance of skin-lightening creams and to arrive prepared with products designed for my skin or go without washing my face with a cleanser or using sunscreen.

But, I pride myself on my adaptability. I was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica, and raised in New York, and both worlds shaped me. I arrogantly believed culture shock was for the less traveled. That was until I stepped off a plane in Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon), Vietnam. 

One day, as I roamed the aisles of a supermarket in the south of Vietnam in search of a new headscarf and some goodies, I couldn’t help but feel the gawkers, see the pointing, feel the sly attempts to touch my braids, and hear the giggling as I walked through the aisles. This kind of attention became old really fast so I told the hostel-mates I was with that I’d wait elsewhere for them.

I spotted a bench by the entrance, and as I sat down, a Vietnamese woman sprung from her seated position on the same bench, grabbed her toddler and ran away so fast you’d think I was Freddy Krueger. She was in such a rush to get away, she dropped his shoe and ran back to grab it, never taking her eyes off me. 

This was one of many times I scared someone by merely existing in my black body. 

As I continued to encounter similar experiences throughout the six months I spent in Vietnam, I began to wonder how anyone could be scared of me. 

How could this woman believe I would hurt a child when children are my world?”

How could anyone be scared of me when I’m a … woman?”

But it’s never about my womanhood, but instead my blackness and its perceived danger.  

On my first camel ride into the Thar Desert in India.

After living and traveling in Vietnam for months, I decided to travel to India. In a lot of ways, Vietnam prepared me for my five months in India. The staring didn’t bother me too much, though India takes staring to a level that feels criminal. 

Before visiting India, I read several articles about the struggles of African students from countries like Nigeria and Tanzania, who were targeted by police and locals as drug dealers, prostitutes and cannibals. 

It’s one thing to read it, but it was another thing to witness. 

Imagine being a student in a new country and more times than not being asked: “You got that stuff?” because of the color of your skin. Imagine being silently beckoned by a man in a restaurant while having breakfast with a key in hand signaling with his eyes to go upstairs because he assumes you’re a prostitute. The latter happened to me three months into my stay in the South Indian state Goa. I felt disgusted and it took everything I had in me not to resort to physical violence against this man. 

The false narratives of innate promiscuity and hypersexuality that white supremacy and the global media have perpetuated about black women leads to this kind of objectification and sexual violence which also includes the widespread sex trafficking of West African women. 

There were many times I felt invisible while traveling as a black woman. Of course, I was seen for my physical appearance and the preconceived notions that come with that, but my humanity was invisible. This was made clear the night I was aggressively searched without cause on a sleeper bus in the north of India.

I was aggressively woken up by the bus driver to find three police officers standing over my 40-pound backpack silently demanding that I open and empty its contents. As I stood in the middle of the narrow aisle, trying to remain calm, I felt many pairs of eyes burning into my skin. I had an audience. No one else was being searched, including the two white girls from France I had met earlier during the rest stop.  

“It’s just clothes,” I repeated in a low, sleepy tone, being careful not to sound taut. 

As one officer flipped through my books and journals, another intensely watched as I fumbled for a place to put my clothing, refusing to put them on the filthy floor. The third was so close behind me I could feel him. 

Eventually, I stopped speaking because they were set on giving me the silent treatment.  

It didn’t matter what I said was in my bag because they were determined to find something. Once they checked and rummaged every pocket and compartment, satisfying themselves, I was only left with the words “theek hai,” which is Hindi for “fine.”

They brushed past me to exit the bus, never meeting my eyes and never giving me a reason why. 

And for the first time in two years of travel, I was scared.

There was a part of me that felt like I couldn’t complain or express the legitimate anxiety I felt after this situation because “I put myself in this position” by choosing a nomadic lifestyle. When I read old journal entries from my first solo trip and the first few months of the second, I often used words like “just deal” and “staying strong” refusing to acknowledge the real pain I was feeling.

I was humiliated and traumatized in a way that not only changed the way I traveled the rest of India, but it forced me to become so hyperaware of my blackness that I couldn’t be my full authentic self. I refused to smile or engage in small talk with anyone, especially men, afraid to give the wrong idea. I was always careful and always “on,” and found myself shrinking in order to accommodate those around me. 

