Posted on

Major Retailers in Britain Say No to Glitter for Christmas

This year, the holiday season in the United Kingdom will be a little less sparkly.

Three major retailers — the grocery chains Morrisons and Waitrose and the department store company John Lewis — have announced that they will not use glitter in their in-house brand, single-use Christmas products this year. That means no glittery snowflakes on Christmas cards, no sparkling snowmen on stickers, and no twinkling stars on wrapping paper.

“Glitter is made from tiny particles of plastic and is an ecological hazard if it becomes dispersed on land, rivers and oceans — where it takes hundreds of years to degrade,” Morrisons said in a statement.

It appears that no similar glitter reckoning is underway in the United States. Major retailers including Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS and Costco did not immediately respond to questions about whether they were making efforts to ban or limit glitter. The Environmental Protection Agency did not respond to questions about whether regulators or companies were taking steps to ban glitter in the United States, or how glitter bans could affect the environment.

Glitter, a pretty substance known not only for its utility in arts and crafts but also for its tenacity in sticking to clothing, carpets and car seats, is also (often) a microplastic, or a piece of plastic that is 5 millimeters or less in diameter.

The vast majority of microplastics in our environment did not start out so small; they were manufactured as larger pieces and broke down. That’s why plastic packaging is a much bigger threat to our ecosystem than glitter.

Also significant are the synthetic fabrics in many of the clothes we wear, which can introduce microplastic fibers into our water systems every time they go through a wash cycle.

So while consumer items like microbead exfoliants or glittery decorations may catch our attention and even inspire legislation, they make up a tiny fraction of the microplastics clogging our air and oceans. Banning these items is a small step in the right direction, Dr. Hale said, “but it doesn’t really solve the problem.”

Amy V. Uhrin, the chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Division, agreed that glitter was just one of many different kinds of microplastic pollutants. “It is difficult to say what impact a glitter ban would have,” she added.

Researchers are still trying to understand the reach and impact of sparkly microplastics, and Dr. Uhrin pointed to recent studies that found that glitter was abundant in some environmental samples, particularly in soils; and that significant amounts of glitter had been found in wastewater sludge.

John Lewis, Waitrose and Morrisons may have banned glitter in their holiday lineups, but they still sell products that include plastic or come in plastic packaging. Both Morrisons and John Lewis, which operates Waitrose supermarkets, said they had significantly reduced the use of plastic in packaging and inventory in recent years and had pledged to continue.

Source link

Posted on

Chilean fire: Massive Christmas Eve fire destroys 120 homes in a seaside town

As of Wednesday, the fire, which was intensified by strong winds, consumed more than 120 homes in the popular tourist town, known for its vividly colored wooden houses. There were no reports of casualties.

“We have decided to decree a communal emergency, which will facilitate debris removal and reconstruction,” Sharp said in a tweet early Wednesday.

“In addition, we will file a complaint against those who are responsible for the obvious intentionality of this fire,” he added.

The effort to extinguish the fire continued through the morning. Helicopters doused the affected areas, and two schools were turned into shelters for residents who fled the blaze. According to the Associated Press, many of the homes in the low-income neighborhoods where the fire occurred had no running water at the time.

Chile has recently been battling its most severe drought in decades. In September, the country declared water shortages in more than 50 communities across three regions.

President Sebastián Piñera said in a statement posted on Twitter that emergency responders were fighting “tirelessly” to control the blaze in Valparaiso, one of the country’s largest cities and a major Pacific port.

“We deeply regret the fire that affects so many families in the hills of Valparaiso and especially on Christmas Eve,” he said.

Source link

Posted on

President Trump, Melania Trump share holiday video: ‘We wish everyone a joyous and merry Christmas’

President Trump has mostly taken the day off of Twitter on Christmas, with the exception of posting holiday greetings from his family.

Wednesday morning, the president simply tweeted, “MERRY CHRISTMAS,” then followed that up by retweeting a video message from first lady Melania Trump and him.

“The president and I want to wish each and every American a very merry Christmas,” Melania Trump said at the beginning of the video, which was first posted by her account.


“At this sacred time of year, Christians celebrate the birth of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and rejoice in his love for every person,” the president continued. “We give thanks for the millions of Americans who come together to care for others with compassion and bring the warmth and bliss of this holy season to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and to those in need.”

