Cracking summer: UK insurers expect rise in subsidence claims

Heatwave has caused damage to walls of homes, with south-east particularly susceptible

Insurers are bracing themselves for a spike in subsidence claims after this summer’s heatwave led to cracks appearing in walls across south-east England.

Several big-name insurers have reported that subsidence incidents are up 20% on this time last year. The fear is that that those returning from holidays will see fresh damage and in September there will be an influx of substantial claims.

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Revealed: asylum seekers’ 20-year wait for Home Office ruling

Charities say making people wait two decades in abject poverty is ‘utterly barbaric’

The Home Office has left some people waiting more than 20 years for decisions on their asylum claims, according to data obtained exclusively by the Guardian, in delays charities say are unacceptable and “utterly barbaric”.

Seventeen people received decisions from the Home Office last year on claims they had submitted more than 15 years ago, four of whom had waited more than 20 years for a decision. The worst case was a delay of 26 years and one month after the person initially applied for asylum.

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Gilla Gelberg obituary

My wife, Gilla Gelberg, a psychotherapist working for the NHS in Newham, east London, has died aged 63, after being knocked down by a bus outside her workplace in Stratford. She was the psychodynamic psychotherapy team leader, working with individuals from diverse backgrounds with complex issues in which social deprivation, family abuse and refugee status converged. Despite the stress and challenges, this was her dream job, the culmination of years of training and clinical experience.

Born in Bloemfontein, in apartheid South Africa, daughter of Misha Gelberg, who owned and ran a men’s clothing store, and Shula Machnes, a former dancer, Gilla moved to London in 1978. A professional jazz vocalist in the early 1980s, she had a much stronger drive to help people, especially children, with emotional difficulty and trauma.

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North Ayrshire council to provide free sanitary products in all public buildings

Scottish Labour council to introduce policy aimed at tackling period poverty

A Scottish council will provide free sanitary products in all public buildings in a universal scheme aimed at breaking the taboo about period poverty.

North Ayrshire council believes it is the first local authority in the UK to introduce the policy, which will come into effect in up to 100 libraries, community centres and other public offices from Friday.

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Karl Buckley obituary

My father, Karl Buckley, who has died aged 87, was one of the Windrush generation. He arrived in Britain in autumn 1948 with £5 in his pocket and a determination to make a better life for himself.

He lost his first job as an apprentice carpenter in London as he worked too slowly; Karl said that was because it was so cold, and his hands did not warm up enough to hold the tools until lunchtime. When he was first looking for lodgings, he would see signs saying “No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs”.

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Woman’s Weekly’s ‘exploitative’ contracts anger authors

As well as slashing fees for short stories, the magazine has demanded fiction writers waive all rights to their work

The new issue of the Woman’s Weekly fiction special is out now, promising its readers short stories from writers who “never fail to come up with new twists and turns and unexpected plots”. But, in a twist that may have surprised the editors, authors are up in arms over a new contract that demands all rights for any story it publishes.

Woman’s Weekly has been a British newsstand favourite for a century, with its blend of cakes and crochet, fiction and fashion. It is now part of media giant TI Media, which produces magazines including Homes & Gardens and Marie Claire.

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A long, hot summer always raises the pulses of archaeologists | Becky Wragg Sykes

Spectral pleasure gardens and the ancient routes of hunter-gatherers are only some of the forgotten gems coming to light

We buckle in, the engine roars to life, and we begin creeping across the airfield; wings wobble alarmingly with acceleration, then that stomach-dropping lurch pulls us away from the ground. Rising skywards, nervousness distils to anticipation for the priceless views of the great Clun-Clee ridgeway in south-west Shropshire. It’s 2003, deep in AE Housman country and my first experience of aerial archaeology. My undergraduate dissertation was exploring the meagre record for the last prehistoric hunter-gatherers of the region, and I wanted to see the lie of the land. Flying over swelling hills I’d pored over in cartographic form and trudged across on foot was exhilarating, even though we didn’t discover any new sites that year.

If we’d gone up this summer, it might have been a different story. Right across the country, hundreds of archaeological sites are literally transpiring from the soil, as grass and crops become desiccated after months without rain. Deeper soils hold on to moisture longer, so plants growing over buried features such as ditches, walls or even old flowerbeds will dry out at different rates. Archaeologists have quietly spent decades developing a whole gamut of “remote-sensing” methods that allow us to visualise the skin-thin layer of sediments covering Britain’s bedrock. Its wrinkles and lumps contain our deep history written across fields, meadows and hills.

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Well done Ticketmaster for closing resale sites, but it ain’t over yet

GetMeIn and Seatwave are gone, but Viagogo and StubHub will snap up touts

Ticketmaster’s decision to shut down its ticket resale sites – GetMeIn and Seatwave – has been greeted with widespread approval.

The two websites will be replaced with a system allowing fans to sell unwanted tickets at face value, albeit with Ticketmaster collecting a 15% commission.

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‘He loved making people laugh’: fans mourn Barry Chuckle at Yorkshire funeral

Chuckle Brothers fans flocked to remember one half of comedy duo, after his death age 73

The hearse was just pulling in to Rotherham United’s football ground when the first cry rang out. “To me!” shouted one woman. “To you,” yelled another. Inside one of the funeral cars, Paul Elliott, better known as Paul Chuckle, sat silently, head bowed. His brother Barry was dead, and along with it a lifelong comedy partnership, the Chuckle Brothers.

Among the mourners was Tommy Cannon. One half of Cannon and Ball, he knows how special it is to be part of a double act. “Losing Barry will be like losing an arm for Paul,” he said. “If I’m ever doing anything without Bobby [Ball] I’m always looking around to see where he is.”

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Helsinki fashion week to ban leather as vegan fabrics catch on

Vegan collections feature materials such as synthetic suede and B-mesh made from recycled bottles

Fashion has been somewhat slow to mastermind viable – and desirable – animal-free alternatives to materials such as leather and suede, but this week the resolve picked up momentum.

On Tuesday, Helsinki Fashion Week banned animal-based leather as of 2019. The decision was said to enable “an active stand against cruelty to animals and the damaging environmental impacts that the use of animal leather brings with it”, said its founder, Evelyn Mora. Later in the week, the sustainable Paris-based trainer brand Veja showed that consumers are willing to do the same, as it revealed its turnover for 2017 increased by 60% year-on-year to €18 million. Its vegan collection, introduced in December 2016, features materials such as B-mesh made from recycled bottles, synthetic suede, wild rubber and recycled jute and is a significant part of its offering.

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Smartphone-only bank Monzo eyes billion-pound valuation

London-based bank set to become fintech ‘unicorn’ after lining up $150m of funding

Monzo, a digital bank popular with millennials, is set to become one of the UK’s technology “unicorns” after lining up new finance that would value the three-year-old company at more than $1bn (£787m).

The London-based bank has organised $150m of funding from investors, including Silicon Valley’s Accel Partners, which was an early investor in Wonga. Monzo’s fundraising will value it at up to $1.5bn – about four times the £280m value placed on the bank when it last raised money in November 2017, the Financial Times reported.

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US multinational buys into UK rehab centres as demand grows

Eli Global invests in private clinics amid fears of shortage of publicly funded facilities

The UK private rehab market is set to grow exponentially, one of the largest addiction firms in the country has said after receiving US investment.

Addiction treatment centres have reported increases in the number of people seeking help, and concerns have been raised that cuts to drug and alcohol services mean some addicts are being cut adrift.

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