On a 3-day motorbike journey across the Ha Giang Loop in the north of Vietnam.

There is undeniable loneliness that accompanies solo travel as a black woman. 

Sometimes I would will the universe to have me cross paths with another black human, even momentarily, so I could dwell in our connectedness. I would sometimes ask family members to speak patois (Jamaican dialect) on the phone, so I could bask in something only I could understand.

Malcolm X said: “The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman.” 

Throughout my adventures in Asia, I’ve learned there is almost nowhere on this beautiful planet that any person of the African diaspora can step foot without witnessing white supremacy holding reign. 

But I also know this: Escapism in a black body is an act of defiance. 

It is an act of resistance to the systems that aim to diminish our personhood worldwide, and it is essential to show up and explore every corner if our circumstances allow.  

To answer the cliché travel question “Why do you travel?”: I travel because I’m free. I travel to be seen. I travel to be heard. It’s my hope that with every flight, ferry, bus and train I board, every conversation I have, and every word I publish that people; locals and other travelers, not only see my blackness, but my power, joy and magic.

Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch!

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/black-woman-travel-asia_n_5d31d61fe4b0419fd32c2355

Unsealed documents show allegations against Jeffrey Epstein and his inner circle

New York (CNN)Hundreds of pages of court documents unsealed Friday in New York federal court allege new details of sexual abuse claims against multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and several associates.

Epstein pleaded not guilty in July to charges from New York federal prosecutors after an indictment accused him of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14 years old. Maxwell hasn’t been charged.
An attorney for Maxwell did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Friday. Maxwell and her representatives have previously denied she engaged in sexual abuse or sex trafficking.
    The documents unsealed Friday were produced as a result of a lawsuit Giuffre filed against Maxwell, nearly two decades after her alleged abuse. They include new allegations by Giuffre that she was instructed by Maxwell to have sex with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former US Sen. George Mitchell, among others.
    In a statement Friday, Mitchell called the claim false, adding: “I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre.”
    A spokeswoman for Richardson called Giuffre’s allegation “completely false.”
    “To be clear, in Governor Richardson’s limited interactions with Mr. Epstein, he never saw him in the presence of young or underage girls,” spokeswoman Madeleine Mahony said. “Governor Richardson has never been to Mr. Epstein’s residence in the Virgin Islands. Governor Richardson has never met Ms. Giuffre.”
    The documents also include an Amazon receipt recovered from the trash at Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for books ordered in his name, including “SM 101: A Realistic Introduction,” “SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude” and “Training with Miss Abernathy: A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and their Owners.”
    The documents disclose Giuffre’s 2001 medical records from a hospital that she said Epstein and Maxwell took her to during a period of sexual abuse. The records show Giuffre had complained of irregular vaginal bleeding for three weeks; had fainted two days prior, falling and hitting her head; and had lost seven pounds in the past month.
    CNN has reached out to the hospital to ask whether it flagged the incident to authorities.
    Other documents show testimony from another woman who has alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell, and claimed in a deposition that Epstein told her that “in his opinion, he needed to have three orgasms a day. It was biological. Like eating.”
    The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit unsealed the documents, ruling that the judge in the defamation case had improperly sealed hundreds of filings. That judge has since died.
    The defamation case was settled in 2017, after the judge had ruled against a motion for summary judgment filed by Maxwell.
    An attorney for Epstein, Reid Weingarten, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, nor did an attorney for Maxwell. In the court filings, Maxwell and her attorney portray Giuffre as an unreliable narrator, pointing to errors in certain dates and figures she provided.
    Giuffre has said the errors were mistakes.
    David Boies, an attorney for Giuffre, said Friday that her lawsuit “exposed for prosecutors, and now the public, the scope and scale and ugliness of the Epstein/Maxwell sex trafficking ring.”
    The charges in the July indictment of Epstein share similarities with Giuffre’s account, but it’s not clear whether she is among any of the unnamed victims in that indictment.
    But Giuffre is arguably the best-known of Epstein’s alleged victims because she has claimed that Epstein forced her as part of her servitude to perform sex acts with a number of prominent men, including Prince Andrew, Duke of York, in 2001. She has also made claims of being sexually abused by lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
    Dershowitz, who was part of the legal team that negotiated a controversial 2007 deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution for sex trafficking in Florida and instead plead guilty to lesser state charges, has denied her claims and accused her of fabricating the allegations against him.
    Friday, he said in a statement that the fresh batch of documents “categorically proves that Virginia Roberts never had sex with me.”
    In April, she filed a separate defamation lawsuit against him. That case is ongoing; Dershowitz has filed a motion to dismiss.
    In the documents unsealed Friday, the other woman who alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein and Maxwell also claims she was forced into sexual acts with Prince Andrew at Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, where, she said, Giuffre participated as well.
    In response, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: “This relates to proceedings in the United States, to which The Duke of York is not a party. Any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue.”
    In a statement to CNN last month, the spokesperson said, “The Duke of York accepts it was unwise to have met Mr Epstein in December 2010. The Duke has not met with Mr Epstein since.”
    With regard to President Donald Trump, who socialized with Epstein in the 1990s and once described him as a “terrific guy” before the two, in Trump’s recollection, had a falling out 15 years ago, Giuffre distances Trump from Epstein’s alleged affairs.
    According to a transcript of a video deposition Giuffre gave in 2016, she disputed aspects of a 2011 story in the Daily Mail that was based on a series of interviews Giuffre had given to one of the reporters, Sharon Churcher.
    The story quotes Giuffre as saying: “Donald Trump was also a good friend of Jeffrey’s. He didn’t partake in sex with any of us but he flirted with me. He’d laugh and tell Jeffrey, ‘You’ve got the life.'”
    In the deposition, Giuffre says “it’s true that he didn’t partake in any sex with us, (but) it’s not true that he flirted with me. Donald Trump never flirted with me.” She also says her only basis for stating that Trump was a “good friend” was Epstein’s own description of his relationship with Trump.
    Asked whether she ever saw the two men together, Giuffre replies, “No, not that I can actually remember.” She also says she can’t recall ever having seen Trump at Epstein’s homes in the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico or New York.
      But she did not refute other details of the Daily Mail story, including that Epstein hosted a dinner on his Caribbean island for President Bill Clinton shortly after Clinton left office.
      Asked for comment, a spokesman for Clinton said he had never been to Little St. James, the island Epstein owns in the Caribbean. In July, in the wake of the indictment against Epstein, the spokesman, Angel Urena, acknowledged that Clinton had taken a handful of trips on Epstein’s plane, but said that “President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York.”