The message concluded with a prayerful message of thanks to U.S. military and law enforcement.

“As we gather with loved ones this holiday, Americans across this land are grateful for all the men and women in uniform who keep us safe: our military, our police and everyone in law enforcement,” Mrs. Trump said.

The president closed, stating, “We say a special prayer for those military service members stationed far from home, and we renew our hope for peace among nations and joy to the world. On behalf of the entire Trump family, we wish everyone a joyous and merry Christmas and a very happy, happy new year.”

The president also retweeted a Christmas greeting from the White House’s official Twitter account.

The first family has been spending the holiday at the president’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla. They attended a music-filled Christmas Eve service at a Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated church before celebrating with dinner in the ballroom of his private club. They were expected to remain out of sight Wednesday.


On Tuesday evening, the first lady answered calls from children across the country as part of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s “Operation NORAD Tracks Santa” program. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Mrs. Trump spoke with several children and heard items on their Christmas lists.

Grisham said Mrs. Trump “reminded the kids to put milk and cookies out for Santa, and wished each child and their families a very merry Christmas.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

Posted on

Queen Elizabeth II to acknowledge ‘bumpy’ year in Christmas message

The 93-year-old monarch will refer to the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation in her pre-recorded message, saying “small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.”

She will add: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

The Queen did not specify whether she was referring to the political turmoil over Brexit that dominated 2019 in the UK, or whether she was thinking of personal events involving her own family, or both.
Prince Philip leaves hospital after four-night stay for undisclosed condition
Earlier this year, Philip was involved in a car crash near the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. While the duke emerged unharmed, the other driver involved in the collision suffered cuts to her knee and a passenger sustained a broken wrist. In the wake of the accident, Philip, then-97, gave up his driving license.
The duke was not the only senior British royal to make headlines this year. In September, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex opened up about the struggles the couple have faced under intense media scrutiny while on tour in southern Africa.
Then last month, Prince Andrew — the Queen’s second son — announced he was stepping back from public duties following a widely-criticized interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The disgraced financier died by apparent suicide in August.

The Queen’s annual Christmas message — which will be broadcast on Wednesday at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. ET) — was filmed in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

Seated behind a desk in a royal blue cashmere dress designed by Angela Kelly, the Queen will address the nation surrounded by a selection of photographs of her family including a photograph of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla marking the 50th anniversary of his investiture as Prince of Wales, a family portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their three children George, Charlotte and Louis, a photograph of the Duke of Edinburgh from her private collection as well as a black and white photograph of her father, King George VI, in 1944.

The Queen will also be wearing the Prince Albert brooch. It was given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1840, the day before their wedding and was worn on their wedding day. It is a sapphire and diamond brooch, set in gold.

The Queen will also use her Christmas Day message to highlight the 75th anniversary of D-Day landings.

“For the 75th anniversary of that decisive battle, in a true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formerly been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemorations either side of the channel, putting past differences behind them,” she will say.

“By being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together, we honor the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost.”

In June, the Queen paid tribute on behalf of “the whole free world” to those who died during the Normandy landings in Portsmouth, southern England with world leaders US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in attendance.

Source link

Posted on

Brits take over Benidorm beaches for a sun-soaked Costa Del Christmas – The Sun

SPAIN’S beaches have been flooded with a sea of white this year as pasty Brits headed out for a Costa Del Christmas.

Benidorm and the Canary Islands have been inundated with winter sun hunters hoping to crack on with the turkey alongside a cold glass of sangria.

 Brits head to Benidorm to soak up some winter sun


Brits head to Benidorm to soak up some winter sunCredit: Alamy Live News
 Sun-worshippers are hoping for a golden December glow


Sun-worshippers are hoping for a golden December glowCredit: Alamy Live News
 It's sprouts and sangria on the menu this year


It’s sprouts and sangria on the menu this yearCredit: Alamy Live News

Sun worshippers donned Santa hats as they stretched out on Spanish beaches hoping for a golden December glow.

This year, Christmas roasts will be devoured in Benidorm hotels en masse by festive ex-pats.

UK holidaymakers this year amassed almost half a million pounds worth of fines, says Spanish air safety agency AESA who received 216 criminal complaints this year as yet more Brits flooded the airways heading off for winter sun.