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/10/us/epstein-court-documents-allegations/index.html

      Supermarket cat holds ‘book signing’

      Image copyright Book Guild
      Image caption Garfield, now 12, has been visiting the supermarket since 2012

      A cat that gained 5,000 Facebook followers after making a supermarket his second home has been “signing” copies of a book about his adventures.

      Ginger tom Garfield took a liking to Sainsbury’s in Ely, Cambridgeshire, after the store was built on his old stomping ground.

      The co-author Cate Caruth said copies of the book – What’s THAT doing There? – sold out in half an hour.

      Garfield “signed” his book in Ely Library with a paw-print stamp.

      It was modelled on his real paw.

      Garfield, now 12, first started visiting the store after it was built in 2012 on a meadow opposite the flat where he lives with owner David Willers.

      Image copyright Tali Iserles
      Image caption Garfield was “banned” from using the escalator to get to the rest of the supermarket

      His favourite spot was a sofa in the Virgin travel shop in Sainsbury’s lobby, and he often tries to get into people’s cars outside the store.

      Fans of the cat posted photos of him at the supermarket and at one point his owner had to ask people to stop feeding him as he was becoming fat.

      A Facebook page set up with photos of the cat in the supermarket has a following of more than 5,500 fans from places as far away as the United States, Canada, Australia and Russia.

      Image copyright Ginny Phillips
      Image caption A second print-run had to be done after the book sold out “within hours”, owner David Willers said

      A book of his adventures and misadventures has now been written by Mr Willers with Suffolk author Cate Caruth.

      The title – What’s THAT Doing There – refers to Garfield’s reaction when a fence was erected across his favourite meadow ahead of the supermarket being built.

      Image copyright Ginny Phillips
      Image caption Garfield was not happy when a shop was built on his favourite stomping ground
      Image copyright Ginny Phillips
      Image caption The book fictionalises a number of the cat’s adventures in the store
      Image copyright Cate Caruth
      Image caption A paw-print stamp was made for the book signing

      The book tells how Garfield was once banned from the store for scratching a customer who became a little too familiar – and many of his other adventures.

      In the book he is called Garfield Abercrombie Reginald Fergusson, but as that was “far too much like hard work… everyone just called him Garfy”.

      “It is a little familiar of people,” Garfy would always think, “but I suppose I can live with it,” he says in the first chapter.

      Image copyright Cate Caruth#
      Image caption Garfield took the book signing in “his stride” said co-author Cate Caruth
      Image copyright Cate Caruth
      Image caption Garfield was very relaxed during the book signing and “lapped up” the attention

      Speaking after the book signing on Saturday, author Ms Caruth said it was a “big hit.”

      “Garfield took it all in his stride, posing for photos with his fans and inspecting the library services with great care.

      “It was non-stop for two hours and we sold out of books in half an hour” she said.

      Image copyright David Willers
      Image caption Garfield’s proud owner has had a tattoo of his cat on his leg

      Related Topics

      Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-47567853

      30 Hilarious Comics With A Clever Twist By Tango Gao (New Pics)

      A couple of years ago, we shared a publication with you about a talented Chinese artist Tango Gao (also known as Shanghai Tango) who creates thought-provoking yet still light and fun illustrations without using words. 

      If you fancy visual and intellectual humor, you don’t need to look anywhere further because you are up for a treat! Tango, whose real name is Gao Youjun, did not stop creating witty illustrations since the last time we wrote about them here on Bored Panda. No, Tango is back with a sequel to his art which is both simple and minimalistic, yet profound in the message it sends.

      Tango began creating these illustrations back in 2010 when prompted by a friend, he decided to develop a habit of drawing daily (that’s an excellent habit to pick up). Now, he delights his 108,000 followers on Instagram with light-hearted and sometimes challenging illustrations on daily basis.

      Scroll down the page and see for yourself!


      Pets are always there for us, especially when it comes to putting smiles on our faces.


      You can become whatever you want in life.


      “Excuse me, may I see your baby?”



      New Year’s resolution for 2019: let’s ditch the bra.


      Possibly, a new idea for a SnapChat filter?


      Up Next: The Secret Life Of Toiletries – Behind The Scenes.


      A love letter written in hundreds of heartbeats.



      Mood rings are so last year. Meet mood mustache. Perfectly edible as well.


      That moment when someones tries to insult you, but you have achieved an excellent ability to deflect all things negative.



      Despite the friendly smile that this polar bear wears, we would say the illustration definitely falls outside of the light-heartedness spectrum. Time’s ticking, what are your thoughts?





      New Year’s resolution #584.


      Who knew that music played by accordion could be so tear-jerking?


      All that matters is perspective!


      No one wants to be the third wheel. Certainly not on Valentine’s day…




      This leaf will definitely go places.


      “Get a tattoo that means something to you” doesn’t quite have the same ring here…



      One cigarette a day keeps the doctor away. Or how does that saying go?



      “In the beginning, God created the sky and the land.”



      Pareidolia: seeing faces in unusual places.

      Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/funny-comics-shanghai-tango-part-two/

      What The Left Gets Wrong About Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren

      Socialism is having a big moment in America. After a surge in popularity during the financial crisis of 2008, the long-verboten political label at last lost its toxicity after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run and the election of democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in 2018. Among self-identified Democrats, socialism is now more popular than capitalism, reflecting a trend that has been evident among young voters for years.

      Bankers and billionaires are, of course, desperate to reverse this political tide. Eyeing the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, the CEO of one giant bank recently told Politico that the party’s nominee “can’t be Warren and it can’t be Sanders.” To plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, Sanders is a “demagogue” preaching “unreason,” while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will transform the United States into a “non-capitalistic” system where “people are starving to death,” like “Venezuela.”