A recent study revealed 29 per cent of holiday makers who head abroad are fed up of British Christmases because it’s cold but never snows, and a fifth are tired of it being “always the same”.

And one in ten don’t enjoy being at home for Christmas because they don’t like hosting the celebratory dinner with all the trimmings.


But the holiday destination favoured by Brits has become a criminal hub after a spate of violent muggings marred the pristine beach fronts.

A group of ex-pats have even set up a vigilante group in Spain’s Costa Blanca to “tackle the thugs”.

The Sun Online has carried a string of stories about vicious attacks on visitors to Benidorm, where a Brit was robbed of £400 by a gang of girls.

 Thousands of Brits have jetted off for the festive season


Thousands of Brits have jetted off for the festive seasonCredit: Alamy Live News
 Holidaymakers are swapping snow for sand


Holidaymakers are swapping snow for sandCredit: Alamy Live News
 Costa Del Christmas sees ex-pats soaking up the winter sun


Costa Del Christmas sees ex-pats soaking up the winter sunCredit: Alamy Live News
 A beach in the Canary Islands filled with Christmas holidaymakers


A beach in the Canary Islands filled with Christmas holidaymakersCredit: Alamy Live News
 One Brit dons a santa hat as he soaks up the rays


One Brit dons a santa hat as he soaks up the raysCredit: Alamy Live News
 Sea, sand and Santa is on the menu for these guys


Sea, sand and Santa is on the menu for these guysCredit: Alamy Live News
Boozed up’ Brit arrested in Benidorm for ‘stealing a COACH and going on two mile wrecking spree

Source link

Posted on

Never use wrapping paper again: Tips for a sustainable Christmas

Kim Kardashian revealed this week that she doesn’t use traditional wrapping paper for her Christmas gifts.

In a recent Instagram story, the reality TV superstar explained that her family uses a cloth wrapping for their presents instead.

“Each year every family member picks a color and vibe so we know who the gifts are from. This year we chose creamy velvet,” Kardashian wrote.

Although the style was not to everyone’s liking, the idea of using cloth, especially old textiles like clothes, has appeared in a list of Greenpeace Canada tips for zero waste wrapping. 

Canadians generate thousands of tonnes of waste from gift wrapping and shopping bags every year, with most gift-wrapping made out of hard to recycle mixed material which goes straight to landfill, according to Greenpeace.

“It’s far more sustainable to use pieces of fabric you already have or check out local thrift stores to find second hand fabrics to use,” Greenpeace wrote in the blog.

To keep the cloth in place there’s a guide to Japanese Furoshiki folding techniques as the environmental organization also recommends ditching the sticky tape used for wrapping, instead replacing it with string.

For added panache on a holiday gift, the Greenpeace blog suggests pine cones, berries or leaves instead of plastic ribbons and bows.

 “Every year Canadians produce 545,000 tonnes of packaging waste, so that’s gift wrapping annually, and the equivalent to 100,000 elephants,” Jane Roussak, the Living Green Living Well coordinator with Green Action Centre told CTV Winnipeg.

Old maps, magazines, newspapers and kids artwork are all suggested by Greenpeace as more sustainable alternatives to wrapping paper.

For those feeling crafty the blog recommends retro-fitting cereal boxes as gift bags.

According to Zero Waste Canada, the average Canadian tosses about 50 kilograms of garbage each holiday season — 25 per cent more than the rest of the year.

While rules for recycling vary from province to province, there are a number of changes anyone can make to be less wasteful.

Many have advocated for gifting experiences, rather than things as a more sustainable option.

“What if we say gift-giving doesn’t matter? This is all about being with people you’re connected with – your loved ones and your family,” Colleen Thorpe, director general of non-profit organization Equiterre told CTV News Montreal.

“We could say buy locally, but after that I would say, don’t give. Give your time and give your energy and your love and think of activities to do, but don’t make it into a holiday of material gifts.”

With files from CTV News Winnipeg and CTV News Montreal

Source link

Posted on

The best family board games for Christmas 2019

Peter Jenkinson is the UK’s leading board games journalist. His job takes him all over the world, attending toy fairs and board game expos. His expertise and ability to absorb rule books means that board game publishers often seek his input for their next potential best-seller.

No longer something you drag out of a dusty cupboard to banish Boxing Day boredom, board games are enjoying a mainstream renaissance. This year, we are truly spoilt for choice thanks to continued growth among smaller independent publishers and major innovation from more established board game makers.