      The rhetoric from the 0.01 percent is more than a little overheated. But for most people, Warren and Sanders hail from the same left flank of the Democratic Party ― both are supporters of enacting Medicare for all, breaking up the banks and dramatically increasing taxes on the very wealthy.

      And yet in liberal and left-wing political discourse, the idea that Sanders and Warren are philosophical companions has become unfashionable. Jacobin, The New Republic, Splinter, BuzzFeed, The Week and The Guardian have all emphasized the supposedly critical ideological distinction between the two candidates: Sanders is an avowed socialist, while Warren wants to reform capitalism.

      “As soon as the next president takes office, they will likely face intense pressure from powerful interests, especially big business,” writes Zaid Jilani. “The choice between Warren and Sanders may very well determine if that president confronts those interests with careful reasoning and principled advocacy or the force of a mass movement.”

      “The two senators disagree over the best method to give the working classes a leg up,” according to David Dayen. “You can restructure markets so everyone benefits, or you can break down the market system, either eliminating the profit motive or giving everybody a public option.” For Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara, Warren aims at “seeking to construct better policy but not an alternative politics,” rejecting “the class-struggle, worker-centric approach of Sanders.”

      For once, the big-brain intellectuals have it wrong, and the delusional, selfish plutocrats are right. Whatever Warren and Sanders say to establish their political brands, the two senators do in fact represent a very similar way of thinking about politics. That’s why billionaires hate them both.

      It’s true: You won’t find any videos of Warren singing “This Land Is Your Land” with a bunch of shirtless Soviets in the 1980s. And Sanders never slogged through troves of household bankruptcy data looking for the most common sources of middle-class financial strain. There are real differences between the two candidates (technically Bernie hasn’t announced yet). But these are differences of temperament, style and strategy. Sanders and Warren, in fact, see the world in very similar ways.

      The trouble for leftish intellectuals is a confusion over the terms “socialism” and “capitalism.” Both words are extremely flexible, and their meanings shift with political currents. In an American context, it has never been easy to distinguish between socialism and reformed capitalism ― and committed capitalists have denounced both with vigor. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was condemned as a socialist by congressional Republicans. In the 1940s, American conservatives viewed the social safety net in Britain and the Stalinist Soviet Union with almost equal alarm. By the 1950s, Herbert Hoover had concluded that the words “liberalism” and “socialism” really just meant the same thing.

      So, yes, Bernie Sanders has long been a champion of labor movements, protest marches and democratic socialism, while Elizabeth Warren is an academic wonk who talks about restoring competition to markets and making capitalism more accountable. But when it comes to their most detailed policies to date, both support an array of trust-busting, tougher regulation, wealth redistribution, public options and, where appropriate, nationalization.

      It depends on the problem they’re trying to solve. In practice, they end up supporting an awful lot of the same solutions. In addition to Medicare for all, breaking up the banks and taxing the rich, both Warren and Sanders are advocates of a federal job guarantee, postal banking and a bill making it easier for workers to unionize.  

      All of these proposals transfer money and power from the super-rich to the not-rich. Take postal banking. About 32.6 million households rely on a check-cashing service, payday lender or other expensive, small-dollar financial bottom-feeder at least once a year, according to the FDIC. On average, these households earn about $25,500 a year and spend nearly 10 percent of their income ― $2,412 ― on these sketchy financial products. That’s over $82 billion going from hard-up homes to predators every year. You can deal with payday lenders a lot of different ways: ban them, regulate them or, the preferred tack of Warren and Sanders, have the government make them obsolete. If every household can get a low-fee bank account with the Post Office, they won’t have to turn to legalized loan sharking to get by. That’s bad news for payday loan executives, like ACE Cash Express CEO Jay Shipowitz, who made almost $4.5 million in 2004 alone. Is postal banking socialism or reformed capitalism? Yes.

      In America today, the super-rich not only control an outrageous share of the national wealth, they also exercise a degree of political power incompatible with basic democratic principles. The choice for Democrats in 2020 is not really about policy minutia ― it’s about power ― who has it, and who doesn’t. And both Sanders and Warren have proved they are willing to confront the powerful and attack their sources of power. We can call this socialism, New Deal liberalism or Jeffersonian democracy ― whatever the label, it’s a critical ideological test for anyone who wants to be the next president of the United States.

      Running for re-election in 1936, FDR noted that the “economic royalists” of “business and financial monopoly, speculation” and “reckless banking” all counted themselves among his political “enemies.”

      “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today,” Roosevelt said. “They are unanimous in their hate for me ― and I welcome their hatred.”

      For today’s Democrats, that’s the ticket.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-left-wing-democrats_us_5c522b53e4b0ca92c6dd0ce6

      ‘Too few’ poor white university students

      Image copyright PA

      More than half of England’s universities have fewer than 5% of poor white students on their books, says an analysis of university entry figures.

      The report, from the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon), shows white students from deprived areas in low numbers in many top universities.

      There are 3% at the University of Oxford, compared with 28% at Teesside.

      The study says too few universities have clear targets to recruit white working-class students.

      Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously warned of the risk of communities feeling “left behind”.

      The study, from an organisation promoting wider access into higher education, calls for a “national initiative” to tackle the educational underachievement of disadvantaged white youngsters across schools, colleges and universities.

      The university figures show the problem in recruiting white students from poorer backgrounds – and how many universities have very low proportions of them.

      It warns that fewer than a fifth of universities have targets for admitting more poor white students – and that there are only “variable” efforts to improve participation.

      Even if a target of 5% of poor white students were to be set across universities, it would mean another 10,000 students going to university, says the research.

      Missing out

      The study looks at white students from so-called “low-participation neighbourhoods” – areas where few people usually go to university.

      In total numbers, white students, of all social backgrounds, are the biggest group going to university, show figures from the Ucas admissions service.

      But in terms of a proportion of the population, white youngsters are less likely to go to university than Asian or black teenagers.

      The latest application figures, for courses in the autumn, show that applications from white students are declining, while they are increasing for Asian and black youngsters.

      Cutting across this is a widening gender divide – with women much more likely than men to apply to university.

      When these factors combine, it means that white, working-class men become among the most under-represented groups in university.

      The study says projects to widen entry into university might need to be “redefined”.

      Wide divide

      The report shows a starkly divided picture in where poor white students are likely to attend.

      They are particularly likely to take higher education courses in local further education colleges.

      Among those going to university, 70% go to new universities, with low numbers going to some high-ranking institutions.

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Cambridge has 2%, Warwick and Bristol 3%, Durham 4%.

      At University of Sunderland, 27% of acceptances are from white students from deprived areas and the figure is 22% in Staffordshire University.

      The numbers are particularly low in London universities – many of them 1% or 2%.

      But these figures might be affected by the high overall levels of young people in London going to university – much higher than elsewhere in England.

      ‘Left behind’

      Because of such high entry rates, even from deprived youngsters, there are relatively few “low-participation neighbourhoods” in London, or young people who would fall into this category.

      The high cost of living in London could also deter some poorer students from elsewhere from coming to study in the capital.

      Graeme Atherton, report co-author and director of Neon, warned of “big variability” in the chances of different groups to get to university.

      “We need to know more about why this variability exists and do more to eliminate it,” he said.

      A spokeswoman for Universities UK said that universities were “committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring the success of all their students, regardless of their background”.

      The spokeswoman for the universities’ organisation said that “18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas in England are more likely to go to university than ever before” – and that this could be further helped if the government restored “maintenance grants for those most in need”.

      Mr Hinds has highlighted the importance of supporting education in communities that might feel “left behind”.

      In a speech in the autumn, Mr Hinds said: “White British disadvantaged boys are the least likely of any large ethnic group to go to university.

      “We need to ask ourselves why that is and challenge government, universities and the wider system to change that.

      “It’s vital that we do this to make sure that no part of our country feels as though it has been left behind.”