Having attended a number of worldwide events devoted to board games over the past 12 months, it’s evident that an entirely new category has arrived on the scene too – shelf-worthy. These board games are so beautifully crafted, you’ll want to keep them on display even when they’re not being played. 

So here’s our new favourite games of 2019 – not too taxing on the grey matter but challenging enough to ensure they deliver on fun. Whether you’re looking for something high-tech, fast-paced or family-friendly, you’ll find it here. 

1. Bank Attack

 £20, Argos

Source link

Posted on

Toronto subway busker stunned by sweet Christmas payday

A Toronto busker got the biggest payday of his life when a group of people he believed were commuters suddenly tipped him hundreds of dollars as he serenaded them at a subway station.

Mo Guzman, 26, a full-time busker for five years, told he was ”shocked and surprised” when people starting dropping $20, $50 and $100 dollar notes in his guitar case.

But all was not as it seems. The money actually came from Toronto marketing company Zulu Alpha Kilo, which wanted to do a good deed for the holidays.

The agency reached out to the Toronto Transit Commission to see if they knew of a busker they could help. The TTC, which holds auditions for subway performers and issues permits for performers, quickly identified Guzman from Burlington.

When cameras arrived on November 26 to film Guzman at King subway station, officials from the TTC told him that he was being filmed for a documentary on subway buskers.

A video posted on Friday shows Guzman’s genuine shock as 40 Zulu Alpha Kilo employees approached and paid him some very generous tips.

Guzman was singing the Motown classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” at the time with his beagle Milo by his side. In the video he becomes emotional as a series of cameras catch his candid reaction.

“What is happening right now?” he asks.

The crowd eventually gathers around him and claps to the music, with a few people stepping forward to dance.

Overwhelmed, Guzman addressed the group.

“I just recently had my daughter, she’s like three months old. Just doing my thing as a first time dad and honestly thank you. I’m at a loss for words, I’ve never had an experience like this. I feel truly blessed,” he said.

Guzman told in a phone interview that people are usually in “better spirits this time of year,” but this was still far beyond his expectations.

“When I came into the station today I was expecting to play a few tunes, make some people happy, make some people smile,” he said in the video.

“I feel like years of working on the subway and making people smile is paying off in its own way. I feel so fortunate.”

Guzman and his partner welcomed their daughter Malia almost four months ago. He thanked the company and the TTC for the kind gesture.

“I think the most important part of the message is that kindness is contagious,” said Zulu Alpha Kilo founder Zak Mroueh.

Source link

Posted on

North Korea says US must chose “Christmas gift” as nuclear diplomacy deadline for Donald Trump administration nears

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via


Seoul, South Korea — North Korea on Tuesday repeated its assertions the Trump administration is running out of time to salvage nuclear negotiations. A statement attributed to a senior diplomat said it was entirely up to the United States to choose what “Christmas gift” it gets from the North.

The statement came as North Korea continues to dial up pressure on Washington and Seoul ahead of leader Kim Jong Un’s end-of-year deadline for the U.S. to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal.

Negotiations have faltered since a February summit between Kim and President Donald Trump broke down after the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

Working-level talks held in Sweden in October broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans’ “old stance and attitude.”

Ri Thae Song, a vice foreign minister handling U.S. affairs, accused Washington of repeating talk offers aimed at buying time without offering real solutions. Ri reiterated earlier North Korean statements that the country has no intentions to continue the nuclear diplomacy unless it gets something substantial in return.

“The dialogue touted by the U.S. is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the D.P.R.K bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the U.S.” Ri’s comments in state media referred to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea launches short-range projectiles toward Japan, South Korea says

“What is left to be done now is the U.S. option and it is entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get.”

Kim has said he would seek a “new path” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure. The North has tested a series of new solid-fuel missile systems in recent months, which experts say potentially expands its ability to strike targets in South Korea and Japan. It has also threatened to lift a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests and resume launches over Japan.

Kim and Trump exchanged crude insults and war threats amid a provocative run in North Korean nuclear and missile tests in 2017, but both leaders have described their personal relationship as good since they began their high-stakes nuclear summitry in 2018.

After the North tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile in July 2017, Kim called the missile a “package of gifts” to the Americans for their Fourth of July holiday.

Source link