      Related Topics

      Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47227157

      Jewish rescue biography wins Costa Prize

      Image copyright Reuters
      Image caption Lien de Jong was nine when she was taken in by Bart van Es’s family

      A book about a young Jewish girl who was sheltered by the author’s grandparents during World War Two has won the Costa Book of the Year award.

      Oxford professor Bart van Es picked up the £30,000 prize for The Cut Out Girl.

      He traces the story of the Dutch girl who was taken in at the age of nine by van Es’s grandparents before her own parents were sent to Auschwitz.

      That girl was Lien de Jong, who is now in her mid-80s and attended Tuesday’s ceremony in London.

      The judges – chaired by BBC News journalist Sophie Raworth – described the book as “sensational and gripping – the hidden gem of the year”.

      De Jong told BBC Radio 4’s Front Row she never realised her story could make such an impact.

      “I’m very proud of this result and I never thought it could be a book,” she said.

      Van Es said: “There are two ways in which it could be a good book to have in the world.

      “There’s a scary way in which anti-Semitism and extreme nationalism and conspiracy theories are around in a way they weren’t 10 years ago. But also another way in which it is quite a healing book.”

      The Costa Book of the Year was chosen from the winners from five individual categories. The Cut Out Girl won the biography prize, and the other category winners were:

      • Novel – Sally Rooney, Normal People
      Image copyright Jonny I Davies/Faber & Faber

      This is the second work of fiction from the 27-year-old Irish author who has taken the literary world by storm.

      It follows the on-off relationship between two Irish schoolfriends and won rave reviews when it was published last August. It was named the Waterstone’s book of the year and is now being turned into a BBC drama.

      • First novel – Stuart Turton, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
      Image copyright Charlotte Graham/Bloomsbury

      Travel writer Turton’s debut novel is a sci-fi murder mystery that channels Agatha Christie, Groundhog Day and Quantum Leap.

      Its main character relives a single day eight times – each time inhabiting a different person’s body as he tries to work out who has committed murder in a country house. The TV rights were sold even before it was published last February.

      • Poetry – JO Morgan, Assurances
      Image copyright Jonathan Cape

      The Scottish poet’s sixth book was inspired by his father’s work as part of Bomber Command during the Cold War.

      It is a single long-form poem told from the perspectives of various characters, including pilots, planes, villagers and even the bombs.

      • Children’s – Hilary McKay, The Skylarks’ War
      Image copyright Pan Macmillan

      Clarry and Peter Penrose spend idyllic summers in Cornwall with their charismatic cousin Rupert – until he is sent to fight in World War One.

      The story follows Clarry from birth to adulthood and centres on the characters’ quests to escape both the shadow of war and the social constraints of the time.

      Last year’s overall winner was the late poet Helen Dunmore for her final collection, Inside the Wave.

      Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected].

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      Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-47042753

      Fetishizing books is not the same thing as loving reading

      Disclosed book on a table. Close-up.
      Image: Getty Images

      If you follow a lot of people who watch a lot of Netflix, then you’ve probably spent a lot of 2019 so far watching them argue about books. Specifically, about Tidying Up with Marie Kondo‘s approach to books.

      “Keep your tidy, spark-joy hands off my book piles, Marie Kondo,” gasped The Washington Post. “Marie Kondo, back off! Why this book hoarder refuses to tidy up,” declared Cnet. On Twitter, some bibliophiles expressed shock and horror, while others reacted to that shock and horror with snark and bemusement

      Kondo’s method for books is exactly the same as her method for pretty much anything else you might find in a home, like clothing, sporting goods, or kitchen gadgets. Yet it’s only the books that have provoked this level of disgust, and that’s because a lot of people have no chill when it comes to what other people might be doing with their books. 

      Though this particular Kon-troversy is new, it’s really just the latest in a long series of book-related outrages over the years. 

      Last year’s was the collective hand-wringing over backwards bookshelves. Before that was the outrage over books getting cut up for crafts. There’s been huffing over shelves curated by color and selfies over piles of open books, and disagreements over whether a large stack of unread books is cause for pride or shame

      What all of these scandalous actions have in common is that they don’t actually affect anyone at all but the person making them. Instagram influencers aren’t sneaking into your home to rearrange your shelves, and Kondo isn’t signing legislation to outlaw large book collections. (She actually encourages you to keep your books if the thought of discarding them makes you mad.)

      Why, then, do some bibliophiles get ranty at photos of spine-in books, or see red when a Kondo client throws another novel in his discard pile?

      For many, it has to do with what books represent. Books don’t exist solely to spark joy! Books are objects of wonder, and souvenirs of our personal journeys! Our collections reflect our tastes and our personalities, and express them to any curious visitors who might come looking. They’re not mere decorative pieces or functional tools, and only a non-reader would treat them as such.

      Books may mean a lot to some readers, but they don’t mean the same thing to all readers.

      Or maybe they would. 

      Books may mean a lot to some readers, but they don’t mean the same thing to all readers. A skimpy shelf could mean someone hates books, or simply that they prefer ebooks and libraries. An overstuffed one might be just as self-consciously curated as a streamlined one. Those spine-in volumes could belong to someone who loves reading and favors a minimalist aesthetic.

      There’s a difference between loving reading and fetishizing books. While there’s nothing wrong with the latter, it’s worth acknowledging the difference — if only so we can collectively stop flying into a blind rage whenever some Facebook rando shares a photo of the secret book safe they just DIYed. 

      There are exceptions and caveats, of course. Books that are rare or very old should probably be saved and preserved. Newer books could probably be donated or recycled, rather than trashed, for the sake of the environment. It also goes without saying that I’m talking here about personal collections; it’s obviously a much bigger problem if the government starts burning books, or a public library reorders them all by color just for the ‘gram. 

      As a general rule, though? Mind your own books, and let other people mind theirs. 

      If you can’t wait to KonMari some boring books out of your life, have fun tidying up. If you’d rather die by a billion paper cuts than let go of even one single volume, hold on to them for as long as you’d like. If you’d like to stock up on vintage volumes you won’t read to make yourself look smarter, or if you love judging people by their book collections — honestly, knock yourself out. 

      Whatever you decide to do, though, remember that it’s not the bound stacks of printed paper that matter. It’s what they do, what’s inside them, and what they mean to you that does. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to cut everyone else a break for whatever they’re doing with their own piles of paper. 

      Read more: https://mashable.com/article/books-marie-kondo/

      Disney reaches out to terminally ill Avengers fan

      It’s a sad, sad day for fans of the “world’s cutest dog.”

      On Friday, the owners of Boo the Pomeranian announced on social media that Boo died in his sleep at the age of 12. The precious and beloved pup has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram, and several books written about him.

      Though Boo’s humans are “heartbroken,” they explained they’re hopeful that Boo will soon be reunited with his best friend Buddy, who died in Sept. 2017.

      “I brought Boo home in the spring of 2006 and so started the greatest, most heartwarming friendship of all time. Shortly after Buddy died, Boo showed signs of heart issues. We think his heart literally broke when Buddy left us. He hung on and gave us over a year. But it looks like it was his time, and I’m sure it was a most joyous moment for them when they saw each other in heaven.”

      “We find comfort knowing that he is no longer in any pain or discomfort. We know that Buddy was the first to greet him on the other side of that rainbow bridge, and this is likely the most excited either of them have been in a long time,” Boo’s owners explained.

      After the news broke, Boo’s many fans mourned his death online and offered love and gratitude to his family for sharing his journey.

      “Since starting Boo’s FB page, I’ve received so many notes over the years from people sharing stories of how Boo brightened their days and helped bring a little light to their lives during difficult times.  And that was really the purpose of all this,” Boo’s owner went on.

      “Boo brought joy to people all over the world. Boo is the happiest dog I’ve ever met. He was so easy going that we never had to bother with training. He made the manliest of men squeal with delight over his cuteness and made everyone laugh with his quirky, tail wagging personality.”

      Boo’s humans then proceeded to thank all of the loving fans, doctors, therapists, and animals hospital staff members that both Boo and Buddy encountered over the past 10 years.

      Rest in peace, Boo. You will be missed.

      Read more: https://mashable.com/article/boo-internet-pomeranian-dies-from-broken-heart/